I’ve had this idea of the perfect brownie floating around in my head for a while. I think it was prompted by my visits to The Elm Cafe where they have these incredible brownies right next to the cash, and every time I have this internal debate as to whether I need something to nibble on while I sip my London fog. This nudged me to get my butt in gear and make some brownies that would satisfy my need for chocolate.
Real talk: the urgency was high when I was testing these because I was PMSing hard and knew I would
want need some chocolate over the following days.
In my opinion the perfect brownie is fudgy, chocolate-y, and with no icing in sight. A brownie should be rich enough to stand alone without gobs of super sweet icing taking it over the top. And please, none of those cake-y imposters. If you want cake by all means make a cake, but my brownie will be dense and chocolate-y.
My ideal brownie would also be dairy free so I could eat it with the peace of mind of not having a stomachache shortly after. Sometimes replacing butter in a recipe entirely with coconut oil works, but in this case I didn’t want them to taste like coconut oil brownies. I opted for half oil and half almond butter so it would still provide the fat and moisture, and the taste wouldn’t be overpowered by coconuts or almonds (besides there are chopped nuts in it anyway).
Most recipes for this amount of brownies call for one cup of sugar, but I decided in the name of ‘better baking’ to cut it down to 3/4 cup. If you use dark chocolate or want to go full-on decadent dessert mode, you could increase to a full cup of sugar.
fudgy rye walnut brownies (dairy free)
makes 16 x 2 inch squares
62 g / 1/3 cup chopped semi-sweet chocolate/chips
56 g / 1/4 cup coconut oil
66 g / 1/4 cup almond butter
165 g / 3/4 cup sugar
2 large free-range eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
90 g / 2/3 cup whole rye flour
45 g / 1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
51 g / 1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
Preheat the oven to 325F convection. Line an 8″ square pan with a small sheet of parchment, leaving some overhang so it’s easier to remove the brownies later. Melt the chocolate, coconut oil and almond butter in a medium bowl in a double boiler or in short bursts in the microwave. Stir until smooth, then whisk in the sugar until thoroughly combined. Add both of the eggs and whisk until combined, then add the vanilla.
Sift the flour and cocoa powder into the bowl then add the salt, and stir gently with a spatula until mostly combined. Add the walnuts and stir through. Scrape the batter into the lined pan and smooth the top, then bake for 18-20 minutes until the top is set and a toothpick comes out mostly clean (if a few crumbs stick that’s fine, you don’t want to over bake them).
Since there are no chemical leaveners (eg. baking soda) in this recipe, the brownies only get a lift from the eggs. The more vigorously you stir the eggs the more air you will incorporate, so keep that in mind when mixing.
I froze the extra brownies and they are perfectly chewy right out of the freezer. I suggest chopping one up and putting on a bowl of ice cream.