Anyone else faces a dilemma on which brownie recipe to choose whenever you want to make brownies?? There are soo many out there – best chewy brownies, best fudgey brownies, best cakey brownies. Then, the second question is whether I should stick to a tried and tested recipe or explore new ones. My first brownie actually began with the back of the Hershey cocoa powder box – to be honest it was a pretty good already.
Pancake Princess did a nice Brownie Bakeoff here, that awarded King Arthur’s Flour recipe as her favorite, with Sally’s Baking addiction as a close second. It’s a nice read if you’re curious about the different textures and flavors that could be created by adjusting the ingredients.
I won’t bore you with my own excel sheet, but I narrowed to: Handle the Heat’s Chewy Brownies, Cafe Delite’s Best Fudgey Brownies, Confessions of a Confectionista’s My Favorite Brownies, King Arthur’s Flour Fudgey Brownies, and Hershey’s Special Dark Chocolate Brownies. Several things I was looking out for:
- Definitely cocoa powder for my brownies! 100% cocoa, not melted chocolate, and not a combination. I like how cocoa brownies yields a chewier brownie and are less likely to be oily or overly dense. It’s also easier to control sugar, and for the “fudgey” aspect, I prefer to incorporate it by adding chocolate chips or chocolate chunks that will melt like tiny pockets within the brownies and provide texture.
- I like a combination of vegetable oil and butter. Honestly I had no real reason except that I did that for my first recipes when I was around 12 as an attempt to replace with ‘healthy fats’ (haha), but liked the results and didn’t find much compromise in flavor. Turns out that the science behind it is that while butter provides more flavor, it also contains lactic acid that reacts with baking soda / baking powder to aerate the batter, creating a more risen, cakier brownie. Oil is neutral, which allows chocolate flavor to shine, and doesn’t contribute to aeration – hence suitable for fudgier recipes. Hence some bakers like to use a blend – oil for tenderness and butter for flavor.
- Handle the Heat had the highest proportion of cocoa powder and butter (with less flour, since the cocoa powder is a substitute for the dry ingredient). It also incorporates an extra egg yolk for chewiness and richness. It uses cornstarch for additional texture
- Do not over beat your batter once the flour and cocoa powder are added! This also creates air pockets in the batter which will give cake-like textured brownies.
I went with Handle the Heat and it definitely did give the chew I was looking for! I didn’t cut the sugar, as is already lower ratio wise compared to the other recipes, and it’s required for that crackly top. The main modification is that I doubled the recipe for my pan (and to feed our big Neuro team), and bake time required 37 minutes. For decorations, crush up some freeze dried raspberries and oreo cookies and place them on the brownies pre-baking. The freeze-dried raspberries did lose their color vibrance after baking unfortunately.. it’s okay, just top up with more toppings post-bake. For the Rum raisin brownies, glaze the brownies with a whiskey icing-sugar glaze (it provides a nice crunch too) and top with rum raisins which has been soaked in whiskey or dark rum overnight. ^_^ Enjoy! Go for the 🍓🍒 raspberry oreo for brownies that incorporate syrupy sweet+tartness from raspberries, dark cocoa from oreo, and sweet comforting vanilla notes. The rum and raisin brownies developed a nice syrupy crunch from the glaze and warm whiskey/raisin tones 🍾, so if you like brownies with texture, check this technique out!
(and bonus Rum and Raisin Brownies)
Recipe is stated for 16 brownies in a 8×8 inch pan
(I doubled the recipe for my 12 x 13 inch pan)
|Raspberry Oreo Midnight Brownies
adapted from Best Ever Chewy Brownies by Handle The Heat
1 1/4 cups (249 grams) granulated sugar
To make Chewy Chocolate Brownies
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line a 8 by 8-inch pan with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
With a rubber spatula, stir in the flour, baking soda, cornstarch, and salt until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
Spread the brownie batter evenly into the prepared pan. For Raspberry Oreo Midnight Brownies, sprinkle on crushed freeze dried raspberries and crushed oreo cookies.
Place brownies the oven and bake for 30 minutes (my pan required 37 minutes) or until the brownies are set and a cake tested inserted into the center has moist crumbs attached. Do not overbake. Let cool completely before cutting and serving. Sprinkle on more freeze dried raspberries for decorations.
Variation: For the Rum Raisin Brownies, bake the brownies without any toppings. After they come out of the oven, make a glaze by mixing icing sugar with a tablespoon of rum. Drizzle it on the brownies, and top with rum-raisins that were soaked in rum or whiskey overnight. Sift on icing sugar for decorations.