Here lies the secret to ultra fudgy almond flour brownies with a legit crackly top… not to mention, whipped up with just cocoa powder as our chocolate base!
Almond Flour Brownies
with a legit crackly top! ⚡
Imho “crackly top” brownies are the crème de la crème, adding the perfect contrasting texture to an ultra fudgy center.
But generally associated with their gluten counterparts (and chocolate bar variety), making a version with just almond flour had eluded me… until this past weekend, and it turns out its all in the methodology.
Alas, its also not possible to yield this texture with just keto sweeteners… but I did do a test batch with an allulose and erythritol mix (3/4 cup allulose + 1/4 cup erythritol) and they came out awesome too (just no crackly top). It’s also no surprise here, as the ratios are pretty much those of my (1g net carb) keto brownies just with a different methodology.
how to get a crackly top brownie
Turns out the secret lies in mixing refrigerator cold eggs, sugar and pipping hot butter- yup, that’s it!
I tried a few different ways around this, and the best yielding results come from whisking the eggs with cane sugar until super light and fluffy, slowly tempering in some hot (browned!!) butter and then just adding cocoa powder and almond flour.
Its *so* easy to whip these guys up… and the only way you can go wrong is if you over bake them. But even then, and I surely did that with one batch, they still came out chewy and delicious… so if you don’t like your brownies ultra fudgy and prefer some texture, this is also the recipe for you.
Cocoa brownies are generally regarded as second best to their ‘molten chocolate bar’ counterparts, given that they’re generally more cake-like than fudgy. But that’s most definitely not the case here, as these are some of the fudgiest brownies you’ll ever make.
Super simple ingredients otherwise, but quality will make a difference here: you want an ultra fine almond flour (think Anthony’s), a solid quality of cocoa powder (Valrhona is my favorite, but Ghirardelli alkalized cocoa is up there too), refrigerator cold eggs and a good butter (using half salted butter and skipping the kosher salt will add greater depth of flavor).
I also always suggest a generous pour of a good vanilla extract and garnishing with flaky sea salt. And while some of you swear by adding 1/4 tsp of espresso powder to my original brownie recipe, I don’t feel it adds much here (particularly since we’re browning the butter
(Crackly Top!) Almond Flour Brownies
- 130 g unsalted grass-fed butter or sub half with salted butter and skip the kosher salt (for greater flavor complexity!)
- 140-200 g cane sugar use the lower amount if you're like me and generally find things "too sweet"*
- 2 eggs refrigerator cold
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 70 g cocoa powder
- 70 g almond flour
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- flaky sea salt optional (but highly suggested!)
- Position a rack in the lower third of your oven and preheat to 350°F/180°C. Line with parchment paper a 8x8-inch baking pan and set aside.
- Add butter to a saucepan and brown over medium/low heat until fully golden and fragrant. Bonus points: use half unsalted / half salted butter (and skip the kosher salt) for greater depth of flavor.
- While the butter is browning, add the (super cold!) eggs and sugar to a large bowl and whisk for a couple minutes until fluffy, light in color and all the sugar has dissolved. Once your butter is nice and browned, you'll want to temper it into your egg and sugar mixture (you know, little by little so as to not scramble the eggs!). But it is the contrast of adding the hot butter to the cold sugar and egg mixture that will give you the crackly top. Just be sure to drizzle it in slowly, while whisking continuously, until fully incorporated. The batter will be very creamy and silky at this point.
- Whisk in the cocoa powder, salt and almond flour- ensuring the cocoa powder and salt are fully incorporated before adding in the almond flour (as it'll get tougher to whisk). Transfer to prepared baking pan, spreading it evenly with a spatula (the texture is not quite pourable, but it spreads easily with a little help).
- Bake for 17-22 minutes (I do 20), or until the center is just set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out moist. This really does vary (a lot!!) from oven to oven (think convection etc), so give them a check from minute 15 the first time around, and remember that you'll brownies will continue to cook while they cool.
- Sprinkle with flaky sea salt (optional, but always highly suggested) and allow to cool completely on a rack. Lift brownies using the edges of the parchment paper and cut into desired size. To get extra clean edges, place in the freezer for 10 minutes prior to cutting.