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Looks Aren’t Everything – TASTE Is! (Also Known As – The Tale Of How I Botched These Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies But Ate Them Anyway)

24 May

I follow so many food sites/pages on Facebook that my feed is like 90% recipe videos – which is basically amazing, and also a curse – as it always makes me starving, and then cranky when I realize I don’t have a personal chef to whip up said recipes for me on demand (boo!)

But – luckily I DID have all the ingredients for these Buckeye Brownies on hand (Damn you Tasty – your recipe videos are the prettiest and most tempting of all!), so here goes nothing!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies (AKA Buckeye Brownies)

INGREDIENTS

1 box brownie mix, with additional ingredients according to box instructions

2 cups powdered sugar

1 cup peanut butter

½ cup butter, melted

6 tablespoons butter

1 cup milk chocolate chips

PREPARATION

1. Prepare brownie mix according to box instructions.

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2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine together the peanut butter, powdered sugar, and melted butter.

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3. Distribute scoops of the peanut butter mixture on top of the brownie and flatten the mixture to achieve an even layer.

4. In a small bowl, combine the milk chocolate chips and butter. Microwave in 15-second intervals until melted, stirring after each interval.

5. Pour the chocolate mixture on top of the brownies, then evenly spread to achieve a flat, even layer.

6. Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

7. Enjoy!

Here’s the Step By Step Video to help you along – and to make you drool a bunch (You’re Welcome!)

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So – ok. A few side notes

I didn’t actually have any boxed brownie mix on hand – so I turned to the Best Brownie recipe I have made several times before – as I did have all that stuff on hand already – yay! However – that recipe makes an 8×8 pan – so – that’s where things got a bit dicey….

The brownies turned out amazing – but since it was a smaller pan, I decided to half the topping, and when I made the peanut butter layer it just seemed so dry and clumpy, that I ended up adding a bit of milk and some vanilla to give it a more frosting like consistency. Delicious? Yes. The best idea? Not really…

Clearly mine did NOT turn out as pictures/depicted on Tasty – and honestly, that’s my own fault entirely – as the “peanut butter frosting” layer (which seemed like the best idea ever at the time) was never going to fully set/harden up, so then the chocolate on top (which DID harden up in the fridge) cracked a bunch when it was cut up.

The End Result – a not so pretty brownie. That being said, it tasted AMAZING – the rich fudge-y brownie, the the smooth, sweet peanut butter, and then the chocolate topping – what a dessert! Next time I will definitely follow the recipe as written, but for now if anyone needs me I will be off sloppily devouring these gems

Cookie Dough Fudge (AKA The Stuff Of My Teenage Dreams)

18 May

Packages of “Slice’N’Bake” Cookie Dough were basically a staple for every sleepover I attended or hosted when I was younger. And of course, we were lucky if even half of the dough got made into actual cookies – because the best part was eating the dough! Was it unsafe? Marginally, yes – since it contained raw eggs. But did we care? NO. Are we still alive to tell about it? YES. And has the world come up with an amazing alternative that makes me feel like a kid again as a eat the whole pan? HELL TO THE YES IT HAS!!!!

Enter – Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Fudge Bars. Thick, egg-less cookie dough topped with a rich layer of chocolate peanut butter goodness. Oh – and there’s no baking involved either – making these the perfect treat to whip up as the days get hotter (and the oven becomes a much less appealing option)

Ok. Must stop drooling long enough to actually make these beauties.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Fudge Bars (Recipe courtesy of Wishes & Dishes)

Prep time:  30 mins
Total time:  4 hours 30 mins
Serves: 16
Ingredients
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • ¾ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 c. mini chocolate chips
  • ½ cup creamy peanut butter
  • ½ cup milk chocolate chips (or semi-sweet)
Instructions
  1. In a large mixing bowl, mix together butter and brown sugar until it is fluffy. This takes about 3 minutes.
  2. Add vanilla and beat until combined.
  3. Turn the mixer to low and alternate the flour and the sweetened condensed milk until combined. Gently fold in chocolate chips.
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When you’re making the dough and desperately want to try it – and then you remember you CAN because there’s NO EGG IN IT! Oh happy day

  1. Press the cookie dough into the bottom of the 8×8 pan that has been lined with parchment paper. It will be sticky so lightly flour your hands if needed.
  2. Cover your bars with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight until firm.
  3. To make the topping, combine the peanut butter and ½ cup chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl.
  4. Stir every 30 seconds until smooth.
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Here’s where that thing called “restraint” comes in – utilize it to not dig in with a giant spoon at this point. Must let chocolate set

  1. Pour and spread over the top of the chilled dough and chill for at least 1 hour until firm.
  2. Let sit out for 5-10 minutes to soften before cutting into.

 

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OH HELLO LOVELIES

Ok – so – the original recipe states that there are 16 servings here – but I cut it into 36 squares – as it is pretty rich, and also when I think of fudge I think of cute little square pieces – and 36 is perfect for this size batch!

There’s definitely a “cookie dough craze” happening right now – with places like The Cookie Dough Cafe and Cookie DO NYC popping up all over – places that serve up safe to eat “raw” cookie dough with all kinds of flavors, toppings, and mix-ins. This recipe feeds into that craze – and I am MORE than happy to partake – as everyone knows the DOUGH is the best part!

These No Bake Toffee Fudge Bars Are The Perfect Holiday Gift!

23 Nov

Well. It’s that time again – the holidays. It really snuck up on me this year, not sure about you – but suddenly it was September and fall, then Halloween, and now Thanksgiving, and Christmas is looming, too! 2016 is quickly coming to an end, and if you haven’t started Christmas shopping already, then you might want to get on it!

I love to incorporate handmade gifts whenever and wherever I can – I make applesauce and jar it every year to share with friends and family, and cookies are another item I love to give (and receive!). This year I plan to make at least two kinds to share (maybe more, time permitting!), and I came across a recipe that would make a perfect addition to my sweet gifts – these No Bake Toffee Fudge Bars. Whipped them up in no time and they were so easy and delicious! Check it out:

No Bake Toffee Fudge Bars Recipe

Ingredients:

2-1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 cup (2 sticks) butter , divided
1 cup sugar
1 can (5 oz.) evaporated milk
1 bag (10 oz.) miniature marshmallows
2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) HERSHEY’S Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
1 cup HEATH Milk Chocolate Toffee Bits
1 cup HERSHEY’S Milk Chocolate Chips or HERSHEY’S Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

Directions:

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1. Line 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan with foil. Melt 3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) butter; combine with graham cracker crumbs. Press crumb mixture evenly in bottom of prepared pan.

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2. Combine sugar, evaporated milk, remaining 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter and marshmallows in large saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring frequently, until mixture comes to a boil. Boil 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, stirring until chips are melted.

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3. Immediately pour over crust, spreading evenly. Sprinkle surface with milk chocolate toffee bits and milk chocolate chips, pressing in lightly. Refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours. Cut into bars. Store leftover bars covered in refrigerator. Makes 24 bars.

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These set up nicely and were easy to remove from the pan and cut after being in the fridge all morning

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These were loved by all – big and small!

And the great thing is the recipe makes 24 – so they are great to share (as they are pretty sweet so you only need to tuck a couple in each gift package!).  What’s better than an easy and delicious recipe that you can share with those you love this Christmas? Not much in my book!

Loaded M&M Oreo Cookie Bars = Cookie Heaven

26 Jul

What is better than cookies? Well, not much if you ask me – but I would say one thing that’s better than cookies is MORE COOKIES. I’m thinking like a cookie bar with cookies baked inside – now that’s basically perfection for a cookie lover like myself. I had saved the recipe for these loaded Oreo M&M cookie bars a while ago – and now that I have made them, I have no idea why I waited so long – as they were easy, tasty – and did I mention – cookie in cookie?

Loaded M&M Oreo Cookie Bars
(Recipe Courtesy Of Averie Cooks)
Yield: 8×8 pan (9-12 generous squares)
Prep Time: 5 min
Cook Time: 20-25 min
Total Time: 30 min

Ingredients
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), melted
1 large egg
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
18 Oreo Cookies, coarsely chopped (I used Oreo Chocolate Birthday Cake Sandwich Cookies
about 1/2 cup M&M’s (I used plain, use your favorite flavor or other chopped candy)

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Ingredients = assembled. Let’s bake.
Oh – and – I’m making a double batch. Because, well – why NOT?

Directions
-Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside.
-In a large, microwave-safe bowl melt the butter, about 1 minute on high power.
-Wait momentarily before adding the egg so you don’t scramble it. Add the egg, brown sugar, vanilla, and whisk until smooth.

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-Add the flour and stir until just combined, don’t overmix.

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-Stir in the Oreos.

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-Turn batter out into prepared pan, smoothing the top lightly with a spatula.
-Evenly sprinkle the M&Ms over the top, lightly pressing them down with your finger or a spatula.
-Bake for about 20 to 22 minutes, or until done based on add-ins used. Top should be set and edges slightly firm. A toothpick inserted in the center (if you can find a bare patch to test) should come out clean, or with a few moist crumbs, but no batter.

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-Allow bars to cool in pan for at least 30 minutes before slicing and serving. Bars will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

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NOTES: I decided to add some M&M’s into the batter too (in addition to putting them on top). I used peanut M &M’s – which tasted great but was kind of messy when it came to cutting them – the candy kinda fell apart – so I would recommend plain using plain or even mini M&M’s instead

In the original recipe, she states that you can really use anything – any cookies or mix in’s – so it might be fun to experiment with these – mini peanut butter cups and peanut butter oreos, chips ahoy cookies and cut up snickers…I could go on and on – but you get the idea. No matter what you use they will turn out delicious!

 

Deep Dish Chocolate Oatmeal Cookie Bars – A Pinterest Win

4 May

Ahhh…Pinterest. I have such a love/hate relationship with you. I love that I can find inspiration and recipes and ideas on pretty much any topic in the world – but I hate that my boards basically consist of a huge bunch of things I will never have the time/money/energy to actually DO. I know I’m not alone here, right? Well – ok – even if you’re one of those freakishly crafty/energetic/go-getter people who manage to recreate the amazing things on Pinterest, don’t worry – I still love you, and don’t totally hate you (not too much anyway…)

Either way, Pinterest is a great place to find new recipes – especially desserts – I could search and click away for hours just drooling over all the amazing looking pictures of cakes, cookies, and pies that are on there. When it comes to what recipes I will actually make, I tend to gravitate towards chocolate, and oats too – they are two of my favorite things, and any chance I get to combine them into one delicious dessert – I’m in!

I have had these deep dish oatmeal chocolate cookie bars on my “Must try desserts” Pinterest board for a few years now – and I don’t know why I waited so long to make them!

Deep Dish Oatmeal Chocolate Cookie Bars (Recipe Courtesy of Love, Life, Lavins)

Ingredients
2 sticks margarine (I’ve used butter and it’s worked fine)
2 eggs
2.5 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 cups brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
1/3 cup milk
3 cups oatmeal

1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup margarine (I’ve used butter and it’s worked fine too)
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (typically one bag)

Directions
Mix the butter, eggs and brown sugar. Add vanilla and milk. Slowly incorporate the rest of the dry ingredients. Mix well. I prefer using a stand mixer since it’s quite thick

20150502_110655Is there anything more beautiful than sugar and butter? Well – maybe sugar and butter with OATS in it!

Meanwhile, in a saucepan over medium heat melt together the chocolate chips, condensed milk, 1/3 cup margarine/butter, and 1 tsp vanilla

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The chocolate mix gets ready to be spread on top of the cookie base

Spread 3/4 of the oat mixture on the bottom of a greased 13×9 pan, then pour on the chocolate mixture and spread evenly over the oats. Then, spread rest of cookie mixture on tops in spoonfuls (it won’t cover the chocolate completely)

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Various stages of assembly

Bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees. *Note – the top can tend to get done before it’s completely cooked, so you can cover the bars with foil for the last ten minutes or so if it looks like it’s browning too much

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Dough – before and after baking

Let the bars cool for a while, otherwise it won’t set up and will just run when you cut into it

A few small alterations I made to the original recipe: I used real butter (not margarine), and I melted it first – the recipe didn’t say to do that, but I figured it would help with the mixing process (which it did – I didn’t need to get out my mixer at all!). I also did not use the stove to melt the chocolate mix – just whipped it up in the microwave instead. I also read some of the comments to see if people used quick or regular oats – the author said she used quick oats so that’s what I went with as well (although – I should think regular oats would give a nice texture so I might try that next time!)

This recipe was easy – I had most of the ingredients on hand already, and assembling it was fast and painless, plus it was super tasty. Based on the original picture from the blog, I thought it would be a super dense, rich dessert – but it wasn’t at all, it was more cake-y and almost fluffy (if oats/butter/sugar can be fluffy?), and the chocolate was not as thick as I was thinking it would be either, it was almost more like a ganache-y type consistency. I would definitely make this again, it would be perfect to bring to one of the picnics/parties/BBQ’s/family reunions that are coming up this Spring/Summer

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My husband enjoyed them (a lot!)

Thank you Pinterest for the awesome recipe, and for always inspiring me to try new things!

Making The Most Out Of Fall With “Apple Brownies” and a DIY Pumpkin Spice Latte

14 Sep

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Apple season is in full swing here in Upstate NY – so every weekend I am out there picking, which is a great time – but what’s even MORE fun is then getting to figure out what new and delicious things I can make with the apples!

There’s always going to be apple pie, apple crisp (served warm with vanilla ice cream – yum!), applesauce, and apple butter – those are all basically a given, as I love to eat and share all of them with those I love – but I figure, why not try something different with this newest batch?

When I saw this recipe for Apple Brownies, my mind first assumed that it was a chocolate treat – but once I read the description that stated this was a recipe for a “Cinnamon-spiced blonde brownie” I was actually even more excited than when I was when I thought chocolate would be involved! A bar with nuts and apples sounds like the perfect fall treat, doesn’t it?

 

Apple Brownies (Recipe courtesy of All Recipes)

Ingredients
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup white sugar
1 egg
3 medium apples – peeled, cored and
thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9×9 inch baking dish
2. In a large bowl, beat together the melted butter, sugar, and egg until fluffy. Fold in the apples and walnuts
3. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon
4. Stir the flour mixture into the wet mixture until just blended. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared baking dish
5. Bake 35 minutes in the preheated oven (or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean)

 20140914_090156  20140914_090605 My favorite little kitchen helper wants to make sure I don’t drop any apple peels…

I think what I like about this and other apple cakes/bars/cookies is that they really can be passed off as dessert, a snack, or even breakfast and they go well with milk, coffee, tea, or cider – so you can bake these for a ton of different occasions!

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They turned out so good – much more like a cake than a bar or brownie though- but that’s fine by me! the brown sugar gives it a nice caramelized taste, and the nuts are the perfect addition. Very moist, and if you pair paired with this delicious DIY pumpkin Spice Latte mix then you’ve basically got the perfect fall breakfast!

Pumpkin Spice Latte {homemade recipe for 1 week of yummy drinks!} – Recipe courtesy of A Farm Girl’s Dabbles.com

Ingredients
1 15-oz. can pumpkin puree
2 c. whole milk
1/2 c. sweetened condensed milk
1/3 c. brown sugar
2 T. pure vanilla extract
1 T. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. ground dried ginger
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. allspice
strong coffee
slightly sweetened whipped cream
cinnamon
dark chocolate shavings
Preparation
In a blender, combine all the pumpkin spice mixture ingredients. Puree for about 30 seconds. If you
want a smoother mixture, puree for a couple minutes, or until the mixture is to your desired
consistency.

Pour 1/2 cup (more or less, depending on your preference) of the pumpkin spice mixture into a large
mug. Microwave for about 20 seconds, then add 1 cup of hot strong brewed coffee and stir. Top with
a nice lofty pile of sweetened whipped cream. Sprinkle lightly with cinnamon. And if you’re looking for
extra deliciousness, top with chocolate shavings. So pretty!

Pour the remaining pumpkin spice mixture into a quart jar or similar sized container and top with a lid.
Store in the refrigerator. When ready to make another drink, shake the jar well and repeat the
assembly of the pumpkin spice latte. The pumpkin spice mixture will keep well for up to 1 week in the
refrigerator.

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Personally, I skipped the whipped cream and chocolate shavings – I wanted to just try the pumpkin latte mix without the frills (plus I always skip the whip on my Starbucks lattes – just doesn’t do it for me) and I really liked it, it wasn’t exactly like any of the coffeehouse versions – but I loved the pumpkin and cinnamon combo with my coffee – and I love that it will be good for the next week so I can start my mornings off the right way!

 

Fall is here – and I couldn’t be happier!

Crazy/Slutty/Delicious Describes These (Slightly Insane) Brownies

10 Aug

I don’t know anyone who can say no to a warm, chocolaty brownie fresh from the oven – I know I can’t say no to one (or five…). As much as I love a classic brownie, I also love to mix it up and try new versions – like the Brownie Rubble, frosted brownies from scratch, and of course the Slutty Brownie – which might be one of the more ridiculous things I have ever made – that is, until I saw THESE

Crazy Brownies

I pretty much religiously watch The Pioneer Woman on Saturday mornings on Food Network – I just love her and her family and her recipes make me drool – and last week she made these Crazy Brownies – and I am thinking that Crazy really is the right word for them! It’s a densely fudgy scratch made brownie with a layer of amazingness in the middle – in the form of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Rolos, pecans, and M&M’s. Oh, and then they are topped with powdered sugar and some more decorative M&M’s for extra added insanity. When I saw her make these, I knew they would be in my immediate future as well – or, well, some variation of them anyway.

I decided to combine the slutty brownie with the crazy brownie – making it a crazy slut? Kind of a controversial name – so I think we will just stick to “insane brownie/cookie treat” for now…

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I kept the basic formula for the slutty brownie the same – cookies on the bottom and brownies on top – but the middle is where I incorporated some of the Pioneer Woman’s “Crazy-ness” – I have packed oreos, mini peanut butter cups, and M&M’s in there – yum!

20140809_065519I used pre-made cookie dough, and then just a boxed 8×8 pan size brownie mix, and then basically whatever candy I had on hand (the best kinds, of course) to create this super slutty slightly crazy brownie

20140809_065559Slid this creation in to the oven at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes (until the brownie portion was set and no longer jiggly) and voila!

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A cross section of the finished product – you can see the distinct cookie and brownie layers, and then that beautiful oreo in the middle! The candy is hard to see but trust me its there within that brownie layer!

20140809_125046My husband was my guinea pig (as usual!) and we both really enjoyed these – the layers weren’t too crispy and had a nice softness to them, and the candy and oreo gave each bite a different delicious surprise! These are a hit, and super easy to make, all you need to have is cookie and brownie mixes, and some kind of Oreo/candy to put in the middle (items that most of us probably have on hand anyway), so it’s a great one to get creative with and customize to your exact likings.

Oh – and don’t forget the milk to wash these down!