You know when you’re just too impatient to wait for a newly baked tray of brownies to cool? So you dig into the warm tray with a spoon, scooping out the glistening chocolatey brownie itself. It’s warm, meltingly good, and what’s more, there’s a burst of sweetness from the salted caramel you swirled in earlier, and an extra flavour hit from the caramelised white chocolate chunks and cocoa nibs. Then, after you’ve lifted a spoonful of brownie from the tray, temptingly trickles out a golden rivulet of caramel which of course belongs inside your tum too.
Last time I made salted caramel brownies, I had more self-control, waiting until the batch had firmed up overnight. This time, I used a different base brownie recipe – one of my favourites – and swirled in the same additions. Of course, I just couldn’t wait, and dug in with a spoon at the earliest opportunity. Warm salted caramel brownie – what a taste sensation.
I’ve noticed that despite using the same brownie recipe, the crust turns out pretty differently depending on the oven. I have to say that this is the only bake whose results I prefer from the rickety gas oven. They emerge with a fine papery, crackly top enclosing smooth meltingly soft brownie. I used the electric oven here, and as you can see, that crackly crust is missing.
I had a look online about what makes a brownie develop a crackly top. It’s an interesting read – most hypotheses suggest that the crackly top is created by a meringue effect of eggs and sugar being beaten together. So, batters where the egg and sugar are beaten together very well – or batters where there is a very high proportion of sugar are more likely to develop the coveted crackle. The odd thing here is that the recipe and the method are the same, so I’m not sure what it is about the baking that is affecting the crust formation.
Could it be that the electric oven provides better heat coverage over the surface of the baking brownie so the crust forms more thickly? Whereas the gas oven doesn’t heat the top well thus creating the crackly film?
I guess it doesn’t matter much either way as both brownies are delicious but it is interesting to try and figure out what’s causing it the difference.
What are your thoughts on crackly tops versus non-crackly tops?