Salty, Deep-Dark Chocolate Brownies

Deep Dark Salted Chocolate Brownie Recipe-14

When I was in Brooklyn a few months back doing a booksigning with the lovely folks from The Brooklyn Kitchen, a friendly woman came up to me bearing a box of treats from her bakery. I don’t like to eat in front of people, because, frankly, no one wants to meet up with an author while he is shoving pastries in his mouth. And in this day and age of people wanting pictures, I’ve learned that absolutely no one looks good when they’ve got a mouth full of food. And I have a hunch that there are a bunch of photos tagged with my name on them, around the internet, that will prove that.

Salty, Deep-Dark Chocolate Brownies

However as soon as everyone had left, and no one was looking (especially those with cameras) I tore open the box, which was packed with treats from Ovenly, a bakery in Brooklyn. Although everything inside looked good, I plucked out the deepest, darkest square of whatever, and unwrapped it.

Salty, Deep-Dark Chocolate Brownies

Since no one was looking, I dove right in. (Okay, I was planning on offering the others on the staff some tastes, but figured since I was the guest, they’d understand – I hope – that I was going to help myself first.) And let me tell you, that was one excellent brownie. It wasn’t overly sweet, or cakey. Instead, it was a moist square loaded with very intense chocolate flavor. When I saw the recipe in their book, I learned their sweet (and salty) secrets.

Salty, Deep-Dark Chocolate Brownies

That biggest secret to the Ovenly brownies, from their book, Ovenly: Sweet and Salty Recipes from New York’s Most Creative Bakery, was black cocoa powder. Black cocoa powder isn’t something one comes across every day, although a while back, Hershey’s was selling one called “Special Dark,” which they’ve since discontinued. But if you’ve had Oreo cookies, you’ve had black cocoa powder; it’s what give the outer cookies that dusky, dark, cocoa-rich flavor.

Salty, Deep-Dark Chocolate Brownies

Black cocoa is made by heavily Dutching (alkalizing) cocoa powder until it becomes, well – black, and has a very intense flavor. However because it loses some of the chocolatey notes one finds in regular cocoa powder, as well as its acidity, it’s usually mixed with cocoa powder in recipes, to give baked goods the best of both worlds. (And no, that’s not what they mean by “going Dutch.” But I suppose we bakers could work on changing that?)

Salty, Deep-Dark Chocolate Brownies

My search for it, however, was not as straightforward as I thought. And I was surprised when I was in Manhattan, a city where just about everything is available and went into the well-stocked N.Y. Cake, a great address for bakers in New York. Not only did they not have black cocoa powder, the salesman didn’t know what it was. (He tried to offer up black chocolate “pearls,” bead-like balls of glossy chocolate candy, which don’t quite resemble cocoa powder.)

Salty, Deep-Dark Chocolate Brownies

Fortunately the baker’s web runs far and wide, and most of us are always willing to help out a fellow baker in a pinch. And Matt Lewis of Baked hooked me up with a bag from his personal stash. With it, I made these brownies a couple of times. The first time I used an 8-inch (20cm) pan, since I wanted brownies that were deeper than the ones they make at the bakery. And I dialed back a bit on the sugar since people are often wont to ask me if they can do that. My response is always that I don’t like to recommend something unless I’ve personally tried it. So once, just this once – ya got that? – I can say for sure that it isn’t okay to dial it down, because I did it and preferred the second batch I made, following the amount in the recipe.

Salty, Deep-Dark Chocolate Brownies

I did like the heft of the blocky brownies on my first go-around, but gave them another go, using the wider pan that they recommended. After tasting them both (repeatedly…) I decided that I liked the deeper pan brownies best. So for those that can’t resist tinkering with recipes, you can tinker with the pan size just fine.

In addition to people asking me about changing or swapping out ingredients, another FAQ is “What do you do with all that stuff that you bake?” After having brownies as part of my “extended breakfast” for a few mornings in the recent past, I packed the rest up and gave them to neighbors and to Romain to bring to work. I did, however, keep a few back for myself. And fortunately, I still have a little bit more of that black cocoa leftover, enough – I think (and hope) – to make just one more batch.

Salty, Deep-Dark Chocolate Brownies

Salty, Deep-Dark Chocolate Brownies

Adapted from Ovenly: Sweet and Salty Recipes from New York’s Most Creative Bakery by Agatha Kulaga and Erin Patinkin

In addition to the black cocoa powder, the original recipe calls for “natural” cocoa powder, which is cocoa powder that hasn’t been alkalized. If you’re not sure, look at the ingredients; if there is no alkalizing ingredient added (such as potassium bromate or carbonate), it’s likely to be natural cocoa powder. Supermarket brands in the United States are usually natural cocoa, although bean-to-bar makers ScharffenBerger and Askinosie, make natural cocoa powder as well.

I’ve not seen natural (non-alkalized) cocoa powder in Europe, but since there is no leavening in the recipe, I am pretty certain you could make it with Dutch process cocoa powder. (But like I said, I’m not wont to recommend something without trying it first. But I’m reasonably sure that would work.) For more about cocoa powder, check out my Cocoa Powder FAQs.

In that vein, since black cocoa is not likely something you’ll come across outside of the U.S. (and it’s not so easy to find in the U.S. either – I’ve listed some sources at the end of the recipe), you could try the recipe out using 1 1/4 cups (125g) total of cocoa powder, the darkest you can find. Valrhona is a very good brand of dark cocoa powder.

  • 1 cup (8 ounces, 225g) unsalted butter, cubed (plus additional, for greasing the pan)
  • 1 cup (100g) natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup (25g) black cocoa (sometimes called "dark" cocoa powder)
  • 1/2 cup (70g) flour
  • 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup, packed (170g) dark brown sugar
  • Flaky sea salt, such as fleur de sel or Maldon, for finishing

1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC).

Prepare an 8-inch (20cm) square pan or 9 x 13-inch (22x33cm) pan by lining it with aluminum foil, greasing it with melted butter or nonstick spray.

2. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Set aside until tepid.

3. Sift together the natural cocoa powder, black cocoa powder, flour, espresso powder, and 3/4 teaspoon of salt in a large bowl. (Cocoa powder tends to “dust up” when sifting, and using a large bowl helps contain the mess.)

4. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the eggs, granulated sugar, and brown sugar.

5. Stir half of the egg mixture into the cocoa powder, then stir in the melted butter. Then stir in the remaining egg mixture. If the mixture isn’t smooth, give it a couple of vigorous stirs with a whisk, although don’t overdo it. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top, and sprinkle liberally with flaky sea salt.

6. Bake the brownies just until the center feels almost set, but not quite. I found in either size pan they will take about 25 minutes, although best to start checking them at the 20 minute mark.

7. Once done, remove from the oven and let cool completely in the pan. The salt on the top tends to absorb into the batter during baking, yet you can still taste little sparks of it in the brownies. If you wish, you can sprinkle them again with a bit more salt, before serving.

Storage: The brownies can be made up to five days in advance and stored in an airtight container. Like most baked goods, they’re best eaten within a couple of days. Then can also be frozen for up to two months, if well-wrapped.

Black cocoa powder is available at King Arthur Flour (which ships internationally), Savory Spice Shop, Chocolate Man, and Amazon.

(I wasn’t able to find anywhere in France or in Europe where black cocoa powder is available, but be aware that if you search, noir is often translated in chocolate terms to mean “dark,” rather than “black.” Hence you’ll often find chocolat noir translated on packages to “black chocolate” in English, which is, in fact, dark chocolate.)

Related Links and Recipes

Cocoa Powder FAQs

Black Cocoa Cake (Baking Society/Baked)

A Visit with Agatha and Erin of Ovenly (The Kitchn)

Gluten-Free Chocolate Brownies

Cheesecake Brownies

Dave and Kate’s Brownies

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83 comments

  • Observer
    December 8, 2014 2:47pm

    The Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder is still very much available in the US. It’s a good basic Dutch processed cocoa, for when you don’t need the high-end stuff.

    • December 8, 2014 2:59pm
      David Lebovitz

      According to their website, the Special Dark is now a mix of natural and Dutch-process cocoa powders. It seems like they changed the formulation of it a few years ago. There’s a discussion about it in the comments of this post at The Kitchn. Most likely people bought it and were surprised to find it pitch black, and not the cocoa powder they were expecting!

  • December 8, 2014 2:48pm

    I’m so eager to try these brownies. Can I confess, I make boxed brownies when I have too! I know, absolutely terrible, but I’m not a food blogger so that’s ok. When I make them from scratch, they have bombed. Probably the bakers fault (ahem…me) but the recipe probably wasn’t all that awesome either. I love this! Wish my brownies would look like yours. And shopping for high-end cooking ingredients in Manhattan is one of my favorite things to do there….that and buy beads and ornaments. And ScharffenBerger….there are no words =)

  • December 8, 2014 2:55pm

    RE: Black cocoa powder. King Arthur (employee-owned and located in Vermont) in the States has this in its catalog, along with lots of other hard to find (and yummy) baking products.

  • Clio
    December 8, 2014 2:57pm

    I’ve never ordered from them, but this German site seems to be selling suitable black cocoa powder: Kakopulver “Black Pearl”

  • December 8, 2014 3:07pm
    David Lebovitz

    Beth: Yes, King Arthur is an excellent source of baking supplies, and information. I linked to them in the Sources, at the end of the post. They also ship internationally, which is handy for international bakers : )

    Clio: That looks similar, but it’s hard to tell without seeing it as pictures aren’t always that accurate. But that might be it – Germans are pretty avid bakers so they might have it available in Germany. Thanks for checking!

  • December 8, 2014 3:28pm

    Oh man–you have definitely convinced me that I need to make brownies with black cocoa powder. These look intense.

  • December 8, 2014 3:30pm

    Wow. That is the most dense brownie I’ve ever seen!

  • December 8, 2014 3:52pm

    These brownies look perfect! Just love that deep dark colour!

  • molly
    December 8, 2014 4:19pm

    David — can you recommend a “favorite” spice grinder? I’ve never loved the old Krups coffee grinder I’ve used for grinding spices, and now want to give a nice one as a gift. Thanks for any suggestions.

  • December 8, 2014 5:10pm

    David- thanks for posting. I have recently discovered black cocoa and love it! Also want to thank you for consistently responding to comments on all you social media sites. You are generous with your knowledge and time and (confidently speaking for all of us) we appreciate that!

  • WendyK
    December 8, 2014 5:11pm

    Brownies are the one item I make consistently, and these look perfect. I normally use Valrhona cocoa powder and will probably just use that to try this recipe out before ordering the black cocoa. I can already tell you’ve made my kids very happy!

  • December 8, 2014 5:17pm

    Hmmmm… I’ll bet these can be converted to gluten-free.

  • Cindy
    December 8, 2014 5:20pm

    Yes, the King Arthur brand is great…it makes great dark colored sugar cookie for Halloween time in USA (skulls bats etc.,) I am anxious to try the brownies… I love the taste of the black chocolate…thanks for sharing…Happy Holidays too…

  • Kate
    December 8, 2014 5:20pm

    I ran into a bag of black cocoa in our local Amish bulk-foods store (Beachy’s in Arthur, IL, for those who wonder). I didn’t really know what it was, but picked some up anyways. I’ve found it delicious in chocolate pudding, cookies, and now, I can make some brownies!

  • sarahb
    December 8, 2014 5:31pm

    For once I am thankful for being stuck in rural Amish country, because this delicious cocoa powder is readily available at all of the little Amish stores. I’ve been baking with it for a few years, and I just love it’s earthy, almost smoky notes. It makes an amazing chocolate sauce for ice cream, rich and earthy hot cocoa, and like you discovered, the best brownies ever.

  • abbeyviolet
    December 8, 2014 6:16pm

    I use “black onyx cocoa” from Savory Spice shop: http://www.savoryspiceshop.com/spices/cocoablk.html Do you think that is probably the same thing?

  • December 8, 2014 6:25pm
    David Lebovitz

    abbey: Yes, it is. I’ve linked to them (as well as a few other sources) in the post, at the end of the recipe.

    Kate and sarah: I used to live near an Amish community and they had wonderful things – including clothes; plain and simple.

    molly: For most spices I use my mortar and pestle. But I have an old Krups coffee grinder (mill-type) that I use from grinding a lot of spices, and it works quite well. That’s what I use!

    • Molly
      December 8, 2014 8:35pm

      Thanks, David.

  • Barbara
    December 8, 2014 6:26pm

    I was just in Brooklyn a week ago and went to Ovenly. I had one of the best scones ever. Wonderful place. Thanks for posting this recipe.

  • Erin
    December 8, 2014 6:34pm

    These look awesome! They seem like almost exactly like Alice Medrich’s cocoa brownies. If you (or any commenters) are familiar with those, are these really similar? I was just curious. It seems like they would be fudgier (bc the flour ratio is less) and maybe more intensely flavored bc of the brown sugar??

  • shell
    December 8, 2014 6:49pm

    “The discovery of a new dish does more for human happiness than the discovery of a new star.” Brillat-Savarin

    Amend that to ‘new brownie recipe.’ The world cannot have too many brownie recipes.

  • Seadanes
    December 8, 2014 7:11pm

    I’ve ordered black cocoa and as soon as it arrives, I’ll let you all know how a gluten free (grain free) version of these works out. Living with celiac, I’ve gotten pretty good at converting conventional recipes.

    • Faye
      December 9, 2014 4:56am

      I would love to have you share your “tricks” for converting recipes to gluten free.

  • Sara
    December 8, 2014 7:12pm

    Eek! But you’ve already gotten me addicted to Helene’s brownies.

  • Pat
    December 8, 2014 7:15pm

    I am curious to try these brownies, and just placed an order for black cocoa powder at L’Epicerie, which I discovered in the index of Thomas Keller’s book. I have to say, though, that Robert’s brownies in The Last Dessert is my go-to, and will never need to go further. I make these at least twice per month, and use it as a base for additional add-ons. Someone gave me a chocolate bar with ginger, lemon and pepper. At first, I thought “no way” and loved it. Now I sometimes incorporate these ingredients, using candied ginger, lemon zest and aleppo pepper, and these are the favorite of my friends. Myself, I still prefer these plain, but for my massive cookie boxes this Christmas I will be making them plain, and with the above add-ons. Still, I look forward to receiving my black cocoa powder and will certainly try these out. Thank you for being my favorite pastry chef. I have made a good 50 percent of your recipes, sweet and savory.

  • Cathy
    December 8, 2014 7:19pm

    As another expat living in France, I’m wondering what you use for the dark brown sugar? (and I don’t live in Paris, so if it’s available at Thanksgiving or one of the other expat stores, that doesn’t really help me out! ;)

  • December 8, 2014 7:21pm

    My jingle bells are ringing. Brownies for gift giving, and a new recipe at that! Thanks, Honey-Bunches. :)

  • bugsynana
    December 8, 2014 7:30pm

    I just checked with Hershey’s and their Special Dark Cocoa is still very much available and they have no plans to discontinue it anytime soon. I have used this cocoa powder for years with great results. I get wonderful super dark and rich brownies all the time whether I am making them gluten free (for myself) or regular non gluten free for friends and other family members.

  • Gregory
    December 8, 2014 7:37pm

    I have recently been using the Savory Spice Black Onyx cocoa powder and getting rave reviews on the outcome. I made both black chocolate ice cream and chocolate truffles. For an added delight, I have also used a small amount of Urfa chile powder for a nice slow after-burn. For the ice cream, I suggest increasing the cream to milk ratio to make up for the reduced fat of the cocoa powder. In the batches I’ve made I used all heavy cream (no milk), but I need to try a few variations with some milk to see what works best.

  • Brenda Smith
    December 8, 2014 8:12pm

    Hi David – loved seeing you at the 92nd Street Y in NYC earlier this year. I’m coming to Paris for a few days the week of the 22nd, so if you need anything from NYC, just say the word. I can drop the goods off wherever you’d like – no in-person meet/greet obligations! Best – Brenda

  • Sharon Crandall
    December 8, 2014 8:23pm

    I use an extra-rouge cocoa powder–is that the same as black? It’s a very dark cocoa.

    • Sharon Crandall
      December 9, 2014 9:30am

      I am in Ireland and so sourcing can be difficult….

  • Sonja
    December 8, 2014 9:01pm

    The description of Kakaopulver “Black Pearl” says that it´s “severely alkalized 10 – 12%”.

  • Ellie
    December 8, 2014 9:02pm

    Salty sweets seems to be a trend right now and I don’t like it. I use salt to enhance flavor and if I use the right amount, food tastes better, but not salty.

    I have tasted a few salty sweets and I find the salt taste too prominent. When I get around to trying the brownies, I plan to go easy on the salt.

  • Regina
    December 8, 2014 9:22pm

    Black cocoa is also available at vitacost.com They keep expanding their product line.
    Brownies look yummy! can’t wait to try them. thanks!

  • Alexandra
    December 8, 2014 9:34pm

    Hello!
    Not even at G. Detou (j’ai detout) in Paris, for The Black cacao?
    Just wondering about that instant espresso powder. I’m not a user, wouldn’t know where to look. If I use a little shot of espresso instead? Thoughts?

    Thanks!!

  • june2
    December 9, 2014 12:20am

    Well these look amazing, even though I generally ‘need’ the glossy crackle topping for it to be a true brownie experience! Is that just about how many eggs is in the recipe or what? The Amazon link is sold out, lol. But there’s lots of others.

  • December 9, 2014 12:28am

    Whoa! I’ve never heard of black cocoa before. This is very intriguing– I’ll have to find some and try this tasty-sounding recipe out! Thanks for sharing.

    • Millette
      December 9, 2014 2:23am

      I am so looking forward to creating this recipe. Thank you for your generosity.

      David, briefly, at San Francisco’s Ferry Building, SCHARFFEN Berger closed which was upsetting, it was one if my favorite destinations. Since then, I have bought an excess amount of Cocoa powder. Does Cocoa powder have a strict “shelf” life expiration date? How can one tell visually if the powder is still in good stage to bake with? I’m open to your feedback.

      Happy Holidays

      • December 9, 2014 10:45am
        David Lebovitz

        Because cocoa powder doesn’t have a lot of fat in it, which is what can cause chocolate to age, and has a low moisture content it lasts quite a while – up to three years. I would say the best way to tell if it’s still good is to smell it, rather than judge it by appearance; if it smells cocoa-y, then it’s okay to use. I’ve never had cocoa powder go bad but if you detect any off-odors, discard it.

  • December 9, 2014 3:15am

    These look gorgeous! I love how fluffy they appear!

  • In Irma's Kitchen
    December 9, 2014 4:06am

    David…..there are never too many brownie recipes; after all, there are 365 days in the year. I just bought Chocovic Cocoa Powder at my local Spice Merchant. Is this considered ‘black cocoa’? It is quite dark.

    Happy Holidays

  • Carol
    December 9, 2014 5:16am

    Hi David,

    Those look so good! I have black cocoa sitting on the cupboard ready to go…
    Are the brownies in the pictures the ones made in the 8 inch pan or the 9×13?

    • December 9, 2014 10:42am
      David Lebovitz

      They are the ones make in the 8-inch square pan.

  • diana
    December 9, 2014 6:16am

    Well, B-party next Monday:) I will make some Minecraft blocks:):) more fun with brownies.And I am like addicted for your recipes.All are great!

  • heidipie
    December 9, 2014 8:23am

    Hi David,
    Guittard just began selling black cocoa–I saw it at Spun Sugar here in Berkeley. lepicerie.com sells some by Callebaut too.

    • December 9, 2014 10:42am
      David Lebovitz

      Thanks. I’m a fan of Guittard chocolate although didn’t see black cocoa powder on their website. I did see it on some other sites, so it may only be available in professional-sized quantities and places like Spun Sugar (and others) might repackage it in smaller quantities and sell it that way. Thanks for the tips!

  • Tess
    December 9, 2014 10:03am

    So funny, I’ve never heard about natural cacao powder before. Always assumed our ‘Droste’ and ‘Blooker’ cacao powder was ‘natural’. It’s good to know that when using leavening, I can’t just use Dutch processed cacao.

  • Tamsin
    December 9, 2014 4:05pm

    You can buy raw cocoa in some health food shops in the UK and on Wholefoods Online. It specifies that it has not been alkalized so I think it might be the same as natural cocoa, I’ll have to try it out.

    On a chocolate-related note, I was wondering, David, if you had ever come across Willie Harcourt-Cooze’s chocolate products? He is based in the UK, runs a farm in Venezuela and produces single-bean blocks of 100% cacao as well as some very nice chocolate bars.

  • Whitney BVI
    December 9, 2014 4:48pm

    After moving to the Caribbean I started ordering from KAF. Chocolate tends to melt in the mail so I’d sort of given up on that idea and then one day I noticed black cocoa and have been using it ever since. When I first bought it KAF recommended “cutting it” with regular cocoa as it was so intense. After awhile I just started to use it straight and haven’t gone back. My favourite brownie recipe is Nick Malgieri’s Supernatural Brownies – easy Google search — but I do add some espresso powder to mine. I add a thin ganache glaze [buy Callebeaut 5KG blocks locally from restaurant supplier] and just before serving sprinkle on some Maldon or similar salt.

    Living here presents its own challenges — regular grocery shopping is like opening a box on Chopped each week — so I live vicariously through your photos. Thank you.

  • Victoria Ralston
    December 9, 2014 6:29pm

    This black cocoa, is available at King Arthur Flour, in Vermont, item #1833.

  • Susan C.
    December 9, 2014 7:35pm

    I like your idea of re-using coffee tins as gift containers. And with so many beautiful wrapping paper choices out there to cloak them in…..voila. Homemade with love – the best gift around.

  • Nara
    December 9, 2014 8:34pm

    Perfect. I have a mostly-full bag of black cocoa left over from a misguided attempt at making dry shampoo (don’t ask, but FYI: hair that smells like black cocoa is no good)…now I know what to do with it!

  • December 9, 2014 10:42pm

    Oooh still have some of my Hershey’s Dark Cocoa. Never realized it was discontinued or that different from regular cocoa powder. Will have to try it in this!

  • EL
    December 9, 2014 10:58pm

    King Arthurs Flour offers black cocoa powder (12 oz for 9.95). However, I think that I will stick with the brownies cockaign in Joy of Cooking. It’s essentially the same recipe, but uses baking chocolate instead of cocoa powder. Have you tried it? It’s great.

    Funny that you posted this on National Brownie Day!! Did you leave any milk and brownies out for them?

  • December 9, 2014 11:12pm

    Ahhh fleur de sel makes anything divine. Happy Nesting.

  • Thea
    December 10, 2014 3:38am

    The first time I ever came across black cocoa was in Bavaria. I marveled as I had never seen anything like it before. I made a chocolate devil’s food cake and it was one of the absolute best I had ever made! I think just seeing how deep, dark and rich it looks makes it taste better ;-) Those brownies look so decadently delicious…I’m going to be craving them all night now, thanks! lol

  • December 10, 2014 6:13am

    Excuse me—did you use “salty” and “deep chocolate” in the same sentence? Be still my heart!

  • Maryjo
    December 10, 2014 7:27am

    I just finished cutting up my first batch of your recipe for the freezer. It is too late in the day for me to have more than a sliver (caffeine!) but oh my – delicious, and light. I used the Hershey’s Cocoa special dark AND Ghiradelli 100% unsweetened cocoa powder (no alkali) and it all seems fine. I defintely will make a second batch — I think people will love it. I did need to bake it more than 25 minutes and next time I might bake it a few more minutes, but they are moist, and NOT dense. Thanks so much for the recipe!

  • Andreea
    December 10, 2014 4:57pm

    Hi David,

    I found black cocoa powder online, on a site I regularly order from: iHerb

    And they have worldwide delivery.

  • Elaine
    December 10, 2014 7:12pm

    I received a package of Valrhona black cocoa from a friend who purchased it in Paris some time ago. It remained on my shelf for some time after I used it making a batch of brownies and was disappointed in the chocolate flavor. Your suggestion to blend the black cocoa with another cocoa powder is interesting and will probably be the answer to the flavor problem – thanks! (I enjoyed meeting you at a book signing in Washington D C this year).

  • Heidi
    December 10, 2014 11:54pm

    I made these using the Hersey’s special dark for all of the cocoa, came out fantastic, I’m sure not as good as the ones made with Black cocoa but good in a pinch.

  • December 11, 2014 12:17am

    It was nice meeting you at The Brooklyn Kitchen (though I’m now regretting not having you sign your book to me instead of to a friend—sure hope she appreciates it). Next time I’m in Greenpoint, I’m heading straight to Ovenly!

  • Maryjo
    December 11, 2014 6:01am

    next day report: I took a small piece of brownie (chocolate I used in post above someplace) out of the freezer and it sat out most of the day. I just “sliced” some “pieces” off the larger piece: soft, uniformly “dense” (as in perfectly done and not goopy”) and oh-so-tasty. Salt topping yummy, but next time I may add a tad bit more sugar — I like really sweet brownies. But addendum to my post yesterday: baking time was perfect but still more than 25 minutes. Yes, probably my oven :)

  • December 12, 2014 9:11pm

    These look beautiful! I’ve recently been working on perfecting a brownie without dairy or eggs, and I think I’ve come up with a terrific recipe. When I was experimenting, I used Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa Powder. Thank goodness, it doesn’t seem to be discontinued in my local supermarket.
    http://theinclusivevegan.com/2014/12/09/truffle-brownies/

    What do you think makes a great brownie?

  • Sandy T
    December 13, 2014 9:00am

    Although you may not be in LA anytime soon, black cocoa is available online in the US from the erstwhile Surfas, also known as The Culinary District. I’ve been using it for years – the late great Amy Pressman first told me about it in the 1990s.

  • December 14, 2014 12:03am

    I just tried these, and they are tasty. However, they were not done in 25 minutes. They look to need about another 10 minutes. I shouldn’t have tried this the first time for a cookie party…

  • December 14, 2014 10:41am
    David Lebovitz

    BerkeleyBecca: Baking times will generally vary, as there are a number of variables; type of oven, accuracy of oven, and type of material of baking dish. I tested this recipe twice and have thermometers in my oven (two), although I always give visual or tactile clues at to tell how something is done. (It’s like saying: “How long does it take to walk to the store?”) Due to variations, I noted to bake them until the center feels almost set, but not quite, as baked goods will continue to bake after they are taken out of the oven. So while I do list times, I always advise (as do most bakers and cooks), to use the visual and tactile clues to tell when something is done.

  • Martha
    December 14, 2014 1:00pm

    Hi David!

    I was looking at the comments on the King Arthur site and a lot of reviews talk about how the black cocoa powder punches up the chocolatey notes, but you say that because it’s alkalized to the extreme it loses a bit of flavor. Do you think the color simply affects how the reviewers may experience the taste of the black cocoa (“looks extra chocolatey = must be extra chocolatey”), or does the cocoa not actually lose that much flavor/perhaps tastes more chocolatey from losing the acidity?

  • darla10
    December 14, 2014 9:33pm

    I made these yesterday and my husband, daughter and I did not like them one bit. We threw them away. I bought the black cocoa from King Arthur Flour, so we will try it in other recipes. I have to say that these were about the worst brownies I have ever baked or eaten. Perhaps we are not big black cocoa fans. (I did not change a thing in the recipe and I am an expert baker, so I do not think we like the recipe.)

  • Bipasha
    December 15, 2014 10:28am

    I just made these brownies – and trying not to eat them all. I adapted the recipe to make it gluten free by swapping Trader Joe’s gluten free flour for the 70g flour. I also added about 1/2 tsp xanthan gum just to be on the safe side. Used 125g of Saco Premium baking cocoa that is a mix of dutched and natural cocoa. Deep, dark, rich, intense chocolate flavour – exactly what I was hoping for. May or may not need to add a dollop of whipped cream. I love the balance of sweet and salt. Definitely an adult brownie for a refined palate.

  • Paul
    December 18, 2014 5:05pm

    These rocked! Got the black cocoa and had been hellbent on making these for the past week. My wife and I aren’t really dessert people, but love dark chocolate and sea salt. Excellent recipe, thank you for posting. (Wondering how they might be spiced up with a little dash of red chili…)

  • Don Merry
    December 19, 2014 5:21am

    I have made these 2 times with rave reviews! I did not add extra salt after they came out of the oven on the last batch. As to those who wrote it took much longer than 25 minutes I just purchased the book Ovenly: Sweet and Salty Recipes from New York’s Most Creative Bakery by Agatha Kulaga and Erin Patinkin and they need to bake for 45 minutes.

    • December 19, 2014 10:25am
      David Lebovitz

      hi Don: Glad you (and your friends!) like the brownies. I did see that in the book they say to bake them for 35 minutes, but I made them twice and I have 2 oven thermometers in my oven, and they were done at the 20 to 25 minute mark. (Chocolate maven Alice Medrich has a recipe for cocoa brownies as well, that takes 20 to 25 minutes to bake.) Baking times are always an estimate as there are so many variables, but thanks for chiming in and letting us know how they turned out.

  • James Dansicker
    December 22, 2014 5:15pm

    Hi David,

    Regarding pan size. Is the 9 x 13 for a double batch? The volume of an 8 x 8 is about 1/2 of a 9 x 13.

    Thanks

    James

  • Barbara
    December 22, 2014 5:45pm

    Had all the ingredients, so thought it an omen to try. Baked in 9×9 pan for 23 minutes; came out perfectly. We had a bake off of three recipes, and these unanimously took the prize. These brownies are sinfully delicious… substance yet light, cakey yet gooey, sweet yet salty. Perfect!

  • December 22, 2014 6:45pm
    David Lebovitz

    Barbara: Thanks for the update on the baking time. Yes, that’s what I found to be about right, too. But like most recipes, because of differences in ovens, baking pan materials, etc, it’s good to keep an eye on them and use the visual/tactile clues provided, and use baking times as guidelines. Glad they were a hit for you – happy baking!

    James: Ovenly bakes them in the larger pan, and the result is thinner brownies. I liked the both ways, but used the same recipe in both sized pans

  • James
    December 23, 2014 6:55pm

    Thanks All. 8 x 8 pan and ready to go.

  • Lauren
    December 25, 2014 8:15pm

    Used 1 1/4 cup Valrhona cocoa today for this recipe and they turned out beautifully (almost pitch black!). Tasted amazing, too. Merry Christmas and happy holidays!

  • Seadanes
    December 26, 2014 6:23am

    I decided to go the simple route in converting this one to gluten free. The first time, instead of using any flour, I just used an additional 1/2 cup of cocoa powder. I used 3/4 cup of packed brown sugar and no white sugar, because I didn’t have any and really wanted to make them. I baked them for 25 minutes in an 8×8 LeCreuset stoneware pan greased with a bit of ghee. They were fantastic – a big hit with all my guests. The second batch I made, I used 1/4 cup of cocoa powder and 1/4 cup of tapioca flour (sometimes called tapioca starch) in place of the flour. I used the full amount of sugar. We did not like them as much, although they baked up quite nicely and looked essentially the same, we found them much too sweet. I did bake the second batch for only 20 minutes, though, and they were pretty gooey in the center, which we enjoyed. I think this recipe works beautifully gluten-free. Thanks for the base recipe, David!

  • Ellen
    December 29, 2014 11:21pm

    Spun Sugar on University Ave in Berkeley, CA, does repackage Guittard black cocoa. The first time I made them, my beta testers and I thought they cried out for a glass of milk, a scoop of vanilla ice cream, or some other creamy dairy product. The dark intensity also reminded me of Emily Luchetti’s Stareos (http://www.emilyluchetti.com/recipes/recipes_choc_stareos.pdf.) I made the brownie recipe again, but split it into two layers with Luchetti’s mascarpone filling. The result was absolutely over the top gooey delicious.