Skip to content

Alice Medrich Cocoa Brownies- Food52 Genius Recipe



I talk about Food52 a lot, it’s a site I love, am active on and have met some really great people through. I previously posted the genius recipe for caramelized white chocolate, I really love that recipe. Today, Kristin Miglore one of the editors from Food52 posted a recipe for Cocoa Brownies by the great Alice Medrich. I immediately set out to make these brownies, you see I have been wanting to find a brownie recipe for quite a while that just uses cocoa powder, well here it is, and I am very excited.

The recipe is simple to make and yields a moist, rich brownie, I thought that a glaze would be nice, I  didn’t want a thick icing, just a hint is all thats needed, so I mixed some Kahlua with butter and confectioners sugar, chocolate and coffee are a very happy match in my opinion, Well these brownies are tremendous and if you are a fan of chocolate and brownies you will love this recipe and I wanted to share this you. I am including the headnote with the recipe. Enjoy!!

This recipe is one part of a master brownie recipe Medrich designed to use whatever chocolate you have in the house — but the best version happens to be the one that only requires cocoa powder. By taking out the chocolate, with its inevitable fat and almost-inevitable sugar, Medrich was able to control and fine-tune the proportions of both. When she added back in the fat (via butter), the middles stayed softer. When she added back in granulated sugar, the crusts were shinier and more candy-like. Any cocoa will work, but natural (not Dutch process) will taste more richly of chocolate. Recipe adapted slightly from <strong><a title=”Amazon: Bittersweet” href=”“>Bittersweet</a></strong> (Artisan, 2003)

Makes 16 large or 25 smaller brownies

  • 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-process)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cold large eggs
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (unsifted, measured by stirring briefly, spooning into the measuring cup until it’s heaped above the rim, then leveling it with a straight-edged knife or spatula — it should weigh nearly 5 ounces)
  • 2/3 cups walnut or pecan pieces (optional)
  1. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F. Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or foil, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides.
  2. Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a medium heatproof bowl and set the bowl in a wide skillet of barely simmering water. Stir from time to time until the butter is melted and the 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Bake until a toothpick plunged into the center emerges slightly moist with batter, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool completely on a rack.
  5. Lift up the ends of the parchment or foil liner, and transfer the brownies to a cutting board. Cut into 16 or 25 squares.


1 tbs softened unsalted butter

1/2 cup confectioners sugar

1 tbs Kahlua

Mix the butter and sugar together, add the kahlua and mix to combine, spread on cooled brownies. You can add a little more Kahlua if you like, I did, just watch that the glaze doesn’t get too thin. You can play around with it, add a little less of one ingredient and more of another. It’s fun to play!

43 Comments Post a comment
  1. Suzanne, I baked a batch today, too, after seeing Kristen’s column! She shares the best recipes, and Alice Medrich is the queen of chocolate. I just made her easy chocolate mousse and it’s terrific. Your brownies look scrumptious with the glaze topping! I subbed in almond flour for the all purpose flour, so mine are a bit flatter but totally delicious.

    February 27, 2013
    • I almost used some almond meal in the them but decided to keep it just flour, they are really good and so easy. Alice is the queen of chocolate and I love her recipes. Thanks so much.

      February 27, 2013
  2. I’m definitely making these – I pinned it when I saw Kristen’s column. I agree with Hannah – she shared the best recipes! And I love Alice Medrich’s cookbooks!! I’m going to use something like quinoa flour and coconut oil, so we’ll see how it all comes out…..

    February 27, 2013
    • Oh yes I think the quinoa flour and coconut oil would be amazing. I love genius recipes, there are some real gems, Thank you so much.

      February 27, 2013
  3. Yum! This looks great. One of my first posts was of cocoa brownies because I too had been on a search 🙂 I’ll have to compare to the one I have. Thanks for sharing!

    February 27, 2013
    • Thanks so much, would really love to see what your recipe is like, will check it out.

      February 27, 2013
      • It looks like all the same ingredients, just different amounts 🙂 It is funny how many ways you can make the same type of thing.

        February 28, 2013
      • It’s so true which is why it’s so hard to really call any recipe your own they are all basically the same with a few variations.

        February 28, 2013
      • Very true! 🙂

        February 28, 2013
  4. petit4chocolatier #

    Suzanne, these are on the top of my list to make! I love this recipe and they look really gooey and scrumptious! I have every single ingredient too 🙂
    You are the best!

    I hope you don’t mind if I reblog your link on my reblog page?

    February 27, 2013
    • Oh Judy, thank you, the brownies are amazing!!! Please do reblog., thank you so much!!

      February 27, 2013
  5. Wow! I can’t wait to make these! Looks great.

    February 27, 2013
    • Thank you, it’s a great recipe but how can you go wrong with anything from the Queen of Chocolate!

      February 27, 2013
  6. I love the look of that top layer!

    February 27, 2013
    • Thank you, it gives a nice break I guess you can say from the really rich chocolate, kind of like a glass of milk. A very thin layer goes a long way!

      February 27, 2013
  7. I would like one right now – with a good cup of steeped tea. Oh chocolate…. sigh – will be the end of me.

    February 27, 2013
    • Thanks so much, yes I have to have a at least some chocolate every day. Love it!

      February 28, 2013
  8. Oh goodness, I’ll need to make these soon. And I have always have Kahlua on hand for White Russians, so I’m all set there 🙂

    February 27, 2013
    • Me too, I always have Kahlua on hand. It’s so good. Thank you so much.

      February 28, 2013
  9. What moist and delicious chocolatey brownies 🙂

    Choc Chip Uru

    February 27, 2013
  10. I absolutely want to try this !! They look moist and delicious !
    I’ve never frosted brownies but these look amazing and the idea appealing ! I have to think about it 🙂

    Love xx

    February 28, 2013
    • It’s more of a glaze, a very thin coating just enough to add a little different taste to the chocolatey brownie. Thanks so much.

      February 28, 2013
  11. This sounds like a really good brownie recipe. I wonder how it would turn out using almond meal instead of flour (I can’t eat wheat). The Kahlua glaze sounds really wicked. Can’t wait to try these 🙂

    February 28, 2013
    • I believe Hannah from Blue Kale Road made them using almond meal and they turned out fine. I was going to add almond meal to mine but chickened out since it was my first time making the recipe and I try to stick to it exactly until I know the nuances. Thanks, it is delicious and the glaze is great on the brownies.

      February 28, 2013
  12. I’m definitely gonna try this one. I hate having to scrap a brownie idea or recipe because I don’t have enough chocolate.

    I was against the icing till I got to the Kahlua…perfect!

    February 28, 2013
    • I know I sometimes forget how much chocolate I have but rarely run out of the cocoa powder. The Kahlua is my favorite part! Thank you so much.

      February 28, 2013
  13. Oh goodness Suzanne, this looks delicious! I love your glaze on top….just enough! I JUST made a test recipe after dinner this evening, using just cocoa and almond flour so they can be gluten free. I don’t use eggs so I’m still working on it, but I’m 90% there with my recipe. People wanting to sub in almond flour here on this recipe would need to use a bit extra than the 1/2 cup flour called for, since almond flour is much less absorbent than wheat, making the batter more runny and the brownies wetter and flatter. Anytime I bake with almond flour, I either use more, or use less liquid. 🙂
    I always love your creative twists!!

    March 1, 2013
    • Thats a really good tip regarding the almond flour, it’s not as absorbent as wheat. Good advice and aI can’t wait to see your take on this. What would you use to give it some rise? Maybe baking powder/soda? Thank you so much.

      March 1, 2013
      • Oh no, I wasn’t testing this recipe, lol! I was just saying that I was testing a new gluten free brownie recipe myself using just cocoa…just so it’s easier for people. I’ve been wanting to make a gluten free almond flour recipe forever since I have so many followers that are gluten free. I use almond flour alot. It’s delicious, healthy and makes everything incredibly moist. I perfected the recipe this morning after probably 8 variations, lol! It’s amazing how such subtle changes can drastically affect the outcome.
        For rise in mine, I use tapioca starch and apple cider vinegar and baking powder. The Apple cider vinegar works really well with the baking powder in gluten free, eggless baking. Also, I use tapioca starch because it gives a subtle springy, eggy texture and structure in gluten free. It hold together remarkably well. A little bit goes a long way. Ok, I’ve rambled enough on your page, lol! 🙂

        March 1, 2013
      • Got it! LOL, I get ahead of myself. Always looking for good alternative recipes to the standards and you are an excellent resource. I always look forward to your take on a recipe. So pardon if I get a little excited!!

        March 1, 2013
  14. theducksong #

    your blog has great recipes 🙂
    just browsed through a few of them and they’re amazing. i’m so happy Vino in Love recommend me this blog.
    There is nothing better than delicious home-cooked food paired together with stunning wines.

    March 5, 2013
    • Thank you, I rely on Vino in Love and Stefano from clicks and corks for information regarding wines. I am so happy you found my little blog. Thank you for visiting.

      March 6, 2013
  15. This is slightly odd. I’ve just cooked this recipe: and it hasn’t turned out very well for me. The recipe within the link has differences, like 11 tbsp x butter, 1 x cup cocoa and only a 1/3 x AP flour. Is your recipe accurate to that of A Medrich? It’s funny how I immediately thought of searching through your blog for a brownie recipe as I would trust yours to work. So disappointed in the result of the one I’ve just baked. Still haven’t tasted it, as yet. But the top isn’t at all crunchy. This is the fourth time to bake brownies, the other three recipes I made up. Those were fab! Problem is, I don’t actually know how brownies should taste like. Any advice?

    August 23, 2014
    • Hi Johnny, my recipe is Alice Medrich recipe from Food52 Recipe girl uses a different recipe, in my opinion not enough cocoa or flour. I really love the Medrich recipe, it’s really good as a matter of fact I was planning on making them again funny you brought them up. The top should be shiny and crackly looking not really crunchy but it looks that way, Some brownies are fudgy and super moist some cake like, I like my brownies to be a little of both which is why I love this recipe. It really depends which team you are on fudgy or cakey, how the brownie should taste, sweet, chocolatey, rich and delicious. I as I said am in the middle, I don’t like them too dense but definitely not too much like cake either. Am I making sense. The Medrich recipe in my opinion falls right smack dab in the middle.

      August 23, 2014
      • That’s all beginning to make sense. If the following makes any sense at all. I love to base my recipe/s – albeit loosely – on an existing one, then find and try a recipe that should be authentic. Which is what I’m doing. The first three were all experiments. But as I don’t really know how brownies should taste (they’re not that popular over here and only available in mini size but in large packs) I decided to try the linked version. Which they do state is from A Medrich book. I’ve just eaten a massive dessert of two (no less) of the latest batch and one of my favourites from my third. And this latest is the first with only white sugar and no 85% dark chocolate (the one I buy is superb in flavour). The differences are vast – there’s no depth of flavour to this one. Just that sugar hit, that is slightly crunchy. I’ll have to try your recipe to note the differences. Oops, sorry about the essay. And thanks for the links. It’s getting late here so I’ll check them out tomorrow. Hope you’re enjoying your weekend! 🙂

        August 23, 2014
      • Let me know what you think. The solitary cooks recipe is great because it uses both bar chocolate and cocoa. Working all weekend, you enjoy your Sunday!

        August 23, 2014
    • Here is another recipe that I like, she is a fantastic cook.

      August 23, 2014
  16. Suzanne, these brownies are beautimous! I would like to feature this one next weekend, unless you have another preference. Certainly send me a note if you object. Mega hugs!

    August 8, 2016

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. A Super Sweet Trip to Vegas | Miss Chris Creations
  2. Guitar Mancer — Episode 20: Hippies | Teagan's Books

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: