Let's set the stage: You are in your home and have a sudden craving come on for a decadent batch of ooey-gooey chocolate brownies! You get the recipe to make them from scratch or grab the boxed mix from the pantry and follow the recipe on the back of the box.
After following the recipe to a T you end up with a batter that looks and smells to die for, so naturally nothing could go wrong when you pop them in the oven! You pour the batter into the pan and pop it into the pre-heated oven and anxiously await for the brownies to come out, as your house fills with the sweet aroma of baking chocolate.
Then the timer goes off and it is time to get the batch out of the oven, and you are immediately filled with...disappointment. The brownies turned out cakey or got stuck to the pan, the middle of the pan barely cooked at all while the edges came out burnt and hard as a rock. There is nothing worse than this, and it can be so frustrating not knowing how to get a perfect pan of brownies to satisfy the cravings.
Thankfully, though there is a lot that can go bad with brownies, there is good news in that there are several different tips and tricks that you can do to make the next batch be the best one you have ever had. And each batch after that even better than the last. Before you mix up one more batch of subpar brownies, take on these easy tips so as to fix all the mistakes you have been making, and never feel disappointed again.
1. The amount of time that the brownies are in the oven matters!
As with most things that you put in the oven to bake, the amount of time that your brownies spend in the oven is so important that it can make or break them!
With most baked goods, you can do the old method that always works of putting a toothpick into the center of the baked good, and if it comes out clean then you know it is done baking, however, that test simply does not work with brownies! If you have done the recipe right, then your fudgy brownies will always leave a toothpick coated in chocolatey goodness when you poke it.
In order to avoid brownies that are evenly baked all the way through and not cakey in texture it is important to understand how your oven works. Most ovens have spots that are hotter in some and cooler in other parts. You will get an evenly baked batch of brownies every time if you rotate the pan halfway through the baking time.
Though the timer is helpful, it is also recommended to go by sight and not just the timer to know when your brownies are perfectly done. The top of the brownies will just barely start to crack and that is a telltale sign that the brownies are ready to come out of the oven and cool down!
2. Parchment paper is essential every time!
Have you noticed that no matter how well you grease or spray the baking pan, your brownies never seem to come out fully intact? You cut them in the pan to try and lift them out, and while the top of the brownies come out the bottom always seems to stick!
In order to avoid this frustrating mistake, all you need to do is whip out the parchment paper! You will line the pan with parchment paper, making sure to leave the excess sticking out of the pan. Once lined, pour in the batter and cook as usual.
After they are baked and cooled down, you can simply grab the corners of the paper and lift the brownies out of the pan. It is easy, mess-free, and you will have perfectly cut brownies ready to share with the family every single time!
3. Using cocoa powder instead of chocolate is essential
Think about what brownies are made of: that's right, chocolate! Naturally, in order to get ooey-gooey, fudgy, soft, decadent brownies you need chocolate right?
That is actually a false misconception that is actually very common! Instead of melting chocolate bars down to stir into the batter, go for cocoa powder instead.
Brownies made with cocoa powder only have a more chocolatey, deep flavor and stay softer and moist for much longer than they will if they are made with chocolate.
The reason being that when you cook with cocoa powder, you use a fat like butter with it, which keeps the brownies nice and tender even once they cool off to room temperature.
If you are baking brownies and realize that you just do not have any cocoa powder in the house, it is important to bake with the right chocolate! If chocolate is your only choice, you certainly want to use one that will work the best and make them taste the best.
Instead of doing it the fast way and dumping a bag of chococlate chips into the batter, take the time to chop up a big bar of real chocolate. Chocolate chips contain a lot of preservatices which can actually make the brownies not have a great flavor. Using a high quality chocolate with very few ingredients and preservatives in it will help to preserve the flavor of your brownies!
4. Use coffee...and not just to drink!
There is no argument that drinking a steaming hot cup of coffee while your brownies bake and fill your home with the aroma of chocolate is just about a perfect scenario, and drinking a hot cup of coffee WHILE eating fresh brownies is even better!
However, coffee is an important part of the baking process and not just to drink! Adding coffee straight into the batter itself enhances the chocolatey flavors and makes the brownies much more flavorful and gives them more depth.
You can add coffee to your batter by using 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of instant coffee grounds and stirring it in, or by substituting cold brewed coffee for water. Putting cold coffee into the batter instead of water works especially well for boxed brownie mix as it cuts down on those flavors that taste "boxed" and fools everyone into thinking that you bake the brownies from scratch every time.
Adding coffee is an incredibly easy substitution but it makes all of the difference in the world! Once you try the coffee method you will never leave it out again!
You got used to using vegetable oil and now it is all you use
While there is nothing necessarily wrong with using vegetable oil and it does well overall, it does leave something to be desired in the flavor of your brownies. Instead of using vegetable oil, reach for a different type of fat such as olive oil or real butter.
Olive oil gives the brownies a bit of bitterness which complements the chocolate flavors while real butter makes them taste richer and chewier. You can even substitute avocado or greek yogurt for a healthier option and you will be surprised at how moist and flavorful they turn out!
Following these tips is a sure fire way of making sure that you have brownies that are moist and flavorful every time! While they will last for days (and not dry out right when they cool off), they will be so good that you will find them flying off the plate faster than you can keep up with!
The Perfect Brownie Recipe
Are you a chocolate guru? If you are then you know just how important it is to get the right brownie recipe every time. You need a brownie recipe that is fudgy, cakey, and deep in chocolate flavor. No matter what type of texture it is that you look for, every chocolate lover can agree that brownies are life!
There are so many different versions of a brownie recipe that can satisfy a craving, but the recipe below is one that just cannot seem to be beat! It has the best melt in your mouth texture out there and a deep, rich, chocolatey flavor that is so good you will eat a whole pan before you even realize it!
Now that I have your mouth watering, read below to see the best recipe you will ever try!
The best brownie in the world ingredients
High quality semi-sweet chocolate bar (not chocolate chips!)
unsweetened cocoa powder
The perfect recipe is going to make your brownies cakey, fudgy, chewy, soft, and gooey all at the same time. One batch may be good enough for you, but if you plan on sharing you may want to save yourself some time and make two!
8 tablespoons of UNSALTED butter (and more to help grease the pan)
8 ounce semi-sweet chocolate bar, that has been chopped coarsely.
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs (make sure you set them out and let them come to room temperature before baking)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup cocoa powder (unsweetened)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour plus 2 tablespoons for later
1/2 cup chocolate chips (or more depending on how chocolaty you want them)
1/2 teaspoon salt
How to mix it all together
Preheat oven to 350, grease pan with butter and line with parchment paper
Heat safe bowl put on top of pot. Fill pot with water and bring to near boil. Put butter and cocoa into bowl and melt. Stirring constantly until melted and smooth. Take bowl off of pot and set aside
Once set aside, get sugar and slowly whisk into mixture until combined
Transfer mixture to new bowl. Whisk in 1 egg at a time, whisk in vanilla, mix in cocoa and salt stirring until smooth
Gently fold in the flour until combined
Add in your chocolate chips
Pour batter into pan and use rubber spatula to smooth
Bake for 30-40 minutes
Lift brownies from pan using parchment paper, let cool on cooling rack
The entire process takes about 55 minutes and makes roughly 9-12 brownies once baked (that is if you can stand to wait before devouring it straight out of the pan!)