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Jul 28, 2010 01:07 PM

taking the cocoa out of a brownie recipe??

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???



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

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. 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. What you would have is a blondie. Try these without the chocolate chips:

      1. +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. 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!


          10 Replies
          1. re: lilaki

            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

              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

                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

                ESNY, no cocoa powder is considered a dry ingredient.

              3. re: lilaki

                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:

                1. re: Cherylptw

                  hi cheryl,

                  thanks - the recipe looks great!

                2. re: lilaki

                  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

                    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

                      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

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

                  2. 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

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