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Doctored up brownie mix....suggestions???

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I don't have time to make my homemade truffle brownies that I love so much, so I'd like some suggestions of ways you've doctored up a "boxed brownie mix" to make it, well....special!

Thanks!

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  1. my grandmother used to put in bits of chopped caramel pieces...if served warm, they stay a bit gooey - if served room temp the caramel is seriously chewey, but but for the kids to eat.

    4 Replies
    1. re: monica

      Here is the recipe I saw on the Food Network by Giada De Laurentiis and website feedback from people who tried it was most positive.

      Nonstick vegetable oil cooking spray
      1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
      1/3 cup vegetable oil
      2 large eggs
      2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons espresso powder
      1 (19.8-ounce) box brownie mix (recommended: Duncan Hines)
      3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
      1 teaspoon vanilla extract
      1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
      1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature

      Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

      Spray a 9 by 13-inch baking pan with nonstick spray. Whisk 1/3 cup of water, oil, eggs, and 2 tablespoons espresso powder in a large bowl to blend. Add the brownie mix. Stir until well blended. Stir in the chocolate chips. Transfer the batter to the prepared baking pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, about 35 minutes. Cool completely.

      Meanwhile, dissolve the remaining 2 teaspoons of espresso powder in the remaining 2 tablespoons of water in a medium bowl. Whisk in the vanilla. Add the powdered sugar and butter and whisk until smooth. Pour the glaze over the brownies. Refrigerate until the glaze is set. Cut into bite-size pieces. Arrange the brownies on a platter and serve.

      1. re: Hope

        Trader Joe's has a truffle brownie mix or something along these lines that's good rich chocolate, and I'm pretty picky. Lots of good suggestions posted. One that I can add is that you can make great "frosting" my putting Hershey chocolate on the warm brownies when they come out of the oven. Spread the melted chocolate to "frost" them. I've never tried it before, but it would probably be tasty to do this with Andes mints, too.

        1. re: Kitty

          Putting York Peppermint Patties on top of the warm brownies and then swirling them into an icing is a delicious way to make boxed brownies special.

      2. re: monica

        My mother used to make brownies after Valentines Day and dump in the leftover red hots... It was a bit weird-looking, all those semi-melted hearts, but really tasty.

      3. - toast and chop up some nuts
        - mix one package of cream cheese(room temp) with one egg, a tp vanilla, 1 tb sugar, and then mix in 2 tb of flour
        - make your brownie mix

        Pour 1/2 of the chocolate mix into pre-greased, parchment lined pan(bottom only needed), then spoon out the cream cheese mixture on top in patches, then scrape the rest of the choco mix on top. Take a knife point and swirl the mixture into a pretty design (don't over do it or it will look muddy & less swirly). Sprinkle the nuts on top and bake, adding another 10 minutes to the baking time.

        variations....
        - chopped pieces of caramel on top
        - crushed pieces of peppermints
        - dried fruit....cranberries, cherries, etc.

        1. Ghiradelli makes brownie mix which isn't bad...
          Marshmallows are a good mix-in...
          Flavored liqueurs...
          Really good icing on top...

          1. Swirl in one of the following...

            choc ganache
            caramel
            melted butterscotch chips
            softened peanut butter
            raspberry jam

            1. If you want to keep it chocolatey, add a pinch of salt, melted butter instead of oil, touch of powdered espresso, underbake slightly so the chocolate aromas are still volatile.

              7 Replies
              1. re: petradish

                Great suggestions! These little things make all the difference. I like the sound of volatile chocolate.

                BTW, what is the best major brand of brownie mix these days? I recall using Duncan Hines in the past, but I'm not so sure. Does it even matter?

                1. re: Carb Lover

                  Cook's Test Kitchen show on PBS did a show about brownies last saturday and they did the blind taste test with packaged brownie mixes and Ghiradelli's was selected hands down. The comment was best chocolate taste.

                  1. re: Carb Lover

                    Just today I was discussing brownies with a friend
                    and she said the Safeway brand mix was really good. I haven't tried it myself. But she's a great cook.

                    1. re: Carb Lover

                      Carb lover, are you laughing at my volatile chocolate notes? :-P It's what makes chocolate lava cakes special-that moment when the cacao reaches chocolate sensory overload-the peak aromas! Like roasting nuts or coffee, there's an ideal moment to stop the heating process and let it shine. Thus, I underbake the brownies.

                      It's Duncan HInes for me. Ghiradelli is too floury and chalky for my fudge-loving tastes.

                      1. re: Carb Lover

                        I can't recall brownies specifically, but I like Duncan Hines chocolate cake mixes in general. They seem more chocolatey than the other major brands. I haven't noticed the Safeway one, but would will try it because Safeway products are usually just as good as the major brands.

                        I agree that Ghiardelli is a bit dry and chalky, and that Ghiardelli chocolate lacks sass (or volatility, as we're putting it in this thread) in general. It needs a lot of doctoring.

                        1. re: nooodles

                          Thanks for everyone's comments. I've never tried the Ghirardelli brownie mix before, but since you and petradish both used the word "chalky" in your descriptions, that scared me straight! Am curious about it though given that it won CI's taste test...

                          I'm a big fan of fudgy brownies and that's why I've used Duncan Hines in the past. Don't really remember what Pillsbury or Betty Crocker taste like though. May have to check out Trader Joe's mix, although their housebrand stuff is so hit or miss.

                        2. re: Carb Lover

                          trader joe's belgian choc truffle b mix....add 1/3 c good cocoa powder, a bit more egg and real vanilla.

                          real home/scratch flavor and texture.

                          nary a blah bite in the box.