How to Tell When Your Brownies Are Perfectly Baked
Some brownies are cakey, some are fudgy, some can go either way depending on how long you bake them. What’s a home cook to do? Follow this guide and learn how to tell when your brownies are ready to take out of the oven.
Ask a roomful of sweet tooths how they prefer their brownies, and you’ll get multiple answers. Brownie texture is a subjective thing! Some prefer fudgy or chewy while others desire a cake-like brownie; as a result, there isn’t just one test to determine doneness for each type of brownie. The good news is, there are a few key indicators to pay attention to when you’re trying to determine if your brownies are done. Use a combination of these indicators, and your brownies will be perfection. Follow along as we show you the basics of brownie doneness.
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Factors that affect brownie baking time
The baking time given in the recipe is important to consider, but there are many factors that can affect baking time.
Oven temperature is one of these factors; some ovens can run hot, and others cool. Wondering about yours? Get an oven thermometer and solve the mystery.
Pan size is another factor; a large pan of thin brownies bakes faster than a small pan of thick brownies.
The material of the pan also affects how quickly brownies are done — foods cooked in darker metal pans need less cooking time in the oven.
And don't forget the residual heat or carryover cooking, which means a pan of brownies continues to bake even after you take it out of the oven.
Brownie doneness indicator #1: Digital thermometer
The target internal temperature of a perfectly baked brownie will depend on your preferred consistency. So here’s a cool trick: Rely on a digital thermometer to help you track when the brownie gets to your dream consistency! Here’s some guidance on what that target internal temp should be.
Bacteria (like salmonella from raw eggs) dies at 136°F. But a brownie won’t set until it reaches 144°F. But don’t stop at 144°F, either. The minimum temperature at which most food is safe to eat is 165°F. Therefore, a good rule of thumb is to make sure your brownie reaches at least 165°F. But what would be considered the top of the temperature range? It’s useful to know that the internal temperature of a regular cake should read 210°F for moist-but-not-fudgy fluffiness. So fudgy, gooey brownies will be done at around 165°F while cakey brownies will be done at around 210°F. The higher the temperature, the more cakey your brownies will be.
Brownie doneness indicator #2: Appearance
With brownies, looks definitely matter. When you peek in the oven, the brownies should be pulling slightly away from the sides of the pan. The brownie's top should have a dry-looking sheen. At the edge of the pan, the brownies should be slightly puffed, and in the middle of the pan, the brownies should be set, and not wobbly.
Brownie doneness indicator #3: Toothpick test
Just like with cakes and cupcakes, sticking a toothpick or skewer into a pan of brownies is one of the best ways to tell when brownies are done if you don't have a digital thermometer.
Here's how to do it. When you think they're ready, insert a toothpick in the center of the brownie pan. Remove the toothpick — if it’s coated in wet batter, the brownies still need baking. The toothpick should come out fairly clean with just a few moist crumbs. Keep in mind that if you put chocolate chips in your brownie batter, there’s a decent chance your toothpick will pick up some of that melted chocolate during your toothpick test. Carefully inspect the toothpick to determine if what you’re seeing is crumb or chocolate, since melty chocolate on a toothpick is not an indicator of underbaked brownies! If you’re still not sure, you can slightly underbake your brownies and rely on carryover cooking to bring them to doneness.
There are thousands of brownie recipes to choose from on Yummly! Whether fudgy brownies or cakey brownies is more your thing, you will find what you're looking for. Start off by checking out these brownie recipes for sweet inspiration.
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