LOOKING for: Brownie Questions

tropical_thoughtJanuary 18, 2010

Should you use cocoa powder or chocolate in a brownie recipe? What are the pros and cons? I think cocoa powder would be more cake like, but chocolate more moist. Can you use cocoa powder and chocolate in the same batch, and is there a recipe for that? I found a lot recipes online, but there is much disagreement. Can you use a high percentage of cacao like 70 80 or even 90 percent.

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You can use as high of a chocolate percentage as you wish depending on your taste. Cocoa is just pure chocolate with the fat solids taken out, so if you substitute, you need to modify the fat amounts accordingly.

Also, dutch-process cocoa cannot be used with baking soda or you will have flat brownies, just mush. You need to use baking powder to get a rise if you use cocoa.

I guess I am saying you should use whatever the recipe calls for, and if you are seeking a more moist brownie, then add some chocolate in addition, instead of substituting.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2010 at 2:18PM
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many many brownie recipes don't call for any leavening at all...like Alton Browns.
Omitting baking powder makes for a lovely chewey brownie.
Linda c

Here is a link that might be useful: Alton Brown's brownies.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2010 at 5:47PM
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I made them already before I got any replies. I used dark chocolate and baking powder, I think they are pretty good, but I was wondering why use vanilla? I did not use vanilla, I am wondering if I should next time. I bought some vanilla for my next experiment.

I wanted to view Alton Browns on a web search. I knew about that site, but it was not viewable on my cell phone, and I just tired to go there, but it's so filled with ads and pop ups and strange behaviors when I try to get the recipe by copying it, it's not even worth bothering to try to get the recipe. I may be able to tivo his brownie show when it get showed on the food network to get some addition tips from him.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2010 at 6:01PM
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Eggs leaven brownies usually & vanilla accents the choc. flavor. Accents= brings out the richness of the chocolate. You can forget it & they are OK but added they are better. Sugar cookies OK with just sugar,butter, flour,eggs but vanilla,almond, lemon,orange or cherry, give them the rich flavor!

    Bookmark   January 23, 2010 at 12:06AM
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I'm going to use vanilla next time and see if they are better. I am just using the basic recipe.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2010 at 12:29AM
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I make the same recipe sometimes using cocoa and sometimes using melted baking chocolate. When I use the cocoa I adjust the butter amount accordingly. Both versions taste exactly the same. Neither version uses any leavening besides the eggs. As has been pointed out, the vanilla accents the flavour.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2010 at 6:02AM
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It seems odd that powdered cocoa can taste the same of as a very dark chocolate. I used Lindt 90% bar, because I did not like eating it that much. I used less sugar because I don't like things too sweet, I used unsalted butter, half a pound, 2 eggs, a cup of flour, baking powder, a package of walnuts. It's a basic recipe that you can find on line called basic brownies or best brownies or something like that. I found the more flour you add that more it tastes like cake, the less flour the more it tastes like fudge, so you have to find a happy middle ground. If one uses cocoa powder do they need more butter? I have bough cocoa powder to use on another experiment or maybe I will make chocolate cake next time.

The pans from King Arthur flour are really good. They are metal pans, but so much better than those cheap metal pans they sell at the grocery store. My first time I used Pyrex glass bake ware and they were all dried up. Never bake brownies in glassware.
And Lindt now has a 99% bar thatÂs crazy, you know, but I never liked bitter sweet chocolate, the kind you buy as bakers chocolate, so that is why I used an eating bar, but there are other good brands. I also like GreenÂs Organic dark chocolate and New Tree Dark chocolate. There is something really bitter in bitter sweet chocolate, that people have to put too much sugar to over compensate for the bitter taste. Or maybe itÂs just cheaper grade then getting the gourmet bars. I never liked Hersey chocolate at all.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2010 at 10:28AM
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>>If one uses cocoa powder do they need more butter?Yes. That's what I meant when I said, "When I use the cocoa I adjust the butter amount accordingly."

My recipe calls for 4 oz of melted unsweetened chocolate and 6 oz of butter (also 2 cups sugar, 3 eggs, tsp vanilla and 1 cup flour, I use pecans instead of walnuts because I prefer them, and no baking powder). If I sub cocoa, I use 1 1/4 cups of cocoa and change the amount of butter to 8 oz.
As for people putting "too much sugar to overcompensate for the bitter taste", you do realise that semi-sweet chocolate has the sugar built into it, that's why you use less in recipes?

    Bookmark   January 23, 2010 at 12:09PM
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I think when you bake in glass the oven temp. needs to be lower by 25 degrees.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2010 at 2:27AM
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Thanks for the tip about the pyrex bake ware. I want to buy some King Arthur Flour brownie pans. They are the best, but the shipping is over 10 dollars, and I am kind of putting it off.

I just made the brownies in the king Arthur bread loaf pans, but they did come out really good. I may have used too much chocolate and then not reduced the butter, but I was just testing out new idea.

Here is a link that might be useful: King Arthur Flour brownie pan

    Bookmark   January 28, 2010 at 9:33AM
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I made them with vanilla, but it was a failure. I found out Lindt chocolate is the best chocolate to use, but it has added vanilla already so I had too much vanilla. I also mixed cocoa powder with chocolate and this may have been a bad idea. They were so awful they were inedible.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2010 at 10:05AM
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