Out Of The Box Brownies: Magical brownie recipes that start with a box
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Chewy Ginger-Lemon Blondies

December 10, 2012 By: Denise Leo, Global Brownie Ambassador Category: Blonde Brownie, Chilled, Cream Cheese, Decadent, Fruit, Holiday, Nut-Free, Off the Beaten Path

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Christmas baking is so much fun, but why make ginger-bread (again) when you can make something that’s… ginger-better? This chewy, lightly lemony treat will be a way for you to “zag” at the Christmas cookie exchange, when everyone else is “zigging” with the typical peppermint or chocolate treats. Introducing… the Chewy Ginger-Lemon Blondie! 20121210-230317.jpg

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 box lemon cake mix (I used Duncan Hines Lemon Supreme)
  • 1 cup butter or margarine, divided
  • 3 eggs, divided
  • 1 cup candied ginger, finely chopped (about 6 ounces)
  • 1 box cream cheese (8 ounces)
  • 3.5 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon zest (optional)

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DIRECTIONS

Microwave 1/2 cup of the butter for about 30-40 seconds, just until melted. Into a large mixing bowl, add lemon cake mix, 1 egg, and melted butter.

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Mix on low to medium speed for about a minute, until it is thoroughly mixed. It will form a very thick dough, not a “pourable” batter. Next, measure out about a cup of candied ginger, pour it onto a cutting board, and get your best chopping knife. (Candied ginger often comes in bite-sized pieces, which is much too large for this recipe.) Cut the candied ginger into small pieces, about the size of a pinkie fingernail or smaller.

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Put the minced ginger into the lemon dough and set the mixer on low for about 30 seconds, just until blended. Put the dough into a greased 13×9-inch pan and, using your hands, spread it into an even layer.

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Back to the mixer! In a new bowl, whip the cream cheese on medium to high for 1-2 minutes until it is fluffy and creamy. Add the remaining 2 eggs. Microwave the remaining 1/2 cup of butter for 30-40 seconds in the microwave until melted, and then add that to the bowl.

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Mix on medium until smooth, about a minute. Add the sifted confectioners sugar and mix completely into a rich, gooey batter. If you want a more lemony result, add 1 tsp of lemon zest to the batter. Pour batter over the bottom layer and spread evenly.

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Bake at 350 F for 35-45 minutes. When it’s done, it should be getting toasty brown on the edges. It will still be fairly soft in the center, but not liquidy. I used a center-placed toothpick to check for doneness, making sure the pick didn’t come out “wet.” (You can eat it while it’s still warm or after it reaches room temperature. If you’re not going to eat it right away, store it covered in the refrigerator. It’s delicious right out of the refrigerator — or heated in the microwave for 10-15 seconds.)

When serving, you’ll see that the lemon cake has taken on a golden tan color, that your sweet topping batter has turned tender and rich, and that the pieces of ginger have retained their magical, zingy bite–the Chewy Ginger-Lemon Blondie is a Christmas miracle, for sure!

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Zombie Apocalypse Blondie

December 06, 2012 By: Denise Leo, Global Brownie Ambassador Category: Alcohol, Blonde Brownie, Creative, Fruit, Fun For Kids, Nut-Free, Super-Simple

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So, the Mayans said it’d all be over in December 2012: “Zombie Apocalypse, for sure,” they warned. Hmm. My suggestion is to print this perfect survivalist recipe and put it in your shelter, in case the apocalypse ever does come in our lifetime. This recipe features canned goods and alcohol, two things you’ll need to have handy in the post-apocalyptic world–whenever it might occur. It’s super moist and lightly fruity. Heck, if you add enough rum extract, it could pass for a very cool, very modern twist on a fruitcake! Look at that texture.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 can sweetened, condensed milk (I used Eagle brand)
  • 2 ounces of rum or 4 tsp rum extract (I used Captain Morgan Spiced Rum)
  • 1 box (about 15-17 ounces) sugar cookie mix (I used Betty Crocker)
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg, optional
  • 1 can (about 15 ounces) drained fruit cocktail (I used Del Monte)

DIRECTIONS

Siiiimple, simple, simple! First melt the butter and pour it into a large mixing bowl. Add the eggs, milk, and rum (or rum extract) and stir together well.

Drain the fruit cocktail and then mix it in. If you really like maraschino cherries and always keep them on hand (like me), add a few more cherries than are in the fruit cocktail can. It’s just prettier that way.

Add the sugar cookie mix to the large bowl. If you like nutmeg, add it now. Stir just until it’s fully blended.

Pour into a greased 9×13-inch pan.

Bake at 350 F for about 40-45 minutes (give or take, depending on how deep your batter is). I tested mine with a toothpick, waiting for it to come out clean and not wet or shiny. Let cool.

Cut into generous sizes because it takes a lot of energy to fight off zombies. Consider serving with the best vanilla ice cream you can afford–if you can find ice cream in the post-apocalyptic world, that is. Here it is: the Zombie Apocalypse Blondie, almost as delicious as… brains!

Apple Walnut Blondie

November 09, 2012 By: Denise Leo, Global Brownie Ambassador Category: Blonde Brownie, Cream Cheese, Fruit, Nutty

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Utterly autumnal and ready for hungry leaf-rakers…it’s the Apple Walnut Blondie, a recipe for those who want to keep their kitchen full of happy fall-time snackers.20121109-133905.jpg

BATTER INGREDIENTS

  • 1 17-ounce package sugar cookie mix (I used Betty Crocker brand)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • One 8-ounce package cream cheese (I used Philadelphia brand)

TOPPING INGREDIENTS

  • 1 21-ounce can apple pie filling (I used Comstock brand)
  • 1.5 cups coarsely chopped walnuts (I used Diamond walnuts)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Sprinkle of ground cloves, optional
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, optional
  • Vanilla glaze, optional (a little butter, confectioner’s sugar, milk, and vanilla)

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DIRECTIONS

To the cookie mix, mix in the eggs, melted butter, and cream cheese (it makes mixing easier if you slice the cream cheese as you add it to the bowl).

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The batter will be thick. Spread it into a greased 9″ by 13″ pan.20121109-134001.jpg

Open the can of apple pie filling. Using a sharp knife, cut down and around in the can so any large pieces become more bite-sized.

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Spread apple pie filling evenly across the batter.

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Put your chopped walnuts into a medium bowl. Add the cinnamon. If you love ground cloves, add a sprinkle (about 1/8 teaspoon), but that’s optional.

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Add melted butter.

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Add lemon juice. You can add less than 2 tablespoons if you want your blondie to be sweeter. The lemon juice is an inspiration from my great-grandma Katherine’s recipe for Hungarian Christmas-time cookies.

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Pour this tart, nutty mix on top of the batter and apples. Using a knife, gently swirl these delicious layers. Don’t mix too much. I find that swirling side-to-side is good, but you’ll also want to do some up-and-down swirls to get some of the fruit and nuts down into the batter.

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To counter the slight pucker of the lemon juice, you may want to add some brown sugar by hand, just sprinkling it over the top evenly. It gives sort of an “apple crumble” look to your crust. If you like your sweets to be not too sweet, I suppose you could skip this step.

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Bake for about 35-45 minutes at 350 F, using a toothpick to check for doneness. The toothpick should be nearly dry and almost clean.

After I baked my blondie, I whipped up a little optional ultra-vanilla glaze to drizzle on top. (Mix 2 tablespoons of butter or margarine with 1 cup of confectioner’s sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and a dribble of milk. Voila!) Drizzle to your heart’s content.

The Apple Walnut Blondie is pretty enough to use as a centerpiece at your big holiday party, so try this easy recipe now… before you have to give them all away to your drooling guests!

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Blueberry Champagne Blondie

October 27, 2012 By: Denise Leo, Global Brownie Ambassador Category: Alcohol, Blonde Brownie, Cream Cheese, Creative, Decadent, Fruit, Nut-Free, Nutty

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Need I say any more than these three words: Blueberry Champagne Blondie? This tender delight is decadent when heated and served with ice cream; it’s charming when served at tea; it’s homey when served with a picnic. Heck, I’d even serve this for breakfast as a special treat.

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This weekend marks Global Champagne Day, so let this recipe be one creative way to enjoy it. This recipe starts with Blueberry Champagne Jelly, made by Glass Rooster Cannery, located less than 5 miles from my own happy headquarters.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 box (15-17 ounces) sugar cookie mix
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter or margarine, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • One 8-ounce package cream cheese (let soften outside of ‘frig for 5-10 mins)
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar (use only 1/3 cup if using a “Splenda” brand)
  • 1 c blueberry preserves (I used this amazing Blueberry Champagne Jelly from a local cannery)
  • 1 c macadamia nuts, completely optional but very tasty and nicely textured

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DIRECTIONS

Add brown sugar to the sugar cookie mix and stir.

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Melt 1 stick of butter in microwave for about 30 seconds. Add melted butter and 2 eggs to sugar cookie mix and mix thoroughly.

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Blend in 1 package of softened cream cheese. It helps if you cut it into pieces before adding it to the bowl. Mix in macadamia nuts (optional).

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Spread batter into a greased 9×13 pan. One tablespoon at a time, spoon blueberry preserves onto the batter.

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Use a knife to gently swirl the batter and preserves together. So, so pretty. As it bakes, your blueberry will lose some of its color, but it will still be just gorgeous.

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Bake at 350 F for 35-45 mins (depending on your pan size and how deep your batter sits in the pan), until a center-placed toothpick comes out moist but nearly clean. Let cool for at least 30 minutes so they set up before cutting. Though they’re delicious when completely cooled, I highly suggest eating while they’re still warm. It’s so simple, so tasty, and so tender, I just know you’ll love this recipe for the Blueberry Champagne Blondie.

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