Best Recipe: Dark Cocoa Brownies

This is our household’s new gold standard brownie. This “Minimalist” recipe by Mark Bittman is fudgey (not cakey), easy to make, and all ingredients are typically in our pantry. I substituted dark cocoa powder (Double Dutch by King Arthur) for 3 to 4 oz of melted chocolate. Regular cocoa powder would be too light. A glaze or frosting is not needed. They’re even good eaten stone cold out of the fridge. I also changed the directions so that this recipe is now a “one bowl” method.


  • Mark Bittman says, “As long as you keep the flour to a minimum and don’t add chemical leavening like baking powder, you will produce a true and beautiful brownie.”
  • Proportionally, this recipe is the same as a half batch of Supernatural Brownies made with cocoa powder instead of melted chocolate.
  • For gluten-free brownies, use a gluten-free baking mix instead of plain flour.
  • Recipe makes 16 brownies. You can double the recipe and bake in a 13×9 pan.

1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter
1/3 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Heat oven to 350F degrees. Lightly coat an 8-inch-square baking pan with cooking spray.

In a large, microwave-safe bowl, heat butter in 30-second increments on High until it is melted. Using a wooden spoon or silicone spatula, stir in cocoa and sugar. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add flour, optional salt, and vanilla, and stir to incorporate. Stop stirring when no traces of flour remain.

Pour into pan, and bake 20 to 30 minutes, or until set and barely firm in the middle. Cool on a rack before cutting.

Yield: 16 brownies

Source: Adapted from Mark Bittman. And food author Michael Ruhlman also uses Bittman’s recipe. Ruhlman’s book Ratio provides formulas for basic items. While it was a fun read, it does not include a brownie recipe. No matter; this is the one.