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Does Flour Tossed with Nuts or Chocolate Chips REALLY keep them from sinking when baking?

Does tossing a bit flour with nuts or chocolate chips REALLY keep them from sinking to the bottom...when baking brownies for example? TIA :)

P.S. Ina Garten recommends this step.

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  1. No. The only way to keep nuts, chips, etc. from sinking is a thick batter.

    1. I've baked cakes etc both ways & have not noticed a difference. And invariably some of the nuts still have flour on them when you cut the cooked cake, making the result not as nice.

      1. Have you tried sprinkling the nuts or chocolate chips over the batter when it is in the pan? I use this technique a lot when making brownies with "stuff" in them and have had a lot more luck getting the add ins from sinking to the bottom.

        2 Replies
        1. re: adventuresinbaking

          Do the chips stay atop the batter, or get submerged during baking?

          1. re: Funwithfood

            They get submerged during baking. Bits of whatever you sprinkled might peek through the top though.

        2. I've made Ina Garten's "Outrageous Brownies" dozens of times. When I forget the "toss with flour" step, I've never noticed a difference but try to do it when I remember. My grandmother's Irish fruitcake recipe has the identical directions and I remember about half the time. In each instance, I have never found the included chocolate bits, fruit or nuts to be huddled at the bottom. They're always evenly distributed throughout.

          I have found that when I omit the nuts, I have almost zero spillover from my half sheet pan. With nuts included, I must bake a small separate pan of brownies OR clean the oven.

          Wonder if this is along the same lines as the old brisket recipe that begins with "cut off two inches from the bottom" because somebody's great-grandmother or great aunt so-and-so's pan was a small size and couldn't accomodate the whole brisket.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Sherri

            Thanks Sherri. I'm not using nuts (never have)--I'm thinking the step might be completely unnecessary with only chocolate chips...?

          2. No. It works with blueberries and other juicy fruits, though.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Euonymous

              I just made Ina's Orange Bundt Cake with Choc Chips last night and I omitted the tossing them in flour step because as morebubbles said, you still have flour on them when you cut the cake. Chips were distributed evenly.

              1. re: Euonymous

                it works with blueberries to keep the juice from bleeding and staining the whole batter. it has nothing to do with distribution, just acts as a sealant.

              2. That makes a lot of sense, using the flour for blueberries & such - thanks for that tip!

                1. As others have said, I've not noticed much of a difference in nut or chocolate chip distribution when I've tossed them in flour prior to adding to a batter.

                  However, I do toss sticky or tacky things with flour (raisins, chopped dehydrated apricots, etc.) prior to adding them to keep from getting clumps of raisins, etc.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: ElsieDee

                    Not to be contrarian, but I remember skipping the 'toss the chips with flour' step when I was baking a Tollhouse cake when I was a kid (about 8? We baked young in my house.) I ended up with a solid layer of chocolate on the bottom of the cake, from all the sunken chips, and a chip-free cake layer on top.

                    1. re: GilaB

                      that was faulty batter. granted, you were only 8. :)

                      1. re: hotoynoodle

                        I've made the recipe many times before and since, and it's come out fine. The cake above tasted like it usually does, just sans chips.