The Unexpected Ingredient You Need To Add To Brownies

If you've ever skimmed through a dessert recipe or two, you'll have noticed salt sitting somewhere on the ingredient list. Much to the bafflement of many, salt is a popular ingredient in desserts — most of which call for either a pinch of salt folded into batters or flaky sea salt sprinkled on top of a finished one. Even more surprising is the fact that you can almost never taste the salt in a dessert. That's because salt isn't actually meant to add a salty flavor to a sweet dessert. On the contrary, Bon Appétit explains that salt is added to balance the sweetness of sugar and in most cases, even enhance the flavors that are already present in the dessert!

According to The Chocolate Journalist, instead of bringing saltiness to the table, salt actually helps our bodies taste the sweet sugar more intensely. It works as a supporting ingredient to help the main flavors pop, especially if chocolate is the one in the spotlight. This is why, The Kitchn says, that a secret ingredient that you should always add to your chocolate brownies is a pinch of salt.

Salt can enhance the flavor of brownies

A comment on Reddit pretty much sums up what the simple addition of salt can do to your brownies: "Salt on sweets won't necessarily be missed if you forget it but it makes things great when it's included." Per The Kitchn, salt will help balance the taste of your homemade brownies as well as amp up the flavors of the chocolate you're using. So although you may not miss salt if it's not there, once you've tasted brownies with a bit of salt in them, you may never want them any other way.

While you could fold in a pinch of salt into your brownie batter before popping it into the oven, the site recommends sprinkling some more flaky sea salt on top once they're done. The salt will even stick better onto the brownies if you add chocolate chunks or chips, which create "gooey puddles" once they melt. When it comes to using salt in batters, The Daily Meal strongly suggests using fine sea salt over regular table salt. Fine sea salt will dissolve more easily than table salt does and will balance the flavors much better. Plus, if you're using salt in any bake that requires a pastry dough — pies, tarts, and the like — fine sea salt will be the secret to giving your crust that golden brown hue.