Okay, this is going to be short and sweet, and the main reason I am writing this is purely down to laziness.
You see I get asked about how I cut my brownies (that yes I do post a lot about them on social media) so perfectly (their words, not mine, but hey, credit where credit’s due and at the moment I don’t feel I have many other strings to my bow) almost every day. And I just don’t have the time and energy to keep writing out the response long hand. So instead I am writing it all down here where I will link to in future.
Here are the three things you need:
Number One: Time
The first thing you need is time. Yes, you need two days to achieve the perfect cut. Not because you will be slowly passing wire through the brownies at the rate of a snail, no, you need to cook your desired brownie, then let it cool to room temperature and then pop it in the fridge, still in the tray, for at least 4 hours, better if left overnight. (Remove from the tin before cutting though otherwise you’re making your life very hard indeed).
Number Two: The right kit
Then you need to find the knife that suits you best. Some swear by a serrated knife, some by a sharp smooth edges knife and others by a Japanese style slightly jaggedy knife (tech term). I have used them all – each to their own. But it MUST be sharp and it must be cold (don’t heat the knife in boiling water to cut chocolate or you will end up in a chocolately mess) and you MUST have a good board to cut on (I used a large plastic board specifically just for brownie cutting but then I am heavily invested in brownies). You may wish to use a ruler too. (Hides for cover after spending the last 7 years since GBBO denying using a ruler other than in a baking competition). You may also wish to have a clean tea towel or disposable cloth to hand for wiping the knife.
Number Three: A high pain threshold
Because you are cutting the brownies whilst they are cold, pushing a knife (even a sharp one) through them, will be bloody hard work. As Rizzo said in Grease, ‘beauty is pain’ and just as with having pierced ears or well-groomed eyebrows, if you want a beautiful brownie then you need to be prepared to hurt your hands a little. As you push through the very cold chocolate brownie you will probably need to use the weight of your body to push down with. You hands may hurt, just go with it. If you have included anything gloopy like jam or salted caramel in the brownie you will notice it on the knife. DO NOT cut the brownie again until you have wiped all traces of this stuff off the knife. These are the rules for beautiful brownies – remember, beauty is pain.
Your next question (’cause I feel like I know you guys now and can often predict what will come next – that’s meant in a nice way rather than a mean way I hope you understand) might be which brownie recipe to use. Look, everyone has their favourite, but mine is this one. You can adapt it to salted caramel, orange, etc etc. Just substitute – it’s a very forgiving recipe. Ignore the instructions for how to cut the brownies, this (above) is my much refined and perfect method since the original recipe was posted.
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Do you cover your brownies when you put them in the fridge? X
Totally up to you and depends what else you have in the fridge. You don’t NEED to, but you can loosely cover with baking paper or clingfilm if you wish.
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