Best cocoa brownies

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Oops. Fell off the grid a bit. Truth be told, I have been contemplating a revamp of this blog into something greater. This will take some time, though, as my 8-year-old PowerBook can scarcely handle how infrequently I update here. No matter, as 2013 will bring me a shiny new computer and a shiny new blog. Stay tuned.

I now bring you something I never thought I would admit to liking: brownies. Normally I find them either boring or saccharine, but these are an exception. Courtesy of Bon Appetit‘s December issue—which is bursting with goodies—I decided to give a go-ahead to what they deem, “The best—and easiest—brownies you’ll ever make. This recipe belongs in your repertoire.” Turns out that statement is bang-on! These brownies are rich, not too sweet, and delightfully soft with a crispy crust on top. Add a hint of cinnamon or instant espresso, and they are over the top incredible.

These treats are perfect for holiday gift-giving, as they can be whipped up in less than an hour from beginning to end, and require few ingredients—making it easy to keep within budget. Gussie them up with some pretty twine and nice packaging, and your work is done.

That is, if they can make it from the pan to the table without being devoured first!

Cocoa brownies
Adapted from Bon Appetit, December 2012

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Ingredients
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. cinnamon or instant espresso (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Line an 8 x 8 x 2 inches glass baking dish with foil, pressing firmly into pan and leaving a 2 inches overhang. Coat foil with nonstick spray; set baking dish aside.
  2. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Let cool slightly. Whisk sugar, cocoa, and salt in a medium bowl to combine. Pour butter in a steady stream into dry ingredients, whisking constantly to blend. Whisk in vanilla. Add eggs one at a time, beating vigorously to blend after each addition. Add flour and stir until just combined (do not overmix). Scrape batter into prepared pan; smooth top.

    brownie1

  3. Bake until top begins to crack and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 25–30 minutes.
  4. Transfer pan to a wire rack; let cool completely in pan. Using foil overhang, lift brownie out of pan; transfer to a cutting board. Cut into 16 squares.
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