There's no greater power than the power of baking great brownies (aside from maybe knowing the secret behind never having to do laundry).
Here's one good reason why these brownies are the best ever: they freeze like nobody's business. Keep a few slabs as back-up in your freezer and when friends/family come knocking at your door, you have dessert ready in less than 10 minutes because they defrost in no time. Annnnnnd, the thawed brownies are even fudgier than ever before!
The science behind the fudge factor is dissolved sugar. You want a syrup-like consistency that will retain moisture. Fudginess is more easily attained with solid chocolate since it already contains sugar that is finely dissolved, but how about cocoa powder? Cocoa contains no sugar at all, so we have to add it all back, usually via granulated sugar. Well brownie recipes don't typically have a lot of liquid - we have to rely on the water from egg whites to help dissolve all that sugar and it's not very much water at all. The answer is icing sugar which is so finely ground that it dissolves almost instantly and puts us well on our way to Fudge City.
Since we're using cocoa powder (and no chocolate) to make these brownies, use the best. I prefer natural cocoa for its fruitiness. If you choose to use Dutched cocoa, be prepared for a more intense but one-dimensional taste. I find that depending on the type of Dutched cocoa you use, it can often taste smokey. Just avoid "black" or "onyx" cocoa.
I'd say it's worth doubling the proportions and making two pans. Let them cool completely and then wrap one well in plastic wrap before placing in a large freezer bag and freezing for when you have guests. I often slather it with dark chocolate ganache and serve a small square with a cup of espresso, but really they will be loved any way you serve them.
Best-Ever Fudge Brownies
Makes 16 brownies
½ cup (60g) icing sugar
2/3 cup (56g) natural cocoa powder
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
10 tbsp (140g) unsalted butter
½ tsp salt
½ cup (71g) all-purpose flour
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line an 8x8-inch baking pan with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on all sides.
First sift icing sugar and cocoa powder into 2 separate bowls. Set aside for now.
Place eggs and granulated sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium-high speed for 3-4 minutes, until creamy and lemon-coloured.
Meanwhile, combine butter and salt in a saucepan over medium-low heat and stir until butter is completely melted and just begins to boil and bubble. It will be quite hot. Remove from heat and whisk in icing sugar, then whisk in cocoa powder until the mixture is smooth.
When the eggs are pale and thick, add the warm cocoa mixture and beat for 30 seconds until smooth and shiny. Mix in vanilla. Add the flour and beat for another 30 seconds to emulsify the batter. It should be smooth and glossy, like thick hot fudge.
Spread the batter into your prepared pan and bake for 20-22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with moist crumbs attached. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cool completely in the pan. Refrigerate for about 1 hour before cutting into squares.