Tag Archives: chocolate

Chocolate Salted Caramel Thumbprints

Chocolate Salted Caramel ThumbprintsWe’re getting close to the end of this year’s posts (two more recipes to go!), but I just couldn’t let 2020 end without making sure you knew about these Chocolate Salted Caramel Thumbprints.Chocolate Salted Caramel ThumbprintsLet me say that again: Chocolate. Salted. Caramel. Thumbprints.

That’s right—chocolate sugar cookies filled with soft, chewy caramel and finished with a chocolate drizzle and crunchy salt. Does a more perfect cookie exist? I think not. Sure, there are a few steps and a chill involved, but none of it is complicated, and you will be rewarded with salty, gooey, chocolaty cookies at the end. The best!Chocolate Salted Caramel ThumbprintsWhile Christmas and New Year’s Eve (and literally everything else) are different this year, these cookies should be a part of your holiday, however it looks. Are you gathering with a tiny group to do a gift exchange? Share some cookies with people you love. Are you spending the holiday by your lonesome, like me? Have a cookie (or four) while you watch Home Alone while you’re home alone. Are you skipping it all and hoping next year is better? Well, Chocolate Salted Caramel Thumbprints are good for that too.Chocolate Salted Caramel ThumbprintsChristmas is only a week away! To accommodate the holiday, I’m changing up next week’s posting schedule from the usual Wednesday/Friday to Monday/Wednesday. Since we’re getting down to the wire, look out for two easy as can be, festive as everything recipes. Oh, and let me know what you’re baking! I love seeing all your holiday (E2) bakes over on Instagram.

Have a wonderful weekend!Chocolate Salted Caramel Thumbprints

Chocolate Salted Caramel Thumbprints
makes about 3 dozen

Chocolate Cookie Dough:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch process)
1 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Salted Caramel Centers:
5 ounces soft caramel candies (I use Kraft)
3 1/2 tablespoons heavy cream
pinch of Kosher or sea salt

For finishing:
2 ounces chopped dark chocolate
coarse or flaky finishing salt

Special Equipment:
1/2 teaspoon measuring spoon

Make chocolate cookie dough. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a separate large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in granulated and light brown sugars, followed by the egg and vanilla extract. Add dry ingredients in 3 installments, combining completely after each. Use your hands to knead dough into a mass, then divide it in two. Cover each half with plastic wrap and chill for at least 3 hours or up to 3 days.

Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Set aside.

Remove dough from the refrigerator. Scoop dough by the tablespoon and roll each int a ball. Place dough balls at least 2 inches apart on prepared pans. Use the back of a very small spoon (like a 1/2 teaspoon) to slowly press a well into each dough ball. They may crack a bit—just smooth them with your fingers. If dough gets too warm and sticky, freeze for 10 minutes.

Bake cookies 12-13 minutes. Cookies are done when puffed and no longer wet-looking. When you remove the cookies from the oven, gently press the back of the small spoon into the centers again; they will crack a bit. Let cookies cool on the pans for 10 minutes before carefully removing to a rack to cool completely. Repeat rolling and baking process with all remaining dough, letting the cookie sheets come back to room temperature between batches.

Make the caramel. Combine caramels, heavy cream and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly until melted and smooth, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool about 5 minutes.

Spoon 1/2 teaspoon caramel into the center of each cooled cookie. Let set 10 minutes.

Finish the cookies. Place chopped dark chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 15 second increments, stirring in between, until smooth. Use a fork to drizzle it over the cookies. Finish with coarse or flaky salt. To harden chocolate quickly, place the cookies in the freezer for about 15 minutes.

Serve cookies. Leftovers will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week. For best storage, place layers of wax paper between cookies.

Chocolate Salted Caramel ThumbprintsChocolate Salted Caramel ThumbprintsChocolate Salted Caramel Thumbprints

Caramel Sauce & a Food Gift Guide

Caramel Sauce & a Food Gift GuideI know what you’re thinking. “Hasn’t Caramel Sauce already been on here?” Well yes, a few times, but it’s never had its own post and don’t you think it deserves that tiny amount of recognition? I do. Also, it’s my blog and I can do what I want.Caramel Sauce & a Food Gift GuideSo, why am I posting Caramel Sauce now, at the holidays, instead of mid-summer like every other ice cream topping and dessert sauce in my archives? Because it is perfect for food gifting. Perfect! It’s easy, you can make it days or weeks ahead (watch the dates on your dairy), and who wouldn’t be absolutely thrilled to receive a little jar of homemade Caramel Sauce from someone they love? A monster, obviously.

(Why am I phrasing everything as a question today?)Caramel Sauce & a Food Gift GuideTruth is, I’ve been meaning to write a little homemade food gift guide for years, but am just now getting around to it. I am a big proponent of homemade gifts, having done everything from making clay ornaments to puffy painting to sewing stuffed animals. I can tell you from experience that food is definitely the quickest, easiest and cheapest in terms of DIY gifting, and as sugar, butter and flour have been my artistic media of choice for the last 7.5 years, I have learned a lot about what makes for quality food gifts.Caramel Sauce & a Food Gift GuideCaramel Sauce & a Food Gift GuideCaramel Sauce & a Food Gift Guide
Want to give something saucy? People love an ice cream topping, even in the dead of winter. I’m obviously out here shilling for Caramel today, but you can do Peanut Butter Caramel, Butterscotch or even homemade Hot Fudge without much hassle. You could also go super easy and just microwave a bunch of Chocolate Shell! Just make a batch of any of the aforementioned sauces and divide it among heatproof jars. The jars pictured today are 4-ounce mason jars that I keep on hand, but 8-ounce jars would be great too.Caramel Sauce & a Food Gift GuideCaramel Sauce & a Food Gift GuideCaramel Sauce & a Food Gift GuideCaramel Sauce & a Food Gift GuideCaramel Sauce & a Food Gift GuideCaramel Sauce & a Food Gift Guide
Looking to give cookies? You’re in luck! There are so many holiday cookie recipes that are beyond perfect for gifting. Not only do they look beautiful all boxed (tinned?) up, but they keep incredibly well, especially crisper offerings. Think Iced Sugar Cookies, Candy Cane Cookies, Stained Glass Cookies, Maple Spice Stars, Brown Butter Shortbread, Orange Cardamom Pistachio Shortbread, Gingersnaps, this week’s Peppermint Bark Cookies, Pinwheels, vegan/gluten-free Oat-Pecan Linzers, Pretzel Shortbread, Red Velvet Cheesecake Thumbprints…the list goes on and on.Caramel Sauce & a Food Gift GuideDon’t forget that brownies and blondies are technically cookies, too! Pro tip: you can easily double most of my 9″ square recipes and bake them up in a 9×13″ pan without changing much of anything.Caramel Sauce & a Food Gift GuideCaramel Sauce & a Food Gift GuideCaramel Sauce & a Food Gift Guide
Candy on your mind? I am not the world’s most proficient candy maker, but I have a few tricks up my sleeve. I love a good homemade truffle, especially these vegan Five Ingredient Salted Marzipan beauties. You could also make easy Peppermint Mocha Fudge or Peppermint Mocha Buttercreams. Yum!Caramel Sauce & a Food Gift GuideCaramel Sauce & a Food Gift GuideIf I were to gift candy this year, I’d go for popcorn. People LOVE popcorn. <–that’s me, I’m people. The Super Sprinkle Popcorn I made over the summer could easily be transformed with some holiday sprinkles. And then there’s Salty Maple Caramel Corn. Ohhh my. It’s salty-sweet easy, gluten-free, and makes enough for several tins. You could even get a little wild and make Sriracha Cracker Jack. Caramel Sauce & a Food Gift GuideCaramel Sauce & a Food Gift GuideCaramel Sauce & a Food Gift Guide
In the mood to make cakes? Well, you’re the kind of friend I’d like to have. Cake definitely takes a little forethought, but if you were to wrap a Boterkoek {Dutch Butter Cake}, Meyer Lemon Drizzle Cake or Eggnog Bundt in cellophane, or deliver a grain-free Winning Hearts & Minds Cake in a (clean) small pizza box, you might just…win hearts and minds. And make someone feel incredibly special.Caramel Sauce & a Food Gift GuideCaramel Sauce & a Food Gift Guide
Don’t want to bother turning on your oven? I’ve got you there, too. Make a homemade mix! You can easily jar individual brownie and hot chocolate mixes! Just make yourself an assembly line and write (or print out) little tags with instructions for how to make your brownies or hot chocolate. This will give your friends a little low-maintenance something to do and enjoy during this weird AF holiday season.Caramel Sauce & a Food Gift GuideThis is just the tip of the food gifting iceberg–I could go on forever. I hope this guide inspires you to treat your friends to something sweet this month. It’s going to be strange and solitary holiday for many of us, and I know a little homemade something would do us all some good.Caramel Sauce & a Food Gift Guide

Caramel Sauce
makes about 1 1/2 cups

1 cup granulated sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt

Place sugar in a 2-3 quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk sugar until the sugar melts and turns a deep copper color. Whisk in butter until completely incorporated. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in heavy cream. Caramel will bubble violently, but will quickly relax into a smooth sauce. Whisk in vanilla and salt. Transfer sauce to a jar and let cool to room temperature.

Leftover caramel sauce should be kept in the refrigerator. Microwave in 15 second bursts, stirring in between, to reheat.

Caramel Sauce & a Food Gift GuideCaramel Sauce & a Food Gift GuideCaramel Sauce & a Food Gift Guide

Peppermint Bark Cookies

Peppermint Bark CookiesHow have I never put peppermint bark on here? It’s chocolate, it’s peppermint, it’s festive, it’s iconic, and yet it’s never graced this blog. That is, unless you count assembling it on top of a giant sheet of chocolate cookie and then breaking it into a zillion jagged pieces, which I very much do.Peppermint Bark CookiesOoooh y’all, these have been a long time coming. Over the years, I have tested putting peppermint bark on a cookie cake, shortbread bars, potato chips and brownies, none of which have made to on the blog, but these Peppermint Bark Cookies? These are where it’s at. If you make one new cookie recipe this holiday season, let this be it. It’s the best of two worlds (peppermint bark and cookies, duh), surprisingly simple, and so, so good.Peppermint Bark CookiesThe dough comes together in a flash. It’s just my chocolate cut-out cookie recipe, but instead of stamping out cookies with graduated cutters, it’s divided in two and rolled into big rectangles. Each one gets a 15 minute freeze, a 17 minute bake and then has to cool completely before the peppermint barking. <—Sounds weird, keeping it anyway.

The way the recipe is written, these big cookies retain a good amount of softness, but aren’t gooey or underdone at all. Once baked and cooled, you can wrap them in plastic and wait a day or two before assembly, or you can get right to it.Peppermint Bark CookiesPeppermint Bark CookiesThis part—the peppermint bark part—is easy, but I still have a few tips for you.

Use good quality pure white chocolate, like Ghirardelli or even Baker’s. Please don’t use white chocolate chips. Just don’t. Melting white chocolate is always a little finicky, but white chocolate chips? Forget it—too many stabilizers. I’ve outlined a microwave method for melting white chocolate in the recipe; it’s easy, but involves a few stops and starts and adding more chopped white chocolate at a certain interval. You may be wondering if any of that matters and if you can’t just chuck it all together and call it a day. And yeah, you can, but your white chocolate will never be as smooth and spreadable as what you see here. Heat and time, y’all. They’re important.

After your white chocolate is melted, add 1/2 teaspoon of peppermint extract. This will make your white chocolate seize slightly for a few seconds, but just keep whisking and it will smooth out. Could you skip the extract? Sure. But that extra hint of peppermint is wonderful.Peppermint Bark CookiesAnd speaking of peppermint, I like to use starlight peppermints in my Christmas baking. Some bakers prefer candy canes, but peppermints are cheaper ($1!) and look the exact same as candy canes when all bashed up. Oh, and unpopular opinion? They taste better than your average candy cane. Fight me.Peppermint Bark CookiesPeppermint Bark CookiesTo make the peppermint bark, spread the melted white chocolate all over the big chocolate cookies and scatter on the bashed peppermints. Then give your cookies a 20 minute freeze to set the bark. You can also let it set at room temperature, but it will take a couple of hours and that seems like a lot when cookies can be had so much sooner.Peppermint Bark CookiesThe last step in this process is the most fun: breaking the big cookies into shards! Just like with traditional peppermint bark, make the pieces as big or small as you like. Try to let go of the outcome—the charm here is that each piece is different. If you need uniformity with your Peppermint Bark Cookies, you can obviously slice the big rectangles into squares.Peppermint Bark CookiesAfter that, it’s time to treat yourself! These cookies have it all: a soft chocolate base, a layer of smooth, snappy, peppermint-spiked white chocolate, a smattering of candy, and a whole lot of holiday cheer. They’re so delicious that you could easily hoard the whole batch to yourself, but I think they’d be amazing packed up in tins and gifted. And speaking of food gifting, that’s what we’re talking about on Friday. See you then!Peppermint Bark Cookies

Peppermint Bark Cookies
makes lots

Chocolate Cookie Base:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch process)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For peppermint bark:
40 starlight peppermints
16 ounces pure white chocolate (not white chocolate chips)
1/2 teaspoon pure peppermint extract (not mint extract)

Special Equipment:
rolling pin
2 12×16-inch sheets parchment
2 quarter sheet pans or jelly roll pans
small hammer/meat tenderizer/heavy object

Place oven racks in central positions. Preheat oven to 350F.

Make chocolate cookie base. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a separate large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in granulated and light brown sugars, followed by the egg and vanilla extract. Add dry ingredients in 3 installments, combining completely after each. Use your hands to knead dough into a mass, then divide it in two.

Lightly flour your rolling pin. Place one half of the dough on a sheet of parchment. Gently pat it into a rectangle shape before rolling it out to an 8×12-inch rectangle. You may need to slice off edges and patchwork your corners together—this is fine. Transfer dough (on parchment) to one rimmed sheet pan. Freeze 15 minutes. Repeat with remaining half of dough.

Bake frozen dough rectangles 17-18 minutes, until puffed and no longer raw looking. Watch the edges to make sure they don’t burn. Let cool completely on their pans on racks.

Prepare the peppermint bark. Place starlight mints in a ziptop bag and seal. Place bag on a cutting board, or other surface that can take some light bashing. Use a small hammer or other heavy object to smash peppermints into small pieces (follow your preference). Set aside.

Chop 12 ounces of the white chocolate and place in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring between, until melted (this takes 60 seconds in my microwave). Chop remaining 4 ounces of white chocolate and add to melted white chocolate. Microwave in 15 second increments, stirring between, until melted (this takes about 30 seconds in my microwave).

Add peppermint extract to white chocolate and stir until smooth. White chocolate may appear to seize at first, but just keep stirring and it will smooth out.

Divide white chocolate mixture onto the two rectangles and use the back of a spoon or offset knife to spread it to the edges, leaving a narrow border if desired. Sprinkle crushed peppermints over the top. Freeze cookies for 20 minutes to set white chocolate.

Remove cookies from freezer and let thaw a few minutes before breaking into pieces. Serve.

Leftovers will keep in an airtight container for a few days. Peppermints may degrade over time.Peppermint Bark CookiesPeppermint Bark Cookies

Brownie Pie

Brownie PieI first had Brownie Pie at an Easter brunch almost twenty years ago, but I’m here to tell you to make it for Thanksgiving. Yes! You may not realize it with everything going on, but Turkey Day is twenty days out. Twenty days! I started off the festive foods with Wednesday’s Pimento Cheese Tarte Soleil, and now we’re on to the first of my usual three pies and one of my favorite sides ever…but I’m getting ahead of myself. I’m here to talk about Brownie Pie, so let’s get to it!Brownie PieBrownie Pie? Like brownies *in* a pie? You better believe it. We’re talking dense, chewy, fudgy, crackly-topped brownies baked up in a flaky all-butter crust. This is a perfect food, people!Brownie PieNow, Brownie Pie not quite as simple as baking brownie batter in a pie crust…but it almost is. You just have to partially blind-bake (bake without filling) the pie crust first, lest your bottom crust stay raw. Don’t worry, it’s not as terrifying as it sounds.Brownie PieBrownie PieTo partially blind-bake, begin by rolling out your dough, then fit and crimp it in a pie plate like you normally would. Next, give it a good chill before lining it with parchment, filling it up with your weights of choice (pie weights, dried beans, rice) and baking for 20 minutes. Then simply lift the parchment and weights out of the crust, dock it with a fork and bake for another 10 minutes, until it starts to brown.Brownie PieBrownie PieAfter that—which, again, is much less of an ordeal than it sounds—it’s as simple as pouring the brownie batter into the crust and baking it off. I used my trusty Cocoa Brownies recipe with a bit more salt and 2/3 cup of chocolate chips for a little extra zazz. If you have another brownie recipe or box mix that you like, feel free to use it! Make sure that it makes enough for an 8” or 9” square pan—you don’t want to overfill your pie plate or worse, have to clean your oven floor.Brownie PieBrownie Pie’s final bake is 30-35 minutes. Ideally, you should let it cool completely for the cleanest slices, but I don’t want to be that person who tells you not to eat warm brownies, so you decide when to slice your pie. Follow your heart and all that. Whatever you do though, don’t skip the vanilla ice cream and chocolate shell.Brownie Pie

Brownie Pie
makes one 9-inch pie

1/2 recipe All-Butter Pie Dough or other good single crust recipe
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light or dark brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons cocoa powder (natural or dutch process)
2 large eggs, cold
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips, divided

For serving (optional):
vanilla ice cream
whipped cream
chocolate shell
chocolate syrup

On a floured surface, roll out pie dough to a 12″ diameter. Fit into a deep 9-inch pie plate and trim the overhang to 1/2-inch. Crimp the edges and freeze for 30 minutes or refrigerate for an hour.

Place an oven rack in the lowest position. Preheat oven to 350F.

Remove pie crust from the freezer. Prick the bottom several times with the tines of a fork. Line frozen crust with a big piece of parchment. Fill the center with pie weights (or dried beans or rice).

Place the prepared pie crust on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until pie crust has “set” and is starting to turn golden in places, but is far from done. Use parchment to lift out pie weights. Dock (prick) crust all over with a fork. Return crust to the oven for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the brownie batter. In a small pot over medium-low heat, melt butter, granulated and brown sugars, and cocoa powder together, stirring frequently, until a thick, grainy mixture forms. Remove from heat and let mixture cool 5-7 minutes.

Add vanilla and eggs to the pot, and stir/whisk to combine. Add flour and salt and stir/whisk to combine. Fold in 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips. Pour batter into par-baked crust and spread to the edges. Scatter remaining 2 tablespoons chocolate chips over the top and press lightly to adhere.

Bake pie 30-35 minutes, until filling is set and crust is golden. Let cool completely on a rack.

Slice and serve with desired toppings. Cover leftovers and keep at room temperature for up to two days. Leftovers will keep in the refrigerator for up to five days.

Brownie PieBrownie Pie

Cocoa Brownies {Five Year Anniversary!}

Cocoa Brownies {Five Year Anniversary!}E2 Bakes Brooklyn is five years old today! Yep, this little blog is exactly half a decade and 544 posts old. I can’t believe it.

This post, lucky number 544, has the distinction of being my very first repeat. I mean, I’ve used the same chocolate cake in a few different recipes and I have repurposed the same sugar cookie dough at least five times, but this is my first straight-up repeat recipe.Cocoa Brownies {Five Year Anniversary!}Today, I’m remaking the Cocoa Brownies that I posted on day one: October 21, 2015. They are a twist on Alice Medrich’s stellar recipe, and though I have made many more brownies in the intervening years, these are still my favorites. They’re dark, dense and fudgy, and so chocolaty, you’d never guess that all their flavor comes from cocoa powder.Cocoa Brownies {Five Year Anniversary!}But still, do they warrant a repeat? Even on an anniversary? Well, call me nostalgic, but yes. And for the record, I’m not just revisiting my first post for nostalgia’s sake. As my favorite writer/comedian/Deranged Millionaire/actor/podcaster/celebrity crush, John Hodgman, likes to say, “Nostalgia is the most toxic impulse.” What that means is that you need to live in the present. And in my present, I’ve got unfinished business with my Cocoa Brownies.Cocoa Brownies {Five Year Anniversary!}Cocoa Brownies {Five Year Anniversary!}I mean, I like my first post and the recipe, but the photos? Yikes. They’re not my worst ever, but they’re not great. I’ve gone back and re-done the photos on a few posts in the last couple of years, but it seems wrong somehow to mess with the first post, even with its weird formatting and stilted instructions. 2015 Liz was super proud and excited about finally starting this blog, and I don’t want to diminish that in any way. It was a moment in (my) food blogging time.

That said, today is another a moment in (my) food blogging time—a moment in which Cocoa Brownies finally get the photoshoot they deserve. While I am not a pro food photographer or stylist, I have learned a lot while photographing 544 posts, all on iPhones and nearly all with the same Carrara marble pie board as backdrop.Cocoa Brownies {Five Year Anniversary!}Cocoa Brownies {Five Year Anniversary!}Cocoa Brownies {Five Year Anniversary!}And baking? I’ve learned ten times as much about baking in the last five years as I have about photography. Still, these Cocoa Brownies didn’t need much of an update recipe-wise. In remaking them, I only made one major adjustment: I mixed them right in the pot where I bloomed (melted together) the butter, cocoa, and sugars. You can, of course, just mix the batter in a bowl, but why add more dishes if you don’t have to, am I right?! I simply waited for the cocoa mixture to cool a few minutes so I could add the eggs without scrambling them, then stirred in the dry ingredients. Then I just transferred the batter into an 8-inch square pan. Et voila!Cocoa Brownies {Five Year Anniversary!}I decided to top this pan of goodness off with a pecan mosaic. My dad, the primary brownie baker in my family, always uses pecans to write something on his brownies—initials, greetings, silly words–and I like to as well. I think today warrants a “5,” don’t you?Cocoa Brownies {Five Year Anniversary!}Cocoa Brownies bake in 30 minutes and cool in about an hour, making them the perfect simple treat for celebrating one of my biggest accomplishments to date—one that I couldn’t have done without you. This blog has helped me make new friends, reconnect with old ones, strengthen existing relationships, and interact with so many people that I truly would never have met if it weren’t for this compulsive home-baking and over-sharing habit of mine. Thank you for the kind notes, laughs, likes, questions, comments, and social media posts—for just being a part of this community. It means the world.Cocoa Brownies {Five Year Anniversary!}

Cocoa Brownies
adapted from Alice Medrich’s Cocoa Brownies
makes one 8- or 9-inch square pan

10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light or dark brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons cocoa powder (natural or dutch process)
2 large eggs, cold
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
pecan halves for decorating, optional

Preheat oven to 325F. Butter the inside of an 8- or 9-inch square pan. Line the bottom with parchment and butter again. Set aside.

In a small pot over medium-low heat, melt butter, granulated and brown sugars, and cocoa powder together, stirring frequently, until a thick, grainy mixture forms. Remove from heat and let mixture cool 5-7 minutes.

Add vanilla and eggs to the pot, and stir/whisk to combine. Add flour and salt and stir/whisk to combine. Transfer batter to prepared pan and spread to the edges. Tap the full pan on the counter a couple of times to release any air bubbles. Top with pecans, if desired.

Bake brownies 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with only a few moist crumbs (not wet batter).

Let brownies cool completely in the pan on a rack. Slide a knife around the edges of the pan before using parchment overhang to lift brownies onto a cutting board. Use a large, sharp chef’s knife to slice brownies into 16 or 25 pieces. Serve.

Leftovers will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days or in the refrigerator for up to a week. These may also be layered with wax paper or parchment and frozen.Cocoa Brownies {Five Year Anniversary!}Cocoa Brownies {Five Year Anniversary!}