Rodney’s Most Amazing Brownies

For Jenn and Joe


  • 10 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • 1 1/4 cups of sucanat or coconut sugar
    (we have reduced it to 1/2 cup, but start here)
  • 3/4 cup teaspoons of organic unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of pink salt
  • 1/2 vanilla bean
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup of almond meal
  • 2/3 cup of walnut or pecan pieces or chocolate chips (optional)


Position a rack in the lower third of the oven.

Preheat the over to 325.

Line the bottom and sides of the baking pan with baking parchment, leaving an overhang on two sides.

Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a medium heatproof bowl and set the bowl in a wide skillet of barely simmering water. Stir from time to time until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth and hot enough that you want to remove your finger fairly quickly after dipping it in to test.

Remove the bowl from the skillet and set aside briefly until the mixture is only warm, not hot.

Scrape the vanilla bean and stir in the vanilla paste with a wooden spoon. Discard the vanilla shell or put it aside for making vanilla sugar.

Add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one.

When the batter looks thick, shiny, and well blended, add the almond meal and stir until you cannot see it any longer, then beat vigorously for 40 strokes with the wooden spoon or a rubber spatula.

Stir in the nuts, if using.

Spread evenly in the lined pan.

Bake until a toothpick plunged into the center emerges slightly moist with batter, 20 to 25 minutes.

Let cool completely on a rack.

Lift up the ends of the parchment or foil liner, and transfer the brownies to a cutting board. Cut into 16 or 25 squares.

Chocolate note:
Any unsweetened natural or Dutch-process cocoa powder works well here. Natural cocoa produces brownies with more flavor complexity and lots of tart, fruity notes. I think it’s more exciting. Dutch-process cocoa results in a darker brownie with a mellower, old-fashioned chocolate pudding flavor, pleasantly reminiscent of childhood.