The name "brownie" comes from the traditional brown color of the bars. The first known published recipe for "brownies" appeared in the 1897 Sears, Roebuck catalog. Moist and chewy, fudgy or fluffy, those sensational squares we simply call "brownies" accomplish a not-so-simple feat: They tickle just about everyone's fancy.

Whether you enjoy the dense texture of a basic fudgy brownie or the ooey-gooeyness of cake-like versions frosted to creamy perfection, brownies do the trick when you want a fast-to-fix snack or dessert that's oh, so delicious.

You can mix and bake a batch of delectable chocolaty bars in minutes. Or you can take the time to assemble luscious layered brownies or bolster the batter with an assortment of ingredients—from nuts and chips to caramel and peanut butter.

With so many choices, your family will never tire of these sweet squares. Even guests will say "Yum" when you set a dressed-up brownie in front of them. Drizzled with a rich sauce, sprinkled with berries or topped with homemade whipped cream, this all-time favorite will delight as much as any elaborate dessert.

Just try Decadent Brownie Pie (shown above right) or one of our other brownie recipes and you'll know what we mean!

Tips from Our Kitchen

Follow these baking tips from our Test Kitchen home economists and make your brownies the perfect treat! But be prepared to make more because they'll be gone before you know it.

  • Measure ingredients accurately.
  • Avoid overmixing the batter.
  • Dark-colored pans can cause overbrowning, so stick with dull aluminum baking pans or glass baking dishes.
  • Coat the pan with nonstick cooking spray or grease the pan.
  • Preheat your oven 10-15 minutes before baking the brownies and center the pan in the middle of the oven. Check your brownies when the minimum baking time has been reached.

Quick Fixes for Bad Brownies

If your brownies don't bake up to your expectations, one of these could be the reason why…

UNEVEN:

Batter wasn't spread evenly in the pan.

The oven rack wasn't level.

OVERBAKED

If you use a pan that's larger than the one called for in the recipe, brownies will be thin and dry.

Oven temperature was too high.

Next time, check brownies sooner than the baking time called for in the recipe.

TOO GUMMY

You used a pan that was smaller than called for.

TOO TOUGH

Dry ingredients were overmixed. Stir them in with a wooden spoon till moistened.

CRUMBLES WHEN CUT

Make sure that the brownies are completely cooled before cutting them.

Do not use a sawing motion when cutting.

Warm the knife blade in hot water, dry and cut. Clean and rewarm the knife after each cut.

In this Story

  1. Baking Better Brownies
  2. Readers Share Brownie Tips & Tricks