What I really love about baking is that even if you don’t get the exact result you are going for, you sometimes get a nonetheless marvelous different result. That’s what happened with these brownies, which I intended to be the epitome of chewy chocolate YUM.
Well, they aren’t one bit chewy, unless you count the beautifully shiny, crackled top crust. That has some lovely chew to it. However, as I was bemoaning the unfortunate overall unchewiness, I noticed that I was also going back to the baking pan for my third, my fourth, and then my fifth brownie–just to “make sure I don’t like them.”
Ha! Of course I like them! The truth is, I say I’m NOT a fudgy brownie lover and usually that’s true. But maybe I should amend that now to say I’m not a HEAVY fudgy brownie lover. I don’t like brownies or cake that feel like sodden paste in my mouth. Do you know the texture I’m talking about?
MauiJim says these brownies have the flavor of dark chocolate fudge with the texture of the truffle-like chocolate confection known as Frango Mints. Interesting description. It’s true that these brownies are surprisingly light and melt-in-your-mouth. Plus the balance of flavors is divine. The creamy, bittersweet chocolate flavor is given needed dimension by the inclusion of unsweetened, acidic, natural cacao. A generous hit of espresso powder deepens the flavor further, vanilla lends a creamy floral note, and salt keeps the taste buds at full attention through every bite.
The mixing method used here may strike you as unusual. You will find it used as well in Bittersweet Chocolate & Toasted Walnut Cookies Perfecta Mundo!, which is my adaptation of the Flourless Chocolate Cookies inChocolate Epiphany, by Francois Payard. Basically, it involves beating the egg whites with cacao and sugar for 5 minutes, which results in a marvelously chewy cookie with a cracked, meringue-like crust. In a brownie, however, with its inclusion of butter, bittersweet chocolate, and flour, the result is silky, light, and moist, rather than chewy.
Although these silky, mouse-like brownies are not produced with the classic dump-and-bake method, I think you will agree that the result is worth the little extra effort.
LunaCafe OtherWorldly Silky Fudgy Brownies
This is the chewy brownie flop that converted me, after decades of fudgy brownie aversion, to fudgy brownie LOVE. The different between this fudgy brownie and most other fudgy brownies I have sampled over the years is that this one is ethereally light, almost mousse-like in texture. While this may not be the ultimate CHEWY brownie that I was attempting to create, it’s a winner in its own right.
TESTING NOTE Because the flour amount here is minimal, it’s important to actually beat the flour into the brownie batter for a full minute to activate just enough of the gluten to create some structure. No delicate folding needed! Also, you will note here that egg yolks are not specified. I tested with and without egg yolks and found the without version to be just a bit lighter.
2 teaspoons unsalted butter and 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour to coat the baking pan
¾ cup (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter
6 ounces best-quality 62%-72% bittersweet bar chocolate, roughly chopped or wafers (In tests, I used Scharffen Berger 70% cacao bittersweet bar chocolate and E. Guittard 72% cacao bittersweet chocolate wafers; both are excellent)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
1½ cups superfine sugar
¼ cup premium quality unsweetened, natural process cocoa (not alkalized Dutch process( (In tests, I used Askinosie and Scharffen Berger, which are both excellent)
4 large egg whites, cool room temperature
1 cup King Arthur unbleached, all-purpose flour
- Set a rack in the upper middle of the oven and preheat to 375°.
- Lightly butter an 8- by 8-inch, light colored, metal baking pan and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon flour. Tap out the excess flour, making sure that all inner surfaces are evenly coated with butter and flour. Reserve.
- In a saucepan set over low heat, melt the butter.
- Remove butter from the heat, stir in chopped chocolate until melted, and then stir in vanilla, espresso powder, and salt.
- Cool butter-chocolate mixture until lukewarm to the touch.
- While waiting for the butter-chocolate mixture to cool, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the sugar and cocoa powder. Mix to combine.
- With the mixer running, add the 4 egg whites. Mix on medium speed for a full 5 minutes, until the mixture is somewhat thickened, scraping the sides of the bowl a few times in the process.
- Add the lukewarm butter-chocolate mixture and incorporate.
- Add the flour and mix on slow speed until incorporated and then for 1 additional minute.
- Spread batter evenly into the prepared baking pan. Note that batter fills the pan to a depth of 5/8-inch.
- Turn the oven down to 350 degrees and bake for around 40 minutes. It’s better to underbake than to overbake. Here are a few indicators to help you determine if your brownies are divine perfection:
- The top will appear shiny and cracked.
- The edges will be cracking.
- The edges may begin to pull away from the pan.
- The center will no longer jiggle when you gently shake the pan. (But this occurs about 10 minutes before the brownies are fully baked, so use this indicator only with the others.)
- A thin skewer inserted halfway between the edge and center will show very moist crumbs, rather than completely wet goo, when removed.
- Cool to room temperature on a wire rack.
- To serve, cut into 2-inch squares with a serrated knife.
- To store, I prefer to keep the brownies at room temperature, tightly covered with foil. They taste wonderful on day two. They have yet to make it to day three.
Makes sixteen, 1–inch high, 2-inch square brownies.
LunaCafe OtherWorldly Silky Walnut Brownies
- At Step 9, add 1 cup chopped, lightly toasted walnuts.
LunaCafe Silky Spicy Orange Pecan Brownies
- At Step 4, eliminate espresso powder and add 2 tablespoons of dark brown sugar, finely grated zest of 1 large orange, ½ teaspoon orange oil, ½ teaspoon cardamom powder, and ¼ teaspoon cayenne powder.
- At Step 9, add 1 cup chopped, lightly toasted pecans.
More Chocolate Recipes from LunaCafe:
- A Gift of Drinking Chocolate
- Bittersweet Chocolate & Cabernet Butter Cake
- Bittersweet Chocolate & Montmorency Cherry Morning Love Muffins
- Bittersweet Chocolate & Toasted Walnut Cookies Perfecta Mundo
- Bittersweet Chocolate Orange French Toast for Lovers
- Burnt Sugar & Rosemary Chocolate Tarts
- Caramelized Ancho Chile & Cinnamon Almonds
- Chocolate & Warm Winter Spice Butter Crisps
- Chocolate Almond Pound Cake
- Chocolate Shortcake with White Chocolate Crema, Strawberry Lime Sauce & Strawberry Lime Salsa
- Fried Banana Split with Mexican Chocolate Sauce & Strawberry Lime Salsa
- Heavenly Chocolate Beet Tea Loaf
- Heavenly Chocolate Crepes
- LunaCafe’s Ultimate Chocolate Pudding
- Luscious White Chocolate and Raspberry Rose Petal Cheesecake
- Mexican Hearts of Fire Cookies
- Mexicano Chocolate Ebelskivers (Aebleskivers)
- Naughty & Nice: Chocolate Toasted Coconut Bars
- Oh You Great Big Beautiful Blondie
- Pumpkin Spice & White Chocolate Cheesecake
- Pumpkin Spice Hot White Chocolate
- Quintessential Bittersweet Chocolate Sauce
- Rosalyn’s Toasted Coconut White Chocolate Dream Pie
- Spirited Mocha Crepes with Peanut Butter Caramel, Peanut-Cocoa Nib Brittle & White Chocolate Crema
- White Chocolate, Cardamom & Coconut Beignet