Seattle star chef Edouardo Jordan is a very busy man. When he returned a text from me recently, it was from Nigeria — he’d traveled there to wrap up this year’s Black History Month, in order to explore, learn and return with more history, he said, in hopes of better sharing his story. But the two-time James Beard Award winner is never too busy to help; we messaged about what he loves about whole grains (#foodnerds) with regards to his newest restaurant, sweet little Lucinda Grain Bar.
As the name indicates, Lucinda emphasizes what Jordan calls the “local, wholesome and meaningful” use of whole grains — in breads, crackers, bowls and more, including in your cocktail (lots of alcohol is distilled from grain) and even in your dessert.
And your dessert at Lucinda should always be its world’s best brownie.
Despite being made from healthful-sounding whole wheat and other whole-grain flour, the Lucinda brownie is just more deeply chocolaty, meltier inside, more luxuriously rich and overall more (please make “MMMMM” sound here while rolling your eyes back in your head) than any other. (And I say this as someone who’s not always interested in dessert.)
Its greatness seems mysterious and magical — “How can this be so good?!” you think, and then it’s gone — but a lot of thought and a lot of care went into its creation. Jordan very quickly directed all praise to pastry chef Margaryta Karagodina. Originally from Crimea, she baked at Macrina and in France before scoring a role at Jordan’s first restaurant, Salare; she’s now in charge of all things baking for JuneBaby and Lucinda, too.
Karagodina, in turn, told me immediately that this miracle brownie was a team effort. Starting with her own basic fudge brownie recipe — which she’d been tweaking, she said, over the past few years (as one does!?) — she and her pastry crew experimented with integrating different amounts of whole-wheat flour. They found that not only could they ditch the white flour entirely, but any other leftover whole grains in the Salare/JuneBaby/Lucinda pastry kitchen could be ground up and added right in, too.
Both Jordan and Karagodina were happy to share the recipe — more generosity of spirit — enabling us all to make the world’s best brownie (and also feel virtuous about it because it’s whole wheat).
Karagodina also patiently answered a barrage of questions on the aforementioned topic “How can this be so good?!” Here’s the breakdown — and the recipe. You’re welcome!
8 tips to make your Lucinda Whole-Wheat Fudge Brownies that great
- The whole-wheat flour is one of the key ingredients here, according to Karagodina — one of the components that make for the extra-great end result. Karagodina says Oregon-based Bob’s Red Mill brand is “a great choice for home bakers!”
- The right amount of kosher salt, Karagodina notes, can take any dessert “from being great to being awesome.” And different brands of salt have different levels of saltiness; at Salare/JuneBaby/Lucinda, they use Diamond Crystal.
- Spring for the good stuff when it comes to your cocoa powder, too, Karagodina says. They use Valrhona; local outlet ChefShop.com also sells primo quality both in-store and online.
- Same with your dark chocolate — Karagodina’s currently using Valrhona 70 percent.
- It’s not crucial, Karagodina says, but if you want to try to exactly emulate the Lucinda brownie, get your hands on some Crémerie Classique European-style unsalted butter (or a similar brand with higher milk-fat and lower water content).
- Deploying coconut oil as some of the fat “makes the brownie much fudgier,” Karagodina says (and they use organic).
- Why room-temperature eggs? Cold ones cool down your melted chocolate mixture, making it stiff and subsequently difficult to incorporate the dry ingredients. Karagodina’s trick for speeding up egg-warming: Put them in a bowl of warm water for one minute.
- One more pro tip (this one’s from me): At Lucinda, the brownie is served with einkorn-infused ice cream and toasted-oat toffee brittle bits, and you can buy the former for $10 a pint to go at JuneBaby. (You’re on your own for the brittle.)
Lucinda Whole-Wheat Fudge Brownies
1¼ cups whole-wheat flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1¾ cups dark chocolate, coarsely chopped (about 10 0z.)
1½ sticks butter (6 oz.)
¼ cup coconut oil
1½ cups sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
5 eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Spray the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with nonstick spray and line with parchment paper.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder and salt. Set aside.
3. Melt the chocolate, butter and coconut oil in a large bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (bain marie or double boiler), stirring occasionally, until mixture is smooth.
4. While keeping your bowl on the bain marie setup, add sugars into the chocolate mixture, and whisk until combined.
5. Take your bowl off the heat, then whisk in the eggs and vanilla. Do not overmix.
6. Fold dry ingredients into the chocolate using a rubber spatula.
7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for about 30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs on it. Rotate halfway through baking.
8. Let the brownies cool completely before cutting and serving.