Urgent help needed!! Sugar in brownies not dissolving!

Discussion in 'Professional Pastry Chefs' started by pipili, Nov 24, 2013.

  1. pipili

    pipili

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    Greetings from Bangladesh! I recently started a small fast food shop where I sell fudge brownies along with other stuff. Some of my customers have been complaining that my brownies feel a bit sandy. They said the texture and flavor was spot on, but the sandy mouth-feel was really bothering them. After a little bit of investigation I figured that the sugar in my brownies is either not dissolving completely or recrystallizing during the baking process. Here is the recipe that I use:

    60g Cocoa (Hershey's)

    350g Granulated Sugar

    150g Flour

    4 Eggs

    2/3 cups Oil

    1 tsp Baking Powder

    1/2 tsp Salt

    1/4 cups Water

    1 tsp Vanilla Essence

    The original recipe called for 400g of sugar and no water but it made the brownies too sweet for our Bangladeshi palate so I cut the sugar down to 350g and added a quarter cup of water.

    At first I used to follow the original recipe. I combined oil, eggs, vanilla and sugar together with a whisk so that I do not incorporate too much air into the batter. Then folded this mixture into the cocoa, flour and baking powder mixture and baked in a 8x8 pan at 350F for 30-35 minutes. But in this method the sugar doesn't dissolve completely in the batter, not even after baking. Then I thought may be it was the texture of sugar here which has coarser granules. So I ground up the sugar then mixed it into the batter. But no improvement. Then I omitted the baking powder and tried creaming the eggs and sugar first then adding the oil, still no improvement. I tried creaming the egg and sugar over simmering water until the sugar is completely dissolved and followed the rest of the recipe leaving out the baking powder but the brownies still turned out sandy after baking.

    I am completely at a loss here. I don't know what is going wrong every time - the technique or the ingredients? Do I need to change the method of mixing or substitute the sugar with something else? But I don't know whether suitable substitutes are available in my country :S

    All the great pastry pros out there, pleeeeeeeeaaaaaasee help meeeeeeeeee!!

    Pipli
     
  2. cheflayne

    cheflayne

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    Turn the granulated sugar into simple syrup first, then use the simple syrup when you make the brownies.
     
  3. flipflopgirl

    flipflopgirl

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    I am wondering if your oven is getting hot enough to melt the sugar?

    mimi

    * I am almost positive that I posted my fudgy brownie recipe but couldn't find it.

      Check your PM's for a copy.

      Bakes up perfectly smooth....no crunchy's!

    m.
     
  4. pipili

    pipili

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    Cheflayne, how much simple syrup should I use to sub a cup of sugar? Also could you give me a recipe of it? I've gone through a couple of failed attempts at making invert sugar, may be simple syrup will be easier to make.

    *Also I am wondering if simple syrup would thin out the batter as it contains a lot of water? Or are you suggesting to brush it on the brownie after it's baked like the way we do with all other cakes?
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2013
  5. pipili

    pipili

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    flipflopgirl, I got your PM, thanks for the recipe! Actually I'm trying to avoid butter and use vegetable oil instead to cut down on production cost. Do you think that could be the reason behind grainy brownies?


    I thought so too and tried cranking up my oven temp a bit, but no luck. My brownies turned sandy anyways. To make things worse, they got too dry at the outer edges.
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2013
  6. cheflayne

    cheflayne

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    Take your 350g of sugar add 1 3/4 cups of water. Put on a low heat until sugar melts and dissolves completely. This is simple syrup. As to watering down the batter, no worries. You already have 1/4 cup of water in your recipe as it stands. Put the simple syrup on a low heat and reduce it until it is about 1/2 - 3/8 cup in volume. You can then temper this into your eggs. I did it at work just to make sure that I knew what I was talking about. To make sure there were no lumps, I put the eggs/syrup mix in the blender for a quick whirl and then strained through fine mesh chinois.

    I got to thinking, is your sugar by any chance jaggery, because I know it doesn't dissolve very easily?
     
  7. pipili

    pipili

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    It's not jaggery, I think it's refined cane sugar.

    I'm now going to give your simple syrup method a try. Let's see how it turns out.
     
  8. flipflopgirl

    flipflopgirl

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    Doubt that the fat is to blame.

    Agree with layne...most likely something to do with the sugar (and I really like the simple syrup solution!)

    Just out of curiosity have you gone thru all your ingredients and rubbed thru your fingers?

    A few of my go to brands have changed to cheaper fillers and have dropped an oz (or two) in packaging...just trying to stay in the black I suppose.

    mimi
     
  9. pipili

    pipili

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    Hey guys, sorry for the late reply. It turned out that the cocoa I've been using contains some kind of very fine sandy fillers. The sugar is not the culprit. Now I'm looking for a new brand of cocoa.

    Thank you all! You've been great a help :)

    Pipili
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2013
  10. cheflayne

    cheflayne

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    Thanks for the update!