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

March 16, 2013 By: Denise Leo, Global Brownie Ambassador Category: Cream Cheese, Creative, Decadent, Fun For Kids, Holiday, Nut-Free, Off the Beaten Path, Party

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On Saint Patrick’s Day, you want a green dessert that will dazzle your guests both with taste and a good old Irish sense of humor — so serve the Blarney Brownie. (Blarney means, among several definitions, “deceptive nonsense.”) See, the Blarney Brownie is a little like the concept of green beer; your guests will see “green” but they’ll taste “cherry!” In this recipe, some Leprechaun trickery and green maraschino cherries will ensure that blarney never tasted so good!

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BATTER INGREDIENTS

  • 1 box frosting-included brownie mix (I used Ghirardelli Ultimate Fudge)
  • Eggs, oil, and water as called for on the box mix (I like the “extra egg” version, usually a footnote on the box)

FILLING INGREDIENTS

  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese
  • 1 cup (about 8 ounces) marshmallow topping (the kind you drizzle over ice cream)
  • 1/3 cup juice from a jar of GREEN maraschino cherries (not the traditional red)
  • GREEN maraschino cherries, about 20
  • 5-10 drops of green food coloring
  • Green sprinkles

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Green maraschino cherries. They’re not in EVERY store, so call ahead! I found mine right next to the red ones.

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DIRECTIONS
Open box mix and set aside the fudge icing packet, which you’ll use after the baking. Be careful when buying your brownie mix for this recipe. Don’t confuse a “put-the-fudge-packet-INTO-the-batter” mix with a “put-the-fudge-packet-ON-TOP-OF-the-baked-brownie” mix. (The into-the-batter packets are usually not very sweet and won’t work as a frosting.)

Pour powdered brownie mix into a large bowl. Add eggs, oil, and water to the brownie mix. Stir thoroughly. Spread 75% of the chocolate batter into a greased pan, setting aside 25% for later.

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In a medium bowl, place cream cheese and marshmallow topping. Mix with an electric beater on medium or medium-high speed until completely mixed, or about 1 minute.

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Add 1/3 cup of the green maraschino cherry juice. Mix on low speed (to avoid splattering), and it will turn a light, pastel green. Look, “light green” is cute, but I don’t think it’s green enough to feel REALLY celebratory, so I mixed in 7 drops of green food coloring, which gave it a lovely springy color for Saint Patrick’s Day!

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Cut the green maraschino cherries into big, chunky pieces — not too small. I chopped mine into halves and thirds. Pretty!

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Pour 2/3 of the creamy green batter in an even layer over the brownie batter that’s in the pan. Then evenly sprinkle the green cherry pieces over that.

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Pour the remaining 1/3 of the green batter on top of the cherries.

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Use the remaining 25% of chocolate brownie batter to drizzle over top of the green batter. This will be your top crust.

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Bake according to the box directions, but be sure to add another 10-15 minutes, since you’ve added a whole layer in there. Be watchful. It’s hard to do a “toothpick” test to check for doneness, because the green middle layer stays wet and gooey. Just try to reach a moment when the center of the pan is no longer wet and jiggly. Also, watch for the four corners to begin getting crusty and dry. You’ll probably notice some puffing up on all four edges; that is the chocolate brownie batter rising around the green batter. (The green batter has no eggs in it, so it will not rise or puff up.) When done, remove from oven and allow to cool. Don’t worry if it looks a little like a barren planet surface; we will be covering it up with frosting and sprinkles!

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When brownies are completely cool, it’s time to frost. Soften the fudge icing packet by placing it under hot tap water for 30 seconds. Knead packet in your hands to mix the packet’s contents. Cut away a corner of the packet and squeeze frosting over brownie crust. Spread the frosting in a thin layer over your cooled brownies. Quickly, while the frosting is still wet, decorate with green sugar sprinkles.

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There she is, your shamrock-green St. Patty’s Day Blarney Brownie, a deceitful cherry-flavored treat for everyone who has a little Irish in ‘em!

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St. Patrick’s Mint Chocolate Chip Brownies

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

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

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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.

BATTER INGREDIENTS

  • 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

TOPPING INGREDIENTS

  • 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)

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DIRECTIONS
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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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Spread frosting onto cooled brownies.

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Top the frosting with a handful of mini chips.

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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.

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

Mint-Lovers’ Creme De Menthe Brownies

August 10, 2011 By: Denise Leo, Global Brownie Ambassador Category: Alcohol, Candy Bar, Mint, Nut-Free, Super-Simple

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These are like regular brownies, except they’re wearing green velvet shorts and dancing a minty jig.

Since this recipe is mint plus mint, the result is exquisitely mintabulous.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 boxed brownie mix (plus eggs, oil, water as box directs)
  • 1 ounce Creme de Menthe Liqueur (or the non-alcohol version, found in the ice cream aisle)
  • 3-4 T. Marshmallow Fluff
  • Peppermint/chocolate candy bars (like York Peppermint Patties), either 4-5 full-sized or 20 minis (about 1.5 cups)

DIRECTIONS
Cut the peppermint chocolates into small pieces. Herd the candy into a shallow dish, like a pie pan or a dinner plate.

Pour 1 ounce of creme de menthe into the dish and for the next hour or two, let the pretty white mint candy soak up the alcohol and its stunning green color.

If you were a Peppermint Patty, this would be your equivalent of a day at the spa.

When all the edges are green and soaked, pull the mints out of their mint bath. Let them dry on a paper towel or cutting board while you bake the brownies.

Make and bake the box mix as directed on the box. Immediately after pulling brownies from the oven, use a teaspoon to push small amounts of marshmallow fluff down into the crust. Just 1/2 teaspoon here and there — enough so that, when they’re cut, each brownie will get a taste of it. You’re creating the canvas on which your creme de menthe candies will shine.

Now, push those gorgeous mint candy pieces into the brownie crust, leaving the candy’s green edges exposed and flirting with passersby.

Oooh, pretty. Don't you just adore mint? It's so infinitely eatable! NOM!

Let cool and then cut and serve. This is such a pretty brownie. And simple, too!