Not So Blonde Brownies

So what’s the point of chocolate extract? As an extract enthusiast I’ve asked myself that a number of times, and as a penny pincher, I’ve avoided buying a bottle because I couldn’t think of a good way to use it and it seemed redundant in chocolate cake and brownies. Luckily, Nielsen Massey helped me out on both counts by sending a free sample of their chocolate extract and posting a perfect recipe for using it on their website. Pictured below are their Not So Blonde Brownies with a cute little sample bottle of chocolate extract. So how was it?

Chocolate Extract

After opening the bottle and taking a whiff, I had an instant sense memory of the time I tried to feed Fuzz liquid vitamins. I had faith that once added to the batter, my chocolate extract would take on a new and better aroma than vitamins, so on with the recipe….vanilla, eggs, chocolate extract, Kahlua. The vitamin smell was gone and a new essence took over the batter. It smelled like packaged brownie mix! I liked it, and I started thinking of all the people who’d emailed me asking for a scratch brownies mix that tasted like boxed.

But as I continued on with the recipe and baked the brownies, the smell changed again. Now they smelled and tasted like cocoa. Really, what I was tasting was the mixture of chocolate, vanilla and Kahlua but the chocolate tasted more like cocoa in a very natural way.

This was a great recipe for using chocolate extract because there wasn’t so much cocoa powder as to overpower the flavor of the extract.

Here’s the Not So Blonde Brownies recipe from Nielsen Massey. I halved it and baked it in an 8 inch square metal pan.

Not So Blonde Brownies
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A light chocolate brownie with a delicate cocoa essence
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 32
  • 1 1/4 cups (6 oz) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt or use 1/2 tsp if using unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Pure Chocolate Extract
  • 2 tablespoons KahlĂșa
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped white chocolate
  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped nuts of choice (I used toasted walnuts)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 13x9 inch metal pan with foil and spray foil with cooking spray.
  2. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt together. Set aside.
  3. Cream the butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl using an electric mixer on medium speed. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the chocolate extract and KahlĂșa. Add the sifted dry ingredients in two additions, beating well after each addition. Fold in the white chocolate chunks and nuts.
  4. Spray a 9 x13-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Spread the batter over the bottom of the pan with a rubber spatula. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the brownies begin to pull away from the sides of the pan.
  5. Makes 32

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  1. says

    OOO I’d love to have some of these without the nuts! I’m counting down the days till I can bake some of your recipes girl!

  2. Martha in KS says

    So the recipe calls for only 1/2 tsp. extract & I expect that it’s expensive. It’s probably made in much the same way as vanilla – cocoa beans soaked in alcohol. Why would you use it rather than using real chocolate?

    BTW I too had a memory flashback when you mentioned liquid vitamins – that yellow gunk on a dropper. And I probably last smelled them when my “baby” brother was little – he’s now 50!

  3. karen says

    So interesting, I’ve been wondering about chocolate extract. I don’t see many recipes calling for it, but occasionally. It would be interesting to do a side by side comparison of the same recipe made with it and without it.

  4. says

    It only smells like vitamins when you take a sniff right out of the jar. I put a little on my wrist and it smelled pretty good!

    Martha, so far I’d recommend using it with chocolate to give whatever you’re making a little flavor boost.

    Karen, I need to do that.

  5. d.liff @yellebellyboo says

    Never heard of Chocolate Extract before – very interesting. I’ve never seen it at the supermarket but if it’s good maybe I’ll look at Sur La Table. What are some other uses for it. And on that subject, I accidentally bought Rum Extract – any ideas for what I can make w it?

  6. says

    If it smells good on your wrist, maybe you could use it for a perfume too! It still scares me a bit, but these brownies look good..

  7. says

    Watkins also has a chocolate extract for anyone looking for it and can’t find this one. I got some last time Anna was recently talking about extracts. There is a brownie recipe on the extract box also and I made them (which calls for melted unsweetened chocolate). We actually really liked the brownies and could tell there was a little hit of something in them. Watkins website probably has the recipe.

  8. says

    I agree that it definitely gives the chocolate flavor a boost. I have a huge bottle that I am working my way through ever so slowly that I bought after it received rave reviews from David Leibowitz. I would never use it in place of cocoa or chocolate but in addition to it, it certainly ups the flavor. That said, I think I went overboard with my huge bottle and will be using it until the day I die.

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