Cocoa Brownies with Browned Butter and Walnuts

by byn on February 22, 2011

in Brownies & Blondies

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I think it’s so fitting that we’re kicking off Year 2 on Planet Byn with a recipe that’s connected to Danielle. You guys know that Danielle is my East Coast BFF who introduced me to food blogs almost three years ago. For Christmas this year, she got me a subscription to Bon Appetit – so let’s talk magazines for a moment.

I have major magazine hoarding tendencies. I buy them, flip through them, and then they start to pile up around me. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve told myself I’m not allowed to buy any new magazines until I’ve read the stack I have at home. For this reason, I’ve never really let myself subscribe to any magazines, because I feel it’s a slippery slope for me.

Fortunately I have friends who enable me. Aoife got me a subscription to Everyday Food for my birthday, as I mentioned I liked to flip through it while on line at the grocery store. Then Danielle got me Bon Appetit for Christmas, and guess what? My magazine addiction that had previously been limited to gossip rags has expanded. The floodgates have opened. Now when I hang out at the newsstand downstairs from my office, I don’t just go directly to the gossip section. There’s a Food Network magazine, for crying out loud – how did I not know this?

On the day that my first issue of Bon Appetit arrived, I was having the absolute worst day. I slipped on the ice outside my building and cut my knee (lawsuit pending!), spilled a bottle of water all over the kitchen floor of the client’s office, and hit my head on a desk when I was crawling under it to plug in my laptop. When I got home that night and opened my mailbox, I was super excited to see my magazine, and even more excited to see what was on the cover

I made these brownies for our treat after the SAGs. While I’m not a huge endorser of using cocoa powder instead of melted chocolate in brownies, these were quick and easy, and still had a fudge-y texture, which I was worried would be lacking because of the cocoa powder. This recipe also has you brown the butter first, theoretically adding a more nutty, complex flavour. I’m not sure if this really came through, although perhaps I didn’t brown my butter enough? Deb on Smitten Kitchen talks endlessly about the joys of browned butter, so maybe I just need to practice a little more (this was the first time I tried it).

I just got back from St. John`s where I had the most fun visit with Danielle, which included so many good eats, as well as us rolling our eyes at a lady in the Newfoundland Chocolate Company when she was explaining what ganache was to some other customers. Before I get to that I`ve got a bit of a blog backlog to get through first, and of course the Oscars are on Sunday!

Cocoa Brownies with Browned Butter and Walnuts

Source: Bon Appetit, February 2011


10 tbsp (1 1/4 sticks) butter, but into 1″ pieces

1 1/4 cups sugar

3/4 cups cocoa powder (the darkest you can find – you can get a nice dark one at bulk barn for a reasonable price)

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tsp water

quarter tsp salt

2 eggs, chilled

1/3 + 1 tbsp flour

1 cup walnut pieces


  1. Get our your 8×8 baking dish and line it with foil. Spray the foil with non-stick spray.
  2. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat, and the butter will start to foam. Continue cooking until butter stops foaming and browned bits form at bottom of pan. Stir often, about 5 minutes, but be careful not to burn the butter. It should almost look like caramel. Remove from heat (butter might continue to get a shade or two darker). *It might be useful here to google for a browned butter tutorial, I know I will next time*.
  3. Add sugar, cocoa, water, vanilla and salt, and stir to blend. Let cool 5 minutes.
  4. Add eggs one at a time, beating well to blend after each addition (you don`t even need a mixer, just a wooden spoon or spatula).
  5. Add flour and stir until just blended. Stir in nuts. Pour into pan.
  6. Bake at 325 for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out almost clean (a few moist crumbs attached is okay).

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Leianne @ yummy belly February 23, 2011 at 12:06 am

Browned butter makes everything better! It’s the secret to my chocolate chip cookies.


Byn February 23, 2011 at 1:13 pm

guest blog!


Danielle February 22, 2011 at 9:48 pm

I am happy to contribute to your magazine hoarding. Especially if it keeps you away from reading about the Kardashians (gasp! I know, I should love them but I just think they’re crazy and that boyfriend and I have the same haircut which worries me). And please lady, we know what ganache is, we’re a big deal in the dessert world!


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