10 Ways to Revolutionize Your Brownie Intake — Comfort Food Feast

Make your next batch of brownies even better with add-ins, swirls and genius baking techniques.
WU0203H_knock-you-naked-brownies

WU0203H_knock-you-naked-brownies

A pan of freshly baked brownies can do a lot of things. It can round out a bake sale, satiate a soccer team or finish off a dinner party just right. It can ease a breakup, make a movie night complete or work as the base for a crazy-good ice cream sundae. But, in the end, a good brownie doesn't need anything to be the best dessert ever; it can shine without a glass of milk whether it's cut from the corner or the gooey center of the pan. In the spirit of brownie obsession, run down the line of the top 10 ways you can make your next batch disappear from the pan.

1. Go for store-bought cake mix — and then go absolutely crazy.

Ree Drummond's Knock-You-Naked Brownies (pictured above) may start with a box of German chocolate cake mix, but you DIY-or-bust folks would be silly to let that stop you. With evaporated milk and caramel candies, Ree makes a decadent caramel sauce to drizzle over her first layer of batter, which she also tops with chocolate chips.

2. Add a shot of espresso powder.

Instead of knocking back your next dose of caffeine, bake it into a batch of Giada De Laurentiis' Espresso Brownies. With finely ground espresso powder whisked into the batter, these intense brownies become a big-kid win when topped with a luxurious vanilla-espresso glaze.

3. Swap the brownie pan for a skillet.

To achieve the gooiest brownies ever, Ina Garten mixes just a quarter cup of flour (yup, you read that right) into her Skillet Brownies. Since you don't need to cut these brownies into squares, there's no reason to wait for them to completely cool. That means they're ready to eat right away, hot and gooey out of the skillet.

chocolate_smores

chocolate_smores

Food Network's S'more Brownies

Photo by: Tara Donne ©2012, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Tara Donne, 2012, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

4. Do up your brownies like you're camping.

You don't have to build a fire to indulge in Food Network Kitchen's S'more Brownies. With a graham cracker crumb base, brownie middle and marshmallow topping, these brownies get their gooey, toasted disposition with a little help from your broiler.

5. Load up your brownie batter with nuts.

There are a lot of elements that make Ina's  Outrageous Brownies, well, "outrageous." Ina enhances the chocolatey flavor by adding instant coffee granules to the batter, and she mixes in a ton of walnuts and chocolate chips for texture. In the middle of baking, do like the Barefoot Contessa and whack the baking sheet against the oven shelf to release all of the air.

FNM_2012_Ina_Garten_Oct 36762.tif

FNM_2012_Ina_Garten_Oct 36762.tif

Food Stylist: Cyd Raftus McDowell Prop Stylist: Barb Fritz

Photo by: Steve Giralt

Steve Giralt

6. Drizzle your brownies with salted caramel without breaking a sweat.

With just a few store-bought additions, it's easy to punch up a batch of brownies. Ina's  Salted Caramel Brownies for Food Network Magazine become extra special with the incorporation of good bottled caramel sauce and a sprinkling of flaky Maldon sea salt.

7. Nix classic squares and make cookies.

Drop spoonfuls of brownie batter onto a baking sheet for Trisha Yearwood's Brownie Batter Cookies. That way, each morsel will be nice and crispy on the edges, but moist and decadent on the inside.

FN_Peanut_Swirl_Brownies

FN_Peanut_Swirl_Brownies

Peanut swirl brownies on a cooling rack.

Photo by: Marshall Troy ©2012,Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Marshall Troy, 2012,Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

8. Give your brownies a peanut swirl.

Just grab a jar of smooth peanut butter to amplify this classic chocolatey treat. Ina's Peanut Swirl Brownies balance the creamy nuttiness with the intensity of chocolate.

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IMG_2204.TIF

9. Add a little spice.

With a little Mexican cinnamon and chili powder, Aarón Sánchez's Mexican Brownies for Food Network Magazine achieve a warming background of heat that will entice all of the spicy food fiends.

10. When all else fails, choose pudding.

When you cross the densely chocolatey qualities of brownies with the creaminess of pudding, you get Ina's  Brownie Pudding. Serve it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and you won't miss the squares.

Get more brownie recipes from friends and family:
Dishing with Divya:  Beetroot Brownies

Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Brownies with Condensed Milk

Food for 7 Stages of Life:  Easy Eggless Brownies Recipe

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