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

Strawberry Balsamic (“8 1/2 – Acre Farm”) Brownie Sundae

August 24, 2012 By: Denise Leo, Global Brownie Ambassador Category: Chilled, Creative, Fruit, Nut-Free, Super-Simple


You all know I love brownies, but I also love the combinations of chocolate + strawberries, strawberries + ice cream, as well as strawberries + balsamic reduction. This recipe is nicknamed the 8-1/2-Acre Farm Brownie because it was inspired by my friend’s blog of the same name. Heather loves strawberries–almost as much as she loves blogging about her wacky family that is living life out in the country. Heather, this simple, ”country-fied” recipe is just for you. It’s sweet, bold, memorable, and entirely lovable. And it’s fun.


  • 1 box brownie mix (I used Ghirardelli with chocolate chips in the mix)
  • Egg, oil, and water as called for on the box
  • Fresh strawberries
  • Strawberry ice cream (I used Edy’s Grand)
  • Balsamic reduction glaze (you can make your own, but I used a pre-made balsamic glaze called Monari Federzoni; there is another pre-made brand named Blaze)


This recipe is as easy as it gets, folks.

Make the brownies by following the directions on the box. Let cool.

Cut a brownie and put it on a small plate. Slice fresh strawberries and add them to the plate.

Add a scoop of strawberry ice cream.

Top with a drizzling of the balsamic glaze.

That’s my reflection in the spoon. Check out my awesome “photographer’s stance.”

This recipe is a dramatic and memorable change of pace from most brownie desserts. First of all, it’s not cloyingly sweet. Second, it hits on a tantalizing trio of the five basic tastes–specifically, sweet, sour, and umami (or “savory”). The result is a rich dessert that keeps your tongue’s attention bite after bite. This colorful, versatile treat would be a great recipe for a hot 4th of July barbecue or a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner. No matter when you serve it, you’re going to love this little dazzler: the Strawberry Balsamic Brownie Sundae!

Ice Cream Sandwich

August 10, 2012 By: Denise Leo, Global Brownie Ambassador Category: Chilled, Creative, Fun For Kids, Off the Beaten Path


I had a fantastic time making up this recipe to create ice cream sandwiches using a box brownie mix! It’s easy and fun–and it makes a dessert that you can easily personalize for every single guest at your table. Great for family or for a party!




  • 1 cup brownie mix
  • 1/2 egg
  • 2 T oil
  • 2 T water
  • Ice cream (your choice of flavor)
  • Garnish (Mini M&Ms or chocolate chips or sprinkles or crushed pretzels and caramel)




You’re going to have a blast making this recipe and getting creative with it. If you have kids, go get ‘em. They will have a ton of fun with this recipe!

To start, I decided to use this really cute pan from Chicago Metallic that makes pre-cut brownie shapes. I thought that would make it a lot easier to make the sandwich part, and it worked out great. Of course, you can do it by cutting them yourself, too. This was just a time-saver.


As always, I greased the pan before pouring the batter in. I used a little more this time because I wanted to be sure the brownies came out cleanly so I’d have pretty sandwiches.


In a small- to medium-sized bowl, add the brownie mix–not the whole box…just 1 cup. Add the “half-an-egg” (no measurement needed; I just scrambled it and poured about half of it in). Add the oil and water. Mix just until blended. Pour into 9″x9″ pan. It will be VERY shallow.


My pan required that I put in the dividers at this point.


Bake at 350 F. After about 8 minutes, open the oven and quickly use a toothpick to poke holes. This is to deflate the puffy brownies so they will be nice and flat for making sandwiches.


Return to oven and bake for about 6-8 mins more. Take a peek every couple of minutes to see if they’re done. I watched for the corner pieces to be “dry” but the middle pieces to just be losing their shine. Make sense? Remove from oven and let cool completely.


When cooled, cut the brownies into squares or rectangles, being sure to make them similar in size and shape. This is where my pre-cut brownie pan came in really handy!


Put ice cream between two brownies. You can just scoop and smoosh, but I decided to try my hand at cutting pretty rectangle shapes out of the fairly hard ice cream. It wasn’t that hard and it made for a pretty presentation.






Now comes the ridiculously fun part.

How often do my recipes actually say that? Pretty often, I think.

Use your creativity to garnish the 4 creamy edges with something fun. Maybe caramel and crushed pretzels. Maybe mini M&Ms. Or mini chocolate chips. Or chocolate fudge and toasted walnuts. Or colored sugar sprinkles. Or dip the edges in Creme de Menthe liquor! Ooh-dee-doo!









Wrap each ice cream brownie sandwich in plastic and keep frozen until ready to serve.




If you like this recipe, you might also enjoy:

Low-Fat Salty-Scotch Frozen Brownie

Iced Coffee Brownie 

Mudslide Brownie

Frozen Lemonade Blondie

July 12, 2012 By: Denise Leo, Global Brownie Ambassador Category: Blonde Brownie, Chilled, Creative, Fruit, Off the Beaten Path, Super-Simple


O lemonade

O lemonade

You’re tasty in a blondie

It’s hard to resist the refreshing citrus-y snap of a frozen lemonade cookie bar, so I suggest that you try this super-fast and super-easy recipe for your next summer picnic or for tonight’s dessert.



  • 1 12-ounce package break-n-bake cookies (sugar cookies or white chocolate macadamia)
  • 8 ounce tub of Cool Whip whipped topping
  • 1 tsp Kool-Aid unsweetened lemonade powder (one packet has about 2 tsp)
  • 1/2 tsp water
  • 5-7 drops yellow food color
  • Garnish of your choice (I used cute lemon jellies)


Use spray vegetable oil (I used Pam brand) to grease a small pan. I used a pan that was only 5.5″ x 7″ and it was about perfect. If your pan is bigger, you’ll probably want to use more cookie dough and more CoolWhip.


Into the pan, plop the entire package of raw cookie dough.


Use your fingers to evenly press the dough to the edges.


Bake until golden brown at 350 F. It will take about 15-20 minutes, depending on the size of your pan and the amount of dough in the package. This will be the crust for your blonde brownie. Cool crust completely.

Into a small bowl or cup, pour one teaspoon of the Kool-Aid unsweetened powdered drink mix (only one teaspoon, not the whole packet).


To the powder, add 1/2 teaspoon of water and mix thoroughly.


Pour this tart, lemony mixture into the Cool Whip and mix completely.


The result will be an off-white colored topping. You may want to add a few drops of yellow food coloring. I added 7 drops, and the result was light, sunny-looking, and pretty.


Spread your lemonade whip on top of the completely cooled crust.


Cover and either refrigerate or freeze.

If you freeze it for longer than an hour or two, be sure to thaw it for about 30 minutes before trying to cut and serve (because the cookie gets ROCK hard).

Garnish just before serving. I used these cute lemon-wedge-shaped jellies that I found at my grocery’s candy aisle.


It’s chilly, refreshing, and a nice summery treat…it’s the Frozen Lemonade Blondie!


Low-Fat Salty-Scotch Brownies

July 24, 2011 By: Denise Leo, Global Brownie Ambassador Category: Chilled, Creative, Low-Fat, Nut-Free, Salty-Sweet



Step closer and gasp at the glory of this frozen treat. Drool at the salty, butterscotchy ribbon running through the frozen fudge layer. Marvel at its mouth-watering status as a "fork brownie." Drop your jaw when you learn that it is low in fat.


1 box low-fat brownie mix

Egg, oil, and water called for on the box

1 box (of 6) Weight Watchers Giant Fudge Bars, frozen

1/2 cup butterscotch topping (fat free)

3/4 tsp salt, flaked (like margarita salt)



Do not attempt this recipe unless you’re willing to believe in reduced-fat recipes that are actually awesome. Your disbelief will only create a disturbance in the space-time continuum. And who needs that? So, first, believe.

Next, use a “low-fat” brownie mix. Mix it as directed on the box — the instructions usually call for less oil and egg than a “regular” mix.

If your store doesn’t carry a low-fat mix, call the store manager and use your sweet-talkin’ voice. Or grab a regular mix and follow the directions, except: 1) substitute plain low-fat yogurt for the oil and 2) substitute 3 egg whites for the 2 eggs.

I like to add 1 tsp vanilla for a little more flavor. I mean, ’cause vanilla is, like, three shades of awesome. Pour into greased pan and bake according to box instructions.


Two ways to get your low-fat brownie... Either get a low-fat box mix and follow the directions. Or, if your store doesn't have that, get a regular mix and make a few substitutions. (See written recipe.)

When your low-fat brownies are baked, let them cool until they are room temperature. You’ll be working with frozen stuff in your next layer, so don’t try to move on while the pan is still hot. You’ll just end up with a gooey mess and you’ll be messing with universal karma. Try to be patient.

When brownies are completely cooled, it’s time to put the Weight Watchers fudge bars on top. Using a knife dipped in hot water, pry the frozen fudge bars from their wooden sticks and place them side by side on the crust. Let stand for a few minutes until they soften.

Using a knife dipped in hot water, slide the fudge bars from their sticks. Then set the pan aside so they can soften.

Meanwhile, mix 3/4 teaspoon of flaked salt into 1/2 cup butterscotch topping. Set aside.

Flaked margarita salt helps balance the seductive sweetness of the butterscotch.

When the ice creamy fudge bars are soft, use a spatula to smoosh them together. Spread them into one smooth layer. Place pan in freezer for 10 minutes or until top layer is stiff.

Those softened fudge bars don't stand a chance. Soon they will be part of a delectable low-fat frozen treat that will make your summer sweeter.

Pull from freezer. Using a spoon, artfully create deep pockets and seams into the stiff ice cream layer. Stir the salty-scotch topping once more so the salt is evenly distributed; then pour your topping into the pockets and seams to create a ribbon of salty butterscotch.

Pour your topping into the little channels you've artfully made in the surface of the ice cream. Freeze until it's solid, and then serve with a fork!

Freeze for at least 30 minutes before serving.

If you can possibly wait that long.