it's basically summer. that means any recipe that requires an oven, needs to be ultra delicious and indulgent. enter these triple chocolate lavender brownies. lavender you say? why yes, yes i do. this is a combo you need to try, asap. lavender and chocolate is an unexpectedly wonderful pairing. the floral notes shine when paired with dark, earthy flavors like cocoa. dark, rich and fudge-y, these brownies are your soon to be new favorite!
what makes up these lavender brownies?
these brownies are made from a handful of ingredients you most likely already have in your pantry or fridge.
- black and dutch process cocoa powders
- unsalted butter
- lavender sugar
- vanilla extract
- semi sweet and bittersweet chocolate
that's it! super simple and ready in less than an hour. as an added bonus, the flavor develops more as the brownies set. meaning, the brownies taste even better the next day!
natural cocoa vs. dutch process vs. black cocoa
does it even matter? in short, yes. the difference lies in the way the unsweetened powders are prepared.
- natural unsweetened cocoa powder: this is basically ground up cocoa beans. natural cocoa powder is acidic and bitter. it is considered an acid. which means it is often used in recipes that call for baking powder (a base). this creates a reaction and allows the baked good to rise.
- dutch process cocoa powder: this is ground up cocoa beans that have been washed in alkaline solution of potassium carbonate. this neutralizes the beans. meaning, they will not reaction with baking soda. therefore, its best to use this when baking a recipe with baking powder. this powder darker in color and more mellow in flavor.
- black cocoa powder: this is cocoa powder that has been heavily dutched. it has a very strong flavor, but due to the dutch process, it is not bitter. it is very dark in color. for this reason, its most often used as a color booster with dutch process cocoa.
for this recipe, its entirely up to you and what you have in your pantry! there are no leavening agents in these triple chocolate lavender brownies. if you'd like to read more about the science behind these powders, this is a great article. yay for food science!
what is lavender and what does it taste like?
lavender is a member of the mint family. a few words to describe this herb would be:
- a little goes a long way. don't use too much. or, the dish can end up tasting like soap! for this reason, I usually add this as a lavender sugar when baking
what does lavender pair well with?
lavender has the ability to go sweet and savory. it pairs well with:
- fruits such as: strawberries, blueberries, pears, lemon, and orange
- herbs such as: sage, rosemary, oregano, and thyme
- other foods such as: black pepper, honey and chocolate
does it matter what kind of chocolate I use?
the only thing that matters here is the quality. in this recipe, 1.5 cups 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?!
a few tips to help you get the perfect triple chocolate lavender brownies
- use room temperature ingredients
- preheat the oven at least 20-25 minutes
- taste the lavender sugar before using it in the brownies. adjust with more sugar if needed
- use cocoa powder and chocolate you like
- cool brownies completely before cutting for the cleanest cut
- keep brownies at room temperature in an airtight container
- freeze individually wrapped brownies in an airtight container for longer storage. ps- they taste great straight from the freezer
triple chocolate lavender brownies
- stand or hand mixer
- food processor
- 8x8 baking pan
- parchment paper
triple chocolate bronwies
- 1/2 c dutch process cocoa powder (40g) (sub with natural cocoa powder)
- 1/4 c black cocao powder (20g) (sub with natural cocoa powder)
- 1 1/4 c lavender sugar (275g)
- 1 c unsalted butter (226g)
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 c all purpose flour, sifted (120g)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 9 oz. high quality chocolate (60-70%), grated (265g)
quick lavender sugar
- 2 c granulated sugar (440g)
- 1 tbsp culinary grade lavender buds
- Place lavender buds into the food processor. Pulse for 5 seconds. Add sugar and process for 30 seconds. Pour into airtight container and set aside.Place chocolate in the same (now empty) food processor. Process chocolate until it resembles coarse sand. Set aside.
- Line 8X8 baking pan with parchment paper and preheat oven to 325F. In one bowl, whisk together cocoa powders and sugar. Set aside.
- Melt butter in a medium size sauce pan. Once butter has fully melted, reduce heat to low. Stir in the cocoa powders and sugar mixture. Stir quickly to ensure the mixture is well combined. Continue to stir over low heat until the mixture becomes slick like water across the pan. The sugar will look clumpy and seperated from the liquid..This is fine. Pour into the same bowl used to mix the cocoa and sugar. Cool for 10 minutes.
- In a stand mixer or using a hand mixer, beat eggs and yolk for 2-3 minutes. Beating on low, slowly add in the cooled butter/cocao/sugar mixture to the eggs. Add vanilla extract. Beat an additional minute.
- Add sifted flour and salt 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. 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. Serve alone, with ice cream or lavender whipped cream (using the leftover lavender sugar)
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