Secret tips and tricks to making brownies

All the secrets to the perfect batch of brownies.

29 Mar 2010

  • Don’t overbeat the eggs as this introduces too much air into the batter, causing the brownies to be more cake-like and less dense.

  • If you live at a higher elevation or where the humidity is low, use extra large eggs or add an extra egg for moisture which will give your brownies better body and texture.

  • To prevent burning the bottoms of your brownies, place the pan on a preheated cookie sheet.

  • Don't bake 2 sheets of brownies at the same time, brownies must be baked in the middle of the oven to cook through and brown evenly.

  • Flour used is usually unbleached, all-purpose. Cake flour, which is lower in protein, results in a light, crumbly texture that's too delicate for brownies.

  • Store them in an airtight container on the counter for up to three days, or in the refrigerator for up to five days. Brownies can be frozen, but usually with some loss of texture.

  • To give your brownies great texture, bake them for only twenty minutes at 400 degrees F/220 degrees C and then cool them in a pan of ice water. According to food writer Alice Medrich the ice keeps the brownies from rising and creates a crisp crust on the outside, while leaving the brownies soft and creamy on the inside.

  • Sift all dry ingredients, such as flour and cocoa powder. Sifting "fluffs" the dry ingredients, allowing the wet ingredients to bind more quickly and evenly.

  • Brownies will be easier to cut if you place the pan in the freezer for several minutes. For a crumb-free cut, dip a sharp knife in hot water, wipe it dry, and move it across the pan in a sawing motion.

  • Pick the baking sheet up about halfway through the baking cycle and give them a gentle but firm rap against the oven rack: this causes the brownie to "fall", keeping it dense and with just the right texture.

  • Make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature. If your flour is too cool or your eggs are being used straight from the refrigerator or your water is too cold, or the chocolate too hot, you'll "shock" the ingredients and affect the brownie's density and texture.

  • To improve the texture of brownies, place the unbaked batter (in the prepared pan) in the refrigerator for several hours or even overnight.

  • Always use the best quality ingredients you can get: fresh butter, good chocolate, real vanilla, etc.

  • Always grease the pan thoroughly with margarine, softened butter or cooking spray, even if the recipe doesn't specify. After greasing the pan, some bakers line it with parchment paper, which is once again thoroughly greased.

  • Light-coloured, shiny pans produce the best results as they conduct heat more evenly. If you must use glass or dark coloured pans, reduce the oven temperature by a couple of degrees as they can cause the edges to overbake or burn.




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