Welcome back to our series on egg yolks! Check out more about why these little guys are so amazing and get recipes for new twists on deviled eggs, decadent chocolate mousse, and eggs Benedict with an herbed Hollandaise sauce.
So I’ve had this recipe ready for a few weeks, but unfortunately this little thing called MOVING got in the way of actually posting it. Having moved every year since heading for college six years ago, you’d think I’d be better at it by now. But I still hate it with the fire of a thousand suns, and I managed to load up the car during a slight drizzle only to empty it on the other side of town in a torrential downpour.
If you’ve been caught in any rainstorms lately, there’s nothing like a brownie to coax a smile onto your dripping, sand-spattered, bedraggled face. (Along with the moving fiasco, I may have had a run-in involving a bike, a thunderstorm, and the lakefront path recently.) And this particular brownie builds layer upon layer of chocolatey goodness, starting with cocoa powder and adding unsweetened, dark, and semi-sweet chocolates to cover all of our chocolate bases. The end result is a super-rich, fudgy, dense, little square of perfection. And it’s all done in just one bowl!
In addition to some whole eggs for structure, we throw in a couple extra egg yolks to really amp things up. In addition to adding fats for richness, the phospholipids reprise their classic role as emulsifiers.
It might seem weird to talk about emulsifiers in a brownie batter rather than in mayo or sauces like we usually do, but let’s take a quick peek at the list of ingredients: water and water-based eggs plus butter and oil. While it’s not technically an emulsion because the flour and sugar and chocolate and everything else get in the way, we’re still mixing oil into something water-based and that can give us problems.
We want plenty of fats to make a really delicious and rich-tasting brownie, but too much oil can lead to an unpleasant greasiness. The batter can handle a certain amount of fat, like a sponge soaking up some liquid. If you add too much, though, the oil starts to leak out—your sponge is totally full of liquid and can’t take in any more. But along come egg yolks to save the day. We’ve talked about how egg yolks contain these pretty amazing compounds that can bridge oil and water (phospholipids, of course), and those molecules grab onto both the water-based batter and the oil you want to incorporate. Boom! No more greasiness.
These little brownies are small but powerful. Packing four different kinds of chocolate, they bring a ton of flavor and a super moist bite. And since you can mix them by hand in just one bowl, they’ll be ready before you’re dry and warm after the next time you get caught in a thunderstorm! You could also avoid the rain altogether and just bring them to your next summer potluck.
Yield: about 40 1-inch brownies
3 T. cocoa powder
¼ c. boiling water
1 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 oz. dark chocolate, chopped
2 T. butter
½ c. vegetable oil
1 t. vanilla
1 c. sugar
¼ c. brown sugar
¾ c. flour
½ t. salt
½ c. semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with foil or parchment, and lightly butter.
Measure the cocoa powder into a large bowl and pour the boiling water on top to bloom the flavor. Stir in the chopped unsweetened and dark chocolate and heat gently over a water bath until the chocolate melts.
Whisk in the butter and vegetable oil, making sure that all of the butter melts. Add the egg, yolks, and vanilla and whisk until combined. Add the sugars.
Gently fold in the flour and salt. When it is mostly incorporated but there are still white streaks, add the chocolate chips and continue to fold just until you can’t see any more flour.
Bake the brownies for 45-50 minutes, until the top crust is light in color and crackly and a knife or toothpick comes out with moist crumbs but no uncooked batter. Let cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then use the foil or parchment to carefully remove the cooked brownies. Cut into about 1-inch squares and top with powdered sugar. I’m always a fan of festive sprinkles as well!
Recipe adapted from The Science of Good Cooking and Baked. Science from The Science of Good Cooking.