There’s nothing worse than starting a recipe and realizing you don’t have all of the ingredients you need.
Sometimes you can still go ahead with the recipe if you can substitute the missing ingredients for something else.
A lot of baking products can be swapped out for alternatives that still provide the right texture or flavor. But what about vegetable oil?
Some chocolate brownie recipes have vegetable oil in them. It helps to make the mixture more silky and keep the brownies nice and gooey.
But what if you don’t have vegetable oil? Can you use olive oil instead? Keep reading to find out.
What Actually Is Olive Oil?
To understand more about using olive oil in a brownie recipe, let’s take a look at what olive actually is. Olives are stone fruits that grow on olive trees.
They have a savory flavor rather than a sweet flavor, but they are classified as fruit.
Olive trees reach maturity between 5 and 12 years old. At this point they will start producing fruit, and continue to do so for thousands of years.
Olives eaten as they are, or they can be stuffed, pickled, or turned into tapenade.
You can also make oil by chopping the olives into a paste and then compressing it to release the oil and water. A centrifuge is used to spin the liquid in order to separate the water and oil and the oil is bottled.
No other fruit or vegetables are used to make olive oil – it is a product made entirely from olives alone.
What Actually Is Vegetable Oil?
Vegetable oil differs from olive oil in that it is made up of lots of oils. Although it is called vegetable oil, it can be made with oil from fruits, nuts, seeds and grain as well as vegetables.
Depending on what product you buy, the ratio of different oils can vary. This can impact the flavor and also the viscosity of the oil.
The most common oils used in vegetable oil are sunflower oil, peanut oil, rapeseed oil, soybean oil, corn oil, palm kernel oil and safflower oil.
If you have a nut allergy then you need to be careful about which vegetable oil you use as it could contain nut oil.
The process of making vegetable oil is a bit more complicated than making olive oil.
The vegetables, fruit or other products are compressed to release the oil. Hexane is then added – a chemical which helps to extract more oil from the products.
The purities are then removed from the oil during a refining process, and the oil is bleached and deodorized.
Why Is Vegetable Oil Added To Brownies?
Brownies need to have quite a high fat content in order to achieve the soft, moist, fudgey consistency that they are known and loved for.
The fat mixes with the dry ingredients like the flour and the sugar to create a silky batter that has a dense yet moist texture when it is baked.
Some brownie recipes use large quantities of butter, often melted butter. Other recipes use vegetable oil as the primary fat source, and some use a combination of oil and butter.
Oil tends to be a better fat source than butter, as it does not introduce air into the batter.
This means that the brownies will be fudgey rather than cakey, making them more like traditional brownies and less like chocolate cake.
Vegetable oil has a very neutral taste which is why it is an ideal choice for brownie batter. It will prevent the batter from clumping and make it nice and silky without ruining the rich, chocolatey flavor.
Olive oil has a similar density to vegetable oil which means it can be used as a substitute and it will still have the same effect. However, there are some pros and cons to using olive oil in your brownie batter.
What Are The Benefits Of Using Olive Oil?
There are several reasons why you might prefer to use olive oil in your brownies instead of vegetable oil.
Olive oil is a more natural product than vegetable oil. No chemicals are used to process the oil and it is not bleached or deodorized.
Olive oil is a more pure form of oil. It only has one ingredient and you know exactly what is in it. This is also ideal if you have allergies or intolerances.
Olive oil is healthier than vegetable oil and has a higher nutritional value. It contains a higher amount of monounsaturated fatty acids which are good for your health.
What Are The Downsides To Using Olive Oil?
There are a few issues that you may come across if you choose to use olive oil in your brownie batter.
Olive oil has a stronger, less neutral flavor than vegetable oil. It is more savory, and it may be detectable in the final product.
This can help to counteract the sweetness of the chocolate, but some people may not like it.
Extra virgin oil can be bitter in taste which could throw off the flavor balance of your brownies. To avoid this, try and use a lighter, less intense olive oil.
Getting a good quality brand of olive oil can also help ensure that the flavor is delicate and not too pungent.
Another downside to using olive oil is that it is much more expensive than vegetable oil. If you make a lot of brownies you will definitely notice the price difference.
What Other Oils Can You Use In Brownies?
If you don’t have vegetable oil or olive oil, or you don’t fancy using either, there are some other options you can try.
If you are looking for an inexpensive option then corn oil and canola oil would be perfect. They are cheap and have a neutral flavor which makes them ideal for baking.
Coconut oil has a less mild flavor, but it is a taste that will complement the chocolate in your brownies. It is only a subtle hint of coconut.
Coconut oil solidifies at room temperature, so you will need to heat it up before you use it. It is used in a lot of vegan recipes as a replacement for butter.
You can use butter instead of oil in your brownie recipe. You will need to melt the butter first to get that smooth, silky consistency.
Butter can introduce air into your brownie mix and they could end up a bit more cakey than fudgey.
You could try using a mixture of half butter and half oil, such as coconut oil, to achieve the desired texture for your brownies.
There may be other oils that you can experiment with to see if they work in your brownies. Just remember to try and choose mild flavors or nutty flavors so that your brownies still taste delicious.
If you are making brownies and realize that you don’t have any vegetable oil then there are other things that you can use instead.
You can use olive oil which comes with health benefits, but it is more expensive. There are also other oils that you can use like corn oil or coconut oil.
You can also use butter instead of oil, but this will make the brownies more cakey and less silky.
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