How do you take brownies to the next level? BestReviews expert explains how to dress up boxed brownies with everyday ingredients

By Sian Babish | BestReviews Staff

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Boxed brownies are easy to make, but sometimes dessert lovers want more of these popular treats. It’s not always practical to bake a homemade batch with fancy ingredients, which leaves many people wondering how to take basic brownies to the next level.

BestReviews baking expert Andrea Boudewijn joins Gary Gelfand and Scott Moak of “Studio40 Live” to explain how easy it is to dress up boxed brownies with everyday, affordable ingredients.

Boudewijn presents walnuts and pecans as simple ingredients that add crunch to the soft, gooey texture of the brownie. She says bakers can “get fancy” and toast nuts to bring out their flavors, or they can add plain chopped nuts to the mix. However, before serving nut brownies to guests, she recommends making sure no one has a nut allergy.

Although most canned brownies call for vegetable oil, Boudewijn says bakers should consider coconut oil instead. She says it’s easy to “get a little coconut-chocolate action” and compares the new flavor to Almond Joy and Mounds candy bars.

While coconut oil is a subtle choice, Boudewijn says a few tablespoons of instant coffee or espresso powder packs a bold kick with memorable flavor. “It’s one meal,” she explains. “You have your coffee, you have your brownie and you’re out.” Boudewijn also says bakers shouldn’t just add the instant powder to brownie batter. Instead, it’s best to stir it first and then add the liquid mixture to the batter for best results.

Another way to add flavor – and color – to brownies is to use peanut butter. Boudewijn mix it with olive oil to thin the consistency before swirling it onto a ready-to-cook batch. “It’s kind of a Reese thing going on,” she said. Peanut butter drops can also be dragged through the top layer with a knife, giving them a gourmet-inspired marbled look.

Boudewijn’s next recommendation is a bakery and pantry staple: French fries. She says, “All are welcome here,” noting that chocolate, white chocolate and even butterscotch chips can all be added to brownie batter or sprinkled on a freshly baked batch.

Boudewijn ends the segment with a crucial cooking tip. When asked how long it takes to bake brownies, Boudewijn stresses the importance of following directions for the best results. “Whatever your recipe says. If you scratch, follow this. If you are making a box, follow that.

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Sian Babish written for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their buying decisions, saving them time and money.

This segment is paid for by BestReviews and is intended as an advertisement. The views expressed by guests on this program are solely those of the guests and are not endorsed by this television channel.

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