One of my all-time favorite food descriptions comes from Nigella Lawson writing about her Chocolate Guinness Cake, “magnificent in its black dampness”.
Along with her very being, she has a voluptuous way with words – surprise! I could go on quoting Nigella, but I’ll leave that topic for now or things might get sweaty.
I couldn’t help thinking of her words when I made these brownies. Instead, I suppose you could say they’re dark, moist and rich, but black dampness is so much more sensual and tempting, don’t you think?
Olive oil baked into brownies might seem strange, but trust me, if you take your brownies fudgy these are for you. And how healthy for us that olive oil and cocoa happen to be loaded with antioxidants, phenols, flavonoids and who knows what else.
I used extra virgin olive oil and extra dark Dutch process cocoa, Hershey’s Special Dark for the brownies pictured here. There’s no detectable olive oil flavor that comes through so if you must use regular olive oil rather than extra virgin that would be okay; however using good quality cocoa is key.
I’ve also made this recipe with natural cocoa (which simply means it’s not treated with an alkalizing agent) and ironically, while they are not as dramatically dark in color, the chocolate flavor is actually deeper. Green and Black could be my favorite cocoa; I absolutely recommend you try it.
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oi
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup cacao nibs
- Heat oven to 350 degrees for at least 25 minutes.
- Coat an 8-inch square baking dish (glass or porcelain) with olive oil. Cut a piece of parchment to fit just the bottom of the dish and oil that too.
- Put the eggs in the bowl of a heavy duty mixer and beat on low for a minute. Increase speed to medium high while adding the sugar 1/2 cup at at time. Beat until the eggs are pale, thick and creamy.
- Decrease mixer speed and slowly add the oil in a thin stream, as if you were making an emulsion like mayonnaise. Add the vanilla extract.
- Sift together the flour, cocoa and salt into a bowl. Stir into the egg mixture until just incorporated, scraping down the bowl as needed.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared baking dish and sprinkle the cacao nibs over the top, if using.
- Bake 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies emerges with some moist crumbs.
- Cool the pan completely on a rack before cutting into serving pieces.