Gooey one-bowl cocoa brownies
If like me you are not patient enough to tend to the melting of chocolate over a water bath and make sure it doesn’t burn (I mean…it’s chocolate, not a baby, yeesh), AND you like your brownies fudgy, this is for you. On the other hand, maybe you don’t want a really easy cocoa brownie recipe, because all that melting chocolate kerfuffle prevented you from making and eating brownies, which is always good if you’re trying not to consume alarming amounts of butter.
Butter alarm bells aside, this is also alarmingly quick and non-offensive on the dishes front.
The only thing that might be a little difficult for some people is acquiring good quality cocoa. This is not the recipe for Cadbury’s cocoa, unless you like pallid brownies. I find nice cocoa usually has a reddish tinge, and usually the best stuff that isn’t top-of-the-line pretentiously expensive is found at health food shops (with the added bonus that they also stock organic fair trade). However I’m curious to know what everyone thinks of the Dutch van Houten stuff, which I finally spotted in the foreign food aisle of my local supermarket.
Another random but important side note for brownies more generally: I’ve given up on non stick metal pans and just use a pyrex or ceramic dish, so I don’t have to fuss with foil or baking paper which I hate using. It also means you can hack at it with a knife and not worry about scratching the non stick coating. I preferred the texture of the brownies I made in my ceramic bakeware too – less of the dry crunchy bits and more gooey meltiness, but I could also have cooked them shorter. If you only have nonstick, c’est la vie, but go for ceramic or glass if you can for your own sanity.
Gooey cocoa one-bowl brownies
- 275g salted butter (or use unsalted and 2-3 pinches salt)
- 1c good quality cocoa (I tend to avoid Cadbury’s) – this is key or your brownies won’t taste rich and chocolatey
- 2 1/4 c raw sugar, or 2c packed light brown sugar, or 2 1/4c white sugar + 1 tsp blackstrap molasses
- 4 small eggs or 3 large ones
- 2 tsp vanilla extract (real, otherwise just omit)
- 3/4c flour
- 220g whatever chocolate you like eating, chopped (Cadbury’s white chocolate is acceptable here, but none of their other chocolate if you’re trying to impress anyone)
Melt butter, add sugar and stir in a medium to large saucepan on mediumish heat, to melt the sugar just a bit. When the sugar and butter mixture makes its first bubble that pops, take it off the heat. You just want to melt the sugar a little bit to contribute to a gooey, smoother texture. Stir in cocoa, try not to faint from how amazing it smells.
In the meantime, preheat oven to 170C/340F (these’ll work at 160C too). Grease 2 small ceramic or glass baking dishes. Dust with cocoa to coat the butter mixture and allow for easier removal of brownies. If using non-stick, line with greased paper for your own sanity.
Beat in eggs and vanilla. You don’t want to aerate it, so beat until everything is just incorporated. The sugar granules should have melted a little more so that the mixture is not super grainy. If not let the mixture sit for a bit longer.
Stir in flour until just incorporated. Pour into greased baking pans (if you have a cold kitchen you may need to spread the mixture out), and throw in the middle rack of your oven until the top has taken on a dried appearance (around 20 mins in smaller pans, longer for larger pans). Stick a toothpick in – if it comes out with wet batter leave it in for five minutes more at a time until the toothpick comes out with a little batter clinging to it, but it’s no longer all liquidy (see here). Cool completely then refrigerate if you care at all about cutting them neatly (and even then…good luck!)
PS. I feel the above image makes the brownies look a lot more cakey than they actually are. Just so you know. If you like your brownie more like hard fudgy, refrigerate and eat cold. But hey, you didn’t need me to tell you that.