Father’s day is coming up, and for this year’s celebration at Kristen’s pre-school we’re collaborating with Cocoa Brownies, which is perfect because she’s really into baking now… if it were up to her she would have us baking goodies every day. It’s also a great opportunity for me to try these brownies made from cocoa. I already shared a recipe of Classic Brownies with you, but they are made with melted chocolate. According to Alton Brown, cocoa is the secret ingredient to make a really good batch of good old fashioned brownies. Quality is important, so get the best one you can, and make sure it’s baking cocoa (unsweetened), and not the drinking kind!
You probably already know that there is natural cocoa, and dutch processed cocoa. The difference between the two is the alkali process that the dutch cocoa goes through to neutralize its acids, making it darker. When you’re baking, natural cocoa is best, even though its flavor is bitter, it imparts a more “chocolatey” flavor which makes it ideal for brownies, cookies and cakes.
There are a few things that I learned about brownies with this recipe, which are really good ones: Use natural cocoa powder for baked goods, instead of dutch processed cocoa powder, which is more suitable for beverages. Rim your baking pan with parchment paper, which makes lifting brownies out of the pan a breeze. There’s also a tip I read from Gordon Ramsay that says you should let brownies cool in the pan for at least 2-3 hours, and then refrigerate them for about 1 hour before trying to cut them.
There is an important note about the baking time on this recipe. I did go for the 300 degrees F, and started checking it after 45 minutes, like it said. The toothpick still came out covered in batter. I added 10 more minutes of baking time… it still came out with some batter. 5 more minutes…. the toothpick was almost clean, so I thought that was good enough. Maybe they could’ve used an extra 5 minutes, but I don’t know if that would have made the edges too dry. Next time, I will try turning the oven to 325F and will start testing after 45 minutes.
I hope you can also use this recipe to make some brownies for Dad.
Happy Father’s Day!
Recipe from Alton Brown
Yields 16 brownies
Soft butter, for greasing the pan
Flour, for dusting the buttered pan
4 large eggs
1 cup sugar, sifted
1 cup brown sugar, sifted
8 ounces melted butter
1 ¼ cups cocoa, sifted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ cup flour, sifted
½ teaspoon kosher salt
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Butter and flour an 8-inch square pan. ( I used parchment paper to line the pan)
- In a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the eggs at medium speed until fluffy and light yellow. Add both sugars. Add remaining ingredients, and mix to combine.
- Pour the batter into a greased and floured 8-inch square pan and bake for 45 minutes. (See my notes above, it took me 60 minutes!) Check for doneness with the tried-and-true toothpick method: a toothpick inserted into the center of the pan should come out clean. When it’s done, remove to a rack to cool. Resist the temptation to cut into it until it’s mostly cool.
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