When you have kids, box brownies become your best friend. I make the homemade kind as well – I still have to try the Baker’s Chocolate brownies my mom posted about – but sometimes you need a last-minute dessert that isn’t going to chain you to the kitchen. Plus, they are easy enough that your kids can make them themselves. Let’s hear it for putting our kids to work!
Hey, they get brownies out of the deal, don’t be calling CPS on me.
My favorite brownie mix, at the moment, is Ghirardelli. Why? One, their good. Two, I can get a box of six pouches of brownie mix at Costco for a song. That means I can make double or triple the recipe if there’s a crowd. Really, I can’t think of a negative. Then again, I can’t tell you that Ghirardelli is that better than Duncan Hines or Betty Crocker. They all taste pretty much the same to me. Maybe one day this summer I’ll do a taste test. I’m sure my family would hate that summer project.
So, I’ve established we love brownies. You know what I don’t love? Kids (and husbands) hovering over the pan of brownies when their right out of the oven. “Can we have one? Cut them up, Mom!” Yes, I’ve cut hot brownies before (am I the only one that thinks that phrase is sort of…racy? I am? Okay, moving on…) but whenever I do the pan of brownies ends up a big, gooey, goopey mess. If you’re putting the brownie at the bottom of an ice cream sundae or in a milkshake then okay. Should be fine. But, if you’re taking brownies somewhere you want them to look good despite the fact that your contribution to the party took less effort than taking a shower and drying your hair then you need to take a bit of effort with the cutting.
There are three secrets to cutting perfect brownies. One, line your baking pan with foil with enough extra that it hangs over the sides. Why this is necessary will become apparent when I reveal the final step. (See that? It’s a tease to keep you reading.)
Two, the brownies must be completely cool, an almost impossible task with kids in the house. Typing that just made me realize there are four secrets, not three. One, line the pan with foil. Two, completely cool brownies. Three, make them when your kids aren’t home or awake so they can cool on the baking rack unmolested by grubby little fingers.
I could stop there and tell you to get a big knife and cut into those chewy, chocolatey suckers. But, this is probably the most important tip as to how to cut perfect brownies. Are you ready? It involves a gadget not normally associated with sweets. Here it goes…
Use a pizza cutter.
That’s right, SoB readers, pizza cutters aren’t just for pizzas anymore! You can use them on brownies, too! I also use them to cut quesadillas and grilled cheeses. It just rolls right through that buttery, cheesy sandwich without smashing it down. Gosh, I’m getting hungry for a grilled cheese just writing about it.
But, wait, Melissa! Why do I need to line the baking pan with foil? Because, by lining it with foil, you can lift the entire pan of brownies out of the pan and cut right through the edges of the brownies.
How cool is that? Almost as cool as this:
Look at those uniform squares! Admire those clean edges! We don’t need no stinking As Seen on TV brownie pan!
So, use a pizza cutter. If you are making thick brownies, use a large pizza cutter. Yes, it seems like common sense but you’d be surprised how many people in this world don’t want to make decisions and prefer being led. That’s what I’m here for. To lead you down the path of cooking common sense.*
* This comment brought to you by girl who, the first time she made M&M cookies, poured the bag of candy in a bowl, looked at her mother and said, “What’s next?”
Here’s the thing. I want you to learn from my experiences and trust me, I’ve had plenty of kitchen failures to be a freaking expert on what not to do. If I had time, I would insert the story about my Chocolate Chili experiment here but, you know what? I need more posts this month, I’ll save it for later.
To Recap: How to Cut Brownies
- Line brownie pan with foil.
- Cool brownies completely.
- Make them away from prying eyes and grubby fingers so the brownies have the chance to cool completely.
- Use a pizza cutter (size depends on thickness of brownies).
There you have it. Go make some brownies.
(I can’t believe I just wrote almost 850 words about cutting brownies.)