Greetings from Bangladesh! I recently started a small fast food shop where I sell fudge brownies along with other stuff. Some of my customers have been complaining that my brownies feel a bit sandy. They said the texture and flavor was spot on, but the sandy mouth-feel was really bothering them. After a little bit of investigation I figured that the sugar in my brownies is either not dissolving completely or recrystallizing during the baking process. Here is the recipe that I use:
60g Cocoa (Hershey's)
350g Granulated Sugar
2/3 cups Oil
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 cups Water
1 tsp Vanilla Essence
The original recipe called for 400g of sugar and no water but it made the brownies too sweet for our Bangladeshi palate so I cut the sugar down to 350g and added a quarter cup of water.
At first I used to follow the original recipe. I combined oil, eggs, vanilla and sugar together with a whisk so that I do not incorporate too much air into the batter. Then folded this mixture into the cocoa, flour and baking powder mixture and baked in a 8x8 pan at 350F for 30-35 minutes. But in this method the sugar doesn't dissolve completely in the batter, not even after baking. Then I thought may be it was the texture of sugar here which has coarser granules. So I ground up the sugar then mixed it into the batter. But no improvement. Then I omitted the baking powder and tried creaming the eggs and sugar first then adding the oil, still no improvement. I tried creaming the egg and sugar over simmering water until the sugar is completely dissolved and followed the rest of the recipe leaving out the baking powder but the brownies still turned out sandy after baking.
I am completely at a loss here. I don't know what is going wrong every time - the technique or the ingredients? Do I need to change the method of mixing or substitute the sugar with something else? But I don't know whether suitable substitutes are available in my country :S
All the great pastry pros out there, please help!!
oooh, interesting problem--one of the great pastry pros will be by shortly -- in the meantime:
yes it sounds like it's the sugar--dissolve the sugar as before and while it is still hot place place a lid on it so any stray crystals around the sides of the pot will fall back into the mixture--one stray crystal can begin the crystalline chain effect process and start to reverse the cooking--
then also if you have a squirt of honey or corn syrup or any other liquid sugar type substance, maple syrup, give the mixture a teaspoon or two of that--this will help prevent the crystallization--
and in a wild and random thought i wonder if a teaspoon of cream of tartar would help set it--add it to the melted sugar mixture--
so those are my two ideas
ok three--what happens if you strain the liquid?
I don't know if this is a helpful suggestion at all but perhaps try comparing the original recipe to the altered one in terms of sugar crystallization - it may well be that the addition of the water is what is causing it.
If this is the issue you may have to do a bit more research/experimenting on how to avoid/circumvent the formation of the crystals in your altered recipe.
K8memphis has some good advice on things to try :-)
AHey guys, sorry for the late reply. It turned out that the cocoa I've been using contains some kind of very fine sandy fillers. The sugar is not the culprit. Now I'm looking for a new brand of cocoa. Thank you all! You've been great a help :) Pipili
agh! that was on the tip of my tongue -- not ;)
wow great save--this was a most confusing conundrum you had
hopefully you can find some good cocoa powder and all will be well
Your answer made me chuckle K8memphis.
Look for Dutch Pressed cocoa powder.