As I hunker down in my home, socially isolated from everyone I know, I look back at all the things I made in a time that now seems so far away. So many recipes made and shot in my Manchester dorm, each bringing nostalgia in various forms.
These bars, for instance, were first made during one of my many dissertation-writing blocks. With my mind whirring, fingers crimping, and eyes bleeding after hours of slaving away over my laptop, I always headed towards the kitchen as my refuge.
Easy to make, quick to bake; these rich, gooey, dark golden bars were my ultimate comfort treat.
This recipe involves one pesky little step which might sound quite extra but trust me when I tell you that it makes a world of a difference!
Browning the butter
Browning butter is truly a magical process. Simply by adding a little heat, plain molten butter transforms with bits of nutty caramel notes that elevates the flavor of nearly everything its added into.
You can skip this step if you must. The taste won’t as intense and rich though.
After browning the butter, its all down to a one-bowl flow. It can’t get any easier than that. Here are some extra tips:
Use dark chocolate to offset the overall sweetness of the bars.
Bake until the top is set and the sides are beginning to turn golden brown. They will be soft when you take them out, so let them cool before cutting.
My favorite way to eat these bars is cold when they have set up nicely. They are dense and chewy and o’so good.
Stay home, stay safe, and enjoy these delicious chocolate chunk bars.
Chocolate Chunk Bars
Yields: 16 small squares
· 1/2 cup (113g) salted butter
· 1 cup (190g) packed brown sugar
· 1 large egg
· 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
· 1/4 tsp salt*
· 1 cup (130g) all-purpose flour
· 1 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped into large chunks
· ½ cup toasted and chopped walnuts, optional
Preheat oven to 180˚C. Line an 8×8-inch baking pan with parchment or wax paper.
In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the butter, stirring occasionally, until it becomes golden brown at the bottom and develops a nutty aroma. Do not burn! If you prefer not to use brown butter, you can skip the browning and just proceed with plain melted butter.
Pour brown butter into a large bowl and whisk in the brown sugar until smooth. Let the mix rest for a few minutes until it is lukewarm.
Whisk in egg, vanilla, and salt.
Stir in flour, chocolate and nuts. The batter will be thick.
Scrape into prepared pan and smooth with spatula.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the center looks just set and the edges turn golden brown.
Cool completely in pan before cutting into squares.
* If using unsalted butter, increase the amount of salt to 1/2 tsp.
**Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.
It’s been a long time since I posted anything but I promise that I had good reason – which I’ll get to later.
First can we just stop, wait a minute and admire the gorgeousness that this brownie is!
Look at that fudge.
Look at that shine.
Look at the corky piece of walnut peeking through.
Doesn’t it make you want to sink your teeth into it right now?
These brownies have become my go-to brownies because they are THE best.
They’re extremely dense, fudgy, chewy and have NO chocolate in them. That’s right, not a single square!
I almost wept with joy upon biting into my first, straight from the oven (hence the unruly cuts), square of deep dark chocolate deliciousness. I’m swooning just thinking about them.
I found the recipe on kitchn.com and was drawn to its name ‘Pantry Cocoa Brownies’ which is very apt because they really do just call for ingredients that I’m sure all of us have in our kitchens – oil, sugar, eggs, flour, and cocoa.
No need to worry about buying copious amounts of dark chocolate or melting pounds of butter or making buttermilk.
These fudgy chocolatey bars of goodness take half an hour to make and another half an hour to bake.
That’s an hour well spent I’d say especially considering you’ll have an entire batch of devilishly good brownies at the end of it.
The smell of chocolate wafting through your entire house is an added plus.
There are two things to note about the recipe:
I’ve added half a cup of chopped walnuts, they’re totally optional though. I personally love nutty and crunchy bits in my brownie. The original recipe does not call for any nuts.
The original recipe does however call for powdered sugar instead of normal granulated sugar. If you don’t have powdered sugar on hand, you can grind normal granulated sugar in a blender or food processor. But decrease the amount slightly because as compared to powdered sugar, granulated sugar is heavier in weight.
With that out of the way, make them and let them blow your mind.
Cheers – Noor
Prep Time: 30 minutes Yields: 9 large or 16 small squares
Cook Time: 25-30 minutes
2/3 cup canola oil
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 1/3 cups icing sugar*
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
2. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan and line I with wax or parchment paper. Set aside.
3. Place the oil into a microwave-safe bowl and heat in 4 to 6 (5-second) bursts until it is warm but not hot. Add the cocoa powder and whisk until completely smooth and combined. Let sit for 4 or 5 minutes so the cocoa can bloom.
4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
5. In another bowl, place the eggs, powdered sugar, and brown sugar. Using a handheld mixer, beat on medium speed until fluffy and lighter in color. Beat in the vanilla until just combined.
6. Add 1/2 of the cocoa mixture to the egg mixture and mix at medium-high speed until it is shiny and fully combined, about 2-3 minutes.
7. Next, add in the flour mixture to the egg and cocoa mixture and mix at low speed until fully combined. Add the remaining cocoa mixture and mix at medium-high speed until the batter is shiny and fully combined, about 1 minute. Fold in the chopped walnuts.
8. Transfer to the prepared baking pan.
9. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. You’ll know the brownies are done when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with a few crumbs attached (it shouldn’t be completely wet) and the brownies pull away from the edges of the pan.
10. Let them cool (if you can help it ;)) before cutting into squares.
*If you don’t have icing/powdered sugar on hand, you can grind normal granulated sugar in a blender or food processor. But decrease the amount slightly because as compared to powdered sugar, granulated sugar is heavier in weight.
**Brownies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature or in the fridge for up to 2 days.