I have a thing for those Two Bite Brownies they sell at Costco. It’s embarrassing, but I get unreasonably excited when I see the nice Costco staff sampling them. They’re just so delicious. So soft, so fudge-y, so good. And they’re perfectly portioned. Not that I ever could just eat one brownie, but still, it feels good knowing that if I wanted to, I could just have one and stop there – not that that’s ever happened!
I’ve never actually bought Two Bite Brownies. I usually get my fix at my mom’s house where there are 5 people in the household to help polish off that giant clear tub of cupcake-shaped chocolately-chewy deliciousness. I like to think that they don’t mind when I grab a ziplock bag and fill it up to take home. I figure, they don’t really need all 120+ brownies, do they?
I’ve made quite a few homemade brownies in my time, but none of them have ever held a candle to Two Bite Brownies. None of them had even come close, until I made Bon Appetit’s Cocoa Brownies with Browned Butter and Walnuts. Bon Appetit’s brownies are insane. They blow Two Bite Brownies out of the water. First of all, these brownies are five to six bites each. They’re incredibly fudgey in the middle and chewy on the edges. The suspended walnuts add a welcome contrast in texture and heightens the nuttiness of the brown butter.
I first came across the recipe for these brownies at my local grocery store, on a late night grocery run with Mike (does anyone else love grocery shopping in the middle of the night?). The cover of Bon Appetit caught my eye. A tower of gloriously glossy brownies studded with walnuts was piled high, the headline proclaiming: Best-Ever Brownies. Warning: You WILL eat the whole tray. With a claim like that I absolutely had to make them. Only problem was, I didn’t actually want to buy that issue of Bon Appetit, so I did what anyone would do: I took a sneaky iPhone photo of the recipe.
I told Mike about my sneaktastic skills in a triumphant whisper:
Me: Guess what?
Me: I took a photo of the brownie recipe! Heehee!
Mike: Couldn’t you have just looked on bonappetit.com?
Okay, so I’m not the most clever brownie baker out there.
But good news! You don’t need to be clever to bake these brownies; it’s a super simple recipe. There isn’t even any chocolate melting. All the chocolate goodness comes from cocoa powder. If you ever had any reservations about cocoa powder brownies, they will be resolved after you make this recipe.
I made the recipe that night. The brownies were finished and cooled at about 2 in the morning. And darn it, the staff at Bon Appetit were right: they were the best-ever brownies. As for the the warning about eating the whole tray…Only Mike and I will ever know the truth.
The recipe for these brownies was so good that I actually went back and bought that issue of Bon Appetit. And I went on to get a subscription as well. I don’t feel too bad about my sneaky photo.
These Brown Butter Brownies are so much better than Two Bite Brownies. They’re like the Next Generation is to Voyager, Batman is to Robin, or Usher is to Bieber. These brownies defy logic. I never thought I’d like a brownie that didn’t have actual melted chocolate in it. I never thought I’d like brownies with nuts. I never thought I’d be begging you to try this recipe, but I am!
You definitely need these brownies in your life.
Cocoa Brownies with Browned Butter and Walnuts Recipe from Bon Appetit
yield: 16 brownies, 211 calories each
- Nonstick vegetable oil spray
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder (spooned into cup to measure, then leveled)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs, chilled
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon unbleached all purpose flour
1 cup walnut pieces
Position rack in bottom third of oven; preheat to 325°F. Line 8x8x2-inch metal baking pan with foil, pressing foil firmly against pan sides and leaving 2-inch overhang. Coat 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, about 5 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. DO AHEAD Can be made 2 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.