Out Of The Box Brownies: Magical brownie recipes that start with a box

Lunchbox Brownies

November 03, 2011 By: Denise Leo, Global Brownie Ambassador Category: Candy Bar, Decadent, Fun For Kids, Nut-Free, Super-Simple

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Imagine being a kid, and you're having a typical crappy day at school. Then you go to lunch break, and THIS is in your lunchbox.


I admit that I am *not* the Great Definer of All Things Brownie. Not yet. However, as Global Brownie Ambassador, I do qualify as a voting super-power at the Brownie U.N. meetings. And at the recent Brownie G8 conference (held this year in Brussels, Belgium), I was asked to lead a new initiative in Global Brownie Creativity. As part of my new commitment to the G8, I’ve created a new recipe that is sure to create lunchbox cheers in all nations. Yet another way to create worldwide harmony through chocolate. The Belgians just love me. But I digress . . .

In my latest ambassadorial effort, I have deemed that a true Lunchbox Brownie shall meet two standards: 1) PACKABILITY–with no frosting, crumbs, or goo that shall muck up a well-packed lunch, and 2) CRAVEABILITY–with an appearance so drool-able that it shall induce extreme classmate jealousy within a range of two cafeteria tables, with a mug so lovable that it shall be completely nommed even if “the stupid apple” squished it. And it shall be a bonus if the recipe makes it easy to let the kids help.

Fun, fast, packable, craveable. Get ready for the best Lunchbox Brownie ever, as deemed by…me!

Giddy-licious happy-fun brownie ingredients


  • 1 package refrigerated dough for toll house cookies (or peanut butter cookies)
  • 1 box brownie mix
  • Egg, oil, and water as directed on box mix
  • 1 cup plain M&Ms–about 8 ounces, or about 5 regular-size packets (if you can keep your wits about you, consider the extreme-crave-inducing substitutes of peanut-butter M&Ms, pretzel M&Ms, or peanut M&Ms)


Get the kids! By hand or with a spoon, divide the dough into pieces about the size of a half-teaspoon.

Break your cookie dough into small, bite-sized pieces. The kids will love to help on this step.

Into a larger-sized greased pan (8×11 or 9×13 is a good size), evenly distribute half of the pieces. Save the other half of the dough pieces to put on top of the brownie batter.

Put HALF of your bite-sized dough pieces into a greased pan. Make sure you use a pan larger than 9x9 -- otherwise your brownies will be too thick to bake evenly.

Mix your brownie batter, using egg, oil, and water as directed on the box. I like to put one additional egg in my batter, to give a little more volume to the finished brownie–but that’s a personal preference.

Mix your batter by adding egg, oil, and water as directed on the box.

Pour all of your brownie batter into the pan, completely covering the cookie pieces.

Pour all of the brownie batter over the dough bites in the pan.

Now get the other half of the cookie dough pieces and evenly distribute them across the top of the batter, pushing them slightly down into the batter.


Cookie dough is at the bottom of the pan already. Now you get to put it on the top, too.

Bake brownies for about 20-25 minutes. It’ll look slightly puffed up and still glossy or gooey on top.

Get the M&M's ready!

Gently remove the pan from the oven and evenly sprinkle the M&M candies onto the ”still mooshy” crust. Work quickly so you can get the brownies back into the oven to finish baking.

Sprinkle love all over your half-baked brownies.

Use a spatula to slightly push the M&Ms into the crust. Work quickly, but be gentle.

Use a spatula to lightly push M&M's into the crust. Be gentle. And don't burn yourself. Return the pan to the oven to complete baking.

Quickly return the pan to the oven for an extra 15-30 minutes. (The total baking time will depend on how large your pan is.) When a toothpick comes out almost clean, remove your candy-colored brownies from the oven. I know you’ll be tempted to eat them warm right out of the oven, but these really are BETTER when they’ve cooled. So put up some orange pylons around the pan to keep your begging kids away. Then eat and pack. Or pack and eat. You’ll probably do both.

Behold, the key to all childhood dreams and to all adult wishes for world peace: The Lunchbox Brownie. Share it with someone you love today!

12 Comments to “Lunchbox Brownies”

  1. This looks like the greatest thing on Earth! Do you package and sell these? If not, it might be a good idea. I would buy!

    • Denise Leo, Brownie Ambassador says:

      LOL. Nope, it’s too hard to bake-n-sell. I like to dream up silly, flirty, nommable recipes — then I kitchen test them and share the recipe. It’s all about bringing the brownie love to as many people as possible. :-)

  2. Mmmmmmmmmm, I am going to make these for a Fat Tuesday celebration in a couple weeks! Cannot wait!

    • Denise Leo, Global Brownie Ambassador says:

      Hi, Carrie! May I suggest that you go to the refrigerated cookie dough aisle and really “GET INTO IT?” Consider all your options. Mutter just under your breath. Pick up a Tollhouse dough that has chocolate chunks and mini-chips in it. Put it back. Pick up a Tollhouse dough that has caramel and pecans in it. Put it back. Consider a dough that is NOT a Tollhouse flavor at all. There are so many easy and delicious substitutions for this recipe. Have fun!

      • I used the Ghirardelli brownie mix (I never use anything else unless I’m making brownies from scratch!) with Pillsbury chocolate chip and chunk cookies and dark chocolate M&Ms. Think I baked a few min. too long (a little crumbly when cutting) but they are gooooood!

  3. Breanna says:

    these were SO good. my family absolutely loved them! we will totally be making them again for birthday parties!

    • Denise Leo, Global Brownie Ambassador says:

      I love the lunchbox brownie. So glad you did, too. There are other kid-friendly recipes on this site — just look on the left menu under “Fun for Kids.” Happy baking to you!
      Denise (Global Brownie Ambassador)

  4. Denise Leo, Global Brownie Ambassador says:

    Hey, brownie fans! The LunchBox Brownie now has more than 5,000 pins and re-pins on Pinterest. Thanks for sharing the brownie love on my behalf. Have a brownie day! -Denise

  5. FYI, the printer icon doesn’t work for this recipe.

    • Denise Leo, Global Brownie Ambassador says:

      Lisa – Thanks. I’ll investigate. If needed, I’ll switch to a new printing widget. If you haven’t found a way to get it printed yet, just email me at outoftheboxbrownies@gmail.com — and I’ll send you an easily printable file.


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