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I've read numerous forum posts and mini-articles about substituting applesauce for oil in brownie mix, but for some reason it went horribly wrong:

enter image description here

(Okay, that's actually after trying to salvage it by putting it back in the oven after grabbing some good slivers off the edge)

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Can you post the full recipe? –  mghicks Oct 19 '11 at 13:10
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Was it 100% substitution? I've never tried it for brownies, but for muffins I end to still leave about 1/4 to 1/3 of the original oil called for. –  Joe Oct 19 '11 at 15:01
    
@Joe it was 100% substitution. –  Davy8 Oct 19 '11 at 16:03
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@mghicks It was just a brownie box mix, so iirc mix + 1 egg + 1/2 cup oil (subbed applesauce) and I think some amount of water. –  Davy8 Oct 19 '11 at 16:04
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3 Answers 3

I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say...underbaked.

Either you didn't leave it in long enough or your oven wasn 't hot enough. Realize many, many ovens can be significantly off their 'set' temperature. An oven thermometer is a great investment.

(I don't believe applesauce had anything to do with this unless you put like 10x the amount of applesauce in.)

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I take it that sticking it back in the oven after it's cooled isn't going to work? That's what I did and it ended up more liquidy than it started. –  Davy8 Oct 19 '11 at 2:07
    
I think we also had this problem the last time. I think that time we kept it in the oven an extra 10 minutes (so 40 total) at 350F and it still just wasn't solidifying. But that was months ago so my memory could be a bit off. –  Davy8 Oct 19 '11 at 2:09
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Yeah, something just looks wrong there! Why are the edges so cooked and yet even an inch from the edge it's still completely wet? I have to imagine it's under-cooked like rfusca. However, from the looks of it, cooking it til the center is done would burn the edges.

My advice: try it again, but make one batch with oil (per the box) and make one batch with your 100% applesauce substitution. Bake them the same amount of time, in the same oven, on the same rack, in similar pans (if possible), and at the same temperature.

When you test for doneness, check about 3-4 inches diagonally in from a corner. A toothpick should come out dry. Don't check directly in the middle... by time that's dry, the rest of the brownies will be overcooked.

By that point, you should have a good understanding of the problem source.

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Although substituting 1:1 sounds great, you should start substituting from a ratio of 1c oil to 1/2 cup oil & 1/2 cup applesauce. This is just a beginning point for your recipe; try increasing your ratio to favor the applesauce bit by bit to see how much your recipe can bear. Maybe it can go all the way to 1:1, with many cookies and other cakes this is not always the case.

The other possibility is that you mixed the batter too thoroughly or did not adhere to the rule of adding dry ingredients at the very last moment then mixing gently. Brownies are much like cakes and do not tolerate over mixing too well. Oddly, over-mixing leads to gluten strands, not the molten looking mass above.

@Rfusca may be right that a thermometer may be called for, but if this was an isolated incident with an otherwise happy oven, I would start with a less equivocal substitution, verify that you are adding dry to wet at the last moment, and that you are not over mixing (check youtube for visuals on how to know it's properly mixed).

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