By Joy Jose
A brownie is a brownie is a brownie, but if you find a recipe that’s special, you keep it close like an amulet for the bad days. I thought my quest for the perfect brownie ended last spring with a recipe that invoked groans with every bite, from normal functioning adults. They call me a day later to talk about it some more; and again when they come to terms with the requisite guilt after the euphoria. They ask, “How much butter and sugar were in those brownies?” I tell them we don’t talk about such rubbish.
Must it always be this way? After much reservation, I began to tinker (god forbid) with my tried and coma-inducing rich, fudge brownie recipe. How can I make this “better”? How can I improve it so that we can indulge with a brownie without making a pact with the workout gods? After a few experiments in the kitchen, I’ve come up with these compromises:
Severing ties with my beloved butter and leaving out more than 70% of it from the recipe, and using Greek yogurt as a fat substitute. Using demerara instead of white granulated sugar, and also cutting 3/4 cup of it. And replacing 1/3 of the flour with wheat germ, a good source of dietary fiber, protein, vitamin B6, folate, magnesium, and copper, and a very good source of thiamine, phosphorus, zinc, manganese, and selenium.
I made sure to keep all the chocolate in there; it is a brownie after all! The resulting bars have a fine airiness to them, but they are still unbelievably dense, smooth, and very much like the ultimate brownie that I love.
5 oz unsweetened (baking) chocolate
3 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing baking pan
5 large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups (11 ounces) demerara sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
½ cup wheat germ
1 cup bread flour
½ cup Greek or Balkan-style plain yogurt
1 tsp kosher salt
9″x13″ glass baking pan
Large mixing bowl
Hand or stand mixer
Grinder/food processor mini size is preferred for grinding ½ cup
Step 1: Preheat oven to 375°F with the rack in the lower middle portion (2nd from the bottom). Grease the baking pan with the unsalted butter.
Step 2: Melt unsweetened baking chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate chips, and butter in a small saucepan, over low heat. Once they are melted into a smooth mixture, set aside on a trivet to cool down to room temperature.
Step 3: Combine eggs, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl, and beat on high speed with a mixer for 10 minutes. Mixture will become light in color and most of the sugar crystals will be dissolved. Set aside.
Step 4: Place the wheat germ in a food processor/grinder and pulse for 3 minutes until a powdery texture is achieved.
Step 5: Add the melted chocolate, ground wheat germ, bread flour, yogurt, and kosher salt into the large bowl with the egg-sugar-vanilla mixture. Mix on low speed for a few seconds, then on high speed for 5 minutes, pausing occasionally to scrape batter from the sides of the bowl. The batter will initially be golden brown in color and will darken as the chocolate becomes incorporated. Let the batter sit in the bowl for 20 minutes after mixing.
Step 6: Pour into the greased baking pan and spread evenly. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Insert a toothpick in the middle and if it comes out clean it’s done and can be taken out. If not, keep in the oven at 2-minute increments, until the toothpick comes out clean.
Step 7: Let the brownies cool on the counter for at least 2 hours before serving. They are best devoured the next morning (if you bake it at night), which is hard to do, but it will be worth the wait! They become much denser the next morning.
About the Author:
Joy Jose is the creator of gourmeted.com, where she talks about her adventures in cooking, baking, dining, and traveling with good eats in mind. She also enjoys taking photographs and making crafts to relax from her busy schedule as a web professional. She lives in Vancouver, B.C.