Ditch the boxed brownie mix! These Cocoa Brownies mix up quickly and taste amazing, full of chocolately flavor without the junk.
I love brownies. But, frankly I consider it ridiculous what they charge for a box of brownie mix. I rarely find it worth the price even with a coupon. Instead I make my own mixes.
In fact, when I’m really on my game, I make several batches of brownie mixes at once to stash in the pantry. Then we have a supply of brownie mix without the preservatives and other junk the big brands add.
This recipe for Cocoa Brownies is super easy to mix up, no fancy ingredients. No junk.
What ingredients do you need to make homemade cocoa brownies?
- all purpose flour
- cocoa powder
- baking powder
- vegetable oil
- vanilla extract
Can I use hot chocolate instead of cocoa powder instead of brownies?
You can. However hot chocolate mix already has sugar in it, so you would want to cut back on the sugar in the recipe.
Can you make brownies with butter instead of oil?
You absolutely can. You can replace all of the oil with melted butter .
One brownie recipe – many variations
One of the things I love about it — besides being able to make it into a mix — is that you can doctor it up in many different ways.
- Want peppermint brownies? No problem. Stir in peppermint extract and peppermint candies.
- Craving a little mocha flavor? Stir in some instant coffee or espresso powder?
- Care for a little south of the border flare? Mix in cinnamon and nuts.
There are really no limits to what you add to cocoa brownies. I tried it this past week with marshmallows and chocolate chips stirred in. I wasn’t sure what would happen. I can now safely report that it’s not a great idea. The marshmallows kind of melt and don’t give it that rocky road texture I was hoping for. In case you were wondering.
Can I freeze brownies?
Brownies are excellent for brown bagging, gift giving, and afternoon snacking. If you want something even quicker than a brownie mix, bake up your brownies. Cool them completely and cut into squares. Then store them in an airtight container. Store them in the freezer so they are ready when you are.
Hint: they are really good still cold, so you don’t have to wait for them to completely thaw. Yum!
Tools that I use for my brownie baking:
- stainless steel mixing bowls
- wooden spoons
- rubber spatula
- parchment paper – line the pan with this so the brownies don’t stick
- Pyrex 8-inch square baking dish – this one comes with the lid so that you can store the brownies in the pan.
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ⅔ cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
- ⅔ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup neutral oil
- 2 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- mix-ins for brownies choose 2 or 3: ¼ cup chopped walnuts, chocolate chips, M&Ms; 2 teaspoons instant coffee or espresso powder; ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 350. Grease an 8-inch square pan or line it with parchment paper.
- Place the oil, eggs, and vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl and stir to blend. Add the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt to the wet mixture. Stir gently to combine. Fold in mix-ins, if using. Spoon the batter into the prepared baking pan.
- Bake until a tester comes out with few crumbs attached, about 25 to 30 minutes. Cool. Cut into squares. Brownies can be wrapped in plastic wrap and stored in a ziptop freezer bag in the freezer for up to 2 months. or layered between waxed paper in an airtight container.
- If preparing this as a mix, mark a quart-size ziptop bag with the wet ingredients and baking instructions. Combine the dry ingredients in a bag and seal. Store in the pantry until ready to use. Store the mix in the freezer for longer shelf life.