Pro Chefs Improve Boxed Brownies (8 Methods) | Test Kitchen Talks @ Home | Bon Appétit

published on July 13, 2020

– I wanna show you my favorite way to zhoosh up a box brownie mix There've been extensive conversations about how to spell zhoosh, I think zhoosh is spelled with an umlaut That doesn't look right Is it Z-H-U-Z-H?

I don't know Point is its word I like to say – Today, we were put upon a challenge – And I have been sent a box of brownie mix

– My task is to – zhoosh – Zhoosh – Zhooshen up a little bit Did I say it right? – But we're using what we have in our homes – I'm home but I'm not at home

What's happening? – Love brownies, like Popeye's favorite dessert – I was a girl scout I was a brownie – I want to be a brownie person – I think it's a really good product to begin with,

And I think we're gonna make it even better – Please come with me on the journey – Yay – Down Down, just go eat your breakfast that I made for you,

Lovingly – You don't make me – breakfast – All right, cool So 9:23 Hey buddy,

Good morning, we're filming You wanna say Hi? – Today I'm gonna take this box brownie mix, make it as is and just add a tahini swirl to it Nothing fancy, I'm not trying to fry something,

Not trying to like rewrite the rules, okay? It's Friday morning, got a cranky child right over there, and that's just where we're at So tahini swirl on the brownie, get it in the oven, done

Place water, oil and egg in a medium bowl Olive oil and chocolate really work together Like I've done an olive oil on chocolate cake in the past and oil based cakes, obviously come out exceedingly moist Boom, one handed how you like me now, huh? Sorry, there's actually a tiny bit of shell in there

Alright, so we're gonna mix this Ollie, don't be that guy Brownie mix is going in – The whole thing? – The whole thing

– Why? It's wasteful – It's wasteful? You're not gonna be singing that tune when these are done Ollie, – It's wasteful you kicked over the camera dude

– Wasteful, wasteful – Brownies have usually so much fat in them that you don't really have to worry about anything kind of sticking per se, but it just means that you can pop the whole

Tray of brownies out of the pan So the key is you really want the parchment to actually stick to the glass so it's not sliding around Yeah, I thought about getting a little fancy and complicated with this but I just don't quite have it in me today

Now for the tahini swirl So I'm taking, let's call that like a generous, two tablespoons of tahini, maybe even three, I don't know About an equal part, maple syrup,

A good pinch of salt I just wanna make sure I work this together and get it nice and smooth There was a few lumps in that tahini Plop, boom

See what I'm saying That's kind of the consistency About the consistency of loose peanut butter So flying in with our tahini swirls situation Alright, so we've got our five dollops

And now it's all in the swirl Just moving the mixture around, kind of repeatedly is what's gonna get you great swirl So I'm gonna hit this with additional salt, 'cause why not? I'm just gonna throw it into the oven

I think it's like 40 minutes or so Parchment, boom Just pop it right out No more digging out that first piece and watching it get ruined

Then eating it like a savage yourself before you tell your family that the rest of them are ready, right? Check that out What's there not to like about that? You could do it like peanut butter swirl with maple syrup

You could do like anything Hey guys, you wanna try a Brownie? – The first thing we need to do to improve on a box of brownie

Is of course get out some ice cream The funnest part of my job when I was the general manager at Shake Shack was coming out with new frozen custard flavors 'cause we had a flavor of the day everyday And the first thing I thought of with brownie butter

Was I wanna make up a ice cream flavor with brownie ripple It calls for one egg and I kept that the same, and it calls for a quarter cup of water, a third of a cup of liquid coconut oil Okay, I'm gonna put all of the mix in except for I'm gonna hold back a tiny bit

To use as a little secret surprise So that's the batter Everybody in the house is very excited about this because I had to do a practice but I wouldn't let anybody get the practice So a lot of anticipation

Coffee ice cream, you could use vanilla I just didn't wanna use something that had already chunks or pieces in it This is a little hard Oh,

I really do think I broke the spatula If you go too far it'll be too liquid So the consistency I would say that you're going for is creamy but not liquefied So that's kind of that cake batter consistency It's perfect for folding

Hi What are you doing? – Getting an instrument – Getting an instrument Can you show the instrument Cosmo has music class

And they all had to make an instrument, and I'm sure some kids actually made an instrument That kid walked in the kitchen , grabbed a jar of popcorn and was like this is fine So blobs of brownie batter

Into the bowl Alright, so the other thing I had warming up on the griddle is the peanut butter and that's just to get it so it is a little less bloby and a little more pourable

This is another trick leftover from my Shake Shack days, a blob here and a blob there Hmm, now I'm folding And you can see that ice cream is much more melted So now I don't wanna mess with it too much

I have a big jar Ooh, this really liquefied It's gonna be fun, it's gonna refreeze Alright, this mixture is going into the freezer So I'm actually gonna cook off

The rest of the brownie batter Instead of using the eight by eight that it calls for, it's not as much, so I have a loaf pam Woulda gal that Pam I already preheated my toaster oven to 325

Oh, did it turn off? You bastard You guys wanna see what the brownies look like? So it made this like little plank of brownie

This is kind of the perfect piece I mean, it's got good core interaction but also almost to the center I'm freaking out I'm gonna get the ice cream that I made yesterday out,

This is a CO2 charger thing, I'm a jobber So by putting whipped cream into it, or whipping cream and charging it, it's gonna turn it into like what you would get out of a ready whip can And remember that little bit of brownie mix

That I held back So I sifted that through a fine mesh strainer just to get any lumps out I actually don't know if this is gonna work It's very exciting though Alright, so you put the top on,

The little bopper topper on Cool See Get some carpal tunnel Can you see all those brownie

Chunks and peanut butter chunks in there? Oh, no No I actually really love maraschino cherries

Oh, yeah Hmm, the coffee ice cream was a really good choice Very delicious I would say that I really got my money's worth out of that box of brownies

After a mile, always worth it Yum – Today I'm going to transform brownies into churros The great thing I feel like with all box of brownies

Is that you can't mess it up even if you kind of eyeball the ingredients, mix it incorrectly and bake it at the wrong temperature, it'll still be good So initially

I wanted to try and turn the brownies into licorice and I did try that, but it had like a weird gummy, gross texture So I decided to go with churros So I'm only gonna make a half box worth So nine ounces of this brownie mix is going in,

Three ounces of bread flour, boom, nailed it A teaspoon of baking powder Get it nice and fluffy Brownie isn't something that's meant to be fluffy so it doesn't have a ton of leavening in it

A big pinch of salt I'm doing a shallow fry just 'cause I'm at home and I'm not making that many donuts so it's not a big deal So with the it's hard to get the temperature with a thermometer,

So you just kind of put in a tester Immediately when it heats the oil you wanna get lots of bubbles So one large egg and three tablespoons of water, and I'm just gonna mix it up

I didn't even like pre-beat my egg 'cause I don't know what they do to this stuff but you can just throw things in there and mix it up and it comes out fine, Somehow, like magic When I was between the ages of three and five,

I was really obsessed with birthdays I made a Betty Crocker cake mix everyday, decorated it and sang Happy Birthday to myself for a period of time I did that like everyday So there's a lot of pictures of me blowing out candles

I don't know why my parents allowed it Now I'm gonna make a little spiced sugar that I'm gonna roll the churros in These are vanilla beans in here It gives it so much vanilla aroma This is really good cinnamon from Burlap & Barrel

I'm also gonna add a little bit of cocoa This is chili powder I made myself This is gonna give me my Mexican hot chocolate floor So my oil is hot I'm gonna mix this up I'm out of piping bags,

And this is also the only Ziploc bag we have So I'm gonna use a nice big star tip, and hope this doesn't leak It might, it probably will Gonna stand it up in a glass and then I can just pile my brownie batter in there

Oh no, the tip Okay man, we just got to get through a few brownies together You know what? Hold on

Oh oh, oh oh Come on Come on little churro Nope

It's not piping Okay, if this happens to you, that's cool It's still gonna be super tasty We're just not gonna get that nice long shape, but I'm just, I got two spoons and I'm just plopping in there

Yes, little poops Okay, I'm gonna continue with my donut Little donuts now This mix has chocolate chips too, so what's great is you get these little molten pockets

Of melted chocolate in there too Little donut hole I'm gonna go right into this spice sugar, toss it around, nicely coat it It smells very cinnamony and chocolatey in here

Huh, I have more I'll make another tower, we'll have two towers of donuts His and her donut towers So romantic We've never made poop looks so romantic before

Delightful We got the fluffy inside melty chocolate chips and it tastes like a brownie and that sugary outside coating, so tasty, huh?

– There are two things that, there are three things No, four The first one is that guaranteed no matter what box mix you're using, there will not be enough salt

So we're going to add a little bit of salt to the dry mix brown butter which I've already made I'm gonna make a wet caramel, let it harden and then break it up into shards Instead of going with a normal rectangular or square pan, I'm going to go with a fluted tart pan

Yes, it's a circle Circles don't have corners, but it does have all these tiny little ridges around the pan that I'm going to hope will actually like mini corners so that everyone gets to eat like five or six corners This is what we call wet caramel

Instead of just caramelizing sugar, there's a little bit of water added to it So I'm just gonna add my sugar 3/4 of a cup, two tablespoons of water We're not going to stir it This is crucially important

Because agitating the caramel as it cooks is going to cause it to kind of seize up and become grainy instead of smooth and glassy So this recipe actually comes from these incredible blondies that are made by Claire Ptak, who made Harry and Megan's wedding cake

Guys I'm kind of worried this up Pour out your caramel, drag the caramel out into a thin layer on the parchment sheet As it cools up, it's going to turn into this really hard glass like material

And now that my caramel is cooling, I'm going to go back and make the actual brownie batter Besides the brown butter that I had mentioned, I'm not actually doing anything differently from what the box instructions tell me to do I'm gonna do an egg,

A 1/4 of a cup of water, and instead of the vegetable oil that it calls for I'm going to add an equivalent amount of brown butter, which is a 1/3 of a cup Okay, so I'm going to add all of my brownie mix and stir until well blended

It's very thick, which is great I had one reservation about using this tart pan This pan has this removable bottom I'm a little bit concerned that the batter might leak out of the bottom

So I'm gonna smooth the butter all over This is hardening to a thin, brittle layer on the parchment And so what I'm gonna do is take a knife, gently, something like this on the larger end of what you're looking for, I have measured out about a quarter cup of caramel shards

They'll melt again, obviously because they're sugar and also add a layer of flaky salt Look how pretty that looks And put this in a 325 degree oven My brownie tart is out of the oven

The shards have done exactly what I hoped they would do which is melt and sink into the batter The rest of the top has a really beautiful, glossy sheen and like a crackly shell It had a tiniest leak turned into almost like brittle pieces

These are definitely like the cooks treat of this method of brownie making Because it's a tart and I would normally serve a tart in wedges, why not serve a brownie in wedges? This is very good

If I needed a last minute desert idea and I had caramel shards and hypothetically just had brown butter lying around, this is exactly what I would make – So my approach today is to

Just like intensify the flavor and balance out the sweetness rather than change it completely and add a bunch of stuff I think where box brownie mixes really excel is in achieving a really chewy texture These are fancy brownies I have a block of bittersweet chocolate here

And that bittersweet chocolate I think should help balance out a lot of sweetness This is an eight by eight pan Just to prevent any sticking, I'm brushing it with a little melted butter So I'm gonna chop this chocolate

I like the texture of chopped chocolate A lot of the chocolate is just gonna melt into the brownie and then some of it, those larger pieces will stay like little gooey pockets Maybe that's enough Maybe I won't do the whole thing

So the mix calls for a third of a cup of vegetable oil Instead of vegetable oil, I am using brown butter as the fat It really contributes like a butterscotch flavor, caramel flavor, Which goes so well a chocolates

Into the bowl, I can add a splash of vanilla extract And then it calls for a quarter cup of water Now rather than using water, I'm using brewed coffee, this has cooled,

1/4 cup of coffee, my one egg, and now the mix goes in, sorry, into the bowl, just all in one shot

I just fold to incorporate So here's my brownie batter With brownie batter you're on looking for a really glossy, thick mixture If you don't have coffee for whatever reason, you could try like instant coffee

And just stir a teaspoon of coffee granules into some hot water It doesn't taste that good you guys This is an eight by eight pan, a metal pan, which I prefer for brownies

They tend to bake more evenly that way The last component of my zhoosh, just regular old kosher salt I think probably every single person is doing salt on top I mean, at this point it's like a little bit of a baking cliche,

But cliches exist for a reason It's ready to go in I baked the brownies, I pulled them out after 34 minutes So I under bake them

Even according to the packet instructions They cooled and then I stuck them in the fridge because, actually it's much easier to cut brownies when they're cold Here they are You can lift the whole thing right out of the pan

And don't tell my mom, but this doesn't even need to be washed I put it in the clean dish pile And you know the bottom is set and firm and the top is crackly, but then you have that real bit of fudginess in there

The coffee is adding bitterness to offset some of that sugar So it's just putting everything in better balance and enhancing the chocolate flavor I get a little bit of that toasty brown butter flavor It's not really prominent,

It's just kind of mixing with everything really well I don't even get a noticeable salt in this on top But again, all these things are just correcting that flavor and not interfering with the chewiness, because that's the best part of these brownies

– You should know that I don't like brownies, 'cause I don't like chocolate Which means I don't like brownie mix except for Betty Crocker, and this is not sponsored this is just me for whatever reason

Having a deep love for Betty Crocker box brownies and no other brownies and no other chocolate things in the world I don't understand it either Today instead of baking them into brownies, I'm gonna turn them into a brownie Bischoff milkshake

Because the other thing that I have a deep nostalgic love for is Bischoff cookie butter Basically like peanut butter, but it's just blitzed up cookies and it's the most delicious thing on the planet I honestly don't even know what is in here

Last time we made a box of brownies was definitely as a child I don't think I've made a box of brownies as an adult Two big scoops of Haagen Dazs finest vanilla ice cream and then the I'm gonna powder, do some of this powder brownie mix

It smells like Hershey's hot chocolate packets, is exactly what it smells like I also do like those I guess I do kind of like chocolate I don't know, it's confusing A little bit of milk to get things going,

And big scoop of cookie butter I'm gonna do a big pinch of salt because I wanna balance it and make it kind of like a salty brownie Bischoff milkshake That sounds like a milkshake

It's sort of like giving me like Yoo-hoo vibes Over here I tried to lure him into and he hates that Tell me that's not the single most delicious beverage

You ever consumed outside of an alcoholic one – Wow – It's delicious? – That's messed up – Yeah, that's a good one – Wow, that's delicious

Bye – Bye, love you And that is how you doctor up a box of brownie mix in quarantine It doesn't look like much but it tastes like much

– I'm gonna show you right now how to make my brownie truffles that I created So basically you need a box of brownies that you already baked I guess mine still here

You wanna wait until it cools off, cut around and take the edges, and if you know me you know the edges of everything is my favorite part So hear I got one piece Right?

And then here is the magic trick So you wanna cut it in pieces just to take some out The edges are the harder part and then you're wanna put them into a bowl You can eat these Just try to get as much as possible

You have that is moist enough that you can like massage it and turn it into a ball or a truffle Let's be a little more delicate, don't say balls, say truffles So I'm gonna turn these truffles

Into some fun boozy dessert I'm gonna go with good old bourbon here So I'm gonna put two tablespoons The hard pieces I'm not getting rid of them I'm gonna just put them together because those are gonna require more booze or more liquid

So you can actually make them softer You are going for this size or smaller I don't know, this is about inch and a quarter And then because they're kind of a sticky, you wanna place them on a sheet tray line with paper Just roll your balls in wherever you want

I know we said when we're saying balls, right? Roll your truffles in whatever you want So I wanna put some cocoa powder here, I don't want to waste it I'm rolling rolling rolling Make sure that you shake the excess of it,

Make them perfect I have these noodle strainer here, and I shake them inside the strainer, and then the tip, chocolate truffle So I turn a box of mix brownies into boozy chocolate truffles

I like it because I'm all dark and this is dark – When we got these, the box brownies, we weren't told that we were gonna be doing this video So

I was about to throw them away The box of brownie calls for, let's see, a 1/4 cup water, 1/3 cup vegetable oil, one egg I'm gonna forego that, and I'm just gonna go with

Five tablespoons unsalted softened butter There's already sugar on there, but I'm still gonna add about, take 1/3 cup pack dark brown sugar I have a 1/3 cup Greek yogurt

It actually calls for one egg, but I'm gonna add two That's gonna add more fat, it's also gonna give them more caky texture I'm gonna add a little bit of salt, let's say Baking soda and baking powder

I would almost prefer to use baking powder for this but I have not found baking powder in, God, the last seven weeks So it's been a struggle And I'm also, I'll admit, I'm being a little bit lazy,

I should have combined the baking soda and the cake mix or they're even distributed I've been doing too many dishes This is three very very ripe bananas This must be like Molly's nightmare 'cause she hates chocolate,

Chris's nightmare because he hates bananas Okay I have a baking sheet For the brownies it says 325 for about 39 to 43 minutes Weird range I have to say This is unsweetened coconut flakes

We'll check up to the 30 minute mark and then see where it's up But we're looking for it to be firm on top All right, the brownie is done Almost

Too sweet It wouldn't be offensive to most people but I think I prefer things to be just sweet enough and this is definitely on the sweet sweet side It's a chocolate banana coconut brownie, that's what it is

Iced espresso right now, because it's hot Oh, also I learned that Zhoosh is spelled Z-H-O-O-S-H But that sounds like a zhoosh So I disagree with that spelling

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