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

Strawberry Triple-Cream Brownie

February 09, 2013 By: Denise Leo, Global Brownie Ambassador Category: Chilled, Cream Cheese, Creative, Decadent, Fruit, Holiday, Nut-Free


Three creams underneath a sweet strawberry pie-filling goo on top of a deep chocolatey brownie crust — it all adds up to decadent, sticky Valentine brownie bliss.



  • 1 box brownie mix
  • Eggs, oil, and water as called for on the box directions
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese
  • 1 cup (about 8 ounces) whipped cream topping, like CoolWhip (thawed, not frozen)
  • 1 tub (8 ounces) sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp KoolAid unsweetened lemonade powder (optional)
  • 1 or 2 cans (21 ounces each) strawberry pie filling
  • 1-2 ounces rum or amaretto (optional; I used vanilla rum)




First, you’ll need to plan ahead just a little bit. Think about whether you want a thick and tall brownie or a thinner one.

  • If you want a thick brownie that you can cut into tall, towering servings, I suggest using a 9×9-inch pan (or its equivalent, say, 7×11). In this case, you can use either a regular or family-size brownie mix and 1 can of pie filling.
  • If you prefer thinner brownies that you can serve in big, wide slices, then use a 9×13-inch pan. In this case, you should use a family size box mix — one that says “9×13″ on the box — and plan on using almost 2 cans of pie filling.

Either way, yum. To help you decide, these photos reflect the “thinner” kind made in a 9×13 pan.


To get started, make and bake brownies according to the box instructions. When they are cooled, you can begin making the creamy filling. Using an electric mixer on medium to medium-high setting, mix together the cream cheese, whipped topping, and sour cream until perfectly smooth, about 1-2 minutes.


You can decide if you’d like to add a little lemony ZING to your valentine brownie. (This is optional, but I like the idea of cutting the sweet of the brownie and gooey topping with the zip of lemon and sour cream.) If you like, dissolve 1/2 teaspoon of unsweetened KoolAid lemonade powder in about 1 teaspoon of hot tap water, mixing until completely dissolved. Add to your cream mixture and beat it for 30 seconds until it’s blended in.


Pour cream mixture over top of cooled brownies and spread it evenly.


If you’d like to add a tiny little KAPOW to your strawberry topping, do as I did and add 1 ounce (about 2 tablespoons) of rum or amaretto. I used vanilla rum and it was delightful! You can just mix it right into the can if you want to save a dirty dish. If you’re using 2 cans of topping for a 9×13 pan, add 2 tablespoons of alcohol to the second can of topping as well.


Pour strawberry topping over the cream layer. (Below you will see how “one can of topping is not quite enough” to fully cover a 9×13 pan.)


Keep refrigerated. Before serving, let it set up in the refrigerator for at least an hour. I suggest that you serve this immediately after cutting, because the goo and strawberries have a habit of slowly oozing over the brownie edge, which is actually sort of seductive in a valentine-y kind of way.


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!

Mother’s Day – Strawberry Cheesecake Swirl Brownie

May 09, 2012 By: Denise Leo, Global Brownie Ambassador Category: Cream Cheese, Creative, Fruit, Fun For Kids, Nut-Free, Super-Simple


Oh, Mother’s Day delight of delights, it’s a strawberry cheesecake miracle that swirled right out of the tender center of a brownie! This beauty is also easy to make, with just 5 ingredients (6 if you count “water”). Any mom would love how pretty this is; any dad and kid will appreciate how easy this is!



  • 1 box Pillsbury Cheesecake Swirl brownie mix (includes 1 chocolate packet, 1 cheesecake packet)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup melted butter or margarine
  • 4-6 Tablespoons water
  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese (I used Philadelphia brand)
  • 1/2 cup strawberry preserves (I used Smucker’s brand)



From the box mix, pull out the chocolate packet and pour it into a medium bowl. Add melted butter or margarine (I microwaved mine for about 30 seconds). Add 1 egg. Add 2 Tablespoons of water. Mix until smooth. If batter seems too thick to swirl, you can add a little bit more water.


Put cream cheese in a medium bowl and use a hand mixer to beat it until creamy. Add the cheesecake packet, 1 egg, and 2 Tablespoons of water. Mix until smooth. If cheesecake batter seems too thick to swirl, you can add a little bit more water.


Pour chocolate batter into a greased pan. I suggest using a pan bigger than 9 x 9. I used an 8 x 11 pan and that worked great. One teaspoon at a time, add cheesecake batter on top of the chocolate. I did kind of a checkerboard pattern.


Microwave 1/2 cup of strawberry preserves for about 20 seconds; then stir. You just want it to be easier to spoon than right out of the jar. Spoon the preserves in between the cheesecake dollops.


Take a knife and slowly, gently swirl the 3 flavors together. Don’t ”mix” them! You want each bite to be different. When cutting and serving, I thought the prettiest pieces were the ones with a big glop of strawberry showing, but I’m sure you’ll all have your own opinions.


So pretty, right out of the oven. Let them cool, then cut and serve.


Isn’t it gorgeous? Any mom, gramma, aunt, or mom-like person would LOVE to get these strawberry cheesecake brownies on Mother’s Day.