BEST COCOA BROWNIES

Oh, brownies. So delicious, and so many variations. After a highly unsuccessful attempt at chocolate-based brownies (hello, did you even know you could make bad brownies? They are one of the easiest one-bowl dessert wonders. Well, people ate them anyway. But they were bad. See photo evidence below), I fell back on the tried-and-true cocoa brownie recipe that yields densely fudgy brownies every time. These are rich and chocolately and really incredible when you freeze them.

*the failed brownie recipe came about because I was trying to be frugal and use up some not-so-great milk chocolate in my freezer instead of buying bittersweet baking chocolate. Lessons learned! I threw some chocolate covered mint candies in the batter at the last minute which did redeem them slightly but the texture was off.

Best Cocoa Brownies
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

10 tablespoons butter
1 ¼ cups sugar
¾ cup cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs, cold
½ cup flour
pinch of espresso powder

Preheat oven to 325ºF. Line the bottom and sides of an 8X8-inch baking pan with foil (I used an 8-inch round pan).

Place the butter in a large heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water. Once the butter melts, add the sugar, cocoa, espresso powder, and salt. Mix with a wooden spoon. It will be gritty.

Stir in the vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one. When the batter looks thick and shiny, add in the flour all at once. Stir the mixture until you cannot see it any longer, then beat vigorously for 40 strokes with the wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Spread evenly in the lined pan.

Bake until a toothpick plunged In the center emerges slightly moist with batter, 20 to 30 minutes. Freeze, and try not to eat them all one night around midnight. Or give them to friends at an early spring BBQ (my offering).

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