I have mixed feelings about rye flour. On the one hand, I love rye bread, and I think that Langer's #19 (pastrami, Swiss cheese, coleslaw, and Russian dressing on rye) is probably the best sandwich in the entire world. On the other hand, when I bake things with rye flour I usually end up thinking they taste weird and suboptimal, instead of more interesting or complex. Yet I keep trying rye recipes because I think that if I eat it enough, I will learn to like it -- the same way that there are all sorts of foods I used to think were terrible (e.g., coffee ice cream, steak tartare, broccoli) until I ate them over and over and eventually came to appreciate them.
I had avoided making Edd Kimber's "Turtle Brownies" because they are made with rye. I was surprised that the headnote makes no reference to the fact that they made with 100% rye flour. Usually recipes with rye say something at the outset about how the rye contributes an earthy flavor to the end product, as if there is a need to justify the ingredient's inclusion. The closest thing here is a small note at the end of the recipe that says you can substitute all-purpose flour for the rye, but promising that the rye "makes a very special brownie."
Other than the fact that it uses rye flour, the recipe for the brownie is straightforward. You whisk sugar, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla until thick and pale; pour in dark chocolate that has been melted with butter; and fold in the dry ingredients (rye flour, cocoa powder, flake salt, and baking powder). You pour the batter into a pan, sprinkle on chopped pecans and milk chocolate, and bake.
I made a mistake when I was making the brownies. I had pulled out a 2.5kg bag of Callebaut 2815 57.9% bittersweet callets to melt with the butter, and a 2.5kg bag of Cacao Barry Ghana 41% milk chocolate pistoles to sprinkle on top of the batter. As I was pouring chocolate into the bowl with the butter so I could melt them together, I realized that I had grabbed the wrong bag and was pouring in milk chocolate callets instead of bittersweet ones. Because a lot of the callets had come in contact with the butter, I couldn't just put them back in the bag. So I ended up melting mostly milk chocolate for the batter, with just a small amount of bittersweet chocolate.
I loved these brownies so much. First, I could not taste the rye at all. Maybe I would detect a difference if I tasted a wheat flour version of these right next to the rye version, but from taste alone I wouldn't have known that these were made with any rye, much less rye flour only. But more importantly, these brownies had the perfectly lightly fudgy texture that is my ideal. I was afraid that my use of milk chocolate would produce a lackluster brownie, but they had a rich, classic chocolate brownie flavor. And salted caramel and brownies are a match made in heaven. I don't know that the milk chocolate on top was necessary, but I loved the texture and flavor from the pecans.
I've tried many dozens of brownie recipes, but there are just a handful that I go back to again and again. I'm putting these in that venerable category. Maybe this is the recipe that will turn me into a fan of rye!
Recipe: "Turtle Brownies" from One Tin Bakes by Edd Kimber. You can watch a video of Edd making the brownies here.