This is my all-time best-received American recipe in Europe. I know I’m not alone; I had the great pleasure of reading David Lebovitz’s Sweet Life in Paris, where he frequently mentions carting batches of his killer brownies around Paris for the sole purpose solidifying new partnerships and making friends. Think of it as gastronomic diplomacy. This is my absolute go-to recipe, I can make it with my eyes closed in record time, and have been known to whip up a batch for hungry friends at 3:oo in the morning if adequately begged to do so. I’m posting it today in honor of Anice & Cannella’s Roundup of American Recipes. I was pleasantly surprised to come across her post featuring a recipe from my book and launching the roundup.

Cocoa Brownies

  • 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cold large eggs
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup walnut or pecan pieces, chopped (optional)

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square pan with aluminum foil, leaving an overhang on both sides.

Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in double boiler. Stir from time to time until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth and hot. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

Stir in the vanilla, and then add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one. When the batter looks thick and well blended, stir in the flour, then beat vigorously for one minute with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Stir in the nuts, if using. Spread evenly in the prepared pan.

Bake until a toothpick stuck into the center emerges only slightly moist with batter, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool completely, then lift out the foil and peel it away. Cut the brownies into 16 or 25 squares.

Anice & Cannella’s Roundup:


  • the best brownies….i tried baking it yesterday and i can’t stop eating…. it’s so gut that it melts on your mouth…. i shared it with my friends…. it is so simple and yet so yummy….thanks for sharing this recipe….

  • Ciao Luiza! Certamente! E’ un po’ che sto pensando di provare una nuova ricetta da cheesecake, prima poi ve lo faro’!

  • A proposito… credo che manche uma famosa torta americana che adoro… il cheese cake! Ci regalerai una ricetta prima o poi? : ))

  • Hello! : )

    Questa ricetta sembra buonissima e, come buona golosona che sono, la proverò senz’altro!
    Complimenti! Il tuo blog è bellissimo!

    A presto!


  • @Am: I’m glad to hear from you! Brownies are very beloved, and good for the spirit… I agree!
    @Luciana: Glad you like the recipe, and thanks for the compliments!
    @Kate: I have ruined many chocolate chip cookies in my life, especially before I figured out the difference between American and Italian flour. Batch after batch of collapsed, greasy sugar bombs… not that it stopped me from devouring them. I hate to waste sugar. Miss you!

  • Hey Ciao.
    I am an Am. Indian artist who comes to Italy and found love, my wife Silvia. We live on Pantelleria and send you una grande baci….is a very nice receipe for the beloved brownie, is very good for the spirit to have these here. Many thanks.

  • I made this recipe after RUINING a batch of chocolate chip cookies. Thanks to you, I am redeemed. Love from Chicago! -Kate

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