Salt and Pepper White Chocolate Ganache Brownies
Are you skeptical about these brownies? Let’s chat about the different components and why they work so well together.
I don’t have to convince you that salt belongs in desserts – I’m sure the plethora of chocolate chip cookies sprinkled with salt and many versions of salted caramel have done that. I will, however, take some time to convince you that pepper belongs in desserts, and these salt and pepper white chocolate ganache brownies are the way I’m going to do it!
Pink peppercorn is a little spicy like your standard black peppercorn that you’d grind over savory food, but it’s also got these really floral notes that pair beautifully with chocolate! I used pink peppercorn in two places in this recipe, both in the white chocolate ganache and in the brownies. The pepper used in the brownies gets a little mellower during the bake, and the pepper in the ganache stays fresh and bright!
For those of you saying “I don’t like white chocolate, it’s too sweet” – I hear you, I do. I typically feel the same way, but the sweetness of ganache is tempered here by the salty note and the richness of the brownies. Plus, whipping white chocolate ganache takes it from something thick and gloopy to something that almost melts on your tongue when you eat it.
Speaking of brownies – this is the first time I’m sharing my brownie recipe! Everyone says their brownie recipe is the best… but my recipe really is the best. I love this recipe so much that it even hurts my heart a little bit to let it go out into the world, but I believe that you all deserve to eat these brownies. They’re of the fudgy variety, with a crisp top and a wonderful chew.
Y’all know that my baking thesis is that you can use one recipe a lot of different ways, and these brownies are one of them. I’m giving you the basic, classic recipe below AND the salt and pepper version. You should make them here with the salt & pepper ganache because they’re delicious, but you can also make the brownies and eat them plain or topped with anything else your heart desires!
- This salt and pepper cake by Saltadena that I’ve been thinking about for 3 full years
- The beautiful contrast of almost-black brownies and stark white ganache
- Pink peppercorn that I brought back from Urban Herbs at the West Side Market in Cleveland, one of my all-time favorite places (Andy and I even tried to get married there!)
The Quick Look
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Component 1: Best Ever Brownies
The Basic Brownie
Makes 16 brownies
- 170 grams unsalted butter
- 170 grams dark chocolate, roughly chopped
- You can use semisweet chocolate chips instead, but I prefer dark chocolate from a bar
- 1 teaspoon table salt
- 170 grams granulated sugar
- 150 grams brown sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 egg yolk
- 110 grams all purpose flour
- Line a 9×9 pan with parchment paper. This is my favorite way to line a pan.
- You’ll see from the photos in this post that I baked these in a 9″ round cake pan. You can do this as well, if you’re looking for less-square pieces.
- Preheat your oven to 350F.
- In a medium heavy-bottomed pot, add 170 grams of butter and 170 grams of chopped dark chocolate. Heat on medium-low heat until both the butter and chocolate are fully melted. Remove the mixture from the heat.
- Add 1 teaspoon of salt and stir to combine.
- Add 170 grams of sugar and 150 grams of brown sugar to the pot and stir to combine. The mixture will look grainy.
- Add 1 egg and stir it into the batter. Stir vigorously with a spoon or spatula to fully blend the egg in – you shouldn’t see any streaks of unmixed egg white.
- Repeat with the remaining 2 eggs and 1 egg yolk. Once all the eggs are added, stir hard for 30 more seconds.
- Add 110 grams of flour all at once. Fold the flour into the batter until no streaks of flour remain.
- Pour the batter into the parchment-lined pan. Spread the batter into the edges of the pan.
- Bake for 45-50 minutes, until the brownies don’t jiggle when you shake the pan gently. The edges will look dry, but they will still feel soft when you poke them.
- Let the brownies cool at room temperature for at least two hours, and then refrigerate the brownies for 2+ more hours (or up to 24 hours).
Hint: these brownies taste especially good cold and straight out of the refrigerator!
Salt & Pepper Brownies
- 1 teaspoon table salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground pink peppercorn
- Follow the recipe above. When you get to step 4, add the additional 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon pink peppercorn to the batter.
Component 2: Salt & Pepper White Chocolate Ganache
Makes enough to top 16 brownies
- 115 grams heavy cream
- 230 grams grams white chocolate, roughly chopped
- I haven’t tested this with white chocolate chips so can’t say how they work
- 1/4 teaspoon table salt
- 3-4 grinds pink peppercorn
- 3-4 grinds black peppercorn
- Place 115 grams cream, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and a few grinds each of pink peppercorn and black peppercorn into a heatproof container.
- Heat the seasoned cream until it just starts to boil. I do this in a microwave and heat it for about 60 seconds.
- Add 230 grams of chopped chocolate to the warm cream. Make sure all the chocolate is covered by cream. Let sit for 2 minutes without stirring.
- Stir the ganache in a single direction with a spatula until all the chocolate melts into the cream. The ganache will start off looking separated but will become smooth and emulsified as you stir.
- Let the ganache cool to room temperature – about 70F.
- Pour the ganache into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, or into a medium-large bowl to use with an electric beater.
- Whip on high speed for 1-2 minutes. Don’t walk away from the bowl during this time, as the transition from underwhipped to overwhipped in an instant. When it’s done, the ganache will hold medium peaks and look like thick whipped cream.
- Remove the brownies from the fridge.
- Transfer the room temperature whipped ganache to the pan of brownies.
- Using an offset spatula or the back of a spoon, spread the ganache over the brownies in an even layer.
- Top the ganache with a few grinds of pink peppercorn and a small sprinkle of coarse salt – either kosher salt or sea salt.
- You can serve the brownies immediately, or store them in the refrigerator, covered, for up to one week.
TO GET CLEAN SLICES: If you’re aiming to get clean cuts in your brownies, you’ll need to slice them refrigerated. Run a large knife under hot water and wipe it dry before each slice.