Why We Think You Should Put The TikTok Brownie Freezing Hack On Ice

If asked to bring a dessert to a potluck dinner or backyard gathering, brownies are almost always our go-to choice. They're easy to make and burst with chocolate-forward flavor. The best part is that — when done correctly — they have a fudgy texture that's impossible to beat. We're always looking for new brownie hacks, whether it's a sweet addition to add to any boxed brownie mix or a from-scratch recipe that promises to give us the ooey, gooey structure we desire.

We were thrilled when we came across a wildly popular freezer hack from TikToker @gracebooth97 (over 17 million views and counting) that promised to create better brownies. The technique seemed simple enough: Freeze Nutella and Biscoff Creamy Cookie Butter on parchment paper and layer the frozen sheets in between your favorite brownie batter. Booth claims that freezing the spreads causes them to stay gooey inside the brownie instead of becoming burnt and caramelized.

So we followed Booth's instructions to see if her tip actually works. After picking up the necessary ingredients we documented our afternoon in the test kitchen step-by-step and rendered a verdict of the process. Let's just say, this brownie hack was met with a chilly reception.  

Start by freezing the layers

The viral TikTok brownie freezing hack starts by creating a frozen layer of Nutella and Biscoff cookie butter. The video doesn't give any instructions for how to do that, but we used our culinary intuition and traced the outside of the pan onto the parchment paper to make sure the frozen sheets would fit. We didn't want to end up with layers larger than the pan!

The actual spreading process was a bit of a pain. The Nutella is soft and spreadable but sticky, and the Biscoff is thick like peanut butter. We found the best way to evenly coat the parchment was to glob the spread onto the middle of the sheet, working outwards with a butter knife towards the edge of our outline. If you have a little bit of OCD (like our recipe tester), you'll have to curb your urge to make the sheet perfect. It's going inside the brownie, and no one will see it, so don't spend too much time making it flawless. As a bonus, reward yourself for a job well done by licking the spreading knife when you're finished and satisfying your sugar cravings.

All in all, the prep took about 5 minutes per sheet, and each layer took about half a jar of spread. The sheets are very floppy and will want to fold over on themselves, so we recommend transporting them to the freezer on a baking sheet so they will lay flat.

Mix up your favorite brownie mix

Learn from our experience here and wait until the sheets are actually frozen before mixing up your brownie mix. We assumed the spreads would freeze in about an hour, but it took our layers at least twice that to become fully frozen. We made a terrible mess trying to peel the Nutella off of the parchment before it was ready, so plan ahead and freeze the spreads overnight if needed. If you do accidentally mix up the batter before the sheets are frozen (guilty!), you can refrigerate the mixture while you wait.

The most brilliant part about this hack is that you can use any brownie recipe. Boxed brownie mix will work just as well as mixing up your favorite ultimate fudgy brownie recipe. For our test, we whipped up a homemade recipe made with melted butter, cocoa powder, sugar, eggs, vanilla, flour, and salt. We chose the from-scratch route because we wanted to reduce the sugar amount by ¼ cup knowing that we were adding sugary layers to the brownies.

The video doesn't mention how much brownie batter to make, so we made enough for a square 8x8-inch pan (since that appears to be the pan used in the video). We noticed a problem when we started layering: There was no way there would be enough brownie mix to cover the spreads. To make sure you'll have enough, make a brownie recipe that calls for a 9x13-inch pan (or double your 8x8-inch recipe).

Build layered brownies in the pan

At this point, you're ready to start building the brownies. The original video shows the process occurring in a square pan lined with parchment paper. While some recipes call for spraying the pan instead of lining it, we've found that brownies (especially the gooey ones) love to stick to the pan. The parchment paper not only prevents this from happening but also makes it so much easier to lift the brownies out of the pan to help them cool properly. If you're having trouble getting the parchment paper to stay in place, try holding it in place with a binder clip.

Start by layering half of your brownie batter into the baking pan. Our mixture was pretty sticky, so we used the same technique that we used when creating the layers, distributing the mixture from the middle out toward the edges of the pan. Then, remove the Nutella from the freezer and peel it off the parchment, setting it down on the batter. Spread half of the remaining batter onto the Nutella, repeating the process by adding the frozen Bischoff and the last of the brownie mixture.

The Nutella and Biscoff start to thaw pretty quickly after they're removed from the freezer, so we recommend keeping them in there until the layer is in place. That way, they'll come off the paper cleanly and easily without sticking to your fingers.

Bake, cool, cut, and enjoy!

From here, it's all a waiting game. Bake the brownies according to your recipe instructions, using the toothpick test to tell when they're finished. With a normal brownie recipe, it's very important to pull them out at the exact right moment. Overbaking brownies can lead to a dense, cake-like result that isn't fudgy in the center. With this recipe, we didn't stress it as much. The purpose of the frozen sheets is to preserve the brownie's fudgy texture. We actually overbaked our brownies on purpose — just to see if the end result would still be gooey — so we can 100% confirm that this technique builds in a little quality insurance.

When the brownies are finished, you'll have to continue to be patient and wait for them to cool completely. Cutting into the block too early will cause the brownies to fall apart, as bits of brownie will stick to the knife and ruin the aesthetic. Set the brownie pan on a cooling rack for about 5 minutes before carefully lifting the parchment paper out of the pan and putting the brownies directly on the rack. When the brownies have fully cooled to room temperature, cut them into the desired size, show off those beautiful layers, and take a bite. You've earned it!

The taste taste

For starters, our brownies turned out perfectly. They were moist, fudgy, and looked absolutely gorgeous. The Nutella and Biscoff really added to the eating experience, complementing the chocolatey batter with notes of hazelnut, brown sugar, and warming spices. We were glad that we reduced the sugar in the brownie recipe because each bite had the perfect level of sweetness.

Creator @gracebooth97 deemed this hack a success, noting in her video that they were "the best brownies that my friends had ever had." We will agree that our brownies were extremely fudgy — even though we purposefully overbaked them. Plenty of TikTok food trends tend to more style than substance, but this one certainly doesn't fall into that category. If we encountered a stack of these at a local bake sale, we wouldn't hesitate buying a few brownies to share with friends and family (and, of course, saving a few squares for ourselves). Even with that in mind, we're not sure that we would take the time to make them again. 

The tasty results aren't worth the effort

A "hack" tends to imply something that makes a process easier, but that was not the case with this recipe. A typical batch of brownies takes anywhere between 5 to 10 minutes to prep, depending on the recipe. We spent almost 25 minutes prepping with this method, not to mention the time we had to wait for the spreads to freeze. It would have been just as flavorful to drop dollops of Nutella or Biscoff into the batter, swirling the spread around for visual effect.

Bottom line: If you have the time to make these TikTok freezer brownies, or you never seem to end up with the right brownie texture, go for it. The use of frozen layers did work to create a fudgy result. That said, if you don't have all day to prep dessert, you'll be fine skipping this hack and choosing a brownie recipe that comes together more quickly.