Flourless Super Seaweed Kelp Brownies
By Tori Pintar
Adapted from Ready for Dessert by David Lebovitz
Prep Time: 20-25 minutes (10-15 minutes for the Sweet Seaweed Paste)
Cook Time: 30 minutes
I was recently tasked with a very fun project by my friends at Blue Evolution: to develop some untraditional kelp recipes to highlight their beautiful Alaskan kombu and wakame. My mind went a million different directions and somehow I landed on chocolate (!) and my favorite brownie recipe by David Lebovitz. Can one even put seaweed into brownies? Well as it turns out - you can! I’m so happy with how the seaweed paste enhances the batter and makes it rich and fudge-like. The delicate umami flavor ever so subtly changes the way the chocolate hits your tongue. These brownies are dense, luxurious, and ALL of my taste testers devoured them.
Note: I used the full 4 tablespoons of my Sweet Seaweed Paste as I liked the salinity and umami that it added to the final brownie batter. The end result is subtle and something you can’t quite put your finger on. Don’t expect a heavy seaweed flavor, as instead it merely enhances what is already at work in a great recipe. If you’re a little wary, start with 3 tablespoons and taste your batter to see if you’d like to add more.
Ingredients: Sweet Seaweed Paste
5 ounces thawed Blue Evolution Alaskan Kombu or Wakame, or a combination of the two
2 tablespoons brown rice syrup
1 tablespoon mirin
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1⁄2 teaspoon superfine sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 ounces chopped semisweet chocolate (higher quality shines here!)
3-4 tablespoons of Sweet Seaweed Paste (recipe below)
1⁄2 cup sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1⁄4 cup cocoa powder
Pepitas for garnish
Flake salt for garnish
Method: Sweet Seaweed Paste
Add seaweed to a small saucepan, cover with water, and add brown rice syrup. Bring to a slow boil over medium heat and simmer for about 5-7 minutes. Strain seaweed and reserve cooking water.
Add seaweed, mirin, rice wine vinegar, and sugar to a blender with 1⁄2 cup reserved cooking liquid. Blend on high until a thick uniform paste forms, adding more cooking water as needed to reach desired consistency.
Let cool. Use for our Flourless Super Seaweed Kelp Brownies and store the remainder in the fridge for about a week.
Preheat oven to 350 ̇F
Line an 8 x 8 baking dish with parchment paper and lightly grease with butter. I use one large piece with excess hanging over the edges, but for neater edges, use two pieces and place them perpendicular to one another with the excess hanging over the edges.
In a medium saucepan melt butter over medium low heat. Once melted, add chopped chocolate and reduce heat to low. Stir until chocolate melts. Add Sweet Seaweed Paste and stir until you have a uniform chocolate mixture. Remove from heat and stir in sugar. Add eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly between each addition. Add cocoa powder and stir vigorously until a smooth, shiny, thick batter forms.
Pour batter into your prepared baking dish and smooth with a spatula. The batter will be very thick. Top with pepitas and flake salt.
Bake until the brownies are almost fully set in the center, about 30 minutes. Don’t overbake. Let cool completely before removing from pan. To cut, remove the parchment paper and slice with a serrated knife into desired size. These are rich and almost fudge like, so I found smaller squares did the trick. David Lebovitz also has a great method for getting the perfect cuts by freezing the brownies for about 15 minutes and then slicing into them. It works! Less crumbs and more precise pieces.
Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days, though they’ll probably only last one. Enjoy!