Not your average brownies: these fudgy squares will take you a few seconds to sink your teeth into, but they aren’t just special because of their height; dutch process cocoa and a unique preparation method make these the kind of brownies you want to take to any and every occasion.
In a previous life, when I was a poly sci student by day and a barista by night, we used to get giant orders of Sam’s Club brownies. They came uncut and in massive boxes (think a brownie the size of a full baking sheet – yeah, double the one you usually bake with!). We were asked to slice them into pieces size of my palm. And they were definitely thicccc.
Fudgy Cocoa Brownies from Scratch
With the bar set, most recipes I find disappoint in two major ways: 1. They taste more like sugar and butter than they do chocolate; and 2. They always, always, turn out quite thin. I don’t want a ¼ inch tall brownie, I want double (or triple!) that! So I spent the better part of the summer of 2019 testing brownie recipes and figuring out what worked and what I liked about them. One of the ones I came across which gave me a good jumping off point was Alice Mederich’s cocoa brownies. She says these are special due to the “drama of the crustiness on top and the gooey center”. I liked the sound of that!
Cocoa Powder Brownies
I took one major tip from Mederich; that is to cook the butter, sugar and cocoa together; but I streamlined the rest of the methodology. I also recalculated the ingredients and quantities to give me the height, texture and taste I wanted. These are tall & thick (so more goo in the center which is the best part, imho!), and they are deeply rich and chocolatey. I am not a cocoa-only kind of brownie girl so it takes a lot to convince – and these definitely do. I hope they hook you in too!
Notes on making Thick Cocoa Brownies
- Cocoa must be dutch. I recommend guittard’s rouge or rodelle’s gourmet.
- I use a double-boiler to cook the butter, sugar and cocoa and by this I mean, a heatproof bowl set over a pot with simmering water (the water shouldn’t touch the bottom of the bowl).
- To get the butter, sugar and cocoa to the right temperature I use my handy laser thermometer that reads without it getting dirty. If you don’t have a thermometer, let the butter melt and then add the cocoa and sugar. Stir as it heats up and within 5 minutes it should have reached the correct temperature.
- I have another version of these albeit with a mix of cocoa and dark chocolate. The bits of dark chocolate become a flakey, shiny top!
- Update: 4/28/20: I’ve had a few bakers say the 40 minutes wasn’t enough bake time so I’m giving a range of 40-50 now. Ovens can run cool or hot (mine the latter) so bake time can vary. A cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center will not come out clean but should still have some ‘goo’ on it without being runny. As the brownies cool, the middle will set but still be quite soft in the center.
Recipe for Thick Cocoa Brownies
Thick Cocoa Brownies
- 1 cup unsalted butter chopped into small cube (226g)s
- 2 cups granulated sugar 400g
- 1 cup dutch process cocoa 100g
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 4 large eggs
- ⅔ cup all purpose flour 83g
- Preheat oven to 335.
- Line a 9×9″ or 8×8’ square pan with a parchment paper overhang (two overlaying sheets so the pan is completely covered).
- Over a double boiler, on medium heat, melt the butter. When it has fully melted, add the the sugar and cocoa.
- Stir and continue to cook until the mixture is smooth and registers 140 F. You’ll notice that at this temperature the liquid starts to separate a bit.
- Remove from heat and pour into a bowl. Let it cool slightly, until it is warm to touch, so it doesn’t cook the eggs in the next steps.
- Stir in the salt and vanilla.
- Add the eggs and beat with a hand mixer until the mixture is just smooth and silky (about 20 seconds). You can also do this with a whisk.
- Add the flour and whisk it in by hand.
- Pour into baking pan and bake for 40-50 minutes.
- Allow to cool fully in the pan and then use the parchment sling to lift it out.
- Slice into 1 inch squares.