This Asian Pantry Staple Is My Secret to Super Fudgy Brownies

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fudgy brownies

fudgy brownie is one of life’s simple pleasures, but making the platonic ideal of the perfect brownie isn’t. I should know, I’ve whisked my through many recipes all claiming to be the “best fudgy brownie” but most of them let me down.

Related: I Tried Katharine Hepburn’s Brownies Recipe

With a kitchen hazy with cocoa powder, I nearly accepted defeat and settled for a life of second-rate (read: cakey) brownies when I ran across one more thing to try. Thanks to food writer and cookbook author Sohla El-Waylly’s recipe I learned about the one ingredient that makes the fudgiest brownie in all the land, and it just so happens to be one of my favorite Asian pantry ingredients—sweet rice flour

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What is Sweet Rice Flour?

Also known as glutinous rice flour, sweet rice flour is a flour made by finely grinding sticky or glutinous rice. Despite its name, sweet rice flour doesn’t contain any gluten. The neutral-flavored flour has a high starch content and the benefits of the ingredient are similar to using corn starch or potato starch— it thickens soups and sauces instantly—and in baking, it creates a chewy texture beyond compare. You can buy boxes or bags of sweet rice flour at most Asian grocery stores. 

To give you a sense of the chewy potential of the ingredient, mochi and tang yuan are a couple of traditional Asian sweets that are made with sweet rice flour.

Related: 15 Gluten-Free Flour Substitutes and What You Need to Know About Them

How Sweet Rice Flour Makes Super Fudgy Brownies

Rather than making the brownies overly chewy and almost taffy-like, the sweet rice flour in El-Waylly’s recipe (which completely replaces all-purpose flour) combined with hot milk creates a texture that’s firm and a bit less starchy than typical sweet rice treats. The brownies are fudgy and rich but simultaneously super bouncy and light. Even a cosmic brownie can’t have this much fun!

Related: 27 Sumptuously Sweet Asian Treats

How to Make Brownies with Sweet Rice Flour

You can’t really substitute sweet rice flour for regular all-purpose flour in most standard brownie recipes. The best way to make fudgy brownies with sweet rice flour would be to follow Sohla’s recipe for Future brownies from her cookbook, Start Here: Instructions for Becoming a Better Cook or another brownie recipe specifically developed with sweet rice flour. 

But for a quick sugar fix that doesn’t skimp on the ultra-fudginess, try adding some sweet rice flour to boxed brownie mix. According to a baker on reddit, you can “start w(ith) a couple tablespoons probably and increase the liquid.” On the flip side,”Trader Joe’s has a butter mochi mix that you could add cocoa powder to as another potential option,” suggested another baker.

No matter what, it’s clear better fudgy brownies rely on a little (or a lot of) sweet rice flour. 

Up next: An Iconic Chinese Snack May Be Coming to Trader Joe’s Soon, and Fans Are Already Planning to Stock Their Carts Fast

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