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Published May 30th, 2018
Make your own memories with Bittersweet Brownie Pudding
Brownie Pudding Photo Susie Iventosch

A few weeks ago, my sister called to see if I had our mom's brownie pudding recipe. She wanted to surprise our parents with this old family favorite, but my recipe file was not with me that day. Actually, I had completely forgotten about brownie pudding, which was one of our favorite desserts when we were kids. I was so excited to make it again, and when I finally found and made the recipe, it tasted awful, with some sort of metallic taste. This was not at all how it tasted when we were young! What happened?
After some investigation, I discovered that I had used a baking powder that contained aluminum (aluminum sodium sulfate or aluminum sodium phosphate) and for some reason, it did not mix well with the other ingredients. Maybe it was the interaction with the cocoa powder, but whatever the case, I threw the entire batch out and vowed to try again the next week, while I was down visiting my mom.
If you've ever had that metallic taste, or just an off-taste with your baked goods such as muffins, scones, breads or pancakes, check your baking powder. Those that contain aluminum can develop this taste during the baking, even if the batter or dough tastes perfectly fine. This has happened to me over the years, so I became curious as to what was happening and learned that the devil is in the baking powder.
Rumford makes an aluminum-free, double acting baking powder, and Trader Joe's also packages an aluminum-free baking powder. You can also make your own by combining baking soda with cream of tartar or cornstarch, but you may have to experiment, because the quantities of each differ quite a bit from one source to another.
What began as a walk down memory lane with the revival of our old recipe, became a quest to make a better, gooier brownie pudding, with more chocolate, less sugar, more water and aluminum-free baking powder. My mom loves chocolate, and the more the better, so we used melted bittersweet chocolate in addition to the cocoa powder called for in the original recipe. We decided to use a little bit more boiling water, too, which created more of the gooey sauce to spoon over ice cream. After four attempts, we finally landed a really great new version of this old favorite!
Here is the link to an Epicurious article by David Tamarkin that offers a great explanation of why some baking powders contain aluminum in the first place: https://www.epicurious.com/ingredients/why-aluminum-free-baking-powder-is-better-article

Brownie Layer
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
2 teaspoons baking powder (use one with no aluminum like Rumford's)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons canola oil (or can use melted butter)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup chopped pecans (or walnuts)

3/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/4 cups boiling water

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease an 8x8x2 inch baking pan and set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, mix together flour, granulated sugar, baking powder and salt.
3. Stir in the milk, oil and vanilla. Mix well.
4. Add the melted chocolate and chopped nuts.
5. Spread batter out evenly into the prepared pan.
6. In small bowl mix brown sugar and cocoa powder and spread evenly over top of brownie batter.
7. Slowly pour boiling water over the top.
8. Bake for 35 minutes or so, until top is crackly, but bottom is still gooey.
9. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt.

Susie can be reached at suziventosch@gmail.com. This recipe can be found on our website: www.lamorindaweekly.com. If you would like to share your favorite recipe with Susie please contact her by email or call our office at (925) 377-0977.

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