The Rest

Tips for Transforming Boxed Brownies into a Special Dessert

May 28, 2008

Last week my daughter and I had to attend a dance team dessert party on a busy weeknight. Needing something quick, but yummy, to take with us, I fell back on a dessert I make often: brownies.

Our family loves brownies and I often pick up sale-priced mixes to have on hand when we want something sweet. But boxed brownies can also be an option when you need a dessert to serve to party guests. Here are several things I do to turn boxed brownies into a dessert worthy of party guests.

  1. Use directions for cake-like brownies. Most boxed mixes include directions for fudge-like brownies, or cake-like brownies. Cake-like directions usually include an extra egg. While there’s nothing better than a fudgy brownie, cake-like brownies will cut more cleanly, which is a plus for parties.
  2. Use a smaller pan. While you might be tempted to use a 9×13 to get more brownies for your buck, resist the urge. Using a smaller pan size will result in thicker brownies that you can really sink your teeth into. Use two mixes and bake two batches if you must to get the number you need. It’s worth it! Most boxed mixes will give baking times for different sized pans.
  3. Decorate with powdered sugar. This part is easy and actually kind of fun. Place some powdered sugar in a collender or sifter, and sprinkle it over the brownies. You’ll love how pretty this will make them look. I usually do this while they’re still in the pan, but you could do it after the next step too.
  4. Transfer to a pretty plate. They say that presentation is everything. When we’re making brownies for home, we eat them right out of the pan, but when I’m taking brownies to a party or serving them to guests at home, I transfer them to a pretty plate or platter. Using the cake-like directions listed above will make this step easier. And if the edges of your brownie have become too firm, cut a thin strip along the edge of the brownies to cut the edges off. In addition to making your brownies prettier, the edges make a good snack for your family!
  5. Garnish. This step is optional because we’re trying to simplify your life, not complicate it. But if you have something that would work well as a garnish, add that to the plate too. My favorite is strawberries. They’re colorful, healthy, and taste great with the powdered sugar.

So, that’s it. Brownies are fast, simple, and a guaranteed crowd pleaser. Plus the mixes are easy to find on sale and keep in your pantry.

This post was submitted to Works for Me Wednesday at Rocks in My Dryer. Be sure to visit for lots of other great tips and ideas.

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  1. I have some in my pantry right now. I’ve never tried baking them using the cake-like directions. I think I will next time. Thanks for the tip.

  2. Let me know what you think, Amy. I actually prefer the fudgy version, but if I’m going to be taking them out of a pan and displaying them on a pretty plate, the cake-like directions definitely work better!

    Thanks for the comment!

  3. Nothin’ says lovin’ like a good brownie! My favorite way to present brownies is to cut them into squares and then nestle them in cupcake liners. Ooh… pretty.

  4. I have a little brownie tip. I actually use a plastic knife to cut them and it makes the smoothest cuts of all. They always look perfect if they are cut with the plastic knife and you have less crumbles.

    I will definitely have to try the cakey version! Thanks for the idea!

  5. This isn’t a quick version, but simply YUMMY (and diabetic-coma inducing)–

    Prepare 1 family size mix per package directions and put in 9 x 13 casserole dish. Add approximately 3 Hershey’s Symphony bars to top (with or without nuts…your choice). Add ANOTHER family size mix (prepared) to the top. Bake for whatever the package says for a LONG time (usually 45 minutes). Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Cool and serve (can be slightly warm).

    Simply divine. And I challange you to eat more than one at a time!

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