The desire for brownies can strike fast. When the brownie craving hits, the goal is to get the brownies in the oven and my mouth as quickly as possible. Enter boxed brownie mix.
While there are plenty of good brownie recipes out there, sometimes you’re lazy and want something easy. Few things in life beat a quick boxed brownie mix. And if you’re feeling *ambitious*, you can also put your spin on it. So, I give you my “Better Boxed Brownies”. This simple recipe transforms plain chocolate brownies (again, already delicious) into a more nuanced dessert that hits all the right notes.
Here is what you need to know to make boxed brownies even better:
- Amp up the batter with espresso powder and vanilla. Espresso powder and instant coffee deepen the cocoa flavour in your batter. So rather than making them taste like coffee, they become more chocolatey. Vanilla is also a must because, well – vanilla makes everything better (in my opinion).
- Adding some crunch on top elevates your brownies by adding texture. Nuts, mini-pretzels, cacao nibs or crushed Oreos are excellent options. I used whole roasted almonds and cacao nibs in this version.
Cacao nibs are the roasted, chopped bits of cacao seeds. They add a great crunch and more chocolate flavour to recipes. Since they are unsweetened, they also balance many sweet desserts (i.e. boxed brownies).
- More chocolate! Is this ever a bad thing? You can add a drizzle of melted chocolate on top or more chocolate chips to the batter, or dare I say, both? You could even mix some crushed Oreos in the batter. (Yes, this is the second time I’m suggesting Oreos for those counting. YOLO.)
- Underbake your brownies. Brownies go from fudgy, cakey deliciousness to dry in a matter of minutes. Overbaking brownies is the easiest way to ruin them. Take the brownies out five minutes sooner than the box recommends to be safe. The brownies will continue to cook as they cool.
- Be creative! Now that you have the basics for bettering your brownie mix have some fun with it. The world is your oyster. If you find something specific that you love in your brownies, let me know! I’m always looking for an excuse to bake more brownies and try something new.
If you decide to try this recipe, let me know what you think in the comments or tag @chrissymeetsworld on Instagram. Happy baking!
Better Boxed Brownies
- 1 boxed brownie mix, with the requisite water, oil and egg amounts on the package (I used Betty Crocker)
- 2 tsp espresso powder or instant coffee
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 cup cacao nibs
- 1/3 cup whole roasted almonds or walnuts
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips
- Coarse sea salt, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8x8-inch pan or line it with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Mix the brownie batter according to the package directions, using the water, oil and egg amounts specified on the package. Mix in the espresso powder or instant coffee and vanilla.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and top with the almonds and cacao nibs. Bake according to the package directions (~30 mins). Remember not to overbake the brownies. Let them cool slightly while you melt the chocolate.
- Using a double boiler, melt the chocolate chips (you can also melt them in the microwave). Drizzle the melted chocolate over the brownies and finish with a sprinkle of sea salt. Enjoy!