Baking brownies was my first love. My favorite thing to bake was brownies (now I love baking breads..ha!)…. a decade ago!
When I started baking, I used to bake Dark Victory Brownies from a famous blogger. Ohh I need to search if she is still active…
So, that dark victory brownie was a bomb! My baking knowledge and pantry was quite limited at that time. So I never had dutch processed cocoa and sour cream at hand. I used baking soda with natural cocoa to substitute dutch processed cocoa and yogurt to substitute sour cream. Still it always turned out amazing. I had a very small toaster oven at that time which belonged to my grandmother. I longed for that shiny and crackly top on my brownies but my brownies never turned out like that no matter what recipe I tried. Later in life, baking became second or maybe third thing in life and I stopped bothering about crackly and shiny tops! When I got back to serious baking couple of years back and finally got a new and a bigger oven I finally figured out the secrets behind that signature shiny and crackly top of brownies.
Oh and btw If this ‘brownie’ story is boring you, feel free to scroll down and get straight to the tips and recipe to bake best brownies with shiny and crackly top.
For the folks who are still reading… the rest of my ‘brownie’ story continues here… So, the bigger oven didn’t make much of the difference. The top got a few cracks here and there but not that typical full blown crackly top, you know what I mean? I know you get the idea about the level of my sanity 😀
That was the time when I started researching and experimenting to know the science behind that damn crackly and shiny top because I wanted that shiny top so bad….
Secrets to Get The Shiny And Crackly Top on Your Brownies
- If the recipe asks to melt the butter and sugar together, always melt the sugar and butter on a double boiler to the point when the mixture is shiny but not boiling. Don’t rush this step in microwave. All microwave ovens work different and unless you know how much time, power and duration between cycles needed to melt the butter and sugar just before it’s boiling. So, double boiler is your best bet here. Melting butter and sugar together till the point it’s shiny is the secret behind that shiny top on brownies. This is the only step in brownie recipes I found to give shiny tops. The other factors give you crackly top but not shiny top!
- Whenever it’s time to mix in eggs in your brownie recipe (and that’s always before adding the flour, we know it right?) always add eggs one by one and mix for a minute before adding the next egg. Usually brownie batters are mixed with wooden spoons but if you are baking big batch brownies, take out your handheld electric mixer and mix in eggs with beater following the step of adding one egg at a time. This will save you a lot time and energy! Beating the eggs this way creates a meringue layer on brownie top which actually contributes to that signature crackly crust.
- The second tip is to fold in extra chocolate chips or chopped chocolate when the batter is ready. Even when recipe asks you to melt the chocolate with butter, always throw in extra chocolate in the end which also helps to get that crackly crust. You can also top your brownie batter with Nutella once it’s poured in the pan and just make soft swirls with a knife. Now you know why some brownie recipe calls to add chocolate chips in the end!
- The third tip is to bake your brownies on the lower middle rack of your oven. Why? Because we don’t want to cook the top too quickly which will give it a porous texture on top. So, basically your aim is to cook the top slowly. You can also lower your top rod temperature if that works independently.
- If you want a short cut and want some magic wand to get you a crackly top even with your one-bowl old fashioned brownie recipe, I have that magic wand for you. Oh no problem you can thank me later 😉 So, the magic wand is to top your brownie batter after pouring it in your pan, with something caremelish! Oh yes, just top it with some left over Dulce-de-leche or some caramel sauce or just pop some caramel candies (like eclair candies!). Topping the brownie batter with caramel does the trick because when it melts, it leaves behind a crusty layer when brownie is baked completely.
How to Bake Next Level Brownies?
No brownie recipe is bad. All recipes create a different brownie in texture and flavor but there are a few things which helps to bake best brownies even at home.
You don’t want to make any compromise on this. Always use the best quality chocolate. I would say bake the brownies with only cocoa if you don’t have good quality chocolate on hand because bad chocolate can ruin the entire thing!
Good quality butter is the second important ingredient in your brownies. Bad butter will make your brownie batter runny and hence will effect the texture of your brownies.
After adding flour, mix your brownie batter with a wooden spoon just until no white bits are seen. JUST STOP HERE! Mixing after this point will make the brownie batter strangely thick and can lead to dry and tough brownies.
Baking the brownies 2 minutes less or 2 minutes more after they are just done can make all the difference. If you are in doubt, always bake less but not more. Baking the brownies even 2 more minutes just after they are done can turn them dry and strange! Baking less can make them cook while they are resting after coming out of the oven but baking more can ruin the brownie completely because they continue to cook for some time after coming out of the oven. Check with a toothpick and it should come out with some wet bits! That’s the time to stop baking your brownies.
That’s all folks! If you know any other tips to bake best brownies with signature shiny and crackly top at home, please don’t forget to share with me in comments below. If something is not clear, please do let me know and I will try my best to make it clear for you all. When you leave a comment, it makes me feel I’m not posting in a void and there are some humans who are reading my posts so please consider writing something back to make this girl feel good 🙂
An amazing brownie recipe which takes your home baked brownies to the next level!
- 1 1/4 cups (106g) Dutch-process cocoa
- 1 cup (227g) unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon instant coffee
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs
- 2 1/4 cups (447g) caster sugar
- 1 1/2 cups (177g) all-purpose flour or gluten free flour
- 2 cups (300g) chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9″ x 13″ pan and line with aluminum foil with two sides hanging out. Spray the foil with non-stick cooking spray or lightly grease with butter.
- Take a large bowl, add cocoa, salt, baking powder, instant coffee powder and vanilla.
- Add one egg at a time and beat for 30 seconds after adding each egg.
- On a double boiler, melt butter and sugar together, until the mixture is very hot but not boiling.
- Add the hot butter mixture to the egg mixture and mix with wooden spoon until well combined.
- Add the flour and chocolate chips, stirring with wooden spoon until just smooth.
- Pour the batter into a lightly greased 9″ x 13″ pan.
- Bake the brownies for 30 to 32 minutes (start checking after 28 minutes!) or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with some wet bits. The brownie should feel set on the edges and the center should look moist, but not unbaked. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack before cutting and serving.