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I buy and make box brownies all the time, but the top crust always ends up looking more like the topping of a cake, rather than the flaky top shown in the picture on the box. It's pretty easy to follow the 4 steps on the box; is there something I am missing?

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

To get a shiny, flaky, crackly, light-colored crust on the top of your brownies, there are two effective changes you can make:

Beat the brownie batter for longer after adding the eggs. Doing this increases the crust, which is actually meringue. This is what you should try with your box mix, since the sugar is already included in box.

Use white sugar (granulated sugar) with a from-scratch brownie recipe. Brown sugar and corn syrup contain more moisture than white sugar, which will reduce the shiny crackly crust.

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Also, try using butter instead of oil. Using butter, as in flaky pastries, will help promote pockets of fat and stream that will create those flaky and moist brownies you're looking for.

You might want to add more leavening power. This will help the brownies rise more and will help separate the layers of brownie.

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As a side note, if using butter consider creaming the butter to get air in (harder with a box since you won't be doing the classic creaming of butter and sugar, but you should be able to at least whip the butter). – justkt Aug 9 '10 at 18:50
Most boxed brownies call for oil. Would you substitute the oil 1 for 1 for the butter? Would you melt or cream the butter (I think creaming would be a bit difficult with a brownie mix)? – KatieK Sep 16 '13 at 17:05

Leaving the pan in the oven a few extra minutes will help with the flaky top. Also, try combining the ingredients less vigorously. Less gluten means a flakier consistency overall.

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reduce the amount of egg to 1 works everytime... more egg you have cake!

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I bake my fair share of brownies, and I've noticed that when I stir chocolate chips into the batter, I get the shiny flaky crust. For my brownie recipe, which is baked in a 9x13" pan, I add about 3/4c chocolate chips.

King Arthur Flour had an interesting blog post about experimenting with brownies to get this result, and they ended up with the same answer.

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BIG brownie crust discovery posted on our blog! You can actually achieve a Shiny brownie crust on ANY recipe. I do not like whipping the eggs and sugar because very often there is a crust, but it is dull! Also, the brownies aren't chewy enough if you whip the eggs and sugar. King Arthur Flour kind of figured it out, but with so many experiments and science I've figured it out completely. I've made 13000 brownies, trust me...

Just a tiny bit of melted milk Chocolate smeared into the surface of the batter (with a rubber spatula) before baking, will give you a shiny crust on ANY brownie recipe. Even box brownies.

I sifted through each and every myth regarding shiny brownie crusts, so reading the full post is recommended.

enter image description here

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Can you include a brief description of the tips in here? Otherwise this Answer just feels like link spam -- "come read my blog to find out how" -- and if your blog should ever go offline, the information will be lost to future StackExchange readers. – Erica Aug 26 '15 at 14:04
You seem to be attempting to edit this post using a different account. Please use the "contact us" link at the bottom of the page and fill in the form to merge your accounts. – Catija Jul 1 at 14:00

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