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

January 07, 2013 By: Denise Leo, Global Brownie Ambassador Category: Blonde Brownie, Caramel, Fruit, Nutty

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If you love banana nut bread, but want it in a dessert form, look no further than this easy-to-make banana caramel blondie recipe. It’s nutty, sweet, moist, and ready to put an exclamation point at the end of any picnic, potluck, or home-cooked meal.

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CAKE INGREDIENTS

  • 1 box banana cake mix
  • 2-3 eggs, as called for on the box
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 8-0unce package cream cheese
  • 1 to 1.5 cups walnuts, chopped
  • Optional: Chopped chocolate or (gasp) truffles

GARNISH INGREDIENTS

  • 6 ounces, or about 3/4 cup, caramel dip (I used Marzetti brand)
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 2 ounces of dark chocolate, shaved

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DIRECTIONS

Decide if you want a higher, fluffier blondie or a shorter, denser blondie. If you want higher and fluffier, use 3 eggs; if not, use 2 eggs. Put eggs in a bowl and scramble them. Melt butter in microwave for about 40-45 seconds and mix it in with the eggs. Pour in the banana cake mix.

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Batter will be thick. Add cream cheese and mix thoroughly.

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Add a cup of chopped walnuts. If you LOVE walnuts, add a cup and a half! Do not spoon this delicious batter directly into your gullet. Resist!

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Pour this thick, nutty, heavenly smelling batter into a well-greased 9×13-inch pan. Bake at 350 for about 30-35 minutes until a center-placed toothpick comes out nearly clean. Watch it carefully because you don’t want to overbake this one. It’s sooo good when it’s tender and perfectly baked. Remove from the oven. If you like, you can chop up some chocolate (I got extravagant and used truffles) and shove those pieces down into the still-warm crust for a chocolatey surprise.

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I put chocolate into HALF of my banana blondies so my guests would have a choice.

Let cool. Spread caramel into a thin layer over the crust of your blondies.

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Here, you can see my “half chocolate/half plain” strategy.

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Garnish your caramel layer with a sprinkling of about 1/4 cup of chopped walnuts.

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And, hey, because I’m a brownie ambassador, I’ve always got some chocolate bars stashed away for emergencies. So, I busted out some dark chocolate (Hershey’s Special Dark, in this case) and I cut some shavings onto the top. Life’s just better with extra chocolate on top, even if it’s just an ounce or two.

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Oh my. There she is. Your newest little blondie bombshell! She’s the banana caramel blondie, complete with walnuts and a little chocolate flair, just for good measure.

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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!

Shirley Temple Blondie (and the “Dirty Shirley”)

December 16, 2012 By: Denise Leo, Global Brownie Ambassador Category: Blonde Brownie, Cream Cheese, Fruit, Fun For Kids, Holiday, Nut-Free

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When I think of Christmas, I remember going to family parties and being allowed to drink a Shirley Temple, which is a 7-Up with maraschino cherry syrup and a cherry. So I turned it into a dessert. So festive, so special, so sweet and celebratory! This baked treat would also be kind of adorable for a girly-girl’s birthday, no matter what her age. It took two times to get this recipe just right. I didn’t think I’d love the end result as much as I did, but I do. The kicker is that I added some mini chocolate chips to half of the pan, creating the Dirty Shirley! Hahaha!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 box sugar cookie mix (about 15-17 ounces, I used Betty Crocker)
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese (I used Philadelphia brand)
  • 1/2 cup marshmallow ice cream topping (I used Smucker’s brand)
  • 1 jar maraschino cherries (about 12 ounces)
  • 1 tsp cherry extract (optional, but it sure adds more cherry “kick”)
  • Pink and/or white sprinkles (you’ll be so glad you added these)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips, optional (I used Nestle brand)

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DIRECTIONS

First things first. You must absolutely prepare yourself for something that is this (see below) mesmerizing in its shiny, cheery, cherry goodness. Oh my.

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Now that you’ve prepared yourself, let’s get started. Melt the butter in the microwave for about 30-40 seconds and pour it into a large bowl. Add the eggs and mix. Then add sugar cookie mix and stir well.

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Add cream cheese and blend it in completely.

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Set aside about 1 to 1.5 cups of the batter into a medium bowl. Spread the remaining batter into a greased pan. I used a  7×11-inch pan, which resulted in a super-thick blondie. You could easily use a 9×13-inch pan, which would make a shorter blondie.

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Drain the cherries, while preserving the cherry syrup; add 1/2 cup of the cherry syrup to the batter. Add 1/2 cup of the marshmallow topping. Add 1 tsp of cherry extract or cherry flavoring.

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Mix together into a dreamy, sticky, sweet, pink batter. Add large spoonfuls of cherry batter into the plain batter.

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Set aside. On a cutting board, divide the cherries into 2 piles: one pile that you’ll chop and one pile of whole cherries, which will decorate the top crust. Since you’ll want one whole cherry per blondie, look at the size of your pan and plan accordingly. I did 6 rows of 3 cherries, but a larger pan might fit more. It depends on how large you want each treat to be and how many people you have to serve. Finely chop your cherries.

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Scatter the chopped cherries onto the pink batter. So pretty!

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Use a knife to dig down into the plain batter and turn it over. Do it so that some plain batter comes to the top and some pink batter goes to the bottom. Don’t be too enthusiastic and mix the layers together too much — you want them to be twirled together into big, chunky swirls.

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If you would like to have some “Dirty Shirley” blondies, not just Shirley Temples, sprinkle some mini chips onto the surface. I turned half of my pan into Dirty Shirleys, uisng a scant 1/4 cup. If you want to dirty up the whole pan, about 1/2 cup should do the trick.

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Add your whole maraschino cherries on top so that each blondie, when cut, will have one cherry in the center. Since baking will turn the top crust golden brown, I suggest adding some pink sprinkles to preserve the pretty, pretty pinkiness of this blondie. Shirley Temple herself would shirley approve. Bwa-ha-ha-ha!

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I used both pink AND white sprinkles…mostly because I am a brownie baking ambassador, and I just happened to have both colors on hand. Bake at 350 F for about 30-45 minutes, depending on the depth of the batter. Test with a toothpick. Remove from oven and let cool. The result was simply stunning, don’t you think?

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For Christmas, or for just about any special occasion, try this cheery, cherry, sweet, and memorable dessert: the Shirley Temple Blondie (or the Dirty Shirley)!

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!