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

June 25, 2013 By: Denise Leo, Global Brownie Ambassador Category: Blonde Brownie, Creative, Decadent, Fruit, Fun For Kids, Nut-Free, Off the Beaten Path, Party, Products

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This is the FIRST CUPCAKE for my site, and I did NOT make this decision lightly… in truth, once I had the idea for this citrus-y, lemon-y, lime-y dessert, I knew that the Mountain Dew Cupcake simply HAD to be created. Just look at it. It’s like the headline should be “Cupcake Escapes from Kitchen and Rules the X-Games.”

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BAM! Yeah, THAT just happened, right in your mouth.

CITRUS BATTER INGREDIENTS

  • 1 box lemon cake mix (I used Duncan Hines Lemon Supreme)
  • 3 eggs
  • One 6-ounce cup lime yogurt (I used Yoplait Key Lime Pie flavor)
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 3/4 cup water

MOUNTAIN DEW SWIRL INGREDIENTS

  • Two 12-ounce cans Mountain Dew (about 3 cups)
  • Juice of 1 lime (about 3-4 Tbsp)
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 3/4 cup of the citrus batter, above
  • 14 drops green food color
  • 3 drops yellow food color

CITRUS FROSTING INGREDIENTS

  • One tub lemon frosting (I used Duncan Hines Creamy Lemon)
  • 3 drops green food color
  • 2 drops yellow food color
  • 3/4 cup sifted powdered sugar

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DIRECTIONS

Put on your shin guards and crash helmet. Keeping one hand on the handlebar of your BMX, use the other hand to simultaneously pour both cans of Mountain Dew into a medium saucepan. You will start with about 3 cups of liquid in the pan.

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We’re going to reduce that Mountain Dew down to its intense, dewy essence. There are no rules on how to reduce Mountain Dew, so I made ‘em up: Pow! Boil that bad boy on high heat for about 15-20 minutes until about 3/4 cup of liquid remains.

During the 15 minutes when that’s boiling down, squeeze about 3-4 tablespoons of lime juice into a small bowl and mix in 2 tablespoons of cornstarch. Set that aside for later.

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Check your boiling pan. When you have about 3/4 cup of molten Mountain Dew left, it’s time to move forward.

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It may be hard to judge how much is in the pan, so you can use a heat-safe Pyrex glass measuring cup to check. That’s what I did.

Keeping the pan off of the heat, return The Dew to the saucepan, except for about 1/8 of a cup, which you will mix right into the cornstarch mixture. The goal is to get the cornstarch mixture warmed up a little.

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Add cornstarch mixture to the pan, whisking it quickly, like you’re pedalling up an extreme hill on the BMX course. Don’t worry if you get flecks of lime goo on your face and apron — pretend it’s the mud you’re flinging onto the competitors behind you.

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Return the mixture to medium or medium-high heat for just another minute or so, until it thickens up to the consistency of pudding. It will look a lot like lemon meringue pie filling at this point. This, my MD friends, is the basis for your Mountain Dew Goo. Pour it into a medium-sized bowl and set it aside while you make the cake batter.

Put all 5 of the batter ingredients into a large bowl and mix with an electric mixer for 2 minutes on medium speed.

It should be thick, smooth, and creamy. Don’t eat it.

Take about 3/4 cup of the lemon batter and add it to the bowl of the Dew Goo.

Mix together and then add 14 drops of green food coloring.

Getting close. Now add 3 drops of yellow food coloring. Mix until the color is even. You can tweak it to be greener or yellower based on your personal preference. (I found this particular shade to be a nice balance against the yellow of the batter. Just one DewGirl’s opinion.)

Set the green goo aside while you fill all your muffin cups about 1/4 full with the yellow batter. I used foil muffin cups in silver and green, left over from Christmas; they were just so Dew-like.

On top of that layer, add an edge-to-edge layer of the green Mountain Dew Goo. This layer should bring each muffin cup up to about half full.Be sure to spread the green from edge to edge so you can’t see any of the yellow batter.

Top off each cupcake with a final layer of the yellow batter, making sure to cover the green entirely. I found the easiest way to do this was to spoon a circle of batter around the outer edge of the cup and then cover over the middle. Each cup should be pretty full, about 3/4 to 5/6 full.

Bake at 350 F for 17-21 minutes, until a toothpick test reveals a nicely raised (but still slightly moist) and spongy-set cake. During baking, something wild happens to that green layer, which gets all loopy, swirly and tossed around as the batter rises and expands. You’ll see what I mean when you take your first bite.

Set aside to cool completely. In the meantime, mix your frosting. Put the pre-made lemon frosting into a medium bowl. Mix in 3 drops of green and 2 drops of yellow food coloring. Feel free to tweak until you get the Mountain-Dew color that YOU like.

Add 3/4 cup of powdered (or confectioners) sugar. Mix until it’s completely lump-free.

Sprinkles make everything better. My opinion: These Mountain Dew Cupcakes just do NOT look extreme without some garish garnish on top. POW! Now THAT’S better!

You don’t HAVE TO refrigerate these, but they are so much more refreshing when you do. Chill off on a summer day with one of these bad boys. YEAH!

Keep your eyes on the prize: the one, the only, Mountain Dew Cupcake!! 

Mucho Margarita Blondie

April 10, 2013 By: Denise Leo, Global Brownie Ambassador Category: Alcohol, Blonde Brownie, Chilled, Creative, Fruit, Holiday, Off the Beaten Path, Party, Salty-Sweet, Super-Simple

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On May 5, Cinco de Mayo, celebrate with a light, sweet, tart, creamy, lime-bliss concoction that will knock your party socks off: the Mucho Margarita Blondie! PS – It’s one of the easiest recipes on this whole site!

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INGREDIENTS

  • White chocolate macadamia nut cookie dough, 16-ounce package
  • Whipped topping, 12-ounce tub, thawed
  • 6 ounces frozen-concentrated limeade, thawed (I used half of a 12-ounce can)
  • 1/8 cup to 1/4 cup tequila
  • Optional food coloring, green and yellow
  • Optional garnish of flaked margarita salt or toasted flaked coconut
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DIRECTIONS
First, thaw both the frozen whipped topping and the frozen-concentrated limeade. While they’re thawing, you can bake the cookie crust and wait for it to cool.

If you love coconut and want to use it as a garnish, shake about 1/2 cup onto a cookie sheet in a thin layer. Bake at 350 F for about 5-7 minutes until it’s golden brown. Watch it carefully, because it will go from perfect to burned in a minute or two. Set coconut aside to use right when serving.

Into a greased 9×13-inch pan, spread the cookie dough, pressing it by hand into a thin layer. (If you want a thick crust, use a 9×9-inch pan and bake longer.)

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Bake at 350 F for about 15 minutes, until the edges turn a rich, crispy brown. Set aside until it’s cooled completely.

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Now it’s time for the margarita part. This is so fast and easy, you will hardly believe it. In a bowl, add the thawed whipped topping (12 ounces), the thawed limeade (6 ounces), and the tequila (1/8 to 1/4 cup, depending on your taste). Stir with a rubber spatula until combined.

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At this point, your margarita topping will be zingy, creamy, and refreshing — but maybe not as pretty as it could be. If you like, try adding 5 drops of green food coloring and 2-3 drops of yellow. You could use a lot more food coloring, if you like, but I tend to use less. Just aim for it to have YOUR idea of a perfect margarita-esque appearance.

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Mix your margarita topping until it’s uniform in color. Pour your margarita topping over the cooled cookie crust and spread evenly.

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Refrigerate for 30 minutes so it sets up a little. Cut into serving-sized pieces.

If you want to balance the zing of lime and tequila, garnish right before serving with a tiny pinch of flaked margarita salt or with a big handful of toasted flaked coconut.

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That’s it! For your Cinco de Mayo party, go with a dessert that’s super simple, definitely delicious, and really refreshing: It’s the Mucho Margarita Blondie!

Strawberry Triple-Cream Brownie

February 09, 2013 By: Denise Leo, Global Brownie Ambassador Category: Chilled, Cream Cheese, Creative, Decadent, Fruit, Holiday, Nut-Free

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Three creams underneath a sweet strawberry pie-filling goo on top of a deep chocolatey brownie crust — it all adds up to decadent, sticky Valentine brownie bliss.

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1 box brownie mix
  • Eggs, oil, and water as called for on the box directions
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese
  • 1 cup (about 8 ounces) whipped cream topping, like CoolWhip (thawed, not frozen)
  • 1 tub (8 ounces) sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp KoolAid unsweetened lemonade powder (optional)
  • 1 or 2 cans (21 ounces each) strawberry pie filling
  • 1-2 ounces rum or amaretto (optional; I used vanilla rum)

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DIRECTIONS

First, you’ll need to plan ahead just a little bit. Think about whether you want a thick and tall brownie or a thinner one.

  • If you want a thick brownie that you can cut into tall, towering servings, I suggest using a 9×9-inch pan (or its equivalent, say, 7×11). In this case, you can use either a regular or family-size brownie mix and 1 can of pie filling.
  • If you prefer thinner brownies that you can serve in big, wide slices, then use a 9×13-inch pan. In this case, you should use a family size box mix — one that says “9×13″ on the box — and plan on using almost 2 cans of pie filling.

Either way, yum. To help you decide, these photos reflect the “thinner” kind made in a 9×13 pan.

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To get started, make and bake brownies according to the box instructions. When they are cooled, you can begin making the creamy filling. Using an electric mixer on medium to medium-high setting, mix together the cream cheese, whipped topping, and sour cream until perfectly smooth, about 1-2 minutes.

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You can decide if you’d like to add a little lemony ZING to your valentine brownie. (This is optional, but I like the idea of cutting the sweet of the brownie and gooey topping with the zip of lemon and sour cream.) If you like, dissolve 1/2 teaspoon of unsweetened KoolAid lemonade powder in about 1 teaspoon of hot tap water, mixing until completely dissolved. Add to your cream mixture and beat it for 30 seconds until it’s blended in.

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Pour cream mixture over top of cooled brownies and spread it evenly.

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If you’d like to add a tiny little KAPOW to your strawberry topping, do as I did and add 1 ounce (about 2 tablespoons) of rum or amaretto. I used vanilla rum and it was delightful! You can just mix it right into the can if you want to save a dirty dish. If you’re using 2 cans of topping for a 9×13 pan, add 2 tablespoons of alcohol to the second can of topping as well.

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Pour strawberry topping over the cream layer. (Below you will see how “one can of topping is not quite enough” to fully cover a 9×13 pan.)

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Keep refrigerated. Before serving, let it set up in the refrigerator for at least an hour. I suggest that you serve this immediately after cutting, because the goo and strawberries have a habit of slowly oozing over the brownie edge, which is actually sort of seductive in a valentine-y kind of way.

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Celebrate Elvis Presley’s Birthday on January 8…with the Elvis Brownie

January 08, 2013 By: Denise Leo, Global Brownie Ambassador Category: Candy Bar, Decadent, Fruit, Holiday, Off the Beaten Path, Peanut Butter

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There’s only one Elvis. But there are TWO Elvis Brownies: The Graceland Elvis Brownie (left, with super-chunky peanut butter and Mallow Cups) and The Vegas Elvis Brownie (right, the same, but dipped in banana batter and pan-fried in butter).

Celebrate The King’s birthday today, you know you wanna, baby! See Elvis Brownie recipe and video