Cocoa Brownies from Scratch

There’s something to be said about simplicity. I’m always so caught up in going above and beyond that sometimes I forget that the simple things have a flare all of their own. During the holidays, I’m all about trying festive new recipes that are so perfectly fitting to the season. I want to try all sorts of elaborate new things that will just scream,”Merry Christmas!” 

Even though I love all that stuff, it’s nice to take a breather. This week I really took the time to enjoy the simple things in life. For the first Saturday since October (or at least it feels that way), I didn’t have anything to do! No football games to go to, no family to meet, no holiday adventures to embark upon, nothing at all. It was so weird! Kenny and I had a blast though.

We drove to the University of Chicago campus and spent some time at the Seminary Co-Op Bookstore. It’s this darling bookstore that twists and turns through all these tiny little rooms lined from floor to ceiling with any book you could ask for. Since it was beautiful outside, we walked through the campus (which is gorgeous!) and over to Starbucks. I got a gingerbread chai and kenny got a cinnamon dolce chai, which we drank walking back to our car. We spent the evening playing board games on the iPad and watching movies.

When I woke up on Sunday, I decided that I wanted to bake something simple to continue on with the relaxing weekend we were having. I decided that I wanted to make plain, gooey, delicious brownies. I had a box of brownie mix in the cabinet, but Sundays are not for instant brownie mix! So I looked online for the perfect brownie recipe. I settled on this recipe for Cocoa Brownies, courtesy of Alton Brown. They were a little more cake-like than I was hoping for, but other than that they were absolutely fantastic! 

Cocoa Brownies

butter for greasing the pan
flour for dusting the pan
4 eggs
1 cup sugar, sifted
1 cup brown sugar, sifted 
8 ounces melted butter (2 sticks)
1 1/4 cups cocoa, sifted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup flour, sifted
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 300ºF. Butter and flour an 8” square pan.

 

Beat the eggs at medium speed until fluffy and light yellow.

*Note: As you’ll notice, all the dry ingredients are listed as “sifted.” (Anyone who has gone to culinary school, please skip to the next step because you will probably want to kill me.) I don’t actually have a sifter, but I read once that you can use a whisk to fluff up dry ingredients for a similar effect. This is exactly what I did, and I think they came out great.*

Add both sugars.

Add remaining ingredients and mix to combine.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. 

Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Mine took about 1 hour before they were done.

Wait until the brownies have cooled completely and then cut into squares. 

Enjoy!

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