We stirred chocolate-flavor malt powder into both the brownie base and the lush, fluffy topper. For an extra-indulgent dessert, substitute your favorite homemade brownie recipe. Just be sure it bakes in a 13x9x2-inch pan.
Patrick Groth, owner-chef of Incredibly Delicious in Springfield, Illinois, says these ingredients should be mixed and placed in the oven as quickly as possible for best flavor. "We sell these at the local farmers market. They are really good with fresh whipped cream and berries," Patrick says.
Caramel in the bottom of the pan melds with the brownie, creating a dessert so rich and gooey that you need a spoon to serve it. Because cast iron holds heat, the brownie will still be warm when you go back for seconds.
Colleen Weeden, Midwest Living® Test Kitchen project supervisor, combines packaged sweets with homemade frosting for her easy dessert. "My family has no idea I'm using a box brownie mix when I cover the brownies with from-scratch chocolate frosting and sprinkle on candy or chopped candy bars," Colleen says.
Sandra Granseth, food consultant for Midwest Living®, turned a brownie mix into a grown-up dessert by stirring in cinnamon and coffee liqueur. A chocolate drizzle decorates the top. Or, top with white and dark chocolates.
In our picture, Sandra's Fudgy Coffee Brownies are shown with a candy-topped variation of Co's Candy-Bar Brownies (previous slide).
Want a quick box-mix makeover? Sprinkle chocolate and peanut butter pieces on a brownie mix while it's still hot from the oven. This technique helps the pieces stick to the cake but still retain their shape.
This brownie recipe comes from a reader in Peoria, Illinois. You can add chocolate frosting to the marbled top, if you like. A variation of these, called Zebra Brownies, uses a package of brownie mix and a package of white cake mix, along with cream cheese, for a marbled effect.
These Toffee Blondies are a popular variation on brownies. While they have a handful of semisweet chocolate pieces, most of the flavor comes from brown sugar, butter, chopped nuts and toffee pieces or butterscotch pieces. They make a nice gift from the kitchen, too; layer the ingredients in a glass or clear plastic container.
If you're looking for something other than the traditional chocolate brownie, honey and nut lovers might like our Honey Bear Brownies. Spicy Brownies have cinnamon, anise and a touch of cayenne pepper to live up to their spicy name.