Today’s recipe is super easy: luscious dark Valrhona chocolate brownies cooked in the Instant Pot. It’s another one of those recipes I pull out to make when I just want something quick and easy. It’s also a great recipe if you want to bake something to share, but don’t have a lot of time. Everyone loves brownies. They get right to the basics of what a great treat is. In my book, they should be chewy, and dense … but not heavy. Not a lot of ingredients, so you likely have what you need on hand. And they don’t demand a lot of attention or have a lot of steps.
On first read, you may be wondering: ‘how can you do baked goods in the Instant Pot? It’s a pressure cooker, after all.’ Well, this is the best recipe if you want to try out baked goods in the IP. Brownies do great in the high-moisture environment. There’s no way they are going to come out too dry. Just a couple of changes from baking in the oven, like covering your pan in foil to protect it from drips, and they will turn out perfect every time. Trust me.
Stepping up to better chocolate
Brownies happen to be one of my BF Trilo’s favorite treats. The first time I made them for him he thought they were tasty. But, in his usual manner, he wanted to figure out how to make them even more decadent. He started looking into different types of chocolates. At a local high-end food market we like, he saw “Valrhona” chocolate, and it piqued his interest. Valrhona is a small, French artisanal chocolatier who’s “mission of excellence” led them to start growing their own cocoa plants (More of their story here). Next thing I knew there was a package on the doorstep. Trilo had found some Valrhona baking powder on Amazon! Guess it was time for more baking!
Can we make these even more fancy?
As you’ll see, I’ll be stepping this recipe up another notch, by using the basic brownie recipe here to create some Fabulous Valentine Bites! These look so fancy, but aren’t much more difficult than the basic brownie recipe I started with. By adding two different toppings, a Dark Chocolate Ganache, and a Bailey’s Irish Cream Buttercream Frosting, and some sprinkles, they become super special, perfect for a birthday, or holiday! Bonus points if you have some cookie cutters on hand, but even cut into squares, they would be great.
At the end of the day, the Valrhona chocolate did indeed improve the flavor and texture of these already yummy brownies! So of course I have to share. Here’s my basic recipe.
- Remove butter and eggs from the fridge, and set on the counter to come to room temperature. You want the butter to be soft to the touch, but not melted.Note: if you are too impatient to wait, I have had some luck placing the butter near the warm stove, or holding the stick in my hand and squeezing it a bit to soften. Another trick is to place the sticks in the microwave for 2-3 seconds, then take out and let come to room temp. Do not melt the butter!
- Prepare baking pan by spraying it with non-stick baking spray. Note: you can use either a springform pan, or a bundt pan. I have used both successfully. You can also double the recipe and stack two springform pans in the Instant Pot (check to see that they will fit on your trivet first!)
- In a mixing bowl (not the stand mixer bowl), combine the dry ingredients: flour, Valrhona cocoa powder, and sea salt. Combine well with a hand whisk.
- Put the room temperature butter in the bowl of the mixer, with paddle attachment. Beat until smooth.Tip: getting a paddle attachment with scrapers on the sides makes mixing batters so much easier!
- Add sugar and mix well.
- Add eggs and vanilla and mix till smooth.
- Combine with dry ingredients, mixing just until combined.
- Do not over-mix. Remove from mixer and scrape down the beaters and sides of the bowl with silicone scraper. Turn over to make sure the batter is mixed well from the bottom to top.
- Using a silicone spatula, scrape the batter into the pan. It will be thick, so you may need to use a spoon to help spread the batter out in the pan.Note: if you are making a double-batch like I did, divide the batter evenly between the two pans. (btw, I used parchment to line the pan, but decided that was an unnecessary step)
- Cover your pan with foil and set it on the silicone trivet with handles.Note: For two pans, use a wire rack to stack the second pan on top of the first.
- If you are doing a double-batch, stack the second pan on top of the wire rack.
- Add 1 cup of water to the inner pot of your Instant Pot, and lower the trivet into the pot. Close the lid and turn the valve to closed.Note: on double batch, the handles probably won’t clasp, so just make sure they are properly tucked in when you close the lid.
- Cook on manual, high for 55 minutes.Carefully remove from the pot, tilt to drain any water off the pans. Remove foil and set on wire rack to cool for a few minutes.
- Remove spring sides, flip over and remove base, then flip back over and set on rack to cool completely.Note: you can use two wire racks or a plate to make double-flipping easier.
- If you will be serving the brownies right away (and who can resist?) Place the brownie on to a serving platter and cut into squares or wedges. You can dress them up with a sprinkle of powdered sugar if you like. Enjoy!
- If you are planning on using a cookie cutter to make fun shapes, like my Valentines brownies, place the brownie on to a cutting board.
- You can also use a ganache or buttercream frosting on them, add sprinkles? why not! They are yours to fancy up, or keep them basic. There is really no right or wrong!
Other Sweet Ideas
- Maple Bacon Mini Muffins with Maple Glaze Drizzle
- Meyer Lemon Curd Semifreddo
- Versatile Preserved Lemon Slices you can use in your desserts!