Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Better Than Box Mix Chewy Chocolate Brownies

Brownies are my thing.

I am the chocolate queen and what better dessert is there than brownies to completely indulge in chocolate?

I almost ALWAYS make brownies with melted chocolate because that gives the best fudgy texture. It's my preference.

But SO many people love the boxed brownie mixes that you can buy at the supermarket... And did you know that I developed some of those products for some brands? That's me! Your favourite Food Scientist ;) Box mix brownies have a softer and more chewy texture while still be dense and indulgent. They're made with all cocoa powder and added fat instead of melted chocolate. But you know what? I can pass on the hydrogenated fats and the added oil! Oil makes brownies with a greasy texture and I don't like the flavour.

BUTTER - butter is what brownies crave.

Plus, this recipe is not complicated. No corn starch, no extra egg yolks, no corn syrup - it uses just basic ingredients with some thoughtout science and technique.

So let's look into the details..

Secret to the best cocoa brownies?

Use salted butter! Salted butter has a savoury richness that really elevates and carries the cocoa flavour. Cocoa has no sugar or salt in it, so without a rich flavour carrier it can be rather unexciting. Use salted butter and see the difference yourself!

Best cocoa for making brownies?

Despite how so many countless recipes online instruct you to use Dutch Process (dark) cocoa powder, I couldn't disagree more. Use Natural (unalkalized) cocoa powder. It has a fruity acidic note and is way more complex than Dutch cocoa. Although Dutch cocoa (alkalized cocoa) has a darker colour due to the alkalizing process, it does not mean that it has more flavour. It has more of a smoky taste but is rather one-dimensional. It loses the fruity, floral and acidic notes that natural cocoa brings to the table.

How to make brownies with a fudgy texture?

Use melted chocolate - the cocoa butter is hard at room temperature and will create a firmer texture in baked brownies which makes them more toothsome and yields a denser, more fudgy texture.

How to make Box Mix-style brownies with a chewy texture?

Use melted butter + cocoa powder. Butter is soft and pliable at room temperature with creates a more flexible and chewy texture.

Also, sometimes you might not have chocolate around the house (what's the matter with you!!). But you might have cocoa powder and it's nice to have a recipe for each occasion.

The other thing that attracts people to the boxed mix brownies is the shiny crinkly top.

How to make brownies with a shiny top?

It comes down to finely dissolved sugar which is why this recipe uses a portion of icing sugar.

Eggs are the main source of liquid in a brownie recipe, so it's important to whip the eggs with sugar to help dissolve it further. This will also create a bit of a foam which will help to create a softer-textured brownie.

These brownies are better than boxed mix brownies - that's a promise! Make them and tell me what you think. Will you buy a box mix ever again?

Better Than Box Mix Chewy Chocolate Brownies

makes 16 brownies

2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
1 tsp (5ml) pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup (150g) salted butter
½ cup (60g) icing sugar
2/3 cup (56g) cocoa powder
¼ tsp salt
½ cup (71g) all-purpose flour
½ cup (85g) dark chocolate (optional) (I also love these bittersweet callets

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8x8-inch metal baking pan with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang at all sides.

Place eggs, granulated sugar and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat on medium-high speed for 3-4 minutes, until creamy and lemon-coloured.

Meanwhile, heat butter in a saucepan until completely melted and very hot (it will start crackling). Remove from heat and whisk in icing sugar, cocoa powder and salt until smooth.

When the eggs are pale and thick, add the warm cocoa mixture and beat for 30 seconds until smooth and shiny. Add the flour and mix it in. It should be smooth and glossy, like thick hot fudge. Fold in chocolate chips.

Pour the batter into your prepared pan bake for 20-22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs attached. Make sure you do not over-bake these or they will be dry. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let brownies cool completely in the pan. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before lifting out and cutting into squares.

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  1. Any options to make this gluten free? Thanks. They look so divine.

  2. 5/5 stars! I made these last night and they’re delicious. I don’t have an 8x8 pan so I used a 9” round pan instead and it worked beautifully. I had to bake longer than the time specified (about 10 min more) but that could be due to my altitude in Denver—just kept checking them for doneness every 3-4 minutes after the specified time. Thanks for the recipe!