What Is A Brownie?
So, what is a brownie? Brownies are a baked good that typically contain chocolate, eggs, butter, sugar, flour, salt, and vanilla extract. (Here’s my very best brownie recipe, if you’d like to see an example.) Although the ingredients are similar to what is used for a chocolate cake, a brownie is denser and heavier than a cake. Different recipes may produce a “fudgier” or “cakier” brownie depending on the ingredients or method of combination that is used.
Many believe that brownies first appeared in the Fanny Farmer cookbook.
Here are a few other points:
- Some brownie recipes call for a leavener (such as baking powder) to increase the rise of the brownies. Some bakers feel that using leavener in a brownie recipe produces something that is not a true brownie because it is not dense enough.
- Some brownie recipes include mix-ins, such as nuts, chocolate chips, or fruit. Others include a glaze or frosting. When test baking brownie recipes, I tend to leave out mix-ins and leave off frosting so that I can taste the brownie itself first.
- A brownie is a cousin to a blondie. A blondie is similarly dense and uses almost the same ingredient list with one exception: a blondie doesn’t use chocolate or cocoa in the batter except as a mix-in.
- Although they can be baked in many pan types and shapes, brownies are most commonly baked in a square or rectangular shaped pan and then cut into squares for serving. (Here’s an exception: a brownie cut into wedges.)
- Brownies can be served warm or cool. The ideal temperature depends on the recipe and your own preference. Obviously, if you’re serving them with ice cream, you’ll want a nice, warm brownie.
I’m sure that many bakers can add their own two cents here. What is a brownie, and do you have a favorite recipe?