“How much chocolate can you put in a brownie before it’s too much chocolate?”
We asked ourselves that question years ago—and then went to work to solve it. Batch after batch, we added more chocolate until we had a ridiculous amount of chocolate—over 3/4 pound. We were using really good chocolate.
The brownies still tasted good to us, even great. But then, we’re chocoholics.
We had a cooking class that night so we passed the brownies around the class.
“How many feel these brownies have too much chocolate?” we asked. Three or four hands went up.
“How many think they are just right?” The rest of the class raised their hands.
When we asked how many felt like they didn’t have enough chocolate, several hands went up.
Everyone’s tastes are different. Merri Ann can handle almost bitter chocolate. Me, I want mine sweet. But I love a lot of chocolate.
Brownies come in a spectrum. Some have more chocolate. Some are sweeter. Some are more cake-like. The differences may seem subtle but there is an amazing array of brownies. You have to find the brownies that you and your family like best.
The Quality of the Chocolate
No matter your tastes, the brownies are no better than the chocolate. A cheap, poor quality chocolate always results in a mediocre brownie.
We use and sell a lot of cocoa. So of course distributors and producers send us cocoa to try. We make two things with it: brownies and hot cocoa. But at the same time, we make brownies and cocoa with our proven brands, the ones we sell every day. If the new isn’t at least as good as the proven, we’re not interested. Some of the cocoas are just plain nasty. After all these trials, we still only sell three cocoas.
We have never found a cocoa that we liked that didn’t have at least 14-16% cocoa butter. Of the three we sell, one has 14-16% and the other two have 22-24%. Most cocoas in the other stores are 8-10%. They’re diluted.
But Back to the Brownies
It’s a combination of eggs and sugar that makes brownies dense and moist. Relatively little flour is used. (We use bread flour because it makes the brownies chewier.) So the anatomy of a good brownie is really good chocolate and lots of eggs and enough sugar to reach the desired sweetness.
If you have a recipe that is too cake-like and you would like to make it denser, reduce the flour and add an egg. Likewise if your brownies are bitter (bad chocolate), you can mask that bitterness with more sugar.
- We sell a dessert brownie. It’s more cake-like (no more than it has to be though) so that you can get pretty cuts for more formal desserts.
- Uncle Bob’s Extra Moist and Chewy Brownies are made with Ramstadt Breda Rich Dark Cocoa with 22-24% cocoa butter. These are good, dark brownies that are moderately sweet and smooth. The mix calls for eggs.
- Seriously Fudgy Brownies are just a little milder and very fudgy and chewy. The eggs are in the mix so you just add water—very quick and convenient and you don’t have the expense of the eggs.
- Southern Style Thick and Chewy Brownies are over an inch thick and not quite as sweet. If you want a thick, very chocolate brownie, try these. Again, the eggs are in the mix. These come with and without pecans.
The Chocolate Lover’s Brownie
Though this recipe has 3/4 pound of chocolate plus 1/2 cup cocoa, it is not outrageous. It is a large batch filling a 9 x13-inch about 1 1/2 inches deep. Only ten percent of those who tried it thought it was too chocolaty. For the cocoa, we used our Ramstad-Breda Medium Dark Cocoa at about twice the cocoa butter content of most store brands.
6 large eggs
2 2/3 cups sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cocoa
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
Line a 9×13 baking pan with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Melt the chocolate and butter together in the microwave, stirring frequently. Be careful not to burn the chocolate.
- In a large bowl, mix the eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt together until the mixture is smooth. Stir in the melted chocolate mixture.
- Add the cocoa and mix well. Add the flour and stir until just combined. Pour the finished batter into the pan.
- Bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few sticky crumbs. Let the brownies cool completely in the pan on the rack. Once cool, lift the cake from the pan and cut into servings with a serrated knife on a bread boar.
“Death by Chocolate” Flourless Cake Recipe
This fabulous flourless cake is easy to make. And it is so good—moist, dense, and fudgy.
For a nice presentation, make it in a springform pan. Be sure to use the very best intense chocolate. The recipe calls for bittersweet chocolate but you can substitute a quality semi-sweet chocolate.
Enjoy this decadent flourless cake recipe.
Warning: This is an intensely chocolate cake. If you are not a certified chocoholic, eat this cake with a scoop of ice cream or a little whipped cream.
1 cup butter
15 ounces bittersweet chocolate wafers (about three cups—you may substitute good quality semi-sweet chocolate wafers or chips)
5 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Melt the butter and chocolate in the microwave, stopping to stir several times.
- Whip the eggs until light and fluffy, about three minutes at medium speed. Add the vanilla, powdered sugar and cornstarch and continue beating until smooth. Fold the melted chocolate into the egg mixture.
- Grease a 9-inch springform pan. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the center of the cake is firm to the touch.
- Set the pan on a wire rack to cool. Let cool for five minutes before gently loosening and removing the ring. Let cool completely before serving. Garnish with whipped cream or sift powdered sugar over the cooled cake.
Chocolate Lover’s Cheesecake Recipe
If you love chocolate, this is a great cheesecake recipe. It has a chocolate crumb crust, a creamy filling studded with chocolate chips, and a chocolate ganache topping. And decadent can be easy.
2 1/2 cups chocolate cookie crumbs
1/3 cup butter, melted
3 8-ounce packages of cream cheese
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips
2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
1. Mix the cookie crumbs and the melted butter in a 9-inch springform pan. We prefer a glass-based springform pan. Press the crumbs across the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Set the pan in the refrigerator to help set the crust while you mix the filling.
2. Beat the cream cheese and sugar together with the paddle attachment of your stand-type mixer or use an electric egg beater. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat at medium speed until smooth. Fold in the chocolate chips. Scrape the filling into the prepared crust.
3. Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees and then turn the temperature down to 250 degrees and bake for another 35 to 40 minutes or until the cheesecake is barely set. Let the cheesecake cool in the pan on a wire rack for about 15 minutes.
4. While the cheesecake is cooling, place the remaining 1/2 cups chocolate chips in a small bowl. Add the cream. Heat in the microwave for about 30 seconds or until the chips begin to melt. Stir. Heat again if necessary. Stir until smooth and spread over the top of the cheesecake as frosting. Let the cheesecake cool in the refrigerator both to set the topping and to chill the dessert. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator.