Help me make fancy brownies
February 28, 2019 11:40 AM   Subscribe

What can I do with boxes of brownie mix that's a bit more interesting than just making the brownies?

I inherited a bunch of boxes of brownie mix...the sort you buy in the baking aisle of a grocery store. What can I do that's more interesting than just making the brownies?

What sort of ingredients do you add to give more variety to the brownies?

Can I use the mix as an ingredient for some other more complicated dessert?
posted by msbrauer to Food & Drink (37 answers total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
Not more complicated, but boxed brownie mix is a key ingredient in these chocolate bran muffins, which are actually pretty good, despite being a "diet food".

One search term you might try is "cheating" as in "cheating brownie mixes". It's commonly used to describe adding things to commercial mixes to make them better. That search comes up with tons of options, but I haven't tried them so I'm not recommending any in particular.
posted by jacquilynne at 11:46 AM on February 28, 2019

Stir in a handful of mini marshmallows, a handful of chocolate chips, and a handful of roughly chopped walnuts and stir and you have rocky road brownies.
posted by phunniemee at 11:49 AM on February 28, 2019 [2 favorites]

I add cinnamon and a tiny bit of cayenne. Nutmeg also works with cinnamon - just a touch - but I wouldn't do all three.

Add extra vanilla, or almond or coconut extract.

(And of course, chocolate chips.)
posted by wellred at 11:49 AM on February 28, 2019 [5 favorites]

Stir in butterscotch chips and sprinkle kosher salt on top.
posted by advicepig at 11:51 AM on February 28, 2019 [2 favorites]

A layer of frozen raspberries in the middle does wonders!
posted by Champagne Supernova at 11:52 AM on February 28, 2019 [5 favorites]

How 'bout if you do this?! I mean, besides the obvious. Like that a piece of it would probably kill you. Five-layer brownie cookie cheesecake with Alvin!
posted by Don Pepino at 11:54 AM on February 28, 2019

My favorite - Make brownie mix, pour into a 9x13 pan. Next, make your favorite chocolate chip cookie dough (or just buy a tube of premade dough). Roll or slice into cookies and jam them into the uncooked brownie dough most of the way down, so there's about an equal ratio of brownies to cookies (or slightly more brownies). Bake at 350° for 45-47 minutes. Frost with chocolate frosting. If you're feeling particularly insane, serve with vanilla ice cream.
posted by Mchelly at 11:58 AM on February 28, 2019 [2 favorites]

Fixings to add to brownies:
* dried fruit, in particular, stone fruits like cherries. For extra you can macerate the fruit in booze;
* candies of all sorts including chocolate or butterscotch chips, marshmallows, etc.
* You can do a layered cookie that includes a choc chip cookie layer and then a brownie layer. If you want the extra labor a rice crispy layer makes a prize-winning cookie;
* raw fruits, usually berries but you will need to eat very quickly due to storage issues;
* extra spices like cinnamon and chile like ancho but really any of the spice combinations work a treat. An unusual one is adding cardamon and almond
* nuts for texture
* extra extracts such as vanilla, almond, anise
* booze
* cereal

Think of it as a formula: liquid flavor element (extract/booze)+powdered flavor element (ground spice) + dry flavor element (nuts, marshmallows, candies, dried fruit, etc)

Here is a list of flavors that pair well with chocolate.
posted by jadepearl at 12:03 PM on February 28, 2019 [1 favorite]

- Cake pops
- Gooey butter cake
- Crust for cheesecake

Looks like this page has a bunch of ideas:
posted by jraz at 12:06 PM on February 28, 2019 [1 favorite]

S'mores brownies
Mix 6 tablespoons melted butter with 1.5 cups graham crackers, 2 tablespoons sugar and 1/2 teaspoon sugar.
Spread in the bottom of 8x8 tin.
Bake 20 minutes at 325 F.
Add brownie mix and bake as directed.
Top with marshmallows.
Run under broiler until melty, (1-2 minutes).

I got this recipe off thekitchn but used brownie mix rather than their recipe.

My mom's brownies
Add 2/3 brownie batter to the pan and bake, approximately 5 minutes less than recommended.
Drizzle with caramel sauce, chocolate chip and nuts, dot with remaining brownie batter.
Finish baking.
posted by florencetnoa at 12:08 PM on February 28, 2019 [1 favorite]

These Raspberry Cheesecake Brownies sound terribly good and use boxed brownie mix.
posted by burntflowers at 12:08 PM on February 28, 2019 [2 favorites]

Are you ready to risk it all?

OK, fine, use pasteurized eggs or whatever.
posted by Rock Steady at 12:08 PM on February 28, 2019 [1 favorite]

50 Brownies via Food Network
posted by nuclear_soup at 12:09 PM on February 28, 2019

You can also make lava cakes: Making the brownie mix. Pour batter into a muffin tin just enough to cover the bottoms of the cups. Melt about a cup of chocolate chips and add a spoonful of melted chocolate to each cup on top of the batter, then top with the remaining brownie mix carefully to make sure they're all completely covered (so they don't leak out the sides). Bake normally. Dust tops with a little confectioner's sugar
posted by Mchelly at 12:11 PM on February 28, 2019 [1 favorite]

Stir in streaks of nutella or peanut butter!
posted by aka burlap at 12:14 PM on February 28, 2019 [2 favorites]

I'd mess around with flavoring extracts and other flavors or spices to go with them, like -

Vanilla extract and cinnamon
Peppermint extract and cayenne
Orange extract and chocolate chips
Vanilla extract and frozen raspberries
Raspberry extract and mini marshmallows (not the gross flavored ones, the regular kind)

You can get a bunch of different ones for fairly cheap and they're a great way to add a little something.
posted by bile and syntax at 12:14 PM on February 28, 2019

Honestly, I have had brownies with caramel, chocolate sauce, marshmallows, chocolate chips, etc. The only mix-in I appreciate is walnuts or pecans, and they are good but not required. Everything else is too sweet, too gooey and distracts from the perfection of brownies. Make brownies, take them to work, make some for the mail carrier, the dry cleaner who does a great job on your sweaters, the nice bookseller who saves that magazine for you. If anyone in your life says You keep making brownies and I'm tired of them, they do not deserve brownies.

Okay, if you like coffee, substitute strong coffee for the water.
posted by theora55 at 12:20 PM on February 28, 2019 [4 favorites]

Do you have a waffle iron?
posted by gauche at 12:23 PM on February 28, 2019 [6 favorites]

Use coffee as the liquid in the batter, or add expresso beans and instant coffee, for coffee brownies!

This article is how some pastry chefs would play with a brownie mix-- you could divide the brownie batter into multiple pans for thinner, crispier brownies that you can use for ice cream sandwiches!
They also recommend malt powder, toffee, frozen cherries, cocoa nibs, or candied ginger.
posted by devrim at 12:24 PM on February 28, 2019 [4 favorites]

Hash? Weed?

Oh fine. Brownies made in a muffin tin are brownie cupcakes (just add an extra egg.) You can frost them with more chocolate in the form of frosting. And also chocolate shavings on your chocolate frosting.
posted by DarlingBri at 12:38 PM on February 28, 2019 [2 favorites]

I've made brownie cookies out of box mix before, which usually involves cutting the wet ingredients in half and sometimes adding flour? There's a ton of variations out there, when I did a quick Google.
posted by epersonae at 12:39 PM on February 28, 2019 [1 favorite]

After putting the brownie batter in your pan, spoon in some raspberry jam and marble it through with a knife. Bake as usual. Absolutely delicious!
posted by bookmammal at 12:44 PM on February 28, 2019 [2 favorites]

Stir in swirls of salted caramel sauce or dulce de leche with sea salt sprinkled on top.
posted by terretu at 12:47 PM on February 28, 2019 [2 favorites]

Smitten Kitchen’s Baked Alaska uses a brownie base. It’s a fun project and using a mix will make one of the steps a little easier.
posted by radiomayonnaise at 1:03 PM on February 28, 2019 [1 favorite]

On 2nd thought, I still think brownies are awesomer without lots of extras, but a warm brownie topped with ice cream, then with homemade warm fudge sauce, then whipped cream is oooey-goooey excellence.
posted by theora55 at 1:18 PM on February 28, 2019 [1 favorite]

Chile powder and dried cherries.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 1:40 PM on February 28, 2019

Get some Oreos and cookie dough and make you some Slutty Brownies
posted by gnutron at 2:23 PM on February 28, 2019 [1 favorite]

There's the cakemixdoctor who has a trove of ideas including just adding eggs and butter. If memory serves right she also had an idea for using raspberry jam + alcohol, but I'll let you go down that rabbit hole and see what you can find....
posted by gusset at 2:26 PM on February 28, 2019

I think mint is a particularly nice combination with chocolate. Maybe add some peppermint extract?
posted by Gusaroo at 2:56 PM on February 28, 2019 [1 favorite]

marble in some cheesecake batter (this is just cream cheese + an egg + sugar + vanilla)

a peppermint icing layer (powdered sugar + cream + mint extract) on top, then a chocolate glaze over that, then crushed candy canes on that!
posted by fingersandtoes at 3:02 PM on February 28, 2019 [1 favorite]

You can use brownie mix to make nice, soft cookies.

Also - this may sound weird - sauerkraut brownies are a revelation. Put about a half cup rinsed, drained, and finely chopped sauerkraut in your brownie mix.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 3:09 PM on February 28, 2019 [1 favorite]

It's been recommended a couple of times but dried cherries in chocolate brownies is amazing.
posted by quaking fajita at 3:25 PM on February 28, 2019

When they come out of the oven put Peppermint Patties on top.
posted by jgirl at 3:47 PM on February 28, 2019 [1 favorite]

Crack brownies

There is some dispute about the way the recipe originated. I have made it in that form three or four times; they are great.

The trick is the coarse salt you sprinkle over them in the end, along with the ton of fat and sugar that goes into them.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 3:50 PM on February 28, 2019

Prepare the mix, pour half in the pan, put rows of those thin Ghirardelli dark chocolate caramels on top, cover with the rest of the mix. Cook for the longest suggested baking time, more if you have not let the eggs come to room temperature. I serve these as brownie bites, about 1/4 of the size of a normal brownie.

I tried this putting the Vosges Mo's Bacon Bar in the middle and it was pretty good, but next time I would put some actual crispy bacon bits on top. And maybe some peanut butter inside with the chocolate.
posted by BibiRose at 4:11 PM on February 28, 2019 [2 favorites]

Make them using these Miniature Ice Cream Cones as cups.
posted by Marky at 9:51 PM on February 28, 2019 [2 favorites]

My grandma used to make box brownies using orange liqueur as the liquid instead of water. Definitely elevates them to another level.
posted by ActionPopulated at 4:05 AM on March 1, 2019 [1 favorite]

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