23 April 2007

Making Over Martha's Brownies

Oh Martha! How I wish I could make all the lovely cookies and yummy desserts in your Baking Handbook! Alas, I cannot. It's so hard to alter true butter cookies to suit a liquid sweetener like agave nectar. It will be a happy day for me when a dried agave product comes on the market.

But, thankfully, Martha's "Fudgy Chocolate Brownie" recipe follows a common model for brownies -- melt butter and chocolate together and add the remaining ingredients in stages before baking. I've made quite a few agave-and-carob-laden brownies, but this recipe required the most amount of (ehem) fudging.

The result is a very fudgy brownie with a nice crust. It definitely goes well with a nice glass of vanilla rice milk.

Here's the recipe with my alterations:

Fudgy Carob Brownies


6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup unsweetened carob chips
1 cup agave nectar
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
3 large eggs
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter 8-in square baking pan.
2. Boil 2 in. of water in a medium saucepan and turn off the heat. Place the butter and the carob in a glass bowl on top of the steaming saucepan, and stir until the butter and carob are completely melted together and smooth.
3. Take the bowl off the hot water and let cool for 15 minutes.
4. Stir the agave nectar into the mixture until combined.
5. Whisk in the vanilla.
6. Whisk in the eggs until well combined.
7. Gently fold in the flour and salt.
8. Pour the batter into the pan and bake approximately 40 minutes, until a toothpick tester comes out with a few moist crumbs.
9. Let cool, then cut into 16 2-in squares.

Performance note: When using agave to make brownies, do not expect to achieve the cracked top of the typical brownie. It just won't happen. It might be a bit on the soft side, so feel free to make a tasty carob ganache to pour on top!


Anonymous said...

I'm sure you can try using Xylitol instead of sucrose in cookies. It's slightly expensive though.. and can cause some digestive problems. But after a while you seem to get used to it, and the problems aren't so bad.

Deb Schiff said...

Thanks for the comment. I choose to use sweeteners that do not contain sugar alcohols precisely because the digestive issues are pretty devastating in some cases (like mine!).

Birdfeeder said...

How about fructose? It has a low glycemic index.
I know cookies are difficult to make without sugar. They always seem to come out dry.

Deb Schiff said...

Thanks, Birdfeeder.

I try to avoid fructose, since I haven't been able to find a powder version that doesn't come from corn. If you have a source that isn't corn, please let me know, and I'll be happy to try it!