Take a pan of brownies made from scratch or a mix of brownies purchased from a bakery, and turn them into rich, decadent desserts that go beyond the basic baked chocolate bar. Depending on time and available ingredients, start with a simple brownie recipe, or make one from a mix. If you buy brownies, buy plain unfrosted brownies for the best results.
Brownies are always great for entertaining, easily feeding a crowd, and fly off the table at a bake sale, but these simply spectacular desserts will take unfrosted brownies to the next level. Chocolatey, moist, sweet: brownies are a gourmet dessert that everyone loves just about every time! Want to take your homemade brownies to the “next level”? Here are 6 ways to turn your chocolate square recipe into a really dirty dessert!
1. Play with texture
Do you prefer a dense, airy, or fudgy brownie? Using the same base (flour, sugar, butter, and cocoa), you can play with the proportions to get the brownie of your dreams. Use our classic brownie recipe and omit the baking powder to create a more fudge-like texture. The baking powder, combined with the flour, creates a more cake-like brownie. Adding chocolate chips or chopped chocolate to your mixture before baking will give you a real chocolate party in your mouth!
2. Layer flavors
The chocolate-coffee combination is always a winner! You can combine several ingredients that work well with chocolate in a classic brownie recipe to create a very interesting mix of flavors. For example, mix up the sweet and sour by incorporating peanut butter, almond butter, roasted soybeans, or mixing a light layer of cream cheese in the middle. To do this, pour only half of your mixture into the pan. Using a teaspoon, drop small dollops of room temperature cream cheese on top of the mixture.
Pour the remaining cream cheese into the pan and bake according to the recipe. You’ll have a soft, cheesy center! You can also place a layer of thawed and drained frozen raspberries in the center of the mixture before baking or on top for a colorful effect. And what about the banana-chocolate mixture… Slices of banana spread on top of the mixture before baking make an irresistible dessert!
3. Add some crunch
The trick to getting crunchy nuts in a cake? Toast them before adding them to the mixture! Traditionally, walnuts are added to the mixture. You can vary by using pecans (even better: caramelized pecans!) or macadamia nuts. Once the brownie is out of the oven, sprinkle slivered almonds, chopped sweet roasted pistachios, or coarsely chopped dried strawberries on top for an extra crunchy touch.
4. Top them with a homemade sauce
Now that’s the ultimate in decadent dessert: adding sugar to sugar! When you want to indulge, you can serve your cakey brownies with:
- Chocolate ganache
- Caramel spread
- Caramel whipped cream (a lighter choice!)
- Chocolate syrup
- Dulce de leche
- Strawberry coulis
5. Frost and top It!
Icing brownies with unusual double or even triple ice cubes is one of the easiest ways to turn your treats into a special dessert. Cream cheese frosted brownies are a great way to elevate simple brownies with an unexpected finish. These showcase the delicious contrast of the slightly tart frosting with the sweetness of the brownies. Mix and match frostings to create your masterpiece.
Candy brownies are a great way to use leftover Halloween candy and can be fun to make with kids. Brownie toppings can range from a thick, rich layer of fudge to a mousse, pudding, crunchy nut mix, candy mix, or meringue. Use your imagination – if there’s a topping you like, it probably tastes excellent on a brownie!
6. Serve them in a unique way
It’s hard to resist our adorable mini brownies! But if you don’t have the time to bake real brownies, you can still sweeten the pot with two of our chocolatey express recipes: 3-ingredient brownie bites and brownie mug cake with a melty center. Cut brownies into squares and skewer them, adding everything from marshmallows to fruit to pound cake to angel food cake for a delicious dessert that’s as fun to make as it is to eat.
Brownie skewers are a great way to enhance pre-made brownie bites. They are very portable and are a fun and different way to enjoy dessert. For the ultimate decadence, serve brownie skewers with chocolate or caramel sauce for dipping, or drizzle with melted chocolate to finish.
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