Out Of The Box Brownies: Magical brownie recipes that start with a box
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Archive for the ‘Fun For Kids’

Tin Roof Brownie

February 26, 2013 By: Denise Leo, Global Brownie Ambassador Category: Candy Bar, Caramel, Creative, Decadent, Fun For Kids, Nutty, Salty-Sweet, Super-Simple

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You may not be old enough to remember when “Tin Roof Sundae” was the name used for a hot fudge sundae topped with salted peanuts, but you’ll for-sure remember this Tin Roof Brownie after just one bite. Bonus: There’s no need for a spoon or a serving dish — just your greedy little mitts will do! This recipe uses a tin-roof shortcut in the form of PayDay candy bars, which feature salted peanuts and a caramel center.

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1 box brownie mix
  • Eggs, oil, and water as called for on the box instructions
  • 1/2 cup fudge topping (for swirling in)
  • 5 PayDay candy bars, thinly sliced
  • Sprinkle of margarita salt, optional

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DIRECTIONS

Mix your brownie batter as instructed on the box directions. Pour batter into a greased pan. Microwave your fudge topping for about 20 seconds — just long enough to make it pliable and swirlable. Evenly drizzle blobby bits of fudge onto the surface of the unbaked brownie batter. I decided to make two small (8×8-inch) pans, as you can see below, so I had to plan ahead as I poured out my half-cup of fudge.

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Using a knife, spin the fudge into loopy, swoopy swirls. Try a few “flip-from-under” swirls, where you dig down into the batter a little and flip the batter up to the surface and then give it a clockwise (or counterclockwise) turn with the fudge on the surface. Do whatever makes it pretty, but don’t mix them together too much; you want to keep the contrast of the two colors. If there doesn’t seem to be too much color contrast before baking, don’t be concerned; my batter became lighter upon baking and made the fudge swirls stand out more.

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Bake as directed on the box. While brownies are baking, slice the peanut-laden PayDay bars into thin slices (shoot for about 10-15 slices per candy bar). When the brownies come out of the oven, you will need these pieces to be ready and waiting.

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When a toothpick test says the brownies are done, remove the pan from oven. While the crust is still warm and soft, insert the salty-sweet pieces of PayDay candy bar down into the top crust. Don’t burn yourself on the hot pan!

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Sprinkle with a pinch or two of flaked margarita salt. Cut into slices and serve. If you’re feeling extravagant, put it in a dish and add a small scoop of ice cream.

So there you go. Using hot fudge, brownie mix, and a few peanut-loaded PayDay bars, you have just created brownie greatness in the form of a giant, sliceable, nommable tin-roof-sundae dessert!

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Mardi Gras King Cake II (Coconut Brownie)

February 04, 2013 By: Denise Leo, Global Brownie Ambassador Category: Chilled, Creative, Decadent, Fun For Kids, Holiday, Party

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The traditional New-Orleans-style King Cake is more like a cinnamon bread, but this coconut-and-chocolate ring has even more decadence, color, and flavor, so it will be perfect for your Mardi Gras party!

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The inspiration for adding coconut comes from a Mardi Gras carnival krewe that has a popular “throwing-of-the-coconut” tradition, which drives Mardi Gras parade-goers wild! Over the years there were some coconut-related injuries at Mardi Gras, eventually leading to lawsuits and a reluctant discontinuation of the happy tradition for a year or two — until 1988, when the Louisiana governor signed into law the Coconut Bill, removing any liability from throwing a coconut during the Mardi Gras parade. Look, friends, I just blog about this stuff; I don’t make it up. So, HEADS UP! Here’s your recipe, comin’ at ya!

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1 box brownie mix (don’t use a mix with chocolate chips; they will stick to the bundt pan)
  • Eggs, oil, and water as directed on box (use the “extra egg recipe, usually a footnote)
  • Bundt cake pan prepared with cooking spray and 3-4 tablespoons flour
  • 1 box coconut pudding (instant or cook)
  • Milk as called for on pudding box (usually 2 cups)
  • 3 T margarine
  • 1 ounce melted unsweetened chocolate
  • 1.5 to 2 cups sifted powdered sugar
  • A few dribbles of milk
  • 3/4 tsp coconut extract
  • Sugar sprinkles in green, gold, and purple
  • Plastic “Baby Jesus” trinket, for adding after baking (remember, Mardi Gras leads to the Catholic tradition of Lenten season—so Jesus is a part of this celebration)

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DIRECTIONS
In a large bowl, mix together eggs, oil,and water. Add brownie mix and stir until all is combined. Prepare bundt pan first by spraying with cooking spray.

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Finish preparing your pan by adding flour on top of the spray and shaking to coat all surfaces. Bang the pan against your counter to shake loose the excess flour and shake it out so you have a nice, thin, uniform layer of flour.

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Pour batter into prepared pan.

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Bake at 350 for about 25-35 minutes. Test for doneness with a toothpick, looking for a nearly clean pull from the center. Let cool for 10 minutes, then turn out of pan and let it cool completely on a rack. Don’t let it cool entirely in the pan, as it will be harder to turn out of the pan.

Make coconut pudding as directed on the pudding box. I like the convenience of a no-cook mix.

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Load your prepared coconut pudding into a pastry bag with a long tip or into an electric cookie press (just like the one a Brownie Ambassador might have on hand). You are about to inject the pudding into the brownie. <Certainly worthy of a trumpet flourish.>

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Place the pretty, fluted part of the brownie face down, so you will be injecting the pudding from what will EVENTUALLY be the bottom of the brownie. This will let you leave the scars of entry on the bottom, completely invisible from your guests. Using the long tip, poke into the brownie every inch or so and move the tip around to make a cavity into which the pudding can flow. As you can see below, I made a TON of pokes into my brownie, using three rows of injections. Don’t be worried if you have some coconut pudding left over; you can remedy this by eating the pudding in your spare time. ;-)20130202-135031.jpg

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Before you turn the brownie over to frost it, insert the plastic Baby Jesus trinket randomly into the treat. Here is the trinket, going in head first! I found my packet of 6 plastic babies at a national-chain hobby store that has sewing and baking supplies.

Turn your brownie ring over so the pretty fluted side is now up. You’re now ready to frost it. Smoosh margarine against the sides of a small bowl until it is soft and pliable.

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Pour in the sugar and melted bittersweet chocolate. (I use “premelted” packets of bittersweet chocolate, as you can see below.)

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When you try to mix it, it’ll be too thick to do anything with it. So add a few dribbles of milk until you can at least stir it into a smooth, thick, chocolatey frosting.

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Add about 3/4 teaspoon of coconut extract, adding more or less to suit your taste. When you smell this heavenly homemade frosting, you’ll know what a treat is in store for you!

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Spread this thick, coconutty icing on top of your King Ring, allowing it to slowly ooze down the sides. Quickly, while icing is still wet, sprinkle with the three colors of sugar sprinkles in a pattern that will please your Mardi Crew.

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When you serve your King Cake, remind your guests to be careful until the inedible plastic baby trinket is found. The person who discovers the Baby Jesus in their piece is the King (or Queen) of your Mardi Gras festivities. May I suggest that you make a paper crown, just for your event?! Fun! Here’s my friend Katy, wearing the QK (“Queen Katie”) crown I made for her. Isn’t she gorgeous?

There is joy for the person you crown, but also responsibility; tradition deems that this year’s royalty must bring a King Cake to next year’s party! I hope you have fun making and serving this coconut-and-chocolate version of a Mardi Gras King Cake!

Mardi Gras King Cake I (Blondie)

January 14, 2013 By: Denise Leo, Global Brownie Ambassador Category: Blonde Brownie, Cream Cheese, Creative, Decadent, Fun For Kids, Holiday, Nut-Free, Off the Beaten Path, Party

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Mardi Gras revellers, take note of this stunning Fat Tuesday dessert greatness: this is my sweet take on a “King Cake,” which is typically a braided cinnamon bread with icing and colorful sprinkles. My version is less of a cinnamon bread and more of a big, uh, cinnamon cookie ring.

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Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, falls on the day before lent begins on Ash Wednesday.

The season of lent–with its actions of penance, repentance, almsgiving, and self-denial–eventually leads to Easter, when Christians commemorate the death and rebirth of Jesus Christ. Perhaps that goes a little way to explain why inside of a traditional King Cake is a small trinket, usually a baby Jesus. King Cakes are popular at Christmastime, as well, a time when maybe a baby Jesus trinket makes a bit more sense.

Hey look, you got the trinket! (Look, I just follow the traditions; I don’t make ‘em up.)

Traditionally, whoever gets the piece with the trinket gets the HONOR of being king (or queen) of your Mardi Gras party and also the RESPONSIBILITY of bringing the King Cake next year. You might want to have a paper crown on hand. Here’s my friend Katie, after she got the baby trinket from my cake:

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 eggs
  • 6 T margarine, melted
  • 1 box Snickerdoodle cookie mix (box includes 1 bag sugar cookie mix and 1/3 cup of cinnamon sugar)
  • 1 package (8 oz) cream cheese
  • Bundt cake pan–prepared with cooking spray and 3-4 tablespoons flour
  • 2 T margarine
  • 2 cups sifted powdered sugar
  • A few dribbles of milk
  • Sugar sprinkles in green, gold, and purple
  • Baby trinket to push inside the crust after baking

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DIRECTIONS

In a large bowl, scramble 2 eggs. Melt butter in microwave and add to eggs.

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Add sugar cookie mix. Do not add the cinnamon sugar at this point; save it for later.

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Mix in cream cheese.

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Prepare bundt pan first by spraying liberally with cooking spray.

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Add flour on top of the spray and shake, heavily coating all the surfaces that batter will touch. Shake out all excess flour. I kinda banged my pan against the counter to shake loose the extra flour so I could pour it out.

Now that your pan is prepared, pour about 20% of batter into it. Then evenly shake half of the cinnamon sugar onto the batter.

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Pour half of the remaining batter on top of the cinnamon sugar and spread it to cover the cinnamon.

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Evenly shake the remaining half of the cinnamon sugar on top of the batter.

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Pour the remaining batter on top and spread it to cover the cinnamon.

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Bake at 350 for about 25-30 minutes. Test for doneness with a toothpick, looking for a moist, but nearly clean pull from the center.

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Let cool for only 10 minutes, then push your little trinket deep into the warm, soft crust of your cake.

With your trinket safely inside the warm cake, let your cake finish cooling completely on a rack. Don’t let it cool completely in the pan; it will be harder to turn out of your pan.

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Once it’s cooled, it’s time to start your icing. Smoosh margarine against the sides of a small bowl.

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Add sugar. Mix in a few dribbles of milk until it’s just thin enough to pour in big globs.

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Spread this thick icing on top of your King Ring. Be generous with the icing; remember, you’ll be crowning royalty when you serve this!20130114-205806.jpg

Quickly, while icing is still wet, sprinkle with the colored sugar in a pattern that will please your Mardi Crew.

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One final piece of advice: When you serve your frosted cinnamon King Cake at your Fat Tuesday party, remind your Mardi Gras guests to bite carefully until the  Baby Jesus trinket is found!

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Last-Minute-Miracle Christmas Brownie (aka Raspberry Brownie)

December 20, 2012 By: Denise Leo, Global Brownie Ambassador Category: Creative, Decadent, Fruit, Fun For Kids, Holiday, Nut-Free, Super-Simple

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If you’re stuck in a last-minute Christmas baking rush, and need a quick but awesome holiday dessert with just a couple of ingredients, try this simple recipe for a beautiful raspberry brownie! (I’m doing this recipe sort of in a tale-of-two-brownies style. One is dark chocolate; one is milk chocolate. You’re welcome.)  You’ll find these raspberry brownies to be both easy and eye-rollingly delicious!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 box brownie mix (either dark chocolate or milk chocolate)
  • Eggs, oil, and water as called for on the box (use the “extra egg” recipe)
  • Raspberry filling (either 20-oz of raspberry pie filling or 16 oz of raspberry jam)
  • Optional: white chocolate chips, chopped into smaller pieces
  • Optional: drizzle (2 T butter, 1/2 c confectioners sugar, splash of milk, jam) or sprinkles

Photo below shows ingredients I used to make BOTH a dark chocolate version and a milk chocolate version!

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DIRECTIONS

Prepare the brownie mix with eggs, oil, and water — as instructed on the box, but using the “extra egg” recipe (often listed as a footnote). Pour HALF of the batter into a greased pan — set aside the other half. I used a 9×13-inch pan and it worked out fine, but an 8×11-inch pan would give you a taller, more stately brownie.

Pour your raspberry filling in a thin, even layer over top of the batter. If using raspberry jam, it helps to heat the jar in the microwave for about 30-40 seconds and then stir; if you skip that step, the jam tends to be too thick to pour.

Photos below show the dark chocolate with jam first — followed by the milk chocolate with the pie filling.

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If you’re adding chopped white chocolate to your recipe, now is the time. Evenly sprinkle it right over your raspberry layer.

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Now, pour the remaining chocolate batter on top. If you use the right technique, this can go quite quickly. Get a nice, wide stream falling out of the lip of the bowl — then drag that stream into a wide ribbon that covers the raspberry in a back-and-forth motion. See below for my awesome technique on both the dark and milk chocolate versions.

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If you prefer sprinkles to icing, you can add those now. Be generous! I used red, but red and white would be extra-super Christmassy!

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Bake at 350 F for about 30-45 minutes, depending on the size and depth of your pan. Check with a toothpick, looking for a fairly clean pull from a center placement. Cool brownies completely.

Baking is done. Now, if you have the time… and if you prefer icing to sprinkles, make yourself a nice, thin icing. Start with 2 T of butter in a small bowl. Using the back of a spoon, smoosh the butter against the sides of the bowl so it is smooth and pliable. Add about 1/2 to 3/4 confectioners sugar and mix until thick. Add a small amount of milk — maybe a teaspoon or two. Mix. Add either more milk or more sugar until it’s the right consistency for drizzling. Using a spoon, drizzle HALF of the icing onto cooled brownies in a big, looping, swooping pattern. Next, take the leftover half of the icing and mix in one teaspoon of raspberry jam. It will be pretty and a purplish-pink color. Drizzle THAT on top of the white icing. So, so pretty.

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Ain’t she purty? And done so quickly! The raspberry brownie is surely a Last-Minute-Miracle Christmas Brownie, one that you’ll be proud to serve at any holiday event!