Why does this always happen to my brownies?!
Every time I bake brownies, regardless of the recipe I use...or whether from scratch or from a mix...they come out too well done on the edges. In order for me to get the middle cooked through, I wind up with a hard perimeter that needs to be left in the pan when I cut them. What am I doing wrong?
My guess would be that your oven may be too hot. Try baking them in a water bath. Remember that any baking pan will bake from the outside edges inward; the center is always the last portion of any baked recipe to finish cooking (that's why the tootpick pushed into the center is the rule for checking to see if it's done) and there a lots of things (oven rack position, convection [all ovens are convection - just not necessarily forced convection] accuracy of thermostat, etc.) that can affect how your brownies bake.
Brownies will always be overdone if you use the toothpick method because a chewy brownie will never come clean from a toothpick.
I am wondering if Mom22tots is using a glass pan and if she has an oven thermometer. My guess is that her oven is 25-50° too hot. How thick are the brownies?
The water bath is a good idea but it will slow the baking significantly.
I agree that you should check things that tadao mentioned, if you haven't done so yet. It does seem as though the oven, or at least the level of the oven the brownies are cooking on, runs too fast and too hot.
Do you keep a thermometer in your oven? If you don't, that would be the first thing I'd suggest. You can pick one up for about six dollars at your local hardware store. That's the first question you have to have the answer to, IMO, if you don't already. IOW, does the temperature inside your oven match the value of the temperature display on the exterior? Now, you didn't mention having problems with other baked goods, but the thing is about brownies--they have chocolate, and chocolate is especially sensitive to heat.
Once you determine (or if you know already) that the internal oven temp matches the displayed temperature, then I think you can do a trial-by-error to check other variables. Just change one thing at a time. Try a different rack, as todao indicated. Bake them half the time on one rack, and half the time on another one, lower or higher (as is sometimes done with cookies).
Also, what type of pan do you use? If by any chance you use glass or ceramic, you might find it useful to try baking them at a lower temperature, perhaps 25 degrees F., for your first trial.
I'm not a baker (and to some I'm probably not even considered a very good cook!) But I've had this happen before...
It's your oven and/or the pan.
Are you making them in an 8x8? They need longer/lower temp if so- we have a glass 8x8 and it takes longer (but the edges don't go to waste here- waist, yes, waste-neva!!)
How about trying thinner brownies- like in a 9x13? Not my preference, but no brownie left behind is the policy around here... Slap some frosting on them and they will taste just fine, only not as thick!
re: Boccone Dolce
"No brownie left behind." I like your priorities, Boccone! You should run for office.
I actually like thinner brownies. Let me amend that. I like that I can serve more people with a 9" x 13" pan of them. And I love frosting of all persuasions on brownies, and even better, ganache. It's true that we can often find ways to pretty up some of our mistake results.
You should remove them from the oven when the middle is still slightly underbaked - it may look wet, but it will firm up on residual heat. Also, line the pan with tin foil or make a double sling with two perpendicular sheets of parchment, so that you can remove them from the pan to a cooling rack after they have firmed up a little but are still quite warm. Brownies are usually ready to come out of the oven when a strong chocolate aroma. begins to fill the kitchen
I agree. I don't understand why recipes tell you to take things out when they are completed done. Just underdone is better and let the residual heat finish it off.
You can also try using double pans. I do this a lot for things that cook too fast on the bottom or around the edges.