The Best Cocoa Brownies

I tend to be fiercely loyal to certain things in life if I like them, and this cocoa brownie recipe is one of them. I’ve been making it for eight years now, since I first saw it on an episode of Donna Hay’s Fast, Fresh, Simple, even though I’ve been lured in by other recipes, with their subtle promises of being the very best, I honestly have never found any other version that I like as much.*

These brownies are not only fudgy and dark, with a soft, crackly top and a rich centre, but they’re also made with ingredients you’re very likely to already have on hand – sugar, cocoa, butter, vanilla extract. They’re ready in under an hour and, whenever I’ve made them, they disappear as if by magic, and we’re left with only crumbs.

Cocoa Brownies

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Servings: 16 brownies
Source: Donna Hay


I’ve made this recipe hundreds of times, and I’ve streamlined it only the tiniest bit. I’ve reduced the sugar a touch, and while the recipe specifically calls for fine caster sugar, any other kind works fine in a pinch. The recipe also instructed you to sift in the flour, but I’ve found that to be unnecessary.


  • 150 grams unsalted butter
  • 250 grams fine caster sugar
  • 75 grams cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 75 grams all-purpose flour


  • Preheat the oven to 160°C (325°F).
  • Put the butter, sugar and cocoa in a saucepan over low heat and stir until the butter has melted. Take the pan off the heat.
  • In a bowl, beat the vanilla and the eggs. Add the cocoa mixture and the flour and whisk well to combine.
  • Spoon the mixture into a 20cm square tin lined with baking paper and bake for 30-35 minutes until a skewer comes out clean.
  • Cool and cut into squares to serve.

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