If you’ve spent any time around the internet food circles recently, you’ve probably seen this trend in action. People seem to be pushing to make recipes with fewer and fewer ingredients. You’ll see all sorts of baked goods with just two or three ingredients, often coupled with “no butter, oil, eggs, or flour!”
I suppose it’s meant to appeal to people on various dietary restrictions. Maybe you’re a brownie lover, but you’ve been diagnosed with a gluten sensitivity, so you want to avoid flour. Maybe eggs make you sick, or you’re cutting back on the fats in oil and butter. So a recipe that covers all of these bases automatically reaches an audience of people interested in recipes without them.
The trouble is, these recipes are pretty often just missing something.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Not every recipe needs to have a dozen ingredients. You can make plenty of delicious things with just a couple of ingredients. My simple peanut butter cookies are an example. They only use three ingredients, but those ingredients cover all the bases for a soft, simple cookie. And, if you want something with more oomph to it, other peanut butter cookies have you covered.
But these brownies… well. We’ll get to that.
What two ingredients would you think can combine into brownies?
- Chocolate and Flour?
- Flour and Pudding?
- Brownie Mix and Egg?
Half the time, these low-ingredient recipes either leave something out in their counting, or they use premade mixes and other “ingredients” that are, themselves, a bunch of ingredients put together. I’ll admit that this recipe for 2-ingredient brownies doesn’t do that, really. In my view, to its detriment.
So what are the ingredients for this one? Chocolate and Egg.
Here’s three examples of the same recipe, but I’m reproducing it below anyway, since they’re all identical.
- Kirbie Cravings 2-Ingredient Brownies
- 30 Second Foods 2-Ingredient Brownies
- Food Network’s 2-Ingredient Brownies
Who invented the recipe, and who should be attributed? I have no idea. Honestly, though, I don’t think it’s terribly important; you shouldn’t make them anyway. If you’re morbidly curious, though, here’s the full recipe.
- 8×8" Baking Dish
- Parchment Paper
- Stand Mixer
- 1⅔ Cup Chocolate Chips Set ⅓ Cup aside for topping
- 4 Eggs Whites and Yolks separated
- 2 Tbsp Water
- Preheat oven to 350℉. Line your baking dish with parchment paper (no greasing it, because you can't use butter!)
- In a bowl, melt the chocolate chips on high for a minute, stir, and give it another minute to fully melt. Let the chocolate cool a bit for about 5 minutes.
- Add your egg whites — room temperature if possible — to your stand mixer, and beat on high until stiff peaks form.
- Stir the egg yolks and water together. Add this to the melted chocolate and stir until smooth.
- Fold your chocolate and your beaten egg whites together until fully mixed.
- Pour your batter into your baking dish and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until "done".
- Top with the remaining chocolate chips.
When I first read the recipe, I was intrigued. Maybe, I thought, the separation of eggs would allow a fudgy chocolate supported by a meringue-like whipped egg to form something brownie-like.
Of course, one thing you might notice right away is a third ingredient on the list of two ingredients. I guess water doesn’t count when you’re trying to go viral, right?
I was also mildly concerned about leaving the chocolate chips in the microwave for so long at once. I’m used to doing 20-30 seconds at a time and stirring in between, or using a double boiler. But, it worked without burning the chocolate, so I can’t complain about that.
Even mixing everything together and baking it wasn’t a real problem. The problem comes with what you actually get.
How does it look? Fine. You can see in the pictures, it looks more or less like a brownie, though it doesn’t have that core of fudge like a good brownie should.
How does it taste? Fine. It’s chocolate, through and through. The flavor depends entirely on what kind of chocolate you use.
So what’s the problem? The texture.
The texture of this “brownie” is all wrong. It’s not a brownie. It’s not rich and fudgy and dense. It’s pretty much the opposite of all of those things.
Instead, it’s almost like a cake, except not even as moist or as soft as cake. It’s very fluffy, but also has an odd sort of eggy chewiness. The closest comparison I can come up with is a fluffier, less dense version of a dutch baby. It’s honestly a little off-putting.
So, what’s my verdict?
Use something with more substance. Use flour, use almond flour, use rice flour, heck, use banana to thicken it up. These “brownies” are like eating a soft bit of chocolate foam. If you’re expecting rich, decadent brownies, or anything even approximating the texture of real brownies, you’re going to be disappointed.
If you want real simple, good brownies, use a real brownie recipe. Don’t waste your time on something created as a gimmick to capture a trend.