Sunday, October 17, 2010

Pillsbury Mini Brownies Save the Day!

Yesterday, the Rhino decided to try to play soccer.

I say "try" because he's had an injured tendon that means he's had to go to physical therapy, and he couldn't try out for the jr. varsity soccer team at school.

But his summer league with his friends was having their second-to-last game, he was feeling okay and the PT guy said that as long as he iced it right afterward, his leg should be okay. This is a 6 v 6 league, so they have 8 players on the team.

So! We talked to Coach, who was thrilled, as the Rhino is (and I know I sound biased as his Mom, but it's TRUE) the best player on the team, and Coach reminded us that there was a barbecue at his house after the game for the players.

So of course we said, "What can we bring?"

Which led to the frantic, last-minute, "we need a dessert that will feed 8 kids and their parents that can be ready to GO in less than an hour!"

Enter Pillsbury's Brownie Minis.

You HAVE to try these!

These treats are SO easy to make, and they are FAST, which really fit the bill. Each mix comes complete with two baking trays, 2 pouches of mix for the brownie part and two packs of filling for the center.

The trays will hold 6 Brownie Minis each, and that's how much each pouch and corresponding pack of filling makes.  So you can choose to make 6 or 12 at a time from each Brownie Minis package.

We had the raspberry-filled and the caramel-filled mixes, so I decided to make both kinds for the soccer party. Since my kids like caramel more, I made 12 caramel-filled and 6 raspberry-filled.

All you add to these packages, believe it or not, is water. That's it! So you also don't have to worry about having a lot of stuff on hand at the last minute.

You do want to spray the trays with a cooking spray, though. I used Pillsbury's Baking Spray, which is flour and nonstick cooking spray all-in-one, and it worked beautifully.

So, step 1, decide how many Brownie Minis you want to make and set your oven, then spray the baking pans provided.

Next, mix up the water and brownie mix, and fill up the baking cups in the tray about a third full. This is important--do not overfill! You have just enough mix and no more, really.

Then you add the filling. Again, you do have to be a little sparing on the filling. You have just enough and not any extra! Also, the caramel is a bit gloppy because, well, it's caramel after all, but that gives you an excuse to get some on your fingers and lick it off while you are cooking.

Then top off the Brownie Minis with the remaining mix, place all the baking trays on a cookie sheet, and set them on the middle rack of your oven.

One of the nicest things about these Brownie Minis now really comes into play--they only take about 15 minutes in the oven!

You let them cool in the trays for just 10 more minutes, then pop them out of the trays. With the Pillsbury Baking Spray, they popped out with no problem. Nothing stuck or had to be "worked" at all to get them out of the baking cups.

Here's how the Brownie Minis looked when they coame out of the oven:
Raspberry-filled Brownie Minis

Caramel-filled Brownie Minis

Next, I decided to frost the caramel-filled Brownie Minis.

This is really optional--they taste fine without any frosting--but I wanted to differentiate them from the raspberry-filled so everyone would know what they were getting, and also because I had...drumroll...Pillsbury Easy Frost No-Fuss  Frosting, in orange, which is their Halloween color.

This was perfect to use on the Brownie Minis, because as you can see from that top picture, the Rhino's soccer uniforms are neon orange and super bright. You could find them in a blizzard in those jerseys. So orange frosting was definitely called for.

Again, a key element here for my purposes was that it was FAST to use. I was on budgeted time before the soccer party, and The No-Fuss Frosting is just spritzed on top of whatever you've baked to give it that finished look, like cupcakes in a bakery have.  You don't have to be particularly skillful to quickly top off your dessert. I thought the Brownie Minis turned out really nice with the frosting on top.

Here's a pic of the finished product. In the background, there, you can see the No-Fuss Frosting I used.

Ta-Da! Brownie Minis for the soccer party,
in record time!

Viv's Take:  The Pillsbury Minis are Highly recommended! I loved how quick and easy this dessert was to put together, and the kids and parents at the soccer party gave my Brownie Minis the thumbs-up as well.  

I would absolutely keep some of these mixes in my pantry for when I have unexpected company or another soccer party coming up.  They are small, and really just bite-sized, as you would expect from the name, so you would not *just* have these at a gathering, but they do make a fast, easy accompaniment to any gathering. 

Again, I can't stress enough how EASY these were to make. I always worry that my brownies will be overcooked or too goopy in the middle, but these have filling inside and they just seemed to come out perfectly baked.

I'd also recommend the Baking Spray without hesitation, as I have used it before and my baked goods, including cakes, never stick to the pan. 

I loved how easy the No Fuss Frosting made frosting the cupcakes. I am not particularly fond of the taste (it's vanilla icing, rather than buttercream or chocolate, which I normally prefer), but a dollop on top of your dessert will give it that pretty, finished, bakery look.

Disclaimer: I received complimentary packages of the Brownie Mini mixes in caramel and raspberry, the Pillsbury Baking Spray, and the Pillsbury No Fuss Frosting to facilitate this review. 

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