Desserts + Sweets, Food + Drink, Vegetarian Recipes

Triple Dark Chocolate Whole Grain Brownies

February 2, 2014 by Laura

Chewy Triple Dark Chocolate Brownies | Fork Knife Swoon

You guys, I’ve done it. I’ve just checked off a maaaajor item from my baking to-do list. Chewy, fudgy, box-like, dark chocolate whole grain brownies are finally a reality in the Swoon kitchen. Triple dark chocolate whole grain brownies to be exact. And they are so. unbelievably. good.

Let me back up. I’ve been working on this recipe in earnest for months (years even!), on a quest to make the perfect homemade, from-scratch brownie. Okay, what I really mean is, the perfect homemade, from-scratch brownie to rival (and top) store-bought box-mix brownies. Growing up, my Mama baked from scratch. Birthday cakes, cookies, muffins, quick breads. Always and wonderfully.

…except for brownies. Those nearly without fail, came from a box-mix. They were perfect every time. A shiny, crackly top. A dense, moist, fudgy center. A satisfying, chewy texture. I was looking for that elusive combination of textural qualities, but with a bolder, deeper dark chocolate flavor. No small task, it turns out, to recreate in a home-kitchen.

Chewy Triple Dark Chocolate Brownies | Fork Knife Swoon

So I went through all of my cookbooks searching for brownie recipes. I scoured the internet and my favorite cooking magazines. When I read a feature on baking with alternative grains in the latest issue of Martha Stewart Living, which happened to include a recipe for dark chocolate spelt brownies, I was intrigued, and got it in my head that my “perfect brownie” should also include whole-grain flour.

A dozen or so test batches later, with lots of tweaking and taste-testing – it’s been a tough job, I assure you – I’ve arrived at just the right ratios and combination of ingredients. I found that using three types of chocolate (melted chocolate, cocoa powder, and whole chocolate chips) provides multiple layers of chocolate flavor, which a bit of espresso and vanilla only seek to enhance. Adding brown sugar helps to create a chewy texture, while granulated sugar produces an unmatched crackly top. And the whole-grain flour? Extra nutrients and fiber, and you wouldn’t even know it.

Valentine’s Day is coming up, and I’ve got a date with these brownies. Well, the Honey and these brownies. Seriously, make these for someone you love. Or, make them for yourself, just because…

Whole-Grain Triple Dark Chocolate Brownies | Fork Knife Swoon

5.0 from 1 reviews
Triple Dark Chocolate Whole Grain Brownies
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe by:
Yield: 16 Brownies
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder*
  • 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
  • 2 oz unsweetened chocolate (100% cacao), finely chopped
  • 1-1/2 tsp instant espresso powder
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1-1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs + 1 egg yolk
  • 3/4 cups whole-grain spelt flour (or sub whole-wheat flour)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/3 cup bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate chips
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8x8 inch metal or oven-proof glass pan with parchment paper, leaving a few inches of overlap on each side. Butter the parchment paper and two remaining sides of the pan, and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add the boiling water to the cocoa powder, and whisk until smooth and completely combined. Set aside.
  3. Place the butter, chopped chocolate, and espresso powder in a heat-proof mixing bowl. Using a microwave or a double-boiler, melt the mixture together. If using a microwave, check and stir the mixture every 15 seconds or so until melted together.
  4. Add the melted butter/chocolate mixture to the cocoa mixture, and whisk to combine. Add the vegetable oil and vanilla extract and continue whisking. Add both sugars and whisk until smooth.
  5. Add the eggs and yolk, one at a time, whisking thoroughly between each, until the chocolate mixture is completely smooth and creamy. Using a spatula, gently fold in the flour and salt. Stir until combined, but be careful not to over-mix.
  6. Fold in the chocolate chips, then pour into the prepared pan. Smooth out the top with a spatula. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a cake-tester inserted into the middle of the brownies comes out with few crumbs attached. Cool on a baking rack for at least an hour before removing from the pan or cutting into bars, waiting longer if possible.
Note from Laura
Brownies are all about the chocolate, so use the best-quality cocoa (I like to use a rich, dutch-process cocoa baking powder) and chocolate you can find.



  • Reply Teny August 25, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    Hi, I’d love to try these but I’m on a low-glycemic diet. The whole grains get my halfway there, but has anyone tried these swapping out the butter for applesauce and swapping out the granulated sugar for stevia?

  • Reply Yen July 19, 2014 at 9:46 pm

    These. Turned. Out. Amaaaazing.

    I did swap out some of the granulated sugar for more brown sugar, and the recipe doubled so easily into a 9×13. You were so right, no way anyone could tell this was made with whole wheat flour. This will probably be my go-to brownie recipe from now on. Could flavorings be easily added? Like, if I wanted to do mint brownies, maybe a tsp of extract?

    • Reply Laura July 19, 2014 at 10:26 pm

      Hi, Yen! I’m so glad you loved the recipe – it’s now my go-to brownie recipe too. I’ve found it’s pretty flexible… I’ve used different flours, chocolates etc, with great results, so I would think adding flavors/extracts would be perfectly fine. If you try a new version please let me know how they turn out!

  • Reply Tonya March 17, 2014 at 10:11 am

    Is the espresso powder necessary?

    • Reply Yen July 19, 2014 at 9:47 pm

      I can’t speak for Laura, but in my experience, espresso powder serves to deepen/enrich the chocolate flavor. If you omit it, I don’t think it will ruin the brownies, but you’ll just miss that richer chocolate flavor.

      • Reply Laura July 19, 2014 at 11:13 pm

        Yen, I completely agree! :)

  • Reply Annalise @ Completely Delicious February 7, 2014 at 5:05 pm

    Absolutely love the sound of these brownies! Chocolate with whole grains… wow!

    • Reply Laura February 7, 2014 at 9:37 pm

      Thank you, Annalise!! :)

  • Reply cynthia | two red bowls February 6, 2014 at 9:35 pm

    Oh lord, these look so so good. Isn’t it funny how it seems to be such a common mission among so many of us to beat the box-mix brownie with a from-scratch version? Yours definitely look like a major contender (and whole grain, too??) I’ll have to give them a try sometime. Thank you so much for sharing, and so glad I found your blog through IG just now! :)

    • Reply Laura February 7, 2014 at 9:35 pm

      Oh, I’m so glad we connected via IG too! Let me know if you make these :)

  • Reply Chris @ Shared Appetite February 4, 2014 at 3:14 pm

    I am literally drooling. Those brownies look absolutely gorgeous: rich, chewy, fudgy, and chocolately. Everything I could hope for in brownies! I’m guilty of normally using a box mix for them too (they always come out great and are so easy!). But this… I need to try this recipe! And since it has whole grains in it, it’s healthy, right? So I could… let’s say, eat an entire batch?! :)

    • Reply Laura February 4, 2014 at 8:44 pm

      Thanks, Chris! Most of my life we used a box mix. There is something to be said for easy/convenient/knowing what you’ll end up with. But it’s also pretty darn satisfying to be able to make something even better from scratch. And I’m right with you on the whole grains! :)

  • Reply Mary @ Fit and Fed February 4, 2014 at 10:40 am

    Congratulations! Isn’t it great when a recipe you have worked on for a long time is finally ready to share with the world? Vanilla and espresso powder just the things to perfect that chocolate flavor, and these look in the photos to have just the right shiny tops and chewy centers. I’m saving this one to treat my kids sometime.

    • Reply Laura February 4, 2014 at 8:41 pm

      Thank you, Mary! I hope your kids love these! :)

  • Reply Suzy February 3, 2014 at 9:57 pm

    Wow! If the batter is any indication, I’m going to have a very happy hubby & son! Yum so far!

    • Reply Laura February 3, 2014 at 10:18 pm

      Suzy, you’re a woman after my own heart… So hard to resist a little batter taste check! It’s even more tortuous waiting for the brownies to cool and get nice and fudgy after coming out of the oven! I can’t wait to hear how they like these… :)

  • Reply Kelly @ hidden fruits and veggies February 3, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    My mom always made brownies from scratch (I’m not sure I’ve ever purposefully eaten a box brownie), but she’s never used whole grains, which can only make things better, in my opinion. These look like perfection!

    • Reply Laura February 3, 2014 at 8:57 pm

      I love sneaking whole-grains into traditional recipes… in this case it makes me feel better about all that chocolate! :)

  • Reply Gloria {Simply Gloria} February 3, 2014 at 11:13 am

    My youngest son would live off brownies if I let him. I’m definitely making these today. These brownies look so decadent!

    • Reply Laura February 3, 2014 at 8:56 pm

      I hope you and your son love them! :)

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