Brownies Using Cocoa

Because we are going skiing this weekend and won’t be going out for dinners, I wanted to make some brownies to have as a treat for apres ski.

In the past, I’ve always made brownies with unsweetened chocolate. I’ve made many different recipes over time, but for the last several years, I have pretty much stuck with One Bowl Brownies, because they are really good and exceptionally easy to make (the picture on the website is lousy, they are much more beautiful). I don’t necessarily use Baker’s Unsweetened Chocolate, but sometimes I do. I like Ghiradelli’s unsweetened (and it has been highly rated). Basically, for me, while the chocolate you use is important, a brownie is about the combination of flavor and texture. If you use a very expensive, ultra high quality chocolate, the marginal difference in taste isn’t necessarily worth the price if the texture is really good.

Over Thanksgiving, my Seattle sister-in-law (an exceptional cook/chef) brought me a KILO of incredibly dark and gorgeous cocoa powder. I haven’t used any until tonight. I looked for a recipe for brownies that uses cocoa powder instead of chocolate. Embarrassingly enough, I went for ease, as usual, with the brownie recipe that I chose. I went with a recipe that had a 5 star rating, but not from the usual sites that I go to. Instead, I went with a recipe that was on the back of a box (like One Bowl Brownies) – this time the Nestle Cocoa Box. If the Baker’s box yields a great brownie, and the Hershey’s Cocoa box yields a great chocolate cake, why not the Nestle box?

Bad move. I should have been skeptical when the batter had the consistency and scent of brownie mix. Maybe the use of cocoa is the reason brownie mix brownies taste different?

The brownies tasted pretty good (L and I poison tested them). L said, “Don’t get me wrong Mommy, these brownies are really, really good. But they are not, like, AWESOME beyond comparison, like usual.”

Very chocolate-y, as billed. But, the texture was WAY off. The recipe said they were fudgy and chewy – these are neither. Maybe I cooked them too long. I forgot to set the timer. Maybe I cooked them at too high a temperature. I used convection. Maybe the cocoa was dutched. It is very deep and dark. Maybe all three.

Maybe I should stick with One Bowl Brownies. I’ll have to find another good use for the cocoa, like World Peace Cookies. Yes, that is what I’ll have to make.


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