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

April 28, 2012 By: Denise Leo, Global Brownie Ambassador Category: Chilled, Creative, Decadent, Fruit, Fun For Kids, Nutty, Off the Beaten Path

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These cute little bite-sized brownies LOOK like sushi but taste like a sweet tropical sunrise. Below, you’ll see how to do 2 flavor combinations: banana split sushi and kiwi-mango sushi. (But you can make up your own flavors!) This is a creative, super-fun idea that’s sure to get big applause at dessert time!

Kiwi, mango, and a toasted walnut float on a cloud of banana pudding, cupped in the sweet embrace of a tiny brownie. Sugar sprinkles masquerade as "rice." So cute!

BROWNIE INGREDIENTS

Mini muffin pan(s)

1 box brownie mix (I used Duncan Hines)

Egg(s), oil, and water as stated on the box instructions

 

FILLING INGREDIENTS (BANANA SPLIT)

1 pkg of 4 Snack Pack pre-made pudding cups, banana cream flavor

1 cup of large walnut pieces or halves, toasted

About 1/3 cup pineapple preserves (I used Smuckers)

About 15-20 maraschino cherries, coarsely chopped

Coarse sugar sprinkles (white color, to mimic the look of rice)

 

FILLING INGREDIENTS (KIWI-MANGO)

1 pkg of 4 Snack Pack pre-made pudding cups, banana cream flavor

1 cup of large walnut pieces or halves, toasted

2-3 kiwis, peeled and cut into small strips

1 mango, peeled and cut into small strips

Coarse sugar sprinkles (white color, to mimic the look of rice)

Here are the ingredients for the Banana Split Sushi Brownie.

DIRECTIONS
Make brownie batter according to box directions. Spoon batter into a well-greased mini-muffin pan, filling each cup about 7/8 full, nearly all the way.

To get good-sized sushi, fill your cups almost all the way with batter.

Bake as directed on box, but for a MUCH shorter time. My brownie-ettes needed only about 12 minutes. Test with a toothpick until it comes out almost clean.
While the oven is hot, place walnuts on a cookie sheet and toast them for 5-6 minutes at 350 F. Remove and let cool.
When brownies have cooled, carefully remove from pan. Using a sharp knife, cut out the middle of each brownie. I also had good success using a “melon-baller” utensil. Dig out a hole as large as you can, while keeping the sides intact. Be sure not to cut all the way down through the bottom.
What to do with the middles? Well, of course, you can eat them while  you work. Or, if you like, you can set aside the middles and frost them with green frosting so they look like piles of the sushi condiment called “wasabi.” (After eating their sushi brownies, your guests can wash it down with the extra bite of wasabi. Ridiculous fun, isn’t it?)
To start, stir your pudding cup. Mine was “banana cream” flavor, and it had 2 layers of 2 different colors, so I wanted to mix the layers for consistent color and flavor from one sushi piece to the next.
Add just 1/2 teaspoon of pudding into the bottom of each brownie.
Place a toasted walnut in the middle.
Add 1/4 to 1/2 tsp of pineapple preserves.
Add a piece or two of chopped maraschino cherry.
Add a ring of pudding around the edge, leaving your pretty fruit and nuts peeking out of the middle, just like a sushi roll.
At this point, you can store your treats in the frig for up to a few hours. Then, just before serving, add a garnish that will really take it over the top. To add the appearance of “rice,” shake some sugar sprinkles (white colored, of course) if you have them.
Serve with chopsticks and wait for the gasps and adoration.
DIRECTIONS FOR KIWI-MANGO
As above, begin with a small amount of banana pudding in the bottom of each brownie.
Add a walnut, plus a piece or two of both mango and kiwi.
Add a ring of pudding around the edge, leaving the pretty stuff in the middle showing, just like a sushi roll.
At this point, you can store your treats in the frig for up to a few hours. Then, just before serving, add a garnish that will really take it over the top. To add the appearance of “rice,” shake some sugar sprinkles (white colored, of course) if you have them.

So cute!

I made both flavors at once, and it made for a very pretty presentation!
Enjoy trying your sushi brownies at your next big gathering, and let me know which flavor you liked best: banana split or mango-kiwi!

Key Lime Margarita Brownie (alcohol-free)

January 09, 2012 By: Denise Leo, Global Brownie Ambassador Category: Blonde Brownie, Cream Cheese, Creative, Fruit, Nut-Free

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January schmanuary. I’m feeling tropical. Won’t you join me underneath this palm tree?

Cue the steel-drum band. The Key Lime Margarita Brownie deserves some good theme music.

Ahhh. These blonde brownie treats have a luscious key lime kick.

They’re not too sweet, a little gooey, and all impressive when you serve them to your gape-jawed guests.

And you can say, “Oh this? It’s just a little dessert I made in my spare time.”

INGREDIENTS

Batter

  • 1 box (15-17 ounces) sugar cookie mix
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar (use only 1/3 cup if using a “Splenda” brand)
  •  1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • One 8-ounce package cream cheese (let soften outside of ‘frig for 5-10 mins)

Key Lime Filling

  • 15- to 20-ounce jar of lime curd or key lime pie filling (I used a 23-oz jar and had 1/2 c leftover)

Pre-baking Garnish Options (choose one of these three or make up your own)

  • Option 1 – Vanilla sugar (1/4 cup sugar and 1 tsp vanilla)
  • Option 2 - Graham crust (1/4 c crushed graham crackers and 2 T sugar)
  • Option 3 – Salt (1/2 tsp flaked margarita salt)

Some of these ingredients are optional. All of them are yummy.

DIRECTIONS

Put the sugar cookie mix into a bowl and stir in the brown sugar.

Mix together the dry ingredients.

Melt 1 stick of butter in microwave for about 30 seconds. Add melted butter and 2 eggs to the dry ingredients. Mix thoroughly.

Butter makes everything better!

Using 2 eggs means you'll get a taller, fluffier brownie.

Blend in 1 package of softened cream cheese.

Mixing is easier if you slice the softened cream cheese as you add it to your batter.

Oh, yummy. Try to keep your finger-lickin' digits out of the bowl, please.

Spread your blonde batter into a greased 9×13 pan. An 8×8 pan is not big enough for this recipe! Now get your lime curd or key lime filling.

Deelish. May I suggest that you go for a key lime filling that is NOT green? In nature, the key lime is actually rather yellow. NOTE: If your store doesn't have key lime filling pre-made in a jar, you can probably find a dry mix to make it yourself in the pudding aisle...just do that in advance.

Now comes the fun part: Putting the key lime goo into the blonde brownie batter. One spoonful at a time, spoon the key lime filling into the batter, being sure to push the goo below the batter surface. Make sure every brownie will have several bites of lime flavor.

Push the goo down into the batter... you don't want it to just sit on the surface.

Use a knife to gently swirl together the blonde batter and the key lime goo.

Oh. My. This is where it starts getting a little exciting. Try not to drool in the pan.

Before baking, garnish with something wonderful of your choosing:

Garnish Option 1 – Vanilla sugar (1/4 cup sugar and 1 tsp vanilla)

The only thing that makes a sugar garnish better is to add vanilla to it. It gets richer and sweeter. And the sugar crystals gang up together to make little "sugar-clump colonies" that bake up crisply and dance on your tongue.

"Sugar" is to "brownie" as "smile" is to "people." I'm pretty sure that's an actual college-entrance-exam question.

Sprinkle the vanilla sugar on top of your blonde batter. So pretty!

Garnish Option 2 - Graham crust (1/4 c crushed graham crackers, 2 T sugar, 1 tsp vanilla)

Crush graham crackers using a plastic zippy bag and a rolling pin. Add sugar and vanilla. Shake the bag to mix it all together. Sprinkle over your batter.

Get out your aggression. Oh, yeah.

Hey, sugar.

Why dirty a dish, when you can just pour the vanilla right in there and shake the bag?

This is a lovely garnish option, especially if you're looking for a taste that is closer to a key lime pie. Yum!

Garnish Option 3 – Salt (1/2 tsp flaked margarita salt)

Pinch a few flakes of margarita salt and sprinkle them sparingly onto your batter. This'll give your blonde brownie a little margarita flair.

Sprinkle your garnish of choice onto the top of the batter. Then bake at 350 F for 35-45 mins (depends on your pan size and depth of batter), until a center-placed toothpick comes out moist but nearly clean.

Let cool for about 30 minutes so they set up before cutting. Now get out your hammock, tie it between two pieces of furniture, and enjoy your tropical treat! Ahhh.

Coconut Macadamia Nut Brownies

July 11, 2011 By: Denise Leo, Global Brownie Ambassador Category: Candy Bar, Nutty, Super-Simple

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The supernova in my brownie galaxy: the Coconut Macadamia Nut Brownie. How can something so crave-a-licious be so EASY to make? You simply MUST try this to believe it. Oh, and get a gallon of good vanilla ice cream before you make these. I'm just sayin'.

Live from Denise Leo’s coconut studio: Watch the how-to video now!

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INGREDIENTS

Box brownie mix
Egg, oil, and water as box directs
1 c. macadamia nuts
Mounds coconut candy bars (5-6 full size bars or 15-20 miniatures)

DIRECTIONS

Prepare brownie batter as directed on the box and mix thoroughly. Gently mix in those beautiful macadamias.

Oh. My. Gawd. I just loooooove macadamia nuts. I always buy the "pieces," which are much cheaper than buying whole macadamia nuts.

Pour the whole shebang into a greased pan, and bake it as that bossy box tells you.

While brownies are baking, slice coconut candy bars into bite-sized pieces, minimizing the number of pieces that fall into your mouth. (Just *try* is all I’m asking.)

Cut Mounds bars into chunks. You're almost done. Isn't this recipe easy?!?

Right after removing the brownies from the oven, push all the Mounds pieces down into the warm crust of the brownies. Leave portions of the coconut showing for a funky, chunky effect that will cause your guests to drool uncontrollably.

Even in this "half-a-batch," you can see the full power of this brownie. Ka-pow!

It is simply giddy-licious to smoosh candy bars into a freshly baked pan of brownies. I will be adding, like, a zillion similar recipes to this site. Stay tuned, brownie lovers.