You’re getting all dribbly just from reading the title aren’t you?
The humble brownie. There’s just something about it.
A wee while back I wrote a post about baking chocolate chip cookies and how to use science to make them crunchier or chewier. It was pretty popular, so I thought, why not make another baking “how to” post! So here it is, how to make your brownie fudgier, cakier or chewier.
It’s all about proportions
Just like crafting cookie, brownie baking takes some careful measurements, and changing the amount of each ingredient that you use will change the final brownie outcome.
There are three main ingredients that you can alter to make your brownie fudgier, cakier or chewier and they are chocolate, butter & sugar and flour. So lets get started!
For an intensely dense chocolate hit
Chocolate: The more the merrier! The fudgey texture of your brownie is amplified by the fats in your chocolate so more chocolate will result in a fudgier brownie.
Butter and sugar: Melt and mix. Like I said in my cookies post, melting the butter before adding the sugar stops air bubbles from forming and making your brownie fluffy. So don’t cream your butter and sugar, gently melt your butter on the stove with your sugar instead.
Flour: Less is more. When flour is mixed with wet ingredients it forms gluten. Gluten is what makes baking tall and crunchy, which is the exact opposite of what you want in a fudgey brownie, so keep the flour to a minimum.
For those who like them light and fluffy
Chocolate: Don’t overdo it. Chocolate is full of fats which will weigh your batter down. If you want a lovely cakey brownie limit your chocolate so that your batter will be able to rise.
Butter and sugar: Beat them into cream-mission! To create a truly cakey brownie you need to get some air bubbles into the batter. You can do this by softening your butter instead of melting it and then whipping the sugar in. The sugar will forge little holes in the butter which trap air and leave your brownie feeling light as a feather.
Flour: Less is again more. While you want your brownie to be nice and cakey, you don’t want it to be crunchy like a cookie. Since you’ve creamed the butter and sugar you have already got some air bubbles into the mixture so your brownie will be fluffy. The gluten formed by flour can turn this cakeness into crunchiness and that just isn’t what you want.
For those who crave the chew
Chocolate: Take it out alltogether. It sounds like a bad idea, but trust me, it isn’t. Cocoa actually contains more pure chocolate liquor than chocolate anyway because it isn’t diluted with milk and sugar, so your brownie won’t be any less deliciously rich. By taking out the chocolate though, you’re removing fats and allowing for a chewier, more delicious brownie.
Butter and sugar: Melt and mix. You want chewy, not fluffy, so the melt on the stove option is the way to go for those after a chewy treat.
Flour: Go for gold! Flour is the key to a good chewy brownie. Adding more four will transform your brownie from a flat fudge to a cheerful chewy by creating some glutenous support during baking.
Two more tips before you hit the mixing bowl
For maximum chocolate flavour: The secret to a super chocolatey brownie is in how you treat the cocoa. You want to really release the delicious flavour, and you can do this with heat. If you pour boiling water over your cocoa, or add it to your butter as you’re cooking it on the stove, the lovely flavour molecules will be broken free from their protein confines and your brownie will be all the chocolatier.
For a crunchy top: There’s nothing like a little texture contrast in food, and brownie is no exception. I love a good fudgey brownie with a crunchy top, it’s just so satisfying. And easy to achieve! The crunch is all in the sugar. You want o use white sugar, not brown. The granulated white sugar will rise to the surface as your batter bakes and dry out, creating a delightfully crunchy crust. Yum!
Okay so it’s finally time. I am going to share with you my absolute favourite brownie recipe. I am a huge fan of the chewy brownie, and this is hands down the best chewy brownie I have ever made. It is just so delicious!
The Unbeatable Brownie Recipe
- 140g butter
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 1 cup cocoa powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
- 2 large, cold eggs
- 1/2 cup flour
Preheat your oven to 160°C and line a 20cm square pan with baking paper.
Fill a fairly large pot with water and bring to a gentle simmer. Put the butter, sugar, cocoa powder and salt into a heatproof bowl and put it into/sit it on top of the pot. Stir while the butter melts. Once the mixture is hot and the butter is melted, take it off the pot and let it cool.
Once cool, stir in the vanilla, then the eggs, one a time. Stir vigorously until the batter looks shiny and well-blended. Stir in the flour until no streaks remain and then beat the batter for about a minute more.
Pour the batter into your lined pan and bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpic comes out of the middle with just a little bit of batter on it.