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Cocoa brownies

My friend Jayna doesn't like cake, unless it's from a mix. And Mark, my wonderful husband, who is a total food snob (I mean it in the best way, darling!), secretly loves frozen Sara Lee pound cake. (He says he likes mine better, but I kind of think that's like when a man says, "No, I only like SMALL breasts, I don't even like big ones!" Uh huh.) 

Ahem. Anyway -- we all know someone out there who prefers the boxed stuff to homemade, right? If you know someone who prefers brownies from a mix, have I got a recipe for you.

I stumbled upon this one when I was getting ready to make brownies for my book club and then realized I didn't have enough butter. WHAT?? On my slowest days I have at least 2 or 3 lbs. of butter in the freezer, but at that particular moment, I found myself without enough. So I had to look online to see if there were any recipes that -- gasp! -- used oil instead. Of course there were, so I gave one a try.

These weren't the best brownies I ever had, but they did the job -- certainly a passably good brownie, and everyone gobbled them up. These would be perfect if you needed a dairy free recipe. I've made brownies with just cocoa before (no chocolate) -- these were not as decadent and creamy as those. These reminded me of Duncan Hines, but richer, and without the weird chemical-y after taste.



Easy cocoa brownies

Slightly adapted from All Recipes

Makes 16


1/2 cup whole-wheat pastry flour

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa

1 tsp. instant espresso powder

1/4 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 cup sugar

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

2 large eggs


1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line an 8-by-8-inch square pan with foil; mist foil with cooking spray.

2. In a bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, espresso, baking powder and salt; mix with a fork. In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, sugar and vanilla. Beat in the eggs. Stir in cocoa mixture until combined, then beat for a few strokes. Transfer batter to baking pan and spread evenly.

3. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until just beginning to set and edges begin to pull away from sides. Place on a wire rack to cool. (Note: Once they were cool, I covered and refrigerated the brownies in the pan overnight, and cut them in the morning. I find doing that gives me much cleaner slices.)

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    These cocoa brownies looks very delicious and a gift to all chocolate lovers. I have some recipe of peanut butter brownies but this one looks simple and delicious. My wife love to prepare such desserts, she will definitely like this recipe. Do you have some other recipe of brownies with melted ...

Reader Comments (3)

Well, I do prefer the taste of biscuits from a can to the taste of my homemade ones, so I guess I do get the boxed mix thing. I have had a lifelong aversion to brownies made with cocoa, swearing they always needed to be made with melted chocolate, but I did end up proving myself wrong - twice in fact! Now that I realize that, I think I could probably do brownies without butter too.

July 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRachel (S[d]OC)

I've made the All Recipes brownie recipe a few times, and it's better with melted butter. I'll have to try adding espresso powder next time. I'm still looking for my ultimate brownie recipe. I bought the book "Fat Witch Brownies" and was so disappointed.

July 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKS

You had me at no chemical after taste. Will definitely be giving this recipe a try the next time I want to make brownies.

July 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEliana

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