A Swirl Of Dulce De Leche Will Take Your Boxed Brownies To Another Level

Boxed brownies are an easy dump-it dessert that saves you the time and expense of buying and mixing multiple ingredients. Most box mixes only require water, oil, and eggs, but there are plenty of mix-ins to elevate your brownies' flavor and texture. Chocolate chips, peanut butter, and dried fruit are popular mix-ins, but a swirl of dulce de leche is the upgrade you need to try.

A common ingredient in Argentinian alfajores, Mexican flan and churro fillings, and the Chilean puff pastry torta de mil hojas, dulce de leche is essentially caramelized sweetened, condensed milk. It's thick and golden brown like caramel with a much more complex sweetness, blending caramelized sugar with milky dairy notes. Dulce de leche is used to enhance cookies, cakes, crepes, and ice cream, and is even a popular M&M flavor. Its toasty, caramelized, milkiness will pair perfectly with an intensely chocolate brownie while also adding another extravagant layer of creamy, gooey goodness to its fudgy, chewy texture. Furthermore, since box mixes usually use water and oil instead of butter and milk, dulce de leche will more than compensate for that lack of dairy richness.

You can buy jarred dulce de leche from most grocery stores; they're probably located on the same aisle as the boxed brownie mix. Or, if you want to make your own dulce de leche, it's as easy as boiling a closed can of sweetened condensed milk for a few hours.

An especially sweet combination

You can add dulce de leche to the batter before cooking your brownies or simply spread dulce de leche over the top of a fresh, cooled batch of brownies. If you add dulce de leche to the batter, you have plenty of creative ways to incorporate it to add a visual wow factor to each slice.

For example, you can create a marble pattern by spooning round dollops of dulce de leche across the surface of the brownie batter in the baking dish, then using a knife or skewer to swirl and drag the dulce de leche around the batter. You could get even more artistic with the help of a piping bag, which you can fabricate by simply cutting off the corner of a plastic ziplock bag and filling it with dulce de leche.

Dulce de leche-topped brownies would taste delicious with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or garnished with chopped bitter chocolate to add some crunch and temper the sweetness. Ice cream will harden the dulce de leche, while also melting into the fudgey chocolate. Shredded coconut would be another tasty garnish to sprinkle over dulce de leche for a classic take on alfajores de maizena. For a more unusual and sophisticated flavor pairing, try using cajeta, a type of Mexican dulce de leche made with goat milk. It'll add both sweet and savory notes to the brownie.