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Cocoa Brownies

Cakey or fudgy is so often the question when it comes to brownies. Lucky for us, Kamran Siddiqi of The Sophisticated Gourmet isn’t making us choose. An incredibly talented baker, writer and photographer, this 19-year-old blogger is taking a break from his sophomore year in college to pen his first cookbook. Kamran is a whiz at adapting recipes to suit his tastes. Here he uses whole-wheat pastry flour and high-quality cocoa, resulting in a brownie that rests comfortably in between a cake-like texture and a fudgy flavor. The best of both worlds have truly collided. They also make a really delicious addition to a Memorial Day picnic.

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Recipe note:If you don’t have a microwave at home, use a large heavy-bottom sauce pan to melt the butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt together; the mixture might be hot enough that you want to remove your finger fairly quickly after dipping it in to test, if so, set the mixture aside until warm—about 5 minutes.

Makes 16 to 32 brownies, depending on size of brownie desired

Ingredients

10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks or 137 grams) unsalted butter, cut into 10 slices

1 1/4 cups natural cane sugar (or granulated sugar)

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (82 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or dutch-process)

1/4 teaspoon fine-grained sea salt

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 large eggs, cold

1/2 cup (65 grams) whole wheat pastry flour (or all-purpose flour)

2/3 cup toasted walnut or pecan pieces (optional)

Instructions

1. Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line the bottom and sides of an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with parchment paper (can use foil), leaving an overhang on two opposite sides.

2. Place the butter in a large heatproof bowl. Place the bowl of butter in the microwave until melted (about 1 minute). Once the butter is melted add the sugar, cocoa and salt. Mix with a wooden spoon or heatproof rubber spatula. The mixture will appear to be gritty; it’ll smooth out once the other ingredients are added.

3. Stir in the vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one. When the batter looks thick, shiny and well blended (and smooth!), add in the flour all at once. Stir the mixture until you cannot see it any longer, then beat vigorously for 40 strokes (yes, count 40 strokes!) with the wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Stir in the nuts, if using. Spread evenly in the lined pan.

4. Bake until a toothpick plunged in the center emerges slightly moist with batter, 20 to 30 minutes. Let pan cool completely on a rack.

5. Lift up the ends of the parchment or foil liner and transfer the brownies to a cutting board. Cut into 16 or 25 or 32 squares.

Adapted from Alice Medrich’s Bittersweet

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