Satisfyingly dense and fudgy brownies. This Dairy-free, Gluten-free and Paleo recipe is made with dark chocolate, ground almonds, honey and coconut oil.
A brownie is a flat, baked slice with a rich chocolate flavour and a dense, squidgy interior. They differ from chocolate cakes in the ratio of fat, sugar and flour used. A typical brownie recipe contains only half as much flour, and does not include a chemical raising agent like baking soda. They also tend to use melted chocolate rather than cacao powder for flavouring. Chocolate bakes made with cacao powder have a lighter crumb, whereas those made with melted chocolate have a denser, fudgier texture. This is because cacao powder is a dry ingredient, and comprised almost entirely of cacao solids, whereas chocolate is diluted with cacao butter and sugar. When you take these extra ingredients into account, brownies have a higher proportion of fat and sugar than this simple comparison suggests:
|Amounts:||Flour (wheat)||Fat (butter)||Sugar (white)||Eggs (large)||Liquid (water / milk)||Flavouring (chocolate)|
|Chocolate Cake||175g||225g||225g||195g (3)||45ml||50g (cocoa powder)|
|Chocolate Brownies||100g||200g||250g||195g (3)||–||200g (chocolate)|
|Percentages:||Flour (wheat)||Fat (butter)||Sugar (white)||Eggs (large)||Liquid (water / milk)||Flavouring (chocolate)|
|Chocolate Cake||19%||25%||25%||21%||5%||5% (cocoa powder)|
|Chocolate Brownies||11%||21%||26%||21%||0%||21% (chocolate)|
Brownies fall into two camps, depending on whether they are dense and fudge-like, or light and cake-like. My recipe falls into the dense, fudge-like camp. To get more cake-like and crumbly brownies, you need to weaken the structure by increasing the ratio of fat. Adding more sugar, meanwhile, will result in a gooier brownie. This recipe contains a higher proportion of flour (19%) and a lower proportion of fat (12%) than a typical brownie recipe. This is because it is made with ground almonds rather than wheat flour. As almonds are high in fat due to their natural oils, you should reduce the amount of fat by 25% when baking with ground almonds. In addition, coconut oil has a higher percentage of saturated fat than butter (92% versus 63%), so I tend to use less to avoid a greasy texture.
Tips & Tricks
- Use chocolate that is 70% cocoa solids – chocolate with a lower proportion will contain more cacao butter and sugar, which will result in a more cake-like brownie
- Allow the melted chocolate to cool before adding – otherwise the heat will cook the eggs, curdling them into scrambled eggs
- Incorporate the oils – thoroughly whisking the coconut oil and melted chocolate into the eggs and honey creates an emulsion, which prevents greasiness
- Do not overcook – the top should be set, but the centre should still feel gooey when lightly pressed
- Allow to cool in the tin before slicing – the brownies are fragile when warm, and will crumble until they have cooled and set
- 1/2 cup (80g) raisins
- 4 tablespoons (60ml) rum
- 200g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), broken into pieces
- 1/2 cup (105g) coconut oil
- 3 eggs
- 2/3 cup (170g) honey
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 3/4 cups (160g) ground almonds
- 1/2 cup (60g) chopped walnuts
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 160°C/340°F. Line a 20cm/8″ square cake tin with baking paper.
- Place the raisins and rum in a saucepan over a low heat. Gently simmer until the raisins have absorbed all the rum and plumped up – about 8 minutes.
- Place the chocolate and coconut oil in a heatproof bowl, and set over a pan of simmering water. Do not allow the base of the bowl to touch the water, or any steam to come into contact with the chocolate, as this will cause the chocolate to seize into a grainy lump (so use a bowl that has a wider diameter than the pan). Stir until completely melted and blended. Set aside to cool for a few minutes, until just warm to the touch.
- Combine the eggs, honey and vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl. Whisk with an electric whisk until fully blended. Scrape in the cooled chocolate and coconut oil mix. Mix thoroughly using the electric whisk for about 2 minutes, until fully blended.
- Add the remaining ingredients (rum-soaked raisins, ground almonds, walnuts and salt), and stir thoroughly until fully blended. The batter will be thick and slightly grainy looking.
- Pour the batter into the prepared tin. Smooth the top with the back of a wetted metal spoon. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the top is set but the centre still feels gooey when lightly pressed. A toothpick will not come away clean when inserted into the centre, but should show a few moist crumbs rather than wet batter. Don’t worry if it seems too squishy, as the centre will harden as it cools.
- Allow to cool in the tin for at least 1 hour, before lifting out onto a chopping board and slicing into squares.