Decadent brownies

June 20, 2010 at 10:32 pm (A (4 stars, love, favorite), Alice Medrich, Alma's faves, Brownies and bars, Cook's Illustrated, Derek's faves, Dessert, Necessarily nonvegan, Yearly menu plan)

This recipe happens to come from Alice Medrich’s low fat cookbook (Chocolate and the Art of Lowfat Desserts).  But to my taste it makes the perfect brownie: intense chocolate flavor and a little gooey in the middle but with a perfectly textured brownie top.


  • 1 cup sifted all-purpose flour (In the recipe it specifies precisely 4 ounces!)
  • 1/2 cup plus 1/2 Tbs. unsweetened dutch process cocoa
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 5 Tbs. butter
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. instant espresso powder or coffee powder, dissolved in 1 tsp. hot water


  1. Position the rack in lower third of oven and preheat to 350 F (325 F if using a glass pan).  Oil an 8-inch square pan.
  2. Stir together the flour, cocoa, salt, and baking powder.
  3. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan.  Off the heat, stir in the sugar until combined (texture will remain sandy).  Add the egg, egg whites, vanilla, and dissolved espresso powder.  Beat with a wooden spoon about 40 strokes, scraping the sides of the pan as necessary.  Add the dry ingredients and beat for another 40 strokes, or just until completely mixed.  (You can also use a handheld mixture–just don’t overdo the mixing.)
  4. Scrape mixture into prepared pan.  Spread evenly.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out a little gooey.  Cool on a rack.  Cut into 16 squares.
  5. Brownies may be stored, well wrapped, for about 2 days at room temperature or frozen for up to 2 months.

Nutritional stats per brownie:  Calories:  134, fat 4.5 grams (29% of calories), protein 2.2 grams, carbs 22.8 grams.

Cooks Illustrated’s cookbook The Best Light Recipe also contains a recipe for brownies, but it’s quite different.  It only calls for 1/2 cup flour (rather than 1 cup), 2 Tbs. butter (rather than 5 Tbs.),  1/2 cup sugar (rather than 1 1/4 cups).  It also doesn’t use the extra egg whites.   What it adds is 3 ounces semisweet chocolate.  The technique is similar.  They melt the chocolate and butter, add the sugar, cocoa and eggs, then fold in the flour.  The cook’s illustrated brownies (for 1/16th of the pan) contain 98 calories and 3.8 grams fat.  I’ve never tried this recipe but at some point I’d like to do a head to head test, along with a full fat brownie recipe.  It’s hard to imagine anything could beat the Alice Medrich recipe.

1 Comment

  1. Gooey bittersweet brownies | The captious vegetarian said,

    […] already have an Alice Medrich cocoa-only brownie recipe I like a lot, but this one was featured on the Food52 Genius Recipes page, and has been getting […]

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