11 Mistakes Everyone Makes When Baking Brownies
How do you know when brownies are done? How long do brownies take to cool? You probably don't even realize you're making simple slip-ups, but they make a big difference.
If you’ve ever ventured past the store-bought box of brownie mix, you know that these fudgy squares make for a deceptively difficult dessert. Even though the recipes sound simple, there are a few easy slip-ups that you might be guilty of. How many of these brownie mistakes are you making? Let’s find out!
Settling for chunky batter
If the consistency of your batter isn’t right, it won’t correct itself in the oven. The trick is to reach the “ribbon stage” when mixing eggs and sugar, so that when you lift the whisk, the batter falls back into the bowl in ribbons. This texture adds the ideal amount of air into your brownies, keeping them from turning out dense.
Settling for batter that isn’t chunky enough
This might seem counterintuitive to the last step, but overmixing is a surefire way to ruin your brownies, too. Don’t worry—it’s easy to hit a happy medium. When you add your flour and chocolate, only mix until the ingredients are combined.
Looking for other baking tips you never knew you needed? Click here for our best.
Using a toothpick to test doneness
Unlike cake, using a toothpick is not the best way to test your brownies’ doneness. Brownies continue cooking even after you remove them from the oven, so if you wait until there are no crumbs on the toothpick, you’ll end up with an overcooked batch. For best results, stick to the time recommended in your recipe.
Baking the same day you make the batter
When you’re in a time crunch, brownies seem like the perfect quick-fix dessert. But according to the experts, chilling brownie batter (in the baking pan, for best results) for up to forty-eight hours before baking makes a huge difference—it creates a crustier top and also blends the flavors, leading to an overall richer taste.
Using a glass baking dish
Pyrex dishes are ideal for casseroles—and trust us, we have plenty of ideas for how to use Pyrex—but they’re not best for brownies. The thick glass can make it harder for your brownies to bake, which could leave them gummy and unevenly cooked. A dark pan, on the other hand, absorbs heat faster and can lead to the opposite problem.
To avoid any issues, stick with a lightweight aluminum pan.
Cutting in right away
How long do brownies take to cool? About 30 minutes. But we’ve all been there! The brownies are fresh out of the oven, they smell delicious and you can’t wait to dig in. Just give ’em time to cool first.
Don’t worry if you’re not patient… it’s hard to wait when your brownies are this good!
Cooking all in one go
Food Network-fave Alton Brown discovered a handy trick to hitting that perfect texture. He removes the brownies from the oven when they’re almost done, cools for fifteen minutes and puts them back in. The cooling time allows the temperature to even out, which will reduce the discrepancy between the soft inner pieces and firmer edge bites.
Alton Brown has some other strange cooking tips, too. Here’s why he puts salt in his coffee!
Using chocolate chips
It might seem easier to use chocolate chips in a recipe that calls for melted chocolate, but they won’t lead to the highest-quality taste. Chocolate chips can contain more stabilizers and preservatives to keep their shape, which makes their melting process and flavor profile different than baking chocolate. To avoid any mishaps in your recipe, opt for a better bar.
Using melted chocolate in general
It’s definitely possible to make delicious brownies with a melted chocolate bar, but some experts suggest sticking to this kind of cocoa powder. When you use the powdered variety, you make up for the loss of fat by adding your own butter, which leads to a longer-lasting brownie that keeps its first-day flavor longer.
Try a recipe that uses cocoa powder—like this extra fudgy one we love.
Using refrigerated eggs
Adding cold eggs to your brownie batter will make the other ingredients firm up, which can be disastrous for your batter. For the ideal batch, be sure to let your butter and eggs warm to room temperature instead of tossing them into the mix directly from the fridge.
Adding too many mix-ins
Everybody loves a plain brownie. Sometimes, overloading your recipe with various nuts, cream layers and chopped candies can complicate their pure goodness. If you’re one to go nuts (sorry) with add-ins, try making a batch plain and simple—you’d be surprised how good brownies are in their purest form!