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I love brownies, but most of the time I am too lazy to make them. I know I’m the type of person who will happily make time for a 6 hour soup recipe (along with my father I once went through the two day process of making crispy aromatic duck with everything down to the pancakes made from scratch) but in my mind, something as simple as a brownie should not involve such an effort as melting the chocolate and carefully extracting them from the pan, not to mention the exact science of getting them perfectly cooked so they are not raw, but they are still gooey inside. No wonder Rose‘s infamous ‘Slutty Brownies‘ are so popular; they not only contain so may things that are supposed to be terrible and calorific for you, but they are just so simple.
When I originally came across this recipe for chocolate brownies made with just cocoa powder, not the usual obligatory melted solid chocolate on Food 52 I honestly did not think that it would work, or that it would simply not taste as good as your classic brownie. I don’t actually have a go to brownie in my repertoire so while I hoped these would work, I did not hold out much hope.
Cocoa brownies tend to come out more like cake (this Swedish Chocolate Cake, actually) than brownie. However, as you have probably guessed by the fact I am now sharing this brownie recipe with you, they came out better than any brownie I had ever made before; dark, rich and crisp but slightly chewy on the outside, and gloriously gooey on the inside. The recipe is also deliciously low fuss.
As these brownies are rather rich and indulgent, while I did enjoy one after cutting and photographing while reading The Sunday Times on my iPad and drinking a tall glass of iced tea, I would recommend serving them with fresh berries and some creme fraiche as a decadent dessert. I think I’m also going to try baking the next time with fresh raspberries in the batter.
These famous brownies are so easy to make – perfect for beginner baking, or the more experienced baker in need of a speedy chocolate fix!
150g (5 1/4 oz) unsalted butter
300g (10 1/2 oz) caster sugar (granulated if you are in the USA)
110g (3 3/4 oz) cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
120g (4 1/4 oz) plain (all purpose) flour
Heat your oven to 160 degrees (325 Fahrenheit). Place the butter, sugar, salt and cocoa powder in a medium to large heatproof bowl. A big pyrex mixing bowl is perfect for this; I am rather lost at the moment without the one in my mothers kitchen. They also cost about £6, and last literally forever unless you drop it. Place the bowl over a saucepan of hot water, simmering but not boiling so the bottom of the bowl is not sitting in water. Gradually stir every few minutes until the butter has melted and everything is combined. The mixture should be smooth, but slightly gritty. Set aside, off the water to cool.
Line a 8 inch square tin with foil or good quality baking parchment while the mixture cools a little. Alternatively you can buy a disposable foil brownie tray. Beat in the vanilla extract with a balloon whisk followed by the eggs one at a time until the mixture is smooth.
Beat in the flour until the mixture is smooth and slightly glossy. Pour into the tin and bake on the bottom half of the oven for 20 minutes. Allow to cool and remove the foil and slice the brownies into 16 squares once completely cool.
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