Eleven Ways to Jazz Up Baked Goods from a Box Mix

It’s the end of the school year for my kids and I seem to have a lot of baking to do. Bake sales, teacher gifts, class parties, etc.. And while in a perfect world I would have the time and energy to make everything from scratch….I don’t. However, with a box of cake or brownie mix and some help from your pantry (those sprinkles you use once a year don’t have to be saved for Christmas cookies only), you can liven up these treats. Her are some ideas:

Brownies from a Box

1. Prepare mix according to directions and prior to baking, throw a handful of your favorite candy chips, dried fruit, or nuts – or all three. Bake according to the box directions.

Combos to try:

White chocolate chips, dried cranberries and toasted walnuts.

Peanut butter chips and m and ms.

Broken up chocolate bars, mini marshmallows and graham crackers (don’t overdo it thought – a handful of each is plenty).

2. Let cool and sprinkle with sifted powdered sugar.

3. Frost – use store bought or your favorite home made recipe. Add sprinkles for added effect.

4. Let cool and cut out circles with a cookie cutter or juice glass – make ice cream sandwiches and freeze. Roll sides in mini chocolate chips or crushed nuts prior to freezing if you’d like.

5. Make a quick stencil from parchment paper or wax paper (pick a simple shape like a heart, star, etc.) and sift over individually cut brownies with powdered sugar or sprinkles.

6. Make Aunt Missy’s Mint Brownies.

7. Prepare mix, pour batter in prepared pan and make peanut butter marble brownies by placing dollops of peanut butter on top of brownie batter and swirl with butter knife to create marble effect. Bake per box.

8. Prior to baking, using above method, swirl in a cream cheese mixture for cheesecake brownies (combine 1 softened 8 ounce brick cream cheese, 1 egg, 1/4 flour and 1/2 cup sugar). Bake per box.

Cupcakes from a box:

9. Add a surprise inside. Prepare mix and fill each cupcake liner 3/4 with batter – tuck a peanut butter cup, peppermint patty, or Hershey’s kiss inside and bake per the box.

10. It’s all about the decorating! Bake, cool and frost, then top with sprinkles, m and ms in the shape of a flower or star, Hersheys kiss(es), jelly beans, one big gummy on each like a butterfly or whatever shape your store has, etc. Be creative!

11. Make ice cream cone cup cakes – make cake mix according to package and line up cake ice cream cones (with flat bottoms) in 9 x 13 pan. Fill 2/3 with batter and bake according to box directions for cupcakes. Let cool and frost.

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Rachael Ray