Best Cocoa Brownies

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The family I married into is pretty great. My sister-in-law is one of my most trusted friends. My father-in-law loves a long chat with his son and always tells him funny news stories that get back to me. And, my mother-in-law, Linda, is one of the warmest women I know… She’s the type who won’t sit down until she’s made sure you’re comfortable in your own chair, and you have a cup of tea to drink and a newspaper to read while you’re sitting. She also loves to travel and brings back great little gifts for anyone who didn’t tag along on her trip.

So, before Linda and my sister-in-law went to France recently, she asked if my husband and I would like anything. Hmmm… anything? Seeing as a four-course dinner couldn’t easily be mailed through the French postal system, I was stumped.

“No, thanks. Nothing for me,” I told her.

And then, she came back with this:

This is deep, dark, pure unsweetened Valrhona cocoa powder, and it makes a chocolate brownie so light, so fluffy and perfectly moist that after one bite, you’d think you had died and gone to heaven.

My first instinct was not that I needed to do something impressive like ganache or truffles with this lovely chocolate… My first instinct was to make a brownie, and simple as it may sound, it was a great way to really taste the cocoa’s deep, intense flavor through a really simple recipe.

Some day soon, I’ll dream up other delicious ways to use the cocoa powder (ideas are welcome!), but if I don’t come up with anything before fall and winter, I’m sure this stuff will make an incredible hot cocoa drink!

Linda, I’ve already told you, but I’ll tell you again: THANK YOU! It was so nice of you to think of me during your fun France trip, and this cocoa powder was the greatest gift I never knew I needed.

Best Cocoa Brownies

Servings 12 to 16 brownies

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9-inch square pan.
  • Melt 1/2 cup butter. Remove from heat and stir in sugar, eggs one at a time, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Gently stir in 1/3 cup cocoa, 1/2 cup flour, salt and baking powder. Spread batter into prepared pan.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 28-30 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before cutting.
  • Enjoy!

Join the Conversation

  1. Wonderful gift, wonderful brownies. They look perfect!

  2. Brownieville Girl says:

    What an absolutly fantastic gift – any chance I could borrow your SIL!!!!

    Brownies look wonderful – wish I could taste them!

  3. Heidi's Recipes says:

    I’m adding this recipe to my Welcome-Home-From-School snack list. I’ve been looking for a simple, basic, but delicious brownie recipe.

  4. those are gorgeous brownies, that cocoa just scream with flavor, that beautiful color….sigh….its a wonderful thing!

  5. Annalise, You were the one who convinced me to make my first ones from scratch with your Triple Chocolate Fudge Brownies, so I give you all the credit! That was a truly inspiring batch of brownies!

  6. Wow, those look amazing! There’s nothing more delicious than a rich chocolaty brownie. So simple, so yummy.

  7. These look so chewy & delicious. You have just inspired me to run over to Penzey’s today & get some good cocoa powder to make these right away. Thanks!!

  8. Thanks very much for letting me know! I’m so glad you enjoyed them!

  9. http://www.buttered-up.com says:

    These are amazing. I just tried these recently and was blown away.

  10. These look absolutely perfect. I’ll have to see about maybe possibly getting some of this…my other half’s entire family is over there and always asking if we want something. I feel ya about the postal system thumbing their noses at entire meals being mailed! The last time I asked they didn’t even bother to give me an answer as to whether that was even possible! I’m so glad your in-laws are so close to you and welcoming. That makes it feel like you extended your own family instead of merely having to put up with his. Thanks for writing this post!

  11. Stephanie Hobson says:

    That does look good. For your next recipe using cocoa powder you might consider Pioneer Woman’s “Best Chocolate Sheet Cake”. It’s almost exactly the same as our “Texas Sheet Cake” but we add a little bit of cinnamon. It’s great with Hershey’s Cocoa Powder… yours might send it over the moon!

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  13. That cocoa powder looks amazing – what a perfect gift!! And the brownies look divine. I think I’m craving chocolate now!

  14. Jenn's Food Journey says:

    You had me at brownies!!! Yum..these look fantastic! What a great gift your sister-in-law brought back!

  15. You are so lucky! I would have loved to have received such a gift. Wow! These brownies look scrumptious. I hope you had fun in France!

  16. Linda, Georgia's mother-in-law says:

    Hi Georgia. I’m going to have to use MY box of Valrhona to try this recipe. When your father-in-law and I are back in France in November, I’ll be sure to pick up more of this wonderful cocoa powder so that we don’t ever run out!

  17. Miss Meat and Potatoes says:

    Those are the best kinds of gifts. I remember Martha Stewart talking about the joys of Valrhona – must be something to it!

  18. Anonymous says:

    looks amazing. in fact all your brownies do. but im wondering, wouldnt they all taste alot better if you used REAL chocolate instead of cocoa powder alone?

  19. Chocolate would liquify in the brownie and provide a much different consistency, so cocoa powder is necessary. Trust me – they taste wonderful as is!

  20. Hi Georgia–I’ve made these twice now (with the addition of walnuts) and they are wonderful! I’m staying in a tiny camper, so something this simple and yummy is a welcome treat. Thanks, Elaine

  21. I made this recipe today and it was awesome. but I only put 1 cup of sugar because I don’t like it too sweet. Thank you for a great recipe! definitely will make them again and again. Love it!!!

  22. Eeeeppp! These are in the oven right now! So looking forward to trying them!! Thanks for the recipe!

    Ngaio xx

  23. Camila Pita says:

    i just made them , the come out soo god !! , they taste like heaven really , and they are so easy , the salt just make them really , they are perfect , must do them ,i eat the whole recipe :(

  24. Thanks for posting this! I used this as an outline for brownies in muffin tins! I sifted the flour and cocoa, used margarin and they are SO fluffy and amazing! In the tin they each get a crusty ring and are melt in your mouth soft and warm inside! Thanks so much for this again, melting over these goodies!

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