After a week of turkey leftovers and repurposed vegetables, I needed a brownie, one that would be quick and easy and offer near-instant gratification. You know I'm a bake-o-phobe, so when it comes to baking, I don't mess around. I start with a proven recipe, and tweak here or there, changing the flour, adding or subtracting nuts or fruits or spice. When it comes to chocolate, I don't mess around, either. I know what I like, and what I like is good old Hershey's cocoa, sold in the baking aisle of every supermarket in America. This recipe came together in minutes, without hauling out the big stand mixer, and rewarded me with the rich, deeply chocolate satisfaction I craved. The original recipe claims you can store the brownies for two or three days. In my house, they disappeared overnight.
Whole wheat walnut cocoa brownies
Slightly adapted from this recipe for cocoa brownies on Recipe Girl. Makes 16 brownies.
11 Tbsp unsalted butter
1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 scant cup unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch process)
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/3 cup + 1 Tbsp white whole wheat flour
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 325°F. Line the bottom and all sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil, and set aside.
Set a large frying pan filled with 2 inches of water over low heat. When the water barely comes to the simmer, place a large heat-proof glass bowl directly in the frying pan. Add the butter, and let it melt.
To the melted butter, add the sugar, cocoa powder and salt, and stir until the ingredients are completely blended and the mixture is hot, 2 minutes. Remove the bowl from the pan onto your countertop, and let the mixture cool just slightly until warm. Stir in the vanilla, then add the eggs, one at a time. Mix vigorously with a rubber spatula until the mixture is thick, shiny and well-blended.
Dump in the flour all at once, and stir until you cannot see any flour in the mix. Then, with your rubber spatula, stir vigorously for 40 strokes. Add the walnuts, and stir 3 or 4 times to distribute the nuts in the batter.
Pour the batter into the lined pan, and spread it evenly.
Bake in the lower third of the oven for 25 minutes, until a toothpick plunged into the center comes out slightly dirty. Remove the pan from the oven and set on a rack to cool.
When the brownies are completely cooled (be patient!), pull up the edges of the foil and transfer to a cutting surface. Cut into 16 large squares.
Store the brownies in a tightly-covered container for 2-3 days, if they last that long. Mine didn't.
Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Salted fudge brownies, from Sass & Veracity
Coffee fudge brownies, from Cooking On the Side
Brownie stuffed chocolate chip cookies, from Picky Palate
Dark chocolate brownies, from Joy the Baker
Dulce de leche brownies, from David Lebovitz
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