Brownies offer bakers the ability to create flavorful combinations of ingredients to delight consumers – young and old – in new and different ways.
Vincent Barcelona, director of sales, National Accounts and Culinary, offers the following examples of creative flavors and toppings, which bakers can make in their own shops.
- Ice Cream Sundae Brownie – chocolate chip brownie topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, hot fudge, rainbow sprinkles and a cherry on top
- S’mores- Brownies topped with a marshmallow glaze, melted Hershey chocolate bars and graham cracker crumbs.
- Strawberry Shortcake Brownie - topped with crème fraîche whipped cream and macerated strawberries!
- Maple Bacon Brownie– topped with a maple glaze and crumbled bacon. Bacon and Maple go so well together it’s a crime
- Cookies ‘n Cream Brownie- Chocolate glazed brownie topped with cream cheese whipped cream and crushed Oreos.
From a food science perspective, Roger Daniels, vice president research, development, innovation and quality for Stratas Foods, explains that in a bakery operation that is geared to match artisan or scratch-made tasting brownies, the role of the food oil or fat is to lubricate and enable air incorporation.
Typical brownies utilize unsalted butter or liquid food oils.
Stratas’ shortenings, margarines and oils are generally outstanding substitutes for butter and food oils.
For brownie recipes requiring unsalted butter, he explains, margarine is a less important option due to the typical brownie recipe’s use of ingredients, which impart the intense chocolate flavor (e.g. cocoa powder).
Specifically, margarine imparts buttery/dairy notes and both of these attributes become masked due to the chocolate flavor character. As such, Stratas recommends Primex all-purpose shortening due to its neutral flavor and excellent mouthfeel.
In brownie recipes which utilize food oils, Stratas’ vegetable or canola oil-based products fit the bill.
Brownies are usually made with a creaming method.
In this approach, Daniels explains, the dry ingredients (e.g. powdered sugar and cocoa powder) are combined and mixed until well dispersed.
While the dry ingredients step is underway, the liquid components (e.g. eggs, water, and liquid) are blended together.
When blended together, the liquid and dry ingredients are mixed to cream together. This step provides for lubrication and air entrapment to achieve a post baked brownie which delivers on a chewy yet airy texture.