photo courtesy of Baker’s Edge
Surely by now you’ve heard of the Baker’s Edge pan? It’s been all over the internet, in more places than I can count. After much internal debate, I finally jumped in and ordered one. You can buy it from the site or from Amazon.com, but the prices are about the same so why not buy directly from the guys who worked so hard to make such a cool pan available to us edge lovers?
There are edge people and there are middle people. When I asked T if he was a middle brownie or an edge brownie, he couldn’t really decide. But when the question was placed in a lasagna format, he is most definitely an edge person. While I’m happy he share in the enjoyment of edges, if he ended up being a middle person, I wouldn’t have to share the edge pieces. If you are an edge person, you know that in order to secure an edge piece, you have to fight to the front of the line or sneak a piece out before anyone else gets there. Typical pans only have 4 corners and 4 sides! The Baker’s Edge pan has edges all over the place! It’s edge crazy! They guarantee that every piece will have at least 2 edges, like the old-fashioned corner pieces. What they don’t advertise is that the 2 ends, well… the 2 end pieces have 3 edges. Three edges, people! This, of course, means that you now have to fight to get the end pieces, but at least you’ll be comforted to know that you will always get no less than 2 edges.
I have a love/hate relationship with brownies. I love brownies, warm and soft from the oven, with a cold glass of milk. I love blondies, with or without milk, warm or cold. I’ve made cakey brownies, chewy brownies, cheesecake brownies – all from scratch and from mixes. However, the next day, I tend to not like brownies any more. When other people make brownies, I eat them days after they were baked and I am happy and I enjoy them. But my own brownies? I’ll eat a cakey one and wish I just had a piece of cake instead. I’ll eat a blondie and wish I just had a chocolate chip cookie instead. With everything baked, though, I do love those crunchy chewy edges. So I thought maybe the Baker’s Edge pan would make me brownies I could enjoy long after they emerged from the oven.
The pan arrived, I had all the ingredients in the house for the Edge Lovers Chewy Brownies, and there was just enough milk in the fridge to wash down at least 2 brownies. I whipped up the batter while dinner cooked on the grill. I baked them up as we ate dinner and also watched Mad Men. I was very much looking forward to some warm brownies and cold milk.
You have to let brownies cool in the pan, or they are too soft to successfully remove. The Baker’s Edge pan is non-stick, but just as a waterproof watch doesn’t mean you should go swimming with it, non-stick pans do benefit from some greasing help. I buttered half the pan with the butter wrapper before pouring in the batter, just to test the non-stickiness of the pan. I’m an engineer, I do funny things like that. It’s a little tricky getting it into the maze-like channels, but if you get it started right you can scrape the remaining batter into just the center and the batter will just even itself out throughout the pan.
I wanted to flip* the brownies out of the pan in order to get clean cuts on the pieces. The buttered half of the brownies came out just fine. The non-buttered half stayed put. This meant that as I sliced half the brownies with a knife, someone else was cutting out pieces with the plastic spatula that came with the pan. I’m not saying this is wrong, but, well, it kind of is. You end up with squished edges on the brownie. It’s not a clean cut! Now, I said the non-buttered half of the brownies stayed put, but as soon as you put the spatula underneath them, they popped right out. No stuck on brownie bits. Clean up was a breeze! So, if you are a flip-out-and-cut brownie person, a quick greasing with butter or cooking spray will help. If you don’t care and prefer to just cut out brownies from the pan, you probably don’t need to do anything extra except make sure you’re cutting your brownies with a non-metal, non-scratching utensil. The plastic spatula works just fine. The brownies will pop out, begging to be eaten.**
See how the top of the brownie is a little rounded? And that while the middle looks chewy, the edge looks cakey? That is not the fault of the pan or the recipe. That was me being too wrapped up in watching Mad Men to check the brownies when I should have. 40 minutes in the oven would have been perfect, 45 minutes was a little too much. But see the crackly top? And the smooth buttery side? That says yummy brownie to me.
I sliced the brownies into 16 pieces (I ate 3, T had 1, I kept 4, and sent the rest with T to work – no need to keep all that at home!). The corner pieces were a little larger; the “middle” slices were a little skinnier. For testing sake, I ate a corner piece, a middle slice, and an “end” slice. I like to be thorough. As an edge lover, I though I would like the end piece the best – it was 3 edges, after all! But, actually, I preferred the corner slice. And not because it was the biggest. Two good edges seems to be better than three. Don’t get me wrong, if an end piece was sitting in front of me, I’d eat it with no complaints, taking a bit out of the middle brownie part and then nibbling along the edges until it was all gone. Mmm… crispy chewy. Buttery.
How are they? Well, these were moist with the cakey top giving way to a chewy center. Nice and chocolatey, but not too sweet. Still slightly warm, the edges were still a little crisp. I imagine that would soften as the brownies age***. They were washed down with a glass of milk (whole milk, not 2%, which I prefer) in just a regular glass because I do not have a cute “milk meter” glass (yet?)
While Baker’s Edge is currently developing a lasagna pan that would accommodate standard store-bought lasagna noodles, with some trimming you could use the “brownie” pan for lasagna right now. T was very excited at this prospect as his favorite part of lasagna is the crispy almost-burnt cheese edges.
The recipe I used is in the pamphlet that comes with the pan and is also on the website. I’ll also print it below. The recipe calls for chocolate chips, but I think I will leave them out next time. I prefer my brownies unadulterated. I would also check the brownies at 35 minutes and assume they are done at 40 minutes. I’m sure I’ll be making more batches, so I’ll let you know when I come up with the best timing.
Edge Lover’s Chewy Edge Brownies
12 Tb. Unsalted Butter, room temperature (1 1/2 sticks)
5 oz Unsweetened Chocolate, chopped
1 cup Sugar
1 ¼ cup Brown Sugar
1 ½ tsp Vanilla Extract
1 ¼ cup All Purpose Flour
¼ tsp Salt
1 cup Semisweet Chocolate Chips
1. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Lightly spray the Baker’s Edge with non-stick cooking spray.
2. In a medium bowl, sitting over a simmering pot of water (make sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water) melt the butter and chocolate, stirring occasionally until melted and then remove from the heat. Stir in the sugars to the chocolate mixture. Stir in one egg at a time followed by the vanilla extract. Stir in the flour and salt, just until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.
3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly.
4. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into it comes out with moist crumbs. Cool the brownies completely in the pan.
* Another little feature that is really great about this pan is that the handles are positioned in the middle, height-wise, of the sides of the pan. This means that when you flip the pan over you can easily grab the handles to pick the pan up. Try this with a regular pan (go ahead, try it…) and the handles become flush with surface you just flipped it onto and you have to get a knife to slip under the edge to get a good grip on the handle again. These people are geniuses, I tell you!
** I just realized the recipe instructs you to use a cooking spray in the pan.
*** I unwrapped a brownie I brought to work to, uh, test how it is aging. I’m happy to say that, while the edges did soften, the brownie increased in chewiness and has not lost any flavor. It is now sitting on my desk, mocking me and daring me to finish it before lunchtime.