I have made a lot of boxed mix brownies. Sometimes I make them according to the package instructions, but I usually make a few tweaks here and there, such as swapping out the vegetable oil for something fancier, or replacing the water with coffee.
Last night I decided to make a batch, only to find that I was out of pistachio oil, which (until about 12 hours ago) was my favourite boxed mix brownie oil. I toyed with the idea of using olive, but decided against it because I was almost out, and I need olive oil for other things (like frying eggs). I was just about to reach for (plain, boring, mundane) vegetable oil, when I spied my bottle of toasted sesame hanging out by the stove. I bet you can guess what happened next.
I put that sesame oil in my brownie batter (along with the usual coffee instead of water) and let me tell you something: I will be doing this again, and I will be talking about it a lot. I am actually embarrassed it took me this long to add toasted sesame oil to my brownies. Not only do I love sesame as a flavour, but it’s one of the few oils that’s potent enough to send its own message through the darkest of chocolate — the sesame comes through loud and clear, breaking up the intense, fudgy chocolate for a moment before fading back into the background. This push and pull between flavours is what makes these brownies so good; your palate never gets saturated with either sesame or chocolate, and is left in a state of perpetually craving one or the other.
These brownies are nutty and a little savoury, with an aroma so intoxicating, you may find that your nose constantly gravitates towards the pan, pulling the rest of your head with it. If you like tahini desserts or sweet sesame treats, you should make sesame oil brownies posthaste.
You can use any brownie mix you like, but I think darker, chocolatier mixes are better, as they can hold their own against the fragrant, flavorful oil. Add the amount of oil that’s called for on the box, just use toasted sesame oil instead of vegetable or canola (and maybe swap out water for coffee), then bake according to the box instructions. (Do it now, maybe? What’s your day look like?)