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

Apple Walnut Blondie

November 09, 2012 By: Denise Leo, Global Brownie Ambassador Category: Blonde Brownie, Cream Cheese, Fruit, Nutty


Utterly autumnal and ready for hungry leaf-rakers…it’s the Apple Walnut Blondie, a recipe for those who want to keep their kitchen full of happy fall-time snackers.20121109-133905.jpg


  • 1 17-ounce package sugar cookie mix (I used Betty Crocker brand)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • One 8-ounce package cream cheese (I used Philadelphia brand)


  • 1 21-ounce can apple pie filling (I used Comstock brand)
  • 1.5 cups coarsely chopped walnuts (I used Diamond walnuts)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Sprinkle of ground cloves, optional
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, optional
  • Vanilla glaze, optional (a little butter, confectioner’s sugar, milk, and vanilla)



To the cookie mix, mix in the eggs, melted butter, and cream cheese (it makes mixing easier if you slice the cream cheese as you add it to the bowl).


The batter will be thick. Spread it into a greased 9″ by 13″ pan.20121109-134001.jpg

Open the can of apple pie filling. Using a sharp knife, cut down and around in the can so any large pieces become more bite-sized.


Spread apple pie filling evenly across the batter.


Put your chopped walnuts into a medium bowl. Add the cinnamon. If you love ground cloves, add a sprinkle (about 1/8 teaspoon), but that’s optional.


Add melted butter.


Add lemon juice. You can add less than 2 tablespoons if you want your blondie to be sweeter. The lemon juice is an inspiration from my great-grandma Katherine’s recipe for Hungarian Christmas-time cookies.


Pour this tart, nutty mix on top of the batter and apples. Using a knife, gently swirl these delicious layers. Don’t mix too much. I find that swirling side-to-side is good, but you’ll also want to do some up-and-down swirls to get some of the fruit and nuts down into the batter.


To counter the slight pucker of the lemon juice, you may want to add some brown sugar by hand, just sprinkling it over the top evenly. It gives sort of an “apple crumble” look to your crust. If you like your sweets to be not too sweet, I suppose you could skip this step.


Bake for about 35-45 minutes at 350 F, using a toothpick to check for doneness. The toothpick should be nearly dry and almost clean.

After I baked my blondie, I whipped up a little optional ultra-vanilla glaze to drizzle on top. (Mix 2 tablespoons of butter or margarine with 1 cup of confectioner’s sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and a dribble of milk. Voila!) Drizzle to your heart’s content.

The Apple Walnut Blondie is pretty enough to use as a centerpiece at your big holiday party, so try this easy recipe now… before you have to give them all away to your drooling guests!


Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownie

October 24, 2011 By: Denise Leo, Global Brownie Ambassador Category: Blonde Brownie, Cream Cheese, Decadent, Fruit, Holiday, Nut-Free


I posted this image on my Facebook page and got several dozen elated responses in just a few hours. I guess most of my friends were not scared of this Halloween treat.

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


Pumpkin Batter Ingredients

  • 3/4 box spice cake mix (about 3 cups)
  • 1 29-ounce can solid-pack pumpkin (I used about 20-22 ounces of it)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • 1/2 cup water

Cheesecake Batter Ingredients

  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 package cream cheese, softened
  • (optional) 3 – 4 Tbsp ricotta cheese
  • (optional) 1 – 2 Tbsp sour cream
  • 1/2 box white cake mix (about 2 cups)
  • 1 box cheesecake-flavor powdered pudding mix (I used Jello sugar-free instant)

Spice Glaze Ingredients (optional)

  • 1.5 – 2 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • small amount of milk to attain a glaze consistency (about 1/8 – 1/4 cup)
  • 1/8 – 1/4 tsp each of cinnamon, cloves, and allspice (ok to leave out one, if you prefer)


How-To Video:


Mix together pumpkin batter ingredients until smooth. Pour into a greased 9×13 pan. Don’t use a 9×9 pan; that will be too small and will result in a brownie that is too thick to bake evenly.

Divide the cheesecake ingredients into “wet” (egg, oil, water, cream cheese, ricotta cheese, and sour cream) and “dry” (cake mix and pudding mix). Mix together the wet ingredients first, stirring for about a minute, until it looks like a creamy blob of perfection. (You know you want a taste, but keep yer mitts outta there!) Then add the dry ingredients, blending until smooth.

Now the swirly fun begins. Drop spoonfuls of the cheesecake batter onto the pumpkin batter that is already in the baking pan. Then use a knife to swirl the batters together.

Bake at 350 F for about 35-40 minutes, until a toothpick comes out almost clean.

If you’re a sweet-tooth, mix together the glaze ingredients until smooth and drizzle it on top of the brownie crust.  Not only is this a great idea for a Halloween treat, but also a wonderful change of pace for Thanksgiving or Christmas! Have fun with this recipe, my brownie minions!