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

Key Lime Margarita Brownie (alcohol-free)

January 09, 2012 By: Denise Leo, Global Brownie Ambassador Category: Blonde Brownie, Cream Cheese, Creative, Fruit, Nut-Free

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January schmanuary. I’m feeling tropical. Won’t you join me underneath this palm tree?

Cue the steel-drum band. The Key Lime Margarita Brownie deserves some good theme music.

Ahhh. These blonde brownie treats have a luscious key lime kick.

They’re not too sweet, a little gooey, and all impressive when you serve them to your gape-jawed guests.

And you can say, “Oh this? It’s just a little dessert I made in my spare time.”



  • 1 box (15-17 ounces) sugar cookie mix
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar (use only 1/3 cup if using a “Splenda” brand)
  •  1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • One 8-ounce package cream cheese (let soften outside of ‘frig for 5-10 mins)

Key Lime Filling

  • 15- to 20-ounce jar of lime curd or key lime pie filling (I used a 23-oz jar and had 1/2 c leftover)

Pre-baking Garnish Options (choose one of these three or make up your own)

  • Option 1 – Vanilla sugar (1/4 cup sugar and 1 tsp vanilla)
  • Option 2 - Graham crust (1/4 c crushed graham crackers and 2 T sugar)
  • Option 3 – Salt (1/2 tsp flaked margarita salt)

Some of these ingredients are optional. All of them are yummy.


Put the sugar cookie mix into a bowl and stir in the brown sugar.

Mix together the dry ingredients.

Melt 1 stick of butter in microwave for about 30 seconds. Add melted butter and 2 eggs to the dry ingredients. Mix thoroughly.

Butter makes everything better!

Using 2 eggs means you'll get a taller, fluffier brownie.

Blend in 1 package of softened cream cheese.

Mixing is easier if you slice the softened cream cheese as you add it to your batter.

Oh, yummy. Try to keep your finger-lickin' digits out of the bowl, please.

Spread your blonde batter into a greased 9×13 pan. An 8×8 pan is not big enough for this recipe! Now get your lime curd or key lime filling.

Deelish. May I suggest that you go for a key lime filling that is NOT green? In nature, the key lime is actually rather yellow. NOTE: If your store doesn't have key lime filling pre-made in a jar, you can probably find a dry mix to make it yourself in the pudding aisle...just do that in advance.

Now comes the fun part: Putting the key lime goo into the blonde brownie batter. One spoonful at a time, spoon the key lime filling into the batter, being sure to push the goo below the batter surface. Make sure every brownie will have several bites of lime flavor.

Push the goo down into the batter... you don't want it to just sit on the surface.

Use a knife to gently swirl together the blonde batter and the key lime goo.

Oh. My. This is where it starts getting a little exciting. Try not to drool in the pan.

Before baking, garnish with something wonderful of your choosing:

Garnish Option 1 – Vanilla sugar (1/4 cup sugar and 1 tsp vanilla)

The only thing that makes a sugar garnish better is to add vanilla to it. It gets richer and sweeter. And the sugar crystals gang up together to make little "sugar-clump colonies" that bake up crisply and dance on your tongue.

"Sugar" is to "brownie" as "smile" is to "people." I'm pretty sure that's an actual college-entrance-exam question.

Sprinkle the vanilla sugar on top of your blonde batter. So pretty!

Garnish Option 2 - Graham crust (1/4 c crushed graham crackers, 2 T sugar, 1 tsp vanilla)

Crush graham crackers using a plastic zippy bag and a rolling pin. Add sugar and vanilla. Shake the bag to mix it all together. Sprinkle over your batter.

Get out your aggression. Oh, yeah.

Hey, sugar.

Why dirty a dish, when you can just pour the vanilla right in there and shake the bag?

This is a lovely garnish option, especially if you're looking for a taste that is closer to a key lime pie. Yum!

Garnish Option 3 – Salt (1/2 tsp flaked margarita salt)

Pinch a few flakes of margarita salt and sprinkle them sparingly onto your batter. This'll give your blonde brownie a little margarita flair.

Sprinkle your garnish of choice onto the top of the batter. Then bake at 350 F for 35-45 mins (depends on your pan size and depth of batter), until a center-placed toothpick comes out moist but nearly clean.

Let cool for about 30 minutes so they set up before cutting. Now get out your hammock, tie it between two pieces of furniture, and enjoy your tropical treat! Ahhh.

6 Comments to “Key Lime Margarita Brownie (alcohol-free)”

  1. Probably the only thing that could make this Margarita brownie any better is to top it off with some tequila frosting.

    • Denise Leo, Global Brownie Ambassador says:

      I actually was trying to think of how to get some tequila in there. (I have so many recipes that *DO* have alcohol in them, in moderation of course.) Perhaps the easiest way is to eat brownie, and have a shot!

      • An absolutely splendid idea also.

        • Denise Leo, Global Brownie Ambassador says:

          When I have some spare time, I’ll try to whip up and post the recipe for a tequila-coconut glaze for this blondie. What do you think?

          • Great

            Maybe you can modify this frosting recipe.

            Tequila Cream Frosting Ingredients

            ¼ cup of butter that has been melted, but not to the point of being hot.
            4 tablespoons of Tequila.
            2 tablespoons of lime juice.
            2 tablespoons of lemon juice.
            Zest from ½ lime.
            Zest from ½ of a lemon.
            2 cups of powdered sugar.
            1 cup of non-sweetened coconut.

            Tequila Frosting Mixing Instructions

            Blend all ingredients together until they are well mixed. Mix more powdered sugar if the mixture is to thin and a little more Tequila if it’s too thick.

          • Denise Leo, Global Brownie Ambassador says:

            Hooooo-weeeee! That sounds incredible. Thanks, Margarita!


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