A sourdough starter is essential for tangy, chewy loaves of homemade bread, but did you know how versatile it can be in all kinds of sweet and savory baking projects? Take a page from pastry chef Caroline Schiff’s new cookbook, The Sweet Side of Sourdough, and make these fig–dark chocolate brownies to find out.
“Fig and chocolate are [a] forever favorite combination of mine,” she writes. “When I was promoted to my first pastry chef position, a chocolate and fig tart was one of the first desserts I added to the menu, and to this day, it’s one of the dishes I’m most proud of. There’s something about the musky honey sweetness of the figs that brings out the fruity undertones of dark chocolate, and I always love it paired with sourdough.”
Because the brownies are made with active sourdough starter, you’ll want to plan ahead and give yourself a few days to get your starter going (if it isn’t already). Once it’s doubling in size with feedings and passing the “float” test (a small piece will float when placed in water), it’s ready to use.
“These brownies are rich, deep and fudgy,” Schiff says, “just how I like them.” Funny, that’s how we like them too.
Chocolate-Stuffed Brownie Bites
13 ounces (368g) dark chocolate (60 to 70 percent)
1 stick (114g) unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup (44g) Dutch process cocoa powder
1 tablespoon (8g) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 large eggs
⅔ cup (146g) dark brown sugar, packed
½ cup (100g) granulated sugar
½ cup (110g) active sourdough starter
1 cup (240ml) fig jam
Flaky sea salt, to garnish
1. With a rack in the center, preheat the oven to 325°F. Spray a 9-by-9-inch square pan with nonstick cooking spray and line with a rectangle of parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on two opposite sides. Set aside.
2. Place the chocolate, butter and vanilla in a heatproof mixing bowl. Set the bowl on top of a small saucepan with about 2 inches of simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Stir to melt together, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
3. In a mixing bowl, combine the cocoa powder, flour and salt. Whisk to fully combine and break up any lumps. Set aside.
4. In another mixing bowl, with a hand mixer or a whisk, beat the eggs and both sugars until light and doubled in volume. Add the sourdough starter and mix to fully combine. Add the chocolate mixture and whisk or beat in until thick and uniform.
5. Add the dry ingredients to the chocolate mixture, then switch to a spatula and fold together until no dry patches remain. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan, spreading it out into an even layer with the spatula.
6. Dot the top of the brownies all over with the jam, then swirl it through the batter by running a toothpick or the tip of a paring knife through the dots in any pattern you desire. Bake the brownies until set, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with flaky sea salt and allow them to cool in the pan for at least 1 hour. Use the overhanging parchment paper to lift them out of the pan and slice into squares.