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I've got a great brownie recipe that works awesome in a 9x11 pan. The top comes out crunchy, the bottom cake like and the middle nice and fudgy. I figured I would try to make them in a mini-muffin tin, thinking it would be easier for the kids to eat. Ended up with a mini disaster.

Things I had not counted on: they rose seemingly more than in the 9x11 pan. Too much cake like vs not enough fudge center.

Should there be things I need to be aware of? I cut a good 7 or 8 minutes off my cooking time of 25 minutes int eh 9x11 pan, and even still, they were over cooked. But more importantly, I realized that with all edges being cooked (as opposed to square in the 9x11), there is a lot of "cake surface" vs soft and fudgy centre.

Is there something i should consider doing specifically to the recipe? Is there a way to make good fudgy brownies in a mini-muffin tin, or am I just looking for trouble?

Recipe is butter-free (just uses vegetable oil) and only 1 tsp of baking soda as a leavening agent.

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What are you actually trying to do? What is the end result you want? –  GdD Jun 1 '13 at 17:51
    
@GdD Im trying to get an end result of small round brownies. I've seen them sold like that in bags, and figure it would be much easier and more presentable to distribute at parties/etc. I like the form factor and think it would work out well for my needs, if I can get things working right. –  Eric B. Jun 2 '13 at 2:44
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3 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Brownies are bar cookies. Note that the brownies are at the edge of the pan are more cooked, and raised higher: they set before they settle back down.

Baking the brownies in a mini-muffin tin will essentially make each mini-brownie all edge. They will rise and set very rapidly, and then easily over bake.

I would suggest that brownies are not ideal in a mini-muffin tin. Instead, cutting them smaller would be a better solution.

If you do want to try it again, I would suggest:

  1. Don't overfill the tins. You don't want the batter more than about 1/2 inch deep; you want about the same depth it would be in the pan for which they are designed.

  2. Let the batter sit for about 5-10 minutes after portioning into the muffin tins. This will give some additional time for the sugars to dissolve, and the flour to hydrate since they won't have as much time in the oven. This should help texture and crust development (the shiny crackly top).

  3. Reduce or eliminate the chemical leavening. I would experiment with cutting the baking powder by 50% to start.

    There are ways to incorporate air into brownie batter mechanically, by (for example) beating air into the egg-butter-chocolate mixture, but the exact way to approach it would depend on your particular brownie recipe. If you go that route, you can probably completely eliminate the baking powder.

  4. Reduce the oven temperature by about 25 F (maybe even 50 F in a second trial, if they still over bake and are too crusty too rapidly) or so, to allow the baking process to slow, and give more time for the mini-brownies to rise and settle.

  5. Check them much sooner. Mini-brownies are going to go from not-done to overdone very, very quickly. I would start checking as early as 15 minutes, until you have an expectation. When you can smell the chocolaty aroma is a good time to start checking.

  6. Bake only one mini-muffin tray at a time, so that they are even. You don't want shadow effects and changes in oven convection to throw off the baking by having more than one tray in the oven at the same time, although that is more an issue of consistency than it is of the complete character of the outcome.

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Possibly 15 minutes is already too late. If I was the OP, I would not leave them out of sight after 10 minutes. –  Mien Jun 1 '13 at 8:35
    
Yeah, I was thinking about cookie baking times, which are on the order of 12 minutes. But in any case, it will be much less than the full brownie pan time. –  SAJ14SAJ Jun 1 '13 at 15:18
    
In my 9x11 pan, I cook them for about 25mins on 325F convection. I cut that down to 18mins for the mini-muffin tin, but it was already too much. So I know I already need to cut down on cooking time. But was also wondering about the rising agent. I had planned to cut that down as well for my next attempt, but I didn't know if the fact that they were being cooked in a small tin would affect how much it rises. –  Eric B. Jun 2 '13 at 2:46
    
These suggestions look great. I would add that to keep the centers fudgy you might try chilling the batter before baking it, ie, scoop it into the tins, put it into the fridge for an hour, then bake. This should let the outside bake completely, but keep the center a bit underdone (fudgy). –  sourd'oh Jun 10 '13 at 18:41
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In addition to the previous suggestions, you might consider cooling the prepared batter in the refrigerator (similar to cookie dough), and using an ice bath to halt the cooking.

I first saw the ice bath technique in an Alice Medrich cookbook, and she is cited here: http://www.scharffenberger.com/chocolate/recipes/cookies-brownies/new-classic-brownies/

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Great idea. Will keep that in mind as well. –  Eric B. Sep 25 '13 at 19:29
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These are some great tips! I used a boxed recipe so couldn't make many changes there. But I let batter sit in muffin tins for a while, in the fridge actually,lowered the oven temp. and kept a close eye on them. They didn't all bake evenly. I did take out the done ones on the ends and put the rest back in the oven for a few more minutes. I was very pleased with the result.

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