Best-ever Cocoa Brownie. And the miracle.

Cocoa brownie

I have been down with a really nasty flu this week. Second time this winter. With that comes medication, and hours staying inside without the strength to do anything interesting.

I learn something in the past few days – acceptance. My friend, H., she may never get well again. And this last stage of cancer is hard and cruel. There is no easy way out. The miracle that we all hoped for might never come truth. But then, isn’t life, and the time we had together in highschool a miracle in itself? It is a miracle since 10 years have passed and I still remember H. so vividly. The memory of us riding our motobikes through the old quarter of Hanoi. I was at the back, and she rode so fast. Young, wild and full of life.

Another corner, another point of view

You may guess it – I haven’t been that active in the kitchen. The brownie in the photo is something I made a while back. It’s a classic recipe from Alice Medrich. I love this brownie – fudgy and intensely chocolaty. While I am not a big fan of these brownie shots, I thought the recipe is good enough to be mentioned and shared around :).

Best ever cocoa brownie

A recipe by Alice Medrich. As seen on my favourite buddy Patricia’s blog.

Vietnamese text of the recipe can be found here.

10 tablespoons (140g/1 ¼ sticks) unsalted butter
1 ¼ (250g) cups sugar – I used vanilla sugar
¾ cup + 2 tablespoons (80g) unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-process)
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cold large eggs
½ cup (70g) all-purpose flour
2/3 cup (74g) walnut or pecan pieces (optional)

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 160°C/325°F. Line the bottom and sides of a 20cm (8in) square baking pan with foil, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides. Butter the foil.

In a medium heatproof bowl, add the butter and set on top of a large sauce pan with barely simmering water. Melt the butter, then add sugar and salt, and stir until well combined. Next add the cocoa powder and stir until mixture is smooth and hot enough that you want to remove your finger fairly quickly after dipping it in to test. Remove the bowl from the skillet and set aside briefly until the mixture is only warm, not hot.

Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one. When the batter looks thick, shiny, and well blended, add the flour and stir until you cannot see it any longer, then beat vigorously for 40 strokes with the wooden spoon or a rubber spatula. Stir in the nuts, if using. Spread evenly in the lined pan.

Bake until a toothpick plunged into the center emerges slightly moist with batter, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool completely on a rack.

Lift up the ends of the parchment or foil liner, and transfer the brownies to a cutting board. Cut into 16 or 25 squares.

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26 Responses to Best-ever Cocoa Brownie. And the miracle.

  1. Peter G @ Souvlaki For The Soul says:

    Thank you for sharing this poignant post. I'm very sorry about your friend…and thank you for the brownie recipe.

  2. Monet says:

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your friend. Thank you for sharing such a hard and difficult journey. These brownies look rich and fudge-like, a perfect recipe.

  3. Angie Lives to Eat (and Cook)! says:

    Aww *hugs* sorry to hear about your friend, and that you are stuck at home sick. Hope you get well soon and back to your regular self. Mmm so best ever brownies ay? Might have to add that to my cooking wishlist.

  4. Maria @ Scandi Foodie says:

    So sorry to hear about your friend! These brownies look beautiful.

  5. OohLookBel says:

    Sending encouraging thoughts to you and your friend. Thanks for taking time out to write about it.

  6. Forager @ The Gourmet Forager says:

    Sorry to hear the bad news about your friend, but I hope your friend can still find positivity within acceptance. Sending positive vibes your way!

  7. Agnes says:

    Oh Anh, you've made me all teary. All the best for your friend (and for yourself, I hope you get over your flu soon). xx

  8. Rosa's Yummy Yums says:

    Lovely brownies! I'm so sorry to hear about your dear friend. In thoughts with you both…

  9. Faith says:

    I agree, the memories and time spent together is a miracle in itself. It's a real reminder to cherish every moment.

  10. Ana Powell says:

    Sorry to hear about your friend, in thoughts with you both.

  11. Little Corner of Mine says:

    So sorry to hear about your friend. Thanks for sharing the brownie recipe.

  12. redmenace says:

    I'm so sorry to hear you've been sick. I am sending healthy vibes your way. The brownie looks wonderful! xoxox

  13. Radhika says:

    This is a recipe I was looking for. It is easy to whip up these decadent brownies when I don't have chocolate at home

  14. Pam says:

    I am so sorry about your friend. I am thinking of you.

  15. tigerfish says:

    Sorry to hear about your friend and you have to get better soon ok?

  16. Kitchen Butterfly says:

    Sorry to hear your news – I hope her remaining time is full of joy, and not so much pain. Take care and stay well. Beautiful photos too

  17. Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets says:

    I'm sorry to hear about both your illness and your friend's, but your recollection of your childhood adventures that helped create this strong bond between you two brought a smile to my face. Hope you feel better soon and that another miracle might come to H. The brownies sounds great, by the way.

  18. Soma says:

    So sorry to hear about your friend. Life is a miracle and hoping and praying that more happens. I have seen my mom go through the excruciating pains of cancer. I pray with all my heart that each day becomes a little easy on her.

  19. Jo says:

    Anh, I am so sorry about your friend. Please take care of yourself and try to think of happy thoughts. Memories of friendship will always be kept alive even when someone dear is not with us.

  20. veron says:

    Sorry to hear about your friend. I agree brownies are hard to shoot. Alice Medrich's brownie recipes are the best!

  21. Johanna GGG says:

    sorry to hear you are unwell and facing the devastation of cancer in your life – life can be cruel – I am sure the time you have with H will be special, knowing as you do that it is limited. Glad you shared the brownie recipe – I must try it.

  22. Hannah says:

    I am so sorry to hear about your friend! My prayers are with you both! Theses brownies look amazing!

  23. Cath @ Moo-Lolly-Bar says:

    Sorry to hear about your friend but thank you for sharing the recipe.

  24. Patricia Scarpin says:

    Oh, sweetie… I'm so sorry for your friend. Cancer took away my mom 24 years ago, and she was only 32. Whenever I see someone going through this s.o.b. disease my heart breaks a little. Hang in there, Anh.

  25. Anonymous says:

    I'm sad to hear about your dear friend. Please know you are in my thoughts…

  26. Anonymous says:

    I love this recipe! it's the best brownie! thanks Anh!

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