I’ll put a spell on you, with just one bite of these Hocus Pocus spellbook brownies! They’re scarily easy to make and cursed to be the favorite treat at any Halloween or Hocus Pocus-themed party. Made using boxed brownie mix and a simple frosting, these brownies are equal parts delicious and impressive.
What Makes This Recipe So Good
- These Hocus Pocus spellbook brownies are a ridiculously easy treat, and they’re SO much fun to make. Don’t panic if your artistic skills won’t get you a showing at The Met anytime soon – these are totally foolproof. You can let your kiddos get in on the decorating action, too, and make a whole spooky day of it.
- Unlike Winnie’s Manual of Witchcraft and Alchemy, we’re skipping the human-skin cover and going with something much more palatable… chocolate! The brownie tops give these edible spellbooks that perfect “skin cover” texture, so you still get a visually spooky treat that’ll look amazing on any Halloween party snack table.
- You’ll use your favorite boxed brownie mix for these brownies, so they can be every bit as fudgy or as rich or as crackly as you want them to be! Make them vegan or gluten free, or you can even use my Perfect Paleo Brownies recipe for paleo Hocus Pocus spellbooks.
- The cookie icing is super easy to make yourself, but you’re welcome to use store-bought black cookie or royal icing if you’d rather. I really like that this one doesn’t end up hard and crunchy, but it firms up enough that you can stack the brownies safely without worrying about smudging, smearing, or smooshing your design. To be sure you’ve got the right icing consistency, just lift your whisk! The icing will drizzle off the whisk and onto the surface of the icing in the bowl below – if it stays on top for a few seconds before settling back in to the rest of the mix, you’re good to go.
- I used a little activated charcoal to get that rich black coloring to my icing. You can use actual black food coloring if you want, just be careful not to overdo it. Too much food coloring throws off the flavor of the icing (and the brownies) and can really ruin an otherwise delicious treat.
- Line your brownie pan with parchment paper first, leaving enough parchment paper hanging out on either side so you can use it to lift your Hocus Pocus brownies out of the pan after baking. It’s way easier than trying to fish them out with a spatula, and you’re way less likely to break or damage the brownie books.
More Seasonal Recipes You’ll Enjoy
- Gluten Free Pumpkin Bread
- How To Cook Butternut Squash (3 Ways)
- Pumpkin Pie Spice
- Instant Pot Applesauce
- The Best Roasted Acorn Squash with Life-Changing Maple Butter
- Healthy Pumpkin Muffins with Crumb Topping
- Apple Cider Sangria
- Puking Pumpkins with Guacamole “Vomit”
For the Brownies
- 1 box brownie mix see Notes
- ingredients needed to prepare boxed brownie mix
For the Icing
- 1 cup confectioners' sugar sifted, see Notes
- 1 teaspoon light corn syrup see Notes
- 3 tablespoons room-temperature water plus more as needed
- 2 teaspoons activated charcoal powder or black food coloring
- large candy eyes see Notes
- Parchment Paper
- Baking pan
- Large mixing bowl
- 2 whisks or hand mixer
- Flour sifter
- Medium mixing bowl
- Silicone spatula
- piping bag with small tip or plastic zippered bag, or squeeze bottle
- Scissors if using plastic zippered bag
For the Brownies
- Line baking pan with parchment paper. Leave excess parchment paper hanging out sides of baking pan.
- Prepare brownies according to instructions on box or in recipe of choice.
- After removing baked brownies from oven, let brownies cool 10 to 15 minutes, then carefully and gently lift brownies out of baking pan using excess parchment paper. Let brownies rest on parchment paper until completely cooled.
- Once brownies are completely cooled, cut sheet of brownies into 8 rectangles. Separate brownies slightly for easier decorating.
For the Icing
- Sift confectioners' sugar into medium mixing bowl. Add light corn syrup, 3 tablespoons water, and charcoal powder (or 1 to 2 drops black food coloring). Whisk vigorously until ingredients are well combined. Note: mixture will be very thick.
- Add more water in ½ tablespoon increments, whisking well between each addition, until icing mixture is smooth but still thick. If usign
- To test for ideal icing consistency, lift small amount of icing out of bowl with whisk. Hold whisk over bowl and let icing drizzle back into bowl. Consistency is ideal when drizzled icing remains on surface of icing in bowl for 2 to 3 seconds before melting back into icing.
To Decorate Brownies
- Scrape icing into piping bag fitted with small tip, into plastic zippered bag, or into squeeze bottle. If using plastic zippered bag, gently press icing toward one corner of bag, then twist or tie bag closed, removing as much air as possible. Snip very small piece of corner off bag to create small piping hole.
- Working one-by-one, pipe icing onto brownies to resemble Hocus Pocus spellbook. Start by piping two side-by-side vertical rows down left edge of brownie to create book spine. Next, pipe dime-sized dot in middle of right edge of brownie, to create spot for eye. Last, pipe 3 curvy lines coming off of book spine or eye in organic shapes to resemble book's stitches.
- While icing is still soft, gently press candy eye into icing dot. Let icing dry 2 to 3 minutes, then pipe hash marks across curved stitch lines to complete stitches.
- Repeat process until all brownie books have been decorated. Let icing dry completely before stacking or serving brownies.
- Brownie Mix: Use your favorite! I used Betty Crocker Fudge Brownie Mix and everyone who tried them thought they were homemade from scratch.
- Candy Eyes: Use the largest candy eyes you can find. I used Betty Crocker’s Large Candy Eyeballs.
- Make it Paleo: Use my paleo brownie recipe for the actual brownies. Replace the confectioners’ sugar with coconut sugar, leave out the corn syrup, and use activated charcoal powder rather than food coloring. The candy eyes contain several types of sugar so don’t eat those!
- Make it Keto: Use your favorite keto brownie mix or recipe for the actual brownies. Replace the confectioners’ sugar with Confectioners’ Swerve and leave out the corn syrup. The candy eyes contain several types of sugar so don’t eat those!
- Storage: Leftover brownie books can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature 4 to 7 days.
Number of total servings shown is approximate. Actual number of servings will depend on your preferred portion sizes.
Nutritional values shown are general guidelines and reflect information for 1 serving using the ingredients listed, not including any optional ingredients. Actual macros may vary slightly depending on specific brands and types of ingredients used.
To determine the weight of one serving, prepare the recipe as instructed. Weigh the finished recipe, then divide the weight of the finished recipe (not including the weight of the container the food is in) by the desired number of servings. Result will be the weight of one serving.