A fudgy brownie layer, topped with brown sugar and cocoa powder … pour boiling water over the top to make a dark chocolate syrup baked right in with the brownies! Serve over ice cream and you will have some very happy campers!!!
A few years ago, my sister called to see if I had our mom’s brownie pudding recipe. She wanted to surprise our parents with this old family favorite, but my recipe file was not with me that day. Actually, I had completely forgotten about brownie pudding, which was one of our favorite desserts when we were kids. I was so excited to make it again, and when I finally found and made the recipe, it tasted awful, with some sort of metallic taste. This was not at all how it tasted when we were young! What happened?
After some investigation, I discovered that I had used a baking powder that contained aluminum (aluminum sodium sulfate or aluminum sodium phosphate) and for some reason, it did not mix well with the other ingredients. Maybe it was the interaction with the cocoa powder, but whatever the case, I threw the entire batch out and vowed to try again the next week, while I was down visiting my mom. What began as a revival of our old recipe, then became a quest to make a better, more gooey brownie pudding, with less sugar, more water, more chocolate and aluminum-free baking powder.
My mom loves chocolate, and the more the better, so we used melted bittersweet chocolate in addition to the cocoa powder called for in the original recipe. We decided to use a little bit more boiling water, too, which created more of the gooey sauce to spoon over ice cream. After four attempts, we finally landed a really great new version of this old favorite!
If you’ve ever had that metallic taste, or just an off-taste with your baked goods such as muffins, scones, breads or pancakes, check your baking powder. Those that contain aluminum (aluminum sodium sulfate or aluminum sodium phosphate) can develop this taste during the baking, even if the batter or dough tastes perfectly fine. This has happened to me over the years, so I became curious as to what was happening and learned that the devil is in the baking powder. Rumford makes an aluminum-free, double acting baking powder, and Trader Joe’s also packages an aluminum-free baking powder. You can make your own aluminum-free baking powder by combining baking soda and cream of tartar, but you may have to experiment, because the quantities of each differ quite a bit from one source to another!
Here is an Epicurious article by David Tamarkin that offers a great explanation of why some baking powders contain aluminum in the first place.
- 1 8×8-inch square baking pan
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted
- 2 tsp. baking powder aluminum-free if possible
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 tbsp. melted butter or vegetable oil, if you prefer
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted
- 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips we use Ghirardelli 60% cacao
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder good quality dark cocoa
- 1 1/4 cups boiling water
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8x8x2 inch baking pan and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, mix together flour, granulated sugar, baking powder and salt.
- Stir in milk, melted butter and vanilla. Mix well. Add the melted chocolate and chopped nuts. Stir well.
- Add the melted chocolate, chopped pecans, and chocolate chips and mix well.
- Spread the batter out evenly in the prepared pan.
- Mix brown sugar and cocoa powder together in a small bowl. Sprinkle evenly over the top of the brownie batter.
- Slowly pour boiling water over the top.
- Bake for 35 or so minutes, until top is crackly, but bottom is still gooey. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt.