Brownie Tips For Baking The Perfect Brownie
Preparing the baking pan
Use the pan size called for in the recipe. If the pan is too large, the batter may spread and overbake resulting in dry brownies. If the pan is too small, the batter may be too dense and the brownies may underbake.
Grease the baking pan with Pan Release for easy cleanup. Nothing will stick to a pan coated with Pan Release. Typically, only the bottom of the pan is greased, allowing the brownies to adhere to the sides as they rise to prevent the center from collapsing.
Line the pan with aluminum foil when making several batches of brownies. Extend the edges of the foil a couple of inches over the edge to form a handle for easy removal of the cooled brownies. Grease the foil only in the bottom of the pan.
Choosing a recipe
For cake-like brownies, use recipes with more eggs. For chewy brownies, use recipes with fewer eggs and multiple types of chocolate. For fudgy brownies, use recipes with more butter and chocolate and less flour.
Melting and substituting chocolate
Most brownie recipes begin with melting butter and chocolate together. The safest way to do this is to use a double boiler or any small pan or large bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. Butter and chocolate can be placed directly in a saucepan over a low heat. Stir the mixture constantly. Butter and chocolate may also be melted together in a microwave oven on MEDIUM (50%) power, stirring the mixture every 30 seconds until melted.
To substitute unsweetened cocoa for unsweetened baking chocolate, use 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa plus 1 tablespoon butter for each ounce of unsweetened baking chocolate.
To substitute unsweetened cocoa for semi-sweet baking chocolate, use 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa plus 4 teaspoons sugar plus 2 teaspoons butter for each ounce of semi-sweet baking chocolate.
Mixing the ingredients
For best results, brownies should be mixed by hand.
Overmixing the ingredients can cause brownies to turn out tough or a thin crust may form on top. Mix wet and dry ingredients just long enough to blend them. Do not over-mix after the eggs have been added.
Spread the batter evenly for uniform baking, thickness and texture.
Reduce the baking temperature by 25°F if using dark or nonstick baking pan.
Checking for doneness
Fully baked brownies will shrink away from the pan slightly. To test for doneness, insert a toothpick halfway between the edge and center. If it comes out clean, the brownies are done. The center should be set (slightly sticky) but not dry. If the toothpick comes out completely clean from the center of the brownie, they are overbaked.
To prevent burning the bottoms of your brownies, place the pan on a preheated cookie sheet or pizza stone.
Be creative when topping brownies. Use powdered sugar, chocolate frosting, chocolate curls, nuts or candied fruit.
Allow brownies to cool completely in pan before cutting to prevent crumbling and to make cutting easier.
Dip a sharp knife in hot water, wipe it dry, and move it across the brownies in an up-and-down sawing motion.
Storing & Freezing
Keep brownies fresh by cutting only the amount you need and covering the rest with plastic and/or aluminum foil.
Store individual brownies in an airtight container at room temperature. If they contain perishable ingredients, such as cream cheese, place them in the refrigerator. At room temperature they will keep up to four days; in the refrigerator, up to five days.
Brownies can be stored in the baking pan, wrapped in plastic wrap and/or aluminum foil.
Brownies can be kept frozen 4 to 6 months in the freezer.
To freeze brownies that have been cut into squares, wrap each square in plastic wrap and/or aluminum foil then place the wrapped squares in an airtight freezer bag.
To freeze the entire block of brownies, place pan in freezer briefly--just long enough to harden the brownies. Then remove the block of brownies from the pan. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and/or aluminum foil. Place the block into a large airtight freezer bag and freeze.