The Perfect Brownie baking set consists of a 7-by-11-inch open-bottom pan, a bottom sheet, a serving tray and the main innovation -- a grid that shapes the brownie batter into 18 perfect squares, then lifts out for easy serving. The size is right for most packaged brownie mixes. Though the set is advertised as nonstick, the instructions require spraying the pan, bottom and dividers with nonstick cooking spray. To minimize leaks, you should preheat the pan for five minutes before adding batter, place a cookie sheet underneath it or line it with foil.
Reviews of the Perfect Brownie set are mixed, but more positive overall than negative. Even enthusiastic testers say you can bake fine brownies in an ordinary pan rather than spending $20 on this specialty pan. Reviews are also mixed about whether or not the metal divider improves the texture of the brownies by baking them more evenly. The set comes with a set of stencils for decorating brownies, but few reviewers mention these as a plus. Some users report a lot of leakage, others very little or none at all.
The main advantage of the Perfect Brownie set seems to be the dividers themselves, which do produce even squares, so this might be an advantage if you have a hard time cutting brownies evenly in a normal pan. All the pieces are dishwasher-safe, so cleanup is easy. Overall, we think that the set isn't timesaver, since it takes more time to coat all the dividers than to cut the brownies by hand.
We found the most illuminating reviews of the Perfect Brownie set at TV stations that provide video clips of their tests. Jeff Jumper's test for KPLC (Lake Charles, La.) is the most enthusiastic. The review at KDFW (Dallas) is also favorable, but the tester at KFVS (Cape Girardeau, Mo.) gives the Perfect Brownie a thumbs-down. A detailed review at AssociatedContent.com also recommends cutting brownies by hand instead, while a sketchy reviewer at StarReviews.com finds no drawbacks at all. At Amazon.com, nearly 60 users are also divided in their ratings.
1. KDFW (Dallas)
Reporter Steve Noviello asks a volunteer tester to try out the Perfect Brownie pan in this "Deal or Dud" segment. Tester Jennifer Wilkin is skeptical, but ends up giving the Perfect Brownie pan a thumbs-up as "pretty cool." All the brownies do turn out square. Wilkin coats the pan and all the dividers with a coating of nonstick spray; despite this, one of the brownies sticks a little.
Review: Fox4 Features: Deal or Dud: Perfect Brownie Pan, Steve Noviello, Sept. 9, 2009
2. KPLC (Lake Charles, La.)
This review, which includes a step-by-step video demonstration, concludes that although a standard baking pan makes brownies that are just as good, the Perfect Brownie does make them easier to serve. Jumper experiences minimal leaking, but says you could line the pan with foil to avoid it. He likes the fact that the pieces are dishwasher-safe, making cleanup easy.
Review: Does it Work? Perfect Brownie, Jeff Jumper, 2009
3. KFVS (Cape Girardeau, Mo.)
Tester Kris Brook gives the Perfect Brownie a grade of C-plus, noting that the serving tray tends to slide off the pedestal and it's just as easy to cut brownies with a knife. The total price including shipping is close to $30, which strikes her as way too much.
Review: Untitled, Lauren Keith, Sept. 16, 2009
This detailed review advises against buying the Perfect Brownie Pan. Following the instructions, Ashlee Thacker coated and floured the pan and dividers -- 54 sides in total --and says it was quite a chore. She found that the brownies still tended to stick to the bottom. Thacker also tried out the stencils, and says they created a big mess.
Review: The Perfect Brownie Pan Set is Not So Perfect, Ashlee Thacker, Jan. 13, 2010
This enthusiastic review, accompanied by a video demonstration, gives the Perfect Brownie set the highest possible rating. The reviewer uses a light coating of butter rather than nonstick cooking spray.
Review: The Perfect Brownie Baking Pan Review, "Dan", Aug. 2009
Close to 60 owners review the Perfect Brownie set here, with about two-thirds expressing satisfaction. Pleased owners say the set produces great-tasting brownies with perfect edges, and makes serving and cleanup easier. The major complaints are excessive leaking and uneven baking. It's not clear why some owners get very good results, while others don't.
Review: Perfect Brownie Set, Contributors to Amazon.com