Recipe: Brown butter spelt brownies

“These brownies are ever so fudgy”

renee kohlman, cookbook author, all the sweet thingsI’ve been baking brownies since the days of big hair and bigger glasses – back when the AM radio station in my town played a lot of REO Speedwagon.

If I could go back in time, I would tell my 12-year-old self to brown the butter first. And also, life, music, your hair, it all gets better.

She would no doubt look at me like I was crazy, because brown butter wasn’t really a thing in 1985. But trust me. Brown butter adds a nutty richness that lingers and leaves you thinking you should brown all the butter all the time and add it to all the sweet things. (See what I did there?)

These brownies are ever so fudgy, and because spelt flour has a much lower gluten content than all-purpose flour, the crumb is tender on the inside, yet has all of those desirable crispy edge pieces that we long to dunk into a glass of milk.

Listening to “Can’t Fight This Feeling” is entirely optional.


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the pan
  • 11/4 cups chopped (1/2-inch pieces) dark chocolate
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp flaky salt, such as Maldon
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup spelt flour (note: you can also substitute 1/2 cup all-purpose flour plus 1/4 cup whole wheat flour for the spelt flour)


1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Place the rack in the centre of the oven. Lightly butter an 8-inch square baking pan and line it with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on 2 facing sides. Butter the parchment paper as well.

2. Heat the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. The butter will froth and bubble and then turn golden. (It’s okay to give it a bit of a stir.) When it starts to brown and smell nutty, remove it from the heat and stir in the chocolate and both sugars until smooth. Using a wooden spoon, beat in the eggs one at a time, stirring well after each addition. The batter will be shiny. Stir in the cocoa powder, salt and vanilla. Mix in the spelt flour just until combined.

3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out with just a few crumbs clinging to it, 25 - 30 minutes. Let the brownies cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. Lift them out of the pan using the parchment paper. Cut the brownies into 16 squares.

4. Store the brownies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 1 month.

Recipe from All the Sweet Things (TouchWood Editions, 2017), by Renée Kohlman (Culinary Arts ’99)

Subscribe to receive more great stories every month

Find out more news about NAIT, stories about our alumni and their impact on their communities, and useful how-to content featuring our experts.

Sign up today »