Can brownies from a prepackaged mix be wine & dine dinner party worthy?
Yes! You can bake gourmet quality brownies from a mix without adding any extra time to the preparation when you follow these tips for our Amped-Up Brownies. We found an organic brownie mix that elicits rave reviews every time we take a batch to a dinner party, but these tips will work with any mix.
1. Substitute equal portions of melted butter (or ghee) and coconut oil for the vegetable oil.
This is the change that will make the biggest impact on taste and texture! Example: If the mix calls for 1/2 cup oil or butter, then cut 4 tablespoons of butter, place in a glass measuring cup and melt in the microwave on low power. Cover the measuring cup with a sheet of wax paper to prevent butter from popping and splattering while heating. When butter is melted, you can then spoon or pour coconut oil into the cup until the liquid level reaches 1/2 cup. (If coconut oil is solid, allow the coconut oil to melt either by letting it rest at room temperature in the warm butter or return the cup to the microwave and heat on low for a few additional seconds. Again, cover the cup with a sheet of wax paper to prevent splatters.)
2. Add one additional egg yolk for more cake-like brownies.
Remember: Don’t add eggs directly to hot liquids as this will cause scrambled eggs. Instead, temper the eggs by adding a little warm liquid at a time to the eggs and beating after each addition before adding to the dry mix.
3. For each 8×8 pan of brownies, add 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon to the dry mix.
Cinnamon with chocolate is must for Mexican hot cocoa, so why not with brownies? This will add a note that compliments the chocolate flavor without overwhelming it. We do not recommend swapping out chipotle for cinnamon, but you could add a touch (1/4 teaspoon) of chipotle or Aleppo pepper for a bit of heat.
4. Other additions
Additions such as chocolate chips, cacao nibs or chopped nuts can be made as per package directions. Whisk the additions into the dry mix to distribute. This step will also help prevent the chips, nibs or nuts from sinking to the bottom during baking.
4. Use milk or red wine instead of water.
Again, this is another flavor opportunity adding either richness or other flavor notes.
Mix all ingredients together and bake per package directions. Serve with premium vanilla ice cream or whipped cream and fresh strawberries or raspberries. Another fruit topping option is Fresh Raspberry Sauce.
Fresh Raspberry Sauce
- 1 6-ounce package fresh Raspberries
- 1/2 cup granulated Sugar (cane, organic or non-GMO)
- 1/4 cup Water
- 1 cup (12 ounces) seedless Raspberry Jam*
- 1 tablespoon Brandy, Cognac or Armagnac
*Note: Look for jams and preserves that list fruit as the first ingredient. Don’t fret if you can’t find seedless, you’ll just need to strain the puree through a sieve after processing.
Place the package of raspberries, the granulated sugar, and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 4 minutes. Pour the cooked raspberries, the jam and brandy into the bowl of a food processor or blender and process until smooth. (Strain through a sieve if you need to remove the seeds.) Chill.
Wine Pairing Guide
Want to know more about how to select the best bottle for your budget? You can find a great bottle at any price range if you know how to determine quality vs. price. Learn more in our primer Selecting the Best Wine for Your Budget.