I love getting a bargain, and that’s why you’ll find me shopping the clearance aisles at many stores, and that includes my local Walmart where one of the end caps in the grocery section is reserved for foods that are nearing their end dates or other foods that just don’t sell. That’s how I came home with two boxes of Pillsbury brownie mix. I hate brownies from mixes, but knew that they could be turned into some kind of confection that would hide the unmistakable flavor that every brownie mix has, no matter if it costs a little or a lot.
So I went looking online and found one that piqued my interest at tasteofhome.com. Cheesecake brownies. Who can resist? The only thing I questioned about the recipe was the final ingredient: a tub of store-bought chocolate frosting. What’s the point of making brownie mix brownies that don’t taste like brownie mix if you’re going to use one of those artificially-flavored, absolutely horrible cans of frosting? There would be no disguising the fact that the brownies — even with the cheesecake layer — came from a mix.
If you’re going to the trouble to make these brownies, they demand chocolate buttercream frosting. Buttercreams are simple to make and make a huge difference in the outcome of cakes, iced cookies, brownies and any other time a quick frosting is needed.
With swirls of cheesecake filling working their way through the brownie batter, and with a thick creamy buttercream frosting, no one guessed that the brownies started with a box in the clearance aisle at my Walmart.
1 package fudge brownie mix (13×9-inch pan size)
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
Quick Chocolate Buttercream:
12 tablespoons unsalted butter (no substitute)
4 1/2-5 cups confectioners sugar
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2-3/4 cup evaporated or whole milk
4 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter, sugar, flour and vanilla until smooth. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined. Spread evenly over brownie batter. Top with remaining brownie batter. Cut through batter with a knife to swirl.
Bake at 350° for 28-32 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs (brownies may appear moist). Cool completely on a wire rack. Spread frosting over brownies.
To make frosting: Combine all ingredients, adding milk as you go to bring it to desired spreading consistency.