Boxed brownie mixes advertise their convenience compared to homemade brownies—with only a few ingredients, they promise a moist, chocolatey crumb. However, these "instant" mixes still require fresh ingredients and a baking time that matches that of homemade brownies. When you're craving a chocolate fix but you're coming up short on eggs, oil, and time, don't despair: you can still make brownies using a can of soda.
Two Different Methods, One Soda Required
If you prefer making your sweets from scratch, Carrie Vasios Mullins of Serious Eats recommends mixing the dry ingredients together, then adding the soda slowly as you combine wet with dry to create a sticky batter.
If boxed is your favorite method, Everyday Life has a simple calculation to figure out how much soda is needed. Check the amount of liquid called for on the box and convert eggs to ¼ cup of liquid each. Whatever your final measurement is, add that exact amount of soda to the box of dry ingredients.
Once your soda-soaked batter is ready, pop your pan into the oven. Instead of waiting until the cooking time listed on the box, start checking the pan five minutes before the recommended bake time—if a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, then your brownies are done.
What's the Difference?
Switching out the primary ingredients that make brownies moist and fluffy might sound like a recipe that leads to disastrous taste results. The main difference, however, appears in the texture of the finished product.
Soda brownies are more crumbly than brownies made with eggs and oil. This is because eggs bind the dry ingredients together in the original recipe; without them, the crumb falls apart much easier. The carbon dioxide also encourages more leavening, making soda brownies both taller and less dense. This results in brownies that are more cake-like than dense and chewy.
In an informal taste test conducted by the Huffington Post, the testers remarked that while the soda brownies were true to traditional brownies' chocolatey, rich flavor, they were stickier and less dense. Everyone agreed that the taste of diet soda (which was used in their trial) was undetectable in the finished product.
Why Make the Switch?
Why should you bother swapping your usual wet ingredients for a can of soda? Well, not only is it an easier method of baking, but it's also healthier for you.
Everyday Life notes that using soda instead of eggs and oil drops the nutritional amount of both calories and fat in brownies. Therefore, these brownies can satisfy your sweet tooth without adding significant weight and undesirable consequences.
Additionally, soda brownies are vegan-friendly—so if you're having vegan friends over for dinner, you've already got a foolproof dessert under your belt.
Build Your Own Simple Brownie
Whether you're interested in saving time, calories, or ingredients in your next batch of brownies, the soda brownie offers a simplified version of a beloved dessert. You don't have to keep your version too simple, though: there are countless ways to customize yours.
If you'd like to make your brownies as healthy as possible, The Reluctant Weight Watchers Foodie suggests using diet soda instead of regular. For a treat that features even fewer calories, try a low-fat brownie mix.
Using different flavors adds an interesting twist to the normal chocolatey flavor that we all know and love. Megan of the Country Cleaver blog tried cherry soda with great success. But with the variety of soda flavors that exist, the sky's the limit with variation: lemon-lime brownies, orange brownies, cream soda brownies... we could go on, but we'll leave the experimentation to you!