Brownies are a great crowd pleaser, with their decadent, rich taste and fudgy interior. But I gave up on the box brownies years ago as there is so many extra ingredients I can’t pronounce … Unfortunately, many of my first few tries of whole grain, from scratch, brownies did not end well.
But that all changed when I finally figured out to try them with spelt.
If you’re new to baking with spelt, spelt flour brings a unique combination of characteristics that can be especially complementary to brownies. Why?
- Flavor: Spelt has a sweeter flavor profile than regular wheat flour. This characteristic melds well with the rich chocolatey taste of brownies, enhancing their depth and complexity
- Texture: The gluten structure in spelt, being somewhat more delicate, can contribute to a tender crumb in baked goods. For brownies, this means a soft, moist, and fudgy interior, which many consider the hallmark of an ideal brownie
- Nutritional profile: While brownies are indulgent treats, using spelt flour can offer a slightly more nutritious spin. Spelt contains more vitamins and minerals than regular all-purpose flour
- Moisture retention: Spelt flour can retain moisture well, which aids in achieving that desired gooey center in brownies
If you’re ready to elevate your brownie, it’s time to dive in.
- Spelt flour: I milled my own spelt for this recipe, but you can find spelt flour at many grocery stores
- Unsweetened cocoa powder: It’s what makes brownies, brownies!
- Baking powder: It gives the brownies just a bit of “lift.” You can omit this completely if you want them “fudgier,” or double the amount to 1/2 tsp to make them “cakier”
- Salt: Just a little bit helps bring out the flavor
- Sugar: You can use can sugar or coconut sugar
- Melted coconut oil or butter: I used butter
- Eggs: You’ll use the entire egg
- Vanilla extract: Either synthetic or real will work
- Chocolate chips: I use mini chocolate chips because I don’t want the big chunks of melted chocolate in the brownies, but you can easily substitute the mini for the full-size chocolate chip
- Nuts: I didn’t use them here, but my dad loves nuts in his brownies, specifically walnuts, and you can add them right before you bake it
Frequently asked questions
What’s the difference between spelt flour and all-purpose wheat flour?
Spelt and wheat flour hail from different wheat varieties, with spelt being an ancient grain known for its nutty and slightly sweet flavor. Although both contain gluten, spelt’s gluten is more water-soluble, potentially leading to more delicate doughs in baking. Nutritionally, spelt flour generally offers more protein and minerals than refined all-purpose flour, which has a neutral flavor and versatile baking characteristics.
Can I substitute spelt flour 1:1 for regular flour in other recipes?
In most recipes, yes. However, spelt flour has a slightly different gluten content, which can affect the texture. It’s always a good idea to start by substituting in part and seeing how you like the results.
Why is my brownie texture different when using spelt flour?
Spelt flour can make baked goods a bit denser but also moist. If your brownies aren’t as light as you’re used to, it’s because of the unique gluten structure of spelt is generally considered to be more fragile. This makes spelt doughs and batters less elastic and a bit more delicate than those made with modern wheat flours. As a result, overmixing spelt-based dough can lead to denser baked goods because the gluten strands can break down more quickly.
Due to its unique gluten structure, spelt can also impart a slightly different texture to baked goods, which can be more tender or crumbly compared to products made with regular wheat.
How should I store leftover spelt brownies? Can I freeze them?
Store them in an airtight container at room temperature. They should stay fresh for about 3-4 days.
Good news is that these spelt flour brownies freeze well. Place them in a single layer in an airtight container or wrap them individually in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil. They can be frozen for up to 3 months.
Spelt flour chewy brownies
- 1 Large bowl
- 1 Medium bowl for wet ingredients
- 1 8×8-inch (20×20 cm) baking pan
- 1 Spatula
- 1 cup Spelt flour (100% whole grain)
- 1/2 cup Unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 tsp Baking powder
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 3/4 cup Sugar
- 1/2 cup Melted butter or coconut oil
- 2 large Eggs
- 1 tsp Vanilla extract
- 1/8 cup Water (if using 100% whole grain spelt)
- 1/2 cup Mini chocolate chips (semi-sweet)
- 1/2 cup Walnuts (optional)
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Line an 8×8-inch (20×20 cm) baking pan with parchment paper or spray it with cooking spray.
- In a bowl, whisk together the spelt flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.
- In another bowl, combine the melted coconut oil (or butter), sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract. Mix until well incorporated.
- Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing just until combined.
- If you're using 100% whole grain spelt, you need to add the 1/8 cup of water. Let the batter sit for about 15 minutes as whole grains are thirsty and it will need to absorb the extra liquid. (If you're using store-bought spelt, you can skip this step.)
- Mix in the chocolate chips and if using, fold in the walnuts or chocolate chips.
- Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan, spreading it out evenly.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a butter knife or toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean.
- Allow to cool before cutting into squares.