Why You Should Always Toothpick Test Homemade Brownies

Brownies are, and forever will be, the favorite dessert for chocolate lovers everywhere. It is believed that Bertha Palmer was the original inventor of this sweet delicacy in 1893 (via the Palmer House). Warm and gooey with a glossy top, brownies are perfect for a quick breakfast treat, a midday snack, or dessert.

Whether you are a fan of chewy edges or a melting center, fudge, or butterscotch notes, brownies just do it for people. One of the best parts about brownies is that you can have them with any flavor of ice cream, strawberries, bananas, or simply with a glass of milk. So, especially when looking forward to the cold seasons like autumn and winter, it's a good idea to plug into Pinterest or pull out that family recipe and familiarize yourself with the directions, most of which are easy. But one of the most difficult parts of baking brownies is knowing when they're done.

It's all about timing

If you pull your brownies out of the oven too soon, they are raw in the middle, but if you take them out too late, they are terribly dry and cakey. And even if you're following your recipe's directions to the T, there is always the chance that you have a different oven than the person who wrote the recipe; it's possible that your clock is fast or slow or that you're using a glass pan instead of metal. There are a lot of variables that could mean the over or under-baking of your delicious brownies, but one method never fails to work: the toothpick test.

Here's the process. Take a toothpick and stick it into the center of your brownies, then remove it. If the toothpick comes away clean, your brownies are overcooked. Wait, overcooked? Yes. According to the BakingHow, your brownies continue to bake after you've taken them out of the oven, so you want them to be a little under-baked when you get them out. Bon App├ętit says that the best time to take your brownies out is when there are crumbs attached to your testing toothpick, not wet batter. Another good indicator is that the edges are firmly set and flakey.

So, set your timers, grab your toothpicks, and always test your brownies before the suggested time. Happy baking!