If the flavor combination of chocolate and olive oil piques your interest, then substituting olive oil for vegetable oil might be a great choice for your next batch of brownies. While using olive oil instead of vegetable oil won't compromise the texture or structure of your brownies, you will definitely be able to taste its distinct flavor in the final product. If you'd prefer to stay close to the classic brownie flavor, opt for a milder variety of olive oil, or choose a substitute from one of the items already in your kitchen.
Typically, brownies call for the use of melted butter or vegetable oil as the fat in a recipe. Vegetable is the preferred oil because it has a mild flavor that you won't be able to detect in the final product. Melted butter, on the other hand, will add richness and produce a slightly chewier product. Both fats will produce traditional-tasting brownies, but many cooks stray from the box and incorporate other flavors.
Olive Oil in Brownies
Using olive oil instead of vegetable oil will give your brownies a fruity, slightly bitter taste that can be a great complement to chocolate. When choosing the right olive oil substitute, you may want to opt for a milder flavor so as not to overpower the brownies. To this end, refined olive oil makes a better choice than extra-virgin. Swapping olive oil into your brownies will not only add an unexpected flavor, but will also provide you with a healthier fat than butter or vegetable oil.
Oil Alternatives in Baking
In general, you can interchange many different types of oil in baking. There are several varieties of mild-flavored oils, such as canola and corn oils, that can seamlessly replace vegetable oil in your recipe. Coconut oil is a good way to jazz up your brownies since it adds a light flavor twist to the final product without the need for additional toppings.
If olive oil is your only available oil for brownies, but you'd rather avoid an olive oil flavor altogether, there are a few non-oil alternatives that can serve as substitutions. Applesauce, yogurt and fruit purees can be interchanged with oil, although you may need to stir in a slightly smaller quantity at first to see how it affects the texture of your batter. Also, take them out early and test them with a toothpick, as these brownies can cook up a little more quickly. Expect your brownies to have a slightly different taste and texture -- brownies with yogurt tend to be richer, and brownies with fruit tend to be more cake-like.