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Help! How Do I Make the Perfect Brownie???

Asked by amyk. Answered on 14th October 2010

Full question

Nigella, I have tried and tried to make a perfect brownie but mine always turn out like a chocolate cake. Please help my husband and children love brownies and I'd like to make one that actually tastes like a brownie. What type of chocolate do you use in your brownies and how do you get the top shiny?

Our answer

Brownies should be fairly dense and slightly squidgy and there are a few steps you can take to ensure this. Firstly the chocolate should generally be of good quality, such as a dark chocolate with 70% cocoa solids (for the US good quality bittersweet is generally 62% cocoa solids). Also when making the brownies, recipes which tend to cream the butter and sugar together will give a more cake-like and airy texture so try to pick recipe where the butter, sugar and chocolate are melted together. The 'doneness' of a brownie is probably the most important – too much cooking and they will become crumby and cake-like, too little and they will be raw in the centre. The high level of sugar in most brownie recipes also means a crust forms on the top of the brownie very quickly, making it harder to judge how well-done the brownie is.

As all ovens bake slightly differently it is important to check brownies early, as under baked ones can always be cooked a little longer but once a brownie is over baked then there is no going back. Check the brownie about 5 minutes before the end of the baking time in your recipe and give the tin (pan) a shake. If the centre of the brownie still trembles slightly then bake it for another 2-3 minutes and test again. If there is no wobbliness then stick a cake tester or wooden skewer into the centre of the brownie – if there is raw batter on it then bake for another 2 minutes and test again, but if there are a few damp crumbs clinging to the skewer then the brownies should be just right.

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