Cocoa Brownies with Browned Butter and Nuts (if you like)

Summary: This recipe, from Bon Appetit, won my brownie-off and will be my go-to brownie recipe for now. Each brownie is sublime perfection. I've never met anyone who doesn't agree!

Yield: one 8x8" pan of brownies


  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1⅛ cups sugar
  • ¾ cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder (spooned into cup to measure, then leveled)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, chilled
  • ⅓ cup + 1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup walnut or pecan pieces, optional


Position a rack in the bottom third of your oven and preheat to 325° Fahrenheit. Line an 8x8-inch metal baking pan with foil, pressing foil firmly against and up the pan sides and leaving an overhang. Coat the foil with nonstick spray.

Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Continue cooking until butter stops foaming and browned bits form at bottom of pan, stirring often, 5-8 minutes.

Remove from heat; immediately add sugar, cocoa, 2 teaspoons water, vanilla, and 1/4 teaspoon (generous) salt. Stir to blend. Let cool 5 minutes (mixture will still be hot).

Add eggs to hot mixture 1 at a time, beating vigorously to blend after each addition. When mixture looks thick and shiny, add flour and stir until blended. Beat vigorously 60 strokes. Stir in nuts. Transfer batter to prepared pan.

Bake brownies until toothpick inserted into center comes out almost clean (with a few moist crumbs attached), about 25 minutes. Cool in pan on rack. Using foil overhang, lift brownies from pan. Cut into 4 strips. Cut each strip crosswise into 4 brownies.