Make boxed brownies better
with one simple swap.
How are you over there in your kitchen? The other night at around 11pm (way past my current bedtime) a startled Quentin popped his head out of his office to find me rummaging, rather loudly and frantically apparently, in our kitchen. When he asked what I was doing awake, the answer was simple: I needed a brownie. And not just a brownie, a brownie sundae. So needless to say, I’m dealing with some third trimester cravings in mine.
I managed to stave the craving off with a few mini peanut butter cups (the dark chocolate Trader Joe’s kind are the best and I won’t hear otherwise), but it returned with a vengeance the next day. So I dragged myself to my corner store for a box of brownie mix, some good vanilla ice cream, and the swap we’re going to cover in today’s Fresh Letter: a stick of butter to make browned butter.
For better boxed brownies, swap the recipe’s oil for some browned butter.
I’m a noted boxed brownie enthusiast, but have never made this particular swap before. And let me tell ya, I tasted a difference.
First, identify how much oil your particular box of brownies calls for. I almost always opt for the Ghirardelli Double Chocolate box, which calls for 1/3 cup.
Then, measure out an equivalent amount of butter. The sticks of butter I buy have handy tablespoon indicators on their wrappers, so I lop off 1/3 cup, or 5 and 1/3 tablespoons (a quick google can help you convert cups to tablespoons).
Brown your butter. Place the measured amount in a small pot on your stove over medium-low heat. Make this easier on yourself and use a light colored pot (i.e. not cast iron) so you can watch for browning indicators. Heat the butter, stirring often. It will melt, then a foam will form, then you will start to see the proteins in the butter sink to the bottom of the pan in flecks. Continue stirring very frequently at this point to prevent burning. These proteins will begin to brown after about 5 minutes and your kitchen will fill with a nutty aroma. I like mine a medium dark shade, so I watch for that then remove it from the stove, stirring for about a minute off the heat to prevent against burning.
Allow your browned butter to cool down but not solidify—I did this in the fridge for about 20 minutes.
Bake your brownies according to the instructions on the box, obviously omitting the oil and swapping it in for the browned butter.
In my brownie craving fervor, I was not diligent about taking photos at all! So here’s a stock photo of a brownie sundae. Needless to say, mine did not look this good, but thanks to my little swap, I kinda bet it tasted better!
And if you want more detailed instructions and visual indicators for browned butter, I found this write up particularly good.
Alright, we’ve covered it! Let me know if you would give this trick a try—or maybe you already have? Shoot me a note via email, in the comments section, or over on Instagram DMs.
Wishing you a well-fed week ahead.
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