Yes that's right, today is all about making those box mix brownies BETTER! If you've been to my blog before you may know that I'm a huge fan of boxed cake mixes and the brownie variety is no different. In today's post I'm going to share all the tips and tricks to make box mix brownies better.
Follow the back of the box, but double the recipe
Yep, you read that right - double the recipe. One of my hacks for super thick, fudgy boxed brownies is to use two boxes of brownie mix and the recommended ingredients on the back of the box. I like to take it one step further and bake the batter in an 8x8 inch baking pan. You may be tempted to use a 9x13 inch baking dish but I highly recommended using a smaller pan so the batter has less room to spread. Using a smaller pan will give you the thickest, fudgiest brownies ever!
Another tip to always keep in mind is too make sure you follow the ingredients for fudgy brownies.Brownies usually fall into two categories: fudgy and cakey. It's standard that box mix brownies will have an option for cakey brownies and an option for fudgy brownies. While there is nothing wrong with a cakey brownie, if you are looking for fudgy, gooey, tender brownies; you'll want to follow the instructions for the fudgy option. It seems like a no-brainer, but I'm sure it's easily overlooked and something that makes a big difference.
Add in a few extra ingredients to elevate flavor
Coffee and chocolate go hand in hand, so naturally the flavor of coffee will do wonders for the chocolate flavor in brownies. You have a couple of options here. First things first, replace the water with coffee. For example, if a brownie mix calls for ¼ cup of water, use a ¼ cup of brewed coffee instead. If you follow my hack of double the recipe, you'll use a ½ cup of brewed coffee. If you don't have coffee on hand but have espresso powder, that works too. You can either use the espresso powder mixed with water or just add a teaspoon or two to the dry ingredients and give it a whisk. You won't taste the coffee in the brownies, it just really brings out the chocolate flavor.
And don't forget about the vanilla extract. We use it in cakes, cookies and everything else dessert wise, why not add it here too. I stick to the typically 2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract. It's such a simple trick but makes a big difference.
Add flavor and texture with mix-ins
This is where it gets fun. You can add so many things to brownie batter to make them extra delicious. Chocolate chips for extra melty, gooey centers. Or peanut butter cups or crushed up Oreo's like in these cookie crumble brownies. Potato chips for a salty crunch. M&M's, walnuts, or marshmallow sauce. Pretzels and caramel is a delicious choice too. You can see the options are endless. I love a good basic fudge brownie so most of the time I don't add a lot of extra accessories but if you want to really add some extra flavor you can get as creative as your taste buds want. If you're looking for inspiration may I suggest these cookies & cream brownies, marshmallow swirled oreo brownies or these amazing salted caramel brownies.
Bake the brownies low and slow
Brownies like to be baked low and slow. It's crucial for the super fudgy, gooey texture we're going for. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and let them do their thing in the oven. With my oven at 325 degrees and the batter in an 8x8 inch baking pan, my brownies typically are good to go at about 40 minutes. I check them at 35 minutes but they always need a little more time. I take my brownies out to cool when they're still slightly gooey in the center and there is a little bit of batter on the tester. Not a lot of batter, just a little. Remember, recipes still "bake" for a few minutes after they come out of the oven, so don't over-bake your brownies.
So there you have it, my tried and tested tips for making the most out of boxed mix brownies. Let me know in the comments what you think, or if you have any hacks for making box mix brownies better. If you bake some be sure to tag me on instagram @justaddsprinkles or use the hashtag #justaddsprinkles
Make Box Mix Brownies Better
- 8 x 8 inch baking pan
- 2 standard brownie mixes plus ingredients needed for both mixes such as eggs, oil, etc
- 2 tsp espresso powder
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- desired mix-ins such as chocolate chips, candy, pretzels, cookies
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly spray a 8x8 inch baking pan with non stick baking spray and line with parchment paper. Set aside. Read the back of the box mix and get the required ingredients ready such as eggs, oil, water, etc. Remember to swap out brewed coffee for water if the box mix calls for water.
- Pour both packages of brownie mix into a large mixing bowl, add in the ingredients plus espresso powder (if you don't have brewed coffee) and vanilla extract. Mix to combine. Do not over mix brownie batter. If adding mix-ins to the batter fold them in to the batter. Pour brownie batter into the baking dish.
- Bake brownies for 35-45 minutes. Test after 35 minutes with a tester. If tester comes out with a lot of brownie batter continue to bake brownies a little longer. If tester comes out with a little bit of brownie batter, remove brownies from oven and allow to cool. Allow brownies to cool for at least 30 minutes to give them time to set. Remove brownies from the pan by lifting up the sides of parchment paper. Cut into squares and serve. eftovers can be stored in an airtight container.