Cocoa Brownies

by Mar 11, 2024

When you need or want to bake without wheat flour, brownies are low risk. Because they use such a small proportion of flour, substitutions I have tried, from teff, oat, and nut meals (all gluten-free) to barley, rye, and various stone ground wheats, have worked great. Today’s version I made with oat flour (Bob’s Red Mill gluten free, because my son is currently on a low FODMAP diet) and they are some of my favorite brownies ever! I like them baked so that the edges get firm and almost crisp.

I’ve adapted from Alice Medrich’s original, published in her wonderful book about chocolate baking, Bittersweet, new version titled Seriously Bitter Sweet. If there is one person you can trust on recipe development, it’s Alice Medrich!

Cocoa Brownies

makes one 8- by 8-inch pan; adapted from Alice Medrich, Bittersweet


  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick) (113 grams)
  • cup granulated sugar or sucanat or a mix (250 grams)
  • ¾ cup cocoa powder, unsweetened Valrhona (75 grams)
  • ¼ teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup oat flour (85 grams)


  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Place butter, sugar, cocoa and salt in a stainless steel bowl and set over or in a pan of simmering water. Stir occasionally until butter is melted and sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes. Remove the bowl from the frying pan and set aside until the mixture is warm, no longer hot. 

  2. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with foil or parchment paper or spray pan with baking spray, leaving a slight overhang on two opposite sides. 

  3. Stir in the vanilla then add the eggs, one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one. Add the flour and stir until it is mixed in, then beat vigorously for about a minute.  Spread evenly in the prepared pan.  

  4. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center emerges slightly moist with batter, about 25–30 minutes. Let cool completely on a rack.

    To preserve the crust, keep brownies loosely covered at room temperature.

Recipe Notes / Tips

  • You can use either a natural or Dutch-process cocoa powder in this recipe. Dutch-process cocoa has been treated with alkali and produces a darker colored brownie.  Taste the difference, some people prefer the flavor of one over the other. (Be careful substituting in other recipes that have baking powder or baking soda as ingredients, as these leavenings react with the acidity of the cocoa and you can get an unintended result.)
  • To use chocolate instead of cocoa powder, please refer to Alice's book, Bittersweet. She has tested versions with unsweetened, bittersweet, and semisweet chocolate.
  • One of my other favorite brownie recipes, "Brownies...that beat the Ghirardelli box!" on RIPE uses unsweetened chocolate. 

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