Cocoa Brownies


It’s nice to have go-to recipes you can pull into service on those days when you’ve been invited somewhere for dinner, or someone could use a little cheering, or you want to score a few brownie points with your editors/doctor/teachers. Most of the time, I’d choose a brownie over a cake or cookie. But it has to be the right kind of brownie – dense and fudgy, with a crackly top. Generally I prefer no nuts in mine, nor chocolate chunks or chips, or even frosting. I like my brownies straight up, preferably warm, straight from the pan.


And besides being the ideal chocolate delivery vehicle, a pan of brownies is the sort of thing you can stir together quickly and bake, cool for a few minutes, then lift out using the edges of parchment as handles, cut into squidgy squares and plop right onto the dinner table. No plate required. (Cold milk is nice, though.)

cocoa brownies

Cocoa brownies are a step easier, but no lesser a brownie than those made with melted chocolate. These are dense and chewy, intensely chocolatey – the recipes Epicurious and Bon Appétit both claim to be the best are essentially the same, and nearly identical to one I have written on a decades-old recipe card.

Cocoa Brownies


January 10, 2016


1/2 cup butter

1 1/4 cups sugar

3/4 cup cocoa

1 tsp. vanilla

1/4 tsp. salt

2 large eggs

1/3 cup all-purpose flour


1Preheat the oven to 325°F and line an 8x8-inch pan with parchment.

2Melt the butter in a small saucepan or right in the mixing bowl in the microwave. Stir in the sugar, cocoa, vanilla and salt; stir until well blended, and there are no more lumps of cocoa. Stir in the eggs, then the flour.

3Spread the batter in the pan, smoothing the top, and bake for 25 minutes, until just set - a toothpick poked in will come out with moist crumbs stuck to it. Cool completely in the pan, then remove the whole thing by lifting out with the edges of the parchment and cut into squares. Makes 16 brownies.


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9 comments on “Cocoa Brownies

  1. Kristi A.
    January 10, 2016 at 10:58 pm

    These look yummy! Unfortunately, the pinterest link is not working here…

  2. Carmella
    January 11, 2016 at 3:18 pm

    I don’t have parchment paper. Should I grease and flour the pan instead?

    • Julie
      January 12, 2016 at 9:59 am

      Yes! Just butter it or spray it with nonstick spray.

  3. Nicole
    January 11, 2016 at 9:07 pm

    Thanks! I lost my decades-old recipe card, but this mix looks similar.

  4. Lisa
    January 13, 2016 at 11:27 am

    Just a note…I made these using Cup4Cup GF flour. SO delicious! For some reason it changed the baking time–needed about an extra 10 minutes in the oven. I didn’t do any other adjustments on the recipe though.

    • Julie
      January 13, 2016 at 8:54 pm

      Interesting! thanks for letting us know – it’s good to know what works!

  5. Kristy
    January 26, 2016 at 12:35 pm

    I made these this weekend and they were so good. Super easy as I am not the best baker and I had everything on hand. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Lisa
    February 15, 2017 at 10:44 pm

    Hi Julie, I was very excited when I heard you describing your very simple brownies recipe in your Valentines chocolate column on Calgary AM. I like the brownies in Joy of Cooking, but melting chocolate and waiting for it to cool takes too long – so I rarely make them. Your recipe sounded so easy I had to try it the same day I heard it!

    The brownies were delicious, just like you described! Mine hardly rose, however. They were very flat. Didn’t affect their taste, but wouldn’t want to give these for brownie points. I wonder why? I cracked the the eggs directly into the butter-sugar mix and mixed them in with a spoon. Did I need to beat the eggs separately before I added them to the butter-sugar mix? Alternatively, could I double the recipe and bake in a 9″ x 13″ pan to get less flat brownies? But then what happens to the cooking time? I’d really appreciate some guidance. Thanks!

    • Julie
      February 20, 2017 at 9:39 am

      That’s strange – but brownies don’t rise much anyway, they’re meant to be dense and fudgy. Did you bake them in a larger pan, so that they were more thin? And yes, you could double the recipe and bake them in a 9×13-inch pan, just for a little longer! Hope this helps!

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