I’ve made this dark chocolate chunk brownie many times, always experimenting with adding different ingredients like green tea, dried or candied fruit, nuts, dried and fresh herbs but I’ve always used chicken eggs. When the opportunity to work with Grove Ladder Farm and their poultry products I knew that I wanted to use their duck eggs. Duck eggs are much bigger and have a higher fat and protein content than chicken eggs. They are known to make baked goods richer and fluffier, so I wanted to see what the impact would be using them in this brownie recipe.
Note: This recipe is tailored specifically for using duck eggs, which, on the average, have almost 30% more volume and 20% more fat than chicken eggs.
If you decide to make this recipe using chicken eggs instead, there is one important change you will need to make to the recipe:
Double the amount of safflower oil from 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup.
If you want to learn more about using duck eggs in baking check out this blog post from 101sweetpastry.com; it’s quite thorough and was a reference source for my replacing the chicken eggs with duck eggs in my brownie recipe.
Also, if all you have is regular, non-Dutch processed cocoa powder you can still use that in this recipe but replace the baking powder with the same amount of baking soda. Dutch processed cocoa powder has had much of the acidity (bitterness) of cocoa removed from it but the more common, regular cocoa powder has not and you will want the baking soda to neutralize some of it’s higher acidity. If you want to learn more about the differences between Dutch process cocoa powder and regular cocoa powder check out this post from http://www.handletheheat.com here. It’s a another great site for serious home bakers.
Dark chocolate chunk, candied orange peel (and duck egg) brownie:1 1/4 cups organic raw cane sugar
3 duck eggs (from Grove Ladder Farm used here)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup safflower oilPlus 1 tbsp to grease the baking dish
1 heaping cup of chopped dark chocolate chunks (about 6 ounces)
1/3 cup candied orange peel
3/4 cup organic all-purpose flourPlus 1 tbsp to dust the greased baking dish
1/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/3 tsp baking powder
1/3 tsp kosher salt
Chocolate mint and honey Neufchatel cream cheese frosting:1 tbsp finely minced fresh chocolate mint leaves (about three sprigs)
1 tbsp honey
1 8 oz block Neufchatel cream cheese softenedNeufchatel cream cheese has about 30% less fat than regular cream cheese but they are very close in flavor.
Pre-heat the oven to 350° F (177° C), place a rack on the middle level.
Remove the Neufchatel cream cheese from the fridge to soften at room temp.
Wash, pat dry and finely chop the chocolate mint; set aside.
Prepare the brownie batter:Sift all the dry ingredients together into a separate bowl, mix well.Sifting the dry ingredients together will help to distribute the ingredients more evenly and also remove any lumps; set aside.
Combine the duck eggs (shelled of course), sugar, salt, and vanilla in a medium to large mixing bowl, whisk until pale yellow in color and the sugar has dissolved.
While continuing to whisk, slowly add the dry ingredients, continue until fully incorporated, add the dark chocolate chunks and candied orange peel, mix well using a spatula; set aside.
Grease an 11 x 7 x 2 inches (6 cups) baking dish (28 x 18 x 5 cm (1.4 liters)) with the extra one tbsp of oil, dust with the extra one tbsp of flour, pour the brownie batter into the baking dish. It’s ready to go into the oven.
Place the baking dish into the pre-heated oven and on a rack at the middle level, bake for 30 minutes.A lot of bakers use the trick of sticking a sharp knife or toothpick into the center of a baked good to see if it is done or not; if it comes out with batter it isn’t done yet.
This trick will not work with this recipe as you may actually stick your knife or toothpick into a chunk of melted dark chocolate. It won’t come out clean in that case and you may be tempted to keep the brownie in the oven longer than you should….
…So please trust me when I say 30 minutes at 350F. I’ve made this dark chocolate chunk brownie many times and learned the hard way the first time not to use this trick. (If you use that trick you may get a brick!… and a burnt tasting one at that!)
Remove from the oven and place on a rack to cool.
While the brownie is cooling…
Prepare the frosting:Combine the softened Neufchatel cream cheese, mint, and honey in a small mixing bowl, mix until homogenous with pieces of mint throughout and the honey fully incorporated; set aside.
Note: When the brownie has cooled you can either remove the brownie from the baking dish or keep it in (your choice).
Spread the frosting uniformly over the brownie, slice, and enjoy but fair warning… you will need a glass of milk. This is one very rich brownie!
Dark Chocolate Chunk, Candied Orange Peel, (and Duck Egg) Brownies with Chocolate Mint and Honey Neufchatel Cream Cheese Frosting