easy fudgy cocoa skillet brownies

I’ve made, and eaten, a lot of brownies in my day.

easy fudgy cocoa skillet brownies | Brooklyn Homemaker

I’ve tried countless recipes, and most of them were pretty good, but none have really made enough of an impression to make it into my recipe collection. I mean, they were brownies, sure, so naturally they were delicious and chocolatey and decadent, but none of them have felt special enough for me to make them a second time. Every time I’ve gotten the itch to make a pan of brownies I’ve searched my cookbooks (or google) and found a new recipe to try.

easy fudgy cocoa skillet brownies | Brooklyn Homemaker

Some have been cake-y, some have been fudgy, some have been light and milky, some deep and dark. Some have been thick and dry, others thin and gooey, some have had nuts, some have had icing, some have had crackled sugary tops.

easy fudgy cocoa skillet brownies | Brooklyn Homemaker

To be perfectly honest, I’m not a much of a fan of cakey brownies, and I definitely don’t like brownies with icing. (If I wanted chocolate cake, that’s what I’d be making.) Nuts I can take or leave, but the one thing I always look for in a brownie is the fudgy factor.

When you search recipes for “fudgy brownies”, most of the recipes you’ll find call for melted unsweetened baking chocolate. I’ve always thought that melted chocolate was essential to make a really rich fudgy brownie, but I don’t usually keep it in the house. If I do have it, it’s probably left over from the last time I made brownies, but the leftovers never seems to be in the right amount to make them again.

easy fudgy cocoa skillet brownies | Brooklyn Homemaker

I’ve also seen quite a few recipes out there that go out of their way to try to recreate the look, texture, and flavor of boxed brownies. Deeply chocolatey with a fudgy (but not-too-gooey) texture and a craggy crackly sugary top. I’ve seen recipes with combinations of oil and butter, brown sugar and white, cocoa and melted chocolate, all in the name of recreating that nostalgic iconic boxed brownie flavor.

The one thing I’ve always found odd though, is that there’s no melted chocolate in boxed brownies. There’s no boxed mix that calls for a combination of butter and oil either. So why must it be so difficult and complicated to recreate something so easy and simple? Why?

easy fudgy cocoa skillet brownies | Brooklyn Homemaker

Last week I came down with the flu and was out of work for a few days. I’m really bad at being sick, and find it nearly impossible to just sleep and nap and lay around all day even though I know full well that I should be resting and recovering. I ended up spending most of my time laying on the couch watching old movies and eating chicken soup, but one day I got a powerful craving for brownies, so I started looking for a recipe that wouldn’t require too much effort and could be made with ingredients I already had in the house. While I was fidgety enough to want to get up and make brownies, I was decidedly not well enough for a trip to the grocery store just for a bar of unsweetened chocolate.

easy fudgy cocoa skillet brownies | Brooklyn Homemaker

I typed “easy cocoa brownies” into the googler, and when a recipe from Bon Appetit came up I figured it was worth a shot. The only real changes I made were to use dutch process cocoa (I didn’t have any natural cocoa), and to bake the brownies in the same skillet used to melt the butter (because I was feeling too lazy to wash a skillet and a baking pan).

Well, guess what. This recipe has definitely made it into my recipe collection. If I must be honest, I’ve already made it again too. Maybe twice more…

Maybe.

easy fudgy cocoa skillet brownies | Brooklyn Homemaker

These brownies are deeply, darkly & decadently chocolatey thanks to the dutch process cocoa, and every bit as fudgy as I hoped they’d be. They’re crazy delicious, super buttery, and have a perfect hint of pleasant saltiness. They’re a little dense and gooey, but I’m totally into that! They even have that iconic crackled crusty sugar top, as well as a really wonderful chewy edge thanks to the heavy cast iron they’re baked in.  Since they’re baked in a round skillet you can cut them into wedges, and that way every slice has a little bit of gooey center and chewy edge.

My favorite part of this recipe though, might have to be how crazy easy they are to make!

easy fudgy cocoa skillet brownies | Brooklyn Homemaker

easy fudgy cocoa skillet brownies

  • Servings: 8 - 16 depending on size
  • Print
adapted from Bon Appetit

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened dutch-process cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons confectioners (powdered) sugar, optional

Preheat oven to 325°F.

Over medium heat, melt butter in an 8 or 9 inch cast iron skillet. Let cool slightly.

Whisk sugar, cocoa, and salt in a medium bowl to combine. Pour butter in a steady stream into dry ingredients, leaving a light coating of butter in the skillet. Whisk to combine, then whisk in vanilla and eggs, one at a time. With a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, add flour and stir until just combined (do not over-mix). Scrape batter into buttered skillet and smooth the top. (If you don’t have a skillet, you can substitute a parchment lined and buttered 8×8 square baking dish)

Bake until edges look craggy, center rises but doesn’t wobble much, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached, 30-35 minutes.

Transfer skillet to a wire rack to cool completely. If desired, dust lightly with confectioners sugar. Cut into 8 to 16 wedges depending on how much you want. They’re so rich you probably should cut them into 16 wedges, but they’re so good you’ll want to cut them into 8.

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25 comments

  1. Oh my gosh, Tux, your photos are freaking gorgeous. Ok, so here is the scoop. I have been on a mission to find the perfect brownie recipe for months now. I’ve been trying different versions…all of them coming up short…you know, disappointing.

    My parents have been down with the flu for the last few days, and I was at their house on Monday making them chicken soup too. When I was out shopping for ingredients at their local and very quaint farmer’s market, I saw a box of brownies on the baked goods shelf. They looked good, but you know how that goes. You’re all excited to try them, but then the first bite is met with disappointment. This time, however, those brownies were rich, and fudgey, nutty, and yes…there was frosting…because I like frosting on my brownies (forgive me). They were exactly what I’ve been looking for….except, they were already made..which did me no good, because I want to make them to blog about!! I did, however, enjoy little slices of the brownies as I walked past them all day long. My mom tried to send them home with me, but I refused, knowing that I would have eaten the whole thing by 7pm.

    I’m definitely trying your brownies, with nuts and frosting (forgive me again). Like tonight. I want to make them tonight. Shoot, if I can find a way to get out of work early… then I’ll make them this afternoon. That’s how serious this brownie issue is with me. It’s serious, man. Critical. Crucial. Ok, I exaggerate.

    So, back to your photos. I love them. You have such a great talent… That is exactly the type of photo that I’m trying to achieve. I’ve been practicing and practicing…. I’m also on a mission to change up the whole blog…going back to the beginning….remaking everything… and reshooting them, and then switching out the photos….starting with the God awful lava cake. Every time I look at that post, I cringe.

    I’ve been scouring etsy and ebay… visiting antique barns and shops to find props for the last month. It’s time. It’s now or never. Ok, that’s exaggerating..it isn’t really “now or never” … I have time. I just want to get it done.

    Am I crazy? Probably. :-) We all need a little crazy in us to get through life, right? <3

    Awesome post. Love these brownies. I feel a bit of a cold coming on…I might have to leave work early… (cough, cough)….

    Sorry… I tend to jibber-jabber a little… <3

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much!!!

      I really hope you love the brownies as much as I do! They’re a little dense and gooey but I’m totally into that. As for the frosting- knock yourself out! It’s just not my thing. In fact, the confectioners sugar I put on was mostly for contrast in the photo but I don’t really think it was necessary. I guess I’m a purist when it comes to my chocolate!

      I’ve gotten most of my props from ebay- and a lot of the surfaces and backgrounds I use were DIYed. As for the actual camera part of the photography, (and the styling for that matter) the best way to improve is to play around and practice a lot! Take 10x more photos than you think you need for a post, try different angles, move things around, try adding different layers of towels and fabrics and stuff for texture. Play with lighting and experiment with the settings on your camera. I’m no expert but that’s whats seemed to work for me! About 3 or 4 months ago I moved my entire photography set up from my kitchen (with no windows and no natural light) into my bedroom where the light is much better- and my photos instantly looked a dillion times better to me. I guess you just have to be open to weird ideas and crazy changes and just play around until youre happy with the way things are looking!

      Reshooting old posts sounds like a great way to get that practice in. I debated for a long time about removing the old photos and putting in new ones but decided I’d rather just leave the old ones up and make a whole new post for the new photos to show the progress I’ve made.

      Again- I hope you love the brownies! GO home and nurse that nasty cough. I think chocolate and butter is supposed to be really good for a sore throat. haha!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I made them tonight! Oh yeah.. they are definitely a keeper. I can’t believe how rich and fudgy they are…and like two minutes to prep!! LOVE that!!

        While my plan was to use nuts and frosting…I wanted to taste them just as you have them here. They’re fabulous…and I do agree, they really don’t need anything else…. I will make them with nuts and frosting though…just to compare!!

        Thanks so much for sharing this, Tux. <3

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I have had several cast iron skillets for years from our camping days. I am now using them indoors and love them. I am very excited to add this recipe to my skillet uses, not to mention making my chocoholic self very happy! Thanks Tux!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree with Prudy (B,B&B) that your photos are amazing! I want to dive right into the screen :P

    I can see why you’ll be keeping this recipe – they look lovely. I remember at school we had a chocolate morning (it was the end of term. That’s not a usual thing on the UK syllabus;) ) and we made cocoa brownies (no chocolate) – oh wow: they were so good and I used that recipe for years. I’m not sure how the quantities compare to yours as they were in metric but they were similarly straightforward.

    And I LOVE your use of the skillet pan to save washing up – always a bonus!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh wow, even the batter looks so rich and fudgy, I love the fact that you don’t have to melt chocolate for this recipe, I too don’t like complicated brownie recipes, a must-try, thanks for sharing:)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh my I can’t wait to try this! This looks so easy and so good. I’ve been looking for a dessert without maple syrup or honey since I just ran out (and may be coming down with something so am hiding under the covers), and this seems to fit the bill! I too like the crispness in brownie edges but have never made a brownie that made me really want to make again (take it or leave it). Thank you for posting your lovely creation! I may just try this tonight.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I have tasted too many dry brownies, so I generally avoid them. I’m not presumptuous enough to think I could make a better brownie. Some day I will have to give that a try. Yours might be the place to start. Fudgy is what I think a brownie should be. I read the recipe. Looks like it would hard to make it dry unless you over baked them. Since you have much experience at making brownies. I need to sit up straight and pay attention. Ha!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Came across your blog after a google search for Skillet Brownies. Followed recipe exactly and these are the best brownies. So gooey/fudgy. Love the presentation in the skillet and perfect for entertaining. (Easy and delish!) I cut out a paper heart placed it on top and used it as a stencil to put confectioners sugar on top. Left me with a cute heart on my cake! Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. OMG, these are delicious, we’ll, I’ve only tried the corner, lol.my first attempt at making brownies from scratch. I had a square cast iron pan that I used. Exactly 30 minutes was perfect.

    Liked by 1 person

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