Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Boxed Brownies in a pinch

I'm sure there have been plenty of times that you've passed by all of the boxed goods in the baking aisle and thought to yourself, can people really tell if I've made something from the box or from scratch? I think that if you're used to eating desserts from scratch you can tell sometimes - but in a time crunch, boxed brownies can definitely be a substitute. I did a test run tonight on one way to doctor up a box brownie mix to make it your own and make it a little more presentable than just the plain brownies. If I ever make box brownies, the least I do is add chopped walnuts, raisins, chocolate chips or peanut butter chips. I've read about adding butter and rum, espresso, peanut butter, crushed candy bars - you can be really creative here even if you don't have the time to make a batch from scratch. This time around I decided to test out a cheesecake brownie with this box of Betty Crocker Fudge Brownies. My dad knew immediately that it was a batch of box brownies, but my mother and I were pleasantly surprised with how good they turned out given they were from a box!

Raspberry Cheesecake Brownies
1 Box Betty Crocker Fudge Brownie Mix
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup oil
1/3 cup melted butter
2 eggs

1/2 cup cream cheese
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 egg white
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup red raspberry jam

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 13x9" glass pan.
2. In a large mixing bowl empty the brownie mix and add the water, oil, melted butter and eggs. The recipe on the back of the box will call for 2/3 cup oil, but I cut that amount in half and used butter instead. Mix all of these ingredients together until well blended and you can no longer see any dry mix in the bowl.
3. Put the cream cheese in a separate mixing bowl. Using a hand mixer, blend the cream cheese until creamy and then add the egg white, blend again. Next, add the vanilla and sugar. Mix with the hand mixer one last time until all of the ingredients are well blended, creamy and no longer lumpy.
4. Next it's time to put the brownies together in the pan. First, empty the chocolate brownie mix completely into the pan. Don't worry about it being evenly spread out because you still have to add the cream cheese mixture and raspberry jam. Add dollops of the cream cheese mixture directly over the chocolate mix, as seen at right, and then do the same in the empty spaces with the raspberry jam.
5. Next comes the swirling step. You can use a spoon first to spread out the cream cheese and raspberry over the top. Then you'll take a butter knife and run it up and down the pan (as seen at left) - and then left and right, which will create the swirls you see here.
6. Bake at 350 degrees for 28-30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean!

Oh yeah - and just so you know I ate all of my dinner before dessert - we had chicken and mushrooms over marjoram polenta with brussel sprouts! There are some updates I want to try here so I won't have you try out this recipe until I've gotten it right myself! One thing I learned though - my parents, not fans of polenta, so next time I cook this it'll be for some other dinner guests!

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