Genius Brownies

Okay, I know you—you made the World Peace Cookies from my last recipe post, and now you’re scouting around for another Valentine’s Day chocolate contender from your kitchen.

Vintage Valentine from my childhood
Vintage Valentine from my childhood

Ya, ya, you’re just auditioning these candidates for the big day on Sunday. How noble of you. So here is a rich, decadent brownie you are going to love for Valentine’s Day and for the rest of the year—nay, the rest of your Life!

Alice Medrich has created the ultimate brownie recipe using only cocoa. It is so divine and so perfect it has been included in the Food52 Genius Recipe roster. Just make them.

Be ready to swoon.


Makes 16 to 25 brownies
Adapted from Alice Medrich’s Bittersweet via Food52
10 Tbsp unsalted butter
1-1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-process)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cold large eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup walnut or pecan pieces (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line an 8″ square pan with parchment paper so that there is an overhang on each side.

Let a pot of water come to a gentle simmer. In a heatproof bowl, place the butter, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt, and place it in the skillet. Stir while the butter melts. Once the mixture is hot, remove the bowl from the skillet and let it cool until it’s only warm. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the vanilla, then stir in the eggs, one a time, vigorously. Once the batter looks shiny and well-blended, stir in the flour until no streaks remain. Vigorously beat the batter for 40 strokes. Stir in the nuts if using. Spread the batter evenly into the pan, then place it into the oven. (I sprinkled a few chocolate chips on top. I have kids, what can I say?)

Bake until a toothpick in the middle comes out slightly moist with batter, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove and let cool completely before lifting out of the pan and transferring to a cutting surface. Cut to your desired size.


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Susan Written by:

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