Everyone has their preference when it comes to brownies. There are endless amounts of recipes out there, so anyone reading this will find a brownie recipe that is suitable for their tastes. The other beautiful thing about brownies is the amount of additional ingredients you can add to your mix. Add oreos, peanut butter, mint extract, dried fruit, cream cheese, or even black beans for a protein-packed version!
What is a Brownie?
A brownie is a baked, rectangular sweet treat, usually with the consistency between a cake and a dessert bar. Brownies are typically strictly of the chocolate variety, many times with multiple types of chocolate in the batter. Many brownies will consist of both melted chocolate and cocoa powder. Brownies are very diverse, and everyone has their opinion on how they like their brownies. Luckily, there are millions of brownie recipes on the internet to satisfy that insatiable chocolate craving.
Boxed brownie mix is one of the few pre-made ingredient mixes at the grocery store that turns out delicious every time, and is hard to match with a homemade version. That is the beauty of brownies; they are so delicious that even pre-made boxed mixes come out delectable every time. You may have noticed in the past that there are multiple directions on a box of brownie mix, depending on how you like your brownie’s texture. For cakey brownies, there may be less egg or oil added to the batter. For more fudgy, instructions may advise you to add an extra egg yolk for richness. Either way, brownies cater to all preferences when it comes to flavor and consistency.
Do Brownies Need Chocolate?
Brownies almost always have chocolate in them, contributing to their deep chocolate-brown color. It is in their namesake for brownies to be the color of chocolate. However, blondies are gaining more and more popularity. A blondie is a dessert that is baked in the same type of pan as a brownie, but with the absence of chocolate in the batter. Technically, brownies do not need chocolate, however the absence of chocolate turns the brownie into a blondie. Either way, brownies and blondies are delicious and can both have the consistency of fudgy, cakey, or chewy.
The Three Types of Brownie Consistencies
The two most famous types of brownies are cakey and fudgy, and for a long time were considered to be the only brownie textures. Cakey brownies resemble more of a chocolate cake with a light, airy end result. Fudgy brownies have the mouthfeel of a smooth, creamy fudge with minimal crumbs. Both are very different in texture, although delightfully chocolatey. Chewy brownies are a marriage between cakey and fudgy. There are lots of reasons each of these brownies have their own distinct deliciousness.
The most chocolatey variety of brownie is the fudgy type. This decadent variation requires a high amount of fat in the batter, by way of chocolate, butter, oil, or eggs. The batter also has less flour overall, contributing to its silky, fudge-like texture. Biting into this brownie, you will find a rich, moist, dense, extremely chocolatey, gooey texture reminiscent of a chocolate truffle. This texture has a melt-in-your-mouth quality to it that makes chocolate lovers swoon.
A traditional fudgy brownie batter will begin with melting butter and chopped chocolate, sometimes together. A small amount of flour is added in addition to an egg. Some recipes will call for an extra egg or egg yolk for “extra fudgy” brownies. Adding some crunch into the mix, such as chopped nuts or chocolate chips, helps give a varying mouthfeel to the smooth, rich chocolate.
Try a fudgy brownie recipe here.
Cakey brownies earned this title by being similar to the texture of a rich chocolate cake. There is typically more flour in this variety, and can contain more leavening agents like baking soda or powder. Cakey brownies have lift and more air pockets, leading to a lighter brownie with more crumbs. This variety is the thickest of the three, and the least dense. While these brownies are still chocolatey and delicious, cakey brownies are less gooey than the aforementioned fudgy type.
When beginning cakey brownie batter, the butter and sugar are creamed together at room temperature, much like cake batter. The butter is not typically melted with chocolate like fudgy brownies. When cakey brownies are done, a toothpick will come out of the center clean, with no streaks of chocolate.
Try this cakey brownie recipe here.
Chewy brownies are the lovechild between fudgy and cakey varieties. More flour will be found in this batter than fudgy brownies, but less flour than cakey brownies. The outer edges of this brownie have a nice structure that is cake-like but does not crumble. The middle of a chewy brownie has a texture and chew similar to a gooey, fudgy brownie. This treat is the best of both worlds when it comes to brownies. This type is perfect for the person who enjoys both fudgy and cakey brownies, and cannot commit to one over the other. Chewy brownies are also great to bring to parties, since their consistency is more of a crowd-pleaser.
Try a chewy brownie recipe here.
All in all, brownies are diverse, delicious, deeply chocolatey desserts that can please all palates. Fudge fans out there will gravitate towards fudgy brownies, for their high-fat, minimal flour batter that ends with a gooey, melty consistency. Cake fans will love cakey brownies for their airyness, by way of more flour and leavening agents. Can’t decide which is your fave? Go for a chewy brownie and enjoy both textures in one. No matter which is your favorite, there are variations to satisfy any foodie’s brownie craving.