I’m imagining you staring at your screen. Your head is cocked to the side and you’ve rested your hand on your chin to ponder my bizarre title. Could a panko-encrusted wasabi brownie really be the brownie recipe for everyone? Let me explain:
Cakey brownie lovers: This brownie isn’t stick-to-your-fingers wet and it doesn’t have that oily taste that many mix-made fudgy brownies have (my personal brownie pet peeve). It’s cakey enough that you should be pleased, but your fudgy friends will be able to tolerate it because it’s not as light as a chocolate birthday cake.
Fudgy brownie lovers: This brownie is packed with chocolate chunks. You can see the pieces of chocolate if you look closely at the photo. It won’t be wet like your beloved fudgy-style brownie, but you can see that it is dense (not like an airy piece of cake) and the chocolate chunks give it a nice punch of chocolate flavor.
Nutty brownie lovers: Sorry, there are no nuts. But, I think that you’ll find the panko (Japanese bread crumbs) to be a viable substitution. The panko gives the same satisfying crunch that you get from a nut while still allowing you to bring the brownies to homes of nut-haters or nut-allergic folks.
Brownie purists (anti-nut people): These brownies have no nuts. Instead, they have panko (Japanese bread crumbs) that provide a nice crunch. If you are also anti-crunch, you can easily remove the panko – it’s only on the top.
While these brownies might not be the favorite of any of the groups listed above, they are brownies that cross the great brownie divide. You can safely bring them to a party knowing that all camps will enjoy them.
What About the Wasabi? Is That Really for Everyone?
The wasabi just gives the brownies a little zing. Zing is what makes life fun (it sure is fun to say) and fun is for everyone!
The wasabi is not so strong that your kids won’t like it, and you won’t need gallons of milk to calm your throat after having a bite. I think you’ll enjoy the wasabi, but if it makes you nervous, you can always just leave it out.
Disclaimer: I do understand that “everyone” does not include those who are gluten-free, vegans, and folks with all manner of other allergies. If you are in one of those camps, perhaps you can work with the spirit of the recipe to make something similar that meets your needs (think crunch and a bit of spice). For example, you could use crushed gluten-free crispy brown rice cereal instead of panko if you are gluten-free.
Panko-Encrusted Wasabi Brownie Recipe
The recipe for these brownies is a modification of my grandma’s brownie recipe. It’s a one bowl recipe, so it’s nice and easy!
Panko-Encrusted Wasabi Brownies
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 5 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 1/4 teaspoons wasabi paste
- 1/2 cup chocolate chunks or chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup panko
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Butter and lightly flour an 8" square baking pan.
- Mix all ingredients except the chocolate chunks and the panko in a medium-sized mixing bowl until fully combined.
- Fold in chocolate chunks.
- Pour into prepared baking pan and use a spatula to evenly spread the batter.
- Bake for 15 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and evenly distribute the panko on top of the partially-cooked brownies.
- Return to the oven and bake for another fifteen minutes or until a toothpick comes out dry.
- Ideally, you should wait for them to cool prior to cutting (they'll cut more cleanly), but then you'd miss the joy of hot brownies. So, I say, make a mess and eat some right away!
Thanks to my friend Sylvia for pointing me to a post on The Island of Dr Gâteau about maple syrup panko biscuits. This gave me the inspiration to use panko in these brownies. I also used panko in cupcakes.
Fudgy vs. Cakey
Did you ever wonder if more people prefer fudgy or cakey brownies? I did. Check out my Facebook poll and join in with your thoughts.