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Betty Crocker Brownies & Dessert Bars Home

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FAQ

Brownies and Dessert Bars FAQ's

Q. Can I use any type of metal or glass pan?
A. Yes, but you’ll get slightly different results with the different types of pan. The best type is uncoated medium to heavyweight aluminum or a metal pan with a gray nonstick coating. Other nonstick or dark-coated pans will give you brownies with slightly chewier edges. Also, if you’re using a dark, nonstick metal pan, you’ll need to trim the baking time a bit. If you’re using an insulated pan, increase the baking time by 3 to 5 minutes. Brownies made in a glass pan will have chewier edges and a fudgier center.

Q. Can I bake these brownies in any size pan?
A.
Brownies are pretty versatile when it comes to pan size. Most are baked in 13x9x2-inch pans. Baking them in a 9x9x2-inch pan will give you thicker brownies. You’ll need to follow the directions for extra-thick brownies on the package and bake them about 10 minutes longer. Brownies baked in an 8x8x2-inch or 11x7x2-inch pan will be extra-thick, too, so you’ll need to bake them longer (nearly an hour) at a slightly lower temp (325ºF) so that the center bakes but the edges don’t burn. Be sure to measure pans carefully, and use the toothpick test to tell if the brownies are done. What’s the toothpick test? The brownies are done when you stick a toothpick in them 2 inches from the side of the pan and it comes out clean or almost clean.

Q. Should I reduce the oven temperature for a dark, nonstick metal or glass pan?
A.
No, you shouldn’t have to decrease the oven temp, but you will have to decrease the baking time. Check the directions on the package.

Q. How can I make more than one batch of brownies when I only have one pan?
A. You don’t need to run out to buy another pan. Just line your brownie pan with aluminum foil, making sure the foil sticks up above the rim of the pan. Grease only the bottom of the foil, and bake as usual. Once the brownies are cool, lift them out with the foil, and voilà! Your pan is ready for the next batch.

Q. Can I grease the pan with butter, margarine or nonstick cooking spray instead of shortening?
A.
All of these options work just fine, but remember to grease only the bottom of the pan.

Q. Why should I grease only the bottom of the pan?
A. If you grease the bottom and sides of the pan, the batter won’t be able to "climb" up the sides of the pan, and your brownies will be flatter with an uneven top.

Q. Can I use melted butter or margarine instead of vegetable oil in the brownie batter?
A. You sure can. Using butter or margarine will make your brownies slightly richer with a bit of "dairy" taste. If you use margarine, you’ll need to bake the brownies 2 minutes longer. Brownies made with a vegetable oil spread that has less than 65% fat will be slightly more dry and cakelike. The only "no-no" is using melted vegetable shortening in place of the oil.

Q. Can I use less vegetable oil than called for in the directions or substitute for all the oil?
A.
Yes, but your brownies will be tougher and more cakelike. If you’re looking to reduce fat, try Betty Crocker Sweet Rewards® low-fat and reduced-fat brownie mixes. These mixes work better than trying to adapt our regular mixes to lower-fat versions. You can substitute yogurt or applesauce for the oil, but the brownies will turn out sticky and be hard to cut. Products such as fruit-based butter and oil replacements found in the baking aisle will give you brownies that are drier with chewier edges, a less shiny top and slightly fruity flavor.

Q. I made the low-fat fudge brownie mix and the brownies seem chewy.
A. That’s normal for brownies made with less fat. Fat is what makes brownies moist, fudgy and tender.

Q. Can I substitute fat-free cholesterol-free egg product or egg whites for the whole eggs?
A. You sure can. Instead of the 2 eggs, use 1/2 cup fat-free cholesterol-free egg product or 3 egg whites. Just keep in mind that the brownies will be more cakelike and darker in color.

Q. Can I use any size eggs?
A. Yes, because any differences in texture caused by the different amount of egg are slight. You won’t need to make any adjustments.

Q. Can I mix the brownie batter with an electric mixer?
A. We’ve found that mixing the batter by hand helps give the brownies their chewy, fudgy texture. A hand-held mixer can add too much air, but a heavy-duty stand mixer with a paddle is okay. Be sure to mix the batter at very low speed until it’s just moist.

Q. Why is the batter lumpy?
A. Some clumps of mix don’t get moistened during stirring, but they’ll dissolve as the brownies bake.

Q. Why are my brownies too cakelike--thicker, drier, less chocolaty, with a less shiny top?
A. You may have used too much water. Be sure to follow the instructions on the package and measure carefully. To measure water, place a liquid measuring cup on your counter, pour in the water, bend down and check the amount at eye level. Or your oven may be too hot. You may want to have it checked. Otherwise, you can adjust the baking time. Test for doneness by sticking a toothpick in brownies 2 inches from the side of the pan. If it comes out clean or almost clean, the brownies are done. Do this test at the minimum baking time given in the package directions.

Q. Why are my brownies too fudgy in the center?
A. You may not have baked them long enough or your oven wasn’t hot enough. First, turn your oven on 10 to 15 minutes before baking the brownies so your oven will come up to the heat called for in the recipe. Then, recheck the baking time on the package directions. If you think your oven isn’t accurate, you may want to have it checked. Otherwise, you can adjust the baking time. Test for doneness by sticking a toothpick in brownies 2 inches from the side of the pan. If it comes out clean or almost clean, the brownies are done. Do this test at the minimum baking time given in the directions. Repeat every minute until the brownies are done.

Q. Why is the top of my brownies flaky?
A. It’s normal for fudgy brownies to have a flaky, shiny top. If it’s really flaky, you may not have used enough water. Be sure to follow the instructions on the package and measure carefully. To measure water, place a liquid measuring cup on your counter, pour in the water, bend down and check the amount at eye level.

Q. Why does the top of my brownies look dull?
A. Two things can cause this: too much water or too high an oven temp. Be sure to follow the instructions on the package and measure carefully. To measure water, place a liquid measuring cup on your counter, pour in the water, bend down and check the amount at eye level. If you’ve set the oven temp accurately but think your oven is too hot, you may want to have it checked. Otherwise, you can adjust the baking time. Test for doneness by sticking a toothpick in brownies 2 inches from the side of the pan. If it comes out clean or almost clean, the brownies are done. Do this test at the minimum baking time given in the package directions.

Q. What causes hard brownies?
A.
Brownies will get hard if you bake them too long. Start by turning on the oven 10 to 15 minutes before you plan to bake the brownies to bring the oven up the heat called for in the recipe. If you’ve set the oven temp accurately but think your oven is too hot--or not hot enough--you may want to have it checked. Otherwise, you can adjust the baking time. Test for doneness by sticking a toothpick in brownies 2 inches from the side of the pan. If it comes out clean or almost clean, the brownies are done. Do this test at the minimum baking time given in the package directions.

Baking the brownies in pan that’s too large can make them turn out hard, too. Be sure to use the size of pan called for in the package instructions. Usually the pan size is marked on the bottom. If it isn’t, measure the pan across the top from inside rim to inside rim. Then measure the depth by putting the ruler on the inside and measuring from the top edge to the bottom of the pan.

Q. How long do I have to wait before I can eat the brownies?
A. Oooh, brownies are so tempting when they first come out of the oven! But you’ll have to wait about 30 minutes until they’re cool enough to eat. Glass and smaller pans take a little longer to cool.

Q. How can I cut brownies into smooth squares?
A.
First, be sure the brownies are thoroughly cool. That means waiting about 2 hours before cutting. Then, for a nice, smooth cut, use a plastic knife or a table knife. A sharp knife will actually tear the brownies. If you’ve made Sweet Rewards® brownies, cut them with a slight sawing motion. If they start to tear, moisten the knife a little.

Q. How should I store brownies?
A.
You can store brownies at room temp or in the fridge. Just be sure to cover them tightly. To freeze brownies, wrap them tightly in aluminum foil or plastic freezer bags or put them in plastic freezer containers. If you’re stacking the brownies, place a sheet of waxed paper between the layers. They’ll keep for 4 to 6 months in the freezer. Wait to frost brownies until after they’ve thawed.

Q. Do I need to follow the design directions for the hot fudge topping and turtle brownie’s caramel?
A.
Yes, because this design does 3 things: it ensures accurate baking time, gives you the best texture and makes the most attractive brownies.

Q. Why is the turtle brownie’s caramel packet so firm when I squeeze it?
A. Caramel firms up as it ages. To soften the caramel, place the unopened packet in a bowl of hot tap water. Don’t soften it in the microwave.

Q. Why do holes appear in the hot fudge or caramel designs?
A. Both caramel and hot fudge are high in sugar. The sugar holds heat and causes holes during baking. Holes also happen when the hot fudge and caramel aren’t mixed evenly throughout the brownie batter.

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