Not that brownies can ever count as a healthy food, but I've been wanting to try baking with spelt flour for a few months now - my plans just got derailed by summer vacation. I'd always thought of spelt as a "healthy" grain, and it seems to be somewhat healthier than wheat but not by a huge amount. It's a whole grain, so it's high in protein and fiber, and turns out to be a generally acceptable substitute for whole wheat flour in most recipes. It is a relative of wheat, so it's not gluten-free.
Being new to spelt, I was intimidated about using it but I had a Martha Stewart brownie recipe using spelt that I wanted to try (with my own adaptations, of course - because I can never leave well enough alone). The brownies came together like any other brownie recipe, and they were maybe the fudgiest brownies I've ever made. The true test, of course, was the kids - and they both liked the brownies a lot.
So, not only will I make these brownies again, but I have a bag of spelt flour sitting in my pantry now, waiting to be used up. I'm going to substitute it for some regular flour in some of our favorite recipes to see how it goes. In the meantime, why not give these brownies a try?
Double Chocolate Fudgy Spelt Brownies
Adapted from Martha Stewart
1/2 c unsalted butter (1 stick), softened, plus additional butter for pan
6 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup sucanat (or light brown sugar)
3 large eggs, lightly beaten, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, plus additional cocoa powder for pan
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup spelt flour
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter an 8x8 pan and sprinkle some cocoa powder over the butter. Turn the pan around and spread the cocoa powder over the butter until the butter is thoroughly coated with a layer of cocoa. Dump out excess cocoa powder and set prepared pan aside.*
2. Put the stick of butter and the chocolate chips into a large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for thirty seconds, then stir. Repeat as necessary until the chocolate melts and the mixture is a smooth consistency (do not microwave too long or the chocolate will clump up! you can also combine the chocolate and butter over a double boiler but I always think that's too much hassle when the microwave can do the job).
3. Stir the sugar and sucanat into the chocolate mixture until thoroughly combined. (If using organic sugar and sucanat, as I did, the mixture will not become totally smooth, and that's okay.) Beat in the eggs and vanilla extract. Add the cocoa powder and salt, then stir to thoroughly combined. Fold in the flour until well combined, being sure not to leave any streaks of flour (but don't over-beat the mixture either).
4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs. Let cool completely before cutting.**
*Alternatively, Martha recommends lining the pan with parchment paper with an overhang so you can lift the entire block out of the pan for cutting.
**These brownies are so fudgy that cutting was difficult. I recommend oiling a pizza wheel and using that to cut your brownies, wiping off the wheel and re-oiling between cuts.
Collage image via FreeDigitalPhotos.net by KEKO64.