Brownies are my favorite baked good. I’ve always loved boxed brownies from the store, which have a certain perfect chewiness. But for some reason, it’s difficult to replicate in homemade recipes.
Cook’s Illustrated Deputy Food Editor Andrea Geary got to the bottom of the textural puzzle: It all has to do with the ratio of saturated and unsaturated fats used in the recipe. Many homemade brownies use butter, a solid saturated fat, as the sole fat of choice. But while it helps boost flavor, butter alone just doesn’t turn out that nostalgic chew. It turns out that you also need vegetable oil, a liquid unsaturated fat.
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The reason you need both saturated and unsaturated fats is because they each affect the structure of baked goods very differently. Saturated fats tend to provide more structure and can support more air, meaning they will produce cake-like brownies.
Unsaturated fats, on the other hand, are usually oils that don’t hold air, so they make denser baked goods. Combine saturated and unsaturated fat in a roughly 1:3 ratio, and you’ll get the chewy boxed-mix texture you’re looking for.
The ATK Kids team adapted Andrea’s recipe for kids in The Complete Baking Book for Young Chefs, which is chock-full of kid-tested and kid-approved recipes just like this one. Try it out, and homemade brownies with store-bought-style chewiness will never evade you again.
Click on the free recipe link below for complete step-by-step instructions.
The Complete Baking Book for Young ChefsAmerica's Test Kitchen once again brings their scientific know-how, rigorous testing, and hands-on learning to KIDS! From breakfast to breads and cookies to cakes (yes, even cupcakes!), learn to bake it all here.
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