Prep time: 15 minutes Bake time: 30-35 minutes
These were a year in the making.
Okay, not this recipe specifically. But, creating the perfect brownie, yes.
We all have our own idea of what that brownie is. For me, it's fudgy on the inside, with crispy edges, & a shiny top. Rich too. I mean, it's a brownie :)
After LOTS of research & many trials, I'm incredibly happy with how these turned out. I won't spend too much time talking about them because you'll find a lot of notes below, tackling each ingredient to explain why I used them & what I discovered through this very long process.
I really hope you enjoy them! Or, better yet, feel inspired to create your own recipe. If you do, let me know what you try & how it worked out.
Here's to us all enjoying our own version of the perfect brownie.
Flour: Like many recipes you'll find here, I blended oats for my base. I find this most closely resembles all-purpose flour when I need a replacement. Feel free to use store-bought oat flour. I wouldn't replace this with a nut-based flour as it can dramatically change the consistency (I made this mistake with coconut - enter a very dense, dry brownie). The other mistake I made was adding too much flour. To achieve that fudgy consistency, it's important to not add too much otherwise they may dry out.
Eggs: Use the largest eggs you have! Fudgier brownies tend to have more egg yolks. Depending on your source, eggs can vary in size a lot. I get mine from a dear friend here in Washington if you're local & looking for a source!
Fat: This is a BIG factor in your final result. Some recipes use butter (solid at room temp) which adds to a shiny, flaky crust, & rich, buttery flavor. Others use a neutral oil (liquid at room temp) which creates a fudgy, moist, brownie that allows the chocolate flavor to really come through. After experimenting, I found the perfect recipe was a blend of both. It allowed for a fudgy texture with a shine on top & slightly crispy edges. Keep reading.
Ghee: Feel free to replace this with coconut oil or butter, but ideally, not olive oil, avocado, etc. The saturated fat in these is used to cream the sugar (just slightly for this recipe) & oils don't have this same effect (coconut oil is the exception). If you're using butter, note that this fat is actually about 20% water, whereas ghee & coconut oil are 100% fat solids. The extra water may add a bit more moisture to your brownies - not a bad thing!
Avocado oil: This is my go-to oil for baking. Although this recipe has a low baking temp, avocado oil has a high smoke point & neutral flavor, making it a nourishing, versatile ingredient to use while baking. I personally wouldn't replace this oil if you can.
Sugar: Because this recipe uses cacao, which is very rich & bitter, & doesn't use your sweeter, milk chocolate, I noticed it was helpful to increase the sugar a bit - hence why I took it up to 1 cup. Sugar also adds moisture to a recipe, so a little extra sugar really helped the texture. This recipe uses coconut sugar which I find is a good middle-ground to cane sugar & brown sugar. It's lighter in texture which is similar to cane, but has more moisture that better resembles brown sugar. Honestly, I think it's perfect for brownies.
Tapioca: Because I was using a sugar with more moisture, I needed something to help absorb it. A little tapioca did the trick! Feel free to replace this with potato starch.
Baking soda / powder: I spent hoursssss researching this. You can learn more here if you'd like to get into the nitty-gritty. To sum it up, baking powder is not typically used in fudgy / chewy brownies, especially one that's made with butter. Baking powder adds quite a bit of rise which can result in an airy, cake-like texture (not the brownie I was personally after). The lactic acid in butter can also react with baking powder to create a similar effect.
Cacao or cocoa: I always bake with cacao (as of now anyway). This is not typically the preferred option for brownies. Historically, Dutch-processed cocoa is used to create your classic brownie. I prefer cacao because of its high nutrient profile, but there's no denying its flavor is STRONG. Feel free to use cocoa instead, I'd increase the amount to about 2/3 cups if you do.
Chocolate: Another area I messed up, lol. I used to think that brownies needed melted chocolate in the batter (many call for it). Every time I did this though, I found that they were VERY dense. Even more so because I used dark chocolate... it was like biting into a rich, chalky brick. So this time around, I folded the chocolate chips into the batter & this was perfect. Some people have a preference as to which chocolate brand they use, I say, just pick one you like.
Sourdough discard: The discard adds just a hint of tangyness to the recipe. I promise it's good. Feel free to use fresh discard or one that's stored in the fridge, it doesn't need to be freshly fed or at room temp. Just note - older discard, or a starter that hasn't been fed in a few days, will create a more sour flavor. I used a 2-day-old discard straight from the fridge.
Small mixing bowl
5 Tbsp ghee, melted
1 c coconut sugar
1 whole egg (yolk + egg white), large
2 egg yolks, large
⅓ c avocado oil
½ c cacao powder
¼ c sourdough discard
⅓ c oat flour, blended
2 Tbsp tapioca starch
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp cinnamon
¾ tsp vanilla
½ tsp salt
¾ c chopped chocolate
Preheat the oven to 350F & line an 8x8in pan with parchment paper.
Using a small blender, blend the oats until you get a flour consistency. Add your flour to a small mixing bowl.
In the same bowl, mix together the cinnamon, baking soda, salt, & tapioca starch. Set aside.
In a small saucepan, melt the ghee over low heat, about 1 minute. *NOTE - this will be the pan you use to mix your entire batter so make sure it's big enough!
Turn off the stovetop once it has melted & add the coconut sugar to the pan. Whisk continuously for about 3 minutes. Make sure to get the sugar along the bottom rim of the pan & watch closely so it doesn't burn! *NOTE - the sugar will absorb the butter within seconds but you want to continue mixing! The sugar will become softer as you mix, pulling out its moisture.
Remove from the stovetop & let it cool for a few minutes.
In the same saucepan, whisk together the egg & egg yolks until everything is well incorporated. The mixture should look very thick & shiny.
Add the cacao powder, vanilla, & avocado oil to your sugar mixture & whisk together until there are no dry bits of cacao powder remaining.
Add the sourdough starter & mix again until it's well incorporated.
Fold in the dry ingredients you set aside earlier & mix until everything is combined. *NOTE - a silicone spatula comes in handy here.
Add your chocolate chips & mix.
Pour your batter into the pan, top with extra chocolate chips.
Place in the oven & bake for about 30 minutes. *NOTE - Every oven is different! Around 30 minutes, check on them with a toothpick or knife. You want it to come out almost clean but not perfectly - they'll continue to bake as they cool. I always err on the side of underdone because when in doubt, you can just bake it a little longer.
Top with flaky sea salt.
Let them rest. Slice them up. Enjoy every bite.
Looking to start your sourdough journey?
I created a FREE guide with everything I wish I knew when I grew my first starter. Here's a step-by-step guide with printable pages, recipes, timelines, troubleshooting, & more!