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how to doctor up brownies from a box??

anunez Feb 7, 2008 07:50 AM

Usually I am an only from scratch girl but I have to bake for a party tomorrow night and am already making cupcakes and homemade frosting. We need one more sweet thing hwoever so I thought in an effort to save my sanity I would use a box to make the brownies (which i actually prefer!). Anyone have any great tricks to doctor them up, maybe with carmel chips etc, just to make them a little more special? Thanks a million

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  1. m
    MellieMac RE: anunez Feb 7, 2008 07:52 AM

    I add a little instant espresso to the batter and swirl some peanut butter in too!

    3 Replies
    1. re: MellieMac
      lynnlato RE: MellieMac Feb 7, 2008 07:58 AM

      Yes, espresso powder is a great addition.

      Or swirl some good raspberry jam on the top of the batter (warm the jam b/f swirling). You could swirl the warmed jam w/ some cream cheese (beat 1/3 cup sugar, 3 oz crm chs, 2t flour, 1/2 t vanilla, 1 egg white) over the brownie mix too.

      1. re: MellieMac
        Sarah RE: MellieMac Feb 7, 2008 09:00 AM

        How much espresso do you add in?

        1. re: Sarah
          lynnlato RE: Sarah Feb 7, 2008 11:40 AM

          1-2 Tablespoons, depending on how much added flavor you want.

      2. k
        kavikat RE: anunez Feb 7, 2008 07:57 AM

        Start with the Ghiradelli brownie mix. I too prefer to bake from scratch but these are so good, I haven't made my own since I discovered these!

        1 Reply
        1. re: kavikat
          rmperry RE: kavikat Feb 7, 2008 09:07 AM

          I agree! The Ghiradelli brownie mix is wonderful.

        2. jvozoff RE: anunez Feb 7, 2008 08:33 AM

          Stir extra butter (as much as you dare?) into the batter and pour in a few glugs of rum. I had a friend in school who used to make these and they were fabulous.

          1 Reply
          1. re: jvozoff
            lynnlato RE: jvozoff Feb 7, 2008 11:41 AM

            Ooooh, I likey.

          2. c
            cata RE: anunez Feb 7, 2008 08:40 AM

            My mom always just adds chocolate chips and people rave about them.

            1. foxy fairy RE: anunez Feb 7, 2008 08:56 AM

              Orange zest or some smushy banana in the batter.

              I like brownies with instant espresso too.

              Mini chips, like you say, or maybe little pieces of Peppermint Patty, or the itsy-bitsy Peppermint Patty pieces if you can find them.

              Ice them with some minty or caramel-y frosting.

              8 Replies
              1. re: foxy fairy
                alkapal RE: foxy fairy Feb 7, 2008 07:44 PM

                foxy, i looked in vain all holiday season for those miniature peppermint patty chips. ;-(

                1. re: alkapal
                  goodhealthgourmet RE: alkapal Feb 7, 2008 08:00 PM

                  next year...


                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                    alkapal RE: goodhealthgourmet Feb 8, 2008 01:59 AM

                    ghg, thanks. where's the white "filling" in the chip? tastes the same?

                    1. re: alkapal
                      goodhealthgourmet RE: alkapal Feb 8, 2008 08:23 AM

                      actually, i have no idea - i've never used them. i just hunted them down for you because i was curious to see where one might find them. but if you look at the photo on this page...


                      ...it appears as though they really are just teeny versions of the regular patties - white filling and all.

                      btw, in my search i also came across "andes mints" baking bits. they're little square chips, and judging from the picture on the box they have that green mint center layer in them just like the larger ones do...


                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                        alkapal RE: goodhealthgourmet Feb 8, 2008 09:31 AM

                        you are right! miniature yorks! yeah!!

                  2. re: alkapal
                    fayehess RE: alkapal Feb 8, 2008 09:32 AM

                    Use the whole peppermint patty! They are gorgeous when you slice into the brownie. Just put in a little batter, spread it around, arange the patties on top and then the rest of the batter on top.

                    1. re: fayehess
                      alkapal RE: fayehess Feb 10, 2008 07:32 PM

                      secret mint brownies!

                      1. re: alkapal
                        goodhealthgourmet RE: alkapal Feb 10, 2008 07:52 PM

                        i'd call them "peppermint surprise" ;)

                2. chowser RE: anunez Feb 7, 2008 08:58 AM

                  I know someone who makes them with mayonnaise and people rave about them.

                  1. toodie jane RE: anunez Feb 7, 2008 09:12 AM

                    melt two extra tbalespoons of butter till creamy, and add 2 T good quality ground cocoa. Add this to the butter when mixing into the mix.

                    Extra chocolate-y and extra rich.

                    York Peppermint Minis or chopped pieces add just the right amount of peppermint.

                    You can make caramel brownies by using the sheets they seel for making caramel apples, and laying them on 1/2 the batter, then top with the 2nd half of batter. You get a caramel center in each bar.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: toodie jane
                      foxy fairy RE: toodie jane Feb 7, 2008 09:27 AM

                      I know this discussion has come up before -- have you actually been able to find the peppermint minis??? I can't seem to get my hands on them. Oh, how frustrating!

                      1. re: foxy fairy
                        calikoala RE: foxy fairy Feb 7, 2008 10:09 AM

                        I have found them recently at Safeway in colorado. They were on sale with alot of other flavored bits, ie oreo cookie, reeses, snickers, etc...

                      2. re: toodie jane
                        gansu girl RE: toodie jane Feb 7, 2008 09:45 AM

                        I'm thinking minis are smaller than the "snack" size? I use the snack size (i.e., the ones you'd get at Halloween, but avail. all year 'round in the candy aisle) - put 1/2 your batter in the pan, distribute the patties evenly, top w/the other 1/2 of the batter - so so so good.

                        FWIW, I love the Ghiradelli mix too - I also have stopped making brownies from scratch b/c of this particular mix.

                        1. re: gansu girl
                          chowser RE: gansu girl Feb 7, 2008 11:42 AM

                          The minis are the size of slightly larger chocolate chips. I brought them up and really liked them but can't find them anyway now!:-(

                          1. re: chowser
                            gansu girl RE: chowser Feb 7, 2008 03:47 PM

                            those sound great - but I'd end up eating them by the handfull, I think!

                      3. k
                        Kelli2006 RE: anunez Feb 7, 2008 09:14 AM

                        I chop a bittersweet Ghiradelli chocolate bar, add 1 TBL of cocoa, and maybe a dash of vanilla to a boxed mix. If you have cold coffee, you can replace 1/2 the water with the coffee.

                        You can ice them with a quick icing of 1 bag of melted chocolate chips and 2 Tbs of cream or 1/2-1/2. Whisk this togther and and chiill for 1 hour. Spread over the cooled brownies just before service. I never said they were low fat!

                        I agree with Lynnlato's rec of raspberry jam.

                        1. d
                          Dizzied RE: anunez Feb 7, 2008 09:25 AM

                          I agree with all the Ghiradelli mix fans. One of my favorite ways to doctor them is to dump a couple of big boxes of junior mints (or half junior mints, half chocolate chips) on top of your just out of the oven brownies, let them get melty until you can evenly spread them over the top of the brownies -- yum. Works with all kinds of other chips too depending on your mood.

                          1. foxy fairy RE: anunez Feb 7, 2008 09:30 AM

                            Another icing idea -- I love these, which I call Junior Mint brownies. Cap brownies (from a mix, in this case) with this VERY EASY minty icing, then drizzle a little bittersweet swirl on top of that. Gorgeous, delicious. The mint and chocolate set each other off so well.


                            1. goodhealthgourmet RE: anunez Feb 7, 2008 09:37 AM

                              you've gotten some great advice.

                              my first thoughts were PB, cream cheese, raspberry jam, and caramel [in order of personal preference].

                              and regardless of additional flavors, i ALWAYS add espresso powder to any dessert i make with chocolate. a little bit to enhance the chocolate...or a lot if i'm going the mocha route.

                              if you start with a quality base product [e.g. ghirardelli triple chocolate], i'm sure the result will be delicious no matter what you add.

                              have fun!

                              1. rabaja RE: anunez Feb 7, 2008 10:14 AM

                                chocoalte chips and marshmellows. We used to call these radiation brownies growing up!

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: rabaja
                                  goodhealthgourmet RE: rabaja Feb 7, 2008 02:36 PM

                                  toss in some graham crackers and you've got s'mores...or add almonds and call them rocky road brownies.

                                  what's the origin of/meaning behind the name "radiation" brownies? something to do with lumps/growths in there?

                                2. v
                                  violabratsche RE: anunez Feb 7, 2008 10:25 AM

                                  I've added roasted chopped almonds, and almond flavouring. Another time, I used mint falvouring...nothing more, but I'm sure it's more fun with more. How about the mint with added crushed candy cane style mint candies...you know, the white ones with the red strips, that are individually wrapped....mint chocolate cream cheese frosting on a plain brownie....or one of the kicked up mentioned?


                                  1. d
                                    drgnflychic RE: anunez Feb 7, 2008 12:17 PM

                                    My quick fix for boxed brownies is to make them in a muffin pan and add a miniature candy bar (Snickers, Andes, etc) to the middle. Put about tbsp of the batter into the baking cup, add your favorite kind of candy bar, and add another tbsp of batter. Should make 12 large muffins that have a little surprise in the middle!

                                    1. a
                                      anunez RE: anunez Feb 7, 2008 12:44 PM

                                      these are all awesome! Thanks so much - my coworkers are going to be a happy happy bunch

                                      1. Amuse Bouches RE: anunez Feb 7, 2008 01:55 PM

                                        Dollop a bit of raspberry jam on top of the batter before cooking. 1 dollop per planned brownie.

                                        1. choctastic RE: anunez Feb 7, 2008 01:56 PM

                                          I usually make zebra brownies. I make the cream cheese topping and then swirl it on top.

                                          I like the idea of Paula Deens recipe for toffee brownies where she puts Symphony bars in the middle but haven't tried it

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: choctastic
                                            Emme RE: choctastic Feb 7, 2008 11:27 PM

                                            i love zebra or cream cheese brownies, as i love cream cheese frosting...

                                            in addition to espresso powder, vanilla extract also enhances chocolate flavor.

                                            another interesting textural addition to fudgy brownies are rice krispies or nestle's crunch bars.

                                            another interesting addition that makes people go "i have no idea what's in here, but wow" is dry pudding mix powder... makes them chewier

                                          2. f
                                            flowergirl RE: anunez Feb 7, 2008 02:11 PM

                                            The best brownies I ever tasted were made from Duncan Hines fudgy mix - you use 2 boxes and add a whole bag of frozen chocolate chips. I couldnt believe it was so easy.

                                            1. q
                                              QSheba RE: anunez Feb 7, 2008 06:48 PM

                                              Ghiradelli Mix, Choc. Chips and Amaretto:)

                                              1. soypower RE: anunez Feb 7, 2008 07:52 PM

                                                this may be a little mundane, but still yummy...melt some caramels, spread it on top and put one walnut piece (i guess that would be a 1/4 of the nut) on each brownie. they look kinda nice...

                                                also, butterscotch chips always go well with chocolate. :o)

                                                1. q
                                                  Querencia RE: anunez Feb 7, 2008 08:00 PM

                                                  My standard topping for brownies is fudge by this recipe that takes 2 minutes and is foolproof. In a saucepan put 1 cup sugar, 1/3 cup milk, and 1/3 cup butter and bring to a boil. Boil 1 minute by the clock, while stirring. Remove from burner. Dump in 1 cup chocolate chips. Stir until melted. Immediately, pour over warm brownies in pan. This has to cool before it sets up. The staler they get, the better as the fudge sort of fades into the brownies. For a mix I prefer Trader Joe's Belgian Truffle Brownies, to which I add walnuts. But this is good on any brownies.

                                                  1. MeffaBabe RE: anunez Feb 8, 2008 09:29 AM

                                                    I always add chopped semi sweet chocolate and INSTANT COFFEE... sometimes I will add nuts but not often. I also will bake at least 1-1.5 minutes LESS for chewy brownies.

                                                    1. e
                                                      eatmyfood RE: anunez Feb 8, 2008 09:29 AM

                                                      As soon as the brownies come out of the oven, top with Andes mints - one ones with the green in the middle. As they melt, spread on top of brownies.

                                                      my blog http://www.dinnersforayear.blogspot.com

                                                      1. fayehess RE: anunez Feb 8, 2008 09:34 AM

                                                        Try using a good quality eurpean style cocoa, like Droste, which seems to be the easiest to find. It makes heck of a difference. fayefood.com

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