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Cocoa Brownies:

1 cup (100 grams) pecans (or walnuts)

10 tablespoons (140 grams) unsalted butter

1 1/4 cups (250 grams) granulated white sugar

3/4 cup (75 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder (regular unsweetened or Dutch processed)

1 teaspoon (4 grams) pure vanilla extract

2 large eggs (100 grams out of shell), at room temperature

1/2 cup (65 grams) all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) baking powder

1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) fine kosher salt

1/4 cup (60 ml/grams) sour cream (full or reduced fat), at room temperature

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Cocoa Brownies: Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) and place the oven rack in the center of the oven. Line the bottom and sides of an 8 inch (20 cm) square pan with foil or parchment paper. Then lightly butter the foil, or spray with a non stick cooking spray.

Place the pecans on a baking sheet and bake for about 8 minutes or until lightly brown and fragrant. Let cool and then coarsely chop.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter (can also melt the butter in the microwave). Remove from heat and pour into a large heatproof bowl. Stir (or whisk) in the sugar and cocoa powder. Whisk in the vanilla extract and eggs, one at a time, mixing until the batter is shiny.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Fold into the batter. Finally, fold in the sour cream and chopped pecans.

Pour into the prepared pan and smooth the top with the back of a spoon or offset spatula. Bake for about 28 - 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center has moist crumbs clinging to it. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool to room temperature. To make the brownies easier to cut, cover and place in the refrigerator for one to two hours or until firm. Then, place the brownies on a cutting board, and using a sharp knife, cut into 16 brownies.

Makes 16 brownies.


I make Brownies a lot. I like how easy they are to prepare, how good they taste, and how well they store. Because of this I have quite a few Brownie recipes. In the past I've always made Brownies using either semi sweet chocolate or unsweetened chocolate. So for this Brownie recipe I decided to replace the chocolate with unsweetened cocoa powder. The result is a really fine tasting Brownie. One that is cake-like with a deep chocolate flavor yet is wonderfully moist and chewy. They make a delicious snack, with or without a dusting of cocoa powder or powdered sugar. And I often like to serve them for dessert with fresh berries and maybe a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Cocoa Brownies can be made in one bowl. All you need to do is stir all the ingredients together and you're done. Just remember, both the type of unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-processed) and the brand of cocoa powder you use will determine how your brownies will taste. Cocoa powder is made when chocolate liquor is pressed to remove three quarters of its cocoa butter. The remaining cocoa solids are processed to make fine unsweetened cocoa powder. The difference between Dutch-processed (Alkalized Unsweetened) and natural unsweetened cocoa powder is that Dutch-processed is treated with an alkali. This gives it a reddish-brown color and a mild flavor.

It's really important not to over bake Brownies. Since everyone's oven is a little different, always check the brownies a few minutes before the end of the stated baking time. Brownies are done when a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out with moist crumbs still clinging to it.