The Easy Oil Swap To Spruce Up Box Brownie Mix

A fairly modern treat as far as desserts are concerned, brownies haven't changed much since 1904, when the first recipe is believed to have been published, calling for baker's chocolate, butter, sugar, flour, eggs, and walnuts. Since then, companies like Betty Crocker, Duncan Hines, and Pillsbury have sought to make the dessert more attainable for the busy home cook with boxed mixes which only need eggs, oil, and water added to them for convenience. 

Naturally, intrepid brownie lovers often add their own special ingredients to upgrade boxed brownie mixes: stirring in candy bits, topping with a drizzle of salted caramel, or sprinkling on some sea salt. And while your batch of box brownies may not taste exactly the same as one made from scratch, one simple ingredient swap will take the flavor and texture of your dessert to the next level.

Add the butter back in

When making fudgy brownies from scratch, melted butter, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, cocoa powder, and flour are typically used. Unlike boxed mix brownies, there is no oil involved — and that's where the simple upgrade happens. Swap an equal amount of butter for the oil called for on the box's recipe to take your brownies from good to wow.

The difference between the two ingredients is that oil really doesn't add much when it comes to flavor, while butter will make your brownies richer and denser. Just melt the butter on the stovetop in a pan or in a bowl in the microwave and let it cool before adding it to the batter. 

Because your box mix likely already includes some salt, you'll want to choose unsalted butter to avoid overdoing it. If you feel your brownies would benefit from the addition, it's smarter to add the salt on its own to suit your tastes, as the amount of salt in a stick of salted butter may not be the same from brand to brand.

So, next time you want to make brownies in a hurry but don't want to sacrifice that homemade taste, grab a stick of butter and enjoy some fudgy deliciousness.