Want a big-time chocolate experience? You’ve got to try these Dark Cocoa Powder Brownies. They’re amazingly fudgy, dense, and rich!
Easy Cocoa Powder Brownies
I’ve made countless batches of homemade brownies over the years, which is evidenced by the sheer size of the brownies section of my Recipe Index. I rarely meet a brownie I don’t like, and my tastes for them are all over the place. Whether they’re cakey or fudgy, plain or with nuts, or anything in between, I’m likely to devour it with pleasure.
These Dark Cocoa Powder Brownies are at the far end of a few brownie-related spectrums. Fudgy? Most definitely. Dense? Yep. Rich? Oh, yeah. If that sounds like brownie perfection to you, then get ready to get baking.
Using cocoa powder in brownies adds plenty of chocolate flavor while keeping the brownies dense and fudgy. Plus, you don’t have to melt chocolate, so you can get these mixed and in the oven quicker and easier.
What You’ll Need
See the recipe card at the bottom of this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions. Here are some notes about the ingredients you’ll need to make these cocoa powder brownies.
- All-purpose flour – Measure by weight or use the spoon and sweep method for best results. (See my tips section below for more info.)
- Dark cocoa powder – See my note below about cocoa powder.
- Unsalted butter – After melting the butter for these brownies, let it cool for a few minutes so it’s still warm but not hot.
- Granulated sugar
- Eggs – Set these out to come to room temperature for easier mixing.
- Vanilla extract
What is Dark Cocoa Powder?
Dark cocoa powder is made by treating cocoa beans with an alkalizing agent, which neutralizes the natural acidity of the cocoa. This process results in a darker color and a milder, less bitter flavor compared to natural cocoa powder.
If you take that treatment a step further, you get black cocoa powder. It has a very dark, almost black color and a strong, deep flavor.
I like to use dark cocoa powder for richness and color in these brownies. As you can see in these photos, that dark cocoa makes these brownies super dark. It also adds a deeper chocolate flavor that’s sure to hit the spot for you dark chocolate fans. If you like, you can use regular unsweetened cocoa powder for a lighter color and less intense flavor. Either natural or Dutch process cocoa will work for this recipe.
How to Make Dark Cocoa Powder Brownies
With a short list of ingredients and an easy prep, you’ll have these brownies mixed and baking in short order! Here’s what you’ll need to do:
Prepare for baking. Heat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan, or line the pan with parchment paper and grease the paper and any exposed parts of the inside of the pan.
Combine the dry ingredients. Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt.
Mix the wet ingredients. Stir together the melted butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl, and then add the eggs and vanilla. Mix well.
Finish mixing. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in three portions, mixing just until combined.
Bake. Spread the brownie batter evenly in the prepared pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs.
Cool. Place the pan on a wire rack, and allow the brownies to cool at least 15 minutes before cutting into bars. The warmer they are, the more likely they are to crumble when cut.
Tips for Success
I’ve revisited this recipe over the years and found a few things to keep in mind to ensure brownie success!
- Measure accurately. If you have a kitchen scale, use it. Otherwise, lightly spoon the flour and cocoa powder into a measuring cup and level. Dipping a measuring cup down into a container will inevitably compact the ingredient, giving you more than you need for the recipe. If you need a refresher on measuring accurately, see my tips for How to Measure Flour.
- Use a high quality dark cocoa. I prefer King Arthur’s dark cocoa powder, linked below the recipe.
- Don’t over-mix. You’ll lose some of that dense, fudgy texture.
- Use a light, non-shiny metal pan. A dark pan will bake the brownies faster and you’ll end up with hard, tough brownies, especially around the edges.
- Don’t over-bake. A pick inserted into the center should have a few moist crumbs attached. If baked too long, the brownies will become tough and dry.
- Remember that these are dense, fudgy brownies. Don’t expect a light, crumbly brownie like many traditional versions.
Ideas for Variations
For a nutty twist, add about a cup of chopped pecans, walnuts, or other nuts to the batter. You could add the same amount of chocolate chips instead if you like. They’re great in any form, although I really like them just as they are for a full-on chocolate experience.
If you can bear to wait, these Dark Cocoa Powder Brownies are even better the next day after baking. They somehow get even richer and fudgier. I love that they are such an all-out chocolate experience. Smaller than usual brownies may be a good idea here, as these pack a lot of rich flavor. Simply eat them out of hand or top with a little ice cream for an even more decadent dessert!
How to Store
Store the cooled brownies in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days.
For longer storage, you can freeze these brownies. Place them in a freezer-safe container or storage bag. If you like, wrap each brownie in plastic wrap first to make it easy to grab one or two at a time. Properly stored, they should keep in the freezer up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature before serving.