I have baked a gazillion batches of brownies in my life, trying to achieve a truly chewy brownie. I’m surprised I didn’t give up at some point in the process. But there’s a persistent memory of a neighbor’s chewy brownie from my childhood that I’ve been chasing like the elusive unicorn ever since. It won’t let me go.
The trouble is that almost every brownie recipe is described as cakey or fudgy, neither of which is what I’m after.
Fudgy brownies are often described as chewy, which is simply not accurate. Wet and dense is wet and dense, not chewy. A chocolate ganache, for example, is not what I call chewy. And many fudgy brownies have so much bar chocolate and so little flour that they are almost chocolate ganache.
I did eventually, and inadvertently, create what I think is the world’s best fudgy brownie, AKA LunaCafe OtherWorldly Silky Fudgy Brownies. And they’re remarkable.
But super chewy brownies are a work in progress. Here are a few tips I’ve picked up along this continuing journey.
- Chewy brownies contain more flour than fudgy brownies. The extra proteins help to create the chewy texture.
- Bread flour contains more protein than all-purpose flour, thus is a good choice for the chewiest brownies.
- On the opposite side of the flour spectrum, cake flour is a poor choice for chewy brownies.
- Whole eggs, rather than egg yolks along are best for chewy brownies. The egg whites contribute structure to the batter.
- The correct proportion of ingredients is key to chewy brownies. Too much flour, eggs, or leavener make cakey brownies. Too little makes fudgy brownies.
- Incorporate corn syrup or glucose syrup into the batter.
- Mix warm chocolate-butter mixture with the rest of the ingredients, and pop brownie batter while still warm into a hot oven.
- For a shiny, crackly top, keep the batter thin and warm, and after you add the eggs, stir batter until it pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
- If you have cake strips, be sure to wrap the pan before baking. This ensures that the edges don’t overbake while the center sets up. I LOVE these things!
- Baking time is critical. Chewy brownies baked five minutes too long will be tough and dry around the edges.
- Begin testing for doneness at the 20-minute mark. Insert a thin wooden pick halfway between the center and an edge of the batter. If it comes out gooey, continue baking for 5-minute increments, testing after each increment, until pick comes out with moist crumbs rather than goo.
- If brownies are pulling away from the sides of the pan, drats! You’ve overbaked them. Pull the pan from the oven immediately. You may have to trim and discard as much as an inch of overbaked batter from each side.
- It’s tempting to dive into the pan of still warm brownies, but it’s really best to wait until they are completely cool. The flavor and texture improves with time.
And so the journey continues. The following brownies are wonderful, and yes, they are chewy. But I’m not done pushing the chewy envelope–so make these lovelies, and stay tuned for the next chapter.
- 2 teaspoons unsalted butter and 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour to coat the baking pan
- 1 cup (4½ ounces) King Arthur unbleached bread flour
- ¾ cup sugar
- ¾ cup dark brown sugar
- ¼ cup premium quality unsweetened, natural-process cocoa powder (not alkalized or Dutch process)
- 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder, optional
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 6 ounces premium-quality, bittersweet chocolate (70-75% cacao)
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cool room temperature
- ¼ cup dark corn syrup
- 2 tablespoons creamy-style peanut butter (from ½ cup below)
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ cup creamy-style peanut butter
- Lightly butter, and then flour an 8- by 8-inch, light colored, metal baking pan, tapping out excess flour. I love this one.
- In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, brown sugar, cocoa powder, optional espresso powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Reserve.
- In a glass bowl or measuring cup, microwave chocolate and butter, in two 30-second intervals to begin with and then 10-second intervals thereafter, until chocolate softens and can be stirred until smooth with a chopstick or narrow flexible spatula.
- Stir in corn syrup and 2 tablespoons peanut butter, and blend well.
- When batter is still warm but not hot, add eggs, and stir to incorporate.
- Add flour mixture to chocolate batter, and stir rapidly to combine. Continue stirring until batter pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 1 minute.
- Spread batter evenly into prepared baking pan. Secure a cake strip around the edges of the pan.
- Spoon 9 blobs of remaining room temperature peanut butter evenly over the batter. With a small metal spatula, swirl peanut butter out to the edges and into the center of the batter.
- Bake at 350F for 30-40 minutes. The batter will jiggle slightly in the center even after the brownies are done. A toothpick inserted halfway between the center and an edge will NOT come out clean.
- Cool on a wire rack, and then cut with a serrated knife into 2-inch squares.
More LunaCafe Brownie Recipes
Cookin’ with Gas (inspiration from around the web)
- Baking Brownies Just Right: Cakey, Chewy, or Fudgy| Fine Cooking