One Recipe for Brownies, Five Fun (and Easy) Ways to Jazz Them Up
Brownies: Whether cakey or fudgy, milk or dark chocolate (or blondies), they're a treat even the pickiest of eaters can get behind. The next time you whip up a batch, think outside the box. Use your favorite brownie recipe (or try one of Food Network's) and check out these five ways to keep brownies the main event at the dessert table.
Chocolate Sandwich Cookie Brownie Cupcakes
• 12 to 18 chocolate sandwich cookies (I used double-stuffed cookies)
Prepare a cupcake pan with liners. Place one chocolate sandwich cookie into each cupcake liner. Pour about 1/4 cup brownie batter over each cookie. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes, or until a nice flaky crust forms on cupcake. Allow to cool. Prepare buttercream. When cupcakes have completely cooled, pipe buttercream on top and sprinkle with cookie crumbs.
Brownie Whoopie Pies
Unless you own a whoopie pie pan (which I do not), you will need to make a batter that is more sturdy and able to hold it's form. To do that I added 1 cup flour and 1/4 cup cocoa power to the existing recipe. This creates a more cake-like batter and eliminates the thin, flaky upper crust a good brownie recipe normally produces. The flavor, however, is still fabulous.
• 1 cup flour
• 1/4 cup cocoa powder
Using a medium ice cream scoop or an 1/8-cup measuring cup, scoop out batter onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Place brownie batter at least 2 inches apart, as the brownies will spread. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes at 350 degrees F, or until tops do not appear wet. It is best to undercook these rather than overcook, so keep a close eye starting at 7 minutes. Allow to cool. Prepare the buttercream. Either pipe out buttercream onto the centers of half the whoopie pies or use a knife to spread the frosting. Place brownie whoopie pie on top of frosting to assemble the sandwich.
• 1 cup buttercream, softened
• Sprinkles of choice
Prepare brownies in sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Make sure the parchment paper goes beyond the edges of the pan, as this will make for easy removal. Allow to cool. Lift brownies onto clean solid work surface. Using a pizza cutter or a long knife, cut the brownies in half widthwise. Now start to cut the sticks out, cutting the brownies into 2-inch sections. Heat the buttercream slightly so that it is very pliable and you are able to dip the brownie sticks into it. Once you have dipped a stick, immediately cover it in the sprinkles of your choice. Allow to cool for about 15 minutes before serving.
• 1 packaged pie crust (I used graham cracker)
• 2 cups whipped creamChocolate sauce for drizzling
Prepare brownie batter. Pour batter into premade pie crust and bake for 35 to 45 minutes at 350 degrees F, or until center is firm and an inserted toothpick is removed mostly clean. Allow to cool completely. Using a 1M or 2D tip, pipe out little clouds of whipped cream, then drizzle with chocolate sauce.
• 2 cups chopped strawberries
• 2 cups whipped cream
Prepare brownies in a 9-by-13-inch pan, bake according to directions and allow to cool. Invert pan onto a clean solid work surface and cut up brownies into 2-inch cubes. (You can go bigger or smaller depending on the size of your jar.) Get a clean quart-size Mason jar, and crop about 1/2 cup (or 4 cubes) of the brownie cubes into the jar. Cover in approximately 1/4 cup whipped cream. (I put my whipped cream in a pastry bag and piped it into the jar; this helps to keep it from getting the jar too messy.) Sprinkle 1/4 cup diced strawberries. Repeat for one more layer.