In this baking tips post, I will teach you 10 Tips for Baking Perfect Brownies! With these tips and tricks, you will be able to throw the box brownie mix away and make delicious and impressive homemade brownies!
Brownies are a weakness of mine. I feel like brownies are the ultimate chocolate dessert. And obviously fudgy and chewy brownies are the best ones (sorry cakey folks). My Fudgy Chocolate Brownies recipe is the perfect recipe to try your hand at making homemade, from scratch brownies.
After baking countless batches, I have discovered several tips and tricks to make perfect brownies every time! These tips are simple ways to elevate your brownie game! Here are my 10 Tips for Baking Perfect Brownies.
1. Use dark chocolate and/or dark cocoa powder in your brownie batter
Some brownie recipes call for melted chocolate, some just cocoa powder, and some contain both! In any case, I recommend using dark cocoa powder and dark chocolate.
My favorite brand of dark cocoa powder is the Hershey’s Special Dark 100% Cacao Powder. It is cost effective and has a deep chocolate flavor.
For the chocolate, I typically use dark or bittersweet chocolate chips, but semi-sweet chocolate works well too. You can also use a chocolate bar and chop it into small pieces. I don’t recommend using milk chocolate because the chocolate flavor is very mild. I prefer chocolate chips because it saves time and creates less dishes.
I don’t know about you, but I want to be punched in the mouth with chocolate flavor, and using dark cocoa powder and dark chocolate is a great way to achieve that.
2. Use room temperature eggs and melted butter in your brownies
Using room temperature eggs in your brownies is a great way to help with the emulsification of the batter. Emulsification means that the ingredients will basically combine well and play nice with one another.
Think of jumping into an ice cold swimming pool. Doesn’t feel too great, huh? You freeze up and the wind is knocked out of you! We don’t want our ingredients freezing up and seizing up! Ideally, we want all of the ingredients to be around the same temperature so they combine well and create a nice, thick, homogenous batter.
Using melted butter in brownies is also the way to go! Melted butter creates a more moist, chewy and fudgy brownie texture. In my Fudgy Chocolate Brownies recipe, the butter is melted together with the chocolate. If room temperature butter is used and creamed with the sugar, then the result will be a dryer and cake-like texture. Not super ideal for brownies, unless you’re into that sort of thing.
3. Whip the eggs and sugar until light and fluffy
This might be the most important step! When making your brownie batter, be sure to whip your sugar and eggs until they are light, fluffy, and pale yellow in color.
Many brownie recipes do not include leavening agents such as baking powder or baking soda. Whipping your eggs and sugar with an electric mixer or very large biceps helps create structure in the brownies without the use of leavening agents.
Fluffifying your eggs and sugar (yes, I make up words), also gives the brownies that beautiful, classic, crackly top.
I suggest using an electric hand mixer or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment to whip your eggs and sugar. Whip them together on a medium-high speed until they have doubled in volume, appear light and fluffy, and have a pale yellow color. This may take a few minutes, so toss on Devo and “whip it good”.
4. Add flavor enhancers to the brownie batter
Adding flavor enhancers to your brownie batter is a great way to bump up the flavor and take your brownies to the next level! Some of the most common flavor enhancers include espresso powder, vanilla extract, and salt.
- Espresso powder is commonly used in all kinds of chocolate desserts: cakes, cupcakes, cookies, brownies, etc. You might be thinking, “I don’t want my brownies to taste like coffee!”. Trust me, they won’t! Espresso powder brings out the bitter notes of the chocolate which creates an even more chocolatey taste. If you don’t have it or don’t want to use it, leave it out, but I suggest adding it to your next batch to see what you think!
- Vanilla extract is another great way to add amazing flavor to your brownies. Now, why would we add vanilla to a chocolate dessert? Again, the floral vanilla flavor helps enhance the chocolate flavor and brings complexity to brownies.
- Salt is an important ingredient in most sweet treats. The addition of salt helps enhance the flavor of the chocolate! This is definitely an ingredient you never want to leave out of your desserts.
5. Do not overmix the brownie batter
Once you add your dry ingredients (flour and cocoa powder) to the brownie batter, be careful not to overmix the batter.
There are a couple reasons why this is important.
Number one, we don’t want to ruin all of the beautiful structure that was created by whipping the eggs and sugar. If you overmix the batter, your brownies may not rise well in the oven.
Number two, overmixing can create a tough, chewy texture. However, this is not the type of chew we are after. When you overmix the batter, the gluten in the flour develops and creates a gummy-like texture.
For my Fudgy Chocolate Brownie recipe, once the all-purpose flour and cocoa powder are added, turn the electric hand mixer on the lowest speed, and mix just until all of the dry ingredients are incorporated. You may need to give the bowl a quick scrape and stir to ensure everything has been fully combined.
Another great way to avoid overmixing your brownies is to fold in the dry ingredients by hand with a spatula. This allows for more control over when to stop mixing.
6. Prepare your baking pans with cooking spray and parchment paper
An essential step to getting perfect brownies is to properly prepare your pans!
I recommend cutting the parchment paper so that you have “handles” on each side of the brownies, as pictured below. Once the brownies are ready to come out of the pan, simple pull up on the parchment to easily release the brownies from the pan.
Measure the width of the bottom of your pans and cut the parchment paper to size. You will need two pieces of this size. Then cross the parchment in the pans – one placed vertically and one placed horizontally. Now, pour the brownie batter into the prepared pan and bake!
7. Bake to perfection
First things first, bake your brownies on a rack positioned in the middle of your oven. If the pan is too close to the bottom, then the bottom could burn before the top gets a chance to bake. If it is too close to the top, then the top will bake too fast and leave raw brownie batter on the bottom.
Next, pay close attention to the bake times on your recipe. Often, a range of time is given because not all ovens are the same and can bake at different rates. Start by baking the brownies to the lower amount of time and add time if needed.
Time for the toothpick test! Because you did such a great job whipping your eggs and sugar when making the batter, there might be some beautiful cracks in the top of the brownies. To preserve the perfection of the brownies, try to insert the toothpick in one of the cracks!
If you don’t have cracks in the top, estimate where you will be cutting the brownies, so that the cut will overlap where the toothpick will be inserted. (Yes, I know, my OCD is showing).
The brownies are done baking when the toothpick comes out with moist crumbs attached. If the toothpick comes out with wet batter, you will need to bake the brownies a bit longer. Try baking for 3 minute intervals and retest.
If the toothpick comes out clean, you have overbaked. Don’t fret! I’m sure they will still be delicious! When it comes to baking perfect brownies, practice makes perfect! And keep practicing because the end result is just more and more brownies!
8. Sprinkle a little flaky salt
Hear me out on this one. Adding a sprinkle of flaky sea salt to your brownies immediately after removing them from the oven will change your life!
I’m slightly obsessed with adding flaky salt to desserts. The contrast of the sweet and salt adds complexity to the sweets.
I recommend using a flaky sea salt or kosher salt. You will want to use one that has a flaky or coarse grain. This will add a bit of crunch and texture that perfectly contracts and compliments the sweet, fudgy brownies. Just a light sprinkle will do!
A word of caution. Do not use regular table salt because the grain is too fine and will make your brownies way too salty.
9. Cool in the pan…but not too long
Once the brownies are removed from the oven, allow them to cool in the pan for about 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, pull up on the parchment paper to easily lift the brownies out of the pan and transfer to a wire rack, paper and all! Allow the brownies to cool completely outside of the pan.
The reason the brownies should cool outside of the pan is so that the edges don’t overcook and become too hard or crunchy. Believe it or not, when you remove baked goods from the oven, they continue to cook!
If you are a rock star and pulled your brownies out at the right time, allowing them to cool for ten minutes in the pan should be long enough for them to set up but not over bake.
10. Cut the brownies when cooled and clean your knife in between cuts
So here’s the deal. You just baked amazingly delicious brownies and want to dig into warm, fudgy chocolate deliciousness. Pump the brakes! I know it is tempting, but cutting your brownies before they have completely cooled will lead to very messy looking brownies.
Now if you are at home on a Friday night and need to get those brownies in your body yesterday, by all means, cut away. But if you are looking to achieve beautiful, perfect, square cuts for Instagram, patience is a must.
Before you cut, make sure your pan of brownies are at least at room temperature. Place the brownies on a cutting board to make the cleanest slices.
Be sure to clean your knife between cuts. By cleaning the knife with a paper towel after each cut, you are able to create more defined cuts, which creates a beautiful, even square shape.
Cut as you wish, but might I suggest using a swift, downward motion for your cuts. Pull the knife out slowly so not to disturb that beautiful, crackly top.
If you are Type A, such as myself, grab your ruler to ensure your brownies are uniform in size.
Follow these tips and you will no doubt bake the best brownies each and every time! I hope that my 10 Tips for Baking Perfect Brownies are helpful to your and your brownie baking adventures!