In the bowl over the pan, just before the butter melts.
In January, smitten kitchen posted a recipe for the best cocoa brownies. Not only that, it used cocoa, which is easily accessible to me (though I did have to search and search... I thought it'd be on the baking isle or the chocolate isle, but alas, it is with the hot chocolate and sweetened condensed milk). I just had to try this recipe. But don't worry, I didn't wait until mid-April to try it! I've made this recipe half a dozen times now and we love it every time! I generally turn mine into peanut butter* brownies, but today I followed smitten kitchen's recipe just for you.
Best Cocoa Brownies
adapted by smitten kitchen from Alice Mendrich's Bittersweet
10 T unsalted butter
1 1/4 c sugar
3/4 c + 2 T unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 t salt
1/2 t pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, cold
1/2 c all purpose flour
Position rack in lower third of oven and preheat to 325 F. Line the bottom and sides of an 8x8 inch square baking pan with parchment paper, allowing it to overhang on two opposite sides.
It's rather grainy after it melts, just before adding the eggs and vanilla.
Combine butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a heat-proof bowl and set the bowl in a wide skillet of barely simmering water. Stir from time to time until the butter is melted and mixture is smoothe and hot enought that you want to removed your finger fairly quickly after dipping it in to test the heat. Remove the bowl from the skillet and set aside until mixture is warm, not hot.
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. Stir until you cannot see it any longer, then beat vigorously for 40 strokes with the wooden spoon or a rubber spatula. Spread evenly in the lined pan.
See what a difference a couple eggs make!
Bake until a toothpick comes out slightly moist with batter, 30-35 minutes (you may want to start checking at 20 min if your oven runs hot). Let them cool completely on a rack. Deb takes this cooling process one step further and throws them in the freezer to get clean lines when she cuts them. Me, I'll try that if I'm making them for company because these definitely don't cut in clean lines! Lift up the ends of the parchment paper or foil, and transfer the brownies to a cutting board. Cut all at once. If you have the ability, you can cut them into 16 or 25 pieces, but Hubby typically cuts them into 12 (I don't have a square baking dish).
* To turns these lovely brownies into peanut butter swirl brownies, reserve one tablespoon of butter and two tablespoons of sugar. Combine butter and sugar with half a cup of peanut butter. Drop mixture by the spoonful onto the unbaked batter just before putting the dish in the oven. Use a knife to swirl the peanut butter into the batter. Bake as usual.
Nom nom.Note: I know some people are wary about homemade brownies because the box brownies have a completely different texture. I have found that these brownies are much closer in texture to the box than the Baker's brownies. Give them a try, you will be pleasantly surprised!