Another brownie – I know…but they are all so good and different.  I promise.  These brownies were a HUGE hit with kids.  (Great for a Hanukkah party if you’re celebrating.)  All who tried absolutely loved them.  Zach and Lauren were fighting over the edges, Will and  Hanna  loved them too as well as Greg and Sylvie.  Andy said these brownies were his all time favorite!  And me, yes, a small one in my little mug with peppermint ice cream (post soon to come) – after dinner watching Glee – verrry happy.  I didn’t share with my adult friends since I have a bunch of charity events over the next two weeks and decided to save.  I’ll take a poll then…but I can assure you – these brownies are great.  The whole top layer is a sweet shiny chewy crust.  Mmmm…so very good.  Enjoy!

(Good quality natural cocoa is best here – makes for a complex brownie.  I used Valrhona and they came out dark and delightful.  Scharfenberger would be another good choice as well as many others. You can also use a Dutch processed cocoa which will lend to a more basic and old fashioned flavor.  I bet good as well.  Next time!)

cocoa brownies w/chewy shiny top (just a teeny tiny bit adapted from Bittersweet by Alice Medrich – she is a genius):

10 tablespoons (1 1/4 stick) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cold large eggs
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 and place baking rack in lower third of the oven.  Line the bottom and sides of an 8 inch square pan with parchment or foil – making sure there is an overhang so you can pull the brownies out at the end using the overhang as an aid.  (Look to baking tips and pan prep for more information and photos.)

In a medium heatproof bowl, place the butter, sugar, cocoa and salt.  Place the bowl over a large pot of barely simmering water.  Stir the mixture from time to time and continue to heat until the butter has melted and the mixture gets hot.  Remove the bowl and set aside to cool to warm (vs hot).

Stir in the vanilla and then the eggs, one at a time, stirring well after each one.  When the batter looks shiny and cohesive, add the flour and stir well – until you cannot see any more flour.  Then beat this batter vigorously for a minute or so with a wooden spoon.  Stir in the chocolate chips.

Spread into pan and and bake until a toothpick comes out slightly moist with batter.  Anywhere from 20-28 minutes.  Let cool completely.

Once cool, remove brownies by the overhang of foil or parchment and place on cutting board.  Cut into squares and eat!

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