There’s no easier or more satisfying way to satisfy a sweet tooth than a quick boxed brownie mix. But if you want to take your brownie game to the next level with minimal effort, then try some of these clever boxed brownie mix hacks. You get the easy benefit of looking like a professional chef with almost no extra work.
In fact, you’ll wonder why you never doctored a boxed brownie mix before.
Related: Box pancake mix hacks to make your flapjacks taste more like homemade
1. Add more chocolate, because you can never have too much. This may be stating the obvious, but if you haven’t added some gourmet chocolate chunks (or white chocolate chips, dark chocolate chips, or even peanut butter chips) to your brownies you haven’t really lived. (Photo by Charisse Kenion on Unsplash)
2. Add fruit. While your mix is wet, add in some frozen berries. I’d start with cherries or raspberries, but some bakers recommend blackberries or even blueberries. But you can’t go wrong with a delicious Black Forest brownie, by adding a swirl of chocolate fudge and some cherries.
3. Swirl in Nutella, because it’s the best. We all love Nutella, and rightly so. The chocolate-hazelnut flavor adds just the right touch to your boxed brownies, so give it a generous swirl for a fudgy texture that’s just a little extra.
Related: Baking tricks: How to remove brownies from the pan without them falling apart.
4. Mix with coffee, not water. Where the box’s instructions call for water, use coffee instead. This will draw out the chocolate’s natural flavor and highlight it in a really yummy way. But note, this also adds caffeine. Maybe not great for a midnight snack if you’re sensitive to it. (Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash)
5. Salted caramel, need we say more? Grab some good-quality caramels (or make your own, if you’re fancy) and drizzle it over the brownie mix before you put them in the oven. When they come out, but before they cool, sprinkle some sea salt over the top. Then, just try not to eat the whole pan.
6. Stir in candied ginger for some kick. If you love the flavor of ginger (hello, hand raised!) stir in 1.5 tsp of powdered ginger and 1.4 cup crystallized ginger to the wet mix before you bake it. It will add chewy texture with some spicy kick.
7. Booze them up. Take your favorite liquor—ameretto, Kahlua, bourbon—and add just a tablespoon or two to your mix, and you’ll get the kick without ruining the bake on your dessert. (Photo by Thomas Park on Unsplash)
8. Layer chocolate chip cookie mix on top. If you can’t decide between brownies and chocolate chip cookies, make them both in one delicious bar cookie. Mix your brownies and pour them in the pan, then mix the cookie mix and layer it on top. So yummy.
9. Mimic your favorite chocolate treat. Think about your favorite chocolate treats—Rocky Road ice cream? Add marshmallows and nuts. Reeses peanut butter cups? Swirl some peanut butter in before you bake. Snickers bars? Chop some leftover fun-size bars up and mix them in.
10. Add extract…or essential oils. My favorite brownies growing up were just a boxed mix with a layer of buttery peppermint frosting on top. If peppermint isn’t your favorite, you could add coconut, orange, or almond instead. If you’re using essential oils, just make sure they’re food grade.
Photo at top by Michelle Tsang on Unsplash