I've spent years playing around with brownie mix hacks. There is no shame in using cake mixes or brownie mixes, especially when there are so many ways you can use them as a starting-off basis for some pretty amazing desserts!
Cake mixes were first invented in the 1930s but dramatically rose to popularity after WWII when prosperity and family life reached new heights. Women were encouraged to make the basic boxed cake mixes their own by decorating and embellishing them. Here's a fun read about the history of mixes.
In today's busy world and with the increasing popularity of cooking shows, magazines, and Pinterest, bakers have become increasingly creative in using mixes in innovative ways. I call these creations "semi-homemade."
Today's brownie mixes are so good and such a time saver that keeping a few on hand makes sense when you need a quick dessert or treat.
The only cookie in America that outsells Thin Mints is Oreos! That fact and an irresistible sale on Pillsbury brownie mix for 99 cents with movie theatre candy (5 for $4) heaped on the same display inspired me to try another new brownie mix hack. I mean, talk about an open invitation!
Junior Mints were my favorite movie candy when I was growing up. The jolt of pure peppermint in each little candy is amazing! The minute I laid eyes on that pile of movie theatre candy by the brownie mix sale and spotted the Junior Mints, I knew they two would make beautiful music together in a brownie mix hack!
Junior Mints were immortalized in an episode of Seinfeld when Kramer and Jerry ate them in a surgical theatre while accidentally dropping a few into the open chest of the patient below. The response to the absurd humor prompted the manufacturer to produce a commemorative box for the product.
Junior Mints are much better when you add them to brownies! Begin by making the brownies according to the directions on the box. You can bake them in a 13" by 9" pan, a 9" by 9" square pan, or for really thick brownies, or a square 8" by 8" pan. They all work.
Skip by this information if you hate math, or it's "tl:dr" for you, but it might come in handy sometime: I have a favorite 11" by 7" glass pan I use a lot for brownies and bars. It has 77 square inches compared to 64 square inches in an 8" square pan or 81 square inches in a 9" square pan, right between the two. You can even make brownies in a 9" pie plate with 78.5 square inches.
Bake the brownies in a 350-degree oven for about twenty minutes. Pull the pan out of the oven, dot one package of Junior Mints evenly over the partially baked brownies, and return them to the oven for the remaining bake time suggested on the box, usually five to ten more minutes.
When you remove the brownies from the oven, put a second box of mints on top and let them melt naturally into yummy pools of chocolatey mint. The top will get a bit crunchy and chewy, which is delightful! Let the pan cool completely before cutting the brownies into squares.
If you like Junior Mints and Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies, you will find these blissfully satisfying to your sweet tooth!
Not a fan of mint? Here are some other brownie mix hack add-ins I have used to make brownies more interesting. And why not invent your own?
We love a "little something" after dinner, and these Junior Mint brownies or any of my other brownie mix hacks will surely bring a smile to anyone with a sweet tooth. Here are a few more fast and easy cookies and bars you can stir up quickly when you start with a mix! Busy Day Lemon Bars, Desperation Cookies, Best Ever Lemon Cake.
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