Martha Stewart's Brownie Hack Gives Edge Pieces The Best Flavor

If you're already a diehard for brownie edge pieces, you might not think there's a lot that could make them better than they already are as the perfect combination of chewy and gooey in the middle and baked to perfection on the outside. But, leave it to Martha Stewart to have a hack that takes edge pieces up another level — and it should definitely be on the list of secret ingredients to add to your brownies

For Stewart, the key to making sure edge pieces have a delicious flavor is Dutch process cocoa powder. Some bakers use flour to coat their pans and prevent sticking during the baking process, but for Stewart, this variety of cocoa powder is the premier dusting option. It dually prevents the brownies from sticking to the pan while giving the edges an extra chocolatey flavor. Stewart recommends lining the pan with paper before sprinkling a little Dutch process cocoa powder in it and tapping around to make sure it coats all of the surfaces.

Dutch process vs. natural cocoa powder

There are a number of different types of cocoa powder on the market, and they are all distinct. Natural cocoa powder is the classic type and is probably what you've seen sold by brands like Hershey on grocery store shelves. This powder is made of unsweetened chocolate that has been ground down, and most of its cocoa butter has been removed. 

In comparison, Dutch process cocoa powder is natural cocoa that has an alkalizing agent added to it to decrease the acidity. Because of its decreased acidity levels, it is often darker in color and has a less intense and less bitter flavor than natural cocoa. The Dutch process variety is the gourmet cocoa powder Ina Garten likes best, too — just in case you needed another celebrity chef endorsement. 

It's important to use Dutch process powder for hacks like Martha Stewart's because the way it's made allows it to not interfere with the leavening and baking processes like natural cocoa might do. The Dutch process cocoa is more neutral because of the added alkalizing agent, and in recipes that call for baking powder, the cocoa won't cause any additional reactions, giving you the best result possible.

More tricks to get brownie edges perfect

Along with Martha Stewart's Dutch process cocoa hack, there are a number of other tricks that will elevate the deliciousness of your brownie's edge pieces. In general, getting edges that have the right combination of a crispy and soft texture can be a balancing act. The best tip is to make sure you're paying close attention to the cooking time. Overcooking your brownies can cause the edges to be hard even if the middle is done. You'll know the brownies are ready when your toothpick comes out of the middle with a few crumbles still attached.

If you're really a corner or edge piece fanatic, you can make batches of brownies that are all edges, too — albeit a little unconventionally. One method for making edge-only brownies is to bake your batter in a muffin tin. These will turn out more like brownie bites, but because they're smaller and are more enclosed by the tin during the baking process, they'll have more of that crispy but soft edge to them. 

If you're looking for edges only and are willing to invest in some new baking equipment, there are all edge brownie pans you can use. Some produce the brownies in a snake-like shape, ensuring that every piece you cut has edges on at least two sides. Other pans look like a classic rectangular pan, but with square metal dividers that will ensure that all sides of your brownie have edges.