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Why do my cake style brownies sink?

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
I'm a 41yr old male who's trying to duplicate my grandmother's brownie recipe. Hers always turned out thick and airy with a fine delicate crust on top, while mine will plump up in the oven and then they sink back down turning into a box style gooey brownie. Am I mixing too much, not enough? Any ideas on how to come close to her thicker cake style brownie will be greatly appreciated and I'll love you forever! Here is her Nestle recipe that I follow to the T. Thanks in advance, Paul.
Preheat oven to 325. In small saucepan, combine 1.5 cups sugar, 2/3 cup butter and 1/4 cup water; bring just to boil. Remove from heat. Add one 12oz pkg (2Cups) Nestle's semi-sweet real chocolate morsels and 2t vanilla extract; stir until chocolate melts. Transfer chocolate mixture to large bowl. Beat in 4 eggs, one at a time. In small bowl, combine 1.5 cups flour, 1/2 t baking soda and 1/2 t salt. Gradually add flour mixture to chocolate batter. Blend in 1cup chopped nuts. Spread in greased 13x9x2 baking pan.
Bake at 325 for 50minutes.
Cool and cut into squares.

I'm using the exact pan she used. Should I be hand mixing, hand blender or using a mixer. Please help!
post #2 of 4
For what it's worth, Whatever type of brownies you're baking, mix by hand, and don't overmix. Personally, I love the fudgy type, but I know how it is when you're trying to recreate a memory!

Keep trying, and good luck.
post #3 of 4 has been some time since you made your post, so I trust you have mastered your grandmother's recipe by now, If not, I would say that my Mom had the exact same recipe...only 1/2 the ingredients exactly. All but for the sugar, which was only 1/2 C (not 3/4)...but plenty sweet. Hers baked at 325 also, but in buttered an 8" square pan for about 25 minutes. husband never cared for them because they were too cakelike. My brother-in-law thought they were too fudgy. Go figure. I find them a bit sweet for my taste, but I would say definitely cakelike (though my Mom's note says "supposed to be chewy" ...

You might want to try a half batch and see if they bake up better for you...either with half your ingredients...or using my Mom's sugar amount. You can really skip the step of transferring the chocolate to a bowl if you use a large enough saucepan to melt the sugar/chocolate chips. Let the pan cool a little to the touch so the mixture isn't so hot.

When adding the eggs, always beat only by hand ( a good wooden spoon is helpful), and beat only long enough to blend in and keep from cooking the egg in the hot mixture. (overbeating will cause them to be tough). After the first egg, this is almost a non-issue. Then fold in the dry ingredients. When baking time is up, test dead center with a toothpick to see if done. The sides will have started to pull away from the pan. Once removed from the oven, keep from any cool drafts. I have a glass top stove and like to set my cooling rack atop of that, and then leave the oven door open to keep the air about it warm, to cool gradually.

Other suggestions...make sure to use fresh eggs, change out your baking soda (though not really the same issue as old baking powder)...but these are the only real leavening agents in the recipe. One of the most common causes of failed baked goods is an oven temp that needs to be recalibrated (or adjusted for). Buy yourself a good oven thermometer to see if your oven temp is correct. Hope you have already found success.
post #4 of 4
Paul (Pawz)...a couple of more suggestions occur to me. Try substituting buttermilk for all or part of the water, or add a bit of white vinegar. You will not taste it, but it will activate the baking soda to better produce bubbles/air, or lift to your brownies. I use one or the other always when making banana bread, or muffins with a lot of fruit in them.

If nothing else works, try adding a bit of baking soda also, as an experiment. After all, it is only a brownie, and what is the worst that could happen? (ever seen that old 'Lucy' episode with the bread coming out of the :-)

If you are not totally set on your grandma's recipe, find yourself one where you first cream the butter and sugar, then add melted baking chocolate or cocoa. The creaming of the butter and sugar will provide volume. Again...hope you are already happily munching on your grandma's recipe. Karen
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