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Suzi had a question, “Do you have a recipe for dark cocoa?”

I lied, “Sure.” Then I dashed off to search. Suzi continued our project of clearing out our freezer. We had collection of flour and cocoas that we had bought a couple of years ago. You buy stuff, you intend on using it, you freeze it to save it, and then the items are just forgotten. Packed at the back of the freezer and covered up by the more recent acquisitions, like those bagels we plan on using. Someday.

We had dark cocoa powder from King Arthur and it would be a sin to waste it. So, I did find the perfect recipe for cocoa powder. This brownie comes from The Good Cookie by Tish Boyle, a cookie collection that will bring you joy.

This is now our “go to” brownie. Cakey, soft, with the distinct flavor that cocoa provides. And, the tang of sour cream. The cocoa powder actually is a dry substitute for flour — this recipe has only ½ cup of flour for 12 tablespoons of butter! Never fear. It works.

Cocoa perfection. Oh, there’s bittersweet as well!

Dark Victory Brownies

Yield: 1 ¾ cups


  • 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 14 tablespoons [1 ¾ sticks] unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
  • ½ cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1 ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • ⅓ cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped


Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F. Line a 9-inch square pan with aluminum foil so that the foil extends 2 inches beyond two opposite sides of the pan. Grease the foil.

In the top of a double boiler over barely simmering water, heat the bittersweet chocolate and butter, stirring occasionally, until melted and smooth. Transfer to a medium bowl.

Using a wooden spoon, beat in the cocoa powder and sugar until well blended. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Beat in the sour cream and vanilla extract. Add the flour and salt and mix just until blended. Stir in the pecans.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out with a few moist crumbs clinging to it. Place the pan on a wire rack and cool completely.

Using the foil as handles, lift the brownies out of the pan. Cut the brownies into 16 squares.

Source: The Good Cookie by Tish Boyle [Wiley, 2002]

Photo Information: Canon T2i, EFS 60mm Macro Lens, F/4 for 1/30th second at ISO‑1600