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Pro Chefs Improve Boxed Brownies (8 Methods) | Test Kitchen Talks @ Home | Bon Appétit

i'm going to show you my favorite way to judge up a box brownie mix there have been extensive conversations about how to spell zhuzh i think zhu is spelled with an umlaut that doesn't look right is it z-h-u-z-h i don't know point is it's a word i like to say it [Music] today we were put upon a challenge and i have been sent a box of brownie mix my task is to uh a little bit did i say it right but we're using what we have in our homes i'm home but i'm not at home what's happening love brownies like top five favorite dessert i was a girl scout i was a brownie i want to be a brownie person i think it's a really good product to begin with and i think we're going to make it even better please come with me on the journey yay down down just go eat your breakfast that i made for you lovingly all right cool it's 9 23.

hey buddy good morning we're filming you want to say hi today i'm going to take this boxed brownie mix make it as is and just add a tahini swirl to it nothing fancy i'm not trying to fry something not trying to like rewrite the rules okay like it's friday morning got a cranky child right over there that's just where we're at so tahini swirl on the brownie get it in the oven done place water oil and egg in a medium bowl olive oil and chocolate really work together like i've done an olive oil and chocolate cake in the past and oil-based cakes obviously come out exceedingly moist boom one-handed how you like me now huh sorry there's like actually a tiny bit of shell in there all right so we're gonna mix this alec don't be that guy brownie mix is going in the whole thing wasteful it's wasteful you're not going to be singing that too and when these are done ally you kicked over the camera dude brownies have you know usually so much fat in them um that you don't really have to worry about you know anything kind of sticking per se but it just means that you can kind of pop the the whole you know kind of tray of brownies out of the pan so the key is you really want the parchment to actually stick to the glass so it's not sliding around yeah i thought about getting a little fancy and complicated with this but um just don't quite have it in me today now for the tahini swirl so i'm taking let's call that like a generous two tablespoons of tahini maybe even three i don't know about an equal part maple syrup good pinch of salt i just want to make sure i work this together and get it kind of nice and smooth there was a few lumps in that tahini plop boom see what i'm saying that's kind of the consistency like about the consistency of loose peanut butter so flying in with our tahini swirl situation all right so we've got our five dollops and now it's all in the swirl just moving the mixture around you know kind of repeatedly it's what's going to get you a great swirl i'm going to hit this with additional salt because why not we're just going to throw it into the oven um i think it's like 40 minutes or so parchment boom just pop it right out no more digging out that first piece and like watching it get ruined you know then eating it like a savage yourself before you tell your family that the rest of them are ready right check that out what is there not to like about that you could do like peanut butter swirl with maple syrup you could do like anything hey guys you want to try brownie the first thing we need to do to improve on a box of brownie is of course get out some ice cream the funnest part of my job when i was the general manager at shake shack was coming up with new frozen custard flavors because we had a flavor of the day every day and the first thing i thought of with brownie batter was like i want to make up a ice cream flavor with brownie ripple it calls for one egg and i kept that the same and it calls for a quarter cup of water third of a cup of liquid coconut oil okay i'm gonna put all of the mix in except for i'm gonna hold back a tiny bit to use as a little secret surprise so that's the batter everybody in the house is very excited about this because i had to do a practice but i wouldn't let anybody eat the practice so um a lot of anticipation coffee ice cream you could use vanilla i just didn't want to use something that had already like chunks or pieces in it this is a little hard i really do think i broke the spatula if you go too far it'll be like too liquid so the consistency i would say that you're going for as creamy but not liquefied so that's kind of that cake batter consistency it's perfect for folding hi what are you doing getting an instrument can you show the instrument to them cosmo has music class and they all had to like make an instrument and i'm sure some kids actually like made an instrument that kid walked into the kitchen and grabbed a jar of popcorn and was like this is fine so blobs of brownie batter into the bowl all right so the other thing i had warming up on the griddle is the peanut butter and that's just to get it so it is a little less blobby and a little more portable this is another trick left over from my shake shack days blob here and a blob there now i'm folding you can see the ice cream is much more melted so now i don't want to mess with it too much i have a big jar ooh that's really liquefied it's going to be fine it's going to refreeze all right this mixture is going into the freezer so i'm actually going to cook off the rest of the brownie batter instead of using the 8×8 that it calls for it's not as much so i have a loaf pan what a gal that pam i already preheated my toaster oven to 325.

oh did it turn off you bastard do you guys want to see what the brownies look like so it made this like little plank of brownie this is kind of the perfect piece i mean it's got good corner action but also almost to the center freaking out i'm gonna get the ice cream that i made yesterday out this is a co2 charger thingamajobber so by putting whipped cream into it or whipping cream and charging it it's going to turn it into like what you would get out of a ready whip can and remember that little bit of brownie mix that i held back so i sifted that through a fine mesh strainer just to get any lumps out i actually don't know if this is gonna work it's very exciting though all right so you put the top on the little bopper topper on cool see get some carpal tunnel can you see all those brownie chunks and peanut butter chunks in there oh no no i actually really love maraschino cherries oh yeah mmm the coffee ice cream was a really good choice very delicious i would say that i really got my money's worth out of that box brownies extra mile always worth it yum today i'm going to transform brownies into churros the great thing i feel like with all box mix brownies is that you can't mess it up even if you kind of eyeball the ingredients mix it in correctly and bake it at the wrong temperature it'll still be good so initially i wanted to try and turn the brownies into licorice and i did try that but it had like a weird gummy gross kind of texture so i decided to go with churros so i'm only going to make a half box worth so nine ounces of this brownie mix is going in three ounces of bread flour boom nailed it a teaspoon of baking powder get it nice and fluffy brownie isn't something that's meant to be fluffy so it doesn't have a ton of leavening in it a big pinch of salt i'm doing a shallow fry just because you know i'm at home and i'm not making that many donuts so it's not a big deal so with the shallow fry it's kind of hard to get the temperature with a thermometer so you just got to put in like a tester immediately when it hits the oil you want to get lots of bubbles so one large egg and three tablespoons of water and i'm just gonna mix it up i didn't even like pre pre-beat my egg because i don't know what they do to this stuff but you can just throw things in there and mix it up and it comes out fine somehow like magic when i was like between the ages of three and five i was really obsessed with birthdays i made a betty crocker cake mix every day decorated it and sang happy birthday for myself for like a period of time i did that like every day so there's a lot of pictures of me blowing out candles i don't know why my parents allowed it now i'm gonna make a little um spice sugar that i'm gonna roll the churros in these are vanilla beans in here it gives it so much vanilla aroma this is really good cinnamon from burlap and barrel i'm also going to add a little bit of cocoa this is chili powder i made myself this is going to give me my mexican hot chocolate fudge so my oil is hot i'm going to mix this up i'm out of piping bags and this is also the only ziploc bag we have so i'm gonna use a nice big star tip and hope this doesn't leak it might it probably will i'm gonna stand it up in a glass so then i can just like pile my brownie batter in there oh no the tip okay man we just got to get through a few brownies together you know what hold on [Music] uh oh oh oh come on come on little churro no it's not it's not piping okay if this happens to you that's cool it's still gonna be super tasty we're just not gonna get that like nice long shape but i'm just i got two spoons and i'm just pooping in there yes little poops okay i'm gonna continue with my donuts they're donuts now this mix has chocolate chips too so what's great is you get these little molten pockets of melted chocolate in there too a little donut hole i'm gonna go right into this um spice sugar toss it around nicely coated it smells very cinnamony and chocolatey in here huh i have more i'll make another tower we'll have two towers of donuts his and her donut towers so romantic we've never made poop look so romantic before delightful you got the fluffy fluffy inside melty chocolate chips and it tastes like a brownie and that sugary outside coating so tasty huh there are two things that uh there are three things uh no four the first one is that guaranteed no matter what box mix you're using there uh will not be enough salt so we're going to add a little bit of salt to the dry mix brown butter which i've already made i'm gonna make a wet caramel let it harden and then break it up into shards instead of going with a normal rectangular or square pan i'm going to go with a fluted tart pan yes it's a circle circles don't have corners but it does have all these tiny little ridges around the pan that i'm going to hope will act like mini corners so that everyone gets to eat like five or six corners this is what we call a wet caramel instead of just caramelizing sugar there's a little bit of water added to it so i'm just gonna add my sugar it's three quarters of a cup two tablespoons of water we are not going to stir it this is crucially important because agitating the caramel as it cooks is going to cause it to kind of seize up and become grainy instead of smooth and glassy so this recipe actually comes from these incredible blondies that are made by claire patek who made harry and megan's wedding cake guys i'm kind of worried i fucked this up pour out your caramel drag the caramel out into a thin layer on the parchment sheet as it cools up it's going to turn into this really hard glass-like material now that my caramel is cooling i'm going to go back and make the actual brownie batter besides the brown butter that i had mentioned i'm not actually doing anything differently from what the box instructions tell me to do i'm gonna do an egg a quarter of a cup of water and instead of the vegetable oil that it calls for i'm going to add an equivalent amount of brown butter which is a third of a cup okay so i'm going to add all my brownie mix and stir until well blended it's very thick which is great i had one reservation about using this tart pan this pan has this removable bottom i'm a little bit concerned that the batter might leak out of the bottom so i'm going to smooth the batter all over this is hardened into a thin brittle layer on the parchment and so what i'm going to do is take a knife gently you know something like this on the larger end of what you're looking for i've measured out about a quarter cup of caramel shards they'll melt again obviously because they're sugar and also add a layer of flaky salt look at how pretty that looks and put this in a 325 degree oven my brownie tart is out of the oven the shards have done exactly what i hoped they would do which is melt and sink into the batter the rest of the top has a really beautiful glossy sheen and like a crackly shell it had the tiniest leak turned into almost like brittle pieces these are definitely like the cook's treat of this method of brownie making because it's a tart and i would normally serve a tart in wedges why not serve a brownie in wedges this is very good if i needed a last minute dessert idea and i had caramel shards and hypothetically just had brown butter lying around this is exactly what i would make so my approach today is to just like intensify the flavor and balance out the sweetness rather than change it completely and add a bunch of stuff i think where box brownie mixes really excel is in achieving a really chewy texture these are fancy brownies i have a block of bittersweet chocolate here and that bittersweet chocolate i think should help balance out a lot of sweetness this is an 8×8 pan just to prevent any sticking i'm brushing it with a little melted butter so i'm going to chop this chocolate i like the texture of chopped chocolate a lot of the chocolate is just going to melt into the brownie and then some of it those larger pieces will stay like little gooey pockets maybe that's enough maybe i won't do the whole thing so the mix calls for a third of a cup of vegetable oil instead of vegetable oil i am using brown butter as the fat it really contributes like a butterscotchy flavor caramel flavor which goes so well with chocolate into the bowl i'm going to add a splash of vanilla extract and then it calls for a quarter cup of water now rather than using water i'm using brewed coffee this has cooled quarter cup of coffee my one egg and now the mix goes in sorry into the bowl just all in one shot you just fold to incorporate so here's my brownie batter with brownie batter you know you're i'm looking for like a really glossy thick mixture if you don't have coffee for whatever reason you could try like instant coffee and just stir a teaspoon of coffee granules into some hot water it doesn't taste that good you guys this is an eight by eight pan a metal pan which i prefer for brownies because they they tend to bake more evenly that way the last component of my joj just regular old kosher salt i think probably every single person is doing salt on top i mean at this point it's like a little bit of a baking cliche but cliches exist for a reason it's ready to go in i baked the brownies i pulled them out after like 34 minutes so i under bake them even according to the package instructions they cooled and then i stuck them in the fridge because actually it's much easier to cut brownies when they're cold here they are you can lift the whole thing right out of the pan and don't tell my mom but this doesn't even need to be washed put in the clean dish pile you know the bottom is set and firm and the top is crackly but then you have that real bit of fudginess in there the coffee is adding bitterness to offset some of that sugar so it's just putting everything in better balance and enhancing the chocolate flavor i get a little bit of that like toasty brown butter flavor it's not really prominent it's just kind of mixing with everything really well i don't even get like a noticeable saltiness on top but again all these things are just correcting that flavor and not interfering with the chewiness because that's the best part of these brownies you should know that i don't like brownies because i don't like chocolate which means i don't like brownie mix except for betty crocker and this is not sponsored this is just me for whatever reason having a deep love for betty crocker box brownies and no other brownies and no other chocolate things in the world i don't understand it either today instead of baking them into brownies i'm going to turn them into a brownie biscott milkshake because the other thing that i have a deep nostalgic love for is bischoff cookie butter basically like peanut butter but it's just blitzed up cookies and it's the most delicious thing on the planet i honestly don't even know what is in here last time we made a box of brownies was definitely as a child i don't think i've made a box of brownies as an adult two big scoops of haagen-dazs finest vanilla ice cream [Music] and then i'm gonna powder do some of this powdered brownie mix it smells like um like hershey's hot chocolate packets it's exactly what it smells like i also do like those i guess i do kind of like chocolate i don't know it's confusing a little bit of milk to get things going and a big scoop of cookie butter i'm going to do a big pinch of salt because i want to balance it and make it kind of like a salty brownie biscott milkshake that sounds like a milkshake it's it's sort of like giving me like yoohoo vibes over here i try to um lure him into my videos and he hates it tell me that's not the single most delicious beverage you've ever consumed outside of an alcoholic one whoa it's delicious that's messed up yeah it's a good one wow that's delicious bye bye love you and that is how you doctor up a box of brownie mix in quarantine it doesn't look like much but it tastes like much i'm gonna show you right now how to make my brownie truffles that i created so basically you need a box of brownies that you already bake mine's still here you want to wait until it cools off cut around and take the edges and if you know me you know the edges of everything is my favorite part so here i got one piece right and then here is the magic trick so you're going to cut it in pieces just to take some out the edges are the harder part and then you're going to put them into a bowl you can eat this try to get as much as possible you have that is moist enough that you can like massage it and turn it into a ball or a truffle let's be a little more delicate don't say balls say truffles so i'm going to turn these truffles into some fun busy dessert i'm going to go with good old bourbon here so i'm going to put like two tablespoons the hard pieces i'm not getting rid of them i'm going to just put them together because those are gonna require more boost or more liquid uh so you can actually like uh make them softer you are going for this size or smaller i don't know this is like about inch and a quarter and then because they're kind of sticky you want to place them on a sheet tray lined with paper just roll your balls in whatever you want oh no we say we're not saying balls right roll your truffles in whatever you want so i'm going to put some cocoa powder here i don't want to waste it i'm rolling rolling rolling make sure that you shake the excess of it make them perfect i have this little strainer here and i shake them inside the strainer and then that's it chocolate truffle so i turn a box of mixed brownies into boozy chocolate truffles i like it because i'm all dark and this is dark when we got these uh the box brownies we weren't told that we were going to be doing this video so i was about to throw them away the box for brownie calls for let's see a quarter cup water third cup vegetable oil one egg i'm gonna forgo that and i'm just gonna go with five tablespoons unsalted softened butter there's already sugar in there but i'm still gonna add about let's say a third cup packed dark brown sugar i have a third cup greek yogurt it actually calls for one egg but i'm gonna add two it's gonna add more fat it's also gonna give a more cakey texture i'm gonna add a little bit of salt let's see [Applause] baking soda and baking powder i would almost prefer to use baking powder for this but i have not found baking powder in the last seven weeks so it's been a struggle and i'm also i'll admit i'm being a little bit lazy i should have combined the baking soda and the cake mix so they're evenly distributed i've been doing too many dishes this is three very very ripe bananas this must be like molly's nightmare because she hates chocolate chris is nightmare because he hates bananas okay i have a baking sheet for the brownies it says 325 for about 39 to 43 minutes weird range i have to say this is unsweetened coconut flakes we'll check after the 30 minute mark and then see where it's at but we're looking for it to be firm on top all right the brownie is done almost too sweet it wouldn't be offensive to most people but i think like i prefer things to be just sweet enough and this is definitely on the sweet sweet side it's a chocolate banana coconut bread that's what it is iced espresso right now because it's hot oh also i learned that judge is spelled z-h-o-o-s-h but that sounds that sounds like zeus so i disagree with that spelling.

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