Photos and recipe instructions for this post were updated 2-7-11.
Have you ever cooked something that got enthusiastic raves but was so easy that you were almost embarrassed to admit it? For cooks like me who take some kind of silly pride in making things from scratch, it's especially embarrassing to admit that a mix was involved in the recipe. It's even more frustrating when you've cooked your tail off making all kinds of good stuff from scratch, and it's an out-of-a-cardboard-box mix recipe that everyone loves the most.
That's my story with baking these brownies. I first heard about the recipe at a Pampered Chef show in 2005. They sounded so easy, and everyone raved about them so much that I gave them a try. King-Man said they were the best brownies he'd ever eaten. He even asked for them in place of a birthday cake that year. T-man, Brackenthebox, and all of their friends who came over for periodic feasting at football parties concurred. These brownies were the best.
So, I'm swallowing my everything-from-scratch-is-better pride and admitting that these brownies truly are fantastic. So rich and delicious that I might as well just throw in the towel and not try to improve on these. I have slightly tweaked the original recipe; or more accurately, I have tweaked the assembly method. The ingredients have remained the same.
Step-by-step photos for making Symphony Bar Brownies
The main ingredients are:
Symphony bars come with almonds and toffee chips (my preference)
or plain chocolate (for no-nut people).
Step 1. Assemble the ingredients. In addition to the brownie mix and Symphony bars, you need whatever ingredients are listed on the back of your brownie box for making the brownie mix. I used: a brownie mix, 4 (4.25 oz) candy bars (a smidgeon over 1 pound total), canola oil and eggs. The brownie mix recipe calls for 2 eggs. I use 3 eggs to achieve a more cake-like brownie, but you don't have to.
Step 2. Mix the brownies according to the directions on the back of the box. I whisk the eggs with the oil and water before adding them to the brownie mix so that they incorporate into the mix faster/easier.
Step 3. Take a break, because you're probably pretty worn out from all that work.
Step 4. Spray the bottom of a baking 9x9" pan with cooking spray. The mix is for a 9x13" pan, but you bake this recipe in a 9x9" square pan. I use stoneware (you can see it is "well-seasoned"). A glass or metal baking pan are fine, too.
Step 5. Now you've got 2 options to choose from.
Half of the brownie mix goes in the bottom. Then half of the candy bars (chopped).
Then pour on the remaining brownie mix. Then the remaining chopped candy bars.
Step 6. Bake for the amount of time indicated on the brownie mix box for a 9x9 pan, plus an extra 4 minutes. Let cool at room temperature before cutting. If they don't cool first, you may have to eat them with a spoon. But there are worse fates than eating melted, rich, gooey chocolate brownies with a spoon.
That's it. Done. Easy. Delicious. I'm so embarrassed.
Look at those chunks of candy bar mixed in with the brownie. Hard to beat that. Kinda makes you want to sing. A symphony maybe?
Do you have a favorite recipe that WOWs people so much that you'd rather not reveal how easy it is to make? Tell me about it. (I won't tell anyone else. Promise.)
Make it a yummy day!