The most common mistakes to avoid when making brownies have been looked into so you get the best fudgy brownies every single time.
Brownies are divine and decadent and one of the most popular desserts in the world. I have yet to see a cake shop that does not stock brownies in their dessert cabinets or a celebration where there’s a dessert that does not have brownies. Whether it is dipping small squares of these fudgy beauties in the chocolate fountain or the chocolate fondue or having them in a trifle or just by itself – brownies are everywhere.
Therefore, it is only fitting that you make more of these sweet treats at home for special occasions or simply when the chocolate cravings strike. Besides, why wouldn’t you want to? They are simple and quick to make, need just one bowl and come together so easily. Wait, did I mention that they are ridiculously adaptable? For instance, I made a regular brownie batter and then loaded it up with chai spice mix to make these chai spice chocolate brownies, which were so good, they were gone in less than 15 minutes and I am not even kidding.
However, as you take on the brownie challenge, it is incredibly important to take care of a few steps when making these brownies to ensure you get the perfect result every single time. Brownies are extremely easy to make but sometimes, they get so easy that you end up making errors that you weren’t anticipating in the first place. These may seem very trivial at first but once you get into baking it, you’ll realize that they were, in fact pretty helpful. These are the mistakes to avoid when making brownies and I’ve written them down after a few brownie disasters that I’ve had over the years.
Top 5 mistakes to avoid when making brownies.
1. Do not over heat the chocolate:
This is one of the very first and most important mistakes to avoid when making brownies. As robust as its flavors are, chocolate by itself, in terms of its structure, is extremely delicate. There are essentially two ways in which you can heat the chocolate to melt it along with the butter.
The first way is the easiest and takes least amount of time and that is to use a microwave. What I do is first place the chocolate and butter in the microwave for a good 30 seconds, take it out and mix it well and then I heat it for 10 seconds and mix well till I put it back for 10 seconds. I do this until most of the chocolate has melted but the mix still has some lumps that need melting. Do not put it back into the microwave at this stage as the residual heat will melt the remaining lumps.
The second way is my favorite as I have more control over melting the butter and chocolate. I heat a heavy bottomed saucepan filled with approx. 2 inches of water. On low heat, I bring it to a simmer. Then I place my bowl containing the butter and chocolate and keep stirring till 90% of the chocolate has melted. I then take it off the heat and stir continuously so the residual heat melts the rest of the chocolate.
There are two things to note here and one of the mistakes to avoid when making brownies:
Do not let the bowl touch the water that is simmering as it can interfere with uniform melting of the chocolate.
Do not keep heating the chocolate even after it has melted. Over heating the chocolate will cause it to seize and this chocolate will no longer be usable. You’ll have to start again.
The melted mix should look glistening and shiny. The best way to know that your chocolate has seized is when the mix looks lumpy, thick and matte in color.
2. Wait till the chocolate has cooled before adding your eggs:
This is another one of the most common mistakes to avoid when making brownies. Once you take the melted chocolate and butter mix off the heat or from the microwave, a good rule of thumb is to add the sugar so the heat melts it and makes a uniform batter. However, check the temperature of the chocolate mix before you add the eggs. If the mix is still quite hot, the eggs are going to scramble and that will eventually render your brownie batter useless. Wait until the melted chocolate feels cool enough to dip your little finger in the mix without flinching from the heat.
3. Resist the urge to attack your baked brownies right away:
You may find it preposterous to wait for your brownies to cool once their out of the oven, because – brownies. They’re just so difficult to resist, with their sweet chocolate aroma and the crackly top, the last thing you want to do is wait for 2 hours that eventually end up feeling like 2 centuries. Trust the process and wait it out. As the brownie cools, it gets more flavorful. They’ll have a more intense chocolate flavor and because the insides of the brownie will have cooled well by then, you’ll be able to cut them in better slices. I find brownies that have been refrigerated after being bought to room temperature taste incredibly decadent but that again is a personal preference.
4. Never play with the baking times:
From the several failed brownie batches I’ve had in 2 years, I’ve realized that messing with the bake time is not cool when brownies are involved. If you bake them for a far lesser time, the insides are not going to be fudgy. Basically, the batter’s going to remain raw, which defeats the purpose of the brownies since they won’t be fudgy and will collapse into a melted mess once out of the oven.
If you over bake your batter, the brownies are going to be dry and crumbly; so you’d rather eat cardboard. The best way to know if your brownies are done is to touch the top of the brownies. They’ll be firm to the touch but still have a very slight wiggle. Another thing is, when you insert a toothpick or a clean knife into the middle, it will have just the tiniest amount of the batter on the knife. That’s when you know your brownies are done. As the brownie cools, the slightly gooey insides of the brownies will set into fudge like texture when they cool completely, hence the request to exercise patience after taking them out.
5. Don’t compromise on the pan sizes:
When you change the size of your brownie pan, the bake time for these will also vary. Therefore, if a recipe calls for an 8 x 8 inch pan, that is because the quantities for that recipe and the bake time are perfect for that sized pan. If you take the same quantity and bake time but use a 10 x 10 inch brownie pan, you’re going to get really thin brownies that would end up being over baked. Conversely, if you use a smaller pan, like 6 x 6 inches, and the same bake time the brownies will remain under baked and raw.
I hope I’ve helped you understand the cardinal sins of brownie baking and the most common 5 mistakes to avoid when making brownies and I am sure the next time you make your brownies they’ll be the most perfect treats you’ve baked.
So, tell me, lovelies, what was your biggest brownie disaster?