These homemade cocoa brownies are so much better than box brownie mix and just as easy to make! These delicious brownies are chewy and packed with chocolate flavor from dark cocoa powder. If you are looking to make homemade brownies from scratch, this is the best brownie recipe for you!
Ingredients for Cocoa Brownies
- Unsalted butter: Melt with the brown sugar to make a crackly top.
- Brown sugar: Light brown sugar.
- Granulated sugar: Whip granulated sugar with the eggs to create the perfect brownie texture.
- Eggs: Large eggs, room temperature.
- Vanilla extract: Vanilla extract enhances the chocolate flavor.
- Vegetable oil: Creates a chewy texture.
- Salt: Enhances the flavors and contrasts the sweetness in the brownies.
- Baking powder: A tiny bit of baking powder helps to create the perfect chewy texture.
- Dark unsweetened cocoa powder: Dark cocoa powder is a must in this recipe for the best chocolate flavor and dark brown color. For this recipe, I used Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa Powder. which is a dutch process cocoa.
- All-purpose flour: Creates the structure for the brownies.
*If desired, feel free to add in one cup of semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips, walnut or pecan pieces, or other delicious add-in for flavor variations!
How to Make Cocoa Brownies
Here is the basic breakdown of the steps involved in making these cocoa brownies.
- Preheat oven and prepare 8-inch square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray and parchment paper.
- Melt together butter and brown sugar in the microwave. Stir to combine.
- Whip granulated sugar and eggs with an electric hand mixer for a few minutes until light and fluffy.
- Slowly add melted butter mixture to egg mixture. Add vanilla extract and vegetable oil.
- Add in salt, baking powder, dark cocoa powder, and all-purpose flour. Mix until combined.
- Pour the brownie batter into the prepared baking pan and bake for 25-28 minutes.
- Remove from the oven. Cool the brownies in the pan to room temperature before removing and cutting.
Cocoa Brownies Recipe Tips
Melting the butter and brown sugar
One of the ways to create a crackly top on the brownies is to melt the butter and brown sugar together and add it to the egg mixture while hot. Combine the butter and brown sugar in a microwave-safe bowl and heat in the microwave for approximately 90 seconds. Mix the butter and brown sugar together so it is well combined before adding to the whipped egg mixture. See below how to temper the eggs.
Whip the eggs and granulated sugar for a few minutes
One key step to getting the perfect texture and crackly top on the brownies is to whip the eggs and granulated sugar for a few minutes with an electric hand mixer. Whipping the eggs and sugar together whips air into the mixture which creates the perfect chewy brownie texture. The egg mixture is ready when it has increased in volume and turned a pale yellow color.
Tempering the egg mixture
Slowly drizzle the hot melted butter and brown sugar mixture into the whipped eggs while mixing with an electric mixer. This process is known as “tempering”, which gradually increases the temperature of the egg mixture. Tempering prevents the eggs from scrambling.
Dark cocoa powder
Dark cocoa powder is a must in this recipe! As we are not using additional melted chocolate in the brownie batter, we need a rich, dark cocoa powder to bring the intense chocolate flavor and dark brown color. My favorite brand to use is the Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa Powder.
Prepare the baking pan for easy removal
To prepare the baking pan, I love spraying the 8×8 baking pan with nonstick spray and lining the pan with parchment paper. Cut the parchment paper so that it fits the bottom of the pan and extends up the sides of the pan. When the brownies have cooled, simply lift up on the opposite sides of the excess parchment paper to remove the brownies from the pan.
Baking to perfection
The brownies will bake in a 350 degree F oven for about 25-28 minutes. To check for doneness, insert a toothpick in the center of the brownies. The toothpick should come out with moist crumbs, not wet brownie batter. If there is wet brownie batter, bake for a few more minutes until you get moist crumbs!
Storing the brownies
Store the cocoa brownies in an airtight container at room temperature for about 3 days (if they last that long). The serving size will vary depending on how you cut the brownies. Be sure to cut the brownies when they are completely cooled. Serve the brownies at room temperature or warm in the microwave for 10 seconds and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!
- 8×8 baking pan
- Electric hand mixer
- ¾ cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup brown sugar
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs room temperature
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- ¾ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp baking powder
- ⅔ cup dark cocoa powder
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and prepare an 8×8 baking pan with nonstick cooking spray and parchment paper.
- In a microwave-safe bowl, combine unsalted butter and brown sugar. Heat in the microwave for 90 seconds until the butter is fully melted. Whisk the butter and brown sugar together until combined and smooth.
- In a large mixing bowl, add eggs and granulated sugar. Use an electric hand mixer to whip the eggs and sugar on medium-high speed for a few minutes until light and pale in color.
- Slowly add the melted butter mixture into the egg mixture while mixing on medium speed with the hand mixer to temper the eggs. Once all the butter mixture is added, add in vanilla extract and vegetable oil and mix until combined.
- Add in salt, baking powder, and dark cocoa powder and mix on low speed until well combined. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.
- Add in all-purpose flour and mix on low speed until the flour is fully incorporated into the chocolate mixture.
- Pour the brownie batter into the prepared baking pan. Use an offset spatula to spread the batter evenly in the pan.
- Bake the brownies for approximately 25-28 minutes until the center of the brownies is set. To check for doneness, insert a toothpick into the center of the brownies. The toothpick should come out with moist crumbs, not wet brownie batter. If there is wet brownie batter, bake for a few more minutes.
- Remove the pan from the oven and cool the brownies in the pan to room temperature. Remove the brownies from the pan and cut into squares.