Despite the best efforts of bakers and pastry chefs, it’s difficult for a mere cake to match the intense chocolate flavor of a simple brownie. The crisp, crinkly surface and fudgy interior of well-made brownies somehow seem to emphasize the chocolate’s dark power, to the chagrin of many a would-be dieter. Tiny, single-serving brownie bites offer an appealing combination of portion control and visual appeal, whether left unadorned or decorated to the hilt. With your favorite recipe or mix, they’re easy to make.

The Basic Method

The most satisfactory way to turn your conventional brownie recipe into brownie bites is by baking it in mini-muffin pans rather than the usual large rectangular pan. Mix up the batter as you normally would, then spray or grease your pan’s cups. Be generous, because brownies are prone to sticking. If you have a silicone mini-muffin pan this would be the time to use it, or alternatively line each cavity with a paper cup. Fill the cups 1/2 to 2/3 full and bake the bites for half the time your recipe ordinarily specifies. Most recipes or mixes will produce 40 to 45 bites.

Important Tweaks

Changing the batter from a single large mass to a number of smaller portions changes its baking qualities dramatically, so keep a sharp eye on your first batch. You might find that they require as little as 10 to 12 minutes to bake, quickly becoming dry and overbaked after that point. Try to take them from the oven when their edges are set but centers are still jiggly. If they’re too crusty, reduce your oven temperature by 25 degrees Fahrenheit before baking the second sheet. You might also need to increase the liquids in your recipe slightly. Your brownies will have better texture and resist overbaking if you refrigerate them for 20 to 30 minutes before they go into the oven.

An Alternative Method

If you’re faced with a time constraint and don’t want to experiment with a new technique, you have another option. Simply bake the brownies as you normally would, then turn the finished slab of chocolatey goodness out onto your counter after it cools. Choose a sharp biscuit or cookie cutter, 1 1/2 inches in diameter, and use it to cut as many rounds as possible from the brownie. You should end up with a comparable number of bites, which will lack the crisp edges of the muffin-pan version but be perfectly uniform in size and shape.

Fancy ‘Em Up

Part of the fun with brownie bites is decorating them, adding flavor and visual appeal to an already compelling treat. Arrange the brownie morsels on a sheet of wax paper and drizzle them with melted chocolate, white chocolate or caramel for an easy but visually striking accent. Dip them in chocolate, or glaze them with a chocolate-and-cream ganache, to “double down” on their already intense chocolate flavor. Dip them in glaze and then sprinkles, for a kid-friendly version, or add a curl of candied orange peel to the chocolate for adults.