I think sometimes packet mix desserts get a bit of a bad rap. There seems to be judgement attached when you bring some delicious baked goods to an event and admit they are out of a packet. But in saying that I have never seen anyone refuse to eat my packet brownies (that’s right Karen, I saw you take another 3 pieces after your little judgemental smirk at the mention of a packet). The truth is they save time, money, and they save the stress of measuring everything out. Not to mention they still require some skill to add the right amount of melted butter and eggs, and you still have to avoid burning them. So to my fellow packet bakers, excellent work, you are making some effort, which is more than we can say for Susan.
I live life outside of the box (pun intended) so I like to personalise the brownies a little more; I enjoy extra textures and flavours than the packet range offers. So I will share with you my favourite famous recipe of Triple Choc Surprise Brownies or the longer version. I have done a bit of trial and error with what I’ve added over the years, searching for the perfect mix of textures and flavours. I tried adding mini marshmallows and gummy bears, but they just melted away. They added stickiness to the mixture which wasn’t too bad but the effect of a sugar high followed swiftly by sugar crash I hadn’t felt since I was 5 years old and found the lolly stash at Grandma’s was not something I wanted to relive, but I may keep that recipe for any parents I don’t like when I want to ensure they have a sleepless night (mwahahahahaha).
What I love most about these brownies is the new surprise with every bite. You get the light crunch from the brownie peanut butter crust, the soft chocolaty fluffy filling, with the surprise crunch from the pretzel, the smooth texture of the chocolate duds, finished with the burst of fresh raspberry. It’s everything I want in a dessert. The raspberry also helps cut through the saltiness of the peanut butter and pretzel, and all three ingredients help keep the sweetness to an acceptable level. I have tried frozen raspberries in this mix, although I defrosted them before using them and patted them with a paper towel to absorb excess water, they still caused the mixture to be moister than my previous batches. This is perfect if you prefer brownies with a little less cake-like and a little gooier.
So without further ado, here is my recipe for Little J’s Triple Choc Surprise Brownies:
1 Box of Betty Crocker triple chocolate fudge brownie mix
Approx 12 raspberries cut in half
Approx 10 pretzels broken up
¼ cup of crunchy peanut butter melted.
- Empty the dry ingredients from the packet mix into a bowl and follow the box instructions.
- Add half the mixture to a baking tray (as per the box specifications) lined with baking paper.
- Add in a layer of pretzels and raspberries.
- Cover the layer with the remaining brownie mix; gently spread the mixture around so you don’t disturb the pretzel/raspberry layer. Also, note if you have used frozen berries take more care as they fall apart more easily (not a disaster if they do, but it dilutes the raspberry punch)
- Melt the peanut butter in the microwave (do this by cooking for 20 seconds a time and stirring in between until it’s a runny constancy)
- Pour the peanut butter over the brownies, creating whatever kind of pattern you like.
- Place in the oven and cook as per the packet instructions.
These taste delicious alone at room temperature or served warm with ice cream (cookies and cream ice cream worked well for me).
Extra tip: when testing the brownies to ensure they are cooked, keep in mind there are chocolate duds throughout the mix, so it’s unlikely the skewer will come out clean. Ensure there is no brownie batter stuck to the skewer, and that’s how you know it’s ready, also the peanut butter will be a nice golden colour.