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Chocolate Brownie Batter

Asked by Emk747. Answered on 24th September 2021

Full question

Hi, I tried Nigella's Brownie recipe. When I mixed all the ingredients together before pouring it into the baking dish, the mix was not runny but was thick and was coming away from the sides of the bowl and not sticking to anything. When the browines were baking, there was bubbling all around the sides of the baking dish and there was a liquid (looked like butter) coming out of the baking dish (I used a round cake dish instead of a rectangular tray) as well. When I put my fork into the baked brownies it came out dry. Can you please tell me what I did wrong?

Image of Nigella's Brownies
Photo by Petrina Tinslay
By Nigella
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Our answer

Nigella's recipe for Brownies (from HOW TO BE A DOMESTIC GODDESS) is made by firstly melting chocolate and butter together. From the description of the batter, we suspect that the chocolate became slightly overheated as it melted. This causes it to seize, where the solids in the chocolate start to clump together, which will give a thick and probably slightly grainy batter. The fat in the chocolate is then squeezed out and the liquid on the surface of the baking brownies was the cocoa fat from the seized chocolate.

This would probably explain why the brownies may have come out a little dry, though a different-shaped dish will affect how the brownies bake and the baking time for the pan used could have been a little too long as well. Next time, remove the saucepan from the heat before the chocolate has completely melted. The chocolate will continue to melt in the residual heat of the pan and this reduces the risk of it overheating. When baking the brownies, it is better to slightly under bake them than over bake them. If using a different-sized pan then check the brownies after they have been in the oven for 20 minutes by inserting a cake tester into the centre. If it comes out with raw/uncooked batter attached then bake the brownies for a further 3-5 minutes and check again. But if the cake tester comes out with damp crumbs attached then the brownies are done.

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