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taking the cocoa out of a brownie recipe??

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lilaki Jul 28, 2010 01:07 PM

hi hounds,

need some advice here ...

i made a brownie recipe recently that i quite liked. (pasted recipe below).

what would happen if i replaced the cocoa powder with the equivalent amount of flour and scraped in a vanilla bean into the batter?

i know this sounds crazy but i'm NOT a huge chocolate fan ... in fact, i could give it up quite easily. HOWEVER, i really liked the way this brownie turned out - texture was nice and light (i hate dense, fudgy brownies) and i really liked the 'crunchy' top.

any ideas???

TIA!

---------------------------

3/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 eggs
3/4cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
Method

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease an 8×8″ square pan.
Melt butter in microwave.
Beat eggs with sugar, and add vanilla. Slowly add melted butter.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt.
Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
Pour into prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes

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  1. e
    ESNY RE: lilaki Jul 28, 2010 02:02 PM

    Without cocoa powder what exactly would this taste like? Either super surgary or like nothing. Cocoa powder is bitter on its own, so some of the sugar is balanced by the cocoa. Maybe do some reverse engineering and first subbing out the cocoa powder, some butter and maybe sugar for an equivalent amount of baking chocolate and then just leaving it out. I'm not enough of a baking expert to know what subbing flour would do to the batter, but i'm fairly certain it will not be the same. Isn't cocoa powder considered a wet ingredient?

    If you don't like chocolate, i'd suggest finding a blondie recipe which is basically a brownie without chocolate.

    1. m
      maxie RE: lilaki Jul 28, 2010 02:12 PM

      What you would have is a blondie. Try these without the chocolate chips: http://www.lovintheoven.com/2009/06/d...

      1. Cherylptw RE: lilaki Jul 28, 2010 04:36 PM

        +3 on the blondie...If interested I have a great recipe to post..Can't believe anyone wouldn't like chocolate...(that's from a confirmed chocoholic)

        1. l
          lilaki RE: lilaki Jul 28, 2010 05:00 PM

          hi all,

          thanks for the replies ... the thing with brownies and blondies that i'm NOT overly fond of is the SWEETNESS ... the recipe that i posted is pretty UNSWEET ... i find most brownies/blondies pretty cloyingly sweet (including dorie's recipe which is posted).

          i'd LIKE to replace the chocolate flavour with vanilla (i.e. seeds scraped from the pod and dropped into the butter). i'm hoping the texture of the dish is still the same (light) and yet still has some of the 'traditional' brownie crunch on top.

          ESNY - cocoa powder is a dry ingredient. i'm not sure if we're talking about the same thing???

          cheryl, would love to see your recipe!

          thanks!

          10 Replies
          1. re: lilaki
            e
            ESNY RE: lilaki Jul 28, 2010 05:10 PM

            I know its a dry ingredient but mean isn't it treated like a wet ingredient, similar to how sugar is treated?

            1. re: ESNY
              l
              lilaki RE: ESNY Jul 29, 2010 11:01 AM

              hmmm, in the recipe above (and most other recipes that i have used with cocoa powder), i put the cocoa powder in with the flour BEFORE mixing it all with the dry ingredients.

              1. re: lilaki
                m
                maxie RE: lilaki Jul 29, 2010 04:21 PM

                Cocoa powder isn't a wet ingredient like sugar. Sugar melts into a liquid with heat. Usually you would remove an equal part flour to add cocoa powder, so you should be able to do the opposite. The problem is the sugar -- you're saying recipes are already too sweet. Removing the cocoa powder (which is quite bitter) will make it even sweeter. Since this recipe is about right sweetness-wise with the cocoa, try decreasing the sugar by 1/4c., and go from there. You might also want to use half white, half brown. The crunchy top may disappear. There are different theories on the crunchy top -- one is the high percentage of sugar, another is the amount of beating you do after adding the eggs. The more you beat, the more crust will lift and separate. A third theory has to do with the chocolate, so there's no getting around that one either. And yes, add vanilla bean. I'm not a huge chocolate lover, and used to make chocolate chip cookies without the chocolate chips, so I totally relate to this.

              2. re: ESNY
                s
                sandylc RE: ESNY Mar 18, 2014 09:47 AM

                ESNY, no cocoa powder is considered a dry ingredient.

              3. re: lilaki
                Cherylptw RE: lilaki Jul 28, 2010 05:33 PM

                My recipe is actually for Glazed Orange Blondies but you could exclude the glaze and the orange in the blondie, subbing the vanilla you want to use. The recipe uses one cup of sugar.

                You can find the recipe here: http://www.recipe4living.com/recipe/h...

                1. re: Cherylptw
                  l
                  lilaki RE: Cherylptw Jul 29, 2010 11:00 AM

                  hi cheryl,

                  thanks - the recipe looks great!

                2. re: lilaki
                  greygarious RE: lilaki Jul 28, 2010 07:33 PM

                  Try replacing the cocoa powder with almond meal (aka almond flour - Trader Joe's sells it at a good price or you can make your own by buzzing raw or toasted unsalted almonds with sugar and flour in the food processor until all you see is flecks). I would add alomd extract ot the vanilla. I make blondies this way, though I also add nuts and white chocolate chips and DO like things sweet.

                  1. re: greygarious
                    l
                    lilaki RE: greygarious Jul 29, 2010 11:00 AM

                    that is a good idea ... i love almonds. although, i think it might make the cake a bit denser than i'd like ... i'll try it.

                    1. re: greygarious
                      Emme RE: greygarious Jul 29, 2010 02:03 PM

                      i was going to recommend replacing with almond or hazelnut flour, or even a combo of a nut flour with malted milk powder (if the taste of malt is amenable...)...

                      is your original recipe chewy?

                      1. re: Emme
                        l
                        lilaki RE: Emme Jul 30, 2010 10:40 AM

                        i wouldn't say it's overly chewy ... i suspect adding almonds might make it chewy/dense. the original recipe is fairly light.

                  2. tcamp RE: lilaki Jul 29, 2010 11:05 AM

                    Personally, I'd skip the whole de-chocolating exercise and make biscotti instead. I am not a sweet lover and don't particularly care for chocolate. Biscotti, IMO, is a perfect 'sweet' treat and so versatile - you can make with anise, with dried fruits, with citrus zest, etc.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: tcamp
                      ipsedixit RE: tcamp Jul 29, 2010 03:34 PM

                      I think biscotti route might work, except you would probably only need to bake the biscotti once to mimic that chewie brownie texture.

                    2. chowser RE: lilaki Jul 29, 2010 02:49 PM

                      I do it all the time for cookies, cakes, etc. I usually just do straight one to one substitution but technically it's 1/4 c for 2 tbsp of flour. Mine are probably a little taller as a result but it still tastes good. But, if you want a great blondie, I've been making these Martha Stewart browned butter toffee blondies and they're so good. The browned butter gives it a great caramel taste. I just brought a batch to a shower and people went on and on about them. If you don't like the sweetness, cut back on the sugar. It'll be taller and cakier but still be good.

                      http://www.marthastewart.com/recipe/b...

                      1. dave_c RE: lilaki Jul 29, 2010 03:27 PM

                        I'd just leave out the cocoa and not substitute anything. The cocoa is mainly there for flavor.
                        Now the question is whether the lack of cocoa will make your mixture too wet? Maybe, but it should still work out.

                        If you're interested in crunchy top and light center, look into making macarons. They're more of a challenge, but delicious.

                        1. ipsedixit RE: lilaki Jul 29, 2010 03:33 PM

                          I would sub in equal parts espresso powder, or even instant coffee.

                          1. l
                            lilaki RE: lilaki Aug 2, 2010 12:36 PM

                            Alrighty, so I finally made a 'vanilla' brownie using the following recipe:

                            -------------------------
                            3/4 cup butter
                            1 vanilla bean, scraped
                            1 cup sugar
                            3 eggs
                            1 cup all purpose flour
                            1 tsp baking powder
                            pince of salt

                            Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
                            Grease an 8×8″ square pan.
                            Melt butter in microwave. Add scraped vanilla beans to melted butter.
                            Beat eggs with sugar. Slowly add melted butter.
                            In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt.
                            Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
                            Pour into prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes

                            -------------------------

                            It turned out great ... the texture was exactly what I was looking for and the vanilla flavour was REALLY good.

                            Thanks to everyone for their help!!!

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: lilaki
                              j
                              jbsiegel RE: lilaki Mar 18, 2014 09:19 AM

                              Resurrecting this old thread because I was looking for similar information. I'm thinking if you sub some of the sugar with brown sugar (all?), you'd get more of a cookie dough flavor?

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