A freshly baked brownie is one of life's small luxuries. It can be a warm treat for children after a long day at school or an elegant dessert to be enjoyed with a cup of espresso. On the days that you most need a fresh-from-the-oven chocolaty treat, you may not have the time or the ingredients on hand to make a fresh batch of brownies. Mixing the batter ahead of time and freezing it ensures that you can always have warm brownies whenever you want them.
When deciding whether you can freeze a new recipe, it helps to determine what type of recipe it is. Brownies were developed from basic chocolate butter cake recipes that call for a few essential ingredients: chocolate, flour, sugar or other sweeteners, butter or oil, a chemical leavener and eggs. All brownie mixes contain these basics, in varying proportions, making them essentially cakes. This is good news if you are planning to freeze unbaked brownie mix, because unbaked cake batter freezes well.
You can freeze unbaked brownie mix three ways. If you simply want to extend the shelf life of your unmixed, unbaked brownie mix, store the mix itself in the freezer. This will prevent the flour from becoming rancid if you plan to store the brownie mix for more than 12 to 18 months. If you want to prepare the brownie mix ahead of time and freeze the unbaked batter, you can store it either in a plastic freezer bag or in a disposable brownie pan. If you decide to store the batter in a freezer bag, set it on a cookie sheet in the freezer until it is solid. This will cause the batter to freeze in a flat rectangular shape that is easy to stack and store. If you store the batter in a disposable pan, wrap it in aluminum foil to prevent freezer burn.
If you have several hours before you want to enjoy your brownies, or you stored the brownie batter in a freezer bag, thaw the batter before baking. Remove the frozen batter from the freezer and let it thaw in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight. Let it come to room temperature on the counter for 15 to 20 minutes while you preheat your oven. Thawing the batter enables you to bake the brownies according to the original recipe's directions.
If you are pressed for time and you froze the batter in a disposable brownie pan, you can move the frozen batter directly from the freezer into the preheated oven. Add two to five minutes to the baking time, and check for doneness. The brownies should just pull away from the sides of the pan, and the center should be set but not dry or hard. The brownies will continue to cook as they cool, so don't be afraid to pull them out of the oven before they seem completely done, as long as you have baked them for the minimum amount of time called for in the recipe.
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