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Last week I posted a review of a brownie book, Best-Ever Brownies, and gave you a recipe for a cake brownie pictured above. If you were ever confused, because brownie texture and taste seem to vary so much, your confusion will be clarified here.

Brownies come in three basic styles. The fudgy ones that seem undercooked, that you have a tough time cutting and getting out of the pan, and that stick to your teeth. I stopped eating them when I got braces and though the braces are long gone, I just never went back to fudgy.

There are the chewy brownies, which I think most of us favor. It’s definitely not a cake and it is certainly “chewy” with a moist texture, but it will not stick to your braces.

And then there are the cakey brownies. I don’t think of those as my first choice, but the cake brownies we made last week were divine. Thing is, I find them not just cakey: I find them to be almost but not quite cake. They tend to have a high chocolate component, so they aren’t in fact cake, and they are rich enough to enable you to serve them without frosting. If you were going to frost any brownie, it would be the cake ones.

How do you make a brownie be fudgy or chewy or cakey? It’s in the ingredients and the relative proportions and how they are assembled. The list below gives you some general guidelines. The big differentiator is the butter. If it is melted, then the brownie is going to fudgy or chewy. Which one? Well, that will depend on the relative amounts of sugar and flour. Less flour and more sugar get you closer to the fudge candy that fudgy brownies all seem to strive to be when the grow up.

If you are creaming the butter with your sugar, and the sugar is granulated, then you are on safe, cake grounds.

I suggest you search around and find a good recipe for each kind of brownie. You already have a great cake recipe in that link provided here. Actually, what I will do is seek out the best fudgy and chewy recipes I can find [and test!]. I’ll blog those recipes, too, and put links into this post as I update it. So, bookmark this post.

I need a little time for research. Lots and lots of research.

  • Fudgy

Chews, dense, moist, gooey in the dead center, and no crumb

Melted butter, extra sugar, less flour

Unsweetened chocolate

  • Chewy

Moist, chewy but solid with a little crumb

Melted butter, but often brown sugar, more flour

Bittersweet or semisweet chocolate

Less baking time to keep the batter moist and thus chewy

  • Cakey

Moist crumb, cake-interior with soft texture

Butter creamed with sugar

Leavening agents like baking powder or soda

Bittersweet chocolate

Lastly, remember, if using cocoa powder, you’ll need additional fat, that is butter, to compensate for the fats found in all chocolates, even unsweetened.