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

Iced Coffee Brownie

June 01, 2012 By: Denise Leo, Global Brownie Ambassador Category: Chilled, Nut-Free, Off the Beaten Path


Starbucks knows how delicious it is to blend together both iced coffee and chocolate, and so does Out Of The Box Brownies! For a refreshing summer treat, discover the sheer bliss of this frozen iced-coffee brownie recipe. Mmmmm!



  • 1 box brownie mix (I used Ghirardelli ultimate fudge, which comes with a frosting packet, but frosting isn’t a “must have”)
  • Eggs and oil as directed on brownie box
  • Water as directed on box, plus 2 tsp instant coffee dissolved in it
  • 1 box chocolate mousse mix (I used Dr. Oetker Milk Chocolate Mousse Supreme Mix)
  • Milk as directed on mousse box, plus 2 tsp instant coffee dissolved in it



This recipe is going to make you swoon with delight. I was in a state of joy as I made this, because I knew what a chilly respite this frozen treat would be on a hot summer day. To get started, dissolve 2 tsp of instant coffee into some hot tap water — using whatever amount of water that your box mix calls for (usually the box calls for between 2 Tbsp to 1/3 cup water).


Add the coffee-water to the boxed brownie mix, along with the number of eggs and the amount of oil listed on the box. I like using the “extra egg” version of the boxed recipe (usually listed in small print below the regular recipe), because an extra egg will create a taller, cakier brownie. But some people like shorter, fudgier brownies, so I’ll leave that earth-shattering egg decision up to you.


Mix completely, pour into a greased pan, and bake as directed on the box. Set aside until completely cooled. Do not start the next steps until the brownies are cooled. The brownies should be not hot. Not warm. Cooled. Completely cooled. Get the picture? If you rush, you’ll ruin your happy iced-coffee layer. So be patient and let those brownies cool.

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So, when the brownies are cool, you can add any frosting that may have come with the box mix. It’s totally not necessary, but I tried it and it worked out nicely. I decided to use only half of the frosting packet, creating a nice, thin layer. But, hey you might want more or less or even none. This is your world; I just blog in it. So do what feels right to you.



Now it’s time to make your iced-coffee mousse topping. Into a medium to large bowl, add the amount of COLD milk that is called for on your mousse mix instructions. The Dr. Oetker brand mix I used called for 1 cup of cold milk. (I used fat-free milk and it worked just fine. If you have 1%, 2%, or whole milk, your mousse will be even creamier and richer.) To the milk, add 2 tsp of instant coffee and mix until it dissolves.


If you have it on hand, you could add 1 or 2 teaspoons of vanilla syrup, but that’s totally optional. (Keep in mind, “vanilla syrup” is not the same as “vanilla,” “vanilla flavoring,” or “vanilla extract.”) Adding some vanilla syrup will give you a taste more like a vanilla latte, which is my personal favorite!


Add the chocolate mousse mix to the coffee-milk mixture.


Mix with an electric mixer on low until blended, about 30 seconds. Then whip on high for several minutes until thick, as directed on the box. My mousse mix instructions said about 3 to 4 minutes on high.


Oooh. So pretty. Scoop it on top of your brownies. Again, those brownies had best be totally cooled, or you’ll have a melty mess on your hands.


If you’re feeling lightheaded, excitable, or giddy at this stage, do NOT be surprised. To avoid a full-on swoon, you may need to sit down in order to safely finish this recipe. Please be careful. Safety first. Spread the mousse from edge to edge. You will very much want to eat the mousse. Do not eat the mousse.


On your last “pass” across the mousse, give it some swirly flair with your knife or spatula. It will make your finished dessert prettier when you cut and serve it. Freeze for at least one hour.


It is hard for me to describe just how sweet, dark, chilly, refreshing, and creative this little dessert is. Perfect for a hot summer day when you need a light, sweet snack. For fun, you might try serving your iced-coffee brownie dessert with a chocolate-dipped espresso bean as a garnish.


Peanut Butter Brownie Pizza

May 19, 2012 By: Denise Leo, Global Brownie Ambassador Category: Candy Bar, Creative, Fun For Kids, Off the Beaten Path, Peanut Butter, Salty-Sweet


It’s a pizza; it’s a brownie; it’s a delicious conundrum. This recipe is fun for kids, great for a party, and surprisingly quick to make.



  • 1 box brownie mix (I used Betty Crocker Dark Chocolate)
  • 1 egg
  • 5 Tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
  • 2-7 Tablespoons water (to achieve desired thickness)
  • 1 bag miniature Reese’s White Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
  • 1 bag (11 ounces) Peanut Butter M&Ms



If you have a pizza pan, by all means, use it. I don’t have one. But I do have a pizza stone. I decided to line my pizza stone with aluminum foil for easy clean up. I also made a cute little lip around the edge in case the batter decided to spill over…(but it didn’t).


Start by mixing together the brownie mix, egg, melted butter, and some of the water. Don’t add all the water at once. Just add a little at a time until you get a batter that is spreadable but still stiff enough to stay where you put it on the pan, rather than spreading out on its own.


Spread the deliciousness into your pan or foil. Make it thin and even in depth.


Pre-baking photograph is below. Mmmm, mmmm. It’s gonna be so good. You’ll add the candy AFTER baking, but you can start by removing the wrappers while the brownie crust is baking.


Your brownie’s baking time will be shorter than on the box instructions. Mine took about 20-22 minutes at 350 degrees F. When done, remove the pan from the oven and begin pushing the miniature peanut butter cups into the hot crust. They will melt a little and look like candy pepperoni slices. So cute!


After you put in the peanut butter cups, it’s time to add the peanut butter M&Ms. Sprinkle them evenly over the crust and then push them into the crust slightly (to keep them from falling out when you cut and serve). A-dor-a-ble!


This peanut butter brownie pizza is a cute and fun dessert for kids — however, I’m an adult with a pretty sweet “sweet tooth” and a small slice of this really hit the spot!




Cinco de Mayo Brownie with Spicy Mexican Ganache

May 03, 2012 By: Denise Leo, Global Brownie Ambassador Category: Creative, Decadent, Holiday, Nut-Free, Off the Beaten Path


Oh my ganache-ness – these spicy brownies with a sweet-hot Mexican ganache will make your Cinco de Mayo guests beg you for the recipe. So you have to make these. Besides, every kitchen lover needs to know how to do a simple-yet-stunning glossy ganache. And don’t be afraid of the heat; it’s mild and intriguing.


1 box brownie mix (I used Ghirardelli)
Eggs, oil, and water per box instructions (I always use the extra egg recipe in fine print at the bottom)
1.5 to 2 tsp ancho chili powder
3/4 tsp ground cloves

8 oz chocolate (I used half semisweet chocolate and half dark chocolate with 60% cacao)
1 cup (8 oz) heavy whipping cream
2 and 1/4 tsp chili powder (I used ancho chili powder)
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla (optional)

Mix all batter ingredients together. Pour into a well-greased pan and bake as directed on the box. After brownie pan has cooled, cut brownies into servings and remove from pan. (You can leave them uncut, I guess, but you’ll see later why I like to cut this particular brownie before frosting it.)

Chop chocolate into pieces.

20120503-033356.jpgPlace the chocolate pieces into a completely dry, microwave-safe bowl. Do. Not. Get. Water. In. The. Bowl. (It’ll ruin the consistency of your beautiful ganache-to-be.) Set bowl aside.

In a small saucepan, mix together the cream, chili powder, cloves, and cinnamon. Place on medium heat and bring to a simmer then remove from heat. Don’t bring it to a big ol’ rollicking boil. We don’t want it to scald. Just watch for a smattering of bubbles that you’d expect from a charming simmer. It’ll only take a minute or two. Set aside.


Microwave chocolate pieces at 50% power for about 30-40 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until completely smooth.


Next, pour the spiced cream through a sieve or strainer into the bowl with the melted chocolate. In the photo below, you’ll see that the sieve will catch some of the larger pieces of spice; discard what is in the strainer. By straining your cream, your ganache will look even shinier and smoother.


Mix together the spiced cream and chocolate until a uniform consistency.

The final step of your ganache is to add a tablespoon of butter and a splash of vanilla if you like it. The butter adds an irresistible glossy sheen to the ganache. It will be the thing that causes your guests to be blinded with dessert lust before they even take a bite. Stir in the butter and vanilla completely.


After mixing in the butter and vanilla, your ganache is done. At this point, you COULD frost the entire pan of brownies. But I have a better suggestion. Cut first, then frost. Here’s why: Ganache does this amazing thing. It is shiny and viscous and oozy. And then gravity does this thing with ganache, creating works of art out of slowly descending streams of chocolate bliss. So, to take advantage of this phenomenon, I cut my brownies first, remove them from the pan one by one, and place them onto a rack. Then I put a big glob of ganache onto each brownie and use my spoon to guide the ganache to the edges, where it slowly plummets until it is frozen in time. Can’t. Resist. Must. Eat.


I hope your Cinco de Mayo is as sweet, spicy, and muy caliente as these brownies with Mexican ganache.



Girl Scout Cookie Series: The Samoas Brownie

March 21, 2012 By: Denise Leo, Global Brownie Ambassador Category: Candy Bar, Decadent, Fun For Kids, Holiday, Nutty, Off the Beaten Path, Products


I’m stating the obvious here: A 7.5-ounce box of Samoas Girl Scout Cookies just is not enough. They’re too delicious to stop eating after only 1 or 2 cookies. Seriously, I can pound down half of that box in one sitting. So I made a brownie recipe that stretches out the coconutty delight of the Samoas, making enough for an entire party!

Oh, the coconutty deliciousness of the Samoas Girl Scout Brownie.


  • 1 box brownie mix (I used Ghirardelli Chocolate Supreme)
  • Eggs, oil, and water as directed on box
  • One 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk (I used Eagle Brand)
  • 1 ounce (1 square) unsweetened chocolate (I used Nestle Pre-Melted Choco-Bake)
  • 1 cup chopped or halved pecans, toasted on a cookie sheet for 5 minutes at 350F
  • 1 box Samoas Girl Scout cookies (7.5 ounces)

Here are the ingredients for those who LIKE Samoas. (If you LOVE them, you may want to use the ingredients listed below.)


  • 1 box brownie mix (I used Ghirardelli Chocolate Supreme)
  • Eggs, oil, and water as directed on box
  • One 16-ounce tub caramel dip (I used T. Marzetti Brand)
  • 1 cup sweetened, flaked coconut, toasted on a cookie sheet for 4-5 minutes at 350F
  • 1 box Samoas Girl Scout cookies (7.5 ounces)


Mix together brownie mix, eggs, oil, and water as directed on box. Pour batter into greased pan.

If you like Samoas: Pour condensed milk into a bowl. Melt square of unsweetened chocolate and mix it in.

If you love Samoas, open your tub of caramel and stir it until it’s smooth.

Set aside half of the chocolate-milk mixture (or caramel). Pour the other half on top of the brownie batter.

Pour HALF of your gooey mixture of choice onto the unbaked batter. Save the other half for later.

Swirl it in with a knife.


This is ALMOST the funnest part.

Lick the knife. You know you gotta do it.


THIS is the funnest part.

Bake as directed on box. While baking, chop up the Samoa cookies into pieces.


Seems like a tragedy. But soon, you'll be happy again.

After brownies come out of the oven, let them cool if you have time. If you’re pressed for time, you can move on, but you may have a pretty gooey dessert on your hands. Drizzle the other half of your goo (either caramel or the milk-chocolate mixture) over the top.

Most important to remember at this stage: Do not drool on your own brownies.

Now, if you want toasted pecans in your recipe, add them on top of the sticky goo. If you want toasted coconut in your recipe, add that instead.

Mmm, pecans/coconut flakes are so much better when they are toasted vs when they are raw.

Top it all off with the chopped Samoas Girl Scout Cookies.

Cookie becomes garnish.

If you want a more “set-up” brownie, you can chill the pan in the refrigerator before cutting and serving.

Ridiculously delicious. Sticky. Nutty. Caramelly. And, using this brownie recipe, you’ll turn a 7.5-ounce box of Samoas Girl Scout cookies into more than 3 pounds of giddy, gooey delight. Dive in!

Every spring, the Easter Bunny ushers in both Girl Scout Cookies and the Samoas Brownie. Enjoy.