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

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


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!



  • 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

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.)


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


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.


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.


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


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.


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!

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.



Cinco de Mayo Brownie – Key Lime Margarita Blondie

May 02, 2012 By: Denise Leo, Global Brownie Ambassador Category: Blonde Brownie, Cream Cheese, Creative, Fruit, Holiday, Nut-Free, Salty-Sweet


This margarita-esque blonde brownie recipe is ready to be the main dessert at your Cinco de Mayo party!

The Key Lime Margarita Blonde Brownie is happy to celebrate Cinco de Mayo with you... on any day of the year!