The Unexpected Tip To Get The Perfect Cracked Top On Brownies

For the chocolate lovers of the world, there's perhaps no dessert that can satisfy a craving for the dark, rich, sweet stuff better than brownies. Essentially a bar cookie that goes heavy on the chocolate in the form of melted chocolate, cocoa powder, or both, brownies are an American dessert through-and-through, with the first batch of the chewy goodies very likely baked up at the Palmer House Hotel in Chicago's Loop District back in 1893 (via Forbes). That early recipe, created for the World's Fair held in the city that year, featured a dark, dense brownie topped with walnuts and an apricot glaze — and it is still available online.

Since then, brownies have gone on to take on a million and one variations, from classic fudgy brownies to cream cheese brownies to banana pudding brownies. But whatever your preferred style of brownie, we're willing to bet you look for one key feature: A shiny, crinkled, flaky top layer. This brownie sheen is praised by brownie lovers everywhere for being the mark of a perfectly made batch: Not only is it attractive, but its crisp flakes contrast perfectly with the dense, fudgy interior of the dessert (via King Arthur Baking). The good news? You can produce it at home with one easy trick that works every time.

Slam your pan for fudgy, crackly brownies

Did you know that when it comes to baking brownies, it's not just the ingredients that will assure an excellent end result, but also the technique? One trick you might not have employed in your kitchen is used across many recipes to create dense, chewy brownies with a shiny, crackly top — and it involves getting a little violent in the kitchen.

That trick is, quite literally, slamming your pan of brownies. Here's how it works, according to Southern Living: As soon as you remove a tray of brownies from the oven, slam the pan right down on your countertop (some outlets, including The Kitchn, even recommend doing this halfway through baking as well as at the end). Doing so forces any extra air out of the brownies, leaving them dense and fudgy, and also contributes to that beautifully crackled top crust. 

The pan-slam technique is also applied to cookies, according to Southern Living, encouraging those treats to spread out and leaving thin, crispy edges with a dense, chewy interior. So the next time you're in a particularly stressed-out or rage-filled mood, you might want to take your feelings out on a tray of brownies or cookies.