Make the best brownies ever by following these five simple steps.
Rich, chocolatey and unbelievably decadent, brownies are a guaranteed winner at any dinner party or bring-a-plate event. But if you’re looking to take them from ‘good’ to ‘OMG great’, here are our top tips for unbeatable brownies:
Choose top-quality ingredients
You’ll never get the best brownies if you don’t start with the best ingredients. Use top-quality chocolate rather than cooking or compound chocolate, and remember that the higher the percentage of cocoa in the chocolate, the more intense the flavour. You should also use a good cocoa powder – such as Dutch processed cocoa – and opt for butter rather than oil or margarine for the richest results.
You want to avoid overmixing the flour, as this will overdevelop the gluten and lead to dense brownies. Sifting all the dry ingredients together helps with this, as it ensures there are no lumps so the flour mix can be quickly and easily incorporated into the batter. Once sifted, use a spatula to fold the flour mixture into the batter until just a few flour streaks are still visible.
Pick the right pan
Shiny, light-coloured baking tins tend to produce the best results as they conduct heat more evenly. Using a glass or dark-coloured tin may cause the edges to burn – so if this is all you have, you may want to turn down the oven a few degrees. No matter which tin you use, though, make sure it is well greased and lined with baking paper. This will help the brownies lift out easily.
Timing is everything
Just a few minutes too long in the oven and you can say goodbye to your brownies’ delicious fudginess. Make sure your oven is pre-heated before they go in, and check the brownies about five minutes before the recipe says they’ll be done. Fudgy brownies are ready when the sides have shrunk slightly away from the edges of the pan and the centre is slightly gooey. Cake-like brownies are done when a skewer inserted into the centre has only a few moist crumbs attached to it.
Let them chill
It may be hard, but resist the urge to cut your brownies straight away. It is far easier (and neater) to cut them when they are properly cooled. Put them in the fridge for a couple of hours to speed up the process, or use an ice bath. To do this, fill a large baking tray (larger than the one used for the brownies) with 2cm of cold water and add a few ice cubes. Then, when the brownies come out of the oven, sit the tray in the ice water – ensuring no water gets into the brownies. This not only cools the brownies, but also helps create a fudgy consistency in the middle of the brownie while also maintain crisp edges.
Try one of our top three brownie recipes and bake the best batch ever: