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brownies

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Cookie Dough Stuffed Brownies

July 2, 2013

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I told you all last week about the new blog I’m contributing to at work, Tasteseekers Kitchen. Well, if you hopped on over there, you probably saw the ultra-decadent Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Stuffed Brownie Pops. They super cute and much easier than cake pops, which drive me crazy! I can’t never get them to look as pretty as I would like.

When my friend, Laura, invited us over to dinner a couple weeks ago, I decided to make a version of that same recipe, with a few less steps. Instead of making the brownies into individual brownie bites in pop form, I layered cookie dough on top of brownies in a 13×9-inch pan and topped it with the cream cheese cookie dough mixture. On top of that, I spread a thin layer of melted semi-sweet chocolate to help with cutting the bars into clean pieces.

I think it’s safe to say the bars were a big hit! I cut them into fairly large pieces, but since they are so rich, I think I could have gotten away with making them smaller. I took the leftovers and stored them in the freezer, then thawed them slightly before serving a couple nights later. They were still totally delicious and worth every calorie.

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Cookie Dough Stuffed Brownies
Recipe just slightly adapted from Tasteseekers Kitchen
Ingredients
1 box Betty Crocker fudge brownies, prepared according to package directions for a 13×9-inch pan
4 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (not natural peanut butter)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1 1/2 to 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted

Directions
In large bowl with an electric mixer, combine cream cheese, peanut butter, brown sugar, vanilla, salt and powdered sugar until creamy. Stir in mini chocolate chips by hand. Spread mixture atop baked brownie mixture in pan.

Spread melted chocolate atop cookie dough mixture until you can no longer see any of the cookie dough. Refrigerate until chocolate is set, at least 30 minutes. Cut into bars to serve.

Happy Baking!
Madison

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Everyday Brownies

June 19, 2013

Everyday_Brownies_1

Do you grocery shop with your husband or significant other? Here’s the deal: I love to spend time with Joe and we do a lot of activities together, but lately I’ve been trying to make a habit of going to the grocery store without him. Why, you ask? Because I find it incredibly difficult to stay on budget when I have a hungry hubby along with me. Somehow, we always end up with more snack food and unhealthy treats when Joe is along to drop things in the cart. I’m looking at kale. He’s browsing the chocolate covered peanut butter pretzels.

Don’t worry, I usually add some snack food into the cart when I shop solo (typically almonds, healthy tortilla chips and salsa, etc.) but last week I took it too far! I was informed by Joe that we had absolutely ZERO snack food in the house.

So, what’s a girl to do? Make brownies, of course! These brownies are easy to make since they don’t require you to have a ton of chocolate on hand (just a few ounces of unsweetened or semi-sweet) and are really easy to pull together. I like to call them “everyday” brownies because they aren’t super sweet (I cut the sugar in the recipe down to 1/3 cup from 1/2 cup and they turned out great) and since they have nuts as an option, it totally makes them everyday food, right?

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Get the recipe for Better Homes and Gardens‘ Ultimate Brownies HERE

Madison

Inside-Out S’Mores Brownies

January 22, 2012

Hey everyone! How was your weekend? Joey and I have really been enjoying spending weekends at home lately after spending what felt like every weekend on the go during the months of September through December. I’m not going to lie, we felt completely overwhelmed and exhausted after the Christmas season. For that reason, January has been amazing. 

In other news, I must have been really loving the February issue of Better Homes and Gardens because the last two recipes I’ve made have been from said issue. It probably has something to do with the fact that it’s packed with gooey chocolate recipes, including these Inside-Out S’Mores Brownies.

While I was editing these photos, Joey said to me, “Those look good in photos. But no matter how good they look in photos, they are a million times better in your mouth.” I take that as high praise, seeing that my husband is more of a fan of salty snacks than sweet desserts.

I, on the other hand, think I need to get these babies out of the house and in the hands of my work colleagues before I demolish them myself. If you’re planning on making them yourself, I would highly recommend inviting friends over to share them with!

Inside-Out S’Mores Brownies
Recipe from Better Homes and Gardens, February 2012

Ingredients
*1/2 cup butter
*2 oz. unsweetened chocolate
*1 cup sugar
*2 large eggs
*1 tsp. vanilla
*3/4 cup all-purpose flour
*9 honey graham cracker squares
*1 cup tiny marshmallows

Instructions
*Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8x8x2-inch baking pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Spray with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
*In a medium saucepan, melt butter and chocolate. Remove from heat and add in the eggs, sugar and vanilla. Beat in the flour until just combined.
*Spread half the batter in the prepared pan. Top with graham crackers (divide as necessary to evenly top batter). Sprinkle marshmallows on the graham crackers, but do not let them touch the sides of the pan. Carefully spread the remaining batter on the marshmallows and graham crackers, covering them completely.
*Bake for 25 to 27 minutes or until set. Cool completely on a wire rack. Cut into bars. Makes 15 brownies

Happy Baking!
Madison

Black Bean Brownies

January 6, 2012

Three months ago I took a trip to the Wednesday Farmer’s Market in downtown Des Moines over our lunch hour. The day was beautiful and I was impressed with the selection of tasty lunch items the small farmer’s market had to offer. But what really drew me in was a small whole foods stand selling, among other things, black bean brownies. As you can probably imagine, I couldn’t resist trying a sample and hearing about what this black bean brownie thing was all about.

Turns out, the nutrition stats on the brownie were really impressive and I couldn’t even tell there were black beans in the brownie. It was just incredibly moist and gooey. Totally my kind of brownie.

Although it took me a while to get in my kitchen and replicate the black bean brownie in my own kitchen, I can report back to you that they are as easy and tasty as ever. Made with whole wheat flour, just a bit of sugar and black beans for protein, these are brownies that you can feel good about eating! In fact, each brownie contains just around 120 calories and 3 grams of protein. If you want to make them even healthier, I think you could probably cut back on the sugar even more, and perhaps sub some apple sauce for some of the oil.

Oh, and as a trial, when Joey got home I offered him a brownie and asked what he thought. He couldn’t even tell there was anything healthy about these brownies. When I asked him what he thought the secret ingredient was, he said whole wheat flour. And although that’s true, it wasn’t exactly the answer I was looking for. He couldn’t even tell there were black beans involved. I would call that a success!

Black Bean Brownies
Adapted from FoodNetwork.com

Ingredients
*3/4 cup black beans, rinsed and drained (canned is fine)
*1/2 cup light flavored olive oil or canola oil
*2 eggs or 1/2 cup Egg Beaters liquid egg replacement
*1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
*1/2 cup granulated sugar (could probably reduce to 1/3 cup if desired)
*1 tsp. instant coffee granules
*1 tsp. vanilla extract
*1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
*1/3 cup whole wheat flour
*1/2 tsp. baking powder
*1/4 tsp. salt
*Additional chocolate chips (optional)

Instructions
*Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8×8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil. Set aside.
*In the bowl of a food processor or blender, combine the black beans, olive oil, eggs, cocoa powder and sugar. Blend until well combined and mixture is smooth, about 1 minute. Add in the coffee, vanilla, melted chocolate, flour, baking powder and salt. Blend until smooth, about 30 seconds.
*Pour batter into prepared baking dish and spread to distribute evenly. Top with additional chocolate chips, if desired. Bake in the middle rack of the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Transfer to wire rack to cool. Makes 16 brownies

Happy Baking!
Madison

Super Fudgy Brownies

July 1, 2010

Let’s talk about brownies, shall we? 

When I first made these brownies, I was doubting the recipe the entire time. “There isn’t enough flour!” I kept thinking. But since the recipe comes from the baking great, David Lebovitz, I figured it was worth seeing the recipe out as directed. I might have even audibly coaxed myself onward with a “It’s David-freaking-Lebovitz, Madison! He knows baking!”Call me crazy, but my pep talk worked, and I continued. 

The head notes of the recipe said the step about stirring by hand for a full minute is very important, and after seeing the change in texture after stirring, I can understand why. The batter goes from grainy and dull to smooth and glossy in that one important minute. Please don’t skip it.

After I removed the brownies from the oven I started to get nervous again. Butter had pooled in small places on the surface, which concerned me immediately. “This can’t be right!” I harped. But the recipe said to let the brownies cool completely in the pan before even thinking about cutting them or removing them. Since it was late, I went to bed and figured I would deal with this whole thing in the morning. But in the morning there was nothing to deal with. The brownies were beautiful, dense, and ready to be eaten.

I didn’t really trust myself with a whole pan of brownies in my apartment, much less dense and fudgy David Lebovitz brownies, so I cut them into squares and whisked them away to the office immediately. Thanks to chocolate-loving co-workers, they were gone by noon, but not before I took one for myself.

What I’ve learned? This whole process would have been much less stressful if I had just trusted the recipe and quit trying to make it wrong in my mind. Actually, the recipe is very simple and incredibly quick. Another major bonus is that it all comes together in a saucepan. For someone who loves baking and hates cleaning, this is a very good thing.

Super Fudgy Brownies
Adapted from David Lebovitz’s Time for Dessert 
(Printable Recipe)

Ingredients:
*6 Tbsp. butter
*8 oz. bittersweet chocolate
*3/4 cup sugar
*1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
*2 large eggs
*1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

Instructions:
*Preheat oven to 350*F. Lightly butter a sheet of parchment paper, then use the parchment paper to line an 8×8-inch baking pan (the parchment should go up the sides of the pan, too). Set aside.
*In a saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter and chocolate, stirring frequently. Remove from heat when chocolate is just melted. Add in the sugar and vanilla extract and stir to combine. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Beat in the flour and stir vigorously by hand for 1 full minute. During this time the texture of the batter will go from grainy to smooth and glossy. The batter should also start to pull away from the sides of the pan.
*Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake for 30 minutes. Do not overbake. Remove from oven and cool completely in the pan before cutting into squares.

Happy Baking!

Madison

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