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The Brownie Mix Doctor: Recipes to Improve Brownie Mix

Updated on February 6, 2012

Brownie Mixology

Due to a poorly planned trip to Costco, I was recently faced with approximately two thousand packages of Ghiradelli Double Chocolate brownie mix. What is one supposed to do with such a great quantity of chocolate? The simple fudgey goodness of basic brownies, as decadent as they are, grows tiresome after a while and leaves one longing for change, but I feel guilty cooking anything different with a perfectly good mix in the house. The solution: change up the recipes for variety, adding nuts, chocolate chips, and other flavorings to the basic brownie mix. Below are some of my favorite ways to tweak the basic brownie mix for delicious results

But first: What brand of brownie mix is your favorite??

What brand of brownie mix do you prefer??

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Adding Ingredients

I usually like to add 1/2 to 3/4 cup total of chocolate chips or other small like ingredients, but you can increase or decrease the amount depending on your personal tastes.

Tip: if your ingredients are sinking to the bottom, coat them in flour before you add them to the mix.

-Nuts are the obvious ingredient of choice and taste great. If you don't like giant chunks, crush them slightly before you add them. Walnuts are the classic choice, but pistachios, almonds, pecans, and even peanuts are also good.

- Chocolate chips are also a great classic option, though not my personal favorite. You could also try other types of chips like butterscotch, white chocolate, peanut butter, and dark chocolate.

- A unique idea is to chop up candy bars and stir them into the batter. Heath bars, Reese's cups, Butterfingers, York peppermint patties, and even Junior mints are all delicious options.

- You could cut carmel candies into manageable pieces and stir those in as well.

- Although it seems odd, combined with almond extract dried cherries would be a delicious addition.

Adding Liquid Ingredients

You can change the flavor of your brownies not only by adding ingredients but also substituting all or part of the liquid the box recommends (usually water) with a different, more flavorful liquid!

-One of my favorite substitutions is to replace all of the water with this morning's coffee! It doesn't matter if the coffee's stale. This really balances out and enhances the chocolate flavor.

-You could also substitute a tablespoon or so of the liquid for a splash of your favorite liqueur! I like to add just a little bit of amaretto to my brownies, but Grand Marnier, Kahlua, or rum would all work great. Just don't use too much or it'll mess up the chemistry!

- If you have the ingredients on hand, you could replace part of the vegetable oil with almond or walnut oil. Just don't use pistachio oil; it has too low of a smoke point.

-Extracts are a great way to flavor brownies! Almond and vanilla are my favorites, but coconut, peppermint, and orange would all be delicious. You should only be using a teaspoon or so of these, so don't worry about messing up the liquid balance.

Topping Your Brownies

If you made relatively simple brownies, you can have fun topping them once they come out of the oven. Just make sure the brownies are completely cooled before topping, unless stated otherwise.

- Once while eating out, I smuggled home about 5 dozen peppermint candies. I found that crushed up, these are delicious pressed into brownies immediately after they com out of the oven.

-You could also frost the brownies with a simple chocolate ganache or cream cheese frosting (see recipes at bottom)

- A simple dusting of powdered sugar or cocoa powder is a great and classic option

- Make s'morse brownies: Top with crushed graham crackers and miniature marshmallows; broil for a few seconds until the marshmallows are golden brown.

-If you made the brownies in a large pan (like 13x9) then you can cut them up and make brownie sandwiches with whatever filling you want in the middle. Raspberry jam, Nutella and bananas, or marshmallow fluff are all delicious.

-Top with shredded or flaked toasted coconut and/or macadamia nuts for a tropical treat. Alternately, wait until the brownies cool then spread with coconut frosting.

-Don't forget classic brownie sundaes! Vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, hot fudge sauce and a cherry are a must, and that brownie better be hot!

Miscellaneous Suggestions

-For fudgier brownies, leave out an egg. For cake-like brownies, add an egg.

-To bring out the brownies' flavor, stir a pinch of salt into the batter or top warm brownies with a sprinkling of fleur de sell.

-For amazingly fudgey brownies, take them out of the oven a few minutes early so they're still warm and gooey.

-For brownies with a kick, add a dash of cayenne pepper to the mix.

Recipes from Around the Web

Theses are an assortment of great recipes curated from across the internet. I'll add more as I find them!

My Favorite Combination

This is my go-to recipe:

Substitute the water for coffee

add a teaspoon of almond extract

add a pinch of salt

take the brownies out two minutes early for decadent, fudgey brownies

Thoughts? Comments? Recipes? Share them!

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    • Jade Lenier profile image

      Jade Lenier 7 months ago

      I made an account just to tell the author of this post that it is the greatest post of all time, that they are hilarious, and I don't understand why this is anonymous because I want to read all the things they write!!!! Seven thumbs up, if I had seven, which I do not.