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This really cute thing has been showing up on my Pinterest page lately:
Photo from Betty Crocker
Do you know what that is?
The word on Pinterest is that they are brownies that were baked inside cookie cutters.
Pinterest is, as it often is, wrong.
The picture came from Betty Crocker’s website…and Betty Crocker says it’s fudge. Which makes way more sense (and I need to try this for Christmas, how cute!). Of course, the original source couldn’t be found when I clicked the picture on Pinterest, which means I had to go hunting. (By the way, I think we should have a discussion about crediting on Pinterest soon.)
But after seeing the rumor on Pinterest that they were brownies…it had me wondering: is it possible?
Short answer: No.
Long answer: Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.
Actually, it is possible. But it’s not easy…and it definitely didn’t work for me. Let me explain why.
My mom got me these really cool science cookie cutters (affiliate link) for my birthday a couple years ago. They’re awesome, but they’re kind of a pain to use (they’re way too big and, as a result, don’t make a lot of cookies). So I decided they would be perfect for my little experiment.
If you look closely at the picture above, you may be able to spot the first hint that the brownies will not be able to be baked inside the cutters. Cookie cutters don’t need to be even on bottom. When cutting a cookie, you can just press down harder on the end that sticks up a little and you still get an evenly cut cookie. The light shining underneath the cookie cutters should show you that they’re uneven. With fudge, the surface hardens the moment cool air touches it long enough. So it would sit just fine in a cookie cutter. Brownie batter, on the other hand, gets softer before it gets harder.
Brownie batter is thick, so while it leaked a little at first, it wasn’t much. So I kept going. (If you look hard enough, you can see little leakages under the beaker and the atom.) However, the heat from the oven causes the ingredients to liquefy a little before they start to actually bake together. Which means after 10 minutes in the oven, I wound up with this:
It leaked more. Not too much, but enough to be annoying. All of them did that.
So that’s the first reason baking brownies in a cookie cutter doesn’t work so well. It’s really not a big deal.
But it gets worse. Because the second reason is this:
Getting them out. The brownie pictured above was such a pain to get out and made me so mad…so I revenge-ate its face.
I sprayed the cookie cutters a lot before adding the brownie mix. The problem is that some parts of the cookie cutter are bigger than others, so the brownies didn’t bake evenly. At all. They were done, but the narrower parts were more done than the others. And they wound up sticking into the crevices (getting the brownie out of the atom was impossible. I had to pull it out bit-by-bit).
Now certain cookie cutters might work. If the cutter doesn’t have a lot of detail and is relatively small, it might work. A snowman, for instance, is possible (I won’t bet on it, though). A Christmas tree? Definitely not.
From now on, I’ll just stick to baking the brownies in a regular baking dish first and cutting out the shapes when they’re done.