Boxed Mix Brownies

Does a week of brownies sound good to you? I’m in a brownie mood and I’ve got a bunch of recipes to try out. Yesterday I posted the deliciously fudgy cocoa brownies. And now, to be enjoyed on Oscars night: boxed mix brownies. Cook’s Illustrated succeeded in recreating that famous boxed mix flavour from your Betty Crocker-filled childhood.

These boxed mix-inspired brownies have an all-natural, rich, deep chocolate flavour. They have a shiny crackly surface and a chewy texture that balances between cake-like and fudge-like. To avoid a greasy result, Cook’s Illustrated replaces some of the oil with egg yolks. The yolks’ emulsifiers prevent the fat from separating and leaking out while the brownies bake. To enhance the chocolate flavour, some of the butter is replaced by unsweetened chocolate since they have similar ratios of saturated to unsaturated fat. Chunks of bittersweet chocolate are folded into the batter to add pockets of melted chocolate to the brownies.

If you are using a glass baking dish, let the brownies cool in the dish for only 10 minutes. Remove the brownies from the dish at that time to avoid over-baking due to glass’s superior heat retention.


Bon appétit!

Recipe Source: Cook’s Illustrated

Yields 24 portions

1 ounce (1/3 cup) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso powder (optional) (I did not use any.)
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons boiling water
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped fine
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 eggs + 2 egg yolks
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
17 1/2 ounces (2 1/2 cups) sugar
8 3/4 ounces (1 3/4 cups) all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, cut into 1/2-inch pieces


1) Adjust the oven rack to the lowest position. Preheat the oven to 350F.
2) Butter a 13×9-inch baking pan and line it with parchment paper.
3) In a large bowl, whisk the cocoa powder, espresso powder (if using) and boiling water together until smooth.
4) Add the unsweetened chocolate, whisking until it melts.
5) Whisk in the oil and melted butter.
6) Add the eggs, egg yolks and vanilla, whisking until smooth.
7) Add the sugar, whisking until incorporated.
8) In a small bowl, whisk the flour and salt together.
9) Use a spatula to fold the flour mixture into the batter.
10) Fold in the bittersweet chocolate chunks.
11) Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Smooth out the surface.
12) Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out a few moist crumbs.
13) Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 1 1/2 hours.
14) Remove the brownies from the pan and let the brownies cool completely on a wire rack, about 1 hour.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.


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