Outrageous Brownies

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These were outrageous indeed! I have had this recipe saved on my computer for over a year. The past few times when I have been craving brownies I fall into my comfort zone and use a recipe that has yet to fail me. However, this time I decided to pull out Ina’s recipe as it has been calling my name, begging to be made since Christmas. When I needed a dessert to bring to work last week I jumped at the opportunity to whip these up.

These came together so easily and quickly. I was actually suprised that they only took me about 15 minutes to prepare.  I cut the recipe amount in half (reflected below with my changes in parenthesis) and baked in a 9×13 pan.  I did adapt the recipe a bit, I subbed some milk chocoalte chips for semi sweet chips to stir into the batter. I only sprinkled nuts on top and did not mix them into the batter because I did half the pan with nuts and half without. I much prefer them with the nuts! I baked mine for about 23-24 minutes and they came out perfectly. Watch carefully not to overbake. You should remove when there are a few crumbs stuck to the tester when inserted in the center of the brownies.

These are deep, rich, flavorfull and definatly live up to their “Outrageous” title. They have a light and crisp exterior. The interior of the brownies is dense, with their texture teatering on the border between brownie and fudge. Usually I don’t care for brownies that are too fudge-like but these really did it for me. Oh, Ina, how you have captured my heart.
While good warm, I do prefer them cool from the fridge rather than room temperature. I think chilling them definatly compliments and enhances the texture and flavor of the brownie.  While I think kids would like these brownies,  I feel the target audience for these brownies is the adult palate.

If you are looking for a brownie that eats more like a dessert then look no further. These will be great with a scoop of icecream, cool whip or with some fudge sauce  served as dessert.

I rate these brownies a 9

Ina’s Outrageous Brownies
Ina Garten 
2 sticks  unsalted butter (I used salted)
2 1/3 cups semisweet chocolate chips (I subbed 1/2 cup Milk Chocolate to stir into batter)
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate
3 extra-large eggs (I used large)
1 1/2 tablespoons instant coffee powder  (I used 1 TBS)
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup +2 TBS cups sugar
1/2 cup + 2TBS  all-purpose flour (1/2 cup for the batter and 2 TBS for the chips and nuts) (I did not toss the nuts with flour because I sprinkled them on top)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups diced walnut pieces (I used 1 cup and just sprinkled on top before baking)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease and flour a 9×13-inch pan.
Melt together the butter, 1 1/3 cups chocolate chips, and unsweetened chocolate on top of a double boiler.
Cool slightly.

In a large bowl, stir together the eggs, instant coffee, vanilla and sugar. Mix in the warm chocolate mixture and cool to room temperature.

Stir together 1/2 cup of the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to cooled chocolate mixture.
Toss 1 cup chocolate chips with 2 TBS flour to coat. Then add to the chocolate batter. Pour into prepared pan. Sprinkle top with chopped walnuts.

Bake for about 30 minutes (mine were finished in 24), or until tester just comes out clean.

Halfway through the baking, rap the pan against the oven shelf to allow air to escape from between the pan and the brownie dough (I did not do this). Do not over-bake! Cool thoroughly, refrigerate well and cut into bars.

Top 10 Recipes

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I hope that 2008 was a good year for you and that 2009 brings with it the  joy and happiness we all strive for in our lives. Here is a list of some of my favorite sweet recipes I think you need to make this year and why.  I can’t wait to begin baking in 2009!

I am interested in hearing from you! Which recipes from my site have you tried and what have you thought about them?

10. Frosted Marshmallow Bars
WHY: A family favorite for years that is sure to please. I love the subtle chocolate flavor the brownie has, making it the perfect base for marshmallow and chocolate frosting layers.  Trust me, if you like chocolate, these bars will be sure to please.

9. Blondies
WHY: So simple, so easy, so quick, so good. With endless varieties (check out my ‘blondie’ category) these are the perfect dessert. You can really take the base recipe and make them your own, I can’t wait to try more combinations of add-ins this year!

8. Intense Chocolate Shock Cookies
WHY: Usually I am not a fan of chocolate cookies but these grabbed my tastebuds and my heart. So rich and full of possibilities. I have added chopped PB cups, white chocolate, nuts etc. to them and they have turned out rich and fabulous every time.  Don’t trust me? How about Anna?

7. Oatmeal Carmelitas
WHY? These bars are so gooey with layers of chocolate and caramel sandwiched between an oatmeal base and topping. I have been making this recipe for years and years. It has always been one of my favorite dessert recipes.

6. The Best Peanut Butter Cookies
WHY: These are the best PB cookies I have had. They are soft, chewy, peanut buttery and I love that they have PB and Chocolate chips in them. The roll in sugar before baking really takes them over the top.

5. Chewy Ginger Cookies with Cinnamon Chips
WHY: These are perfect for the holiday season with their flavor combination of ginger and cinnamon.  I absolutely loved these cookies, they remained chewy for days and the little bursts of cinnamon chips through out the cookie made these stand out from the ordinary ginger cookie.

4. Chocolate and Peanut Butter Oat Bars
WHY? These don’t require baking, making them perfect for days when you don’t want to use the oven. Their combination of peanut butter, chocolate and oatmeal is one of my all time favorites, a sure winner!

3. Oreo Fudge Bars
WHY: If the title alone doesn’t tell you, I am not sure what else to say.  These have been requested by my friends and co-workers alike. The best part is they are so simple to make, require few ingredients yet can be ‘dressed’ up to look like a fancy dessert if needed.

2. Double Butterscotch Cookies
WHY: These have turned out to be one of my all time favorite cookies ever. I am in LOVE the flavor of these cookies. The dough can either be dropped and baked or formed into logs and frozen for slice and bake cookies later.  I prefer the drop method but either way these did not last long. 

1. Double Peanut Butter Cheesecake Swirled Brownies
WHY: My all time favorite and most requested brownie recipe. If you are a fan of PB and chocolate, look no further than this recipe. Make them soon and make them often. These are worth cheating on your New Years resolution to diet. Trust me.

Oreo Fudge Bars

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After a disappointing cookie recipe last week, I decided to hunt down a recipe that sounded like a winner. I found this recipe on allrecipes.com and tweaked it a bit based on my own preferences and the reviews of those who have made them.

I changed the name of these bars to better reflect their goodness. These bars are rich, fudgey and full of Oreo goodness! Trust me when I say to cut these bars small as a little goes a long way! Despite being so rich and fudgey, they are not overly sweet in my opinion. Don’t get me wrong, they are definately sweet and will satisfy a craving in no time but not so much so that your teeth hurt just eating one.

If you are not a chocolate lover (I know there are a few of you weirdos out there) do not make these as you will be highly disappointed! However, if you need an easy recipe that is rich and fudgey these are for you. These bars will be perfect for the holidays and I can’t wait t make them with the Winter Red Oreos or the Peppermint Oreos. I may substitue the Andes Peppermint baking chips on top instead of using the mini chocolate chips to enhance the Peppermint flavor for the holidays. The only downside is they will not ship well and should really be kept chilled until a few hours before serving.  When serving for dessert I recommend cutting into squares and drizzling melted white chocolate over the bars, as I have done in the picture below. What a pretty presentation for such a simple recipe. MMMM good.

I rate this recipe a 9

Oreo Fudge Bars
adapted from allrecipes.com
1 16oz. package of Oreo cookies 
1 stick butter, melted
1/4 tsp satl
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk (I used Fat Free)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips (could use another 1/2 cup  semi-sweet chips if you like)
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips 
 

Preheat the oven to 325. baked-goods-015
Line a 9×13 pan with foil and lightly spray with PAM.
Set aside 6 Oreo cookies for the toppings.
In a small food processor grind the rest of the cookies. If you don’t have a food processor, just pound with a rolling pin until the cookies are fine crumbs. Add the salt to the crumbs and stir to combine.
Melt butter and gently stir together with the cookie crumb mixutre. 
Press firmly into the bottom of the prepared pan.  
Coarsely chop the remaining cookies into chunks and set aside.
Over a double boiler or in the microwave, melt 3/4 cup semi-sweet and 1/2 cup milk chocoalte chips together with the condensed milk and vanilla.
Stir frequently until smooth.
Spread evenly over the prepared cookie crust.
Sprinkle the mini chocolate chips and the Oreo cookies chunks over the top of the filling. Press down gently into the chocolate topping. 
Bake for 20-22 minutes oven.
Allow to cool on counter for 1 hour. Chill in fridge until completely cold and set before cutting into bars or it will make a big mess.
*These are not too great hot from the oven but are great after chilling and the filling has set!

Swirled Cake Bars

This recipe comes out of a handwritten cookbook of my grandma’s recipes. I received a copy of her her favorite recipes including her Oatmeal Fudge Bars. I love this cookbook and everytime I make a recipe from it I picture my grandma in her kitchen (with two stoves/ovens) baking bread and goodies each day. I loved to help her and can’t wait until I have children and grandchildren to create memories with them and share my passion for cooking and baking.

These bars a cross between cake and a brownie. They are not as light and fluffy as cake but don’t have that true uber chocolate flavor like a brownie would (even cake-like brownies). I made these for movie night with some friends. I wanted something chocolately but not overly so or too rich. I also wanted something that we could eat with our hands and not need a bowl and fork/spoon. I had recently made cupcakes and was not in the mood to make them again. I wanted a bar recipe but after paging through my cookbooks I did not find one that jumped out at me. That is when I reached for my grandma’s cookbook and the title caught my eye. That was exactly what I was looking for!

These bars have a more dense texture than cake but in a good way.  I like the fact that they incorporate chocolate into the batter without it dominating the overall flavor of the bar. It is like a marbled cake but in bar form.  The batter was very thick and I had a difficult time ‘swirling’ the two together. I swirled very little for fear of mixing the two batter together making the two distinct colors merge into a lightly colored cake bar.

These were eaten up by my friends in no time, even by the non-sweet eaters. I will admit that we did eat a few after the movie with a scoop of icecream,  hot fudge and toasted walnuts on top. I have to say that I loved the texture of these bars with the icecream and hot fudge better than a cookie.

I would make these again. Next time I might add mini chocolate chips or toasted walnuts (as called for in the recipe) to the batter. My swirling technique was not the best with these bars because the batter was thick. Next time I think I will swirl more than I did this time, for appearance sake. Either way, these are worth a try and are easy to modify to your family’s preferences (toasted nuts, M&M’s, chocolate chips, PB chips, toasted coconut etc.) These would even be good frosted!

I rate this recipe a 7.5

Swirled Cake Bars
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup shortening (or butter)(I used 1/2 cup shortening 1/4 cup butter)
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
1 cup nuts (I omitted because I had none)
2 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, melted (I used 1 oz semi-sweet and 1 oz bittersweet)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees
Lightly spray and flour a 9×13 pan with PAM.
In a small bowl wisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. In large mixing bowl cream the shortening and sugar. Add the vanilla and eggs. Beat only to combine. Mix in the flour mixture and beat at medium speed for 2 minutes.
Spoon half the batter into another bowl. Fold the 1/2 cup of nuts into the vanilla batter. Gently pour batter into prepared pan.
To the remaining batter fold in the melted chocolate until incorporated. Gently drop spoonfulls of the chocolate batter over the vanilla batter in the pan. Using a greased knife, cut through the two batter to create swirl patter. Top with remaining nuts.
Bake for 20-30 minutes or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean. Do not overbake.
*Mine baked in 24 minutes.

Peanut Butter Blondies

What to do when you sweet tooth calls but you don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen or go to the store for ingredients?? Make Blondies!!

I love Blondies!! It is no lie. They are so simple to whip up, use easy to remember measurements (no recipe card needed, yeah!) and can be easily doubled to serve a larger crowd. Best of all they taste great and are so adaptable to what ever ‘add-in’ ingredients I have on hand and can be changed to meet the preferences of pretty much anyone. (Anyone who has a sweet tooth that is!)

As any reader of this blog knows I am a BIG BIG fan of sweets that have Peanut Butter and Chocolate. I took the recipe for my Basic Blondies but decided to add Peaut Butter in place of some of the butter and of course added some chocolate chips. The result? MMMM Good. These have a light peanut butter flavor and are great warm or chilled. I enjoyed one warm with some vanilla icecream. Later I had one cooled with hot fudge and chopped Reese’s cups. Either way these satisfied my sweet tooth and cured my craving for a peanut buttery treat! Definately a keeper that I can’t wait to make again.

Next time I will add chopped Reese’s PB cups on top the last 10 minutes of baking for an extra burst of Peanut Butter flavor!1

I rate these bars an 8.5 (I think the addition of chopped Reese’s would make them great)

Peanut Butter Blondies with Peanut Butter Cup
4-5 TBS butter, almost melted
1/2 cup peanut butter (I used Creamy)
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup chocolate chips (I used a combination of Milk Chocolate and Semi-Sweet)
*Next time I will chop some Reese’s PB cups (maybe 4 or so) and press them gently on top the last 10 mintues of baking. Or substitute some PB chips for some/all the chocolate chips.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Preheat oven to 350.
Line an 8×8 pan with foil and lightly spray with PAM.
In a medium microwave safe mixing bowl melt the butter for 20-30 seconds until almost/all melted. Allow to cool for 5 mintues.

Stir the peanut butter into the butter until creamy and smooth. Add the brown sugar to the butter/peanut butter and stir until smooth. Add the egg and vanilla and stir to combine.  Add the flour, baking powder adn salt to the peanut butter mixtuer and stir just to combine. Gently fold in chocolate chips and any other additions (chopped nuts, chopped Reese’s cups, Reese’s pieces, etc).

Pour into prepared pan and use a greased spatula to evenly spread mixture in pan and level the top. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until set in the middle. (I baked for 24 minutes)

Cool on rack before cutting.

For another version of PB blondies check out a fellow blogger who also made some yummy treats!!

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Oat Bars

I love to bake, that is no surprise but during the hot and humid summer months I do not like to turn on my oven (unless I have to). Because my sweet tooth cares not about the weather, I need to find recipes to satisfy it but not heat the house to temperatures comparible to those Hell. ha ha.

The internet came to my rescue yesterday and I found a recipe that included two of my favorite treats: Peanut butter and Chocolate. Food of the Gods I say.  I did adapt the recipe a bit, my changes in parenthesis, and would do the same in the future as I felt they turned out great!! In fact I have made them three times in two days!

This recipe comes together in about 10 minutes but needs about 3 hours in the fridge to chill and set. These bars are gooey and need to be eaten with a bowl and sppon if not chilled/set but still very good. I like to take them out about 15 minutes before serving to soften a bit but still keep their shape. I served these to family and three people demanded the recipe. That is when I know it is good!! So good, I actually had to make these twice yesterday because the first pan was eaten before dinner in about 10 minutes! That is another reason to love the recipe, you can whip up another batch in no time flat! They chilled while we cooked and ate dinner and were perfectly set and ready to eat afterward.

*Next time I may sprinkle some chopped Reese’s Peanut Butter cups on top with the oat topping to enhance the peanut butter flavor!!

I give these bars a 9.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Oat Bars
adapted from allrecipes.com
1 cup butter (I used 2/3 cup butter)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups quick cooking oats (I used between 2 3/4 and 3 1/4 cups, just enough to keep moist but not too wet or too dry)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (I used 1 1/4 cups, a mixture of Milk and Semi-Sweet chips)
1/2 cup peanut butter (I used 3/4 cup)

Grease a 9×9 inch square pan. (I lined an 8×8 pan with foil and sprayed with PAM)

Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in brown sugar and vanilla. Mix in the oats. Cook over low heat 2 to 3 minutes, or until ingredients are well blended.
Press half of mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. (I pressed 2/3 mixture in bottom of pan)
Reserve the remainder for topping.

Meanwhile, melt chocolate chips and peanut butter in a small heavy saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently until smooth. Pour the chocolate mixture over the crust in the pan, and spread evenly with a knife or the back of a spoon.

Crumble the remaining oat mixture over the chocolate layer, pressing in gently.
Cover, and refrigerate 2 to 3 hours or overnight. Bring to room temperature before cutting into bars.

Strawberry Cheesecake Swirled Blondies

They sound great don’t they!
I rarely bake using fruit (not sure why because I LOVE fruit!!) and have been playing around with this dessert idea in my head for some time. I wanted to make a blondie that utilized one of my favorite fruits and decided to try and make a Strawberry Cheesecake Swirled Blondie.

These did  not come out as I had pictured in my head. While good, they did not have as strong as strawberry flavor as I had hoped and the cheesecake swirl was kind of sticky and gummy (not the smooth and creamy consistency I was envisioning). I think the cheesecake portion was gummy because I had added a large amount of preserves to the mixture in an attempt to create a real strawberry flavor. I ended up with cheesecake batter that was thinner than I had wanted but I did not want to add more cream cheese to dilute the strawberry flavor.
Next time I may try Strawberry flavored Cream Cheese along with a few preserves. I did not use the flavored cream cheese this go around because I think it can taste artificial and I wanted to keep the recipe as ‘pure’ as possible.

I also did not add a lot of ‘extras’ to the batter since this was my first attempt and really wanted to test out the flavor of the strawberry cheesecake swirl. I did add a few white chocolate chunks which complimented the flavors nicely and added a bit of textural interest to the bars. I bet toasted pecans would be wonderful as well. As is these were best after cooling in the fridge for 24 hours and served cold with a scoop of Strawberry Icecream!

All in all this is a good bar but could use some improvements to live up to what I have pictured in my head. Like I said, next time I will try flavored cream cheese and less preserves in order to keep the cheesecake swirl nice and creamy. I would suggest trying these out and adding your own twist! If you have a successful recipe be sure to let me know!!

I rate these bars a 6 (but they have potential to be much better!)
I would give these a 7 after chilling 24 hours and served with Strawberry Icecream

Blondies
6 TBS butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup coarsley chopped White Baking Chocolate

Strawberry Cheesecake Swirl
5 oz cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup Seedless Strawberry Preserves
1/4 cup sugar
2 TBS flour
1 tsp pure Vanilla
1 egg yolk
1-3 drops Red food coloring (optional but I used)

In bowl combine cream cheese, sugar, flour and vanilla beat until smooth. Add egg yolk and food coloring if using and beat just until combined. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350.
Line an 8×8 pan with foil and lightly spray with PAM.
In a large microwave safe mixing bowl melt the butter. Allow to cool for 5 mintues.

Mix the brown sugar with the melted butter and beat until smooth. Beat in egg and then vanilla. Add salt, stir in flour baking powder.
Mix in chopped white chocolate and nuts (if using)

Pour 2/3 batter into prepared pan and use a greased spatula to evenly spread mixture in pan and level the top. Dollup strawberry cream cheese mixture and remaining blondie batter over blondie batter in pan.
Run a knife through the blondie and cheesecake layers to create a pattern or swirls.

Bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or until set in the middle. (I baked for 32 minutes)
Cool on rack before cutting.