Cocoa Brownies with Browned Butter and Walnuts

Cover recipe- Bon Appetit, Cocoa Brownies with Browned Butter & Walnuts: February 2011

I can’t tell you how many people have told me they swooned upon receiving this issue of Bon Appetit magazine. I know I did. The Cocoa Brownies from the cover are completely droolworthy in every sense of the word. How I managed to have my copy for 16 whole hours before making them? One will never know.

Bon Appetit included these Cocoa Brownies with Browned Butter and Walnuts in a round-up of delicious chocolate recipes, and most of them sounded cover-worthy. So why did these brownies beat out the others to make the front?

Read below to see what I thought of the results…

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Cocoa Brownies with Browned Butter and Walnuts

Yield: 16 brownies

Prep Time: 20 min + chill time

Cook Time: 35 min


Nonstick vegetable oil spray
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder (spooned into cup to measure, then leveled)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs, chilled
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon unbleached all purpose flour
1 cup walnut pieces


1. Position rack in bottom third of oven; preheat to 325°F. Line 8x8x2-inch metal baking pan with foil, pressing foil firmly against pan sides and leaving 2-inch overhang. Coat foil with nonstick spray.
2. Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Continue cooking until butter stops foaming and browned bits form at bottom of pan, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; immediately add sugar, cocoa, 2 teaspoons water, vanilla, and 1/4 teaspoon (generous) salt. Stir to blend. Let cool 5 minutes (mixture will still be hot).
3. Add eggs to hot mixture 1 at a time, beating vigorously to blend after each addition. When mixture looks thick and shiny, add flour and stir until blended. Beat vigorously 60 strokes. Stir in nuts. Transfer batter to prepared pan.
4. Bake brownies until toothpick inserted into center comes out almost clean (with a few moist crumbs attached), about 25 minutes. Cool in pan on rack. Using foil overhang, lift brownies from pan. Cut into 4 strips. Cut each strip crosswise into 4 brownies. DO AHEAD Can be made 2 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.


*I baked my brownies a bit longer than the stated recipe, by about 2 full minutes. I could have pushed it another minute, but didn’t want to take a chance in overbaking them. They turned out delightfully gooey but still set.
*Definitely use the tip of lining the pan with foil or parchment as an overhang. It makes removing the brownies from the pan a snap, and you are able to cut them into perfect square servings.
*Use the very best cocoa you can find. I used Scharffen Berger, but Ghirardelli would work as well. All you taste is the cocoa, and you’ll want to be using the good stuff.
*Because I was afraid they wouldn’t be chocolatey enough, I threw a small handful of milk chocolate chips into the mix with the walnut. They were a great addition.
*The mixing of the recipe by hand is a difficult task. I suggest using a mixer versus a regular whisk. My arms are still feeling the burn 3 days later.
*If you’ve never browned butter before, it is better to underbrown it versus burn it. Just keep an eye out, and your sense of smell. Once it starts emitting a nice nutty aroma, you’re on the right track. Stir continuously for the best results.
*Be sure to add the butter while it is still HOT to the sugar. It’s the only way to get that massive amount of sugar to become less gritty.
*These brownies are every bit as good the day after making, stored at room temperature in an air tight container. They would be perfect for Valentines Day, and take less time to make than running out to WalMart to purchase a box of chocolates.

Nutritional Information per serving:
Serving size: 1 brownie
Calories per serving: 199.7
Fat per serving: 12.7g
Saturated Fat per serving: 5.2g
Sodium per serving: ,span class="sodium">45.3g
Fiber per serving: 1.9g
Protein per serving: 3.7g
Cholesterol per serving: 45.3mg
Carbohydrates per serving: 20.8g

Source: Bon Appetit, February 2011

The results:

Perfect. In fact, I am so enamored with them that they have become my go-to brownie recipe. It’s easily adaptable and I am looking forward to making them again with little changes, like orange oil, peppermint, candy pieces…you name it!

Did this recipe deserve the cover spotlight?

Did this recipe deserve the cover spotlight? Yes, yes they do. They were simple to put together, required no effort at all, and I always have the ingredients on hand. Bon Appetit claimes them as the best brownies they’ve ever eaten, but I’m not sure I’d take it that far. They are GREAT, but the best part for me is the flavor/results based on the amount of effort involved. That’s what makes them so wonderful!

Lori is the founder of She's a professional recipe developer and food writer, and she's the author of The Recipe Girl Cookbook (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: April 2013). Beyond food, Lori enjoys traveling, being outdoors, running, and maybe even singing a little karaoke. The mountains near Lake Tahoe are home for Lori and her husband of 18 years. They have an 12 year-old son who blogs at

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5 Responses to “Spaghetti with Parsley Pesto”

  1. 1

    Tieghan — July 15, 2013 @ 7:41 am

    Mmm! This sounds like a perfect quick and easy summer meal!

  2. 2

    Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet — July 15, 2013 @ 11:48 am

    I love pesto pasta! Perfect summer dish!

  3. 3

    Nessa — July 15, 2013 @ 4:38 pm

    YUM! Nothing else to say ;)

  4. 4

    Faith — July 17, 2013 @ 10:29 pm

    This is such a fun twist on a classic pesto! I’d love to try it.

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    […] should also head on over to Culinary Covers to check out this spaghetti with parsley pesto, which is the latest and greatest in the world of summer […]

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