How long to let brownies cool before they’re ready to be cut into perfect squares? The short answer is at least 30 minutes, if you’re impatient. But letting them cool on a rack for 1 hour is much better.
If you want to be overzealous, then you should first let the brownies cool down on the countertop. After that, wrap them with foil/plastic wrap and put them in the fridge for 4-5 hours. That way, it’s guaranteed that you’ll get the cleanest cut brownies.
The idea is that if you want a clean cut, the brownies need to cool down completely.
I would say that 1 hour is sufficient time.
How Long to Let Brownies Cool: Why It Matters
When it comes to knowing exactly how long to let brownies cool, it’s pretty much about presentation.
The right amount of time to let them cool is at least 30 minutes up to an hour or until the brownies are totally cool to the touch.
That only applies if you want to cut perfect slices of brownies without messing anything up.
There are other people who let them cool for 4 to 5 hours in the fridge or on the countertop.
Some even freeze them before cutting into the brownies.
The Easy Alternative
If you don’t want to get into the whole problem with cutting brownies, you can get a brownies pan with dividers. Then, you don’t have to worry about cutting them.
For example, there is the USA Pan Brownie Bite Pan, which has 20 dividers. Those tiny brownies are perfect one biters. They’re just too adorable. But the pan is a bit pricey.
The much cheaper alternative is the Wilton Brownie Bar Pan with 12 dividers.
In order to get them out: let the brownies cool down for 30 minutes, take a knife to go around the edges of each brownie, and then invert the pan and shake them out.
So, there’s still a cooling period involved but there’s no cutting.
What Happens If You Cut Hot Brownies?
Just as I said, if you cut them when they’re too hot, they won’t cut neatly. You’ll basically make a mess.
Hot brownies are soft brownies. If that’s how you enjoy them and there’s no one around to enjoy a beautiful plate of perfectly cut brownies, then simply grab a fork and eat that soft, hot, delicious goodness straight from the pan. I am definitely guilty of doing that.
If you take into account that your brownies need to be completely cooled down before cutting into them, then the answer to how long to let brownies cool is about an hour.
It obviously depends on the temperature of the room. In a cooler room, they will cool down completely much sooner.
That won’t happen if you remove the brownies from the baking pan, place them on a cooling rack, and let the cooling rack in a hot kitchen. In that situation, it might take a bit longer.
You can let your brownies cool in the pan but I believe that it’s much faster if you place them on a cooling rack. It’s what we do with loaves of bread, which is also done in order to prevent the bottom from getting soft or soggy from the steam.
How to Cut Perfect Brownies
As we’ve established, those who want to know how long to let brownies cool are those who want to cut them into perfect squares. Is there anything more to it than letting them cool down completely?
This is how you cut perfect brownies:
- let the brownies cool for at least 30 minutes up to an hour until they’re completely cool to the touch
- you can use either a hot knife or a chef’s knife covered in cooking spray
- in order to get a hot knife, dip the blade into hot water
- after each cutting, wipe the blade clean and dip it in hot water again
- others actually prefer using a pizza cutter, which can be either a wheel cutter or a pizza rocker knife, like you’ll discover in this YouTube video
How to make brownies: avoid making these mistakes
Brownies are regarded as an easy dessert to make. Even total amateur bakers can make this delicious dessert without becoming frustrated.
This dessert is not only delicious but it also requires basic kitchen tools, a short list of ingredients that can be found in almost any household, and an hour of your time. See, it sounds easy enough.
The classic recipe calls for unsalted butter, bittersweet chocolate chips, sugar, eggs, pure vanilla extract, unbleached flour, and a pinch of salt.
Let’s see which are some of the mistakes you should avoid making, besides cutting them when they’re hot.
1. Using low-quality chocolate
You can use bar chocolate and chop it into big chunks or you can use chocolate chips. Either way, you’ll be able to bake rich, extra-chocolatey brownies.
For a large majority of the recipes, you can use Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate chips because they’re easy to measure and to use.
For unsweetened chocolate, you can go with Baker’s, a common supermarket brand.
If the recipe calls for bittersweet chocolate, you can pick Ghirardelli.
Semisweet or dark chocolate is a popular choice. They will add that extra punch to the recipe. Ghirardelli is a good option and so is the one from Scharffen Berger.
2. Using cold eggs
Cold eggs can make the other ingredients firm up. Use room temperature eggs and butter.
3. Overmixing the batter
Overmixing can cause a change in texture, making it more chewy, because it incorporates too much air into the batter. You should only mix until the ingredients form a uniform batter.
Even so, this is not something to be overly concerned with because this type of batter contains plenty of fat.
4. Baking in a glass pan
When I’m baking, I rarely use a glass pan. Basically, I only use one when I make croutons or roasted vegetables just for me because I have a smaller glass pan that’s perfect for one. Otherwise, I prefer sticking to metal pans for anything I bake.
If you’re wondering if brownies bake better in glass or metal pans, the answer is always metal.
The thick glass can prevent them from getting completely cooked, it can leave them gummy.
A 9 x 9 inch baking pan is all you need.
5. Overcooking them
In order to avoid overcooking your brownies, you need to do the toothpick test:
- if the toothpick comes out covered in wet batter, a few more minutes are need
- if the toothpick comes out mostly clean with just a few moist crumbs attached, then they’re ready to be taken out of the oven
You can also check out the sides of the pan. When they’re done/almost done, the brownies will start to pull away from the sides.
If you’re using a countertop convection oven for baking, that’s totally fine. Just remember to lower the indicated temperature by 25 degrees Fahrenheit. Plus, remember to check on them at least 5 minutes before the time stated in the recipe because convection ovens are famous for fast baking times.
6. Cutting when they’re hot
We’ve already talked about letting brownies cool down completely before cutting them into neat squares.
It becomes one of those mistakes you shouldn’t make if you cut into them when they are too hot and you are expecting to get clean-cut, intact squares.
If you don’t care about presentation, you can eat them hot and soft and not care at all about how long to let brownies cool.