Sometimes I need a dessert that’s simple and goes together quickly! I’ve seen mini cupcakes be a HUGE hit at get-togethers ranging from summer picnics to baby showers to weddings – though my one problem with mini cupcakes is they’re often so light at the base and top-heavy from the frosting that they tend to fall over and squish each other. Easy fix? Instead of light cupcake batter, make mini brownie bites! They can easily be made from scratch OR doctored-up mixes, and they’re easy to decorate, festive, delicious, and can serve a large crowd! Recipe(s) below!
Like most brownie recipes, you have tons of options here! If you’d rather doctor up brownie mixes, use your favorite boxed mix (I usually go with Ghiradelli), substitute butter for the oil, replace the water with milk, and add an extra egg!
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(Of note – you have lots of options here! If you’d rather doctor up brownie mixes, use two mixes (I usually go with Ghiradelli), substitute butter for the oil, replace the water with milk, and add an extra egg!)
To make the brownies from scratch though, I love this recipe!
1 cup unsalted butter (or 2 sticks) melted
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
4 large eggs
6 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1 ½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 24-cup mini cupcake pans with mini liners or grease with non-stick or baker’s floured cooking spray. (Though for ease of cleanup and serving I recommend the liners!)
Mix together melted butter and granulated and brown sugars. Whisk in eggs until well combined. Whisk in cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, and gradually stir in all-purpose flour until combined. Stir in vanilla and chocolate chips, and pour into a large piping bag. You can transfer the batter to the cupcake pans with a spoon, but it tends to be a painful process and make a huge mess – I highly recommend the piping bag!
Bake for 18-20 minutes (or until a toothpick comes out clean) – don’t overbake these; the paper liners will become difficult to remove if the edges of the brownies are too caramelized and dry.
Cool completely before frosting. Set in the fridge or freezer to accelerate the cooling process if desired.
The waiting time while the brownies cool is a great time to make your frosting!
Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting:
8 oz (one package) cream cheese, softened
16 Tablespoons (two sticks) butter, softened
6-7 c powdered sugar
2-4 Tablespoons milk
1 T clear vanilla extract
1/4 t. salt (if using unsalted butter)
Beat together softened cream cheese and butter; slowly add in powdered sugar alternating with milk until frosting reaches desired consistency. Add vanilla and salt if needed and beat until well combined.
– Large piping bag & tip – I use this set of reusable large bags & tips more than almost any of my others!
– Small piping bag & tip – this set has been one of my favorites, and contains the small star and teardrop-tips I used to pipe the brownies in the photo/video!
– Sprinkle mix of your choice! – I used ‘Thank You, Next’ Sprinkle Mix by FancySprinkles – I can’t find it online anymore, but their ‘Cotton Candy Kiss’ mix is very similar!
Now you’re ready to decorate! I used the large open star from my large tip set when I piped the frosting onto the brownies – frost to your liking! Brownies are pretty dense, so I didn’t pile the frosting on tooo thick this time. 😉
Add sprinkles to your liking – I started with larger ones centered where I thought they looked best and then added smaller ones on around them.
You could also skip the ‘placement’ and just sprinkle them over the top – either works but sometimes the second one’s more fun!
Annnd you’re done! High-five yourself –and enjoy!