February: The Ultimate Brownies

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The ultimate brownies should be a decadent exploration of what chocolate can bring to the texture and flavor of a baked good. Our Triple-Chocolate Brownies celebrate this tradition and more, receiving a fudgy, chewy boost from Bob’s Red Mill Organic All-Purpose Flour and Bob’s Red Mill Chickpea Flour. In this lesson, you’ll get a master class in chocolate and cocoa, from melting to mixing, and all the sweet details in between. Click here to download a printable PDF of this lesson, or keep scrolling to view our digital lesson.

Before you get to baking, be sure to enter our Instagram giveaway to win a prize pack of baking essentials you’ll use in this lesson. The giveaway closes on February 10, 2020, so hurry to enter!

Ingredient Breakdown

BOB’S RED MILL ORGANIC ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR: This versatile all-purpose wheat flour has a protein content of 10% to 12%, so our ultimate brownies are tender but have enough gluten structure to form a fudgy crumb that borders on decadently dense. By nature, most brownie recipes don’t contain much flour, so it’s crucial that the flour you use has enough protein to help bind your batter together.

BOB’S RED MILL CHICKPEA FLOUR: Chickpea flour‚ also known as garbanzo bean flour, gram flour, and cici bean flour‚ has a subtly sweet and creamy taste that makes it a surprising complement to our rich chocolate brownies. It works best in baked goods with strong flavors like chocolate or pumpkin and can replace up to 25% of the flour in a recipe, boosting the iron, protein, and fiber content.

KOSHER SALT: We bake with kosher salt because, unlike most commercial salt, it doesn’t contain iodine, making it taste purer and more palatable. Also, the salt crystals are larger. Table salt is much finer, thus you would use half of what a recipe with kosher salt calls for.

DUTCH PROCESS COCOA POWDER: Dutch process cocoa is treated with an alkaline solution of potassium carbonate to make it milder and less acidic in flavor and darker in color.

DARK CHOCOLATE: This type of chocolate contains a high percentage of cocoa as well as a rich amount of cocoa butter. This boost of fat helps make our brownies decadently fudgy.

MILK CHOCOLATE: A combination of cocoa butter, cocoa, milk solids, sugar, and vanilla, milk chocolate imparts an extra-creamy chocolate note to our ultimate brownies.

WHITE CHOCOLATE: Lacking cocoa solids, the bulk of white chocolate is made up of cocoa butter, sugar, and milk solids.

UNSALTED BUTTER: Melted high-quality butter is an essential part of the ultimate brownies’ fudgy texture. When you cream butter and sugar together, like you might do for a cake or cookie recipe, you’re whipping air into the batter, which will give it a cakier crumb. Melted butter stirred into the batter will eliminate the air, creating a close-crumbed texture, meaning maximum fudginess. This, in combination with the rich cocoa butter from the melted dark chocolate, offers a boost of decadent fat to make dense brownies.

GRANULATED SUGAR: A little sugar goes a long way in balancing out the intense flavor of the dark chocolate and cocoa powder in our brownie batter.

DARK BROWN SUGAR: The added molasses in dark brown sugar helps our brownies retain moisture and deepens the sweet flavor.

ESPRESSO POWDER: In small amounts, espresso powder, like most other coffee products, enhances the flavor of chocolate.

EGGS: The eggs act as our leavener, giving our fudgy brownies a bit of structure.

VANILLA EXTRACT: Vanilla complements and enhances the chocolate in our recipe.

Chocolate Checklist

Our ultimate brownies pack a big punch of cocoa. Here’s everything you need to know about your chocolate ingredients.

GENERAL BUYER’S GUIDE: Chocolate chips have stabilizers and different kinds of fat added so they keep their shape when baked. This is great for chocolate chip cookies, but for baking our brownies, we like to use bars and couverture chocolate (a chocolate that has a higher percentage of cocoa butter, usually 32% to 38%). They are higher quality and have more flavor and better texture than melted chips.

DARK CHOCOLATE: For the most precise baking, we use the cacao percentage of the chocolate to act as our guide on what to buy and use. The cacao percentage shows how much cocoa is present in the bar, with higher percentages usually meaning darker, more intense chocolate with a very high cocoa butter content. We use mostly dark chocolate in our recipe because of its increased cocoa butter content. For our dark chocolate, we use a 66% cacao dark chocolate, but anything within the 60% to 70% cacao range will work.

MILK CHOCOLATE: Milk chocolate will be 30% to 50% cacao, but the important element in milk chocolate is its additional milk content. Milk chocolate is all about a lower- percentage-cacao chocolate getting the creamy blessing of lactose and milk solids during the conching process (when cacao nibs and cocoa butter are pressed and crushed together to create smooth chocolate). It is smoother and sweeter than any other type of chocolate.

WHITE CHOCOLATE: This chocolate product is, in fact, better classified as a confection because it doesn’t contain any cocoa solids in its formula. Instead, cocoa butter, the rich fat pressed from the cacao bean, is combined with sugar and milk solids to create a silky, sweet byproduct. Still, white chocolate is regulated just like regular chocolate: it has to contain at least 20% cocoa butter and 14% milk solids to be called white chocolate.

COCOA: Cocoa and chocolate have differing effects for brownies. Cocoa brownies will have a chewy crumb and intense flavor, whereas brownies made with melted chocolate will be densely fudgy. For the best of both worlds, we combine the two. We opt for Dutch process cocoa powder because it is slightly less astringent in flavor than natural cocoa powder, so it makes an intense but not bitter-tasting brownie.

18 COMMENTS

    • Hey Colleen,

      We like to spray the pan before adding our parchment paper because it helps our parchment paper adhere to the pan better, keeping it from rolling up and popping out while we add our brownie batter. However, this is only for convenience. If you’d rather just place the parchment paper in the pan without using baking spray, that will still work. We hope this helps. Happy baking!

  1. Is it possible to reduce this recipe? The amount of brownies this recipe produces is just to much for a two person household. The other question I have: can the brownies be frozen without loss of taste?

    • Hey Hilla,

      While we haven’t tested for reducing this recipe, we highly recommend you freeze these after baking if you have excess. Due to their fudge-like texture, they’ll keep very well in the freezer for up to one month. Simply wrap tightly in plastic wrap and seal in an airtight container or ziptop bag before freezing.

    • Hey Sharon,

      Hershey’s cocoa powder is a natural cocoa powder, not a Dutch Cocoa powder like the one called for in our recipe. The Dutch cocoa powder is less acidic but with an intense chocolatey base. We highly recommend you get a brand of Dutch cocoa powder to make this recipe.

  2. How would I adjust the recipe if I don’t want any of the mix-ins? What if I wanted to add chopped nuts, either walnuts or pecans–how much and how would it affect the baking time? Also, would I change anything else if I want to leave our the espresso powder? (I know that people say you can’t taste it, but I can and don’t like it.)

    • Hey Charlene,

      In our module, we have a whole section about how to substitute mix-ins. It’s the last page (In pdf) or section of the webpage. As for the espresso powder, feel free to leave it out!

    • Hey Susie,

      We did not test with gluten-free flour so we can’t be a hundred percent certain, but Bob’s Red Mill 1-for-1 Gluten-free baking flour blend should still turn out a pretty amazing brownie and their Chickpea flour is already gluten-free!

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