Everybody uses brownie mix and there’s no shame in admitting it. They are made for your convenience and are perfect for when you do not feel like making brownies from scratch.
There are several great options to choose from to help you make delicious and fudgy brownies in about half the time.
The only thing about them is that, although they are delicious on their own, they can never compare to brownies that are homemade and it is incredibly easy to tell them apart.
Luckily, there are some simple tips and tricks that can make your ready-made brownie mix taste just as good as homemade brownies, or even better!
So, what are the best brownie mix hacks? To make boxed brownies taste better, it’s important to start off with a high-quality brownie mix. You can also swap out the oil in the recipe with butter for a richer, nuttier flavor, as well as using egg yolks instead of a whole egg to create a fudgier consistency.
Read on to find out the best ways to make your boxed brownies taste like they came straight from a bakery, with minimal mess and preparation!
Best Hacks For Boxed Brownie Mix
Boxed brownies are incredibly easy to make, where you are required to mix 2 or 3 ingredients and bake them according to the instructions on the package.
Although they taste good on their own, there is something missing in terms of flavor, especially when compared to homemade brownies (from scratch) and those you get from the bakery.
Here is a list of ideas for ways to improve their taste and texture and give straight-up competition to a homemade batch made from scratch:
Use A Good Brownie Mix
It all starts with the brownie mix since it is the foundation that you will be working with.
With so many options available out there, it may be difficult to choose the right one and you may end up with brownies that taste like chemicals that no amount of tips, tricks, and hacks can salvage.
Do your research and pick a brand that has good reviews. Using a double or triple chocolate brownie mix always does the trick.
Swap Oil With Butter
There’s something about butter that takes baking to the next level. If you want to make your boxed brownies taste out of this world, use butter.
Although most boxed brownie mixes recommend that you use oil, swapping it with butter adds more richness and makes the brownies taste 200% times better.
Use Egg Yolks Instead Of A Whole Egg
Instead of adding a whole egg to your boxed brownie mix, use 2 egg yolks to increase the fat content and make the brownies taste fudgier.
Don’t worry about wasting the leftover egg whites since there are several ways you can use them.
You can make egg white omelet, cheese soufflé, Swiss meringue, angel food cake, sugar cookies, royal icing, and Italian buttercream frosting. You can even freeze them for later use.
Substitute Water With Milk Or Heavy Cream
The secret to making fudgy brownies lies in increasing their fat content. For that reason, you may want to use milk or heavy cream in place of water for turning the powdery mix into a batter.
All water does is add moisture to the mix, whereas milk or heavy cream add flavor, depth, and richness to an otherwise plain batter.
Use Hot Brewed Coffee
Coffee and chocolate are a match made in heaven. Adding hot brewed coffee to the brownie mix helps it achieve that intense chocolate flavor, which is why you will find many chocolate cake recipes suggesting it.
You can swap plain water with some coffee to help intensify the flavor and make your brownies taste absolutely divine.
Alternatively, you may add 1-2 tsp of espresso powder or instant coffee to the mix which, in our opinion, is a better option since it allows you to use milk or heavy cream as the liquid for extra fat and richness.
Add Some Vanilla Extract
If there’s one thing that’s always missing from boxed brownie mixes, it’s vanilla extract.
You will notice that almost every brownie recipe made from scratch uses vanilla extract, which is reason enough for you to add it to your boxed mix.
It adds a warm, rich undertone to the recipe and enhances the flavor of the chocolate.
Just make sure to use only a few drops or you might risk it overpowering the chocolate flavor, making the brownies bitter, or even messing up the way they bake.
You may experiment with different kinds of extracts such as almond extract or coconut extract to add a nice, subtle flavor to your brownies.
Sprinkle Some Salt
Adding salt to your baked sweet goods balances out their sweetness and is a hack used by professional bakers all over the world.
Adding a bit of salt to your brownie mix will strike the right flavor balance and engage all your taste buds. You can even sprinkle some on top of the baked brownies.
Do Not Over-Mix The Batter
This is a useful tip that works for all baked goods including cakes, cookies, and brownies.
You may be tempted to overmix the batter to make sure all the ingredients are properly incorporated, but you must resist the urge right away.
Overmixing your boxed brownie batter will make dense brownies instead of moist and fudgy ones. The reason for this is that as you mix the brownie batter, air mixes into it, and gluten in the flour starts to develop.
Mixing the batter just until the ingredients are combined will aerate the mixture and develop the gluten as minimally as possible, resulting in perfectly gooey and fudgy brownies.
The best way to know when to stop mixing is to see when the dry mixture disappears. As soon as it does, stop mixing and transfer the batter into a baking pan and bake it right away.
Do Not Overbake
Boxed brownies are very easy to make and always come with detailed instructions on how to prepare and bake the batter, along with the exact cook times.
The secret to extremely fudgy brownies lies in not baking them for the complete intended period and checking them before the timer goes off.
This is because freshly baked brownies may appear underbaked when they come straight out of the oven but reach the perfect level of doneness as they are left to cool.
The best way to determine their doneness is to insert a toothpick into the brownie. For extremely moist, fudgy, and delicious brownies, the toothpick should come out moist with a few crumbs.
For a wonderfully crackly and crunchy top, drop the oven temperature and slightly increase the bake time by 5 minutes.
Ways To Customize Your Boxed Brownies
If you want to make your boxed brownies extra special, you can customize them using the following tips:
Add Chocolate Chips
Is there anything that chocolate chips can’t make better? We doubt it.
Adding chocolate chips to the boxed brownie mix before baking them is a very simple way to boost their flavor, because let’s be honest, who says no to extra chocolate?
A cup (or two) of chocolate chips mixed into the batter will create warm spots of melted chocolate in every bite and make your boxed brownies irresistible.
Top With Chocolate
In case you forgot to add the chocolate chips into the batter before baking, don’t worry because you can also sprinkle them on top of the warm brownies as soon as they come out of the oven.
Make sure to do this when the brownies are still hot so that the chocolate chips can melt easily.
Let them sit on top of the brownies for 1-2 minutes and then use a small offset spatula to spread them evenly on the surface of the brownies.
You can use your imagination and play around with different toppings according to your preference.
If you want to add a new flavor to the brownies, you can use chocolate, hazelnut, or peanut butter spreads.
You may also use a jar of frosting and spread it over the brownies once they have cooled down. Not only does this require minimal effort but it also makes your brownies look more put together.
If you are a fan of sprinkles, you may add your favorite-colored sprinkles to make the brownies look even cuter.
Mix In Dried Fruit And Nuts
You can give your brownies more substance by adding your choice of nuts such as walnuts, peanuts, hazelnuts, almonds, macadamia nuts, or any other nuts you have in your pantry.
For an even better result, roast and chop them into small pieces and mix them into the batter for extra crunch. You may even sprinkle some on top for a nice presentation.
In addition to that, you may also add dried fruit such as raisins, cranberries, or cherries into the mix.
Serve With Ice Cream
Freshly baked brownies served with ice cream is one of the best dessert combinations and a great way to enjoy this fudgy, gooey, delicious dessert.
Pair the brownie with your choice of ice cream (vanilla ice cream tastes divine with double/triple chocolate brownies), sprinkle some sea salt, and drizzle a bit of chocolate syrup or salted caramel on top. Yum!
Recipe For Making Boxed Brownies
A few tips and tricks, coupled with a handful of ingredients, can take your boxed brownies from tasting average to something you can be proud of.
Here are the ingredients required to make the best boxed brownies:
- 1 (one) 20-ounce boxed brownie mix of your choice
- 2 egg yolks
- ½ cup melted unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup milk or heavy cream
- 1 to 2 tsp espresso powder or instant coffee
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Salt, to taste
Here is what you need to do:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Line an 8×8 baking tray with parchment paper and spray it with some non-stick cooking spray.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the brownie mix, egg yolks, unsalted butter, milk, espresso powder, vanilla extract, and salt. Make sure to not overmix the batter.
- Pour the batter into the prepared baking tray and spread it evenly using a spatula.
- Bake for around 35-40 minutes, using a toothpick to check the center of the brownie.
- Take the brownies out of the oven and allow them to cool.
- Remove them from the pan using the parchment paper and slice and serve them.
Now that you know all the tips and tricks for making boxed brownies taste better, here are a few additional questions we thought you might have!
What is the best baking pan for making brownies?
Most professional bakers recommend using a metal pan for baking brownies since it helps achieve a consistent and chewy texture throughout and results in brownies that won’t fall apart.
This is because metal is a great heat conductor and heats up quickly and evenly. It also cools rapidly. Glass baking dishes, on the other hand, take longer to heat and retain heat for longer.
What is the best way to cut brownies?
Letting the brownies cool completely is the most important step for getting perfectly cut brownies. For best results, you may chill the brownies in the fridge for an hour prior to cutting them.
Use a long knife to cut the brownies, making sure to clean it with a damp towel between each cut. This is an important step, especially if your brownies are on the fudgier side.
How long do baked brownies last?
Baked brownies will last for 3-4 days at room temperature if stored in an airtight container. If kept in the refrigerator, they will last up to a week, and up to 3 months in the freezer.
Although you can freeze brownies for longer than 3 months, their taste and quality will begin to deteriorate.
How do you store brownies?
Brownies can be left at room temperature by either placing them in an airtight container or wrapping them tightly with aluminum foil or plastic wrap.
This will keep air and moisture away from the brownies, prevent them from going stale, and keep the contaminants out.
Although brownies don’t need to be refrigerated, storing them in an airtight container (like this one) in the fridge will prolong their life by a couple of days.
Unless the brownies have ingredients like fresh fruit or cream cheese frosting, they should stay alright at room temperature as long as they are kept in an airtight container.
How should you freeze baked brownies?
If you wish to freeze your baked brownies whole, wrap them tightly using aluminum foil and place the slab in an airtight container. Put it in the freezer where the brownies should last for up to 3 months.
To freeze sliced baked brownies, wrap each piece in individual foil and into an airtight container. Put it in the back of the freezer for up to 3 months.
When you want to use them, pull them out of the freezer and let them thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Microwave them for a few seconds for an extra fudgy texture.
What makes brownies crumble?
Nobody likes crumbly and dry brownies. They are supposed to be moist, gooey, fudgy, and filled with intense chocolaty flavor in every bite.
Some common mistakes that result in crumbly brownies include overbaking the brownies, underbaking them, and cutting them through before cooling.
To fix this issue, avoid underbaking or overbaking them, and always cut them only once they have completely cooled down.
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