Alton Brown says the secret to the best brownies is to bake them twice

Your best batch of brownies requires zero extra ingredients, the celebrity chef says.

Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Whether you call dibs on a corner piece or prefer a piece from the gooey center, it’s tough to deny the appeal of a brownie. Rich in chocolate flavor with a texture in between a cake and a cookie—and far easier to make than either of those classic desserts—we’ll take any slice we can get from a pan of chocolate brownies.

Since we—and Southern Living readers—adore these OG bar cookies so much, we have played around with and perfected several variations on the theme. Our Flourless Bourbon Brownies are the ultimate gluten-free treat, while Sweet Potato Brownies and Pecan Pie Brownies practically shout, “Fall has arrived!”

We’ve pan-banged and baked brownies in cast-iron skillets. We’ve transformed them into Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches, found a way to make every piece a corner piece, and upgraded boxed mix with coffee (and still can’t stop buzzing about that).

We thought that we had been there, savored that when it came to brownies any which way. That is, until we stumbled upon Alton Brown’s Cocoa Brownies: Reloaded. This recipe first appeared in Season 1 of his Cooking Channel show Good Eats: Reloaded, and resurfaced on his social media feeds and website since.

Since we’re suckers for a good food hack, we were hooked on the concept as soon as we spotted Brown’s description: “Proof positive that technique is just as important as ingredients, especially when it comes to chocolaty goodness. This is version 2.0 — a change up in the baking time creates a fudgy brownie with a crisp and flaky crust, different than the original recipe,” he explains.

In addition to a higher ratio of cocoa powder to flour "to achieve a perfectly fudgy brownie," Brown says, the key step to baking your fudgiest batch of brownies lies in a double-bake technique. You need zero extra ingredients beyond the usual sugars, cocoa powder, flour, salt, eggs, butter, and vanilla extract. You just need a few extra minutes.


And the kicker is that you can use this easy baking hack with any brownie recipe (yes, even a boxed brownie mix!) to upgrade its texture. According to a tip Brown scrawled on a sticky note, snapped a picture of and posted on Twitter, it’s the secret to “ooier centers,” he says. To achieve it, “bake your brownies for 15 minutes, take them out for 15 minutes, then bake till done. Trust me on this.”

Usually, brownies bake at 350°F for about 25 to 35 minutes, depending on the recipe and pan size. Brown’s variation, however, involves baking at 300°F for 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven to cool for 15 minutes, then pop the brownies back in the 300°F oven for about 30 more minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center reads 195°F.

Allow the brownies to cool for 30 minutes in the pan, then transfer the baked brownies to a cooling rack. After 10 more minutes of cooling down, shift the brownies to a cutting board. And to follow his instructions to a “T,” dig out your pizza cutter and cut the brownies swiftly and cleanly with the roll of a wheel. The finished product features a rich, dense, gooey center that sets up just enough (without being still raw and unsafe to eat).

Better brownies, no extra fancy ingredients or tools required! We can’t wait to try Brown’s reloaded brownie recipe to add to a dessert platter alongside his Browned Butter Krispy Rice Treats.

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