The Top Secret Ingredient That Will Make Your Brownies Even Better

While I absolutely love sharing tips, tricks, and advice here on my blog, I don’t do it because I feel like I have all the answers. In fact, one of my favorite parts of the job is getting to learn from my savvy readers! I’ve learned so much over the years from comments, emails, and messages that I’ve received from OGT readers. And that’s exactly how today’s post came about as well! :-)

The tip I’ll be sharing with you today came from my recipe for crockpot spareribs, where an OGT reader had left a comment under the mysterious moniker “A.” (Perhaps this person is a high-ranking intelligence operative, similar to M from James Bond?) In that comment, “A” mentioned using a secret ingredient to produce irresistibly delicious brownies. Who can say no to a secret ingredient, especially when brownies are involved? I certainly couldn’t. :-)

Related: Gluten-Free Brownie Bark


The Secret Ingredient For Rich, Moist, And Decadent Brownies

The secret brownie-enhancing ingredient that “A” mentioned in her comment was in fact the very same secret ingredient from the recipe I had posted for crockpot spareribs: baby food prunes!

According to “A,” adding baby food prunes to brownies gives them a depth of flavor that standard brownie mixes can’t match. She also claims that brownies made with prunes stay chewy and fresh longer than traditional brownies. With claims like these, I had to give it a try for myself!


How To Make Brownies With Baby Food Prunes

For my initial test, I used a standard box of brownie mix from the grocery store. I prepared it according to the directions on the box, then I added a 2-ounce container (or 1/4 cup) of baby food prunes. Then I just baked the brownies according to the directions on the box. To put it very simply:

  • Prepared brownie batter + 1/4 cup baby food prunes = Moist, rich brownies!


And I have to say, these brownies really exceeded my expectations! I had expected them to be moist due to the added moisture from the fruit, but I was surprised by the deep, rich flavor of these brownies. They were every bit as delicious as “A” has promised, and I know I’ll be making these again very soon!


Other Ways To Use Baby Food Prunes

It isn’t just brownies and spareribs that can benefit from the addition of baby food prunes. Try adding 1/4 cup of prunes to chocolate cake, chocolate cookies, muffins, braised pork, braised cabbage, and even your morning smoothie!

Aside from adding flavor, prunes can also be good for your health too. They are high in dietary fiber, and are a good source of potassium, vitamin K, and iron! So finding ways to sneak prunes into your favorite recipes is sure to make your stomach AND your body very happy. :-)

What’s your favorite “secret ingredient,” and what recipe do you use it in?

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


Food & Recipes

  • We add chocolate chips or nuts sometimes. This is after we’ve put the brownies in the pan. We just use the boxed mix version these days at our house.

    • Yes, you can absolutely puree your own prunes. Simply soak dried prunes in hot water, and let soak for an hour or two (long enough for them to plump up). Then transfer the prunes for a food processor or blender to puree :-)

  • Love this idea and a few others in the comments. Like strong coffee and a dash of cayenne. But I can’t resist … I had such a chuckle when I saw the title of this post.

  • Also, when baking Chicken parts, use GOYA Sazon. Sprinkle generously all over the chicken and under the skin. You will swear this stuff was made for chicken! It can be used in soups and stews also. Great stuff!

  • I use AH-SO Chinese barbecue sauce whenever making anything barbecue, mainly racks of pork spareribs or chicken thighs. You find it in the international section of the supermarket or you can order it online. $5/jar (watch out for scams). It is much better than the traditional bottled sauce. Watch the meat closely so the sauce doesn’t blacken too much. Cook low and slow (always).

  • I like to add a dash of cayenne pepper to my homemade dark chocolate brownies. There is something about the sweet rich chocolate and the little hot bite of the cayenne. (I’ve used chili powder if I don’t have any cayenne on hand.)

  • Love these kinds of comments because it gets me thinking of what I used to do when I didn’t have other ingredients. I have sub’ed or added mayonnaise and sour cream in cakes to keep them moist longer. I have also used baby food in overnight oats, cakes, and cookies. I believe you can go online and look to see if there are any other recipes out there using the baby food. One of my favorite things is nutmeg in a chicken cream soup, yummy!

  • Hmmm, I’ve done the applesauce-for-oil substitution before, but never tried adding prunes. Sounds like a good idea though, both for the added texture and the health benefits! A friend and I were just talking about my other favorite secret ingredient yesterday – my mom’s meatloaf recipe calls for oatmeal as the filler instead of breadcrumbs, and it has always been my favorite tasting meatloaf. And years ago, there was a recipe I got at a Tupperware party for fudge that used Velveeta cheese, and it was the creamiest fudge you’ve ever tasted — didn’t taste the cheese at all, just delicious smooth chocolate. I’ll have to go look for that and see if I still have it! LOL!

    • I don’t see why not. I just started making scratch brownies from a recipe I found via pinterest and they’re so good and easy. But I always add 1/2 cup or so milk and semi-sweet chocolate chips, regardless box mix or scratch, so not sure how scratch is without that addition..

      • Yes I have used pureed prunes for years in brownies, cakes and cookies (replacing some of the oil with the prunes)

    • Actually, you can sub applesauce for eggs and oil in your boxed brownie mix (never tried it from scratch, sorry!) by adding 1/4 cup applesauce for each egg and a straight “measure by measure” for the oil. And I’ve found that adding just a teaspoon of instant coffee (or use cooled coffee for the liquid) in the brownie batter makes the chocolate taste even richer.

    • I suppose you could, but it wouldn’t be quite the same. Prunes are much more rich and gooey than applesauce. :-) Although applesauce would still make them moist!

    • With high cholesterol for reducing fat, I was taught to swap 1/2 the oil for baby food prunes in any chocolate baking and 1/2 the oil for applesauce when baking any other flavor.

    • I love cinnamon, but i’m wondering about the black pepper….what does it add flavor-wise? I’ve not heard of this before, but I do love to use pepper when i cook, so this may be something to try….

  • This is so weird that I just have to try it! I also heard you can replace oil, butter or even eggs with applesauce in your baking recipes. Ooh maybe I’ll add the prunes AND replace the oil with applesauce and make the world’s first healthy brownies!

  • Based on a children’s book called “Thunder Cake”, I decided one day to add a bit of tomato sauce to my brownies. Everyone loved them, but I didn’t tell people what was in them. I haven’t done that in a while. Now I’ll have to try it again and also try the prunes and see which I like better!

  • Are the prunes anything you can taste. One idea I’ve tried once is you can use 1 can of pumpkin in brownies from a mix. You don’t need to add eggs or oil. It was from Hungry Girls website. You can’t even taste it.

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