Sunday, August 21, 2005

Best Ever Chocolate Brownies

We went to a family picnic today. I made lemon bars and "the best ever cocoa brownies", which were indeed the best I have made, if not ever, at least in a long time. They were fudgy moist and just yummy. I got the recipe someplace on the net, but can't remember where. If anyone is in the mood for brownies, I think you will love these. The lemon bars were also very good, but next time I will double the filling as I like more filling.

Cocoa brownies have the softest center and chewiest candylike top "crust" of all because all of the fat in the recipe (except for a small amount of cocoa butter in the cocoa) is butter, and all of the sugar is granulated sugar rather than the finely milled sugar used in chocolate. Use the best cocoa you know for these fabulous brownies.

10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter (I used salted)
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Hershey's)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cold large eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup walnut or pecan pieces (optional) (I used a mixture of walnuts and pecans plus I threw in about a cup of white chocolate chips)
Special equipment: An 8-inch square baking pan

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line the bottom and sides of the baking pan with parchment paper or foil, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides.
Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a medium heatproof bowl and set the bowl in a wide skillet of barely simmering water. Stir from time to time until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth and hot enough that you want to remove your finger fairly quickly after dipping it in to test. Remove the bowl from the skillet and set aside briefly until the mixture is only warm, not hot. (I just put it in the microwave and heated 20 seconds then stirred, then repeated another 20 sec., etc. until it was melted)
Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one. When the batter looks thick, shiny, and well blended, add the flour and stir until you cannot see it any longer, then beat vigorously for 40 strokes with the wooden spoon or a rubber spatula. Stir in the nuts, if using. Spread evenly in the lined pan.

Bake until a toothpick plunged into the center emerges slightly moist with batter, 20 to 25 minutes. (I baked for 30 minutes) Let cool completely on a rack.
Lift up the ends of the parchment or foil liner, and transfer the brownies to a cutting board. Cut into 16 or 25 squares.

Lemon Bars

2 cups flour
2 sticks margarine or butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
4 eggs, beaten
2 cups granulated sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup flour
6 Tbsp lemon juice – (I used 1 ½ fresh lemons – also used the zest) I also added a few drops of yellow food coloring
2 Tbsp powdered sugar

Combine the 3 crust ingredients and press into a 9 X 13 pan. (mixture will look very dry, but just pat down and bake. The butter will melt when baking) I also used a little larger pan, whatever size a lasagna pan is.
Bake at 350 for 20 minutes;
remove from oven. Combine the filling ingredients and pour over top of the baked crust. Return to oven and bake for an additional 25 minutes at 350. Remove from oven and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Cool and cut into squares.


  1. Hi Zoe
    Just had to look and see who was leaving a lovely comment on mine. I love your blog. I shall check in more often. Come and garden for me whenever you

  2. Brownies are the best! I've made some good ones in my time, so good that Brian's cousin snuck a bunch home at a picnic years ago. I also like lemon bars. And I usually use the box mixes, slap my hand!
    I remember making Shirley Temple's favorite chocolate cake for my mom when I was about to have Sean. It turned out scrumptious.
    Thanks for sharing.

  3. Welcome Calidore. Nice to have you visit.

    Dianne, If you make either of these let me know what you think. They are both very easy. If you use the microwave to melt the brownie chocolate mixture, then you only have one bowl and one spoon to wash--my kind of recipe.


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