citrus is at its peak right now. brownies are always in season. so, it was only a matter of time until the two came together. well folks, that time has come in the form of these citrus olive oil brownies. these brownies use the light, bright and fruity notes of olive oil and citrus to bring a new and delicious twist to the classic brownie. I hope you love them as much as I do!
in a few words, these brownies are...
- fudgy, like the fudgiest brownies ever
- citrus infused
- chewy with a thin crackle top
I adapted my triple chocolate lavender brownies for this recipe. those were just a few of the words used to describe those brownies. i have to say, those words hold up here, too! having made this recipe *several* times (for testing purposes, of course) I can also say it's completely impossible to not eat at least 2-3 in one sitting.
let's talk ingredient list
to make these citrus olive oil brownies you need all the usual things, plus a couple of oranges. add this to your grocery list:
- dutch process cocoa powder
- good quality chocolate you like ( for these I used semi sweet chocolate chips)
- granulated sugar
- olive oil
- espresso powder
- oranges or preferred citrus
- vanilla extract
- orange extract
- all purpose flour
special baking tools
technically you could make this by hand. however, I highly recommend using these following tools
- stand mixer with whisk attachment OR
- electric hand mixer with beaters and a large mixing bowl
- food processor (to easily grate the chocolate) OR
- citrus zester ( you will also need this to zest the orange)
- 8X8 metal baking pan
- parchment paper
what kind of chocolate should I use?
the only thing that matters here is the quality. in this recipe, 8oz. of finely ground chocolate is used. for a balance of flavor, i like to use a mix of semi and bittersweet chocolate. my favorite brands for chocolate, in order of availability:
- guittard, 64, 70% chocolate bars
- ghirardelli, 60, 70% chocolate bars
- valrhona chocolate, 66% chocolate bars
do i really need to grate the chocolate?
do you like shiny, crackly tops? yes? then, you need to get the chocolate into the smallest little bits. one way is to grate the chocolate on a cheese grater. but, its pretty messy. instead, use a food processor. throw the chocolate into the food processor. process the chocolate until its the size of grains of sand. so easy, right?!
another thing that helps to get the crackle tops is to warm the sugar into the fat (butter, or here its the olive oil) . this article breaks it down really well! food science is so fun, don't you think?!
a few tips to help you get the perfect citrus brownies
- zest the orange straight into the sugar
- place the sugar in the bowl
- zest on top of the sugar
- grind the zest directly into the sugar
- oils will release directly into the sugar, resembling wet sand
- use room temperature ingredients
- this allows them to mix together more easily
- preheat the oven at least 20-25 minutes
- use an internal oven thermometer to get the most accurate temperature
- use cocoa powder and chocolate you like
- dutch process is highly encouraged here
- its smoother, less acidic and lends itself to a more chocolatey taste
- cool brownies completely before cutting for the cleanest cut
- at minimum they will need about 1 hour of cooling
- 30 minutes in the pan
- 30 minutes out of the pan
- keep brownies at room temperature in an airtight container
- freeze individually wrapped brownies in an airtight container
- for longer storage
- they taste great straight from the freezer
citrus olive oil brownies
- medium sauce pan
- 8X8 metal pan (perferred)
- stand mixer with whisk attachment or hand mixer with beaters
- food processor, optional to evenly chop chocolate
- parchment paper
- 8 oz. (226g) high quality semi sweet chocolate, grated for these i used chocolate chips
- 1 1/4 c (250g) granulated sugar
- zest of two medium oranges
- 1 c (237ml) good quality fruity olive oil
- 1/2 c (40g) dutch process cocoa
- 1 tbsp espresso powder optional for boost of chocolate flavor
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 (114g) large eggs, room temperature
- 1 (18g) egg yolk, room temperature
- 1 tsp (5ml) vanilla extract
- 1 tsp (5ml) orange extract sub with vanilla extract
- 1 c (120g) all purpose flour, sifted
- Place chocolate in the food processor. Process chocolate until it resembles coarse sand. Set aside.Combine the sugar and orange zest in a mixing bowl. Mix together until the oils release and the sugar resembles wet sand. This takes about 30 seconds with a mixer or 1-2 minutes using a whisk by hand. Pour into another bowl. No need to wash this mixing bowl. Just make sure to get all the sugar out before using to beat the eggs.
- Line 8X8 baking pan with parchment paper and preheat oven to 325F. Whisk together the cocoa powder, sifted espresso powder and salt in a mixing bowl. Set aside.
- Warm the olive oil and citrus infused sugar in a medium size sauce pan over medium heat. Do not allow it to come to a simmer or boil. Just heat enough to allow the sugar to begin to break down and dissolve, about 4-5 minutes over low - medium heat. Turn off the heat, but keep the pan on the hot surface. Whisk in the cocoa powder, espresso powder and salt. Whisk quickly to ensure the mixture is well combined. Once well combined, pour the hot chocolate/sugar mixture into the same bowl used to mix the cocoa, espresso and salt. Cool for 10 -15 minutes until warm, but not hot to the touch.This mixture may look clumpy. This is totally fine and will all smooth out once added to the eggs.
- In a stand mixer or using a hand mixer, beat eggs and yolk for 3 minutes on medium high. Beating on low, slowly stream in the cooled olive oil/cocao/sugar mixture to the eggs. This should take about 1 minute. Add vanilla extract. Beat 1 additional minute, for a total of 5 minutes.
- Add sifted flour to the wet ingredients. Mix until just combined, with a few streaks of flour visible. Fold in the grated chocolate.
- Scoop even dollops of brownie batter into the prepared pan. Using an offset spatula, smooth batter into the corner and evenly across the pan.
- Bake at 325 F for 40-45 minutes. The brownie should barely pull away from the pan. Start checking around minute 35. A tester inserted into the center should come up with only a few moist crumbs. If it comes out with wet brownie batter, keep baking. Check every 2-3 minutes until you get the moist crumbs.Cool in pan, on a cooling rack for 30 minutes. Remove to cool on a cooling rack for an additional 15-30 minutes. For the cleanest cut, cool completely.
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