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

Frankenstein’s Monster Brownies

October 09, 2012 By: Denise Leo, Global Brownie Ambassador Category: Creative, Fun For Kids, Holiday, Mint, Nut-Free, Off the Beaten Path, Products


The mad-scientist Doctor Frankenstein would have loved these irresistible Halloween-party brownies; they’re creepy, green, decorated Mint Oreos on top of a delicious brownie. What kid (or adult) could resist this electrifying Halloween dessert? Have fun assembling your minty Oreo Frankenstein’s monsters!


  • 1 large box of brownie mix (look for one that makes a 13″ x 9″ pan)
  • Eggs, oil, and water as called for on the box
  • 1 bag Mint Oreos (the ones with the perfectly creepy green minty tint!)
  • Sharp, serrated knife
  • 2 T butter or margarine, softened
  • 1/2 cup sifted confectioners sugar
  • Dribble of milk or water



Make, bake, and cool your brownies as directed on the box. While your brownies are baking or cooling, you can do most of the following steps.

Based on the size of your pan, you will probably need to make 24 Frankenstein’s monsters. My pan is 13″ by 9″, and it was a perfect fit to make six rows of four Frankenstein monsters (requiring a total of 24 Mint Oreos). Place all 24 Oreos onto a clean working surface, preferably a cutting board.

First, take the tops off of the Oreos. You will need most of the tops, so don’t eat them just yet!


 Slice off 4 bits of the green Mint Oreo icing to reveal monster ears! Do this 24 times.


You could do the remaining decorations (for hair, eyebrows, eyes, and mouth) with tinted icing. If that’s what you want to do, use the really easy icing recipe below. For a fun, 3-dimensional effect, try making the monsters’ hair, eyebrows, and eyes by using pieces of the dark Oreo cookies. Directions are as follows.

Using a sharp SERRATED knife, slice the Oreo cookie into a small rectangle. A serrated knife gives a good sawing action with clean, sharp cuts. With 4 small cuts, voila! You have Frankenstein’s monster hair! You’ll be cutting hair 24 times, so get used to eyeballing the size you like.


Match the hair to the top of the head and press it in. You’ll need to do this 24 times, too.


Cut 24 more rectangles from the Oreos, but make them smaller and much narrower than the hair rectangles. These smaller rectangles will serve as monster eyebrows that indicate how angry he is (or perhaps how misunderstood he is)…ROWR! Press the eyebrows into the green icing. 24 times, of course.


 Make 48 eyeballs by taking small-ish Oreo crumbs and rolling them between your fingertips.

Then insert matching pairs of eyeballs onto each monster.


Now it’s time to make your Frankenstein’s monster mouth, using a simple icing recipe. Start by smooshing 2 tablespoons of butter or margarine against the side of a bowl until it is smooth.


Sift 1/2 cup of confectioners sugar into the bowl.


Add a small splash of milk or water.


Mix until it is a thick, smooth consistency.

If it’s too thin, add sugar. If too thick, add more liquid.


Spoon the icing into a plastic baggie.


Using scissors, snip off a tiny corner of the baggie.


Use the baggie as a pastry bag to make angry monster mouths on each cookie.


Ridiculously cute!


When you’re done piping all 24 mouths, snip off a bit more of the baggie and use the larger hole to make 24 icing dots on your cooled brownies. These dots will hold your monsters in place, even during transport and cutting.


Your Frankenstein’s Monster Brownies are now ready to scare and delight your Halloween guests with their intimidating mint-and-chocolate stares!



If you like this recipe, you may like these recipes:

Minty Moonlight Graveyard Brownie

Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownie

As if the pumpkin and cheesecake swirls aren't enough to make you shiver in your shoes, the sweet and spicy glaze will make you cringe with delight.

Minty Moonlight Graveyard Brownies

October 06, 2012 By: Denise Leo, Global Brownie Ambassador Category: Creative, Fun For Kids, Holiday, Mint, Nut-Free, Off the Beaten Path


With Halloween on its way, what could be better than a graveyard full of marshmallow ghosts, some chocolate gravestones, and mint-flavored grass to cover the brownie earth underneath? Celebrate October and tickle your ghostly goblins with this tasty kid-friendly recipe for Minty Moonlight Graveyard Brownies.


  • 1 large box brownie mix (I used Duncan Hines, the 13 x 9 family size)
  • Oil, eggs, and water as called for on the box directions
  • 1 tub pre-made dark chocolate frosting (I used Duncan Hines Home-Style)
  • 2 tsp mint extract
  • a TON of green sugar sprinkles, 1-2 ounces
  • 9 Keebler Deluxe Graham cookies (chocolate-covered graham cookies)
  • Optional cookie icing: 2 T soft butter, 1/2 cup confectioners sugar, sprinkle of water or milk
  • 1 package of 9 marshmallow ghosts (by Peeps, the same company that makes Easter chicks)


Be sure you’re using a large or family-size mix, one that will work in a 9″ x 13″ pan. Mix batter as directed on the box. Pour batter into a VERY well-greased pan and bake as directed. Let cool.

The following step is optional, but it will make it easier for you to decorate, cut, and serve. Using a knife and/or spatula, carefully loosen all 4 edges of your entire pan of brownies. Work a spatula underneath to loosen the bottom. Keep at it until it feels loose and move-able. Using a couple of spatulas, and as many hands as you can recruit, carefully move the singular, massive brownie from the baking pan onto a flat serving tray that will impress your trick-or-treaters. I used the “reversible-lid-and-serving-tray” piece from this awesome two-piece Longaberger ceramic stoneware set.

To save the need to wash another bowl, pour 2 teaspoons of mint extract directly into the tub of frosting. Mix thoroughly. Mmmmm, minty!

Cover your graveyard . . . er, brownies with this dark layer of dirt . . . er, frosting.

Quickly, while the chocolate frosting is still moist, sprinkle your green sugar crystals onto the surface. This will create a grassy-green, cemetery-yard effect. I wanted mine to look really grassy, so I was VERY generous and used about 1.5 ounces of sprinkles.

Soon, you will push your cookie headstones into the grass. But, first, you may want to write “R.I.P.” (for “Rest In Peace”) onto your headstones. It’s completely optional, but definitely fun. To do this, you’ll need to mix up some icing. It only takes a few minutes.

Take 2 tablespoons of soft butter and smoosh it against the edge of a bowl until it’s smooth. Add about 1/2 cup of sifted confectioner’s sugar, and dribble in a tiny bit of milk or water. Mix it up. You want the icing to be pretty stiff, but still easily squeezed from a pastry bag. If it’s too thick, add more liquid. If it’s too thin, add more sugar.











Don’t have a pastry bag? No big deal! Spoon the icing into the corner of a plastic baggie. (Don’t know why I can’t say “bag;” I guess “baggie” just feels more natural to me.) Use scissors to snip off the TINIEST BIT of the baggie’s corner, leaving a tiny hole through which you’ll squeeze the icing.





This super-inexpensive, super-quick, icing-filled baggie is your new writing utensil. Use the icing to write “RIP” onto the top edge of your gravestone cookies — or make any headstone design you like. Steady, now.

Push your decorated headstones slightly down into the crust of the brownies, allowing them to stand up on their own. I made 3 rows of 3, allowing room for my Peeps-brand marshmallow ghosts to float above each grave. Here’s what the box of Peeps Ghosts looks like from the side. (Not every store in my area had them; I found these in the Giant Eagle candy aisle.)

Peeps brand ghosts

To help the ghosts stand up — even during a rough transport — I added a toothpick into the bottom of each ghost.

Notice how each ghost is now floating on top of its grave. Spooky!

No matter what angle you look at it, this is a fun Halloween dessert that will delight 18 kids.


Let your imagination run wild. Add a couple of candy pumpkins, the ones made from the same stuff as candy corn. Add a gnarled stick from your yard so it looks like a creaky old cemetery tree. You could even dig a hole into the brownie surface, leaving big brown “dirt clumps” that look like an open grave.

When I cut and served this dessert, each kid got either a ghost or a headstone. Everybody was happy. I hope you and your favorite trick-or-treaters enjoy this ghost-in-the-graveyard Halloween dessert special: Minty Moonlight Graveyard Brownie!


If you like this recipe, you may also like these:

Frankenstein’s Monster Brownie

Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownie

As if the pumpkin and cheesecake swirls aren't enough to make you shiver in your shoes, the sweet and spicy glaze will make you cringe with delight.

St. Patrick’s Mint Chocolate Chip Brownies

March 03, 2012 By: Denise Leo, Global Brownie Ambassador Category: Fun For Kids, Holiday, Mint, Nut-Free


These green, mint-abulous St. Patrick’s Day brownies will wink and say, “Top o’ the mornin’ to ye.”

Serve them for a Saint Patrick’s Day party or anytime. They’re as rich, cool, and refreshing as the ice cream that donated its namesake. And they have a frosty crunch! You’ll want two scoops, for sure.


  • 1 box brownie mix
  • (For this recipe, I used Duncan Hines Chewy Fudge Family Size)
  • Eggs, oil, and water as called for on the box


  • 1 tub vanilla frosting (For this recipe, I used Duncan Hines Creamy Home-Style)
  • 2 tsp mint extract, more or less to taste
  • Green food coloring, about 4-5 droplets
  • 6 oz green swirl mint candy (like Brach’s Spearmint Discs)
  • 6 oz (about 1/2 bag) miniature chocolate chips (get the mini size; you’ll be glad you did! For this recipe, I used Nestle Semi-Sweet Mini Chips)


Mix batter ingredients and bake according to box instructions. Allow to cool.

In the meantime, add mint extract to frosting and mix completely. Then add a few droplets of green food coloring and mix completely. You’ll need only 4 or 5 drops to get a good “minty” color. Set aside.

Unwrap mint candies and place in a zippered bag. Beat those pretty green candies senseless with something heavy — say, a rolling pin or a bowling ball, whichever is handy in your kitchen.

This will take a LOT of crushing because you want a lot of fine powder. If you start breaking through the zippered bag, use a second bag. And take pride in your enthusiasm.

Use a sieve to sift the mint powder from the small pieces.

Your goal is to have about 3/4 cup of fine minty powder and 1/4 cup of tiny fragments, no bigger than your pinky nail. Set aside the candy fragments to use as a garnish. Mix the powder into the frosting.

Add 3/4 cup of mini chips into the frosting and stir the frosting.

Spread frosting onto cooled brownies.

Top the frosting with a handful of mini chips.

Add as many of the candy fragments as you like, to create a crispy, crunchy, and appealing garnish for your Saint Patrick’s Day creation.

Saint Patrick himself would surely LOVE this darling, green, minty, showy brownie.

Peppermint Bark Brownies

December 05, 2011 By: Denise Leo, Global Brownie Ambassador Category: Holiday, Mint, Nut-Free


I adore this lil’ charmer . . . It’s just s’dang Christmassy!  (Substitution note for St. Patrick’s Day fans: You can also make it with green-and-white spearmint discs.)  So, so cute. Even in a small bite-sized piece, it’ll still pack a sweet little minty punch for your celebrations with family and friends.

It's the most wonderful time of the year! (You know you want to say it..... "Ding, dong, ding, dong!")

Gather 'round the kitchen counter, and I'll tell you a Christmas tale about a brownie that was on the "nice" list.

1 box brownie mix
Oil, eggs, and water as called for on the box

About 6-7 ounces of red or green mint candies (12-14 full-size candy canes), crushed

1 c semisweet chocolate chips
1-1/2 tsp canola or vegetable oil
1/4 tsp peppermint extract

1-1/2 c white chocolate chips
2 tsp canola or vegetable oil
1/4 tsp peppermint extract

Mix the box mix as directed on the box. I like to use the “additional egg” recipe, available on most boxes. Bake as directed and allow them to cool completely.

While brownies are cooling, use a plastic zippered bag and a rolling pin to crush the candy canes. I saved a lot of wear-n-tear on my bag by beating it against the counter a few times before using the rolling pin.

Dealing with some holiday stress? Then THIS is your recipe!

Wield your rolling pin with confidence, power, and giddy cathartic joy. Those candies don’t stand a chance. If you have some pent-up holiday stress and are overly enthusiastic in your crushing, your poor plastic bag may get a few holes; in this event, just use a second bag. And consider therapy.

Use a sieve to sift the bigger pieces from the poufy, peppermint-y powder. But don’t throw away the powder, as it plays a very important role in our Christmas pageantry.

Shake it, sh-shake it, shake it, sh-shake it. Shake it like a Polaroid picture.

As you’re crushing, this rule of thumb will help you decide when to keep crushing and when to stop: Try to generate about 1/3 cup of powder and 2/3 cup of small pieces (small = somewhere between the size of a splinter and your pinkie nail.) Later in the recipe, the powder goes INTO the chocolate and the pieces will become your decorative topping.

Pro: Your kitchen will smell so good at this stage. Con: Your hands will be very sticky at this stage.

Before starting these next steps, wait until your brownies are completely cooled.

Put the semisweet chocolate into a microwave-safe container and add 1 and 1/2 tsp oil.

Don't omit the oil. It helps your chocolate stay pliable enough to cut, and keeps it from crumbling into pieces when your guests eat it.

Microwave the chocolate pieces on 50% power for about 1 minute. Stir.

Microwave on half-power -- and a little bit at a time, stirring in between -- to keep from scorching your chocolate.

Microwave on 50% for another 30 seconds. Stir.

If, after 90 seconds, your chocolate is not completely smooth, pop it in for another 20-30 seconds at half-power.

Repeat until there are no more lumps. Add 1/4 tsp of peppermint extract and mix. (Keep in mind, there is a BIG difference between peppermint extract and peppermint oil. The oil is MUCH stronger.)

Ooooh. Minty!

Working quickly, add PART of the peppermint powder, about one-third to one-half of it. Save the unused powder for later.

Don't pour ALL of your powder into the semisweet chocolate. Save some powder for your pretty top layer of white chocolate.

Mix the powder into the chocolate. Keep moving quickly, as you want to keep your chocolate warm, pourable, and spreadable for the next couple of minutes.

It's smooth and crunchy at the same time. Mmm, mmm.

Pour the semisweet chocolate onto the crust of your brownies.

Work quickly, while your chocolate is still warm and spreadable.

Spread the semisweet chocolate onto the crust of your brownies. Be careful not to scrape the surface of the brownies.

Move quickly but gently as you evenly spread your chocolate-and-powder mixture.

Put entire pan into the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes until the chocolate layer has completely lost its shine. It should look dull/dry. If it’s still wet, you’ll have trouble spreading your second layer of white chocolate because you may ”pull up” the dark chocolate into the white layer. Be patient, and it will be a prettier result.

Now, do exactly the same with your white chocolate as you did with your semisweet chocolate (2 tsp oil, melt-mix-melt-mix, peppermint extract, peppermint powder). As reminders, see the pretty pictures below:

Make sure layer 1 is completely dry before spreading layer 2.

Be mindful of 2 things as you spread the white chocolate: 1) if you’re too rough, you risk “pulling up” the first layer, putting blotchy dark patches into your white layer; 2) if you’re too slow, your white layer will begin to dry and your decorative candy pieces won’t stick to the top. So, be quick and gentle.

For the last fun part, sprinkle the decorative candy pieces onto the top layer. Then use a spatula to press them into the warm, soft white chocolate layer.

Most people don't know there is a 9th reindeer named Sprinkle, who is best friends with Blitzen and Dasher.

IMPORTANT: Use a spatula to make sure your sprinkled decorative candies will stay put as your guests get incisor-deep into this treat. We don't want sticky candies falling onto your guests' festively dressed laps.

But wait! Here is perhaps the most important tip of all.

Are you listening?

This is important. I learned it the hard way.

Cut your brownies NOW. Don’t wait until tonight or tomorrow. Once those 2 top layers of chocolate are completely dried and set, it can get quite crumbly up there. This is your one chance to get pretty, straight cuts that don’t fall to pieces. So, after you get your spatula work done and all those candies are set into the white chocolate, grab a nice SHARP knife and get cutting. Cut now; serve tonight or tomorrow or later this week. You’ll be glad you did.

Such a pretty little darling, isn't she?

I hope you enjoy this brownie. Coworkers at my day job sure liked them! (A big “love ya” goes out to my Peppermint Bark Brownie beta-testers: Deanna, Ron, Bryan, Dylan, Jeremy, Alan, Trish, John, Tim, Grace, Desiree, Shane, Jason, Carrie, and Jen.)

Xs and Os for you and your loved ones at Christmas time! Have fun as you SHARE THE BROWNIE LOVE this year.