Is it possible to make a brownie as fudgy and tasty with cocoa powder vs. melting chocolate chips? If so, any particular method? What is the difference between using a cocoa powder vs. melting chips in a brownie?
I don't know the actual difference between them. But thought we used to eat brownies using chocolate product and chocolate comes from cocoa. Then probably you can make one. Here's a simple recipe for you.
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-process)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cold large eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup walnut or pecan pieces (optional)
Preheat he oven for 325°F. Put parchment paper or foil on the bottom and side of the baking pan, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides.
Combine sugar, butter, cocoa and salt in a medium heatproof bowl and set it in a wide skillet or simmering water. Stir from time to time till the butter melted and the mixture is smooth and hot. Remove the bowl from the skillet and set aside briefly until the mixture is only warm, not hot. Stir vanilla with wooden spoon and add eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one. When the batter looks thick and shiny add flour and stirr till you can't see it any longer, then beat it vigorously for 40 stroke with wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Spread evenly in the lined pan. Lift up the ends of the parchment or foil liner, and transfer the brownies to a cutting board. Cut into 16 or 25 squares.
I think it's on the side of the Fry's Cocoa container that they say you can sub something like 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder and 1 tablespoon of butter for each square of chocolate or something like that (you're going to have to check for exact quantities though, I know there was 3T of something...)
I do remember trying it when I was younger (before pastry school), and I know it worked, I just don't remember what difference it made o the product (I probably just scoffed it!)
You might need to play around a bit with your liquid content, or experiment with some other ingredients, but I don't see why brownies with cocoa powder couldn't be fudgey.
Chocolate chips are cocoa solids, sugar and fat. The fat and type of sugar produce the fudgy texture. Fat produces the richness in mouth feel and "moist" texture. Sugars that are inverted by the cocoa acidity, therefore not recrystallizing, produce the sticky fudgy texture. Substituting some sugar with corn syrup, molasses or honey, etc. can help make it more fudge like. Substituting flour with some other non gluten forming binders (gums, starches, bean powders, etc.) can also aid in increasing moisture and fudgy experience.
My gran always made fudgy brownies with cocoa powder.Chocolate chips were extravagant to her. I watched her many times "dump , pour and pinch. I got were I could make them at her house using her utensils, but when I came home they were never the same. I do know she used brown sugar and half wheat flour in her brownies and always used a 1 1/2 sticks of margarine, because I had to unwrap it for her. Sometimes she used home rendered chicken fat. She often would substitute things and they still taste the same.
The brown sugar is acidic and the syrup in brown sugar itself is inverted sugar essentially, this will definitely aid in making things fudgy. Margarine is at least 14% water - adding moisture to your fudgy texture.
Understanding composition an functionality of your ingredients is half the battle.
moisture content is most important followed closely by finished volume
Truly fudgy brownies rarely use baking powder so if you try making changes to a cocoa powder recipe consider eliminating the baking powder or decreasing the soda. The use of a leavening agent can change the time it takes a true crust to form on the product, ie: if it is rising in the oven the exposed surface changes while if there is very little rise the exposed surface crusts faster allowing it to hold in more moisture.
Also most varieties of fat have a fairly high mosture content and the fat must melt for the moisture to escape so fats that melt slower retain more moisture. Brownies made with egg whites always come out crisper than brownies made with whole eggs and/or yolks. I have found that the differences in butter vs. margarine to be mostly in personal taste but they do produce vastly diffrent results. Also if I make cocoa brownies I always use the creaming method vs melting the butter.
Cocoa is a drying agent just like flour. If you are using cocoa the addition of fat adds moisture but if you don't add moisture you must remove some of the flour. My favorite brownies have very little flour so it's nearly fudge.
I know I'm a bit of a nerd but I really love this stuff
For what I called fudge brownies 25% of the butter would be melted with the chocolate and added to the creamed sugar/butter. Proceed as normal, then bake until edges just begin to raise. Almost an egg-set firmness.
For cake brownies- cream sugar/butter add egg, etc. add chips & bake until set.
In referece to Nichole's recipe, you can also substitute 6 Oz. of yogurt for the 10 tablespoons of butter and make them with any flavor of yogurt to give them that personalized wow factor! But I might try melting down some chocolate chips next time and see of they are going to be less cake like.