The Secret Chocolatey Ingredient You Should Be Adding To Brownies

Where homemade brownies are concerned, one perhaps not-so-secret ingredient stands out as a game-changer: chocolate bars. Merging chocolate bars into your go-to brownie recipe can transform the ordinary into the extraordinary, adding an unparalleled richness that cocoa powder alone can't achieve.

Most chocolate bars contain cocoa solids, cocoa butter, and sugar (or other natural or artificial sweeteners). This tried-and-true composition provides a complex flavor profile that ranges from deep and earthy to lusciously saccharine. When melted into brownie batter, chocolate bars create a nuanced taste that surpasses the one-dimensional capabilities of cocoa powder, resulting in an exceptionally indulgent, blissful dessert.

As one can imagine, chocolate bars also create a lovely texture sensation in brownies. As the delicate chocolate softens in the oven, the cocoa butter disperses throughout the batter, yielding a silky, fudgy interior. Plus, the random, small pockets of chocolate from imperfect melting create delightful bursts of flavor. This interplay of smoothness and fragments of chocolate goodness elevates the tactile experience of your brownies.

The right way to add chocolate bars to brownies

Before you whip up your first batch of candy bar brownies, consider the following baking tips. When choosing a chocolate bar, pick a high-quality option with at least 60% cocoa content. It's also important to remember that incorporating this supplementary element is a balancing act. Be sure to adjust the amount of sugar in your recipe to account for the chocolate bars. For example, if you use a sweeter chocolate bar, the batter won't need to be as sweet; semi-sweet and dark chocolates can hold up to a sweeter batter.

If you'd prefer your chocolate to be evenly distributed throughout the batter — rather than miscellaneous chunks – thorough melting is key. Gently melt chocolate bars over the stovetop or oven using a double boiler or in short intervals in the microwave. However, be careful to avoid overheating, which can cause the chocolate to burn. If you desire a different texture, you can finely chop chocolate bars and fold them into the batter or toss in some larger pieces for a surprise in each bite.

Get creative with different types of chocolate

With a wide variety of chocolate bars on the market, the most challenging part of the process could be choosing a favorite. Dark chocolate bars infuse brownies with a sophisticated bitterness that contrasts beautifully with sweetness. Dark chocolate also pairs famously well with nuts, dried fruits, or a touch of sea salt. For a sweeter, creamier option, milk chocolate bars, such as Hershey's or Cadbury, can lend a nostalgic touch to your brownies. Their smoothness harmonizes well with nuts, nougat, or toffee — and you could always include these ingredients by using a Milky Way or Snickers bar in your brownie mix, too. If you're a fan of peanut butter, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups are another fantastic brownie component. Don't tell us these don't count as candy "bars" based on their shape! 

You can also experiment with flavored chocolate bars for a creative twist. For instance, mint chocolate can present a refreshing, cooling zing, while salted caramel imparts a sweet-meets-savory feature. Furthermore, ruby chocolate offers a subtle fruitiness, and white chocolate is a velvety, vanilla-infused delight.

Chocolate bars can effortlessly elevate your homemade brownies to new heights; their texture-enhancing qualities and versatility make them a must-have in your baking arsenal. So, the next time you're craving a batch of brownies, remember to reach for those chocolate bars and unlock a world of delicious possibilities.