A few weeks ago, I hit upon what I thought was the ultimate in brownie recipes, a mint-chocolate layered bit of deliciousness that, I kid you not, made people gaze heavenward in bliss. Seriously. Or maybe they were just looking around for more. If you missed it, go here: hsblinks.com/2k3.
So I was feeling pretty smug in my chocolate superiority, until into the newsroom walked Wilma Jandoc, one of our copy editors, bearing another pan of brownies.
Way more than the typical fudgy treat, these brownies had peanut butter, vanilla frosting, chocolate chips and a crispy topping made of Rice Krispies. This may sound like overkill, but these were great — chewy and crunchy at the same time, full of all the right flavors.
Immediately several people asked, "Are you going to write about this in your column?" and I said, "Well, somebody has to request it," whereupon several hands went up. I count that as an official request, albeit collective and not quite unsolicited. And out of it you get a really good recipe, justifying the artificial conceit.
Turns out Wilma’s Brownie Goody Bars were developed by Betty Crocker, and begin with one of her packaged brownie mixes (Crocker’s, not Wilma’s).
This led me on a quest for other things that can be done with packaged mixes. Some ideas:
» Pour batter into an unbaked 9-inch pie shell and bake to make a brownie pie.
» Add 3/4 teaspoon ground chipotle chili and 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon to the batter for a Mexican-ish version.
» Add 1 to 2 tablespoons espresso or very strong coffee.
» Chop up Mounds bars, Peppermint Patties or Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and mix them into the batter. Or even simpler, sprinkle the top with M&Ms before baking.
» Add 1 cup quick oats and 1 cup chocolate chips, then drop the batter by spoonfuls to make brownie cookies.
» Swirl softened cream cheese into the batter just before baking; try a strawberry-flavored cream cheese if you like your brownies fruity.
» Fold a cup of mashed banana into the batter.
» Stir sliced almonds and chopped dried fruit into batter for a quick chocolate fruitcake.
BROWNIE GOODY BARS
1 box brownie mix
Water, vegetable oil and eggs called for on brownie mix box
1 cup prepared vanilla frosting
1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
3 cups crisp rice cereal
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottom of 13-by-9-inch pan.
Prepare and bake brownies as directed on box. Cool completely.
Frost brownies with frosting; refrigerate while making topping.
Melt peanut butter and chocolate chips over low heat on stovetop, stirring constantly. Place cereal in large bowl; pour chocolate mixture over cereal, stirring until evenly coated. Spread over frosted brownies. Cool completely before cutting, about 1 hour. Makes about 24 bars.
Nutritional information unavailable.
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