Ducks 'n a Row: How To Cut Brownies

17 March 2013

How To Cut Brownies

By Sinea Pies

Ever wondered how bakeries cut brownies and bar-cookies so beautifully? I always imagined that they had mysterious tools that none of us could own and we were all stuck with making bent, folded and out-of-shape brownies. They taste good but the display? Not so pretty.

Frustrated with this, I did some internet research. A pastry chef shared a technique and I decided to give it a try. For my first attempt, I think it went well. I was out of toothpicks so testing the brownies for doneness was inaccurate. They were a little under-cooked. Next time I will do better. 

What I learned:
Grease your pan TWICE. His method called for butter, so that's what I used. You grease the pan, line it with aluminum foil  (it needs to be good quality but not heavy duty). Then, butter the foil. The goal is to be able to pull the aluminum foil, baked brownies inside, out of the pan before cutting. 

How To Cut Brownies Beautifully
(photos below)
  • Butter a 13" X 9" baking pan.
  • Line it with aluminum foil.
  • Butter the foil.
  • Prepare brownies according to package instructions and pour into pan.
  • Bake.
  • Remove brownies from oven when done. (Test them to be sure.)
  • Allow brownies to cool completely.
  • Pull the foil out of the pan, baked brownies inside, and place on cutting board.
  • Cut them in squares, using a long knife, with a long stroke to maintain evenness of each piece.
  • Use a spatula or knife to loosen and remove each brownie to a plate.
  1. "Stickage": If you detect that the brownies are sticking to the foil, you may want to apply heat underneath. Run hot water over a cookie sheet to  heat it up. Then, move it all to the warm cookie sheet to soften the butter on the foil. Then go back to the cutting board and finish up.
  2. Keep It Clean: Have a glass of water and clean paper towel on hand to wipe off the knife in-between cuts. Dip the dirty knife in the water, wipe clean, cut again. 
  3. Decorate: Either frost them, sprinkle with powdered sugar through a sifter as I did, or add chopped nuts to the unbaked brownies before placing them in the oven.
I tried to find a great how-to video for you. After I perfect this and I may have to make one myself. They were ridiculous! (My apologies to the film makers, but they were.)  They either had those "mysterious tools" we don't have or the instructors wanted you to measure with a measuring tape! Forget it. We don't have time for that, do we? We just want square brownies. That's it!

Here's what the process looked like, step by step.

Do you make brownies or bar-cookies? Got tips? Share!

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