Triple Dark Chocolate Whole Grain Brownies

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

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Whole-Grain Triple Dark Chocolate Brownies | Fork Knife Swoon

Triple Dark Chocolate Whole Grain Brownies

  • Author: Fork Knife Swoon
  • Prep Time: 25 mins
  • Cook Time: 35 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 16 Brownies 1x

Scale

Ingredients

  • 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
  • 11/2 tsp instant espresso powder
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 11/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 11/4 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

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8×8 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.

Notes

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.

 

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February 2, 2014

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49 Comments

  • Reply
    Sara
    March 22, 2019 at 8:50 pm

    I’ve made this numerous times. I had given up on whole grain brownies cos they were all so yuck, but this one is fantastic! Super chocolatey! One of my kids loves it, one doesn’t cos of the darker chocolate flavor (he is not a big fan of brownies in general tho!). I can’t believe it’s whole grain cos it’s NOTHING like all those other gross recipes I tried! Perfect texture, too. I don’t use the parchment anymore, and haven’t had any issues.

    • Reply
      Laura
      April 14, 2019 at 8:47 am

      I’m so, so happy to hear you love these as much as we do!! 🙂

  • Reply
    Sara
    March 22, 2019 at 8:47 pm

    I’ve made this numerous times. I had given up on whole grain brownies cos they were all so yuck, but this one is fantastic! Super chocolatey! One of my kids loves it, one doesn’t cos of the darker chocolate flavor (he is not a big fan of brownies in general tho!). I can’t believe it’s whole grain cos it’s NOTHING like all those other gross recipes I tried! Perfect texture, too.

  • Reply
    Haley
    February 26, 2018 at 7:26 am

    This recipe is fantastic! I grind all my own wheat for my baking, and I have never before found a brownie recipe that doesn’t turn out like a bad dry cake. I used freshly ground soft white wheat flour for this recipe, and non-gmo Avocado oil. The result was wonderfully gooey with the perfect crackly top. I didn’t have the oven preheated, so the batter ended up sitting in the pan for 10 or 15 minutes while the oven got to temperature. I don’t know if that helped to improve the results (sometimes I think freshly ground flour seems slower to absorb liquid), but the results were great. Nice job creating this recipe!!

  • Reply
    Hope Bahr
    August 5, 2017 at 6:11 pm

    Question – could you substitute coconut oil for the vegetable oil? We are trying to cut out vegetable, canola oils, etc.

    • Reply
      Laura
      August 5, 2017 at 7:56 pm

      Hi Hope! I haven’t tried coconut oil in these brownies, so I can’t guarantee it will work, but I would think it should. I’d love to know how they turn out 🙂

  • Reply
    C
    April 9, 2017 at 8:31 am

    To anyone planning to make these brownies…I’ve made them successfully many times in the past but recently he chocolate mixture has curdled every single time. I haven’t changed anything so I just have to suggest not taking the chance because this recipe is so hit and miss. I’ve wasted about £30 worth of chocolate and butter so far!!

  • Reply
    Tamara
    June 4, 2016 at 6:31 pm

    Hi Laura, I’ve been on the search for the perfect brownie recipe, tried many, and keep coming back to this one as the best. As I’m allergic to wheat, I love that you use spelt flour. I add macadamia nuts and raw cacao nibs. I think you’ve perfected the chocolate brownie. Thank you for sharing this beautiful recipe.

  • Reply
    Cia
    April 8, 2016 at 11:20 am

    It’s so strange, I made these once and they turned out perfectly (honestly the best brownies I’ve ever had!) and then I tried to do them a second time but the cocoa/chocolate butter mixture curdled as soon as I tried to whisk them together! It happened twice, do you have any idea what could have caused it? I was so careful not to burn the chocolate and it was perfectly smooth before it went in the cocoa….

    • Reply
      Cia
      April 9, 2016 at 1:17 pm

      Just thought you’d like to know, I tried it again and it was because the cocoa/boiling water mixture was too hot when I put the chocolate in! We’ve just made our second batch and it’s cooling now 🙂 Thank you for this amazing recipe!

  • Reply
    Tess D
    January 15, 2016 at 7:15 am

    Sorry it has taken me so long to thank you for these amazing brownies. I’ve been baking with whole spelt flour for a while now, and sort of gave up on being able to make delicious brownies. I served a different recipe before finding this one and they almost ruined my reputation as a good cook! With these, not even the teenagers could tell they were whole grain, and the whole (doubled) pan was demolished. I now have an excellent go-to brownie recipe I can feel good about. So thank you, thank you, thank you. I know it’s a tough job taste-testing all those brownies, and I want you to know your sacrifice if appreciated 😉

    • Reply
      Laura
      January 20, 2016 at 1:47 pm

      Oh my goodness, you can take as long as you’d like with a review like that! I’m so happy to hear that you and the family loved the brownies as much as we do. You actually inspired me to make a batch this weekend (another recipe-testing sacrifice…)! Thanks so much, Tess!

  • Reply
    Tionna
    January 14, 2016 at 6:09 pm

    Omg! All I can say is Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! These brownies are AMAZING!!

    • Reply
      Laura
      January 17, 2016 at 12:30 pm

      Thanks so much, Tionna!! 🙂

  • Reply
    Gavin
    November 23, 2015 at 1:07 am

    These look absolutely fabulous, I was just searching for spelt brownies which is how I found these, I think I’ll be giving them a go this weekend 🙂

    • Reply
      Laura
      November 23, 2015 at 5:55 pm

      Thanks so much, Gavin! Enjoy the brownies!!

  • Reply
    Peppermint Bark Brownie Bites - Fork Knife Swoon
    November 18, 2015 at 1:43 pm

    […] for you, after dozens of test runs (it’s a tough gig), I’ve finally conquered the recipe for the perfect, homemade brownies of my […]

  • Reply
    Diana
    September 4, 2015 at 9:36 pm

    These turned out great! Brownies are some of the hardest baked goods to get right, and I typically end up dumping every batch. The triple chocolate and the extra yolk seems to be the difference.

    • Reply
      Laura
      September 8, 2015 at 9:00 am

      I’m so happy to hear that, thanks Diana!!

  • Reply
    The mrs yack
    August 26, 2015 at 9:29 am

    I MUST not keep silent about this. These brownies. Are.insanely.good. As in, they might just have to lock me up due to the chocolate-induced euphoria that embodies these brownies. THANK YOU for posting a whole-wheat, triple chocolate piece of heaven.

    • Reply
      Laura
      September 1, 2015 at 1:18 pm

      Thank you so much!! I’m pretty obsessed with these myself! 🙂

  • Reply
    Adriana
    July 31, 2015 at 3:20 pm

    I made these today and they were amazing. I baked them in 9×9 pan for 30 min. I used apple sauce instead of oil and cut white sugar in half and they were still sweet. I used pure mint extract instead of vanilla. These were to die for. I will have to double the recipe next time as there were none left. Thank you. 🙂

    • Reply
      Laura
      August 1, 2015 at 12:52 pm

      Thanks, Adriana! So glad to hear you enjoyed them! Did you end up making a double batch?

      • Reply
        Adriana
        August 3, 2015 at 6:16 pm

        No yet, but I will make double batch soon for sure.

  • Reply
    Lynne
    January 14, 2015 at 8:28 am

    I’ve been baking my own WW bread for months and now I try do this brownie recipe. White flour clogs my intestines so I’m anxious to feel the results!!!!!!!!

  • Reply
    Dark Chocolate Espresso Panna Cotta - Fork Knife Swoon
    November 5, 2014 at 8:17 pm

    […] recently purchased coffee extract. You know I love adding a bit of espresso powder to chocolate (here, here, here…), as it adds such depth and complexity to the natural flavor and richness of cocoa, […]

  • Reply
    Krista
    October 2, 2014 at 8:10 pm

    I made these for my son’s birthday. They were incredible! I used light olive oil instead of vegetable oil, and didn’t use the espresso powder. This is my new favorite Brownie recipe!

  • 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
      Adriana
      July 31, 2015 at 3:11 pm

      Hi Yen, how long did you bake the brownies when you doubled the recipe? Thank you.

      • Reply
        Yen
        July 31, 2015 at 4:07 pm

        Oh my, it has been a little while…I think I started off with 20 minutes, then maybe an additional 10 minutes after that. I honestly can’t remember. I just knew I wasn’t sure, so I started off with a shorter time then added more as necessary. Sorry, that probably isn’t helpful.

  • 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! 🙂