Alice Medrich’s Cocoa Brownies

Ah, as you most-likely definitely know by now, I simply adore baking. (After all, sweet treats created – and often consumed – in large quantities with common, inexpensive ingredients? What’s not to love?)

Baking brownies, however… well, I’ve had quite a bit of difficulty with these chocolatey bars in the past. From inaccurate recipes to blunders of my own fault – typically over or under baking -, I would venture to say I’ve made every (brownie) mistake possible. Everything & anything that could conceivably go wrong has with me, at some point in time.

Oh, and then – Food52 came to the rescue! (as they so often do.)

I must admit, initially I was rather skeptical of this recipe… even though it is from Alice Medrich herself. There is no true chocolate in these brownies, you see, the flavor is imparted by (as the title implies) pure cocoa powder.

Brownies without chocolate? Really?

Well, yes.


This rich, fudgy dessert is utterly phenomenal. I hope you heart it!

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Alice Medrich’s Cocoa Brownies

Yield: 16-25 Brownies

Prep Time: About 45 Minutes to 1 Hour

Cook Time: 25 Minutes

Total Time: About 1 Hour & 20 Minutes

{ ingredients }

10 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter

1 1/4 Cups Granulated Sugar

3/4 Cup + 2 Tablespoons Unsweetened Cocoa Powder (I used natural, but dutch-process is fine, too)

1/4 Teaspoon Salt

1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

2 Large, Cold Eggs

1/2 Cup All-Purpose Flour

Optional: 2/3 Cup Walnuts or Pecans

{ directions }

1) Place a rack in the lower third of your oven, and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or foil (bottoms & sides), and set aside.

2) In a medium heatproof bowl, combine the butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt. Set this bowl in a wide skillet of barely simmering water. Stir the mixture every so often, until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth and hot.

3) Remove the bowl from the skillet and put it aside briefly until the mixture is warm, and not hot.

4) Add the vanilla to the butter/sugar/cocoa mixture and stir with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs, one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one. The batter should be thick, shiny, and well blended.

5) Add the flour and stir until you can no longer see it. Then beat vigorously for 40 strokes with the wooden spoon. If using nuts, stir them in at this time. Spread the batter evenly into the lined pan.

6) Bake until a toothpick plunged into the center emerges slightly moist with batter, 20 to 25 minutes. Allow the brownies to cool completely before removing from the pan & slicing.



– Abby

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{ 20 Responses to “ }Alice Medrich’s Cocoa Brownies”

  1. #
    Rachel @ Bakerita — March 2, 2015 at 9:35 am

    These brownies look ridiculously dense and fudgy! I’m so curious to try them, especially since they use all cocoa powder. Yum! Now I’m craving chocolate 🙂

    • Abby — March 2nd, 2015 @ 4:46 pm

      Thanks so much, Rachel! These brownies are incredible…. seriously, better than most recipes with real chocolate. 😀

  2. #
    Laura@ Baking in Pyjamas — March 2, 2015 at 11:04 am

    Abby, it looks as though you’ve aced brownies! Everything about these is perfect, how delicious.

    • Abby — March 2nd, 2015 @ 4:48 pm

      Thanks, Laura!! I’m so happy to have finally found a brownie recipe I can make without messing up 🙂

  3. #
    Laura (Tutti Dolci) — March 2, 2015 at 1:52 pm

    I love cocoa brownies, these look exquisitely rich and fudgy!

    • Abby — March 2nd, 2015 @ 4:49 pm

      Thanks so much, Laura! These brownies are amazing 🙂

  4. #
    Kayle (The Cooking Actress) — March 2, 2015 at 2:16 pm

    THESE BROWNIES look sooo incredibly dark and rich and decadent and perfectly chocolatey!

    • Abby — March 2nd, 2015 @ 4:52 pm

      Hahah, thanks, Kayle!! Those adjectives you used… yah. These brownies are dark, rich, decadent, & perfectly chocolatey…. literally such a perfect description 😀

  5. #
    Amanda — March 2, 2015 at 4:32 pm

    I may not be a big fan of chocolate, but I can always go for a good brownie 🙂
    I wish I could bake because these look delicious.

    • Abby — March 2nd, 2015 @ 4:54 pm

      Thanks so much, Amanda! There’s no chocolatey dessert quite as nice as a warm brownie 😀

  6. #
    Michelle @ Hummingbird High — March 5, 2015 at 3:11 pm

    Yum!!! I’m a big fan of Alice Medrich, but I haven’t tried this recipe yet. That color though… definitley moving it to the top of my “To Bake” list!

    • Abby — March 6th, 2015 @ 5:55 am

      This recipe is incredible, Michelle! Alice Medrich is a genius 😀

      (and thanks for the comment!!) xx

  7. #
    cynthia — March 13, 2015 at 9:43 pm

    Oh my goodness, I’ve been meaning to try Alice Medrich’s brownies for so long! I love how absolutely midnight black they are — so decadent! Beautiful, Abby!

    • Abby — March 14th, 2015 @ 9:05 am

      Thanks so much, Cynthia!! These brownies are insanely delicious. Alice Medrich is brilliant 🙂

  8. #
    June Burns — March 21, 2015 at 8:36 am

    Those look amazing! Love how easy they are–even if they have no “real” chocolate, I’m sure they’re delicious 🙂

    • Abby — March 21st, 2015 @ 3:41 pm

      Thank you so much, June! These brownies are amazing. 😀

  9. #
    Erin @ The Speckled Palate — March 23, 2015 at 1:08 pm

    Like you, me and brownies have had a tumultuous past… and now that I’m better with them now, I absolutely want to give this cocoa version a shot. Anything that’s ultra dense and chocolate-y sounds like something I’d adore!

    • Abby — March 23rd, 2015 @ 5:20 pm

      Thanks for commenting, Erin!! These brownies are amazing…. dense & chocolatey (like you said), and incredibly delicious. 😀

  10. #
    Kari — March 25, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    These look so yummy and gooey!

    • Abby — March 26th, 2015 @ 5:31 am

      Thanks so much, Kari! 😀

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