Chocolate Brownies - Best
Chocolate Brownie Basics
What a proud moment as you bake your first batch of Chocolate
Brownies. Freshly baked brownies, a wondrous baking invention
and the smell, the wonderful smell. The "can barely wait for them to be
done; are they ready yet" smell.
Beware though - they are extremely rich and known to be
Of course the easiest and most undelicious way to
make brownies is to buy a box of chocolate brownie mix at
your local grocery store, and follow the directions. In 30 minutes or
more you'll have brownies. Then try a homemade chocolate brownie recipe
and see if you ever buy box mix again.
If you're anything like me then you'll understand what I mean
by saying that the most important ingredient in chocolate
brownies is of course chocolate. Why do some chocolate
brownie recipes require only two ounces of chocolate and others for as
much as six ounces? Some use cocoa as well as melted chocolate and
others just cocoa?
Don't get confused. Grab a bar of chocolate and read on.
Here are some answers to common brownie baking questions as
well as a few tips for better brownie batches.
What's Your Favourite Type Of Chocolate Brownie?
Classified as a bar cookie, they usually come in one of two
textures: fudge or cake.
I like my chocolate brownies fudgey or slighly gooey with a
little bit of crunch on the edges! This would be known as a fudge
These are generally made by melting the butter rather than
creaming it with sugar as this creates the denser, fudgier brownie.
They also contain very little flour. To get the chewy texture some
recipess call for extra eggs and chocolate combinations - semi-sweet
dark chocolate mixed with a few spoons of cocoa will result in
satifyingly chewy chocolate brownies.
Cake-like brownies are softer and lighter
so they require less butter and more flour with a little bit of baking
powder. The butter and sugar are creamed together to incororate air
into the mix and so help create the lighter, more cake-like texture.
Common Brownie Baking Complaints
So how does such a "simple" recipe have such variable results:
too dry, too bland, too underbaked and gooey in the center.
- Many people complain that brownie batter is not the same
consistency as described by the recipe.
- The brownies turned out raw in the middle and dry on the
- The brownies were baked to a dry crumbly mess.
Brownie Baking Rules
Baking is an exact science and generally not as forgiving as
savory recipes. Here are some general baking rules that need to be
followed when attempting any baking recipe.
- Using proper measuring cups is essential. Measure all
liquid ingredients using a liquid measuring cup (glass or plastic) and
dry ingredients with a dry measure (metal or plastic). Liquid and dry
measures vary slightly in terms of volume, and using the wrong measure
can easily ruin a baking recipe.
- Use all the ingredients listed, and be sure to measure the
amount given for each ingredient. Nothing will throw off a baking
recipe like substituting, adding or cutting out ingredients. If you're
on a diet or have dietary restrictions, do not try to adapt a recipe on
- It's really helpful to have the ingredients measured first
- before going on to the baking method. It's annoying to be held up in
the middle of a recipe, looking for an ingredient you desperately need
(and you're sure you had in the back of the cupboard) but just can't
seem to find. What a waste.
- The rule is: Always pack sugar when measuring, and never
pack flour. Level off your dry measures with a flat level (a ruler, the
flat end of a knife). Don't use your hands to level or measure.
- Use the pan size specified in the recipe. Baking in a
too-large pan will yield thin, dry bars that may taste fine but won't
resemble true brownies. Baking in a too-small pan may result in
brownies with undercooked centers.
- Ovens vary so check your oven. Calibrate your oven at least
twice a year. Bumping the oven or slamming the door can easily throw
off the calibration. If in doubt, use an oven thermometer to test your
oven's stated temperature. If you need to recalibrate, consult your
owner's manual (many newer models are very user-friendly) or contact a
- The oven's heat is most consistent in the center so bake in
the center of the oven on the center rack. Not all ovens heat evenly.
Some heat primarily from the top, some from the bottom, and temperature
will vary by walls and the oven door.
Preparing The Pan For Chocolate Brownies
2 Of Chocolate Brownies Baking Tips
- Be sure to select a light-colored, shiny pan, which will
conduct heat evenly. Glass or dark-colored pans can cause the edges to
overbake or even burn and be soggy or low in volume.
- Always grease the pan thoroughly with shortening, softened
butter, or cooking spray. Its safer to do this even if the recipe
- After greasing the pan you can dust it with cocoa powder
instead of flour. Some bakers like to line the pan with pieces of
baking paper or aluminum foil that have been cut larger than the size
of the pan so that the edges hang over the sides like a sling. In that
case thoroughly grease the lining.
- After the chocolate brownies have baked and cooled, the
lining may be lifted out of the pan and inverted on a platter. Gently
peel away the foil or paper, then cut the brownies into squares.
- I haven't tried this but apparently brownies can also be
baked very successfully in a well-greased muffin tin. Then you don't
have to cut them into squares.
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