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

Archive for the ‘Salty-Sweet’

Bacon Brownie with Maple-Pecan Frosting

September 10, 2012 By: Denise Leo, Global Brownie Ambassador Category: Chilled, Creative, Decadent, Nutty, Off the Beaten Path, Salty-Sweet


Butter-y, maple-y, nutty, and bacon-y joys abound, bite after bite, in this brownie fit for royalty. For you doubters out there, yes, bacon DOES go with brownie. For a few years now, it’s been rather stylish to pair bacon with just about anything, including chocolate. In fact, TWO of my friends (unbeknownst to the other) came up to me in recent months and pretty much said, “You’ve gotta make a bacon-and-maple brownie.” For the awesome, bacon-y suggestion, my thanks go out: to Kris Early, of Bella Beads Studio, and to my central-Ohio-homegrown-rock-star-and-X-Factor-Finalist, Josh Krajcik.


  • 1 box mix of brownies
  • Eggs, as called for on the box
  • Oil, as called for on the box
  • Water, as called for on the box


  • 6 Tbsp butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup maple-flavored pancake syrup (I used Hungry Jack Lite Butter)
  • 2 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar, more or less to get consistency you want
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans, toasted
  • 12 slices bacon, cooked and drained (I used Sugardale, my father-in-law’s favorite bacon)

Mix and bake brownies as directed on box. While your brownies are baking, pan-fry your bacon and place cooked bacon on paper towels to let the excess fat drain.

When brownies are done, remove from oven and let them cool completely. While the oven is still warm, place the coarsely chopped pecans on a cookie sheet and toast them for 3 to 5 minutes at 350 F. If you skip this pecan-toasting step, you’ll have to pretend that your frosting has the same level of “ROWR” that can be achieved only via toasting. After about 4 minutes in the oven, your pecans will smell all rich and roasty and toasty. Remove them from the oven and let cool.

Place the butter in a medium bowl. Using the backside of a spoon, smoosh the butter against the sides of the bowl to smooth it out. Smooooooosh!

Mix in the maple syrup. It will look a little gross. Kind of shiny and flecky and slimy. No worries.

Sift your confectioner’s sugar and add it to the bowl. Mix until smooth. It’ll probably still look a little gross. No worries.

Add toasted pecans and mix. It’s going to start looking kind of delicious. Resist the urge to spoon it by the tablespoon into your mouth.

Take 9 of the 12 slices of cooked bacon and chop them coarsely. (Set aside the other 3 slices of bacon to use as a garnish later.) Add the 9 chopped bacon pieces to the frosting bowl and stir completely.

There’s your bacon frosting, my brownie friends. Pour this lumpy, bumpy, smoky, sultry frosting onto the cooled brownies. Spread it into a uniform layer. Do not stick your face onto the surface and begin a hands-free eating session.

Garnish by tearing up the 3 slices of cooked bacon that you set aside. Artfully place the torn bacon pieces on top of the frosting.

Keep refrigerated until serving.

There it is, brownie admirers from around the globe. It’s the Bacon Brownie with Maple-Pecan Frosting, a dessert that will astonish, delight, and satisfy all of the bacon lovers in your life.

If you like this recipe, you may also like these recipes:

Whisky-Pecan-Cream Brownie

Butterscotch Blondies with Sauteed Pecans

Double Dog Dare Brownie

August 01, 2012 By: Denise Leo, Global Brownie Ambassador Category: Creative, Fun For Kids, Off the Beaten Path, Peanut Butter, Salty-Sweet, Super-Simple


Kids love a good food dare, and I’m no exception, so I created the Double Dog Dare Brownie recipe–complete with peanut butter, caramel, and (here’s where the dare comes in) crushed potato chips. By adding raisins, you can “up the stakes” to a triple dog dare. Try it; if you’re like most people in my beta test group, you’ll laugh a little when you realize how good it is! Have fun with this one.


  • 1 box “family size” brownie mix (I used Betty Crocker’s “13 x 9 Family Size”)
  • Eggs, oil, and water as called for on the box
  • 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter (I used reduced-fat Jif)
  • 2/3 cup fresh, soft raisins (optional)
  • 2/3 cup caramel dip (I used Marzetti brand)
  • Potato chips (I used Kettle Cooked Lay’s, which are super-crunchy)


Mix and bake brownies as directed on the box. When the brownies are completely cooled, spread peanut butter in a thin layer on top of the brownie crust. As you can see, my layer was just thick enough to cover the crust.

Choose your raisins carefully. (Don’t use hard raisins. Ick.) At the store, do what you can to get super fresh and soft raisins; squeeze the box or bag to make sure. Sprinkle the raisins evenly on top of the peanut butter. Adding raisins is optional, but if you leave them out, then you only have a DOUBLE dog dare, not a TRIPLE. S’up to you.

Pour caramel over the raisins. Mine “poured” out in blobs and globs.

Spread caramel as evenly as you can. This is the surface to which your potato chips will adhere.

You’re done for now. Cover and store your brownies until you’re ready to serve. There’s no need to refrigerate. When it’s time to eat, cut a serving and then garnish it with a crushed fist full of potato chips. Yum!

The crushing is half the fun; you might want to let your guests/kids do it themselves. Serving suggestion:

Whatever you do, don’t add the potato chips until right before serving. You want a big, crunchy snap to balance your chewy raisins and that rich, fudgy brownie! If you want to turn this brownie into a QUADRUPLE dog dare, consider a flavored potato chip–like maybe barbecue or cheddar cheese. But, seriously, that’s starting to get a little weird; so you’re on your own if you want to go that far.

This recipe is a worth trying, if only to say you did it. I double dog dare you to make it. I think it’s both fun and tasty. And I know that kids are going to love it! The Double Dog Dare Brownie–with peanut butter, raisins, caramel, and potato chips–is a fun recipe to show your kids (or yourself) just how daring you are.

If you liked this recipe, you may also like:

Tagalong Brownie Pie

Turtle Pretzel Brownie


Sour Cream Kapow Brownie (Gluten-Free)

June 28, 2012 By: Denise Leo, Global Brownie Ambassador Category: Gluten-Free, Nut-Free, Salty-Sweet


On this Independence Day, declare your independence from gluten by enjoying the explosion of rich, fudgy flavor in the Sour Cream Kapow Brownie, which just HAPPENS to be gluten-free. I dreamed up this recipe when I had a sudden recollection of my favorite doughnut from my college days: Sour Cream and Chocolate Doughnut. This tasty treat will be welcome at any July 4 picnic, and my beta-testing friends told me they’d never have guessed this was a no-gluten recipe.


  • 1 box gluten-free brownie mix (I used Betty Crocker Gluten-Free)
  • Egg(s), oil, butter, and/or water as called for on the box directions
  • One 8-ounce tub of gluten-free sour cream (I used Daisy light)
  • 1 cup of gluten-free chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli milk chocolate chips)
  • 1/8 tsp salt or 1/2 tsp sugar, optional



Mix the gluten-free box mix according to the box instructions. I used the Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Brownie mix, which calls for 2 eggs and 1/4 cup of melted  butter.


Add the entire 8-ounce tub of sour cream. Make sure the sour cream is gluten-free, because not all sour creams are gluten-free. The batter will look rich, dark, thick, and absolutely heavenly. Though it will be hard, try to resist sticking your finger in there, because not all fingers are gluten-free.


When batter is completely mixed, pour it into a greased pan. I used an 11 x 7 pan and it was the perfect size to get the thickness I like. Sprinkle with your gluten-free chocolate chips.


Yum! This is close to perfection. It’s totally optional, but you may want to do as I did and evenly sprinkle a few pinches of salt or sugar (gluten-free, of course) on top of the batter before baking. (If you like salty-and-sweet together, I suggest a light sprinkling of salt. But that’s just me.)


That’s it; your batter’s done. Bake it at 350 F for about 25-35 minutes, depending on your pan size. Cool. Dive in. Make moaning noises. Forget that you’re eating a gluten-free treat. The Sour Cream Kapow Brownie, totally gluten-free, is your recipe for chocolate dessert bliss.

Butterscotch Blonde Brownies

June 15, 2012 By: Denise Leo, Global Brownie Ambassador Category: Blonde Brownie, Cream Cheese, Creative, Nutty, Off the Beaten Path, Salty-Sweet


Buttery, salty, sweet, toasty, nutty: this Butterscotch Blonde Brownie is a winning combination.



  • 1 box (15-17 ounces) sugar cookie mix
  • 1 box butterscotch pudding mix
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • One 8-ounce package cream cheese (let soften outside of ‘frig for 5-10 mins)
  • 4 Tbsp water
  • 1.5 cups pecans, coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  • 1 cup (1/2 bag) of butterscotch chips
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil

Mix dry pudding mix with sugar cookie mix.

Add 1/2 cup melted butter, eggs, water, and softened cream cheese. (It helps if you let the cream cheese soften and slice it as you add it to the bowl.)

Spread batter into a greased pan.

Set the pan aside.

Melt 1/3 cup butter in skillet on medium heat. (Don’t use high heat; that won’t help. Medium or a half-notch above it is your best friend for this recipe.)

To the hot butter, add pecans. Stirring occasionally, sauté the pecans on medium heat for about 3 or 4 minutes. Don’t overcook it; you’ll know you’re done when you get a nice, rich, toasty smell. Oooh, bubbly!

Evenly pour the butter/pecan mixture onto your blondie batter. You’ll see a lot of buttery liquid goodness in there; try to distribute it evenly, across the surface.

Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon of salt over the pecan layer, making sure you get all the edges, corners, and middle areas evenly.

Bake at 350 F for about 25-30 minutes, depending on the size of the pan. Test it with a toothpick, looking for an almost-clean pick pulled from the middle area. When done, remove from oven.

Cool completely.

Though you could serve it now, naked, may I suggest that this nutty combo brownie is just not butterscotchy enough? I HIGHLY recommend that you take 1 cup of butterscotch chips, 2 Tbsp of oil, and melt them in the microwave (about 20-30 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until chips are melted). When smooth, drizzle that golden-scotchy nectar on top of that crispy, salty pecan layer. You’ll be glad you did. So, so glad.

You’re done. Aren’t you delighted? This recipe is such an unexpected charmer when it’s served. Your guests will definitely ask you for details. You will especially love how the salty, crispy, toasted, buttery, sautéed pecans add a perfect snap to the top of the Butterscotch Blonde Brownie!