Olive Oil Brownies are a ridiculously fudgy switch-up from the classic homemade brownie that’s typically made with butter or a neutral oil. They are richly chocolatey, not too sweet, extremely moist, and they’re filled with subtle fruity notes from the depth of the extra virgin olive oil. They’re made slightly healthier with whole wheat pastry flour, and they have that meringue-y, crackly top you always want in a brownie!
Dare I say these are my favorite brownies I’ve ever made? And I’ve made A LOT of brownies in my day. They are forever my dessert of choice, before cookies, before cake, and definitely before pie. To me, nothing beats a supremely fudgy, richly chocolatey, warm brownie. Preferably with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream, a drizzle of olive oil, and a pinch of flaky salt?! Ok, I can die and go to heaven now.
Aside from these being insanely moist, filled with dark chocolate flavor, and just all-around perfect, they’re also part of Healthyish January! Which means they’re slightly healthier but every bit as delicious as the real deal.
And heck, these are the real deal. My ideal brownie.
There are a few things that make them so ideal. One being that they’re super fudgy and moist. Always a must! Two, being that they’re not too sweet. The chocolate and the olive oil flavors complement each other SO well and they really shine through. Three, THEY HAVE THE CRACKLY TOP. I don’t really want a brownie unless it has that meringue-y, crackly, shiny, ridiculously beautiful top. There’s nothing better! Four, the fact that they’re made with olive oil and not butter, and whole wheat pastry flour instead of all-purpose, makes them a little more wholesome and good-for-us!
If you’re thinking – “olive oil what?” – don’t worry. The olive oil simply makes them extra fudgy, extra moist, and gives the brownies a little depth, and fruitiness that complements the rich chocolate flavor. Plus, it gives us all of those wonderful polyphenols and antioxidants. So, I’m deeming these healthyish brownies for sure! Olive oil, chocolate, whole wheat flour, you know, all the good stuff!
You can use any olive oil here, but I like these best with extra virgin because of it’s deep flavor. Some of the flavor is definitely lost thorough baking + heat, but you still get those lovely little notes. You can definitely use regular or a lighter olive oil here, but the brownies might not be quite as complex. Still every bit as fudgy, chocolatey, and delicious though!
I will say, the order and care in which you mix your ingredients with these brownies does matter, especially if you want that crackly top. So make sure you read the directions carefully before making these! They’re SO easy, but just make sure you follow them exactly!
To make these brownies as deeply chocolatey as they are, I did a couple things. I used dark cocoa powder, as well as natural unsweetened cocoa powder. Having both cocoas creates a little interest, and a little bit of extra chocolatey depth from the dark cocoa, without being toooo rich. In addition to the cocoa powder, I also used melted chocolate in the form of chocolate chips! Sometimes I like to use melted bars of pure dark chocolate in my brownies, but when I was experimenting with these, they turned out to be too rich and too fudgy with the melted dark chocolate.
So semisweet chocolate chips is what you want!
They also help create that textured top that we all love & that I can’t stop talking about.
For these brownies, most of what you need are probably already pantry staples. So, when it’s after dinner on a weeknight and you just need something a little bit sweet and a little bit chocolatey to end your night, these can happen for you stat!
Here’s what you need:
- semisweet chocolate chips
- extra virgin olive oil (You could also use regular or a lighter olive oil, but the brownies won’t have as much interest and flavor nuances than they do with the extra virgin.)
- natural unsweetened cocoa powder
- dark cocoa powder (Using both varieties of cocoa is important here – this is also called Dutch process cocoa.)
- vanilla extract
- whole wheat pastry flour (This is different than whole wheat flour – don’t use whole wheat flour because they won’t work! Whole wheat pastry flour is a finer ground variety and much less dense. If you need to substitute, substitute with all-purpose flour.)
- baking powder
- espresso powder (This heightens and intensifies chocolate flavor in any dessert. You will find it in all of my brownies and chocolate cakes! If you need to omit it, you can.)
- AND extra flaky sea salt to finish!
And my most favorite way to serve them?
A scoop of vanilla bean ice cream, a little drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and a sprinkle of flaky sea salt over the whole situation.
This is the kind of dessert that’s perfect to make for guests because they’re so easy and super impressive. Plus, is there ever a time where you don’t want a warm brownie sundae?
I didn’t think so.
Don’t forget to share a photo on Instagram and tag me @spicesinmydna if you make this recipe! Nothing makes me happier than seeing what you create in the kitchen. Be sure to hashtag #healthyishjanuary too so I can see all the Healthyish January recipes you make this month!
Olive Oil Brownies
Olive Oil Brownies are a ridiculously fudgy switch-up from the classic homemade brownie that's typically made with butter or a neutral oil. They are richly chocolatey, not too sweet, extremely moist, and they're filled with subtle fruity notes from the depth of the extra virgin olive oil. They're made slightly healthier with whole wheat pastry flour, and they have that meringue-y, crackly top you always want in a brownie!
- 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup dark cocoa powder*
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour*
- 1 teaspoon espresso powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- flaky sea salt for finishing
Preheat oven to 350℉. Line an 8x8 square baking dish with parchment and spray with nonstick spray. Set aside.
Add chocolate chips to a large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 30-second increments, stirring in between (mine usually takes 1-1 1/2 minutes), until melted. Be careful to not let you chocolate overheat, or else it will seize up! While the chocolate is still hot, add the sugar and olive oil and stir with a rubber spatula quickly until combined. Add both cocoa powders and whisk until combined. Add the vanilla extract and whisk until combined. Add the eggs and whisk vigorously for 30 seconds-1 minute, really working the eggs into the batter until completely combined.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, espresso powder, baking powder, and salt. Add flour mixture to the wet ingredients, folding together with a rubber spatula until fully combined. Pour batter into prepared baking pan and smooth out the top with a rubber spatula. Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until center is set (don't overbake them, they will continue to set as they cool!) Sprinkle with a few pinches of flaky sea salt while they're still hot. Let cool completely before removing from pan, or, eat them warm with ice cream, a drizzle of olive oil, and more flaky salt!
*Dark cocoa powder is the same thing as Dutch process cocoa. This is what I use.
*Whole wheat pastry flour is not the same as whole wheat flour. It's a finer ground variety of whole wheat flour that's lighter, and reacts similarly to all-purpose. This is what I use and love.
*If you need to substitute, all-purpose flour will work here as well!
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