Brownies are something I rarely ever make, not because I don’t love them– nothing is quite as enjoyable as eating a big slab of brownie with an ice-cold milk 24 hours later… But mostly because I love boxed mix brownies.
Some people have their guilty processed pleasures of Oreos, Cinnabons, Lucky Charms, Girl Scout Cookies, etc., but I am a box mix brownie guilty processed pleasure kind of gal. In my experience, Ghiradelli, Betty Crocker, and Duncan Heines have it down to a T! My personal favorite is Ghiradelli, but when you’re in a pinch, any of those will do.
I’ve never cared to hassle myself with actually measuring out ingredients for brownies because I am perfectly satisfied with a box mix brownie. However, since all the boxed mix brownie options in Italy look like they’ve sat on the shelf since 1950, I decided I better change my ways of thinking.
I went out into the world (or maybe just to the closest market to my apartment) on a search for unsweetened chocolate and came home with nothing… “Senza zucchero” brought me to an assortment of artificially sweetened chocolate and I wasn’t going to have any of that. I always like to keep a handful of 70-85% cacao chocolate bars on hand at any given day… because you never know when you’re going to want cookies or ganache! But 100% cacao chocolate bars are something I rarely ever have on hand… Why would I want a chocolate bar that I can’t enjoy an occasional bite of?
Anyway, I had brownies on my mind and a bunch of half eaten 70-85% chocolate bars on hand… So what’s a girl to do? Nix the chocolate bars altogether and make Cocoa Brownies.
I liked this recipe A LOT. It’s super easy and moooost people have all the ingredients on hand, unless you’re a 22-year old male college student… Don’t even get me started on the state of Tony’s kitchen when I met him in college. But I digress, back to these brownies. You can’t fully appreciate this recipe without knowing the reasoning behind her cocoa-only brownies. Yes, I discovered them by default, but Alice Medrich made them with the complete intention of using only cocoa powder so she could control the fat and sugar contents of the brownies to create a chewy, candylike top, hence why Alice Medrich’s recipe is called the “Best Cocoa Brownies,” and that they are.
These brownies are deep and rich in chocolate flavor and have a crackly and shiny crust with a dense and fudgy middle. They are simply perfect for both the boxed mix brownie lover and the brownies from scratch lover.
Yield: 16 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes