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Deep, dark brownies

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The Pastry Chef's Baking

(Read caption) The key to a delicious batch of brownies is to avoid overbaking so that the brownies have a fudgy, moist texture.

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I'm not sure I even remember when and where I got this cookbook or even why. Probably because it had chocolate in the title and/or it was on sale and my Pavlovian response to either stimulus is to buy it. I flipped through it for my baking challenge and nothing really caught my eye to try so I defaulted to the brownie recipe. Turns out this brownie was well worth the $5 or $6 I paid for this cookbook even if I never try another recipe from it again.

This brownie has exactly the kind of texture I like – it's dense and fudgy but not overly mushy or underdone. It's definitely not cakey and the chocolate is a dark chocolate taste, not overly sweet. You can do almost any kind of add-in besides or in addition to chocolate chips since the texture can support it. Plus it's easy to make. Whenever I say that, I have friends roll their eyes and tell me "my brownies never turn out like yours." I'm trying not to keep being baffled by that.

Brownies are so easy to make. There isn't a magic formula to them but I'll tell you the number one mistake I think people make with brownies is they overbake them. We're conditioned to "bake until done." But "done" with a brownie is different than done with a cake or a cookie. You know a brownie is done when a toothpick comes out clean at the corners but with a few moist crumbs in the middle. Moist crumbs, not raw batter. If you go for a clean toothpick test from the middle, your brownies are likely to be overbaked, especially at the edges and corners which will be dry once the brownies cool. I try to take close-up pictures of the brownies I bake so you can see what I mean by a fudgy texture.

Baking times also vary by oven and the times listed in recipes are meant to be a guideline, not an absolute. Err on the side of caution and toothpick test your brownies at least 5-10 minutes before the recommended baking time on the recipe. I've said this before and I'll keep saying it until everyone can make good brownies: chocolate "sets" as it cools so what might seem underdone or too moist when they're in the oven may become perfect and perfectly fudgy after you take them out of the oven and the brownies have cooled.


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