These are an unabashed brownie, a bit forward, perhaps even impertinent in their rich, chocolate taste. If these brownies were a person, they’d be Melissa McCarthy in Identity Crisis. A bit loud; bordering on obnoxious and a little messy around the edges. Not a pretty, refined, well-behaved brownie, these are deeply chocolate, heavy in the hand, chewy, with a shiny top.
They are my dream of the perfect brownie, and I hope you’ll like them, too. Have milk on hand. Lots of milk.
There’s a story behind these brownies, but first a warning: Be careful to whom you serve these; a gentleman once proposed to me after one of these. (disclaimer: You’re results may vary.)
When I was just a youngster, I found this recipe on the back of a cocoa can and they became my one and only brownie. One day I picked up a can and the recipe was no longer there, replaced by another. Every time I bought cocoa I’d search through the cans to no avail.
Fast forward about 15 years later, when the internet became available. The search began, anew, but in vain. I kept hoping some cook would put the recipe online, but it never happened. (I knew I would recognize it because the technique is so unusual.)
Finally, it happened – the cocoa producer published an archive of recipes, and I found my brownie – and it did not disappoint. The only thing I wonder about, to this day? What if I had accepted that proposal? Would the gentleman in question have felt cheated in not having those brownies for almost 20 years? I know I did.
Brownies, Rich and Chewy
- 3/4 cup cocoa – do not use Dutch processed or a mix of Dutch Process and Natural, just use regular old Natural cocoa powder (Hershey’s or Nestlé’s)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2/3 cup butter, melted and divided into two portions
- 1/2 cup boiling water (bring about a cup of water to a boil, then measure out the 1/2 cup)
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/3 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup chocolate chips, preferable semi sweet or dark
- Optional: about a cup of large pieces of chocolate can be folded in at the end as well as the chocolate chips.
Grease a 9 x 13″ pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bring a cup of water to boil.
Stir cocoa and soda together in large bowl. Add 1/3 cup of the melted butter and stir in. Add 1/2 cup boiling water and stir until thickened
Stir in sugar, eggs and the remaining butter until smooth. Add flour, vanilla and salt. Fold in chocolate chips.
Bake 35 -40 minutes until brownies begin to pull away from the sides of the pan. Do NOT over bake. A “toothpick” test will not work. The brownies are done when they just start to pull away from the edge of the pan. Cool completely in pan, then cut.
- The chocolate chips melt into the batter as the brownies bake and become indiscernible and are an integral part of the recipe, adding to the deep chocolate flavor. If you’d like pockets of chocolate in your brownie, add the chips and the chunks.
- Using smaller bits of chocolate (for instance, if you cut your own and add the shavings along with the chunks) can make the brownies greasy.