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Thursday, April 14, 2022

Boxed Brownie Mix Hacks

Learn how to make boxed brownies taste better.  With a few simple swaps or brownie mix add ins, you can turn a plain boxed brownie mix into an amazing semi homemade dessert.  No one at the pot luck needs to know that you started with a box!

How to Make Box Brownies Taste Homemade

I'm usually a make it from scratch kind of girl, but boxed mixes are convenient to have on hand.  If you pair a sale with a coupon, then a box is usually cheaper to buy a mix than making them from scratch.

I'm a bit picky on my brownie mixes.  I used to love the Aldi brownie mix, but sadly it changed a few years ago.  

I used to make it as directed on the box, but after the change I wondered how do you improve boxed brownie mix?

By making a few small swaps or adding some brown mix add ins, you can transform a plain box of brownies into a semi homemade sweet treat.

If you lack the time or desire to cook from scratch all the time, check out my boxed cake mix hacks and my semi-homemade alfredo sauce for more kitchen hacks.

For more easy dessert recipes, check out these posts:

Boxed Brownie Mix Hacks

Before we get to the ways to make boxed brownies better, let's talk about the mix you start with.  I've been couponing again, so I'll start with whatever I get get cheap.

I also buy the Aldi brownie mix, even though it's not as good as the old mix.  (Aldi, if you're there, please change it back!  That mix didn't need any brownie mix hacks to be amazing!)

However, if sales and coupons and budgets aren't a thing, then I would start with a Ghirardelli Chocolate Supreme brownie mix.  It has a rich chocolate flavor and the perfect texture.

But that doesn't mean that I'm not going to use hacks for boxed brownie mix.  Oh no, we're still going to be extra and use brownie mix add ins.

You're not going to use all of these ways to make boxed brownies better at the same time.  Choose one or two to use.  

I don't know.  Maybe they will all work at once?  I should have a kid test that some time!

Use Butter in Place of Oil

Most boxes call for oil, but I substitute it for butter.  I mean, butter makes everything better, right?  

For brownie mix hacks, butter makes your brownies richer.  Simply melt the same amount of butter and let it cool slightly so it's not really hot before adding it.

Use sticks of real butter and not margarine or a spreadable butter with oil in it.

Egg Yolks

Most mixes call for a whole egg.  I get it, it's easier to just add the whole egg.  But for an easy boxed brownies hack, use two egg yolks for each egg.   You can also just use one extra egg yolk to the whole eggs that are called for in the recipe.

This increases the amount of fat in the brownies and make the fudgy.  Add your eggs at room temperature for best results.

Use Milk

Instead of using water, one of the easiest brownie mix hacks it to use milk instead.  Like using butter, the extra fat helps make the brownies taste more rich and fudgy.

You can also use heavy cream or even buttermilk in place of the water.

Add Coffee To Boxed Brownie Mix

Coffee complements chocolate and brings out the chocolate flavor.  Don't worry if you don't like the taste of coffee because you won't be able to taste it.

Add cooled brewed coffee for an easy boxed brownies hack.  You can also learn how to make cold brew coffee to add that instead.

If you don't usually have brewed coffee or want to use milk instead of water, add 1 to 2 teaspoons of instant coffee to get the best of both worlds.

Vanilla Extract

Vanilla extract also complements chocolate.  You can add 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract for a boxed brownies hack.

I recommend using real vanilla extract.  You can also learn how to make vanilla extract from vanilla beans or make Instant Pot vanilla extract.

You can also add almond extract or peppermint extract for mint chocolate brownies.

Add Salt

Brownies are sweet, so adding salt helps balance the sweetness.  Add a pinch of salt to the batter and sprinkle some sea salt on top of the brownies before baking.

Don't Over Mix Brownies

As with most dessert mixes, avoid over mixing.  You want to mix the dry and wet ingredients until they are just combined.  Over mixing the batter will make your brownies dense.  

Bake Low and Slow

The cooking temperature and time varies based on the brand of mix you use.  One of the easiest boxed brownie mix hacks it to bake low and slow.

Learn how to make a boxed brownie mix better by baking at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 40 minutes.  They are done when you can stick a toothpick in and it comes out with a few crumbs.

Brownie Mix Add Ins

Try adding one or two of these brownie mix add ins:

  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, or peanut butter chips
  • 1/2 cup mint chocolate bits
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup slightly crushed pretzels
  • 1/2 cup chopped candy (Snickers and M and Ms are good)
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries, strawberries, or raspberries

You can also swirl in some ingredients.  I prepare the brownie mix and pour it into the pan.  Then add dollops of an add in.

Good ones to try are peanut butter, caramel, Nutella, cream cheese, or strawberry jam.  Try this pumpkin cream cheese brownie recipe for inspiration.

Brownie Toppings

You can also just add some toppings for each boxed brownie mix hacks.  Ice cream is always an easy topping for brownies.

Try one of the following:

  • Dried fruit
  • Cream cheese frosting
  • Chocolate frosting
  • Chocolate ganache
  • Hot fudge
  • Shredded coconut
  • Mini marshmallows
  • Sprinkles

The Best Pan for Baking Brownies

The pan matters when making brownies!  One of the easiest ways to make boxed brownies better is by using the right pan.

Glass pans don't heat up as well as metal, so your brownies might need an extra 5 minutes to bake.  Keep an eye on them at the recommended time and add more time as needed.

Lighter colored pans also distribute heat more evenly.  If you are using a dark pan, check on your brownies a few minutes before they are done because they might be done early.

Don't Overbake

Oven times can vary, and the pan you use will determine the cook time as well.  Be careful not to overbake your brownies.

I recommend checking your brownies a few minutes before the time is up.  Stick a toothpick in the center.  The toothpick should come out with a few crumbs on it.

Once you take them out of the oven, let them cool before cutting.

Now you know how to make boxed brownies taste better with boxed brownie mix hacks!

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