These brownies are intense (I mean, intense) because they are all cocoa and no melting chocolate. I wouldn’t call them bitter, even bitter sweet, but they do have a definite edge that most other brownie recipes seem to lack. A single layer of frozen blueberries sandwiched between two great walls of almost-black chocolate provides you with some quick respite from the potency of the cocoa. I think that dusting some powdered sugar over top is a lovely way to create some contrast (it also looks like snow, and I’m missing Ontario snow right now so there’s that to also consider.)


9×13 inch baking pan

Parchment paper or aluminum foil

1 1/2 cups of unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

2 1/2 cups of white sugar

1 3/4 cups of unsweetened cocoa

1/2 tsp. salt

1 Tbsp. vanilla extract

4 eggs

3/4 cup of all purpose flowers

A heaping cup of frozen blueberries

Powdered sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 325 making sure there is a rack in the bottom third of the oven.

2. Line the pan with parchment paper or foil making sure that there is some overhang to work with  as you’re eventually going to be removing the paper and its contents from the pan.

3. Over a double boiler melt the butter, sugar, salt, and cocoa powder together until completely combined and warm to the touch. This will take a while and it definitely takes a lot of arm power, I think I spent almost 15 minutes with this step. It will continue to look sandy in texture until you add the eggs so don’t worry about the batter’s appearance.

4. Making sure that the cocoa mixture isn’t too hot (as in, you can stick your finger in without it getting burnt) begin stirring in the eggs one at a time until the mixture has become glossy. Add the flour and vanilla and stir until all the ingredients are well combined.

5. Pour half of the brownie batter into the pan. With a spatula, smooth the batter to the edges and try to keep the surface level. Scatter a single layer of blueberries over the entire surface and then pour the rest of the batter over the blueberries spreading evenly to coat.

6. Bake for 30 -45 minutes. I have found that for this particular brownie recipe it really depends on the how juicy the blueberries are; start checking at 30 minutes and then again at 5 minute intervals until a knife comes out clean after being inserted into the centre of the batter.

7. Let the brownies cool and then, flipping them upside down carefully onto a cutting board, peel the parchment paper or aluminum foil away. Sift powdered sugar on top of the brownies and then cut into however many pieces you feel like. These brownies are a match made in heaven with Earl Grey tea and a small scoop of fresh blueberries.

I have wanted to be Tanya Donnelly since I was 15. Her musical track record involves a lot of really important and influential bands from the early and mid-nineties including The Breeders, Throwing Muses, and Belly as well as being on one of my favourite ever record labels, 4AD. Belly was the soundtrack to the conception of these brownies because, like brownies, they are always slightly whimsical and a pleasure to consume.

Belly – Feed the Tree (I realize that the video won’t embed so you’ll have to click over to Youtube to listen to this very worthwhile and lovely song.)

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