My 1-ingredient upgrade to boxed brownies

You will never hope for me? Boxed brownies are better than homemade.

Normally, my food snob side prevents me from admitting that anything out of a box is better than something made from scratch, but consider this a slice of my humble (brownie) pie. Maybe it's my old age. Maybe it's the uncontrollable price of groceries these days. Or maybe it's the fact that my kids almost always prefer homemade.

Whatever the reason, I always have a stash of boxed brownie mix in my pantry. I buy Ghirardelli Triple Chocolate Premium Brownie Mix at Costco ($16.99 for six boxes) because I can never be too prepared for an emergency bake sale for my kids.

I think of boxed brownie mixes as a blank canvas. I've experimented with them by swirling them in peanut butter, Nutella, leftover holiday candy, crushed Oreos, and more. I use it to make an ice cream sandwich base in the summer, it can be turned into cookies and you can prepare a box of brownie mix in different ways to make them your own.

Lately, I've been tinkering with my grandma's old-school sour cream coffee cake, so I had plenty (I'm talking a Costco-sized tub) of sour cream on hand. After seeing how perfect a sour cream cake texture can be, I had to find out if it would have the same effect on brownies. Spoiler alert: As the kids say these days, “it slaps” and I will be adding sour cream to my boxed brownie mix going forward.

The sour cream gives the brownies a fudgy texture without making you feel like you're eating raw brownies. Sometimes extra fudgy brownies can be a bit bland, too sweet and too rich for my taste. Sour cream enhances the overall texture of the brownies while keeping them moist and fudgy in the most appealing way. It also balances the sweetness that is present in all brownies, whether from scratch or a box.

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How to Add Sour Cream to Your Boxed Brownie Mix

Simply stir 1/4 cup of full-fat sour cream into the wet ingredients., then bake according to the directions on the box. Adding sour cream won't affect your baking time at all, and as always, you want to lean towards underbaked when it comes to brownies. They will firm up even more as they cool in the pan.

Try this trick the next time you make a batch of boxed brownies. After all, when you add extra ingredients, they're officially homemade. Your secret is safe with me.

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