Brownie

One-Pot Brownies With a Secret Ingredient for Extra Fudginess

C'mon, just dare us not to eat the whole tray.

March 11, 2019
Photo by Rocky Luten

Has a single recipe ever changed the way you bake, for good?

For me, the answer is emphatically "yes," and the recipe is this one:

It's the Maialino olive oil cake, which our Resident Genius, Kristen Miglore, wrote about in 2014. I'd had other olive oil cakes before, sure, but never one like this. It was so beautifully succulent in the center—custardy, almost—without feeling mawkish or overly dense. It was aromatic and floral, in the most nuanced of ways. It was basically effortless (two bowls, zero special equipment), yet a total showstopper.

And it made me want to put olive oil in everything. So I did.

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Top Comment:
“I made the olive oil cake and my world changed. I wondered if I couldn't put olive oil in everything. My brownie recipe, however, used canola oil instead of butter, so the switch to olive oil was easy in that case (doubly so because I had no canola oil and olive oil bought in bulk from Costco). I can theoretically understand why olive oil would give a super creamy brownie compared to butter (you're adding a liquid???), but I've always wondered if the olive oil really was better than the canola oil version (my non-scientific test of having them several weeks apart said yes!). I'm too lazy to make 2 pans of brownies so I can compare them back-to-back and really note their differences. Especially since I love the olive oil version so much! If someone else has, I'd love to hear what differences you found.”
— SabrinaLVH
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For years, I've dabbled with swapping out any token fat for my favorite olive oil at the moment. Like, in pancakes. And banana bread. And the Ovenly secretly vegan chocolate chip cookies, which call for a neutral oil as their fat.

My biggest success story to date—like most success stories—has involved chocolate. More specifically, in the form of brownies.

I'd been making them roughly the same way for 20 years, based on a one-pot recipe my mom adapted from a New Basics version. At some point, I added espresso powder, and a bit of Dutch-processed cocoa, too (I love the Oreo-reminiscent flavor). I began giving them a sugar-salt sprinkle on top for crackly crust insurance, and doubled down on vanilla extract. But the single most significant breakthrough came when I swapped out the butter for olive oil, resulting in delightfully flavored brownies so tender, I wondered if they were about to slip a love letter into my locker.

The batter comes together all in one pot, meaning these brownies will require you to find a way to fill the other 25 minutes while they cook, after the couple you'll spend cleaning. (A few things I can highly recommend: Staring at the brownies while they bake. Deep breaths. Ordering more olive oil—I like to use a subtly flavored bottle I'd cook with.) Then, they'll emerge from the oven so chocolatey and fudgy (gooey, almost, in the center) that you'll forget you ever made them another way.

Butter, who?


Are you making brownies this week? Let us know in the comments!

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Bella95
    Bella95
  • SabrinaLVH
    SabrinaLVH
  • Sophia
    Sophia
  • Francisco Ayala-Castro
    Francisco Ayala-Castro
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    Connie Tucker
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Ella Quittner

Written by: Ella Quittner

Ella Quittner is a a writer at Food52. She covers food, travel, wellness, lifestyle, home, novelty snacks, and internet-famous sandwiches.

15 Comments

Bella95 June 10, 2019
I've been substituting canola oil in anything that requires melted butter for years. Have only ever used olive oil as a raw ingredient though. Will be putting the cake and the brownies on my to try list.
 
SabrinaLVH June 7, 2019
I did exactly what you did! I made the olive oil cake and my world changed. I wondered if I couldn't put olive oil in everything. My brownie recipe, however, used canola oil instead of butter, so the switch to olive oil was easy in that case (doubly so because I had no canola oil and olive oil bought in bulk from Costco). I can theoretically understand why olive oil would give a super creamy brownie compared to butter (you're adding a liquid???), but I've always wondered if the olive oil really was better than the canola oil version (my non-scientific test of having them several weeks apart said yes!). I'm too lazy to make 2 pans of brownies so I can compare them back-to-back and really note their differences. Especially since I love the olive oil version so much! If someone else has, I'd love to hear what differences you found.
 
Sophia March 22, 2019
Hi, this brownie looks amazing! I was wondering if you could swap/sub the chocolate syrup with something else since we don't have any at home?
 
Francisco A. March 18, 2019
Too many questions for robots.
 
Connie T. March 17, 2019
I don't think I want my brownies to taste like an Italian foccacia. Butter is always better.
 
Christine B. June 7, 2019
What an ignorant comment. Shows how much you know about baking with olive oil. Recipe looks amazing. Will try it very soon.
 
Danielle R. March 17, 2019
These look insane
 
Author Comment
Ella Q. March 18, 2019
Thanks Danielle! Let me know if you try them :)
 
Dennis G. March 15, 2019
Suggest a method for including MY fave expressions grind.
Decrease other liquid? How much?
 
Angela March 12, 2019
What can I substitute for the chocolate syrup?
 
Author Comment
Ella Q. March 12, 2019
Hi Angela, you could make your own with maple and cocoa powder and a little water. This recipe is generally pretty forgiving, though, so if you want to experiment forgoing it completely and adding a little extra chocolate, I think that could work! I hope you’ll let us know what you try and how it goes!
 
FrugalCat March 11, 2019
Last time I had brownies with a "secret ingredient" was in college. It took me 2 days to recover.
 
Author Comment
Ella Q. March 12, 2019
Ha! With these, you’ll bounce right back. :)
 
JustAFoodie March 15, 2019
Ha, ha! 😀
 
Bella95 June 10, 2019
Lol. That made me laugh out loud and brought back memories of a special ingredient in some pikelets l was offered at a friend's house. At the time l had zero idea it could be used as a food additive and it led to a very interesting discussion with my flatmate when l returned home completely oblivious to the real source of my joyful mood.