The Secret Ingredient For the Best-Ever Brownies
...And more baking tricks to take your homemade brownies to the next level.
Add a touch of espresso powder
No, you’re not trying to make mocha brownies here, but a touch of instant espresso powder or coffee can give you a more chocolatey brownie. Taste of Home‘s associate culinary producer Audrey Rompon says that a touch of espresso can really enhance the chocolate flavour. Just a teaspoon of espresso powder should do it!
Don’t overbake them!
What we love most about brownies is their fudginess. The secret to getting that gooey, fudge-like centre: not overbaking.
Just like with cake, you can test if your brownies are done with a toothpick. But when it comes to brownies, “don’t look for the toothpick to be clean when testing for fudgy brownie doneness,” Taste of Home executive culinary director Sarah Farmer says. “The toothpick should yield some moist crumbs.”
And don’t worry about those brownies being too gooey or underdone: “The brownies will continue to bake a bit after you remove them from the oven with carryover baking,” according to Sarah.
Find out how to make fudge in the microwave.
Use the best chocolate you can afford
Chocolate is the star of the show here, so don’t cut any corners with your shopping list. Taste of Home culinary assistant Mark Neufang says, “use the best chocolate you can afford—baking with better chocolate truly makes all the difference with brownies!”
Whisk, whisk, whisk for that crackly top
The sign of a good brownie in our book is that crinkly, tissue paper-like top. The secret to getting that perfect finish: Whisking the eggs.
Sarah says to achieve that crackly finish, you have to beat the eggs until foamy. “You’re sort of creating a meringue here which transforms into the delicate and oh-so-desirable crinkly, crackly top.”
Discover how to whisk like a pro.
Mix the flour in by hand
When it comes to adding the flour to your brownies, Mark recommends stirring it in by hand, “especially if it’s fudgy brownies you’re aiming for.”
“Hand mixing ensures you have a gentler hand and don’t over mix the ingredients,” according to Mark. “Fold in just until the mixture is uniform—no more.”
Choose your pan wisely
For successful brownies, Mark, our brownie aficionado, recommends using a light-coloured metal pan. These pans absorb the right amount of heat to bake your brownies. Opt for these types of pans in your cupboards for brownie recipes.
If you only have dark pans at home, don’t pack it in for the day! Instead, just reduce the temperature called for in the recipe by 25 degrees, according to Sarah. This will help offset the extra heat that dark pans tend to absorb.
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Add extra chocolate
Brownies are the pinnacle of chocolatey desserts, so there’s no shame in adding a little extra to your next pan. Taste of Home senior food stylist Shannon Norris says that no matter the recipe, she stirs extra chocolate chips into the batter for melty pockets of goodness and extra cocoa flavour.
Can’t get enough chocolate? Check out our all-time best hot chocolate recipes.
Let the batter rest before adding any chocolate mix-ins
We love biting into a brownie and finding a pocket of melted chocolate courtesy of some chocolate chunks. To ensure these chunks and chips stay intact, make sure that you’re mixing them into room temperature batter.
According to Mark, if the batter is too warm, those chips will melt and blend into the batter before it even bakes.
Here are 30 easy desserts that start with cake mix.
Line your pan
With an easy bake like brownies, it’s tempting to just spray down your 13 x 9 pan and pop them in the oven. This isn’t the wrong thing to do, however, our culinary crew encourages bakers to take one extra step before filling up the pan: Line it.
Taste of Home deputy editor James Schend recommends bakers use foil or parchment paper to line brownie pans. That way once the brownies are baked and cooled, you can lift them right out of the pan. This keeps your nonstick pans pristine (you don’t want to scratch that surface slicing up your treats) and it makes slicing brownies a whole lot easier and neater.
Psst—here’s why aluminum foil has a shiny side and a dull side.
Wait for the brownies to cool before you frost
Making a frosted brownie? Don’t think about spreading that delicious buttercream over the top until those brownies are absolutely cool. If the brownies are still warm, the frosting will melt and slide right off the brownies or soak right into your baked treats. While waiting can be hard, knowing that you’ll end up with perfect brownies if you exercise some patience makes it worthwhile.
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If your pan of brownies is just for you, we say slice into them while they’re warm and enjoy that ooey-gooey middle. If your brownies are to share, take a little time to cut them nicely for a picture-perfect presentation.
This is where lining the pan comes in handy. Lift your brownies out of the pan and move them to a cutting board. Then using a sharp knife of bench scraper, you can measure and cut the brownies any way you like: squares, wedges, slices—any way you like ’em!
Next, check out 30 winter desserts worth adding to your recipe box.