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I have never met a person who dislikes brownies. They are so good! However, it sometimes seems like brownies are basic and perhaps even boring. All recipes use the same basic ingredients and the taste is usually the same. If you are looking to expand your brownie repertoire, look no further.
This unique brownie recipe uses Dr Pepper to make it stand out. At first thought, using a soda in a sweet, baked good seems weird, but just give it a try. If you would rather have a more traditional chocolate treat, you can’t go wrong with an everyday chocolate cake. Or, if you want to get super fancy, you should try making Sicilian chocolate and ricotta cassatelle. It’s an amazing dessert that is sort of like a creamy chocolate turnover beignet. I know that is a chaotic description, but doesn’t it make you want to add them to your to-make list?
Anyway, Dr Pepper brownies are just as easy to make as regular brownies. The Dr Pepper helps make sure you end up with a dessert that is perfectly moist and brilliantly fudgy. I’m a firm believer that brownies should be fudgy, otherwise you could just call it cake. The soda also helps accent the flavor of the brownies.
Dr Pepper has a warm, sweet taste already. When added with chocolate, the taste explodes. Chocolate brings out the sultry notes in a can of Dr Pepper and lends to a wholesome, rich brownie.
- 1 ¼ cups flour
- 1 cup sugar
- ⅔ cup cocoa powder
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ cup butter
- 1 can Dr Pepper
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup chocolate chips
- All ingredients ready? Let's begin!
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Prepare a 9×9 inch baking dish by rubbing the bottom and sides with a little butter or spraying with non-stick spray.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, sugar, baking powder, cocoa powder, and salt. Whisk to combine.
- In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter in the microwave.
- Add to the butter the Dr Pepper, vanilla, and eggs. Whisk until well incorporated.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix together until thoroughly combined. You may need to switch from a whisk to a spatula.
- Dump in the chocolate chips and fold into the batter.
- Pour the batter into the previously prepared baking dish and smooth the top with a spatula.
- Cook for 35 minutes or until you can insert a toothpick or fork and it comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and let cool. You can turn the dish upside down and dump the brownies onto a wire cooling rack or leave them in the pan.
- Once cool, cut into squares and serve.
Notes & Tips
- These brownies can be stored covered at room temperature for up to a week.
- If you want your Dr Pepper brownies to be ultra fudgy, you can omit the eggs. I talk below about how the soda helps in the structure of the brownie, so you do not need eggs to make this a success. However, I like keeping the eggs in because I have a personal boundary between fudgy and wet squish. I have found that keeping the eggs helps make sure the brownies do not collapse on themselves.
To get the full Dr Pepper experience, serve the brownies with a nice cold glass or can of the soda. For a slightly less sugary experience, serve with a traditional glass of milk. These brownies also go well with coffee or tea. They may be made with Dr Pepper, but they are still brownies at heart.
For a little more ornamentation, you can decorate the top of the brownies before serving. One way is to use a sieve to sprinkle powdered sugar on top. Another way is to make a frosting with powdered sugar and a dollop of milk. You can drizzle the frosting on top or make it extra thick with more powdered sugar and pipe it on in a pattern.
To make an easy piping bag, you can put the frosting in a ziplock or sandwich bag and cut off a small corner for a cheap and quick hack.
How Does Soda Work in Baking?
Most baked recipes require a leavening agent to help the batter or dough rise and become nice and fluffy. For most breads, the leavening agent is yeast and in a lot of other baking, it is baking soda and/or baking powder. Without getting too scientific, leavening agents create or draw in air to the dish being created. The air puffs up during the baking process (and also during proving for doughs) and that inflates the overall batter into a larger size. Additionally, the tiny pockets of air push away particles of ingredients, so they become more spaced out. The whole thing is science-fair worthy stuff, but it is the sort of knowledge one would learn when perusing cooking academically or professionally.
Eggs work to make ingredients stick together so the finished product does not crumble. This is why vegan baking can be difficult, because without eggs, you have to find a different way to hold things together. Eggs also help making dishes light and fluffy. When whipped or beat, eggs can absorb a lot of air, which helps take up space and inflate the finished product.
Sodas like Dr Pepper have carbonation that can serve as a leavening agent. The bubbles in soda are full of air (technically carbon dioxide) and those bubbles pop during baking, which inflates the baked good by creating little pockets of air.
You can always research this phenomenon on your own if you want to learn more about it. However, the average home chef does not need to know all the hows and whys of baking. I prefer to just muddle through with trial and error until I get something yummy and pretty.