Best Brownies: It is not just that they are super practical. But they are also super-rich. They always have the perfect texture and are super chocolatey (yes, that’s an adjective).
But you are not reading this so I can tell you which brownie box I like the most, right? Well, they will be happy to know that this is not the case.
- 1. Learn to choose the recipe well
- 2. Choose the best quality ingredients
- 3. Do not be tempted to reduce fat much
- 4. Use and prepare the right mold
- 5. Don’t add cocoa in any way
- 6. Let the chocolate cool
- 7. Don’t go overboard with extras
- 8. Know your oven and master baking
- 9. Check on time if they are ready
- 10. Don’t be impatient to try it
- 11. Cut the portions delicately
There are two types of people in this life: those who like cakey brownies and those who like dense, almost raw brownies (fudgy / chewy / gooey brownies). I’m clearly from the second group – I love brownies that almost melt in the middle, and taste like pure chocolate!
When I found this Best Brownies recipe that claimed to be the best brownie recipe in the world, I had my doubts but decided to try it anyway. For the next two days, I had these brownies for breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner – I couldn’t stop!
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From the outset, it must be said that there is no one definitive ideal brownie recipe. We can each have our favorite, but there is nothing written about tastes and there are many, many variations. This series of tips can be applied to any recipe, but preferably to the type of brownie that I consider the most authentic: with a very juicy and slightly sticky interior . They are more puffy, but sometimes the border between a brownie and a cake is too blurry.
1. Learn to choose the recipe well
Going crazy to prepare a recipe is never a good idea, and much less in baking. Care must be taken to choose well to ensure that there are no mistakes – sometimes ingredients are missing or steps have been missed – and that it will meet our expectations . For example, a classic American recipe is often loaded with sugar; if we prefer less cloying sweets we will know that we will have to reduce the quantities or find an alternative source.
The same thing happens with the type of brownie we are looking for. If we hope to obtain small, slightly fluffy chocolate cupcakes, we will be interested in a recipe that incorporates more flour and some lifting agent such as baking soda or chemical yeast. When it is indicated that the eggs must be beaten very well with the sugar, the dough will possibly be pounded. If what we want is a fudgey type of Best Brownies, we will try recipes in which the proportion of wet ingredients is much higher than the dry ones.
2. Choose the best quality ingredients
The basic brownie is made up of very few ingredients that any hobby pastry chef always has in the pantry. But precisely for this reason it is important to trust only the best quality , as they will be the key to the final flavor and texture. For example, free-range eggs, trusted butter, special sugar for confectionery -not essential but I prefer to use fine-grained caster type- , natural vanilla extract, pure cocoa without sugar or loose pastry flour, never biscuit type.
read also:Best Chocolate Chip Cookies
But if there is an ingredient whose quality we cannot skimp on, it is, without a doubt, chocolate. A Best Brownies brownie is pure chocolate, so it is essential to bet on the best possible. Here also goes in tastes of brands and varieties and it is a matter of trying to find our favorite. Of course, it is chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa, little sugar and without any rare addition . We will avoid the “special desserts” chocolate tablets, the typical of the corbeturas, because it has less flavor and usually has fats added to the margin of the cocoa butter.
3. Do not be tempted to reduce fat much
Let’s be honest: a good brownie is a fatty dessert. Sure we can try to make it less sinful by reducing sugar or fat, but be careful when altering the amounts of butter in a recipe. Yes, there are alternative versions of “healthier” brownies in which we change the fat for sources such as legumes, vegetables, fruit or nut butters; I have tried several and the result can be very good. But if we look for the perfect brownie, let’s accept that it won’t be light.
The usual fat in brownie doughs is butter, which can be without salt – we will need to add it then – or lactose-free. There are alternative vegetable fats that I personally have not used, such as margarines or coconut oil, and they can also be baked with oils. I believe that this type of sweet works much better with quality butter , but if we choose an oil it will have to be neutral in flavor, reducing the amount a little. Some recipes choose to combine butter and oil , because the first gives flavor and the second leaves the dough lighter.
4. Use and prepare the right mold
In principle any mold serves to pour the dough before baking, but again we should be guided by the recommendations of the recipe . The most traditional is square or slightly rectangular, shallow and about 20-25 cm on a side. If we use one that is too different it could affect the baking time and the final texture , since when the dough expands it would be finer and the cooking time would have to be reduced. A thicker brownie is easier to keep a juicy interior.
As for the material we have two recommended options: metal or glass . Personally I do not like too much silicone for masses of this style. To facilitate the task of unmolding it is always a good idea to line the mold with baking paper or sulfurized paper , to which we could even give a light layer of greased with butter, although it is not usually necessary. To make it adhere well to the mold, you just have to wet the source a little or paint some spots with butter or oil. Leaving a few centimeters of margin above the mold will help to manipulate it later.
5. Don’t add cocoa in any way
Even though not all recipes use cocoa powder if they already ask for melted chocolate, you have to know how to incorporate it properly if you need it. It is actually a golden rule for almost any elaboration with cocoa powder: pre-screening . Like so many ground dry ingredients, cocoa tends to form lumps that can be difficult to break up if they fall directly into the dough.
Sifting the cocoa with a pastry sieve or a fine and clean strainer ensures that it will be distributed evenly with the other ingredients. Pure cocoa has a lot of fat and the humidity causes thick lumps already from its packaging. In the case of brownies we can sift it together with the flour to get a much softer and well distributed mixture, which will melt in the rest of the dough to give a uniform crumb.
6. Let the chocolate cool
Solid chocolate must be melted before adding it to the rest of the ingredients, but it is also important to let it cool down . In the microwave it is faster and we will use fewer containers, although it must be controlled very well that it does not burn. We will take a little longer to bain marie but it is a safer technique, provided that no water enters. Once melted, creamy and shiny, we will set it aside to cool down well.
What is the temperature we are looking for? The finger method is the best – and tastiest – to check if it’s still too hot. We want that hardly any temperature is noticed , that is, that it maintains its creamy melted texture but has lost practically all the heat. If it burns a little, we have to wait more. The term shock could affect the dough and, worse, solidify the butter or half-cook the eggs. Patience is a virtue.
7. Don’t go overboard with extras
We can be faithful to the elementary recipe or opt for the traditional touch of walnuts, although it is always a good idea to try adding different extras . Almonds, white or milk chocolate chips, hazelnuts, dried or fresh fruits, chopped cookies, jam, peanut butter … Almost anything is allowed in the brownie batter.
Almost almost, because it is not necessary to spend throwing things either. Choosing a couple of added ingredients, which could go as a topping or inside the dough, can give a different and original touch to our favorite recipe. I like to experiment a little and play with different flavors and aromas, also looking for texture contrasts, but nobody likes an absurd jumble of extras in each bite. The brownie dough and its chocolate flavor should always prevail.
8. Know your oven and master baking
It is not the first time that we recommend taking time here to get to know and master our home oven . Domestic ovens can behave differently and have temperature swings that end up affecting any dish that is cooked inside them. In confectionery it is an especially delicate question, since a few degrees of more or an insufficient time can mean success or failure.
Using the indications of the recipe, it is best to adapt to what we know will work best. Do you usually need to leave the cakes longer than requested? Are your cakes burning too fast on top? Correct the details to get it right. In addition, it is necessary to consider that the dark metallic molds heat up faster, while the glass respects the masses more. Another advantage is that we can monitor through its walls the approximate point of the dough while it is baking.
9. Check on time if they are ready
The standard temperature for baking simple pastry doughs is around 180ºC, but there are brownie recipes that ask to go up to 200ºC, reducing the time, to create a crispy outer layer. Be that as it may, it is preferable not to go too far and check how it is when half the time has elapsed . The dough should already be colored and begin to harden on the outside, but without browning too much. It is also advisable to rotate the mold at that time so that the entire surface receives the same heat output.
A few minutes before the total indicated, a toothpick must be inserted in the center in case we need to shorten the baking. It should come out a little stained and with crumbs , but not dragging liquid mass. We do not want raw brownies but also not dry and past, so we must not forget that the interior will continue to cook a little more once out of the oven. You also have to adjust the point as you like.
10. Don’t be impatient to try it
Your kitchen has probably been enveloped in a delicious chocolate aroma and the desire to taste the dough will be almost irresisible. But once again patience will be recommended . If you think the brownie is ready, you can place the pan on a cold tray with ice to cut the cooking, or simply wait a few minutes for the dough to warm up a bit. Then we can extract it whole with the help of the paper, without removing it yet, to leave it on a grid.
Once the brownie is at room temperature, it is best to wrap it in plastic film and take it to the fridge , still with the paper or inside the mold if we have left it to cool in it. An hour is the least desirable, but if we can wait for the next day the result will be even better. The brownie gains a lot if the dough is left to stand in the cold, both in texture and flavor.
11. Cut the portions delicately
After the time in the fridge we can finally cut and taste the brownie. It should never be done inside the tray, we will always look for a clean table, preferably that is used only for breads and sweets. Now without the paper, a serrated knife will help us cut the outer layer in case it is a little crisp; then there are those who prefer non-stick plastic ones to penetrate the most humid masses. Cleaning the knife with lukewarm water , leaving it slightly damp after each cut, will help cleaner portions come out.
As for preservation, brownies hold up well for a couple of days in an airtight container , but if they are very humid and hot I prefer to have them in the fridge. They will be better preserved if we keep the entire mass wrapped in plastic film and cut the portions as we go to consume them, and they can also be frozen without any problem.
And what if we like warm brownie, to create contrast with a very cold scoop of ice cream on top? My advice is to comply with the rest of the fridge and give them a touch of heat before serving . A little microwave or residual heat from the oven can help us.
If you have any questions regarding the ingredients or the preparation, if you want to suggest or ask for a recipe, or if they made the brownies and want to tell me how they turned out (I would love to know your experience!), Do not hesitate to put it in the comments below.
Ingredients for Best Brownies
- 2/3 cup (83 grams) all-purpose flour
- 2 grams (1/2 teaspoon) of salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder *
- 60 grams of dark chocolate without sugar ** (bar chocolate, not cocoa powder. I use one of at least 56% cocoa concentration)
- 120 grams of dark chocolate ** (I use one of at least 70% cocoa concentration)
- 140 grams (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter
- 250 grams (1 1/4 cup) sugar
- 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
- 3 eggs
- Adjust the oven rack on which the brownie is to be placed to a medium-low position. Preheat it to 170 ° C.
- Mix the flour, salt and baking powder with a wooden spoon and set aside. Spray the mold to be used (preferably a 24x24cm square one) with non-stick spray, you can also use vegetable paper that protrudes from the edges of the mold or grease it, the method of choice to prevent the brownie from sticking to the mold.
- Melt the chocolates and butter in a double boiler. Remove from stovetop and add sugar and vanilla. Then add the eggs one by one, ensuring that each one is well incorporated before adding the next. Continue blending until it looks shiny and silky. Add the dry ingredients and keep stirring until everything comes together.
- Place the mixture in the previously prepared mold. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until the center does not look liquid or move and when inserting a wooden toothpick it does not come out completely dry but with some wet crumbs.
- Remove from the oven and let rest in the mold for 5 minutes. Unmold, let cool and serve (with a ball of ice cream of shortbread!).
- Notes: * If denser brownies are preferred, use ½ teaspoon of baking powder
- ** If you do not have both types of chocolate, only 1 type can be used (that is, 180 grams in total of dark chocolate instead of a combination of 60 and 120 grams of two types of chocolate). This also gives good results, but in my opinion, the brownie works best with the combination of these two types of chocolate. It is important to keep in mind that one of the most important things when making brownies is the quality of the chocolate, it is what is going to give it texture and flavor, therefore, try not to use low-quality chocolates.