The Proper Way To Use A Toothpick To Check If Your Brownies Are Done

If you aren't the most experienced home baker or chef, it can be hard to know when your food has finished cooking. It can take years of practice and experience to grab your cookies or pies out of the oven at just the right time. Even if you are experienced, it's likely that you have a trick or two up your sleeve to make sure every dish turns out perfect.

Each dish has its own unique quirks as well. There are plenty of ways to check on a pumpkin pie, but you'd hate to ruin that seamless surface with a thermometer or toothpick. Dishes like meats, hard-boiled eggs, and potatoes all have their own quirks as well.

One thing is for sure though, no one likes a pan of burnt brownies. Not only will all your hard work go to waste, but you'll likely have some serious cleanup ahead of you to get the burnt bits out of your pan as well. Recipe for Perfection says that one of the tried and true methods for avoiding this, and having perfectly baked brownies is a little trick called the "toothpick test." While many home chefs will attest to the value of this test, it does require a little bit of know-how to really nail the perfect brownies.

How to correctly perform the toothpick test

The toothpick test is a great way to check on your brownies, but like any other kitchen technique, it needs to be done properly to have any value. While sticking a toothpick into some brownies seems easy enough, it's not always clear what you should be looking for when you pull the toothpick out.

Recipe for Perfection claims that there are usually three stages to the toothpick that you should be aware of in order to test your brownies correctly. The first stage is when the brownies are underdone and will be too wet to even cut into servings. A toothpick at this stage will appear moist without any solid clumps of brownie sticking to it. At the other end of the spectrum is when things have gone too far, and your brownies are likely overbaked. They might taste fine, but they're probably much more dry and crumbly than you'd prefer. These brownies will produce a completely clean toothpick. A perfectly baked brownie will leave some gooey brownie bits behind.

Other signs to look for

The toothpick is a great way to know exactly when your brownies have finished, but there are other signs to look for as well. Keeping an eye out for these signs will help keep you from testing your brownies too much, and drilling a bunch of holes in their surface.

Pillsbury says that one visual sign to look for is when the edges of your brownies start to pull away from the pan. This means that the edges are completely set, and you're likely close to perfectly baked brownies. Because there isn't really a change in color to look for like in cookies and cakes, BakingHow says to look for the surface of the brownies to go from shiny to a more flat matte. The surface might also start to crack as well.

Lacademie points out that the most accurate method is to use a kitchen thermometer. Once the center of the brownies reaches 170-200 degrees Fahrenheit, you're good to go. Of course, if you like your brownies a little moister you can take them out at a lower temperature. This method also does double duty because you can use the thermometer to do the toothpick test. Just be sure not to touch the bottom of the pan, or you'll record the heat of the pan instead of the brownies.