Pernigotti Cocoa Brownies

Think back to when you were a child. Remember the delicious chocolate flavor and dense chewy texture of brownies?

Was there anything better than a mouthful of chewy chocolate sweetness?

I love brownies.

Something very close to magic happens when I make brownies. I lose track of time, all muscle aches and arthritis pain disappears, and I become happy again, almost childlike. It is bliss.

Now, as opposed to when I was a child looking for chocolate sweetness, when I taste a brownie (or any other chocolate) I'm looking for the delicate flavor differences that play on my palette. I'm asking how this cocoa or chocolate pairs with the sugar and other ingredients/inclusions used.

Eliza Ward of recently introduced me to an Italian cocoa, Pernigotti.

It has a dense, rich chocolate flavor with lots of vanilla and virtually no bitterness.

It is so good that I can eat it straight out of the bag with no sugar added. Don't try this with your regular grocery store'll end up with a mouth full of bitter, flavorless yuk and you'll never try cocoa this way again. If you are going to taste straight cocoa top quality is a must!

Brownies with Pernigotti
I tried my favorite brownie recipe with three different sugars to see how the cocoa would pair best; regular granulated sugar, organic evaporated cane juice, and muscovado sugar.

The winner was Pernigotti paired with the organic evaporated cane juice. The cane juice gave a carmamelly flavor that really complemented the vanilla in the cocoa. They also had a tad more chewy texture. Ooooh these were really good!

I topped the cane brownies with bourbon and a scant dusting of pink Himalayan sea salt. Now they are adult brownies, but I still feel like a kid. Look closely and you can see the salt crystals on the top in the photo.

The muscovado brownies had a very dry texture so I topped them with a date, orange pecan topping that you'll see in the photo. I consulted a food scientist about the reasoning behind the dry texure. We'll talk more about the dry muscovado texture challenge another day.

Here is the recipe for the cane brownies. It won't be the same without top qulity cocoa like Pernigotti. (Available in store or online at

Brownies with Pernigotti and Evaporated Cane Sugar
adapted from Cuisinart Brownies recipe

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons evaporated cane juice sugar
1/2 cup butter cut into little pieces
2 eggs
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup Pernigotti cocoa
1/2 cup unsifted all purpose flour

Process sugar and butter until butter is througouthly mixed into sugar.
Add eggs and salt. Process until smooth.
Add cocoa and mix only until cocoa disappears.

Spread batter into an 8 x 8 square pan.
Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 35 minutes or unitl top no longer appears moist.

Cool and cut in to about 64 little one inch squares. Brownies should be decadent little treats.

P.S. Brownies make great gifts.

Coming soon...Pernigotti makes great sipping cocoa.


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