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Mustard Is The Unexpected Addition For Extra Rich Brownies

Looking to give your fudgy brownie recipe a makeover? Just add mustard. Odd as it may sound, the tangy condiment isn't just for slathering over deli meats and whisking into salad dressings. It actually serves a purpose when used in baked goods like brownies — even if it might be the last ingredient to cross your mind when dreaming of desserts.

Most of the pungency mustard possesses comes from its main ingredient, the zesty mustard seed. Seeing as seeds (whole or crushed) are then mixed with a host of ingredients including sour vinegar, mustard definitely boasts a prominent degree of spice and tang. According to Mandy Naglich, food journalist, advanced cicerone, and author of How to Taste: A Guide to Discovering and Savoring Life, it's precisely this tartness that can amplify the earthy and bitter cocoa flavors in brownies. As a result, this intensifies our perception of the desserts' decadence, proving its validity as a successful flavor booster.

Additionally, working mustard into brownies helps reign in the overall sweetness. Despite the fact that almost every recipe calls for the inclusion of bitter cocoa powder, brownies can still be fairly saccharine thanks to other ingredients like a cup of sugar or sweetened chocolate chips. Consequently, piquant mustard can juxtapose this sweetness all while adding another facet of flavor, and improving texture.

How to use mustard for a better brownie

Just because you have the okay to bake with mustard, that doesn't mean you should use any variety. Rather than reach for a one-dimensional yellow mustard, we recommend experimenting with more complex options. A sharp dijon or a spiced brown mustard complement the warm toastiness of cocoa, whereas sweeter varieties like honey or cranberry mustards add depth more subtly. You can also use gourmet mustards infused with balsamic or rosemary to bring even more nuanced flavor to your brownie mix.

Once you've selected a mustard, the next step is deciding which recipe to use. Don't get us wrong, you can experiment with any recipe, but it's best to start off by working mustard into a basic brownie batter. This way you can better gauge flavors and adapt going forward. Otherwise, recipes with simple additions like chopped walnuts, dark chocolate chunks, or flecks of sea salt can fare well, too.

Since mustard is quite potent, we suggest using no more than a dollop. But, you can adjust the amount based on your preference. Likewise, it may go without saying, but mustard should be whisked into brownie batter as opposed to swirled on top of the treats. Aesthetically pleasing as it may be, mixing the tart condiment directly into the batter is the only way to ensure a positive effect on the palate. And let's face it, we're all curious to know what a well-made, mustard-laced brownie tastes like!