It has been awhile since I created a brownie recipe for the blog. Today felt like a good day. As I was contemplating what kind of brownie I was craving, orange chocolate came to mind and I just couldn't shake it. So, let me introduce you to the most amazing Dark Chocolate Orange Brownies...ever invented.
Start by prepping your pan. I like to have this ready, because as soon as the batter is prepped you want it in the oven as quickly as possible. So, I like to line my pan with parchment, it just makes it so simple to remove from the pan. I also like to spray once I have the parchment is on. Now, if you don't care about how pretty the brownies are coming out of the pan, I am a food photographer so I have to be kind of anal...just butter or spray. That's it.
I used 2 types of chocolate for this, well 3 if you count the unsweetened dark cocoa powder. It was a semi sweet and unsweetened. I love that blend. I used Baker's chocolate for mine, but use any type you prefer. I like Baker's because it is pretty inexpensive and super easy to find.
So, chop into chunks. Don't waste too much time on this, these pieces don't need to be perfect.
I set back half the semi sweet chunks to fold in last. I like the chunks in the batter, so I always hold a little bit back.
Add chocolates and butter to microwaveable bowl. Microwave on high for 30 seconds the first time. Mix, and return to the microwave for 15 second intervals, mixing lightly for about 30 seconds after each time. You will want to get the chocolate to where it is just about melted, but don't worry about all the chunks being melted, it's okay to leave a few. Set aside to cool.
Next, zest your orange. I always make sure and wash my orange before I start. I love my microplane for zesting too, it is so simple and quick to use. Set the zest aside once it is done.
Add your eggs and brown sugar to medium sized bowl. I love the caramley (is that even a word?) brown sugar give to brownies. If you prefer a granulated, use that.
Now, beat them on high with a stand, hand or even your own hand for a few minutes. You want them to get kind of light and fluffy. Mine took about 2 minutes. Add in vanilla and salt and beat again for about 20-30 seconds. Now, set your whisk or mixer aside and trade out for a spatula for folding.
Here is what the batter should look like. Light and fluffy.
Add in your melted chocolate mixture.
I used half wheat, half all purpose flour for this recipe. In my cakes, cookies, brownies etc. I always use a soft winter wheat. It is lower in protein then the hard red or winter wheat. What does all that mean? Just that the soft wheat gives a more tender crumb, which is desirable for brownies and cookies! No, one wants a cookie to be tough! I found a farm who grows soft winter wheat and I have loved them so much! I will support local farmers whenever I am able! Farm Fresh wheat is out of Washington and an incredible family. My wheat was ground in my Nutrimill, I would be lost without my grain mill! I like to sift my flours and cocoa powder into the batter. It makes it so much easier to fold in. At this point, you won't need to mix much, just fold to incorporate. Last up is the orange zest, fold this in as well.
Trade your whisk or beaters for a spatula at this point. I like to fold the flours in, it keeps it from getting tough.
Next is the chocolate chunks and orange zest.
Pour into your prepared pan.
It is a fairly thick batter, so you may need to smooth just a bit. Now, place in oven. Y'ALL...doesn't this batter look awesome!
Bake about 35 minutes. These are pretty thick brownies, so they take awhile. You will know when they are done as the top will start to crack a little, it will look dry and pull away from the edges just a little bit.
Wait about 10 minutes before trying to pull from pan. It just helps to set them a little bit. With the parchment it makes it so simple to remove from the pan.
Place on cooling rack.
Time to move on to the candied orange zest and ganache. Start with the orange zest. I always wash my oranges with soap before starting. I use this tool, or one similar to it for zest, I couldn't find mine on Amazon. So zest one orange. It's doesn't take much for the decoration. If you want more, double this recipe.
Now, it is going to be cooked in a simple syrup, what that means is sugar and water. I used equal parts here. Add them to a small sauce pan and heat on medium heat.
Add your orange zest once it has come to a boil.
Keep it at a very low boil for about 7-10 minutes, the zest will soften.
Remove from the syrup and coat with sugar.
Next up is prepping the ganache. I didn't have heavy cream, which I normally use to make ganache, no big deal, just add a little butter. So, heat your milk and butter to just under a boil.
Pour over your chocolate. I like the Hershey's Dark, it's about 65 percent, which is perfect for me!
Allow to sit for about 5 minutes.
Then whisk until smooth. If you need to throw it in the microwave for about 10-20 seconds, do that. Mine needed a little extra. Isn't it so beautiful?
I cut my brownies into 16 pieces. I know this seems like a pretty small piece, but let me tell you. They are so rich, this size is perfect!
I am feeling pretty good about that decision to put the chocolate chunks in. Just look at that melty goodness!!
You can either spread the ganache over the top or put a small dollop on each piece. I wanted the dollop, but only for aesthetics.
I then spread it just a little. I wasn't worried that it covered the whole top perfectly.
Top with the beautiful candied orange zest.
You guys... the texture....
And my boys waited as long as they could. They waited as the brownies cooled, then as the candied orange zest cooked, finally waiting on the ganache was torture too. But, it was worth it. As soon as I said go, they went after them immediately.
Is there not something so satisfying about these brownies?? You have seriously got to try these Dark Chocolate Orange Brownies. They are just so good!
Dark Chocolate Orange Brownie
- 4 ounces semi sweet chocolate, coarse chop
- 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarse chop
- ½ cup butter
- 3 eggs
- 1 ½ cups brown sugar I prefer dark brown for a little more intense flavor
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup all purpose flour
- ½ cup whole wheat pastry flour I prefer the whole wheat pastry to a regular whole wheat here as it is lower in protein and give a softer crumb and texture. This is more desirable in baked goods like brownies.
- ¼ cup cocoa powder I love the Hershey's special dark. The color is just so beautiful!
- 1- 1 ½ tablespoons orange zest The variable is a personal preference. If you want a stronger orange undertone, add in 1 ½ tablespoons. Just a nice, subtle undertone, 1 tablespoon will do.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.Prep your 8x8 pan. I like to line with parchment, then spray. It is a little bit of an overkill, but I really like to know my baked goods will come out of the pan! You can see in the photos on the blog how I do this. Set aside.Now, add your butter, unsweetened chocolate, and one half the semi sweet chunks to microwavable bowl. I like to reserve half the the semi sweet to add in last so you have chunks in your brownies. If you don't care about that, add them all at once. Microwave on high for 30 seconds. Mix carefully and continue to microwave in 15 second intervals until the chocolate is mostly melted. Make sure and mix for about 30 seconds after each interval. Once it is mostly melted, a few small chunks are great, set aside to cool.While it is cooling add eggs and brown sugar to a medium sized bowl. Beat on high, or use you arm muscles and whisk, for several minutes. You want them to be kind of light. Add vanilla, salt and melted chocolate mixture. Mix again until incorporated. Now, sift your cocoa powder and flours into your bowl. Fold this in. Be careful not to over mix. This shouldn't take very long. Last is the orange zest, fold this in as well.Pour into prepared pan and place in oven. Mine took about 35 minutes to bake. This is a thicker brownie. You will see the top will be dried out, slightly cracked and brownies will pull away from the edges of the pan just a bit.Remove from pan and allow to cool about 10 minutes, if you can stand it, to cool. Carefully lift brownies from pan if you used parchment. Place on cooling rack and allow to cool at least another 10 minutes, then remove the parchment as well. Now, I realize the temptation will be strong to cut into these right away, if you need to, do it! They are easier to cut the more they are cooled, but who am I to stop anyone when that temptation hits? Nope. Now, sit back and enjoy. You deserve it!
- 1 cup dark chocolate chips or chunks I did Hershey's dark chocolate chips
- ¼ cup milk I had 2% in the fridge, use whatever you have.
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Place chocolate in a small bowl. Heat butter and milk over medium heat on cook top in small saucepan. You will want to bring this to just under a boil.Pour milk mixture over chocolate. Allow this to sit for about 5 minutes. Once it has set and the chocolate is starting to melt, whisk. Get it nice and smooth. You might need to throw it in the microwave for 10-20 seconds. Get it nice and smooth. It is ready to go at this point. I let mine cool just a touch, so it was a little thicker when I spread it on. Now, sit back and enjoy! You deserve it!
Candied Orange Zest
- 1 orange, zest I have my zest tool tagged in the post.
- ½ cup water
- ¾ cups granulate sugar, divided use ½ for simple syrup, ¼ for dusting the finished product
- Add water and sugar to small sauce pan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Add orange zest and boil over medium low for about 7-10 minutes. Remove zest with a fork or tongs and add to reserved sugar. Mix to coat. Set aside to cool.It's ready to use at this point. Now, sit back and enjoy. You deserve it!