Along the Grapevine

Pine Salt Chocolate Brownies




Last April I wrote a post on collecting and preserving spruce tips and promised recipes using these ingredients later on. Now that winter is fully here, it is the perfect time for me to start experimenting, so I hauled out the spruce salt to put it to good use. When I saw David Lebovitz’s recent post on salty brownies, I decided to make my own version using my spruce salt. His of course is excellent, but called for ingredients I don’t have. Also, I wanted to make a vegan version just because I try to cut down a bit on the use of eggs in baking, except when really necessary. What I ended up with is definitely the best brownies I have ever had – something resembling a dark, chewy salted chocolate bar! After having missed Fiesta Friday for the last couple of weeks, I am bringing this to the party because I suspect that some of the guests, like me, enjoy a rich, not too sweet, salty chocolate treat. The pine flavour, though not very strong in this recipe at all, is a nod to the season.

In Lebovitz’s post, he describes how to line a pan with foil so that removing the brownies is made easy. A helpful tip for sure, but as I like to avoid using aluminum foil, I thought I’d share my own tip for baking. I often use edible leaves – grape leaves or corn husks from my garden which I blanche and freeze. I happened to have a huge pile of dried husks for making tamales, which I still haven’t got around to, so I used these instead. No waste! They will end up in the compost. To begin with, I poured hot water over four husks to soften them a bit, shook them dry and lined an 8″ square pan. Then I sprayed it with a little oil just to be safe. If the husks don’t lie absolutely flat, not to worry – the batter will weigh it down.


And now for the recipe.

Pine Salt Chocolate Brownies


2 Tbsp ground flax seed mixed with 3 Tbsp water

6 oz unsweetened chocolate

4 oz coconut oil

1 cup cocoa powder

1 cup granulated sugar

3 Tbsp flour

2 tsp spruce salt


Soak the ground flax seeds in the water and set aside. Melt the chocolate and oil in a bowl placed over a pot of boiling water. When it is liquid, add the sugar and stir until it is completely dissolved. Add the cocoa powder and the flax seed mixture, and mix well until the flax seeds are evenly distributed. Remove from the heat and add the flour and salt. Spread in a baking pan, 8 inches square or smaller if you want thicker brownies.

Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. Allow to cool completely in the pan before removing.



If you don’t have salt made from spruce tips, you can use spruce picked in the winter too. The flavour of this amount is not very strong, and although the winter pickings are a little more bitter, it wouldn’t be a problem in this particular recipe. If you don’t have any edible greens, just use a coarse sea salt and some other flavouring, like cinnamon, chili or vanilla.


Author: Hilda

I am a backyard forager who likes to share recipes using the wild edibles of our area.

26 thoughts on “Pine Salt Chocolate Brownies

  1. Hilda, I missed you and love learnign something everytime I read you! Love the corn husks liner. You are so creative!!!


  2. I love that you use corn husks to save the environment. What a great idea. These brownies look so moist, my mouth is watering. Chocolate and salt are a deadly combo in my book. Yum!


  3. You are brilliant!! When are you putting out your book??? I love chewy brownies and I know that salt and chocolate are made for each other! This looks divine! πŸ˜€


  4. Love the corn husk idea, and the brownies sound great as well. Sweet but not too sweet is definitely up my street πŸ™‚


  5. You always come up with some thing new and nice every time Hilda πŸ‘


  6. Making spruce salt sounds amazing! And these brownies look delectable. Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚


  7. I really enjoy your creativity, all the while offering so many useful techniques. You are great at using every part of an ingredient. I would never have thought to use corn husks to line my dish.


  8. Hilda, you’re a genius! Your posts are an unstoppable source of inspiration! Thanks for being at FF!


  9. I’m not sure what I’m more intrigued by: using the spruce tips or the husk as a liner. Either way, I am suitable impressed. Nice job all around.


  10. Your brownies sound very different and I am sure delicious and a healthier version too. To make your own salt from spruce tips sounds amazing. I will have to go back to April and check that post. Thanks for bringing a one of a kind recipe to Fiesta Friday πŸ™‚


  11. What an interesting brownie recipe, it almost looks like fudge, delicious, thanks for sharing:)


  12. Yum! Everything you make looks so delicious, I sound like a broken record. I’ve just added ground flax seed to my shopping list so I can try this recipe. I made some incredibly sticky gluten-free brownies last month and couldn’t figure out a zero-waste way to line the pan so I finally used parchment and hated to toss it. And I had (and still have) a pile of corn husks in my cupboard! I would have used them had I known. Thank you for the brilliant tip. I love that I can compost the husks.


    • Thanks. I have been using husks to line everything lately – especially bread pans. I love the effect it has on cornbread – it changes the texture of the crust a little which I like. I recommend buying flax seeds and grinding your own if you can.


      • You’re welcome. I love the cornbread idea too. I know you grind your own flax seeds but I don’t have the proper equipment. We’ve tried but the seeds are just so small and slippery. I shop at a wonderful coop that carries just about everything in bulk you can imagine. I hope I can find it there.


      • That should work fine. I use a little $10 coffee grinder, which I also use for spices. It doesn’t matter a lot, but once ground, I think they lose some of their oil, but are still good enough. Btw I don’t always soak my corn husks – I thought it might help, but I’ve taken to just putting whatever directly on the ungreased leaves.


      • Thank you for the tips, Hilda πŸ™‚


  13. Pingback: Fiesta Friday #46 | The Novice Gardener

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