My 1-Ingredient Upgrade for Boxed Brownies

The hot take you’d never expect from me? Boxed brownies are better than homemade ones.

Normally, my food snob side prevents me from admitting that anything from a box is superior to scratch-made, but consider this my slice of humble (brownie) pie. Maybe it’s my old age. Maybe it’s the unmanageable cost of groceries these days. Or maybe it’s the fact that my kids almost always prefer something out of a box to homemade.

Whatever the reason, I always keep a stash of boxed brownie mix in my pantry. I buy Ghirardelli Triple Chocolate Premium Brownie Mix from Costco ($16.99 for six boxes) because I can never be too prepared for an emergency bake sale for my kids.

I think of boxed brownie mixes as a blank canvas. I’ve experimented with them by swirling in peanut butter, Nutella, leftover holiday candy, crushed Oreos, and more. I use it to make the base of ice cream sandwiches in the summer, it can be transformed into cookies and you can dress up a box of brownie mix several different ways to make them your own. 

Recently, I’ve been tinkering with my grandmother’s old-school sour cream coffee cake, so I had ample (I’m talking a Costco-sized tub) sour cream on hand. After witnessing how perfect the texture of sour cream cake can be, I had to know if it would have the same impact on brownies. Spoiler alert: As the kids say these days, “it slaps” and I’ll be adding sour cream to my boxed brownie mixes going forward.

The sour cream gives the brownies a fudgy texture without making you feel like you are eating raw brownies. Sometimes extra fudgy brownies can be a little off-putting, cloyingly sweet, and far too rich for my taste. The sour cream enhances the overall texture of the brownies while keeping them moist and fudgy in a very appealing way. It also balances out the sweetness that is present in all brownies, whether from scratch or a box.

Simply Recipes / Getty Images 

How To Add Sour Cream to Your Boxed Brownie Mix

Simply whisk 1/4 cup of full-fat sour cream in with the wet ingredients, then bake per the directions on the box. The addition of sour cream will not impact your baking time at all, and as always, you want to air on the side of the underbaked when it comes to brownies. They will firm up even more while they cool in the pan.

Give this trick a try the next time you make a batch of boxed brownies. After all, when you add extra ingredients, they are officially homemade. Your secret is safe with me.

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Cee Gei
Author: Cee Gei

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