Brownie and Mini Chip Roll Out Cookies

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! Today you get a treat and get TWO recipes in one post! How sweet is that? Ok, enough with the bad puns.

I chose to veer away from the ordinary this Valentine’s Day and not make the usual sugar cookies. I knew I still wanted to be able to make them into cute hearts and decorate them up with frosting and sprinkles if time allowed. After searching for a while I decided on two roll-out cookie recipes.This chocolate one from Smitten Kitchen and a chocolate chip version from Very Best Baking.

Both recipes were whipped up in no time, about 10 minutes each. They both did require an hour chill in the fridge before being ready to get rolled and baked. That gave me plenty of time to wash up some dishes and get prepared with my rolling pin and cookie cutters.After an hour chill both doughs were firm yet easy to work with and roll. I had no problems with either dough sticking to the counter or pin. This may because I lightly covered the counter and the pin with cocoa powder for the chocolate roll-outs and powdered sugar for the chocolate chip roll-outs. Both recipes call for a 350 degree oven making it super simple to transition from one batch to the next. I have to say that I am very pleased with both versions of cut-outs.

The chocolate version had a slight chocolate flavor (I was wishing for more), tender texture and was sturdy enough to decorate after baking. Likewise the chocolate chip cookie was tender, a bit more delicate while warm but firmed up nicely after baking. Though sturdy and firm, neither cookie became crisp after cooling (a plus in my book).  Everyone at work loved these, especially the chocolate chip version. What’s better than a tender, chewy fun shaped chocolate chip cookie?

I will admit, I enjoyed the Chocolate chip version better than the chocolate brownie one which surprised me. I just felt the chocolate flavor wasn’t quite there to be called a ‘brownie’ cookie. My expectations could have been too high, these are good, don’t get me wrong, but they weren’t as good as I had hoped. Maybe if I would add some more cocoa powder and mini chocolate chips next time that would up them a bit.  The chocolate chip roll-out had a more delicate flavor than a chocolate chip cookie, almost shortbread like texture and the mini-chips just added that oomph that made me swoon. Maybe I was just in the mood for these or maybe it was the mini chips, but these made me smile.  I would recommend both recipes, especially if you want to try something a bit more fun than the basic sugar cookie.
These were both great plain but held up well when decorated with some frosting and sprinkles.

I rate the Brownie Roll-out Cookies an 8
I rate the Mini Chip Cut-out Cookies an 8.5

Brownie Roll-Out Cookies*Recipe from Deb’s mom
Smitten Kitchen
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup lightly salted butter, softened (Deb note: I don’t really see “lightly salted” much these days, so I used one stick salted, one stick unsalted)
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa

Preheat oven at 350 degrees. Whisk dry flour, salt and baking powder in bowl and set aside. Mix butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla and cocoa in mixer. Gradually add flour mixture, and mix until smooth. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least one hour.

Roll out cookie dough on floured counter. Cut into desired shapes, brushing extra deposits of flour off the top. (It does disappear once baked, though, so don’t overly fret if they go into the oven looking white.) Bake on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 8 to 11 minutes (the former for 1/8-inch thick cookies, the latter for 1/4-inch cookies) until the edges are firm and the centers are slightly soft and puffed.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Mini Chip Roll-Out Cookies
Very Best Baking
1 cup butter or margarine, softened (I used butter)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg yolk
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour1 cup NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Mini Morsels

Beat butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, vanilla extract and salt in large mixer bowl until creamy. Beat in egg yolk. Gradually beat in flour. Stir in 1 cup morsels. Divide dough in half; cover. Chill for 1 hour or until firm.

Roll half of dough to 1/4-inch thickness between two sheets of waxed paper. Remove top sheet of waxed paper. Cut into shapes using cookie cutters. Lift from waxed paper; place on ungreased baking sheets. Chill for 10 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough.
Bake in preheated 350° F. oven for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Decorate as desired after cooling. Store in an airtight container.

Chocolate Crunched Caramel Tart

This recipe comes from Dorie Greenspan’s book packed full of wonderful dessert recipes.  This is not a dessert I would typically make because it is a bit labor intensive and time consuming. There are three components to the recipe, the tart shell, caramel layer and the chocolate ganache. Each component comes together fairly quickly and if you have experience making caramel this recipe will be a breeze for you.

This dessert is great for those who love a good Snickers bar, basically this is a Snickers in a tart form (minus the nougat). The tart dough was so good and is reason enough to make this recipe! Slightly sweet, great texture, just wonderful!

If, however, you are like me and would rather have a root canal than use a candy thermometer, this recipe can be a bit intimidating and nerve wracking. All in all in turned out well. I did have trouble with the caramel layer even though Dorie gives very clear directions. It was definitely not the recipe’s fault but baker-error that caused the issues.  My caramel layer turned out a bit thicker than I would have liked because I let it cook too long for fear of  it being too runny (this has happened to me in the past when I have tried making caramels).

Because my caramel layer was a bit thick, once I added the nuts to it it kind of clumped up into clusters making it VERY hard to spread evenly over the tart shell.
Next time I will A) not cook as long, B) may double the caramel layer and C) spread the caramel over the tart shell and then sprinkle the nuts on top since I think it would be hard to spread even if it was thinner just because the nuts liked to cling to the back of my spatula and dug into the shell. You can tell in the pictures the caramel layer is quite thin.

Despite the error, this turned out very well. I was fearful we would break a tooth (and thus requiring a root canal, the irony in that would not be lost on me) after it set up and chilled. We were surprised when we took our first bite and while the caramel was firm (ok, it was hard) it was not tooth-breaking hard. Yeah! Minor success!

This tasted great and we really enjoyed it. It is not something I will be whipping up again soon, but will be using the tart shell for some Berry Tarts this spring!

I rate this recipe an 8

Chocolate-Crunched Caramel Tart
by Dorie Greenspan

For the tart shell:
1 egg yolk
2 tbsp. very cold water
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
8 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
For the caramel layer:
Scant 1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar, sifted
1 tbsp. light corn syrup
2 tbsp. salted butter, cut into 4 pieces, at room temperature
Pinch of salt (if using unsalted butter)
3/4 cup honey-roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
For the ganache:
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (I used 4 oz bittersweet and 4oz semi sweet chocolate)
1 cup plus 2 tbsp. heavy cream
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces, at room temperature
Directions:

To make the tart shell, in a small bowl stir together the egg yolk, water and vanilla; set aside.  Combine the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Add the butter and beat on medium-low speed until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal, with butter pieces no larger than small peas.  Add the egg mixture and beat on low speed just until the dough comes together.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled, about 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.  When you are ready to roll out the dough, unwrap it and place it on a lightly floured work surface.
Roll out with a floured rolling pin, lifting and turning the dough occasionally to prevent it from sticking to the work surface.
Roll it out evenly until it is large enough to line a 9-inch tart pan and is about 1/8-inch thick.
Carefully transfer the dough to the tart pan, pressing it into the sides, and trim to remove the excess.  Cover the dough with foil or parchment paper and fill with baking beads.  Bake for 5 minutes.

Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
Remove the foil and baking beads and using a fork, gently poke holes in the bottom and sides of the crust.  Bake until the crust is golden, 15-20 minutes more.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.Before making the caramel, make sure that you have all the ingredients measured out and ready to go because you have to work quickly once the sugar caramelizes.  Also have a medium heatproof bowl at hand to hold the hot caramel.

To make the caramel, bring the heavy cream to a simmer in a small saucepan.  Meanwhile, heat a medium skillet, preferably nonstick, to medium heat and sprinkle in about 3 tablespoons of the sugar.
When it melts, stir it with a wooden spatula or a fork and sprinkle over another 3 tablespoons.  When that sugar is melted, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar.
The sugar in the pan may already have started to color and that is fine.  Stir in the corn syrup and boil the syrup until it reaches a deep caramel color – it will probably begin to smoke, and that is normal.

Bring the simmering cream to a full boil.  Stand back from the skillet and stir in the butter and salt, if you’re using it.  The caramel will bubble furiously and may spatter, so be careful.  When the butter is in, add the warm cream – the caramel will bubble furiously again.
Lower the temperature just a tad and let the caramel boil for just 2 minutes.  (If you check the temperature with a thermometer, the caramel should be at 226 degrees F.)  Pour the seething caramel into the heatproof bowl and set it aside while you make the ganache.

To make the ganache, put the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl and have a whisk or rubber spatula at hand.  Bring the cream to a boil, then pour half of it over the chocolate and let it sit for 30 seconds.
Working with the whisk or spatula, very gently stir the chocolate and cream together in small circles, starting at center of the bowl and working your way out in increasingly larger concentric circles.  Pour in the remainder of the cream and blend it into the chocolate, using the same circular motion.
When the ganache is smooth and shiny, stir in the butter piece by piece. Don’t stir the ganache any more than you must to blend the ingredients – the less you work it, the darker, smoother and shinier it will be.

Cover the ganache with a piece of plastic wrap, pressing the plastic against the surface of the chocolate to create an airtight seal.  Set aside at room temperature for the moment.  To assemble the tart, stir the peanuts into the caramel using a rubber spatula.  If the caramel is too thick to stir or spread easily, gently warm it in the microwave in 3-second spurts.  (You can also hold the heatproof bowl about 10 inches above the burner on your range.  Check the consistency after a couple of seconds and repeat if necessary.)  Spread the caramel over the bottom of the tart shell in a thin layer.  Refrigerate the tart for 15 minutes to set the caramel.

Check the ganache.  If it has thickened and is no longer pourable, warm it in the same way as instructed for the caramel above.  Pour the ganache over the caramel and jiggle the tart pan to even it.  Refrigerate the tart for 30 minutes but no longer, and then keep it at room temperature until serving time.

Butterscotch Bars with Brown Sugar Icing

I have had this recipe printed off for months but have been waiting for the perfect occasion to whip them up as they make a ton and I so do NOT need a sheet pan of sweets tempting me during the Holidays!

These bars (the original recipe calls them brownies, but really, these are a bar) would be the love child of a blondie and a sugar cookie bar (if baked goods could produce offspring). From the ingredieint list alone I knew I was in for a sweet and carmely treat!

Imagine a thick, soft and chewy brown sugar cookie toped with a buttery brown sugar caramel icing. Because these bars are made in a 15×18 baking pan they make the perfect treat when you need to feed a crowd.

Making the recipe as is, you will end up with an almost too-sweet dessert that will more than satisfy the strongest of sweet tooth cravings with only a small serving.

These bars are made up of a soft and chewy base with brown sugar undertones that would be a great bar on its own (maybe some butterscotch or chocolate chips thrown into the batter?) In fact, if you wanted to make these bars even easier, you could easily skip the icing step and could sprinkle butterscotch chips over the top of the warm bars right out of the oven and then spread them into a thin layer as they melt.

However, If you do opt for the icing on top be prepared for a trip to the dentist! There is 6 cups of combined sugar in the icing alone! I know it covers a lot of bars, but yowza! Personally, I feel the icing layer was a bit too thick considering the depth of its flavor and could be scaled down to ¾ the amount next time (I have given the original proportions below so if you want to make a smaller batch you can reduce amounts accordingly).
I personally found these bars a tad too sweet when made according to the recipe but fell in love with the deep, buttery, carmely flavor of both the bar and the icing. I think each component could be stand alone and may too much when paired together (whith the amount of icing called for in the recipe). Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy these bars, if I were to make them with the icing again I would use a much thinner layer and reserve some of the icing for another treat, such as to slather on cupcakes or served warm drizzled over apple pie! MMMMM.

I took these bars to work and my boss and a co-worker asked around for an hour trying to find out who brought them as they fell in love with them! You have to understand, my boss went on and on about how great these were and he never does that and is not a huge sweet fan to begin with! Maybe my sweet tooth is too sensitive this holiday season.

I rate this recipe an 8

The recipe is from here

Butterscotch Bars with Brown Sugar Icing
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups firmly packed golden brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups chopped pecans, toasted

Icing
1 cup butter
2 cups brown sugar
4 cups powdered sugar (i sifted mine)
1/3 cup half and half or whole milk
1 tablespoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a half-sheet pan (13×18 inches) with aluminum foil and grease foil with butter or cooking spray.

Using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and brown sugar on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla and continue beating for another minute.

In a bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. Beat the flour mixture into the batter mixture on low speed until incorporated. Stir in the pecans.
Pour into the prepared pan, smoothing the top. Bake until the bars are set and slightly puffed, about 25 to 30 minutes.

Cool completely before icing.
When brownies are cool, spread icing evenly over the top. Let them sit for about 30 minutes to allow the icing to firm up before cutting into squares.

While the bars are cooling, make the icing:

Brown Sugar Icing: In a saucepan set over medium heat, melt butter and brown sugar. Once the mixture is lightly bubbling, decrease the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 more minutes; set aside.

Using an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the powdered sugar,  half-and-half and  vanilla on medium speed until creamy, about 1 minute.

Add the melted butter mixture and beat until combined.
Note: If you don’t own a half-sheet pan, you can bake the brownies in a 9×13-inch pan. Adjust the baking time and watch them carefully. You may have too much icing.

Decadent Chocolate Truffles

Wow! It has been a while! I have allowed life (and a busted camera) to get in the way of my blogging but not my baking. But I am back, with a new camera and several new and tasty treats for you! First up and just in time for the holiday-treat-making-and eating-season is decadent chocolate truffles What better way to celebrate the holiday season than with cute littel truffles? Imagine a pure chocolate shell delicately hiding beneath it a rich, creamy and fudgey center. Want some yet? Stay with me.

I am not a candy maker and have yet to master my candy thermometer. One reason I love truffles is because you do not need to worry about temperature of boiling ingredients to produce a delicious holiday candy!I have used this truffle recipe several times (after trial and error with several others) without fail and they have turned out marvelous each and every time!The key to the success of this recipe is two fold. You need good, high quality chocolate since that is basically the only ingredient and secondly, you need to have some patience with melting the chocolate if you choose to dip them.

This recipe is one of my favorites because it is super simple to make, requires only a few common ingredients and produces a treat that is truly impressive. Now, you have a few options here. I choose to coat my truffles in melted chocolate but you could also roll the chilled balls in cocoa powder, nuts or powdered sugar among other things to make your life more simple. Since I chose to dip my truffles I had to ensure that the melted chocolate coating for them was tempered (see here for information about tempering chocolate).I have found that you can do this a few ways (google ‘tempering chocolate’ for more information) but really enjoy the method I describe below. I have yet to fail with melting my chocolate this way and it is too easy not to at least try.

The key to success with this method is patience! You must microwave the chocoalte in several short intervals at medium-power stirring after each interval.You do not want to overheat the chocolate or it could burn or  lose its temper and thus causing you to start over or dip the truffles in your untempered chocolate (if you burn it, toss it and start over).If your chocolate is untempered it will still taste great but will not firm up and will not remain firm at room temperature. You will need to keep the truffles in the fridge to keep the coating firm and take out about 30 minutes before serving so the chocolate truffle inside is creamy. This recipe is a mixture of a few recipes I have tried over the years but mainly is adapted from Ina here.

I rate this recipe a 9.5

Decadent Chocolate Truffles

4  oz good bittersweet chocolate (recommended: Lindt)
12   oz. pound good semisweet chocolate (recommended: Ghiradelli)
1  cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon prepared coffee or ¼ tsp instant espresso powder
1/2 teaspoon good vanilla extract
*you can also add between 1-2 TBS flavored liquour (Grand Mariner, Baileys, etc) or 1 tsp flavored extract (mint, cherry, almond, etc) I do not.

Your choice:Confectioners’ sugar; Cocoa powder; Finely chopped nuts; or 12-14 oz chocolate for dipping (instructions below)

Chop the chocolates into small uniform pieces (the smaller the better) with a sharp knife. Place them in a heat-proof mixing bowl.In a small saucepan, heat the cream until it just boils.

Turn off and remove pan from heat for 20 seconds.Carefully pour the cream over the chopped chocolate and allow to sit for 30 seconds. Gently wisk the cream nd chocolates together until the chocolate is completely melted. Whisk in the coffee (or espresso powder) and vanilla and any flaovirng if you are using.

Set aside at room temperature or in the fridge to firm  for 1 hour.

With 2 teaspoons, spoon round balls of the chocolate mixture onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roll each ball of chocolate in your hands to roughly make it round.

At this point you can roll in confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder, chopped nuts, or any combination of the three. These will keep refrigerated for weeks, but serve them at room temperature.

If dipping: Place formed truffle balls on a parchement or waxed paper lined baking sheet.

Chill until firm or at least an hour.

When ready to dip. Finely chop your chocolate for coating (I used about 12-15 oz of chocolate). Place 12-13 oz chopped chocolate in a microwave save bowl and microwave for 30 second intervals at 50% power. Stir after each interval.

Continue with this method until chocolate is melted when stirred. Be careful NOT to overheat. Chocolate will keep its shape but will become smooth when stirred. Add the remaining 1-2oz chopped chocolate and stir until melted and mixture is smooth.

At this point remove truffles from fridge. You can place a small amount of melted chocolate in your hand and roll the truffle in it maiking sure to coat completely and then place back on the parchment baking sheet.

Alternately you could use a fork to dip the truffle into the melted chocolate and then back onto the baking sheet making sure to allow any access chocolate to drip off before placing on sheet.After all are coated allow to firm. If your chocolate has been tempered correctly they should firm within 5-8 minutes.

These can be stored at room temperature or in the fridge. Just remove about 30 minutes before serving so the truffle can become smooth and creamy.

Smooth and Creamy Almond Cheesecake

July 008

I wanted to play around with my usual cheesecake recipe.  It is a recipe that I have made up after experimenting a bit and trying out a few different recipes (and tasting far too many cheesecakes baked by friends and family). While I like to try new recipes, I tend to fall back on this one time and time again. It has been a while since I have made it and was craving a cool and creamy dessert. I most recently made the Dorie Greenspan cheesecake recipe and while I was pleased with the results, it was just too creamy for my liking (as the name suggests it came out tall and creamy). If that is your thing then I recommend her recipe as the flavor was wonderful.

I prefer my cheesecake to be a little more dense and sturdy yet creamy and smooth. While I enjoy plain cheesecake, I wanted to play around with the flavor a bit this go around. After much consideration I decided to try my hand at an almond flavored cheesecake. I took my basic recipe and added chopped almonds to the crust along with almond extract and almond paste to the filling to intensify the flavor. To top it all off I drizzled warm caramel or chocolate over the slices and garnished with toasted Almonds.

Overall, I would say that this cheesecake was a success if for no other reason than it was gorgeous, not one crack! The crust  provided a nice balance of sweetness and nutiness and was the perfect base for the smooth filling. I had never worked with Almond Paste before and found that the best way to incorporate it into the batter was to great it fine and whirl it in the food processor with the sugar. This ensured the almond paste would get mixed thouroughly into the batter and no clumps of paste would threaten the creamy texture I was after. The flavor of the almond in the finished cake was noticible and pleasant without being overwhelming. I enjoyed it but I am not 100% satisfied so I plan on playing around some more with the flavor. I may cut back on the extract and add some Amaretto to deepen the flavor profile more and reduce some of the ‘artificial’ almond flavor I feel the extract provides.

Even though I was not completely sold on the flavor, the texture kept me coming back for more! The nutty crust and creamy cheesecake kept calling my name so, fork in hand, I would happily nosh away. This cheesecake is firm right out of the fridge but is not so solid that you can not cut through each slice with your fork, just smooth and silky goodness. After coming to room temperature it still holds its shape well even when topped with caramel and nuts. I must admit that I do prefer the cold cheesecake best, especially drizzled with warm caramel, fudge and topped with nuts. I highly recommend making this a day or two before serving and garnishing this cheesecake with toasted nuts!
Really, though, don’t be afraid to make this your own by mixing up the flavors.  For a plain cheesecake omit the almond extract and almond paste and add 1 TBS Vanilla extract with the addition of the 3rd egg.

.
I rate this recipe an 8

Smooth and Creamy Almond Cheesecake
by bakingblonde

For the crust:
1  cup graham cracker crumbs
1 cup chopped almonds
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted

.
3 pkgs. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
1 can (14 oz.)  Sweetened Condensed Milk  (fat free works fine)
1/4 cup sour cream
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup Almond Paste, grated
2 TBS flour
3 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon almond extract

* Toasted Almonds for garnish (optional but totally recommended)July 009

Preheat oven to 300° F. Grease 9-inch springform pan.

Fill an oven safe cake pan (I use a 9×9 pan) 3/4 full with warm water. Set on bottom oven rack while oven is preheating.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar, almonds and butter, stir to combine.  Press onto bottom and 1 inch up side of prepared pan.

Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Remove and increase oven temperature to 350.

For the filling:
In the bowl of a food processor pulse the sugar and almond paste until it resembles a course meal. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl beat cream cheese until creamy. Add sweetened condensed milk, sour cream, sugar/almond paste and flour. Beat to combine.  Add  eggs one at a time beating only to combine after each addition. When adding the third egg, also add the almond extract; beat until combined.July 007

Gently pour batter evenly into prebaked crust.

Bake in preheated oven for 40-60 minutes or until edge is set and center moves slightly. Watch carefully and do  not overbake.

Shut oven off and allow cheesecake to cool in oven for 1-4  hours. Run a warm knife around edge of cheesecake after 1 hour.

Place in fridge to cool completely. (Remove the pan of water)

Allow to chill at least 24 hours before serving for best flavor and texture.

For the crust:
1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melte*

Peanut Butter Marshmallow Brownies

July 009

This recipe caught my eye several weeks ago. I was searching for a dessert recipe to use up a can of Sweetened Condensed milk and was in the mood for somthing different than my usual Magic Cookie Bars. This reipce combines several of my favorite flavors: Chocolate, Peanut Butter and Marshmallows. Another great thing about this recipe is that it uses a boxed cake mix keeping the ingredient list small.

While these were a breeze to whip up, it was a little time consuming. First you need to make and par bake the chocolate base. Next you need to make the filling, pour over the partially baked crust and then bake again. From start to finish these took about an hour for me, which on a hot summer day can feel like torture.

I also had a difficult time evenly spreading the sticky marshmallow/peanut butter filling over the crust. The filling was thick and way to hard to spread even with a buttered knife/spoon/spatula (maybe I was just having an off day). I ended up plopping spoonfulls of filling all over the crust and then with a greased knife did the best I could at trying make sure the crust was covered entirely. This worked well as the filling did thin and spread while baking.

The flavor of these bars made up for my frustrations while preparing them. They came out of the oven smelling faintly of peanut butter with bubbling marshmallow peeking through the chocolate topping just begging to be enjoyed. I waited about 30 minutes and then ate one warm. Don’t overbake as they are supposed to be a bit gooey when you take them out, they will firm up a bit as they cool.

The crust was sturdy but not hard, the filling had a subtly noticable peanut butter flavor and very similar to cheesecake in texture but gooier. Overall these were really great brownies and were enjoyed by all, even the non-peanut butter lovers (yes they do exist). While these brownies were yummy, they don’t beat out my favorite!

I did adapt this recipe a bit (based on my preferences and reviews) as reflected below and would recomend you do the same. Next time I will add some chopped Reese’s PB cups over the top of the brownies the last 10 minutes of baking to marry together the two flavors more fully.

I rate these brownies an 8

3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk, divided
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted and cooled
1/4 cup milk
1 (18 1/4 ounce) package devil’s food cake mix
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 (7 ounce) jar marshmallow creme (about 1-3/4 cups)
1/2 cup peanut butter chip
Directions
1Set oven to 350 degrees.
2Grease a 13″ x 9-inch baking pan.
3In a bowl, combine 1/4 cup condensed milk, butter, 1/4 cup milk, cake mix and the egg; mix to combine well (batter will be stiff).
4Press TWO-THIRDS of the batter into the bottom of the prepared baking pan (using floured hands); pat down evenly, the layer will be thin.
5Bake for 10 minutes.
6Meanwhile, combine the remaining 1/2 cup condensed milk and the marshmallow creme in a bowl; stir in the peanut butter chips/morsels.
7Remove the pan from the oven; spread the marshmallow mixture evenly over the brownie layer.
8Carefully drop the remaining batter by the spoonfuls over the marshmallow mixture.
9Bake for another 30 minutes.
10Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.
Peanut Butter Marshallow Brownies
adapted from here

3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk, divided (I used 1 whole can)
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted and cooled
1/4 cup milk
1 (18 1/4 ounce) package devil’s food cake mix (I used Triple Chocolate Cake Mix)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 (7 ounce) jar marshmallow creme
(1 1/4 cups Creamy Peanut Butter)
1/2 cup peanut butter chip (I HIGHLY recommend Reese’s brand chips)
(1/4 cup Milk Chocolate Chips)
.
.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Line a 9×13 baking pan with foil and lighlty spray with PAM.
In a bowl, combine 1/4 cup condensed milk, butter, 1/4 cup milk, cake mix and the egg; mix to combine well (batter will be very stiff).
Gently press about 2/3 of the dough into the bottom of the prepared baking pan (using floured hands if needed); pat down evenly, the layer will be thin.July 011
Bake for 10 minutes.
.
While crust bakes, combine the remaining  condensed milk, marshmallow creme and Peanut Butter in a bowl; gently fold in the peanut butter chips and chocolate chips.
Remove the crust from the oven; spread the peanut butter marshmallow mixture evenly over the brownie layer.
.
Carefully drop the remaining batter by the spoonfuls evenly over the peanut butter marshmallow mixture. Press down slightly.
.
Bake for another 25-30 minutes or until edges are set and center is slightly gooey but not raw. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.

Peanut Butter Cup Bars

June 010

I will keep this post simple and sweet, much like these bars. I had some Peanut Butter to use up and was craving a Peanut Butter/Chocolate combo sweet treat. With the summer heat teetering on being ‘oppresive’ I knew I did not want to use my oven. After a quick search on Allrecipes.com I found this recipe and it fit the bill: Peanut Butter (check), Chocolate (check), No Bake (check). I found the Trifecta!

These came together in less than 10 minutes and after a quick chill in the freezer (I was impatient to try one) they set up nicely. I did change up the recipe a bit based on some of the reviews and have noted those changes in parenthesis.

Overall these were quick, simple and delicious. I am not sure they would make these if I needed to impress guests with presentation, but they sure did satisfy my craving in a pinch. I would give these a try if you are a fan of Reese’s PB cups as these taste very similar. I can’t decide if I like them soft at room temperature or a little more firm right from the fridge. Either way, I ate way too many.

I am crumbling the remaining bars over chocolate ice cream for a cool summer treat!

I rate this recipe an 8

Peanut Butter Cup Bars
adapted from Allrecipes

1 cup butter or margarine, melted
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 cup peanut butter
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
4 tablespoons peanut butter
In a medium bowl, mix together the butter or margarine, graham cracker crumbs, confectioners’ sugar, and 1 cup peanut butter until well blended. Press evenly into the bottom of an ungreased 9×13 inch pan.
In a metal bowl over simmering water, or in the microwave, melt the chocolate chips with the peanut butter, stirring occasionally until smooth. Spread over the prepared crust. Refrigerate for at least one hour before cutting into squares.
1 cup butter or margarine, melted (I used 3/4 cup)
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 cups confectioners’ sugar (I sifted after measuring)
1 cup peanut butter (I used 1 1/4 cups)
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (I used 1 cup Milk Chocolate and 1/2 cup Semi-Sweet chips)
4 tablespoons peanut butter (I used 1/3 cup)
In a medium bowl, mix together the butter or margarine, graham cracker crumbs, confectioners’ sugar, and 1 cup peanut butter until well blended. Press evenly into the bottom of an ungreased 9×13 inch pan.
In a metal bowl over simmering water, or in the microwave, melt the chocolate chips with the peanut butter, stirring occasionally until smooth. Spread over the prepared crust.June 007
Refrigerate for at least one hour before cutting into squares.
*Allow to rest at room temperature for 5 minutes before cutting so the chocolate does not crack.