So you’ve baked a batch of brownies, thought they looked amazing, sliced them and ended up with…
Mushed up pieces that ressembled squares rather than actual nicely cut slabs. Like these:
Brownies that I baked in 2011. Sad and uncrisp.
Oh well – you and your lucky friends and family eat them all anyway. However, if the appearance of them irked you, perhaps this article may come like a knight in shining armour to your kitchen to rescue your beautiful brownie slab before they face the kitchen knife.
This is a particularly common problem if you, like me, love chewy moist brownies rather than the firmer cake-y variety. I have baked many a batch of brownies in my lifetime and today I thought I’d share with you my personal experiences with them and how I finally got my act together and learned how to cut brownies properly. It’s really not that difficult. All it takes is some patience and planning. Yes – I said patience and brownies in the same paragraph. It’s okay – you can get through this!
Still reading? Great!
Alright, let’s start with baking the brownies! This happens to be my favourite brownie recipe of all time – moist, fudgy, extremely chocolate-y and extremely simple to make. I managed to get a few sequential photos (Hurrah! Gave myself a pat on the back for remembering). In case you’re wondering, the chocolate I’ve used is Lindt Dark Bittersweet Picolli 58% – I bought a 2.5kg bag so that’s going to be the chocolate of choice for the foreseeable future!
125g butter, melted
250g caster sugar
20g plain flour
30g cocoa powder
125g dark chocolate, chopped
60g nuts of choice (walnuts in my case), chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- Preheat oven to 160°C (fan forced). Line a 7×7 inch tin with greaseproof paper.
- Place all ingredients listed into a bowl and mix thoroughly.
- Pour into prepared tin and bake for approximately 40 minutes or until centre is still slightly unset but sides are firm.
- Put into refrigeration to chill for at least 2-3 hours before slicing.
Important Note: Do not overbake – the point of this recipe is that it produces a fudgy chewy brownie rather than a hard firm one.
Alright. You have brownies now. Let’s get onto the slicing and subsequently, the eating! Listed below are my personal tips – I hope they are helpful to you.
Top 5 Tips on Cutting Brownies
1. Chill Brownies For At Least 2-3 Hours Before Cutting
I know – you want to eat the brownies right now. But chilling the brownies is an essential step if you would like crisp, sharp cuts as it firms up the brownies enough to not buckle under the knife. Leaving it in the fridge will suffice but for really, really sharp cuts, the freezer is a great option too. However, it can get it a little too firm so you might have to keep an eye on it if you choose that route.
2. Ensure Knife is at 90° Angle to Brownie Surface
Before making any cuts, make sure that the knife is as close to 90° as you can. This is to ensure that you get beautiful cuts that are at exact right angles, rather than creating undercuts or tapers. You will notice that I got a little too eager and unintentionally tapered the edge of the top brownie in the photograph at the top of this blog post. To ensure this doesn’t happen to your brownie, line the knife up carefully.
3. Use a Serrated Knife
I have experimented with a few knives and have concluded that a serrated knife creates the best and cleanest cut. In case you were wondering what knife I use, I have a Wusthof Classic Bread Knife which has served me well over the years. In case you were wondering even more – my 2011 brownie and the cover photo were cut with the exact same knife, which suggests that perhaps the other steps in this write up are more crucial.
4. Use Sawing Action When Cutting
Ensure that you use a gentle sawing motion when cutting the brownie – this ensures that the serrated edge of the knife does not leave an unsightly wavy indentation on the surface of your brownie. I also like to slide the blade backwards at the end of the cutting motion right against the brownie surface to kinda smooth of the edges when I finish the slice.
5. Clean The Knife After Each Cut
After each cut, you will notice that the knife would have picked up some crumbs or gooey bits (especially with moister brownies). Wipe them off with a paper towel and rinse the knife under hot water and dry off before making the next cut. This will eliminate crumbs from sticking onto the top of the brownie or the next cutting surface.
And there you have it! Please comment if you have any other tips that you would like to share with everyone.
35 thoughts on “How To: Cut Brownies”
I love how your brownies look so fudgy, so thanks for the excellent tips 🙂
Thanks Sofia – hope they are useful in your next batch of brownies 🙂
I am going to make these straight away! Absolutely fantastic tips. Thank you for sharing 🙂
Thanks – let me know if you blog about it. I would love to see yours! 🙂
I love this. Simple post but so very important and useful! I suppose these tips can apply to slicing quick breads too? My quick breads always crumbles upon slicing; maybe because I’m too impatient to wait for it to cool.
Hi Sabrina, you probably need to wait for them to cool a little. Patience is such a difficult thing though! 😦
Hmmm… did you do something to your blog layout? It looks sort of neater and brighter. 🙂
Yes Sabrina – I did! Been playing around with the theme a little. Still not exactly how I’d like it but it will have to do for now. 🙂
Thank you for the great tips! Your brownies look delicious!
Thanks Brigitte! Hope you find them helpful 🙂
The problem is… I LOVE warm brownies right out of the oven! 🙂
That is a problem. Maybe make one ugly slice on the side and then chill the rest 🙂
That sounds like the perfect plan! 🙂 Your brownies do look beautiful…
Love you tips and they do look delicious. Would you be able to convert your recipe for Americans? I don’t have gram measurements but would love to make thse and share with my readers!! All the credit to you of course!
Hi Caroline – thanks for the lovely comment! 🙂 To convert the recipe you can refer to the website linked below. Hope it helps!
I will add to everyones comments that your brownies do indeed look delicious! (Just how I like to make mine!) another little tip for slicing is to have a very sharp non-serrated knife and dip it in boiling water then wipe excess water off and slice directly down with a small amount of pressure – with a brownie which has been made with good quantities of butter and chocolate as opposed to cocoa, the hot water just gently melts the butter and chocolate to give you the perfect clean sealed cut which you don’t have to apply much pressure too at all thus not squashing the brownie!! 🙂
Great tip Taisie! 🙂 Will have to try to heat up my knife in the future and see how that goes. Thanks for sharing!
The brownies look so delicious! Thanks for the tips on cutting brownies–very helpful!
Saw this on FG. I am a huge fan of CLEAN CUTS and often get asked by readers how to get them. Great post! I actually use a super sharp chef’s knife or santoku rather than a serrated. Very interesting!
Thanks for commenting! Yes – a very sharp chef’s knife does the job as well but if the brownie is a little soft I find it can end up squashing it a little, whereas a serrated knife with a sawing action eases down a more easily. However, if it’s well chilled it’s not a huge issue. 🙂
Mmmm, your recipe looks awesome. I wish I had read these tips when I took the photos for the recipe I’m posting tomorrow! 🙂 I guess better late than never!
Thank you – yes, definitely better late than never. You can try the tips out with your next batch of brownies or slices! 🙂
For my food photography, I cut most everything frozen or half-frozen. Then, I let them thaw and do the photos or serve them.
Thanks for the tip Chris! 🙂 I do freeze them sometimes but I’m a little impatient when it comes to waiting for them to thaw for eating lol.
Lovely pictures! Thanks for sharing the tips!
Thank you – hope you find them useful in the future! 🙂
Thanks for the reminder. I just made a raspberry tart and should have kept it in the fridge a little longer to avoid the goo! Next time. Will try a version of your brownies too. Have you ever tried baking them with a liqueur for added flavor?
No actually, I haven’t! It would probably add a new dimension to it. Maybe next time I’ll give it a go. 🙂
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I hope you don’t mind, but I linked this post to mine today. 🙂
Not at all – glad you found it helpful! 🙂
Brilliant tips. I always DO end up eating my brownies straight out! Warm and many times with ice cream. Sigh. I will wait next time and get those amazingly perfect squares like you show in pictures! =)
Lol, it does take a fair bit of discipline but the results are worth it! What I usually do is cut off a few ugly pieces for immediate eating and leave the rest for pretty cuts. 🙂
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