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Know What to Look For
The best chocolate in the world can only take you so far. Some recipes just aren't meant to result in fudgy brownies; so, even if you follow the directions exactly, you could be let down with a finished product that's delicious—but too cakey for your taste. Here's what to keep an eye out for, says Christy Jordan, author of the new Southern desserts cookbook, Sweetness: high quantities of butter (at least a stick; Jordan actually uses a stick and a half for an 8x8 pan of brownies) and a high chocolate-to-flour ratio (at least six ounces chopped chocolate to a half-cup of flour). The first recipe in this roundup pretty much hits the nail on the head.

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Up the Fat
Maybe you've seen this recommendation on the back of the brownie mix box: Add an additional egg [or just the egg yolk] for a fudgier brownie. In his new book, How to Bake Everything, Mark Bittman concurs: Stir in an egg yolk, along with the rest of the eggs called for in the recipe, and you'll end up with a denser treat. The reason: There's fat in the yolk, which contributes richness; whereas, the whites are lean and produce a more cake-like texture.

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Add More, Well, Fudge
It may seem obvious, but Jordan says it's worth the reminder: Incorporating more chocolate into the batter will create more luxurious-tasting brownies. Her trick is to toss a handful (or two) of chocolate morsels in; she also likes to ice a thin layer of chocolate frosting over still-warm brownies in the pan. The icing melts and forms a glaze over the top that firms slightly once completely cooled and imparts an overall fudginess to the treat. Then, she removes the brownies from the pan and cuts them into squares.

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Set 2 Timers
Here's the good news: Fudgy brownies are more forgiving than cakey ones if you leave them in the oven too long. The bad news: Underbaked brownies can have an overly goopy texture and be hard to cut. So, set your timer (or timers, if you really want to be diligent) and start testing with a wooden toothpick a couple of minutes before you think they're done, advises Bittman. Patricia Helding, author of Fat Witch Bake Sale, says to look for some crumbs on the pick, but that it shouldn't be dripping batter. Crumbs mean the dessert is almost ready, so pull the pan out; the brownies will continue to cook as they cool. One more note about testing from baking teacher Alice Medrich: Always use a wooden toothpick or skewer, because batter and crumbs tend to slide off metal cake testers.