Love fudgy brownies and you don’t happen to have any unsweetened chocolate on hand? Don’t worry, these guys are made with cocoa powder.
Cakey brownies are for the birds. So if you like them, try this version of cake brownies. For those of you who are here for fudgy brownies, read on.
How Chocolaty Is Your Chocolate?
When I want brownies, I want them now. But I also want real brownies. Boxes are for shoes, not for brownies. Or cakes. Or cookie mix. Shudder.
I knew I didn’t have enough unsweetened chocolate to make my Favorite Ever Brownie Recipe (thank you, kind folks at Cook’s Illustrated). As an aside, I always go to the Toastpoint blog to get this brownie recipe. After all, her post does come up first on Google when I search “Cook’s Illustrated Brownies” because-I-just-can’t-be-bothered-to-write-it-down. I just looked to see what she has done recently, and the last thing posted is from September 28, 2009. Oh, Toastpoint lady, where did you go?
Anyway, back to the brownies. Being unsweetened-chocolate-less, I opted for cocoa powder brownies. Oh, and here comes another aside. Look out! Too late: for those of you who might wonder, “Hey, Jen, how come you don’t just use some semisweet chocolate or even chocolate chips and then just cut back on the sugar?” I say unto you,
The more sugar in chocolate, the less chocolaty the chocolate is. That leads to boring brownies.
For those of you who scratch your head and say, “Come again?” think of it this way. Each ounce of chocolate is made up of a certain proportion of ingredients. The more of one ingredient you squeeze into each ounce, the less of another.
In this instance, sugar squeezes out chocolate liquor. And that’s not good for anyone.
In order to make your semi-sweet-chocolate brownies be as chocolaty as the unsweetened-chocolate brownies, you’d have to either a)use more semisweet and reduce the other sugar by x (wherein x is Completely Unknown), or just add in x amount of cocoa powder (wherein x is also Completely Unknown). Unless you do math. Ew.
Cocoa Powder Brownies
Rather than do Math and Leave out Sugar and such, I decided to take the path of least resistance and go with cocoa powder brownies. Cocoa powder, like unsweetened chocolate, doesn’t contain any sugar, so it’s mostly pure chocolate liquor that has been pressed then ground up into powder. And that means super chocolaty brownies.
And for these cocoa powder brownies, I turned to my dear-but-as-yet-unmet friend Alton Brown. You can find his original recipe here, but I tweaked and messed with it to make them How I Wanted. I mean, what’s the point in being able to make your own brownies if you can’t make them Exactly the Way you want?
How to Make Fudgy Brownies
Alton’s recipe calls for regular cocoa powder, and I wanted to use Dutch process. Why? Because I didn’t want to have to deal with balancing the pH by using baking soda. I also wanted these guys to be rich, moist and dark. And you can’t get that using regular cocoa powder.
Acidic batters, which is what you end up with when using regular cocoa powder, set up more firmly. And that would have given me Cakey Brownies. If I wanted that, I’d have just made Cake. Plus, regular cocoa powder tends to be a bit reddish in color, and I wanted Deep, Dark Brownies.
So, that’s why I went with Dutch Process Cocoa.
I also wanted a burnt sugar Edge to the brownies. Not edge as in Edge Pieces, but edge as in bite or flavor–just a little hint. Plus, I wanted to deepen the chocolate flavor by using coffee in a supporting role.
A Recipe for Fudgy Brownies
In a nutshell:
- Use lots of butter and eggs for richness
- Don’t use any leavening like baking powder or soda
- Use unsweetened chocolate or cocoa powder–Dutch process
- Use very little flour.
- Deepen the flavor and chew with some molasses.
- Underscore the chocolate flavor with a hint of espresso.
Now that you know All That, here we go. Let’s bake.
Craving More Chocolaty Goodness?
Try one of these recipes!
- Dark Chocolate Pound Cake
- The Best Double Chocolate Cheesecake
- Bittersweet Chocolate Babka with Pecans
- Bittersweet Strawberry Swirl Brownies
- Apricot Swirl Brownies
- 4 large eggs
- 1 1/2 teaspoons espresso powder
- 2 cups brown sugar, packed (about 13 ounces, Devoid of Lumps)
- 2 TBSP molasses
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, scant. (if you use regular table salt, cut back to 1/2 teaspoon)
- 1 1/4 cups Dutch process cocoa powder, I forgot to weigh this, sifted
- 8 oz unsalted butter, melted (2 sticks)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 ounces cake flour, sifted (about 1/2 cup)
- Preheat the oven to 300F. Thoroughly spray an 8" or 9" square pan with pan spray. Cut a square of parchment to fit in the bottom of the pan, and then spray again.
- In a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the four eggs and espresso powder together until very light and fluffy and at the Ribbon Stage. I did this on medium-high speed for about 6 minutes.
- In the meantime, melt the 2 sticks of butter and whisk together with the cocoa powder and vanilla.
- Once the egg and espresso mixture is nice and light, whisk in the brown sugar and molasses. Turn the speed down to do this, and then crank her back up for a couple of minutes. Scrape the bowl well.
- With the mixer on low speed, pour in the cocoa/butter/vanilla mixture. Turn the mixer back up for another minute or so, scraping the bowl a couple of times along the way.
- Thoroughly fold in the sifted cake flour.
- Scrape/pour the batter into prepared pan. Smooth the tops and bake on the center rack until set and beautiful, about 45 minutes to an hour. Slow and steady wins this race, so don't Go and crank up the heat. Bake them low so they stay fudgy and moist, so don't be tempted!
- Let cool on a rack for a few minutes, then turn out and flip right-side-up to finish cooling. Cut into squares.
Nutritional information is based on cutting the brownies into 36 squares.
Amount Per Serving Calories 116Saturated Fat 3gCholesterol 34mgSodium 61mgCarbohydrates 15gFiber 1gSugar 12gProtein 1g
These fudgy brownies were Amazing.
Completely dark, completely moist, completely chocolate-y, bitter edge of burnt sugar. My Idea of Brownie Perfection. Enjoy!
Oh, don’t forget about the Hot and Cold Challenge. I am looking forward to seeing what you come up with.