Brownies & Bars/ Chocolate

Ad Hoc Brownies

April 27, 2014

Insanely chocolaty and fudgy, these are the richest cocoa brownies you will ever taste. Serve warm with ice cream for pure indulgence.

Ad Hoc Brownies (4)

Yes, yes, I know. I post brownie recipes all the time and it’s confusing, but posting this specific recipe is for your own good. You’ll just have to trust me. Besides, there is no such thing as too many brownie recipes, right?

Ad Hocs Brownies

Yesterday, at a dinner party, I tasted a delicious brownie. It took me a while to figure out that it tasted somewhat similar to Ad Hoc brownies, which I’ve tried many times before. I couldn’t wait to get home and make them myself. When I did, I was reminded of how amazing they are, and why this is a must have recipe in my life… and yours.

Thomas Keller is the talented man behind Bouchon Bakery and Ad Hoc. I never miss a trip to this bakery when I am in New York. It is that good. When the Bouchon Bakery Book and Ad Hoc at Home Book were published, I was probably the first person to purchase them. Everything I have tried from these books is amazing. Sometimes all I want to do is call Thomas just to say thank you.

Ad Hoc Brownies (2)

Just to set the record straight and help you understand the difference between the brownie recipes I’ve posted so far (but eventually make all 4 of them… ok?):
Fudgy brownies – classic brownies with shiny crackly tops that are made of chocolate bars and are almost like fudge. They are made of a few simple ingredients, therefore this is my go-to recipe for brownies. I also use them as a base for multi-layer desserts, such as in my cheesecake brownies.
Baked bakery brownies – not too sweet, but dense and fudgy. Made from chocolate bars and a bit of cocoa. They are also a favorite in my family – please don’t make me choose!
These cocoa brownies – Cocoa brownies are different in texture than brownies made with chocolate bars (at least I think so). They are more cakey. Still, they are incredibly fudgy and moist and are considered brownies (as opposed to cake). For many people I know, these are what they consider to be their ultimate brownies.

Ad Hoc cocoa brownies – This recipe might look similar to the previous recipe (cocoa brownies), but in baking every gram makes a difference. They are similar in texture but the taste is different. These brownies are rich in butter and when served warm they almost taste like a flourless chocolate fudge cake and melt your mouth. They have intense chocolaty flavor and a gooey texture. The melted chocolate chunks make them even more chocolaty and perfect. At my next dinner party, I will definitely serve them warm with chocolate sauce and ice cream – that’s just how good and fancy they are. They do take a bit more time to make, and as I’ve said – rich in butter, so I suggest making them on special occasions (isn’t today a special occasion?).

Ad Hoc Brownies (3)

5 from 2 votes
Ad Hoc Brownies
YIELD: 16 bars
Insanely chocolaty and fudgy, these are the richest cocoa brownies you will ever taste. Serve warm with ice cream for pure indulgence.

  • 3/4 cup (100 grams or 3.5 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (100 grams or 3.5 ounces) dutch-processed/alkalized cocoa powder
  • 3 sticks (340 grams or 12 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 1-tablespoon pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups (350 grams or 12.3 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 ounces (170 grams) chocolate, chopped into chip-sized pieces (1 cup when measured after chopping)
  • Powdered sugar for dusting
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter a 9-inch square pan. Set aside.
  2. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt; set aside
  3. Melt half the butter in a medium bowl in the microwave. Add the remaining butter to the melted butter and stir. The butter should look creamy, with small bits of unmelted butter, and be at room temperature.
  4. In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, mix together the eggs and sugar on medium speed for about 3 minutes, or until thick and very pale. Mix in the vanilla. On low speed, add about one-third of the dry ingredients, then add one-third of the butter, and continue alternating the remaining flour and butter. Add the chocolate and mix to combine.
  5. Spread the batter evenly in the pan. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until a cake tester or wooden skewer poked into the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs sticking to it. If the pick comes out wet, test a second time, because you may have hit a piece of chocolate chip; then bake for a few more minutes longer if necessary.
  6. Cool in the pan until the brownie is at room temperature. Run a knife around the edges, and invert the brownie onto a cutting board. Cut into 12 rectangles or 16 squares. Dust the tops with powdered sugar just before serving.
  7. The brownies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.


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  • Reply
    Angie (@angiesrecipess)
    April 28, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    These brownies look sinfully decadent and I am thoroughly tempted!

  • Reply
    April 30, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    You’re so right- these brownies do look insanely good! I really could eat a whole batch right now! 🙂

  • Reply
    Cindy @ Pick Fresh Foods
    May 1, 2014 at 2:42 am

    Wow, these look divine! I never heard of an Ad Hoc brownie, but if this is it I want one now. I totally agree…you can never have too many brownies 😀 Pinning!

    • Reply
      May 1, 2014 at 7:02 am

      Thanks Cindy 🙂

  • Reply
    July 2, 2016 at 3:50 am

    Hi , is not baking soda in this brownie?

    • Reply
      July 2, 2016 at 6:26 pm

      Hi Dina, no, there’s no baking soda in this recipe.

  • Reply
    August 31, 2016 at 5:55 am

    Hi Shiran! I m more than tempted to try this recipe now. ?
    Again query about pan size. Can this be made in 8 x 8 pan?
    And if want to make half recipe, which pan size to use?? Thanks a lot.

    • Reply
      August 31, 2016 at 6:21 am

      With an 8×8 pan, the brownies would be a bit taller. When you pour the batter into the pan, just make sure it’s not more than 3/4 full. For half the recipe, use a 6×6 pan.

  • Reply
    September 2, 2016 at 5:53 am

    So remember I once said I couldn’t fathom another perfect brownie recipe after making your ‘one bowl fudgy brownies’? I made these a couple of weeks ago, when my sister came home from Europe, and… Well. Let’s just say I kind of understand now how you can have numerous perfect recipes.

    But, the thing is, dutch-processed cocoa is somewhat of a precious commodity in our house ._. I was wondering how this recipe would work out with just regular cocoa? Or a mix of dutch-processed and normal?

    • Reply
      September 4, 2016 at 5:01 am

      Hi Laila! It’s possible to substitute the Dutch-process cocoa with natural cocoa, but the chocolate flavor won’t be the same or as deep. I would say try it once and see if you like the result.

      • Reply
        September 4, 2016 at 7:49 am

        Okie dokie, thanks 🙂

  • Reply
    May 28, 2017 at 4:02 am

    A third great recipe!
    The chocolate layer cake turned out to be the best layer cake i’ve made so far.
    White chocolate lemon cheese cake was eaten in two days by me & my SO! I loved every bite of it. So delicious, rich and exotic!
    And these brownies are right now in the oven. I never tasted and ate (or licked) so much of the mixture like that. All my brownies before seemed to be a fail or were just.. “okay”. But this one… It’s like a bakery shop made it! It tastes amazing & is sooooo rich and deep dark.
    Can’t wait to eat it this afternoon.
    Thank you so much Shiran for sharing your wonderful recipes. They never fail with me & I appreciate the philosophies behind them.
    If you make a book one day, let me know great chef! 🙂

    • Reply
      May 29, 2017 at 4:24 am

      Thank you so much for your sweet comment Farah! 🙂 I’m so glad you enjoy the recipes!

  • Reply
    September 3, 2019 at 12:40 am

    THESE ARE THE MOST DELICIOUS BROWNIES IN THE GALACTIC UNIVERSE!! I have made them several times (and will forever have to make them from now on and because of that, I will have to purchase a silicone 9×9 inch baking pan for them. I have tried a glass pan, and a metal pan, and each time I have to slice a sliver of the very very crispy, almost burnt edges off of them. ) I have a few comments to reply to the folks above: YES, absolutely use Dutch process cocoa. I have tried to squeak by with regular cocoa and it’s just not as delicious. Same with the cocoa chips — do use at least 60% cocoa. I’m so glad you posted this recipe! I suppose I will have to purchase Thomas Keller’s book! Cheers!

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