Brownies still swampy even baking lots of extra time... why?

I'm baking a Trader Joe's ready-made brownie mix (i.e. you add nothing, just open the bag of ready-made banner, pour into an 8x8 pan and bake). Instructions: bake 22 min @ 350. Currently: we're up to 35 min and the middle of the brownie mix is still swampy but the edges are just starting to come together.

Question: why? Is this an indication of a dramatically under-heated oven? (Sadly, don't have an oven thermometer to verify.)

  • Posted by: pnoeric
  • August 26, 2011


boulangere August 27, 2011
"Swampy" - love it.
pnoeric August 27, 2011
@Susan: Just to be clear-- I wasn't baking the brownies in Pyrex. They were in a disposable aluminum 8x8 pan. The large Pyrex was two racks under the brownies, left over from when it was there to catch any drips from the pie we had made a few days before. So it's like the Pyrex was "blocking" the heat, though that makes no sense to me... odd.

@Sam: I think that's the key... they definitely did come together well once we had them out and cooling.
susan G. August 26, 2011
The usual recommendation for baking in pyrex is to lower the oven temp by 25 degrees. Which seems to be the opposite of what is happening here.
Sam1148 August 26, 2011
Sometimes brownies fool you. They tend to set up when they're cool. Which can take a few hours---if you can wait that long.

I line the pan with foil to make a 'cradle' so the entire thing can be lifted out, cooled on rack, and then sliced and returned to the pan.
pnoeric August 26, 2011
Thank you all for the replies. I also realized one other thing: we had baked a pie in the oven a week before, and put a large (empty) pyrex dish on the bottom rack of the oven to catch any drips from the pie. I left that large pyrex in the oven, so it was still on the bottom and then the brownies were in the 8x8 metal pan a couple of racks above that.

So I think the real problem was either the oven temp is too low (need to get a thermometer!) or that pyrex was somehow messing up the heat in the oven, though I can't see how that would affect things. (I let the oven preheat for a while, so I would figure it was 350 degrees throughout...)
JessicaBakes August 26, 2011
when i want my brownies to have a better consistency throughout rather than super dry edges and runny inside, i like to put the batter into multiple smaller pans (like loaf pans). This enables them to cook more evenly and makes sure every piece gets cooked through (no more runny center) while not being ridiculously dry on the edge. Give that a try next time!
vvvanessa August 26, 2011
it sounds like your oven is running low. maybe turn it up 25 degrees and check after 10 minutes, then maybe every 5 or 10 after that, depending on how they're doing.
SarahK August 26, 2011
Could it be the difference between a glass baking dish and a metal one? Mine always take longer in glass...
pnoeric August 26, 2011
Er, make that "batter," not "banner."
Recommended by Food52