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Upgrade Your Boxed Brownie Mix With This Surprising Ingredient

Depending on where you get the information, you will be told a different thing about how to make boxed brownies better. On the back of the box, it will tell you to just add water and vegetable oil. Some bakers will tell you to add brewed coffee, while others say add olive oil or pour in some brown butter. When all is said and done, no one's wrong here. There is a time and place for each of the above.

But the time is 2024 and the place is right here right now, where general existence costs a pretty penny. Going out to get a little treat every day is a good way to cope, but it's also a good way to easily spend a lot of money (I speak from experience). On the days when you want a dessert with fancy bakery energy but that's easy on your budget, there's one ingredient that can make your boxed brownies instantly bougie: red wine.

Why Should You Add Red Wine to Boxed Brownie Mix?

Red wine boxed brownies taste like a million bucks without, you know, actually costing that. And although the pairing might seem a little strange at first, when you think about it, it makes sense. Boxed brownie mix is there for you when you crave something sweet and you want it fast. A bottle of red wine is there for you when you need a little luxury.

Chocolate and red wine is also a classic combo. Adding the wine to the brownie mix gives you a brownie that's richer, fruitier and fudgier. Your brownies won't taste like they're drunk but they will have deep chocolatey notes and a pleasantly tart aftertaste. And because the alcohol from the wine cooks off in the oven you won't get a buzz from these brownies.

Related: 20 Leftover Red Wine Recipes

<p>iStock</p>

iStock

The Best Type of Red Wine to Use for Red Wine Boxed Brownies

Whatever you do, do not use your most expensive bottle of red wine. Instead, head to your local Trader Joe's or Costco and pick up something inexpensive that you would enjoy drinking on its own. The type of cheap red is up to you. I splash in something bold, fruity and light-bodied when I make red wine brownies. Pinot Noir is perfect, but just about anything works, from a drier Cabernet Sauvignon to a very sweet dessert red wine like port.

Related: 25 Cheap Wine Brands and Bottles To Commit to Memory for Your Next Liquor Store Run

<p>Ragan Wallake Kitchenette</p>

Ragan Wallake Kitchenette

How to Make Red Wine Boxed Brownies

It's not quite as easy as pouring yourself a big glass of your favorite red, but it's still super simple. Here's what you do: replace the water called for in the directions on the brownie mix with the same amount of red wine. If the instructions call for 2 tablespoons of water, just add 2 tablespoons of red wine. That's it!

Related: These Impressive Double Chocolate Brownie Cookies Are As Easy as Opening a Box

Ways to Elevate Red Wine Boxed Brownies Without Breaking the Bank

These red wine brownies are the height of budget-friendly luxury. But if you want to get a little more extravagant without spending a dime, all you need to do is take a look around your kitchen, where there are mix-ins and toppings galore. Here are a few of my favorite ideas:

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