Alton’s “Ooey” Brownie Trick: Bake Them *Twice*

published Feb 20, 2020
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Credit: Ghazalle Badiozamani

If there’s anyone we can count on to hack a favorite treat recipe, it is food mad-scientist Alton Brown. You may remember that we tested Brown’s Cocoa Brownie recipe against four other brownie recipes and found that his technique for whipping the eggs made for a more tender and fudge-like brownie. Ever the recipe tinkerer though, Brown then went and gave his beloved brownie recipe an update on his personal recipe blog.

His tip for “ooier” brownies is scribbled on a sticky note, something he’s been known to do on Twitter. The instructions seem strange, but Brown promises a wild double bake actually makes for better brownies. Here’s how Alton suggests you get “ooey” brownies — no matter what recipe (or brownie mix) you use: “Hey brownie lovers,” it reads. “Want ooier centers? Bake your brownies for 15 minutes, take them out for 15 minutes, then bake till done. Trust me on this.”

Credit: Alton Brown

Does Pausing While Baking Make Brownies Gooey?

Underbaked brownies can be their own sort of pleasure — when the edges are just crisp enough to hold in the gooey center, the result is a lot like eating a lava cake or a chocolate truffle. But not baking a brownie enough makes them annoying to transport and share at best, and opens the eater up to illness from undercooked egg and flour. So what is a ooey-gooey brownie lover to do? Leave it to Alton Brown to solve this conundrum for us.

Brown insists that baking your brownies for about half of their baking time, pulling them out of the oven to rest, and then returning them to the oven is the secret to “ooier” brownies. Of course, Brown doesn’t stop with a quick five-minute rest. According to his updated brownie recipe, the second bake (of about 30 minutes) should end right when the brownies hit 195°F on a digital probe thermometer. This temperature is great for killing bacteria in the flour or eggs, but lower than the standard for baked bread and cakes, which is right at 200°F. All total, Brown’s brownies bake for closer to 45 minutes but the 15 minute pause helps the dense gooey texture cool and set, before the brownies are baked to a safe-to-eat temperature. So gooey brownie lovers can rejoice: You can have your dense and gooey brownie without any extra fuss and no worries of a funny tummy.

Your turn: Have you tried Alton’s brownie technique? How did it go? Tell us in the comments below.