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

Father’s Day Brownie: Salty Caramel and Snickers

June 07, 2012 By: Denise Leo, Global Brownie Ambassador Category: Candy Bar, Creative, Decadent, Fun For Kids, Holiday, Products, Salty-Sweet, Super-Simple


I believe there might be something BETTER than a Snickers candy bar, and that’s ALMOND SNICKERS inside of a salty-caramel brownie. Hold onto your fedoras, gentlemen; this Father’s Day brownie packs a sweet, addictive wallop.



  • 1 box Pillsbury Caramel Swirl brownie mix
  • Eggs, oil, and water, as directed on the box
  • 5-7 “pinches” of flaked margarita salt
  • 4-6 Almond Snickers Bars (the “regular” Snickers has peanuts, not almonds)



This recipe is so easy, you’re going to flip! Before you know it, you’ll have a rich, sweet, power-dessert treat for Father’s Day. From the Pillsbury brownie box, set aside the caramel pouch. Make the brownie batter as directed on the box, and pour the batter into a greased brownie pan. Then snip off the corner from the pouch and squeeze the caramel out onto the surface of the batter.


Using a knife, swirl the caramel a bit so that each brownie will have a tasty vein of buttery caramel running through it. Isn’t this easy?


I just love flaked margarita salt. Don’t you? Take several nice, healthy-sized pinches of flaked salt and sprinkle it evenly over the surface of your unbaked caramel brownies. I used 5 pinches to cover the surface and it was just about right. You could use a pinch or two more if you really like salt. I was also sure to cover the edges and corners, not wanting to cheat those brownies out of their salty reward.


Bake your salty caramel brownies as directed on the Pillsbury box. While they’re baking, use a sharp knife to cut the Almond Snickers into bite-sized pieces. Set aside until baking is done.


As soon as your brownies are done baking, pull the pan out of the oven and begin pushing the Almond Snickers down into the hot crust. Space out the Snickers bites as evenly as you can.


Dads everywhere are on their best behavior, hoping to receive this salty caramel and Snickers brownie treat made especially for them on Father’s Day.

Chocolate lovers, rejoice in this ready-made snack

October 20, 2011 By: Denise Leo, Global Brownie Ambassador Category: Musings, Peanut Butter, Products, Salty-Sweet


Don’t have time to make a batch of brownies? Look no further. Check out this amazing, crispy, chocolatey, peanut-buttery snack delight that I found on the shelf this fall. I’m in love! (You’re welcome, in advance.)

I chomped on this bag in two sittings. Gone, Daddy, Gone. (After I hit "submit" on this post, I'm off to the store to get another bag.)

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.

Turtle Pretzel Brownies

July 10, 2011 By: Denise Leo, Global Brownie Ambassador Category: Candy Bar, Fun For Kids, Nutty, Salty-Sweet, Super-Simple


To date, the Turtle Pretzel Brownie is my highest-ranking brownie recipe (as rated by coworkers at my regular desk job). Salty, sweet, rich, buttery. Resistance is futile.


1 box brownie mix

Egg(s), oil, and water as directed on box

1 to 1.5 cups pecan halves

1 tub of caramel (eg, 16-oz tub of Marzetti Caramel Apple Dip)

1.5 to 2 cups tiny chocolate-covered pretzels (eg, 1 bag Nestle Flipz)

Here are suggested ingredients, though any brand will do (even the basic store brand). Prepare yourself for the toe-curling delight that is called Turtle Pretzel Brownie.


Preheat oven to 350 F. Place pecan halves on cookie sheet in one layer and bake them for 5 to 7 minutes. Watch carefully so they don’t burn. There’s no need to flip the pecans over halfway through; they’ll taste just fabulous without the extra effort. Your kitchen will soon be wafting in a heavenly fog of toasted pecan bliss — and you will wonder why you never toasted your pecans before now. Try not to beat yourself up. Set pecans aside to cool.

As directed on box, prepare brownie batter and bake it. When done, remove from oven and allow pan to cool completely before next step. Keep roommates, spouse, children, and neighbors away during this crucial cooling process, as they might assume you’ve merely made “plain brownies” and begin eating them prematurely. Be vigilant.

When brownies are cooled, stir the tub of caramel dip until it’s smooth. Pour out entire 16-ounce tub, and spread it evenly over brownie crust.

Stir the caramel until it's smooth, and then spread it on the crust.

Put the toasted pecans on top of the caramel layer.

After caramel, layer on the pecans.

Then, on top of the nuts, place chocolate covered pretzels. Try to plan it so that, once brownies are cut, each brownie will have either one or two whole pretzels. (It’s hard to slice through a pretzel when you’re cutting the brownies for serving.)

Add the chocolate-covered pretzels. I get giddy just LOOKING at this picture.

BROWNIE_FAIL_ALERT: Do not use plain pretzels. They’re dry and will soak up the moist caramel–and that means no crunch. (Boo!) Also, for the same reason, don’t chop up your chocolate-covered pretzels. Your best bet is using small, whole, bite-sized, chocolate-covered pretzel bites, like Nestle Flipz.

Salty, sweet, buttery, caramelly craziness in your mouth! This recipe turns heads.