Brownies like chocolate chip cookies are one of those recipes we all have to know how to make.
It is not mandatory of course, but having a good recipe up your sleeve is a real day-saver in many occasions.
Family gatherings, birthdays, and any kind of occasion where you want to bring sweets on a table, require a good recipe you can rely on. Nothing turns around a bad day like a brownie, either!
This is my ace up the sleeve, or as I like to call it, my”desperation brownie”. It is a real savior and the best thing is that you need only few ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry.
You don’t need any condensed milk, no super fancy ingredients, just good old cacao, butter, flour, sugar, and some flavor from coffee and vanilla. You can even substitute cocoa for cacao in a pinch.
You can make these chocolatey bad boys at any time and in just 30 minutes. Top these with ice cream, whipped cream, or some chopped nuts.
This little recipe is perfect for when you’re craving some gooey brownie goodness, but don’t need a whole batch of brownies on your hand. You can whip up a quick set in the toaster oven, with no worries about leftovers.
Despite being an easy recipe you can just throw in the toaster oven, they are just as chocolatey and crave-worthy like any brownie recipe worth it’s salt – err, sugar.
Let’s get baking!
Cacao Vs Cocoa – What’s the Difference?
Cacao and cocoa are often confused with one another, especially because of their similar spellings! They look like practically the same word, but they are quite different.
Cacao and cocoa do both come from the cacao plant (where chocolate ultimately comes from), but the two are handled differently.
The main difference is that cocoa is processed at high temperatures, which destroys some of the natural benefits of the cacao beans.
Cacao powder is made from fermented beans that are processed at low temperatures. This preserves the natural antioxidants but also its natural bitter taste.
Cacao comes in its natural state, but cocoa sometimes comes with sugar in it. Although if you are used to buying baking cocoa, you already know how to differentiate between sweetened and unsweetened varieties.
Can I Substitute Cocoa For Cacao?
Yes, you can substitute cocoa powder for cacao, but there are some things you’ll need to know before you try it:
- When baking with cacao you must know it is a bit stronger and more bitter. If you are expecting the same flavorful effect with cocoa you will have to add a bit more to achieve that flavor.
- Cocoa powder does not absorb that much liquid, so when adding cocoa look out for the liquid levels.
- Cocoa powder, unlike cacao, is less acidic and will not react with the baking soda same. So, if substituting the cacao with cocoa, make sure you add extra of the baking soda as well.
Easy Brownie Tips
Brownies may be simple, but if you’re new to baking there are still a few tips you may appreciate knowing. Plus, even experienced bakers can always use a refresher:
- Always preheat your oven. As these brownies are ready in just a few minutes, make sure you oven is heated enough before you place the brownies in. You may want to preheat the oven before you begin gathering your ingredients.
- Make sure you either grease or line the baking pan. It is very important so you can easily remove the brownies. You don’t want to lose any precious bites! Sometimes, I like to grease my pan with butter (it always seems to work the best), but other times I line the pan with baking paper, and leaves the sides overhanging. This allows me to pull out the brownies easily.
- Stir everything well. This recipe is simple, but I cannot emphasize enough how it is important to really stir the batter. The main reason for this is that there’s cacao powder in here – no one likes biting into a streak of cacao when eating brownies. Be sure to stir the ingredients until they are well and truly combined before baking.
- Sift the cacao. If your cacao bag has been opened for a long time, make sure you sift the cacao. Sometimes lumps may form from humidity in the kitchen, so it’s always a good idea to sift cacao before using it. This should help with stirring, too.
Blooming the Cacao
This is one of my special tips. If you want to get the best from the cacao, you can bloom it.
This technique means you have to combine cacao with warm liquid (in this recipe I use warm coffee, especially warmed coffee leftover from the morning’s brew). Stir and set it aside for few minutes. It will become very fragrant.
When added to the dry mixture, the fragrance will remain even after baking.
You can also bloom the cacao in heated butter, oil, or water if you don’t drink coffee.
Baking in the Toaster Oven – Why?
I love my toaster oven because I can bake a small quantity of the brownies. For this recipe I made just four.
Baking in the toaster oven has few benefits. For one thing, the toaster oven heats more quickly than the standard oven. Another thing I like about it, is that it will not heat up the entire kitchen. This is really handy during the summer time!
When using the toaster oven, just make sure you have the appropriate smaller baking pan. I find disposable aluminum pans work like a charm.
How To Make Toaster Oven Brownies
Preheat oven to 350F.
In a mixing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients.
Pour in butter, yolks, coffee, and vanilla.
Stir until it comes together.
Fold in chocolate chips or chopped chocolate.
Pour the mixture into small baking pan, greased with butter.
Bake the brownies 15 minutes for a gooey center, or 20 minutes for a cakey center.
Cool for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 4 tbsp all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 4 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp cacao powder
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 tbsp coffee
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp chopped chocolate or chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- In a mixing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients.
- Pour in butter, yolks, coffee, and vanilla.
- Stir until it comes together.
- Fold in chocolate chips or chopped chocolate.
- Pour the mixture into small baking pan, greased with butter. Bake the brownies 15 minutes for a gooey center, or 20 minutes for a cakey center.
- Cool for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.
You can use cocoa powder instead of cacao, but you will want to add a little baking soda.
You may also want to add extra cocoa powder to get a stronger flavor and you may have to go light on the liquid levels, as cocoa powder does not absorb as much liquid.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 308Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 124mgSodium: 75mgCarbohydrates: 32gFiber: 2gSugar: 22gProtein: 4g