I thought I had ingredients for both on hand, but realized Wednesday night I did not. It was also incredibly warm this past week, so I didn't want to heat up the oven at night before trying to sleep since I already battle sleeping comfortably and am ready to move a cot next to the freezer. Enter my hack. On the way home Thursday, I stopped into the dollar store and bought a yellow and chocolate cake mix, a can of vanilla frosting, and a bottle of lemon juice. I also bought a two pack of disposable 9 by 13 baking pans. I had eggs at home and thought I had oil, but only had about 1/3 of a cup left. This is where having a basic knowledge of baking really helps. Here is what I did to end up with both a pan of lemon bars and brownies, made Friday morning in under an hour.
1 yellow cake mix with 1 tsp baking powder added
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup oil.
Mix all together to a thick batter/dough, spread in a sprayed 9 by 13 pan
mix 1 cup powdered sugar with 1 Tablespoon lemon juice and drizzle over the dough.
Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes, watching at about 17 to make sure to not over bake
When cool, frost.
The extra baking soda is needed to counter the acid in the lemon juice. If I had had lemon extract, none at the dollar store and I didn't want to stop again, I would have used that in the mix instead of juice.
1 Chocolate cake mix
1 stick butter melted or at least extremely soft (because I had no oil left, I used butter, but 1/3 to 1/2 cup of oil or margarine works. The butter made these brownies very indulgent!)
Mix all, and bake at 350 for about 20 minutes, again watching at 17 to be sure it doesn't over cook.
These made a thickish bar and I cut into 24 squares, which seemed about the right size for a desert buffet. Including the pans, I estimate I had a grand total cost of under $7.50. Not too shabby considering how easy both were to make. The mixes were even Pillsbury and not some odd brand no one ever heard of. I'll do the same next week when I'm helping another friend, this one with no nearby family to pitch in. I don't even need to buy more lemon juice so the cost will be even less. Life takes a village, and I am eternally grateful for these friends in my life. I'm happy to be able to contribute to their celebrations of sweet young women.