Boxed brownies are delicious on their own, but if you want to cut the sweetness and elevate the flavor, there's a simple ingredient in your kitchen to do the trick: A pinch of salt. It works in the same way that your other sweet-and-salty food combinations do, like peanut butter pretzels. Salt brings out flavor, so you'll taste the cocoa and other ingredients even more. And the salty taste will also temper the rich flavors of chocolate, which helps especially if you're indulging in a boxed brownie that has double chocolate or frosting.
When should you add that pinch of salt to your brownie batter? There are a couple of different methods depending on what you want, but let's discuss what type of salt you should use first. If you're adding salt to the batter, you can use regular table salt or fine sea salt. And if you want to sprinkle salt on top of the brownies, a finishing salt like Maldon sea salt flakes is a good option because you'll get bigger chunks of salt in each bite.
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Elevating Boxed Brownies
Follow the instructions on the package, including adding the eggs and oil. Before you pour the batter into the pan, sprinkle salt at the bottom, so you'll get bits of saltiness as soon as the brownie hits your tongue, following the rich sweetness of the brownie. If you don't want to sprinkle the bottom of your pan with salt before pouring the batter, you can incorporate salt into the batter. For one box of brownie batter, about one teaspoon of salt should suffice. As another option, sprinkle sea salt flakes on top after the brownies come out of the oven.
If salt isn't your thing, there are still many ways to elevate your boxed brownies. For richer flavor and a boost of caffeine, swap the water for black coffee or espresso. You can also sprinkle in instant coffee or espresso powder or a splash of vanilla extract. Swap the vegetable oil for olive oil, which will give them a fudge-like texture. Do you have random bags of half-used chocolate chips or bite-sized candies? Mix those into your batter before, and save some to put on top as a garnish. As a final way to take your boxed brownies to the next level, swirl caramel sauce or melted peanut butter on top after the pan comes out of the oven.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.