It all started with a tweet chat and somehow ended with me baking double fudge brownies with extra virgin Chilean olive oil in my kitchen. But I will get to the baking later.
During one of my weekly tweet chats (#HGEATS) moderated by @TheHungryGoddess, there was a special sponsor this time around. The people of Chile Olive Oil were present and willing to state their case on why Chilean olive oil is better than, say, the household imported one from the Mediterranean country of Italy. I admit I was a bit skeptical and I had a very limited knowledge in olive oils. When I think of olive oil I think of going down to the North End, sitting in a cramped Italian restaurant, and dipping my bread into olive oil from Italy. Not Chile.
Here are some of the reasons why Chile touts superiority over all other olive oils from other countries especially the famous one shaped like a boot kicking a stone. According to their website:
1. It’s unique geography provides protection for the olives to thrive and grow fruitfully. The groves are nestled in the Chilean valleys bordered by the Andean mountains and the Pacific Ocean providing excellent protection.
2. With an abundance of crops, I’m sure the Chilean olive oil brand would like to thank the Chilean Mediterranean climate for giving optimal growth. Their cold, rainy winters and hot and dry summers allow the olives to mature at their very best.
3. The terrain is rich with character making its fruit rich in flavor and variety. Their motto on their bottle is smacked on the front: “How virgin is your extra virgin?” And I’m inferring from this slogan that this olive oil is pristine.
And so I got to talking with the representative (@ChileOliveOil) and they deduced from our Twitter name (@Boston_Bakes) that, well, I liked to bake. I do, in fact, like to bake in my spare time now and then. Mind you I’m nowhere near an expert as Boston Bakes participants like Kickass Cupcakes or Max Brenner. Although I do enjoy eating baked goods which motivates me to try new things like making Snickerdoodles or chocolate chip cookies from scratch. Instant Betty Crocker cake recipes can step aside now and then.
The Chilean Olive Oil rep tweeted me asking if I liked making brownies, which I affirmed. They then sent me a link to their website and more specifically to one of their featured dessert recipes: Double Fudge Chilean Olive Oil Brownies. The description underneath the title explains how this recipe is unique from the traditional version. These brownies have a secret weapon that no other brownie recipe can come close to. The main ingredient that will put Betty Crocker brownies to shame: extra virgin olive oil from Chile.
Now it was my turn to verify if this were the case. The people from Chile Olive Oil graciously sent me a couple of bottles of their olive oil and once that Fed Ex man dropped them at my front door I was ready to get baking!
Here is the recipe that I was going off of the website:
- Olive oil mister or Cooking spray
- 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, melted
- 1/3 cup Chilean extra virgin olive oil (delicate or mild, if available)
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1- 1/4 cups chocolate chunks, milk or semi-sweet
- *optional 1-2 Tablespoons coarse sea salt for sprinkling
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Line an 8×8 pan with foil and lightly mist with Chilean extra virgin olive oil. (Regular cooking or baking spray will do if you don’t have a mister).
- Melt the semi-sweet chocolate in a double boiler, over medium heat, stirring gently until smooth.
- In a large bowl, combine the melted chocolate and Chilean extra virgin olive oil.
- Whisk in the eggs, sugar and vanilla until combined. Then add in the flour and salt and stir until smooth.
- Fold in the chocolate chunks. Spread the mixture in your prepared pan and sprinkle all over with coarse sea salt, if desired.
- Bake 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted 1″ away from the edge comes out clean. Let cool completely before cutting into squares.
Keep in mind with any recipe you can make substitutions to suit your needs and preferences. A great example would be my penchant for Ghirardelli chocolate and how it was not a hard decision for me to choose my coveted brand’s semi-sweet chocolate chips over the Toll House one. I just couldn’t resist. Let’s just say I was more than happy to melt down the chocolate and “taste test” by sticking my finger in the concoction and licking the heavenly chocolate-y goodness. My job’s tough sometimes. I should also note that I used a microwave for the melting process instead of a double boiler because I honestly do not have one. Also I think it’s faster my way especially if you are in a time crunch.
Chile Olive Oil sent me two different versions: smooth and bold. I chose the smooth over the bold because I wasn’t ready to be bold just yet. When I cook or bake food that needs an extra kick I’m sure that I will be more than happy to throw in some bold into my recipe. Plus I like my chocolate-y items to have a smooth taste anyway.
After letting the brownies cool, I decided to dig right in and see if my creation and Chile Olive Oil’s claims were valid. The end result: they were the most moist (try to say that ten times fast!) brownies I have ever sunk my teeth into and that’s a good thing! I don’t like my chocolate brownies to be dry making me want to grab a glass of milk to wash down the next bites. I had my mom and dad taste test to see just in case if I were too biased and tooting my own horn. My dad, the “Phantom Gourmet” of whatever I create, said I should have cooked them with nuts because “there’s no point in baking brownies without them.” Note to self: if ever make brownies for my father, include the nuts! My mom agreed that they were moist and didn’t utter anything about nuts so I think I’m good there.
I have enclosed pictures of my brownie baking and the end result for your viewing.
Do I think the extra virgin olive oil from Chile makes a difference in double fudge brownies rather than using vegetable oil or olive oil from Italy? Comparing to past brownie recipes using these ingredients with the recipe using the secret ingredient straight from the Chilean valleys, I would say yes. Like I said, the more moist the better in my personal opinion. If I have the taste resembling a chocolate Saharan desert that crumbles in my mouth, I would be better off putting that recipe tucked away in my recipe box, never seeing the light of day again.
I will continue on my journey to see if Chile holds the best olive oil award. Whether it’s dipping bread in it or using it to compliment a salmon dish, I’ll give it a whirl and savor what I make.
For now, I’m going to get off my computer and head to the kitchen. There’s a brownie with my name on it and I can’t keep it waiting.