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

It’s National Brownie Day!

December 08, 2012 By: Denise Leo, Global Brownie Ambassador Category: Musings

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According to this, it’s National Brownie Day. Whoopeee! I love brownies!

If I’m gonna be the Global Brownie Ambassador, I’ve gotta help the world to share the brownie love, right?

Whoopeee! I love brownies!

Molasses-Bottom Brownie

November 18, 2012 By: Denise Leo, Global Brownie Ambassador Category: Cream Cheese, Creative, Decadent, Holiday, Nutty, Off the Beaten Path

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If you like buried treasure, this molasses-on-the-bottom brownie recipe will be your favorite. It’s gooey, smoky, nutty, not-too-sweet, and exceptionally drool-inspiring on a plate. This is a perfect comfort-food-for-falltime recipe. I can’t help imagining how heavenly this brownie would be with a scoop of old-fashioned black-walnut ice cream by its side. Just sayin’.

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As a kid, one of my favorite recipes was the ever-challenging from-scratch recipe for Black-Bottom Pie. This molasses brownie recipe I’ve created here reminds me of the black-bottom pie, but without all the time, expense, ingredients, and effort required to get to the face-stuffing stage. :-)  I hope you enjoy it!

INGREDIENTS

This recipe starts with 1 box Pillsbury Fudge Truffle Bundt Cake Mix, which contains 2 plastic baglets

BATTER INGREDIENTS
“Cake mix” baglet from Pillsbury box mix
2 eggs
6 T melted butter
1 package cream cheese (8 oz)
1 cup water

MOLASSES-BOTTOM INGREDIENTS
“Filling mix” baglet from Pillsbury box mix
2 T melted butter
1/2 cup molasses (regular, not black-strap or super-dark molasses)
1 cup chopped, toasted walnuts

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DIRECTIONS

Take the larger Pillsbury baglet filled with powdered cake mix, and pour it into a large bowl. Add melted butter, eggs, cream cheese, and water. Mix for 2 minutes on medium speed with a mixer.

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Set large bowl aside. Take the smaller Pillsbury baglet filled with powdered filling mix, and pour it into a medium bowl. Add melted butter and molasses.

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Stir by hand until well blended. Then stir in the chopped, toasted walnuts. Set medium bowl aside.

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From the large bowl, pour your light, puffy batter into two large greased loaf pans — or one large loaf pan and 2 mini-loaf pans. See below for a size comparison. These mini-loaves make great gifts for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, birthdays, or any other holiday when people like to, uh, eat.

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Regardless of what size loaf pans you use, plan this next part ahead so that you will evenly divide the filling according to pan size. Below is a photo of the large loaf pan with half of the filling in it. As you can see, the thick filling is piled up in the center half of the pan, with sort of a mound-like shape, leaving an empty space on either side of the mound. Don’t let the filling touch the pan; stop your filling just a half-inch away. During baking, the heavy filling will sink through the puffy batter and down to the bottom of the pan, allowing a light, tender batter crust on top and a gooey, nutty filling on the bottom one-third of your dessert.

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Your guests are going to flip when you serve this. (Just a suggestion: microwave each piece for 15-20 seconds before serving because it is outrageously delicious that way.) So here it is, folks: Molasses-Bottom Brownie, a super moist, gooey, smoky, nutty, and tender baked treat with a recipe that people will beg for.

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