Peppermint Brownie Cups

december-056

I am at it again! I can’t seem to get enough of chocolate and peppermint this time of year! This time I used one of my favorite recipes and adpat it a bit. I based this recipe off of this recipe and this one.  I wanted to mix it up a bit and this time decided bake them in muffin cups instead of in a cake pan. Even if you don’t use my recipe, feel free to try your own brownie recipe as the base for these yummy treats!

These have become one of my favorites this holiday season. Aside from being delicious, they are cute and festive. The perfect combination of chocolate and peppermint with a dense brownie texture. I love that they are individually portioned making them perfect for any Holiday party, treat tray or to pack in a lunch!

The best part is unlike baking a pan of brownies, these are a snap to portion for later. If you are anything like me, you rarely bake brownies unless you know others will be consuming them as well. If not you have two options, eat a few and allow the rest of the pan to stale or eat the entire pan yourself in a day or two (I usually do the latter of the two options.)  The solution my friends?? Bake your brownies in a muffin pan!
I baked these on Wednesday night and took a few to work. I froze the rest of these after they baked and cooled. I sealed them individually in heavy duty freezer bags and placed them carefully in the freezer (you don’t want anything to crush them so you may need a good deal of freezer room). To enjoy, I just took one out of the freezer and allowed to come back to room temp. So yummy! I microwaved it for 7 seconds to warm up and enjoyed with a mug of hot chocolate!

If you are looking for a treat that is sure to please now and later, you have to give these a try!

 I rate this recipe a 9

Peppermint Brownie Cups
6 TBS butter
6 oz  semisweet chocolate (chopped
2 oz. bittersweet chocolate (chopped)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/4 tsp peppermint extract
1/4 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup Milk Chocolate Chips
2 cups Andes Peppermint Crunch Baking Chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line a muffin tin with paper liners. Lightly spray liners with cooking spray.

In a heat-proof bowl, melt together butter and chcolate in the microwave in 30 second intervals stirring after each interval until smooth. Allow to cool for 5 mintues.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.

Whisk or beat the sugar into the chocolate mixture. Add eggdecember-057s and peppermint extract mixing until combined and smooth. Add flour mixture and mix until combined. Gently fold in the 1/2 cup chocolate chips and 1/2 cup Andes Peppermint Crunch Baking Chips.

Carefully pour batter to prepared each muffin liner filling about 2/3 full. Sprinkle a few Andes Peppermint chips over the top of each individual brownie. . Bake for 18-23 mintues or until a cake tester comes out with a few crumbs.

*Baking time will depend on your oven, watch carefully so you don’t overbake! Mine were done in 20 minutes.

Allow to cool before removing from muffin pan.
Keep brownies in cupcake liners until ready to serve  to help prevent them from drying out.

*I got 14 brownies, it will depend on how you fill the muffin cups on how many you get.

Chocolate Mint Fudge Brownies

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With the Holidays around the corner I have been trying out recipes to put on my goodie trays. I love the flavor of mint around the holidays, especially when paired with chocolate. With those two flavors in my mind I decided to bake up some goodies. What better Holiday treat than Mint Brownies?  I made up this recipe as I went along but based it off of these.
 
These brownies are wonderful and exactly what I was trying to create. The texture of these fall somewhere between a ‘cakey’ and ‘fudgy’ but lean a little  more toward the fudgy side. In my opinion they have the perfect texture. The brownies themselves have a wonderful minty flavor that is is not too overpowering but rather enhanced by the peices of Andes mints spekled through out each bite. The light green color of the mints will make these perfect for the holidays. I love how festive they look and will round out my holiday goody tray perfectly! If you are looking for a rich chocolatey brownie that will compliment a cup of hot cocoa on a chily night, these are for you.
 
Next time I think I will  bake in mini muffin tins drizzle with melted white chocolate tinted with green food coloring for a little more pizzaz. I can’t wait to try these again!. 
 
I rate this recipe a 9
Mint Fudge Brownies

6 TBS butter
6 oz  semisweet chocolate (chopped
2 oz. bittersweet chocolate (chopped)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/4 tsp mint extract
1/4 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup Andes chips (or mints, chopped)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line an 8-inch square baking dish with parchment paperdecember-015

In a heat-proof bowl, melt together butter and chcolate in the microwave in 30 second intervals stirring after each interval until smooth. Allow to cool for 5 mintues.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.

Whisk or beat the sugar into the chocolate mixture. Add eggs and mint extract mixing until combined and smooth. Add flour mixture and mix until combined. Gently fold in the 3/4 cup Andes chips.

Carefully pour batter to prepared pan, and smooth top with an offset spatula. Evenly sprinkle remaining Andes chips over top of the brownies. Bake for 25-20 mintues or until a cake tester comes out with a few crumbs.
Allow to cool before cutting and serving.

The Best Brownies (again)

Sometimes you are just in the mood for a really good brownie.

You know, the no ‘special’ ingredients or fancy names. You just want a brownie that combines great taste and texture. While what defines a “great” brownie is highly subjective and varies greatly from person to person, for me these are very very good.

I love brownies with a light crumb, crossing ever so-slightly over the line towards fudgey and away from cakey. I prefer to not frost my brownies (just an unneeded sugar blanket if your brownies themselves are up to par). I prefer a crackly top, you know the kind you get from a boxed (gasp) mix. Well, these are lacking that but deliver in flavor and texture in every other way and more than satisfied my craving for great plain brownie.  I had made this recipe before but felt they were almost too fudgey and bordering on underbaked (which I feel I may have done).
While you don’t want to overbake brownies (a tester SHOULD have a few crumbs when testing the center of brownies for doneness) or they will be dry and crumbly; you don’t want to underbake them too much unless you are looking for them to sink in the middle and have a dense fudgey texture.

I am glad I gave this recipe another shot. I did change up the recipe ever so slighlty and have highlighted my changes in italics. I watched these brownies like a hawk the last ten minutes of baking to ensure that I did not under or overbake them in my oven.

I allowed to cool on the counter for 5 minutes, then I placed them in the fridge on a trivet for 30 minutes to cool before cutting. I read this cooling method in a baking book I thumbed through at a used bookstore. According to the book, cooling brownies more rapidly  produces an intesified chocolate flavor and fudgey light texture. I am not sure if this cooling method is to thank for wonderful flavor and texture or if this recipe just needed a longer bake time than I used in my previous attempt to really shine. Either way it produced a brownie that was phenomenal in texture and flavor. Now if it only had that crackly top……….even without it, these are a winner in my book.

I rate these brownies an 8.5

Hershey’s (Or in this case Ghiridelli’s) Best Brownie
Hershey’s
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 TBS Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup
2 eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa (I used Ghiridelli Unsweetened Cocoa Powder)
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup mini Semisweet Chocolate Chips
1/4 cup mini Milk Chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Line an 8×8 pan with foil and lighlty spray with PAM.
In large bowl sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl stir together butter and sugar. Add and stir in vanilla and syrup.  Add eggs, one at a time and mix well. Gently fold in flour mixture until well blended. Stir in chocolate chips. Spread batter evenly into prepared pan.
Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until brownies begin to pull away from sides of pan.
Cool brownies on counter for 5 minutes. Place brownies, still in pan, into the fridge for 30 minutes to cool. Remove from fridge and finish cooling on counter.
Once completely set and cooled, lift foil and brownies from pan. Peel back the foil and using a sharp plastic knife cut brownies.
Store coverd at room temperature.

Frosted Marshmallow Brownies

It has been a while since I have posted. That is what happens when work and life gets in the way of my time in the kitchen. I was lucky enough to spend some time with my family this past weekend and got some time back in the kitchen!!

This recipe is from my very own mother. It is one that she has been making for years as they are my sister’s favorite brownie. Who wouldn’t love a brownie with a layer of gooey marshmallows topped off with a layer of fudgey frosting? I have to say that these are very very good. The brownie layer is thin (relative to most brownie recipes) but sturdy and is not overly-chocolatey or sweet. It provides a great base for the marshmallows and sweet chocolate-fudge-like frosting.

The frosting measurements are estimates as my mom has made these so many times, she just “eye-balls” everything, ha ha. Well, in order to  blog about the recipe, I had her provide ‘estimates’ as she made the frosting. I have to say that I really love this frosting, it is rich and chocolatey, almost like a thin fudge layer. I hope you enjoy these as much as my sister and our family does!

I rate these an 8.5

Frosted Marshmallow Bars
3/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 TBS baking cocoa
3-4 cups mini marshmallows

Preheat oven to 350.
Lightly grease a 9×13 pan with PAM
In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla beat until fluffy.
In a small bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa. Stir to combine. Add the flour mixture to creamed mixture. spread in greased 9×13 pan.
Bake for 17-20 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with marshmallows, return to oven 2-3 mintues, or just until marshmallows are soft.
Remove from oven. Using a knife dipped in water spread the metled marshmallows evenly over bars.

Frosting
3/4 stick butter
6 TBS Milk
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup mini marshmallows or 4-6 large marshmallows
1/2 cup Chocolate chips (maybe upto 3/4 cup depending how chocolatey you want it)

Combine ingredients (except marshmallows and chocolate chips) in medium saucepan and melt over medium low heat. Stir constantly until combined. Bring to a boil and boil for 1 minute.
Add marshmallows and chocolate chips
Stir until marshmallows and chips are melted.
Remove from heat. Allow to cool and thicken slightly (can set in sink of cold water to speed up process). Pour and spread over marshmallows on bars.
Allow to cool before cutting and serving.

Incognito Peanut Butter Bars

Yup, I am at it again with the Peanut Butter. Be honest though, can you ever have too many desserts with Peanut Butter and Chocolate?? I think not.

This recipe comes from my Grandma’s recipe box. Deceivingly these were titled Peanut Butter Bars, but as you can see these look more like a brownie than a Peanut Butter bar! In reality these moist little bars are more like a brownie with a slight Peanut Butter undertone than what I think a Peanut Butter bar to be so I am changing their name to Incognito Bars (because the PB flavor is undercover in these chocolatey-looking bars).

These bars are thick, moist and all in all very good. I will be making these again and I really liked the simplicity of the recipe and how quick they came together.

*Next time I might increase the amount of Peanut Butter by 2 TBS and increase the amount of cocoa powder to 3TBS total(decreasing the amount of flour by 1 TBS so the texture and consistency of the bars remains unchanged). I might also add mini chocoalte chips or those mini Reese’s PB baking cups or chips to the batter before baking.

As you can see, I have several ideas in mind for these little babies in the near future because these bars were very good and worth a try.

I tasted one of these babies while they were warm and found the flavor of both the chocolate and Peanut Butter to be too subtle for my liking. I felt they needed to be “Jazzed” up a bit. So, I whipped up a simple Chocolate/Peanut Butter ‘frosting’ and topped with crumbled a Butterfinger bar.

The Result? MMMMM, finger licking good!

I did notice, however, after cooling the flavor of the bars themselves seemed to deepen a bit and you can taste the chocolate and peanut butter a little more than right out of the oven. Because their flavor seems to deepen after they set a few hours/overnight you may want to try these bars after they have cooled and set without the frosting/candy bar topping to see if you feel they need that extra sweetness.
I found them to be great with the additions by my tooth has been known to be pretty sweet!

I would rate these bars:
Plain and warm out of the oven a 6
Plain the next day a 7
With frosting and candy topping an 8

Incognito Peanut Butter Bars
1/3 cup Peanut Butter
1/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup flour
2 TBS cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder

Chocolate Peanut Butter Frosting (if desired)
Chopped/Crushed Candy bars (if desired, Butterfinger’s pictured)

Preheat oven to 325.
Line an 8×8 pan with foil and spray with PAM.
In a medium bowl sift together the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder.
In a medium mixing bowl cream the peanut butter, butter and sugar until combined. Add eggs and beat well. Slowly add the flour mixture.
Spread batter in pan and bake for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool.
Frost if desired and sprinkle with crushed Butterfinger bar (as pictured) or Chopped Reese’s PB cups.


Chocolate Peanut Butter Frosting (Optional)
1/2 cup Peanut Butter (creamy)
1 cup Chocolate Chips
1 TBS shortening

In a small saucepan over medium low heat, stir toghter Peanut Butter, chips and shortening until smooth. You can add more Peanut Butter or Chocolate chips depending how much frosting you want and to taste.
Gently Spread Evenly over bars. Sprinkle with crushed/chopped candy if desired.

Double Peanut Butter Cheesecake Swirled Brownies


Lick the beaters, the spoon, your fingers, the knife and your plate. These are THAT good in my opinion. I have been tweaking a basic brownie recipe for the past six months that I found in my mom’s recipe box. The recipe was tattered and and speckled with dried batter (a sign of a winner in my book!). My mom rarey makes brownies from scratch anymore as she is a woman of convenience and the $.88 boxed brownie mix. She did remember that she used to bake these from scratch all of the time when she was my age and first married to my dad but doesn’t remember where she got the recipe.

The first time I baked the brownies according to the recipe but they were not very chocolatey and way too cakey for my liking. I did some tweaking (more/less eggs, sugar, butter, chocolate, cocoa powder, etc) every time I have made them and lets just say that these brownies came out to be the Brownies I had dreamed of. I only hope to have continued success with the recipe as written, if not, I am not afraid to tweak some more until pure brownie perfection is achieved. **Fingers crossed for future success!!

After my latest tweaks I stood there looking at the batter in my mixing bowl. Not wanting to be disappointed by another plain-jane-so-so brownie I decided to jazz them up a bit. In my book chocolate, cheesecake and peanut butter is a combination created by the Gods. And let’s just say the God’s have shined down upon this recipe. These brownies are fudgey, gooey and oh so chocolately (thanks to THREE different kinds of chocolate) with a creamy peanut-buttery cheesecake swirled throughout not once but twice. If that wasn’t enough peanut butter overload these babies are topped with chopped Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups the last five minutes of baking. Just long enough for them to melt into the brownies a bit but still retain their shape making these brownies fall into the FOOD PORN category.
Go ahead and indulge!

I rate these brownies a 9

Double Peanut Butter Cheesecake Swirled Brownies

3/4 cup butter, very soft (not melted but softer than room temp)
1 cup sugar
1 TBS vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate, melted
1 oz. semi-sweet baking chocolate, melted
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
Peanut Butter Cheesecake Swirl
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cups creamy PB
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
5-6 Reese’s peanut butter cups (regular size) cut into 6-8 pieces each
IMPORTANT: Do NOT omit the Reese’s Peanut Butter cups. They take these brownies over the top and add the “Double” Peanut Butter taste the title tepts tastebuds with
Preheat oven to 350. Line an 8×8″ square pan with foil and lightly coat with PAM cooking spray.
In a microwave safe bowl melt the two baking chocolate squares in 30 second intervals stirring after each interval until smooth and melted after stirring. Do not scortch! Remove from microwave and allow to come to room temperature.
In a large mixing bowl, Beat together butter and sugar until combined. Beat in eggs one at a time until blended. Add vanilla and melted chocolate. Mix to combine. Combine dry ingredients in medium bowl and wisk together. Gradually stir dry ingredients into butter mixture. Do not overmix.
In separate mixing bowl, beat together cream cheese, peanut butter sugar and vanilla until smooth. Add egg and beat until just combined.

Spread about 2/3 of chocolate brownie batter into prepared pan. Evenly drop 1/2 of cheesecake batter in dollups over brownie batter. Run a knife through both mixtures to slightly swirl.
Dollop remaining brownie batter and cheesecake batter over swirled mixture. Run knife through the browine and cheesecake dollups (not all the way through the already swirled layer) to create a swirled pattern.
Bake for 40-45 minutes**, or until center is set and a toothpick inserted in the center has a few crumbs stuck to it. Do not overbake or they will harden, if underbaked they will be too gooey. Every oven is different so watch and check these after about 35-40 minutes of baking to ensure propper doneness.
**After about 35-40 minutes of baking (with about 5-7 minutes of baking time left, you just need to eyeball it) gently place cut up Reese’s cups over top of almost fully baked brownies. Finish baking until a toothpick inserted in the center has a few crumbs stuck to it. The Reese’s PB cups will melt but hold their shape slightly. Cool completely on wire rack before cutting and serving.

NOTE: I have not baked the brownie recipe without the Double Peanut Butter Cheesecake Swirl and Reese’s on top so I am not sure how the brownies themselves rate. Let’s just say I may not find out as I am in love with the Double Peanut Butter Cheesecake recipe.

NOTE 2/13/08: I changed and added 5-7 minutes the baking time as a few people who have made the recipe indicated a longer bake time was needed than oringinally posted. The recipe listed above reflects those changes.
All ovens are different so be sure to keep an eye on your brownies to prevent overbaking. Brownies are done when a toothpick inserted in center comes out with a few crumbs stuck to it.

Best Brownies

You be the judge.

The quest for the perfect basic brownie recipe is as ongoing as the quest for the perfect chocolate chip cookie. Each person has their own opinion as too what makes the “Perfect” one. I prefer a brownie that is NOT cakey, yet chewy and a little fudgey. I despise frosting on a brownie as I feel it is really just a cover for a so-so brownie recipe under neath. That being said, if you want fudgey brownies, you will want to try this recipe.
This recipe comes from the wonderful experts at Hershey (who have brought us the BEST chocolate cake recipe I have tried, sorry no pictures or blog entry on that yet). I typically use the recipe from the back of the Ghiridelli Sweetened Chocolate can but decided to try a new recipe in honor of a new year!
These brownies were very dense and fudge-like, almost a little too fudgey (that may be a good thing for some people). Many people over bake their brownies leaving them dry and crumbly, a toothpick inserted in the center should have a few crumbs on it when testing for the doneness of brownies. If it comes out clean you have overbaked them.
Now on to the recipe:
I rate this recipe an 8.5

*My changes in red
Best Brownies
(Source: Hershey’s)
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, melted
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup Hershey’s cocoa (I used Ghiridelli becacue that is what I had on hand)
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional; I used walnuts)
Heat oven to 350.
Grease 9-inch square baking pan. (I used an 8×8 square pan)
Stir together butter, sugar and vanilla in bowl. Add eggs; beat well with spoon.
Stir together flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt; gradually add to egg mixture, beating until well blended.
Stir in nuts, if desired.
Spread batter evenly into prepared pan.
Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until brownies begin to pull away from sides of the pan. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into squares.

Cheesecake Swirled Ghiradelli Award Winning Brownies

of chocolate and cheesecake!

These brownies are awesome! So rich and chocolatey paired with the creaminess of cheesecake swirled throughout! So simple yet so impressive and decadant. You really should use a good quality cocoa powder to fully appreciate these brownies. I used the recipe for the brownie from the Ghriadelli Sweet Cocoa Can.

I rate these brownies an 8.5

Ghirardelli Award Winning Brownies
2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla
1/2 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup Ghirardelli Sweet Ground Chocolate and Cocoa
2/3 cup unsifted flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup walnuts (I did not use)
1 cup Chocolate Chips (I used 1/2 semi sweet and 1/2 milk chocolate chips)

Preheat oven to 350.
Line 8×8 pan with foil and spray with PAM.
In bowl, stir together the eggs, sugar and vanilla. Add butter.
Sift Cocoa powder, flour, baking powder and salt. Stir into egg mixture.
Stir in chips (and nuts if using).

**Spread into pan and bake for 20-30 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out with a few crumbs.

Cheesecake Swirled Brownies

**If making cheesecake swirled brownies, use recipe above but only spread 2/3 batter into pan. Dollup cream cheese mixture over brownie batter in pan.
Dollup the remainin 1/3 batter on top of cheesecake mixture.
Run a knife through the brownie and cheesecake layers to create a pattern or swirls.
Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes or until toothpick comes out with a few crumbs when inserted. Do NOT overbake

Cheesecake Swirl
7 oz cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
2 TBS flour
1 tsp pure Vanilla
1 egg

In bowl combine cream cheese, sugar, flour and vanilla beat until smooth. Add egg and beat just until combined.