Sourdough Brownies

On holidays, my first thought is always to plan a nice meal for my family, but for some reason, their first thought is to “give me a break from cooking” and go out to eat instead. I wish they could understand that holiday cooking IS like a break from ordinary cooking for me—I can take my time, and make a more complex and integrated menu than I would on an ordinary weeknight. In the case of Father’s Day, we bought a new waffle iron to replace a long-dead (and long since thrown out) model that my dad still insisted was just fine; I used my never-fail Belgian waffle recipe, macerated strawberries with organic sugar and chocolate mint and whipped some sweetened raw cream to top the waffles (don’t tell Dad—he is still afraid of raw dairy), then browned some chicken-apple sausages. I would have happily made my dad a Mexican feast of some sort (his favorite type of food) for dinner, but instead we went out to eat at a relatively new Italian restaurant that turned out to be a pizzeria and wine bar, which would have sounded more appetizing if we hadn’t just ordered a pizza the night before.

I’ll save you the details on my rather disappointing fettuccine alfredo, and just suffice it to say that I could have done a much better job myself. Skipping dinner preparation did give me enough time to make dessert, however: sourdough brownies to serve with a scoop of black walnut ice cream! I must say that it is such a relief to have an active sourdough starter again; after so many months of making all of my own baked goods from scratch, it seemed like such a cheat to just buy bread at the store, not to mention less healthy! But keeping an active starter means having extra to either discard or find creative uses for, and I plan to do lots of experimenting with new recipes in the next few months. Sourdough cheese crackers is next on the list, I think!

I distrusted the small amount of chocolate in the recipe I chose—seriously, only 3 ounces for brownies?—and upped the ante in our version with the addition of some cocoa powder and chocolate chips. They baked up thick and moist, not so fudgy as my usual recipe, but plenty chocolatey enough for us, and they only lasted two days.

Sourdough Brownies

3 oz bittersweet (at least 65%) chocolate, plus extra for stirring in
1/3 C coconut oil
1 C flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 C brown sugar
1/4 C cocoa powder
1 egg
1/2 C unfed sourdough starter
2 tsp vanilla
2-4 T milk, if needed (depending on the thickness of your starter)

Preheat oven to 375F, and grease a 9″ pan. Melt chocolate and oil together in a double boiler over low heat. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, and any additional chocolate chunks. Set aside.

Beat together brown sugar, egg, sourdough starter and vanilla, then stir in cooled chocolate mixture. Stir in flour mixture until just blended. Spread in prepared pan. Bake 30-35 minutes, or until edge begins to pull away from pan. Cool completely before cutting and serving.

Source: Slightly adapted from What Smells So Good?

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