The Ultimate Scientifically-Tested Guide To Baking The Perfect Brownies

All your brownie-baking questions have just been answered.

It's not often we meet a brownie we don't want to eat. They are made up of chocolate and sugar, after all. But there are the occasional batches that we just don't care for. Sometimes, we bake a pan of brownies and they're just not all that great. They don't have the beautiful crinkly top, or they're just too crumbly. Or too fudgy. Or too dense. Or not chocolatey enough. For most of us, why that happens is a big ol' mystery.

Not for Tessa from Handle the Heat -- our new favorite food blogger, by the way. She did a little baking experiment to get to the bottom of the brownie mystery. (Though, we suspect she just wanted an excuse to bake seven batches of brownies, because we know we do.)

Tessa used a basic one-bowl, chocolate brownie as her control and then tweaked the recipe with six different ingredients to see how they would affect the final results. She played around with cake flour, brown sugar, whipped eggs, egg yolks, cocoa powder and oil and wrote it all out in an ultimate brownie guide.

Everyone has their own personal preference for how they like their brownies, and her guide will help you figure out how to bake yours. Here's what she found:

Cake Flour
Handle the Heat
She substituted 1/2 cup of all purpose for cake flour.

The results, as Tessa reports: The brownies were lighter and softer, as you might expect. They were also less rich and dense.
Cocoa Powder
Handle the Heat
Swapped out the melted chocolate for cocoa powder.

Tessa found: The resulting brownies were nice and chewy with that distinct cocoa flavor, but they were also much more dry and crumbly. The melted chocolate certainly provides moisture and without it, the brownies were quenched.
Brown Sugar
Handle the Heat
Replaced 1 cup of granulated sugar with 1 cup of packed light brown sugar.

Tessa reports that: the resulting brownies were soft, rich, and ultra moist. They were also slightly thicker and darker in color than the control recipe. [But they lacked the crinkle top.]
Oil And Cocoa
Handle the Heat
Added in oil in place of butter, and cocoa powder too.

Tessa reports: The results were very similar to box mix brownies in flavor, texture, and appearance. They were soft yet chewy with a light cocoa flavor that lacked the chocolate intensity of a more rich or fudgy brownie.
Extra Egg Yolk
Handle the Heat
On top of the two eggs in the control recipe, one more egg yolk was added in.

Tessa found: The egg yolk brownies were supremely dense, moist, dark, and ultra chewy.
Whipped Eggs And Sugar
Handle the Heat
Whipping the eggs with the sugar for 3-5 minutes until the sugar completely dissolves.

Tessa proudly shares: These brownies were rich, fudgy, and chewy, but had a lightness about them that none of the other brownies had. Plus they had a beautiful crinkly tissue-thin crust on the top that I loved.

For a complete run down of the brownie baking experiment results and an explanation as to why ingredients react in certain ways, go to Handle the Heat. Your brownies will thank you.

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