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Have you ever pulled a batch of brownies out of the oven and expect soft, gooey brownies only to have hard and crusty ones? What happened?
You followed the instructions in the recipe perfectly, how could this happen? You were expecting soft and fudgy brownies only to end up with mini bricks.
Brownies can end up hard for a few different reasons. Those include:
- Old ingredients
- Over mixing the batter
- Wrong baking temperature
- Overcooking the brownies
- Incorrect storage
Each of these are possible reasons why your brownies may have turned out to be hard. I will go into more detail about each of those possibilities below.
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Reasons Why Your Brownies Might Be Hard
There are a few reasons that your brownies might get hard before, during, and even after baking. Each of these could contribute or be the sole cause of your hard brownies.
Check Your Ingredients
The first thing you need to do would be to make sure that your ingredients are all fresh. If you use a few bad eggs in your batch, it can end up ruining the whole batch of brownies.
Always be sure to use fresh ingredients for the softest brownies.
Don’t Overmix The Batter
Too much mixing can lead to a more thick and dense batter. It is best to mix all your wet ingredients first and then add that mixture to your dry ingredients.
Gentle folding and mixing of the batter are the best way to make sure the batter doesn’t become overmixed.
Use Correct Temperature
If substitute ingredients have been used in making the brownies, then the temperature of cooking the brownies may need to be altered as well.
Cook your brownies in the middle of the oven. It is also best to have your batter at room temperature instead of cool when placed inside the oven.
Don’t Overcook The Batter
If you use a toothpick to check your brownies, do not poke the center. If you wait until the center is done, this most likely will mean that your edges are overdone and crunchy. You should poke closer to the edges to determine how done the brownies are.
Once you pull the brownies out of the oven, make sure not to place them close to any heat. If the top of your stove is warm from baking the brownies, you should place them away from the oven to prevent any further baking.
Once your brownies are cooled, cut and place them in a proper storage container. Always store your brownies at room temperature as well.
If they are placed in the fridge, it can take away the moisture from the brownies and they end up becoming harder much faster.
How Can You Keep Brownies Fresh?
Have you ever made a batch of brownies the night before to save some time the next day? The next morning you wake to find that your brownies are all dried out and hard.
How could this happen?
It can be very disappointing to know that you worked so hard to prepare the day before only to have the brownies no longer soft and chewy. How can you keep your brownies fresh, soft, and chewy?
The best ways to keep your brownies fresh are to use bread slices, wax paper, wrap your brownies, and keep them at room temperature.
I will go into detail about each of those methods below.
Here are a few different ways to keep your brownies fresh for a few days.
Use Bread Slices
You can cut your brownies, ready to go for the next day, and place them in an airtight container. Once you have your brownies cut and in the container, all you need to do is add a slice of bread.
The brownies will absorb the moisture from the bread. The added moisture will ensure that your brownies stay fresh, soft, and chewy like you just pulled them from the oven.
Use Wax Paper
Before placing your brownies into a container, line the bottom with wax paper. Try not to place the brownies too close to each other. Place a sheet of wax paper on top of the brownies as well.
The wax paper can either help to refresh your hardened brownies or just keep them fresh.
Use A Microwave
Adding heat to your brownies is a great way to soften them. Wrap your brownies in a damp paper towel and place them in the microwave for about 10 seconds. If the brownie isn’t as soft as you would like, microwave for a few more seconds.
This method only works if you plan on eating the brownie shortly after heating. After being reheated and cooled, the brownie will end up becoming hard and crunchy.
Do Not Refrigerate
At low temperatures, the sugar in the brownies will begin to crystallize making the brownies hard and crunchy. It is best to leave your brownies at room temperature, this will keep your brownies as close to fresh as possible.
In addition to the sugar crystallizing, the fridge will take the moisture out of your brownies leaving them dry and crumbly.
Wrap Your Brownies
Once your brownies are cooled, you can wrap them each individually in plastic wrap. Once wrapped, you can place the brownies into an airtight container to keep the moisture locked in.
Why Do Brownies Not Cook In The Middle?
Often when you cook brownies, it can feel like you are baking them forever just to get the middle to have some sort of edible consistency. While you are waiting for the middle not to be so goopy, the edges just keep getting crunchier.
While the edges are supposed to be a bit crunchy, they should not be so crunchy that you pick them off to get to the rest of the brownie.
There are a few different reasons that your brownies may not be cooking in the middle. The most common problem is the temperature. If you are using glass or dark, non-stick pans, you can decrease the temperature by 25º. The lower temperature can help the brownies to cook in different types of pans.
Another tip is to set a timer about 10 minutes before your brownies are supposed to be done baking. This can help to prevent overbaking your brownies.
Check to see if the middle is baked, if not you can either adjust the time or even out the temperature. Your brownies are done when the toothpick comes out of the brownies with a little bit of fudginess on them.
If you pull the toothpick out and it is completely dry, your brownies are overdone.
If you want your brownies to stay soft and fresh, make sure that your brownies are properly stored. Be sure not to overmix your batter to ensure that your brownies will cook properly and come out nice and fudgy as well.
If your brownies do come out harder than preferred, they are not a total loss. You can use them as brownie bites for ice cream or even in your milkshakes and parfaits.