Brownie mixes are a lifesaver, but certain occasions call for a little something extra! This doesn't mean you have to make them from scratch, simply adding a few secret weapon ingredients into the batter will up the yum factor! Think extra chocolate, peanut butter or coconut, depending on what you're in the mood for.
The extra ingredients below are always a hit. Get ready to watch your brownies disappear before your very eyes — no magic trick required!
Adding a handful chopped chocolate or chocolate chips to a mix is a genius way to elevate the rich chocolatey goodness. To up the flavor profile to an even higher level, skip the chips, and instead chop up a couple of your favorite candy bars — what could be bad about that?
Coffee House Spicy Chocolate
For an adult flavor boost add two tablespoons of instant coffee, two teaspoons vanilla extract, and a bit of ground cinnamon. When you stir in the egg, toss in just a pinch of cayenne pepper for a surprise hint of heat.
Win the hearts of both the mint and cookie lover by pressing mint Oreo cookies ($2.71, Amazon) into pan of batter. Top baked brownies with fudgy frosting and sprinkle with pieces of roughly chopped cookies; place a thin rectangular crème de menthe chocolate candy ($5.37, Amazon) in center of each bar.
Triple Chocolate Hazelnut
Stir some chopped toasted hazelnuts into the batter for some added flavor. For a super-rich complementary topping, mix together some chocolate frosting and a few spoonfuls of chocolate hazelnut spread, such as Nutella ($4.79, Amazon). Top each individual brownie with a chocolate hazelnut candy ($11.49, Amazon) to transform simple to wow!
First stir 1/2 cup of halved mini peanut butter cups and chopped honey roasted peanuts into batter. Then whip up an instant peanut butter frosting by mixing 1/4 cup to 1/3 cup of your favorite peanut butter into vanilla frosting. Sprinkle each brownie with a mix of halved mini peanut butter cups ($8.66, Amazon), chopped honey roasted peanuts ($10.68, Amazon), and a chocolate Kiss.
Rainbow, Unicorn, or Mermaid — the choice is yours!
Cheesecake brownies are beyond delish, add some great colors to make them totally fun!
For basic cheesecake swirl: Mix eight ounces cream cheese with one egg and 1/2 cup sugar and divide mixture into three bowls. Choose if you want rainbow, unicorn or mermaid-themed brownies (directions below); drop a spoonful of the each of the colored mixtures, overlapping slightly, on top of brownie batter in the pan; swirl slightly then bake. When brownies are cooled, pop them in the fridge to chill. Just before cutting, top the em off with frosting (homemade or store-bought). Garnish each brownie with colorful candies or a mix of pretty sprinkles and voila, total happiness!
Rainbow Brownies: Use red, blue, and yellow food coloring to tint different bowls of cheesecake mixture and drop onto top of brownie batter as described above. Frost cooled brownies with vanilla frosting and decorate with two sizes of multicolor candy-coated chocolate candies (M&Ms) mixed with multicolor sprinkles ($7.99, Amazon).
Mermaid-Themed Brownies: Tint bowls of cheesecake mixture neon blue, neon green, and purple and drop onto top of brownie batter as described above. Spread cooled brownies with vanilla frosting and top with a fun sprinkle mix of blue, lime green, and purple jumbo confetti sprinkles ($6.34, Amazon) or ready-made mix.
Unicorn-Themed Brownies: Tint bowls of cheesecake mixture yellow, pink, and blue and drop onto top of brownie batter as described above. Spread cooled brownies with pink or blue frosting and top each bar with pretty colorful candies such as Sixlets ($6.71, Amazon). Or if you’re feeling a bit more extravagant and want everyone to stand up and take notice, splurge for killer sprinkles ($8, Amazon)!
Fruit and Nut
For that nostalgic Chunky candy bar ($20.54, Amazon) flavor toss in chopped raisins and roasted peanuts or pecans, cashews and Brazil nuts. If you want to up that decadent fudge-y taste and texture, add chopped dark chocolate as well.
Coconut Almond Joy
Stir two teaspoons of coconut extract into brownie batter. Add about 1/4 cup each mini chocolate chips and chopped toasted almonds. Spread with vanilla frosting then top with shredded coconut and toasted sliced almonds.
Pro Tips for Baking Brownies
How to Get a Clean Cut: First, chill your brownies after they’ve cooled. To keep the edges as neat as possible, use a long sharp knife and press it down from the top to cut completely through; don’t use a sawing motion. Then cut each row separately into bars or squares. The real secret is to clean your knife between cuts.
Bakers' Tip: To get picture-perfect brownies out of the pan, simply line baking pan with foil with a two-inch overhang and grease. When brownies have cooled, lift them out of the pan using the foil. Before starting to cut up your brownies, cut off the baked edges — you get much prettier bars and scraps that make awesome treats for the baker. Simply brilliant!