Friday, November 12, 2010

Brownie Mix Recipes

When I find brownie mixes on sale at the grocery store for $1 or less, I usually stock up so I have some easy dessert options at hand.  Several years ago, however, I decided there was no reason to make plain old brownies from a box again--ever! With just a little bit more effort and time, you can create all sorts of great brownie desserts that look good, taste better, and always impress.

The options are so endless (don't even get me started on the pies and trifles you can make!), but here is a sample of brownie mix recipes to get you started. I've made all of these myself and can attest to their goodness. Where applicable, I have linked the website that I got the recipe from, as well as an explanation of any changes that I made. Let me know if I've left out your favorite.  Enjoy!

I prefer using Duncan Hines Dark Chocolate Brownie Mix.  In fact, I almost exclusively use dark chocolate brownie mix because I think it is so infinitely superior to regular brownie mix.  Just FYI.

Brownie Goody Bars-- These are intense. I've also seen this recipe using marshmallow fluff instead of vanilla frosting. I haven't tried it, but I suspect I would like that even better.

Gooey Caramel Brownies--Make the brownies as directed on the box, but pour only half of the batter into the pan. Bake for 12 minutes and allow to cool. While the brownies are baking, melt one package of caramels together with 1/3 cup whole milk (either over the stove or in the microwave), stirring regularly. When brownies have cooled slightly, sprinkle with 1/2 chocolate chips and spread caramel mixture over the top. Spoon remaining brownie batter over the caramel and either marble the two together, or carefully spread the batter over the entire caramel area so its sandwiched between the brownie layers (which is the method I prefer). Bake another 10-12 minutes or until the the brownie is set and the edges have begun to crisp.  Revel in the gooey caramel goodness.

Marshmallow Fudge Bars-- Substitute the brownie mix for the "from scratch" recipe, follow the rest of the directions as written and you're ready for gooey chocolate goodness. Make sure to double the frosting and at least double the marshmallows (using almost an entire package) if you're making a 13x9 sized pan and not an 8x8. Allow more than an hour for the frosting to set; serve at room temperature.

Mint-Topped Brownies-- A classic...if you ever went to a BYU event.  Just substitute the brownie mix with the from scratch recipe and enjoy the nostalgia.  I know it's untraditional of me, but I prefer them without the green food coloring.  In fact, keep the mint layer white, forgo the chocolate frosting on top, and instead sprinkle with crushed candy canes.  Just a suggestion.  (Go cougars!)

Oatmeal Brownies--These brownies are hearty in a I-know-these-aren't-good-for-me-but-I-can-pretend-that-they-are kind of way. Adding a 1/2 cup or so of chocolate chips to the brownie batter makes them feel more like a dessert and less like a fudgey delicious granola bar.

Oreo Crumb Brownies-- These basic directions can apply to pretty much any cookie, candy bar or other add-in you want to use with your brownie mix. (That's what makes brownies so fun!)  Make the brownies as directed on the box, adding at least 12 coarsely crumbled Oreo cookies to the batter. Bake as directed. Mix in about 6 crumbled Oreos to vanilla or chocolate frosting. Once brownies are cooled, spread with frosting.  Top with additional crumbled Oreos, if desired.

Peanut Butter Ripple Brownies-- I have made these several times, with and without the frosting. Without the frosting, these brownies are good. With the frosting, these brownies are fantastic.  Use crunchy peanut butter for the brownies and creamy peanut butter for the frosting.  Add a 1/2 cup chocolate or peanut butter chips to the brownie batter if you're feeling a little crazy.

Peanut Butter Truffle Brownies-- I recommend using 3/4 cup peanut butter (instead of 1/2 cup) because I like the extra peanut buttery-ness, as well as adding 1/8 teaspoon salt to the peanut butter mixture.

S'mores Brownies-- I'm taking these the next time we go camping!  For a 13x9 size pan, make the brownies as directed on the box, adding about 3/4 of a package of coarsely crumbled graham crackers and 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips to the batter. Spread the batter into a greased pan and press 16 large marshmallows on top of the brownie batter. The marshmallows should brown (but not burn) and spread significantly when baked. Bake as directed, removing pan when there's five minutes left.  Sprinkle the top with additional chocolate chips, crumbled graham crackers, and mini marshmallows and return to oven until brownies are done.

Avocado Brownies-- For a healthy(ish) cakey brownie, substitute 1/2 cup well-mashed avocado (about 1/2 of one large avocado) for the 1/2 cup oil.  It adds a subtle flavor and it couldn't be easier!

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