Get ready for some chocolate deliciousness in a snap!

Boxed brownie mix is one of those pantry staples that is very useful to have around. After all, sometimes you just need brownies really right now, and do not have time to be fooling around with from scratch recipes. And let's be clear, there is not one thing wrong with grabbing that box and whipping up some standard brownies. But I find that a box of brownie mix is so much more than that. It is my secret to the best decadent chocolate cookies and surprising chocolate pie crust! Even more importantly, these are super simple techniques to follow.

The best brownie mix to use

I use Duncan Hines Dark Chocolate Fudge Brownie Mix, which is an 18.2-ounce box, and these techniques are designed for that product. As long as your mix is an equal weight, it should work fine!

How to make cookies with boxed brownie mix

This hack saves several steps (and ingredients). Here's all you'll need:

  • 1 18.2-ounce box of brownie mix
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • Optional mix-ins

Here's all you need to do:

1. Mix the dry boxed mix with the egg, oil, and water to make a stiff dough.

2. Stir in any cookie mix-ins you love. Here are some ideas:

  • Walnuts and chocolate chunks
  • Peanut butter chips
  • Toffee pieces
  • Mini marshmallows

3. Form balls of dough any size you like and place on parchment-lined baking sheets with some space for spreading. If you really want them punchy, sprinkle on some flaky sea salt.

4. If you can stand the wait, chill dough in the fridge for 15 minutes just to firm up a bit so they will spread a bit less.

5. Bake at 350° for 10-14 minutes depending on how big your cookies are.

Chocolate Cookies
Credit: Getty / LauriPatterson

How to make pie crust with boxed brownie mix

For a pie crust that is so much more, here's all you do!

1. Make the same dough as for the cookies, but do not stir in any mix-ins.

2. Press the dough into a 9-inch pie shell or springform pan, depending on the type of crust you need, line with parchment paper, and place a second pie shell inside or fill with pie weights.

3. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes.

4. Remove the interior pie shell or pie weights and return to the oven for 5 more minutes.

5. Let cool on a rack in the pie shell for 10 minutes, and then gently use your fingers or a measuring cup to press the brownie crust against the pie plate just to ensure it is compact. Let cool completely, then fill with your favorite no-bake filling (mousse, pudding, no-bake cheesecake, or softened ice cream).

You'll have a fudgy crust with a great chewy texture, ideal for any "mud-bottom" style pie. My personal favorite is to put a thick layer of dulce de leche on the bottom, some freshly sliced bananas, and then a peanut butter mousse for a sort of banoffee pie meets Snickers Bar that is insanely decadent. For miniature tartlets, you can press the dough into small tart shells and then just bake without the weights and press down the centers once slightly cooled.