I love chocolate, it’s no secret. I love baking with it, it’s always a crowd pleaser. I love it’s depth, color, fragrance…it’s all good.
Sean doesn’t just love chocolate…he LOVES it. He craves it. If he’s had a stressful day, he will seek it out. I always have a stash in the pantry for him, I even make a point to put it on my grocery list. If his chocolate stash is running low, he will break into my chocolate chips and baking bars. When he gets his fix, his eyes roll back, there’s drooling, and sometimes a little moaning.
He’s a downright, certifiable, choco-monster.
Knowing this about my dear husband, I do a lot of baking with chocolate. His favorite chocolate baked treat is probably a brownie. I’ve made endless different recipes in the past, but my go-to is Alice Medrich’s Best Cocoa Brownie, from her book Bittersweet. I feel it truly is the best cocoa brownie–chewy, rich, with a little bit of crust up top–seriously divine.
I don’t just love these brownies because they are delightful, but also because they come together quickly and use one bowl.
Less dishes, more brownies.
These are the joys of life.
Sean will take a plain, un-studded brownie any day. No complaints…but, he also loves a brownie with all kinds of mix-ins and goodness up in its business. This works well for both of us since I prefer brownies with stuff. I like a plain brownie, but I love a brownie with some other textures and maybe a little salt going on.
These brownies have it all.
Crunchy, toasty, sweet coconut, salty macadamias, and the faintest hint of spice.
Oh, goodness. These are so good.
I may have eaten just the tops of a few.
Luckily, Sean was around to eat the bottoms…since he’s so indiscriminate about brownies and all.
We’re a good pair.
Best Cocoa Brownies w/ Crunchy Coconut & Macadamia Topping
This is the fusion of 2 brownie recipes. The crunchy top of one, imposed onto the basic base of another. I have made these using the original recipe for Coconut-Pecan Crusted Brownies, but I like Alice’s Best Cocoa Brownie better for the base. I just do. It’s just my favorite.
These brownies are only made better by using some primo cocoa powder. I use Valrhona, it is hands down my ever-favorite cocoa powder. I order it online and always have a stash of it. I have never purchased it from a grocery store, but an okay, grocery store subsitute is Hershey’s Special Dark…but, I have to say, there’s nothing like Valrhona cocoa powder. And, no, Valrhona does not pay me to wax poetic about their product…they don’t know me, I’m just a fiend for it ;)
10 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup, plus 2 Tablespoons cocoa powder (natural or dutch process)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs, cold
1/2 cup flour
Preheat oven to 325F. To make bar shaped brownies, prepare an 8×8 pan by greasing and lining with parchment. To make brownie bites, line a mini-muffin tin with liners (makes about 30 minis).
Fashion a double boiler out of a saucepan and a large, heatproof mixing bowl. Add butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt–stir to combine until butter is melted and the mixture feels hot to the touch. Set aside and allow to cool to just warm.
Using a wooden spoon, stir in vanilla, then, add eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each addition. Add flour and combine. Once flour is incorporated, continue to stir vigorously for about 40 strokes. Pour into a prepared 8×8 baking pan or into lined mini-muffins cups. Set aside and make the topping.
for the topping:
3/4 cup sweetened, shredded coconut
3/4 cup chopped, salted macadamia nuts (if you have unsalted ones, just add a pinch of salt)
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
pinch of pumpkin pie spice
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
In a medium bowl combine all of the ingredients for the topping until everything is moistened with the melted butter. Either sprinkle topping over the batter in a pan or, using a teaspoon, heap spoonfuls onto minis.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownie comes out with a few sticky crumbs, but is not wet.
Allow to cool on a wire rack before cutting/eating.