Have you ever been frustrated, having waited, oh so patiently, for your brownies to cook and cool only to find out they’re too cakey or too fudgy? Not chocolately enough? No crackly top?

Well I have the top 10 tips to get those brownies just the way you want them

6 brownies sitting on a sheet of baking paper with a jug of milk in the background

First up, what’s your perfect brownie?

Perfect brownies can be different to everyone? Working out what perfect brownies are to you will help you decide on the recipe to use.

  • Are you a lover of fudgy brownies or cakey brownies?
  • Do you want frosting, or that perfect crackly brownie top?
  • Do you want add-ins or just unadalterated brownie goodness?

Once you know the answers to these questions you can move on to the next.

Good quality ingredients

There aren’t a lot of ingredients in good brownies, so use the best ingredients you can afford.

  • Chocolate: Dark is best and should be of a good quality. No baking or compound chocolate here. The darker your chocolate the richer and fudgier your brownies will be as the chocolate sets as the brownies cool. 
  • Cocoa: Use dutch processed chocolate if you can. It has a smoother flavour and gives a nice dark colour. However, regular cocoa is perfect for brownies like these Red Velvet Brownies.
  • Eggs: Good free range eggs are always best
  • Butter- not margarine: Butter will always give you a better flavour and texture.

Most often a fudgy brownie will use a combination of chocolate and cocoa while cakey brownies use just cocoa.

9 squares of brownies with caramel on top

Which sugar is best for brownies

The sugar you use in your brownies will make a difference too. 

White granulated sugar will be more likely to give you that much sought after crackly to whilst brown sugar has more moisture in it and different levels of molasses too. This means a more moist brownie with extra flavour however, that extra moisture may mean your crackly top goes out the door.

Try using a combination of white and brown sugars to get the best of both worlds like in these Chocolate Caramel Brownies

Intensify the chocolate flavour

There are two easy ways to do this and you can use them both at once. 

  1. Always add a little salt – salt brings out the flavour whilst balancing out sweetness
  2. Add a little coffee – one of the oldest tricks in the book when you want to make a baked treat super chocolately is adding a little espresso. Just a little will intensify the chocolate flavour without making it taste like coffee. Try a teaspoon of instant coffee dissolved in just a little hot water.

How to get a crackly top on your brownies

After much testing, the secret to a perfect crackly brownie top is both the right type of sugar and beating the eggs and sugar. Firstly, start with a higher proportion of white sugar to brown sugar. I use a 3:1 ratio when striving for a crackly top.

Next make sure you beat that sugar with the eggs first up, until they are light, thick and frothy. This will create a meringue-like effect of giving a crispy layer on top of the brownies once baked.

Frothy beaten eggs and sugar in a glass bowl

Why do some brownie recipes have baking powder

Baking powder is a leavening agent and used in baked goods to help them rise. The more baking powder you use, the more lift and equally the more cake like your brownies will be.

When it comes to brownies little to no baking powder is definitely best. If you beat your eggs and sugar properly, they will give you all the rise you need.

Sift in the dry ingredients

Sifting the flour and cocoa directly into the wet ingredients will remove any lumps making it easier to mix into the brownie batter without removing any air.

A sieve with flour and cocoa sitting over a glass bowl of chocolate batter

Line your tin

You should always line your tin with baking or parchment paper as it will make them easier to remove from the tin later. The best way is to grease your tin, then line it with baking paper – this way the paper won’t move when you’re dropping in your thick batter.

Brownie batter being poured into a lined baking tin

Check them before it’s time

Different recipes will have different cooking times but always test them a few minutes before the cooking time is up. Even if a recipe tells you the brownies will take 25 minutes, check them at 22.

Everyone’s oven differs as do their cooking vessels. Brownies in glass or ceramic dishes will take longer to cook than those in metal tins. If you’re developing your own recipe, start with a cooking time of approximately 9-10 minutes per 3/4 cup of batter. 

Not sure how to know when brownies are done? A simple brownie toothpick test. Insert a toothpick and if it comes out with a few moist, sticky crumbs, they’re ready.

Brownies will continue to cook after they’re removed from the oven so they are always best undercooked than overcooked.

A toothpick with lots of brownie batter sticking to it

Toothpick has wet batter on it – not ready yet

A toothpick with some brownie batter sticking on it

Toothpick has a few sticky, moist crumbs – they’re ready to take out of the oven

A toothpick with barely any brownie batter sticking on it

Toothpick has nothing sticking to it – overbaked. 

What if I’ve overcooked my brownies?

There’s no going back unfortunately but all is not lost. Serve them with a scoop of ice cream or poke holes and pour over a chocolate syrup to give it back some moisture.

Let them cool in the tin

Let your brownies cool in the tin until they are at least at room temperature before removing to cool completely. It will deflate a little and that’s perfectly normal.

When to cut brownies

Wait until brownies have cooled completely before cutting them – giving them time to cool and set is important. If you refrigerate them until cold and then cut, you’ll get nice square brownies.

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2 chocolate chip brownies stacked on top of one another

How to make fudgy brownies

The best tips to make fudgy brownies

  • Make sure to use melted chocolate in your recipe
  • Don’t use baking powder
  • Adding more fat aka chocolate and butter

How to make cakey brownies

The best tips for cakey brownies

  • Try adding a little (not too much) baking powder
  • Cook them slightly longer
  • Use less fat – the easiest way to do this is not to use any melted chocolate and rely solely on cocoa for the chocolate flavour

All the amazing brownie recipes