How to Achieve YOUR Perfect Batch of Brownies!

It gets the nerdy side of me so happy when I think about how cool and science-y baking is. I just find it so fascinating how tweaking one single element or ingredient in baking can change the whole outcome, so I can’t resist when I see an article where someone does just that--they tweak one thing at a time in a controlled experiment to show different results.

So naturally I couldn’t resist when I saw a gal who did this on for brownies where she had a basic control brownie recipe and then she did seven variations with ingredients and pans and came out with the results, which yielded very different brownies every time. 

I don't know if you realize how polarizing brownies can be but if you sat down with a group of 10 people you could very well have 10 different ways that people like brownies. Soft and chewy or crispy edges. Fudgy or cakey. Deep, rich chocolate flavor or lighter, chocolatey flavor. Frosting, nuts, chocolate chunks…..oh my! Brownies seem simple enough but there really are many different ways they can turn out to your liking.

Here are the results from this experiment to show you how by tweaking your standard recipe, you can create the most perfect brownie recipe for you!


Melted butter
Granulated sugar
Natural unsweetened cocoa powder
Kosher salt
Whole eggs
Vanilla extract

  • Combine sugar, butter, cocoa powder, and salt.
  • Add eggs, one at a time, then stir in vanilla. Fold in flour.
  • Bake at 350 degrees F in a metal pan.

1. Temperature
Most all brownie recipes call for recipes to be baked at 350 degrees. This gives you your classic glossy and crackly top with a fudgy inside. Stick with that temperature if that is your goal. If you like your brownie a little chewier, take it down to 325 degrees and it will take a little longer to bake and give you that chewy texture you’re after.

2. Brown Sugar vs Granulated Sugar
If you like caramel you might like trying to swap out granulated sugar for brown sugar the next time you make brownies. The brown sugar gives notes of caramel and molasses and also boosts the chewiness. Double win!

3. Glass vs Metal Pan
The standard pan to use for a batch of brownie is typically an aluminum metal pan. Aluminum conducts heat nicely and cools more quickly when removed from the oven than glass. Glass tends to burn the outsides of the baked goods faster and once that glass pan gets hot it stays HOT for a long time. Which naturally means your brownies will take longer to cool. 

4. Butter
Typically brownie recipes call for melted butter, but what happens if you use softened butter instead? It yields brownies that are cakier because you are beating more air and lift into the batter. By doing this, you are also diffusing the chocolate flavor. Using melted butter will give you brownies that have a stronger cocoa flavor and are fudgier.

5. Type of Fat
Some recipes call for oil, while others call for butter—so which one should you use? If you’re after a nice, chewy texture, opt for oil. But people tend to like the flavor of butter in brownies better.

6. Type of Cocoa Powder
If you use Dutch cocoa powder, the result will be brownies that are generally denser, darker, and much richer. If you are a fan of dark chocolate, you’d probably love this method. The only downside is the Dutch cocoa powder tends to be on the pricey side so if you aren’t on board with that, just know that Dutch and natural unsweetened cocoa powders can be used interchangeably in most brownie recipes.

7. Melted Chocolate vs Cocoa Powder
If you love fudgy brownies, melted chocolate is the way to go! It is best to melt the chocolate in a double boiler with butter, since you risk burning the chocolate if you melt it directly in a saucepan. Using melted chocolate also produces a smoother tasting brownie, but it actually won’t taste quite as chocolatey as it would if you used cocoa powder. 

Do you use any of these tweaks to achieve YOUR perfect brownie? What does your perfect brownie look like? Mine has crispy edges, no nuts or frosting, a perfectly crackly, glossy top, a deep, dark chocolate flavor and chocolate chunks for days! :)


    Mary Richardson
    Weekly Newsletter Contributor since 2014
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