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layer on top of brownies

lately every time I make brownies there is a hard layer that forms on the top of the brownies, cracking the minute I cut into them, making a hard layer that ends up separating from the "brownies" underneath. why does this happen?

asked by Gourmet Recipes for One over 6 years ago
8 answers 15111 views
Cbfb27ea 071f 4941 9183 30dce4007b50  merrill
Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

added over 6 years ago

Are you using the same recipe every time? Can you provide a link?

0b360b64 877d 4742 8283 76f2c1197f7f  redsaurkraut
added over 6 years ago

Are you putting chocolate chunks or chips in them? I make a bundt, where I intentionally let the chocolate pieces set up shop in the bottom of the pan, so when it's inverted, they form a hard, chocolate crust on top.
Could this be happening with your brownies, in reverse? If so, maybe cut down on the size or amount of your chocolate pieces and mix them in thoroughly just before baking?

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Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added over 6 years ago

How long are you baking them and at what temp?

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added over 6 years ago

That is my favorite part of a brownie. I seek out recipes that have a crackling top layer and chewy edges. I don't like wet, fudgy, raw brownies. Give me your recipe, please.

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added over 6 years ago

It's hard to diagnose without knowing the recipe, but these four tips will work with any recipe:

1. Remove 1 or 2 tablespoons of the granulated sugar called for in the recipe.
2. If the recipes calls for melted butter, stir the batter entirely by hand, not with a mixer, until all the ingredients are just combined. Do not overmix. If the recipe directs you to cream the butter and sugar, use a mixer for that part of the recipe, but switch to a wooden spoon after adding the flour and eggs.
3. Bake the brownies on a rack in the center of the oven.
4. As soon as the pan is removed from the oven, cover it with foil or plastic wrap and poke three holes near the center with a paring knife. Allow to cool until the pan is comfortably warm to the touch, then remove the foil or plastic to cool completely before cutting.

23b88974 7a89 4ef5 a567 d442bb75da04  avatar
added over 6 years ago

Thanks for the the tips. Also, what about rapping the pan halfway through cooking to let out air bubbles?

The first time (recently) I made them I thought I overmixed them with the mixer so this time I made them by hand and it still happened. First batch had chips, the second one no. The second batch I made a diff. recipe in an 8x8 pan and baked for 40 minutes (they were undercooked). This is the first recipe.

Cooking spray, for greasing
16 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
2 sticks unsalted butter, melted and cooled
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon flour, divided
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 11.5-ounce bag semisweet chocolate chunks
3/4 cup walnuts, roughly chopped, optional

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9 x 13 baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.
2. Melt entire 16-ounces chocolate chips over a double boiler. Transfer to a medium bowl. Add butter and mix until well incorporated. Set aside to cool.
3. Using an electric mixer, beat eggs and sugar together until smooth. Add cooled chocolate mixture to sugar and mix until smooth. Add vanilla and mix again.
4. In a small bowl, combine 1 cup flour, baking powder and salt. Add dry ingredients, a little at a time, to chocolate mixture, stirring after each addition. Combine until smooth. Toss chocolate chunks with remaining 1 tablespoon flour and add to chocolate mixture. Gently stir to combine. Transfer to prepared baking pan and bake for 45-50 minutes (cover with aluminum foil after 30 minutes if getting too browned), until slightly crisp around edges but gooey inside. Allow to cool to room temperature. Place brownies in refrigerator until ready to serve, at least 2 hours.

Makes approximately 18 brownies.

23b88974 7a89 4ef5 a567 d442bb75da04  avatar
added almost 2 years ago

The reason that crust is forming (which I absolutely LOVE, by the way) is because you are mixing the batter for long. It is basically meringue.
So if you are creaming the butter and sugar together, and then adding the eggs, and beating this mixture for a while before adding the dry ingredients- there will surely be a crust on the brownies!

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Susan W

Susan W is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added almost 2 years ago

I agree. I work hard to create that crust.

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