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Vancouver Chefs Share Their Box-Brownie Hacks

We asked Vancouver chefs to share their secret for levelling up off-the-shelf brownie mix.

Mayday! Mayday! You’re hosting your partner’s parents for dinner and when they asked if they could bring anything you said “Don’t worry about it!” but now it’s time for dessert and you totally forgot you had nothing sweet on hand and you are straight up panicking!

A frantic search of the pantry reveals a dusty box of brownies… but is serving your future-in-laws a basic pan of Lil Debbie worse than nothing at all? Not if you take that mix to the next level with the help of the city’s best chefs. Here’s how the pros turn a supermarket staple into a surprisingly gourmet treat.

How to Elevate Basic Box Brownies, According to Vancouver Chefs

“Warm them before serving, add a good amount of caramel over top, top with sea salt, and maybe even an espresso chocolate sauce.”—Dawn Doucette, Chef/Owner,  Douce Diner

“Add mini marshmallows.” —Robbie Robinson, Executive Chef, Five Sails

“Brown your butter before adding it. Instant depth!”—Claire Livia Lassam, Owner, Livia Forno e Vino

“Turn them into miso brownies.” – Tess Bevernage, Chef, Hanai 

“Gently warm for 10 seconds in microwave, add a scoop of Häagen-Dazs vanilla ice cream, and sprinkle with toasted almonds.” —Alex Kim, Culinary Director, Glowbal Restaurant

“Adding chocolate or caramel chips to the batter, toast marshmallows or serve with a simple caramel sauce and or ice cream.” —Tommy Shorthouse, Fanny Bay Oyster Bar