Cocoa Brownies with Browned Butter

Mangoes weren’t the only thing I brought back from Miami. Lila is with me in Tampa for the week! We’ve made pizza and pancakes. The comforter and couch were transformed into a very cool fort/tent. We picked up magazines, books, and a Charlie and Lola DVD at the library, and spent yesterday evening in the pool.  We did some kind of version of yoga.

And then, we made some brownies. I guess you could call it a second breakfast. Her summer vacation is going very well.

These brownies are fudgy and intensely chocolatey with that familiar crinkly top layer. No nuts in this batch because Lila is allergic, but browned butter enhances the chocolate and offers a slightly nutty flavor. Browned butter is my new favorite thing. Stir it into the cocoa and it instantly turns dark and the aroma of chocolate comes up to meet your nose.

These brownies probably won’t last much longer than that pint of chocolate chip ice cream we picked up on Monday.

Nope. This batch of brownies doesn’t stand much of a chance. Lila’s already had two.

cocoa brownies with browned butter

Browned butter — nutty, fragrant, and alluring — makes everything better.

10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into a few pieces, plus more for buttering the pan
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, chilled
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped walnuts or chocolate chips (optional)Heat oven to 325°F and place a rack in the bottom third of the oven. Butter an 8 x 8 x 2-inch metal baking pan and line with parchment paper (or just aluminum foil, coated with nonstick spray) and let the paper hang over the sides.

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Butter will foam and crackle until  browned bits form in the bottom of the pan. Keep an eye on it. Stir often and remove from heat once the brown bits appear, the butter takes a brownish tint, and the butter smells a bit nutty. Immediately add to a bowl with sugar, cocoa powder, 2 teaspoons water, vanilla, and salt. Stir until all combined. Let the mixture cool for 5 minutes.

Add eggs to cocoa mixture 1 at a time, beating vigorously after each one to blend. Stir in the flour until it’s all incorporated. Stir in the optional chocolate chips or nuts.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake until toothpick inserted into center of the brownies comes out almost clean, about 25 minutes. Remove from oven and cool. Then use the paper or foil overhang to lift brownies from the pan. Cut into squares and serve. Brownies can be made 2 days ahead if stored in an airtight container at room temperature.

Makes 16 brownies. Recipe from Bon Appetit

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