By Katherine Sacks, Recipe by Sam Worley
Three tips for achieving perfect fudginess.
Fudgy brownies are a tricky beast: overbake them and you enter cakey territory, underbake them and you get a squishy mess. Katzie Guy-Hamilton, Global Director of Food and Beverage of Max Brenner, knows a thing or two about baking with chocolate, and she puts it this way: “There is nothing better than either raw brownie batter or a perfectly cooked fudgy brownie. But the in-between is brownie custard, and I’m not a fan.”
Nobody is. Even people who think they like “underbaked” brownies (as our editor David Tamarkin claims to) don’t really want their brownies undercooked—they just want a brownie that’s gooey and rich. And if your recipe has enough butter, chocolate, and sugar, that’s what you’ll get, even when the brownie is fully cooked. (Using the egg-sugar ribboning method, a la flourless chocolate cake, helps, too.) (Underbaking doesn’t work because unless you completely cook out the flour, your brownies will have an off-putting flour flavor.)
So how do you avoid under- and overbaking? Unfortunately, a cake tester is no help—if your brownies are fudgy, a cake tester or toothpick willalways come out with crumbs attached. (See no crumbs? You’ve overbaked.) But there are a few other steps you can take to ensure your brownies are perfect.
1. FOLLOW THE RECIPE
Sounds obvious. But because of the aforementioned cake tester problem, cooking times are especially important in brownie recipes. Use a recipe from a trusted source that thoroughly tests (like, ahem, us).
2. ROTATE YOUR PAN
Oven temperatures vary substantially—what’s 350 degrees in your oven might be more like 375 in your mom’s. To correct for this, always rotate the pan of brownies halfway through. This not only ensures even baking, but also reminds you to check in on your brownies. Which brings us to….
3. LOOK FOR THE CRACK
When done, the edges of the brownies will be visibly baked through and the center will be set (that is, not wiggly) when you shake the pan. Guy-Hamilton looks for the first sign of cracking on the brownie’s top—which should be shiny and set—and then pulls them out. These cues override the recipe; even if the instructions suggest baking for five more minutes, when your brownies exhibit these signs and look done, take them out.
RECIPE: FUDGY DOUBLE-CHOCOLATE BROWNIES
- 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, plus more for pan, if needed
- 12 ounces bittersweet chocolate (about 70 percent), chopped
- 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
- 6 large eggs, at room temperature
- 3 cups sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 2 1/4 cups cake flour
- A 13x9” baking pan
Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease a 13x9” baking pan with room temperature butter or nonstick cooking spray, line the bottom with parchment, leaving a generous overhang on both long sides, and grease parchment with room temperature butter or nonstick cooking spray.
Combine 1 1/2 cups butter, chocolate, and cocoa powder in a large heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water, stirring often, until mixture is melted and smooth. Remove from heat and set aside.
Whip eggs, sugar, and salt in bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or using a hand mixer) on high speed, until tripled in size and lightened in color, 4–5 minutes. When you lift the whisk, the mixture should fall back on itself in thick ribbons and dissipate.
Add one-third egg mixture to reserved chocolate mixture and stir to combine with a spatula. Fold in remaining egg mixture in 2 batches. Sift in flour in three parts, gently folding with spatula after each addition. Pour evenly into prepared pan. Smooth top of batter with spatula.
Bake brownies, rotating in oven halfway through, until sides are visibly baked and center is set, 50–55 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack. After brownies have cooled, loosen edges with an offset spatula or a butter knife, then pull up both sides of the parchment to remove brownies from pan. Place brownies on parchment on a cutting board and cut into 15–18 pieces.
Do ahead: Brownies can be baked, covered with plastic wrap, and stored at room temperature, up to 3 days.
More from Epicurious:
PHOTO BY CHELSEA KYLE, FOOD STYLING BY KATHERINE SACKS