I am a from scratch baking person but sometimes time just gets into my way and I have to retreat to semi-homemade in this department.
Brownies are one of the items that you can easily dress up and here is one version that I made yesterday as a little self-made take along Xmas gift for my friends that they can indulge on when the blizzard hits later today.
What do you need?
Box of Brownie mix - I prefer real dark chocolate brownie mix
1/3 cup of neutral oil (or whatever your mix calls for)
1/3 cup of rum (yes, you are reading that one right... replace water by rum!)
Tablespoon of good vanilla extract
Shot of coffee or teaspoon of espresso powder
Teaspoon of good orange extract (if you like nuts substituting with almond or hazelnut would surely taste great too)
Prepare brownies according to instructions, pour in well greased baking dish (I prefer 8"x8" to have a thicker brownie), and bake at temperature mentioned on box BUT slightly under bake them (I cut off about 8-10mins from recommended time), take out of oven and cover with thick towel. Why you might ask - this gives you the most chewy brownie with just the right amount of crust.
Give it a try - the small changes/additions in ingredients make everybody think you sweat in the kitchen measuring ingredients for hours.
Share and indulge!