Got the Burnt Brownie Blues

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Dear Home Ec 101,

I love making brownies; it makes the house smell so good! I’ve got everything in my cupboard; I’ll try to make them tomorrow.
Got a question for you all, when I make brownies, often the outer edges are done way before the center is; the edges are overcooked and the center is just done. Am I doing something wrong? It happens with cakes in my 9×13 pan, too. Do you experience this, too?


Burnice the Baker
Heather says:

Many people prefer the slightly more done texture of brownie edges, hence the popularity of the Edge Brownie pan, but there is a distinct difference between well done and over done. Here a couple of possibilities. Home ovens are not always calibrated correctly, the next time you are out, purchase a thermometer that hangs from your oven rack. Use this thermometer to check your oven’s setting.  

Additionally surface area matters in baking. It’s very important to either use the pan called for in a recipe or to adjust the cook time. The more surface of the batter in contact with the pan and open to the heat of the oven the faster the item will cook. 

Our basic brownie recipe is designed for a 9×13 pan. When checking brownies for doneness the center should be set, but it may appear soft. Use a toothpick and insert it into the very center of the pan. Very moist crumbs are ok, but raw batter is not. When you near the end of the cook time, only return the brownies for two minutes at a time and err on the side of underdone.

Good luck!

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6 thoughts on “Got the Burnt Brownie Blues”

  1. Try covering the pan with foil and then cutting a square/rectangle out of the middle, leaving about 2 inches over the edge of the brownies. The edges won’t crisp up as much.

  2. Second amybee’s foil trick, but I’ve had luck with simply wrapping the bottom and outside of the pan relatively loosely. The foil can be reused for other things.

    Another couple of things to try:

    Try changing the location of the food in the oven. If you usually place your pan in the center or toward the bottom of the oven, move it higher.

    Try placing your pan on a cookie sheet. This will baffle the rising hot air from the bottom of the pan and make it circulate back down over the top of your baking dish, which will help the center cook quicker. If the bottom still burns but the sides are OK, put the pan on top of a wire rack on top of the cookie sheet.

    Try using a different oil to grease your pan. If you’re using a “lite” oil in particular, try using olive oil or butter. If you are not flouring your pan, too, try that.


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