The Crackly Soft Brownie – My Favourite Brownie (at this moment)

Brownie recipes are a dime a dozen, and this one may just be adding to the plethora of recipes already available online but I like this recipe of mine.

It feels like winter right now here in Melbourne with cold days and cold nights, and honestly, you can’t say no to some comforting chocolate.

And like with many things in life, we go through phases of liking and disliking stuff.

And I went through a phase of liking the blackout brownie to… well… kinda no longer enjoying it as much.

But one thing that doesn’t change is that I still love chocolate and brownies and the versatility of it.

They can be cakey, fudgey, soft, chewy, firm or crumbly.

This one here however has a nice meringue like crisp on the top crust, a soft fudge like tender middle with crisp chewy edges.

Unlike my other brownie recipe where it comes together in one bowl, this one requires a stand mixer to whisk the eggs up.

A hand mixer would do too but would require more time.

However please don’t manually whisk it up otherwise you’d still be whisking even after you feel like your hand are about to fall off.

And if you ever wondered what could possibly affect the shiny crust on this brownie, check out the end of the video for more details.

I won’t continue on too much with the intro, so let’s get on with the recipe.

The Eggs

The key with this is definitely the temperature of the eggs. You want them to be room temp or slightly warm and NOT cold.

If you keep your eggs in the fridge, simply soak them in warm water for a good 5-10mins whilst you prep the other stuff and they will warm up quickly!

Simply put, cold eggs don’t whip up well as the sugar struggles to dissolve properly and thus is unable to hold volume. Yes, it will eventually whisk up to the right volume but it will take a much longer period of time which means you might not get the same results if you strictly followed the timing that I had provided.

So to be sure, go by the visuals as per the video.

Starting with warm eggs will give you a head start, if you are curious you can check out the end of the video for a side by side comparison between the effects of warm and cold eggs.

And whilst the eggs might end up whipping to the right volume eventually whilst cold, it doesn’t change the fact that the eggs overall temp might be colder than the room temp eggs which may cause the chocolate to seize up when added to the mixture.

So please ensure that your eggs are at room temp.

The Chocolate and Butter

The chocolate I am using is 70% dark chocolate – my usual go to is Callebaut as you would know by now. But any couverture chocolate will be fine, just be sure it is 70%.

Any other types will throw the consistency of the final brownie out of whack as the fat percentage and sugar percentage is different.

Too high and you end up with a slightly drier brownie that may be more stiff and crumbly.

Too low and it will overly sweet and may have a consistency that might be softer.

Butter wise, I am using Western Star, once browned this has a water content loss of 2.44% (yeap, I measured it, lol).

Which means after browning the butter, the final weight was around 302g of browned butter (milk solids included).

Every brand of butter is different, and this minuscule difference in amounts may not affect it too much, but I may as well be precise all the way if we are going to start with being accurate right? 😉

You will also noticed the addition of oil. I am using peanut oil but feel free to use any neutral baking oil. Olive oil tastes nice with chocolate but that means you will have a olive oil flavour note to your chocolate brownie.

The addition of oil will help with creating that slightly chewy edge and also keep the brownies more moist at room temp.

The Sugar

I am using 4 types of sugar in this recipe but you don’t have to.

You will notice the use of white sugar, light brown sugar along with dark brown sugar and finally glucose syrup.

This is to balance out the sweetness and also the texture of the brownie.

Brown sugar results in denser and more moist pastries whilst white sugar helps with the crunch.

Dark brown sugar has more molasses in it than dark brown, which adds a nice flavour to it.

It is also less sweet, and more importantly, beyond flavour, molasses also does one other thing…

Molasses is highly hygroscoptic.

What this means is that it absorbs moisture from the air and surroundings and thus is the reason why your pastries with glucose, honey and molasses in it tend to retain moisture better.

Glucose which is used in this may be optional but I left it in because I do like the consistency it adds.

It’s subtle but it does help improve the shelf life my making it more moist and reduces the chance of crystalisation. Since we are adding so little, it doesn’t impact it too much but it does aid with the texture in the long run if you aren’t consuming it in a day or two.

As an alternative you can use honey but you will get that hint of honey flavour in your brownie.

The Flours

Because I like to make life tough and complicated…? heh

So there are 3 types of “flour” in this.

To be honest, it is only one flour, a starch and a powder.

We are using good old fashion all purpose flour here, it does the job and there’s no fuss with it.

With the use of tapioca starch, you may decide it’s too troublesome to get it just for this, so you can simply add 14g more AP flour to the mix in place of the tapioca starch.

I chose to use this as it helps with binding the ingredients in a way that I find to be a bit more bouncier.

Think of how tapioca cooks up (hint, boba/pearls in your bubble tea)

The tapioca absorbs the water and once baked it cooks it and gives it a very slight bounce.

The cocoa powder is the last ingredient.

It has zero gluten structure but it is all about the flavour here. It increases the intensity of the chocolate in a different way in the brownie.

And if you want to be complicated, there is also espresso powder in this and baking powder.

Espresso helps highlight the chocolate flavour subtly and baking powder gives it a bit of lift when baking.

Do note that when I mention espresso powder, I am referring to the freeze dried espresso powder you get in the supermarket aisle in those glass bottles and not freshly ground coffee beans.

The Baking Tray and Bake Times

I am using a 9×13″ baking pan lined with parchment paper for this which is light in colour which means it doesn’t heat up as much as a dark pan, but it is quite thick so it retains heat better.

What I am trying to say is, baking time will vary from oven to oven depending on your setup so ere on the side of caution and check it 5-10 mins earlier than the provided time. 🙂

The right consistency should have some moist crumbs sticking to the toothpick when you poke into the middle. If it is clean it’s over baked, so please quickly remove it from the oven.

When you tap the crust with your fingers it should feel nice and crisp whilst underneath should still be moist as per the toothpick.

Lastly, I always preheat my oven before I start baking to ensure it has sufficient time to heat up. So please ensure that you do so too!

And there you have it… let’s get baking!

My Favourite Brownie (at this moment)

Makes 1 – 9×13″ brownie slab

What you’ll need

  • 220g eggs, room temp or slightly warm (approx 4 large eggs)
  • 4.5g fine sea salt (2/3 tsp)
  • 160g white sugar
  • 125g light brown sugar
  • 65g dark brown sugar (you can replace with light brown sugar)
  • 15g glucose syrup, optional
  • 0.3g espresso powder, optional (the instant/freeze dried kind, its approximately a pinch)
  • 310g unsalted butter (final weight after browning 302g)
  • 24g peanut oil (or any neutral flavoured oil)
  • 10g vanilla extract (2tsp)
  • 250g 70% dark couverture chocolate
  • 30g cocoa powder
  • 2.4g baking powder (2/3 tsp)
  • 90g all purpose flour
  • 10g tapioca starch (substitute with 14g AP flour instead if you wish)

Making it!

In a pot, brown the butter. Once the colour of the milk solids start to take on a toasty brown colour, remove it from the heat as the residual heat will continue to cook it.

Add the oil, cocoa powder and mix. Add the chocolate and allow the heat from the butter to melt it. Once melted set aside in a warm area.

In a bowl of the stand mixer, add the room temperature eggs, sugars, glucose, salt and espresso powder.

Whisk on medium high for 13-14 mins (this will vary depending on your mixer, go by the consistency as shown in the video). When you lift the whisk, thick ribbons of egg mixture should fall off the whisk as per the video. Please see the comparison at the end of the video for visual indications.

Stop the mixer and pour the chocolate mixture in.

Gently whisk the chocolate into the egg mixture. I like to stop the mixer mid way and just use my hand to ensure I do not knock all the precious air out.

It is alright if it isn’t 100% mixed through.

Sift the flour, baking powder and tapioca starch into the batter and fold in gently with a spatula until not more flour streaks remain.

Pour into your baking tray lined with parchment paper.

Give it a few gentle taps on the counter to even the batter and remove huge air bubbles in the mixture.

Bake in a fan-forced oven at 180C for approx 28 mins (check after 23mins as every oven is different).

When tested with a toothpick, it should come out with moist crumbs sticking to it like in the video.

Unlike the blackout brownie, the batter of this brownie isn’t wet and dense so it doesn’t really cling in the same way.

What you do not want is a dry brownie so definitely stick with underbaking instead of overbaking.

Once baked to the right consistency, give the brownie tray a few good knocks on the counter to deflate it and to knock out any air. This will condense the crumb giving it a bit more of a fudge like interior.

Let cool fully in the pan.

Slice and enjoy.

Store in an airtight container if not consuming in the same day and reheat in the oven for a crisp crust if your crust has turned soft due to humid weather conditions.


One Comment Add yours

  1. A.A says:

    Hi Sara
    I want to try this recipe but I only have 9 by 9 inch pan.
    How should I alter the recipe to make it according to this pan size?


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