Chocolate Chip Studded Fudge Brownies


I have had this recipe for years but just recently decided to whip up a batch. I don’t make brownies too often so I decided it was time to not only bake me up a chocolaty treat, but to try a new recipe.

This recipe came together quickly because they only call for cocoa powder (no chocolate to melt). The end result is a brownie that is in fact very fudge-like with chocolate chips throughout. While I do like a fudge brownie now and then, these were too fudge-like for my tastes (If i make these again, I may bake a bit longer to see if that helps the texture be less fudgey). The flavor was rich but not overpowering, but  I do prefer my tried and true recipe, though these were fun for a change.

If you are looking for a quick and easy brownie recipe, this may be for you, especially if you are a chewy, gooey, fudge brownie lover.

I rate this recipe a 7

Chocolate Chip Studded Fudge Brownies 

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
3 eggs
3/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips
I also sprinkled walnuts over the top before baking.

Preheat oven to 325.
In a large bowl stir together the sugar, brown sugar, flour, cocoa, eggs and melted butter and mix

Gently mix until the dry ingredients are just incorporated into the wet, and stop. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Line a 8×8 baking pan with parchment or foil.

Pour the batter evenly into the pan.

Bake for 20-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs.

Caramel Crumb Bars with nuts

I haven’t made bars in what seems forever. I enjoy baking bars during the warm months because they can be baked in a shorter amount of time than a batch of cookies so my oven is not heating up my house for over an hour! I do freeze a good portion of cookie dough so I don’t typically bake a whole batch at once.

I found this recipe on several blogs,  it comes from Nick Malgieri, who has said that he would choose this cookie above all others in the recipe’s intro. With a declaration like that, I had to give these a go.
Imagine, if you will, a crust that is  buttery and a bit crumbly, much like a delicate shortbread cookie. On top is a sweet and gooey caramel filling.  To top them off you crumble more of that delicate crust over the caramel.

Overall, I was not overly impressed with the final result. Each component was OK, but together they weren’t “WOW”, ya know? I added toasted walnuts to the topping and to be honest, that was my favorite part of this recipe. These are good, don’t get me wrong, but I think I had too high of expectations going in and found myself feeling let down. My taste tester liked them, but too, enjoyed these bars much better.   The crust on these bars was a bit too delicate to hold the next 2 layers and the edge peices really crumbled making transport and presentation difficult.

If I make them again I think instead of making my own caramel sauce I will use Dulce de Leche or something else, for the extra work it required it really didn’t ‘wow’ me, I have had far better caramel sauces.

I rate these a 7

Caramel Crumb Bars
from The Modern Baker

2 sticks (1/2 lb) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Caramel Filling
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk

Preheat oven to 350 F with a rack in the bottom third of the oven. Spray a 13×9 pan with cooking spray, then line the  pan with aluminum foil or parchment (leaving an overhang so you can lift the bars out) and spray again with cooking spray.

To make the dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar and salt on medium speed until soft and light, about 2-3 minutes. Beat in the vanilla.

With the mixer on low, add 2 1/4 cups of the flour, beating just until the dough is smooth and the flour has been absorbed, and stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl and the paddle as necessary.

Transfer 3/4 of the dough into the prepared baking pan. Press the dough evenly into the pan to form the bottom layer. Transfer the pan to the refrigerator while you make the filling and top layer.

Add the remaining 1/4 cup of flour to the remaining dough in the mixer bowl and work it in with your fingertips until 1/8 – 1/4-inch crumbs form. Set aside.

To make the filling: In a medium saucepan, combine the butter, corn syrup, brown sugar and condensed milk. Bring to a simmer, whisking occasionally. When the mixture begins to boil, whisk frequently until it begins to thicken and darkens in color slightly, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool for about 10 minutes.

Remove the pan from the refrigerator and pour the filling over the bottom crust. Use an offset spatula to spread it evenly then distribute the crumb topping over the filling.

Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the filling is gently bubbling and a dark caramel color. Cool the bars in the pan on a wire rack until lukewarm, about 15-20 minutes. Use the foil (or parchment) to lift the bars out of the pan and onto a cutting board. Once completely cool, cut into 2-inch squares.

Double Fudge Pie


If you are a reader of my blog you know that I am not a ‘pie’ person, you can tell this by the lack of pie recipes on this blog. The only pie I have ever really enjoyed is pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving, not sure if it is the holiday spirit or the high from overeating turkey, stuffing and taters, but that pie just hits the spot!

I decided I wanted to give pie a chance and thought the best bet at finding a recipe I would like is if it involved peanut butter and/or chocolate. I have had this recipes forever, I really have no idea where it comes from so email me if it is yours and want credit. This recipe has been on a piece of scratch paper taped in my recipe binder just begging to get made, in fact, it has so many stains on it it looks like a casualty of war.  Poor thing, I felt sorry for neglecting it and whipped it up.

Boy am I glad I did. It was so super simple to make and I had it whipped up and in the oven in 15 minutes! A quick 25 minutes later and this baby was ready. I used a pre-made pie crust this time for a couple reasons. 1. I was lazy. 2. I had one to use up. 3. I don’t like pie crust so don’t feel passionately about slaving over making one from scratch. I am bad, I know. Now you know my dirty little little shame. I hate pie crust. But, i couldn’t wait to dig into this fudgey  little temptation. I allowed it to cool slightly before slicing up a piece.

The flavor is rich and fudgy (but not too gooey) thanks to the cocoa powder and brown sugar.  It tastes like a fudgey brownie baked in a pie shell (which is basically what it is). I must admit, however, that I may bake this without the pie shell next time (will it still be a pie then? if I use a pie plate?) I am just not a lover of pie crust and while I really liked this pie, I just felt the crust did not add anything. Maybe if I used a crushed Oreo crust I would feel differently. I loved the chocolate chips and walnuts throughout the pie, they provided a nice flavor boost as well. I must say that the best way to enjoy this is warm with a scoop of vanilla icecream and some hot fudge.

If you like pie crust and brownies than this pie is for you. If you don’t like pie crusts than give this filling a try on its own or with a different crust like I might. Either way, this was a great pie for me to wet my feet with. It is my goal to try more pies this summer……we will see.

I rate this recipe a 7 (but has potential)

Double Fudge Pie
6 TBS butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
3 large eggs
2 TBS cocoa powder
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
1 cup chopped toasted walnuts (optional)

1 pie shell, unbaked

Preheat oven to 375
Melt butter, brown sugar, sugar and chocolate chips in double boiler over hot water. Stirring until smooth.
Cool and add the eggs.
Mix the flour, cocoa powder, chocolate chips and walnuts in a bowl. Add tot he chocolate mixture and stir until blended. Add vanilla and stir to combine.

Pour into pie crust and bake for 25 minutes. Cool and serve.

* I par-baked my crust for 10 minutes so it would not get too soggy in baking.

Magic Make it Your Way Cookies

february-115

I had a can of sweetened condensed milk to use up and decided to search the Eagle brand website for a cookie recipe. Usually I make 7-Layer bars but was in the mood to try out something new today. Well, needless to say I was under-impressed by this recipe as a cookie but it is promising as a muffin top cookie, read on.

One plus is this dough comes to together quickly, infact the directions don’t even call for a mixer. I did however have a difficult time stirring the dough as it was very sticky and I think a mixer would have helped a great deal. (but who couln’t use a little work out while baking?)

I decided to divide the dough into two batches and added chocolate chips to one batch and 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 cup toasted chopped nuts and 1/2 cup cinnamon chips to the second batch. Boy am I glad I experimented a bit with the ingredients, it was the saving grace for these babies.  I chilled the dough for 20 minutes as I felt it was way to sticky to bake right away.

The first sheet of cookies I just dropped on the sheet using my cookie scoop. This resulted in cookies that baked up puffy and very cake-like with rounded pale tops and golden bottoms. After trying a chocolate chip one I felt they had no flavor (I believe because their is no  sugar in the recipe, only what is in the sweetened condensed milk). The second sheet I again used my cookie scoop to scoop the dough, this time, however, I rolled the dough balls in a cup of sugar and placed them on the sheet. I pressed down slighlty with a cup to flatten the tops. I enjoyed these results much more when prepared this way (the chocolate chip version is still lacking deep flavor however but looked better). The cookies are still more cakey than cookie but I feel the roll in sugar is a welcomed flavor boost, especially in the cinnamon nut version. 

I enjoyed the cinnamon nut vfebruary-124ersion of the cookie much better than the chocolate chip version (little flavor and too cakey for my liking). The cinnamon nut cookie was almost like eating a cinnamon nut muffin in cookie form. The nuts, cinnamon and cinnamon chips really shined through and made up for the lack of flavor in the dough itself.
I would not reccomend the chocolate chip version but think adding coconut, dried fruits, almond extract, nuts etc. may have potential if cakey cookies are your thing.

Overall these were not horrible cookies and would work in a pinch if you are out of sugar and desperate to bake something. Needless to say these will not be taking the place of my favorite chocolate chip cookie any time soon.  However, I did enjoy the cinnamon nut version and may make them for brunch as I think these are better as ‘muffin’ top cookies than traditional cookies.

I rate this recipe a 5 (chocoalte chip version)
I rate this recipe a 7 (cinnamon nut muffin top version)

Magic Make it Your Way Cookies
adapted from Eagle
 3 cups all-purpose flour
 3 teaspoons baking powder
 3/4 teaspoon salt
 3/4 cups (1 1/2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
 2 eggs 
 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
 1 (14-ounce) can EAGLE BRAND® Sweetened Condensed Milk (NOT evaporated milk)
 One favorite ingredient (ingredients below) 
1 cup sugar for rolling dough (can add some cinnamon for the cinnamon nut version)

*I divided the dough and added 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips in half the dough and
   1/2 cup cinnamon chips, 1 tsp cinnamon and 1/2 cup toasted walnuts in the other half of the        dough
   
 Preheat oven to 350°F.
Line baking sheets with parchment paper. february-123
If using nuts, spread on baking sheet and bake in preheated oven for 10-15 mintues stirring every 5 minutes for even toasting. Do not burn. Take out and allow to cool.

 In large bowl, combine dry ingredients. Stir in butter, eggs, vanilla and EAGLE BRAND®. Fold in one of your “favorite” ingredients.

 Using a cookie scoop drop dough balls into a bowl of sugar and roll to coat.
Place on prepared baking sheet and press down slightly with the bottom of a cup. 
Bake  10-12 minutes or until edges are slightly browned.

Remove at once from baking sheet. Cool. Store leftovers covered at room temperature.
 
 
Notes: “Make It Your Way” with your favorite ingredient (pick one): 1 cup (6 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips 1 1/2 cups raisins 1 1/2 cups corn flakes 1 1/2 cups toasted shredded coconut

Cheesecake Stuffed Oatmeal Cookie

I was in the mood for an oatmeal cookie and wanted to try a new recipe. I love oatmeal cookies because they give the illusion of being ‘good’ for you! I found this recipe on a blog totally dedicated to the wonderful Oatmeal Cookie. The combinations that he comes up with amazes me, if you are in need of a new cookie, definatley check out his blog.

While I usually use my tried and true recipe,  I settled for an oatmeal cookie that is stuffed with a cream cheese mixtures before baking. What could be more ‘good’ for you than adding dairy to your wholesome oatmeal cookie?? This is practically a breakfast food right??  That is my delusion, please do not take it away from me.

If you are planning on whipping these up quickly, think again. This cookie does take a little more prep time than your typical recipe because you have to make two doughs (the cookie and the filling) and allow both to chill before baking. Oh, and it took me quite a while to stuff each doughball with the filling mixture, it was quite a process compared to my usualy scoop and drop method of baking cookies.
In addition to their filling, another thing that sets these cookies apart from your basic oatmeal cookie is the inclusion of graham cracker crumbs in the dough!  Who would have thought?  I liked the flavor that the graham cracker crumbs gave the dough and the cookie, just a little depth of flavor that paired nicely with the brown sugar undertones without making it too sweet. MMM Good.

As for the filling, the cream cheese filling is basic but you could add flavored extracts to jazz it up a bit if you so desired (almond or coconut extract would be yummy).

I did  find this dough a little difficult to work with because even after chilling for 30 minutes it was hard to get the dough to form a ball that was not super sticky. It could have been my warm kitchen, I am not sure. Next time I might roll the filling into balls after chilling and then freeze for 5-8 minutes to firm up more and make it easier to form the cookie dough around.
The cookie dough itself was also hard to work with and did not want to form into a ball (again, could have been my warm kitchen). This made it all the more difficult to form a ball around the cream filling. Let’s just say that this was a very messy and time intensive process for me! I did get to lick my fingers after each batch went in the oven so the process was not without its rewards! (don’t worry, I washed them before prepping the next batch). Because the dough is cool when you put it in the oven I pressed down slighlty on the dough balls with a glass (dipped in sugar) so they baked evenly.

All in all the cookie part had a lovely flavor that I enjoyed. It was tender and chewy but not cakelike at all, just what I like in a cookie. I would make the dough again even without the filling because I really liked the cookie flavor. The filling on the other hand was not what I expected. It wasn’t bad, just not the ‘cheesecake’-like filling I was hoping for. The consistency was a little to runny for my liking, almost like icing/frosting. I tried them warm as well as cooled and while it did firm up a bit after cooling, it was still to thin in my opinion. I did freeze some baked cookies and ended up liking those much better than warm. Maybe I was just in a weird mood, could have been the heat and humidity ha ha.   Live and learn.

I would make these again, but next time I would try them using only two eggs and one egg yolk in the cookie dough to help keep it more firm. I would add more oatmeal (maybe even wiz some in a food processor to use) as needed until the dough came together and was no longer sticky (or maybe even add some shredded coconut and use some coconut or almond extract in the filling). I will definately chill the dough until it can from  a dough ball easily.
As for the filling, I will use more cream cheese to thicken the filling dough and add maybe a teaspoon of flour/cornstarch as well. I will chill,  form into balls and then freeze until set so I can form the cookie dough around it without it oozing all over.

I rate these cookies a 7 but I would make again as there is room for improvement.

Golden Girls
adapted from OatmealCookie
Filling
8 ounces room-temperature cream cheese
4 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla

Cookie
2 sticks butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon

3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla

2 cups finely ground graham crackers
1 1/2 cups flour
2 1/2 cups oatmeal
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon

Add the filling ingredients to a medium bowl and mix well.  Let the mixture cool and solidify in the refrigerator until ready for it.
Preheat oven to 350º.
In your Kitchen Aid or a large mixing bowl, cream together butter, brown sugar, white sugar and cinnamon.
In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs and vanilla and then add to the creamables. Mix together until smooth.

In another large mixing bowl, wisk together the graham cracker crumbs, flour, oatmeal, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture. Mix until evenly combined.
*I needed to chill the dough for 15 minutes because mine was so moist it would not hold together.
Shape dough into balls—about 2 tablespoons each.

Remove the filling mixture from the refrigerator and stuff each dough ball with 1 teaspoon of the mixture.
Put the stuffed dough balls in the freezer for five minutes to firm up.
Place chilled dough balls about 2 inches apart on Silpat- or parchment paper-lined cookie sheets.
Bake at 350º for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove the cookie sheets from the oven and let stand for 2 minutes. Then place cookies on wire racks to cool.

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.

Coconut Dream Bars

I love coconut, almost as much as I love Peanut Butter. I like how coconut provides a depth of flavor and hearty texture to baked goods. The picture may look familiar to those who frequent my blog, but I assure you these are new, but very similar to the Blonde Magic bars I made a while ago.
I whipped these up Saturday night as I was asked to make a dessert for a friend’s wedding shower this past weekend. Knowing she loves everything coconut I decided to try a recipe I have had saved for quite a while.

These bars are so quick and easy to throw together and they use ingredients you usually have on hand. They are a good basic recipe but you could jazz them up by adding toasted nuts, chopped Toffee pieces or chocolate chips (I did not add the chocolate chips as called for in the original recipe because I was asked to bring a non-chocolate dessert.)
A warning however, these bars are really really sweet so you may want to reduce some of the sugar in the filling if you are adding a fairl amount of chocolate or candy. After tasting these I wonder how a little lemon/lime juice in the coconut topping (along with some toasted pecans) would have been, I may try that the next time if I don’t add chocolate or candy.

Needless to say, my friend loved these bars and I enjoyed them as well. What I enjoyed the most about these bars, however, was the brown sugar shortbread like crust. It was so yummy and light and a welcomed change from the usual graham cracker crust of the other dessert bars at the shower. I felt the ratio of crust to topping was too small and not sturdy enough for the topping unless the bars were cut small (maybe not a bad things since they were so sweet, but with the addition of chips/candy/nuts I don’t know if they would have held up even cut small).
Next time I think I will make 1 1/2 times the crust mixture and bake a few minutes longer before adding the coconut topping which may pair down the sweetness of the coconut mixture, especially if adding chips or candy.
All in all, a good recipe that can get better with a few tweaks so feel free to make them your own. I am excited to play around with the recipe a bit because I think it has potential to be a quick go-to versitile dessert.

I rate these bars a 7

Coconut Dream Bars
adapted from Recipezaar
1 1/2 cups flour
2 cups brown sugar, firmly packed (divided)
1/2 cup butter, softened slightly
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional) or milk chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Line a 9×13 pan with foil. Spray lightly with PAM.
Using low speed on mixer, combine flour, 1/2 cup of the brown sugar and butter until mixture resembles sand.
Using lightly greased finger tips, press the mixture into bottom of prepared pan. Bake for 15 minutes.
While crust is baking, mix together the remaining brown sugar with eggs until just blended.
Stir in remaining ingredients.
Remove crust from oven when time is up and evenly spread coconut mixture over partially baked crust.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.
Cool completely and cut into squares. (Do this or they will be messy!!)

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

I made these delicious cookies because I couldn’t decide if I should make Oatmeal cookies or  Chocolate cookies.  These are based loosely on a recipe I clipped out of a church bulitan about 8 months ago. I loved the idea of a chocolate oatmeal cookie but knew the recipe needed some work to satisfy my craving. I added some chocolate chips, used realy butter (no oil) and omitted chopped Dates.

What I ended up with was a really good cookie that has the wholesomeness of an Oatmeal cookie but still satisfies my sweet tooth and chocolate craving. They stay soft if not overbaked, are nice and dense thanks to the oatmeal and the chocolate chips provide a chocolatey sweetness slightly lacking in the cookie dough itself.

Next time: I will increase the amount of cocoa powder to 1/4 cup to intensify the chocolate flavor and maybe add some toasted nuts. All in all these were really good.

I would rate these cookies a 7

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
1 cup + 2 TBS flour
3 TBS unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
2  teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups Oatmeal (I used quick cooking)
1/2 cup Milk chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350.
Lighlty spray baking sheets with PAM.

In a large mixing bowl, wisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar and white sugar. Beat in the egg and vanilla.

Gently mix in the flour mixture by hand using a spoon or spatula. Gently fold in the oats and chips (and nuts if using).

Drop by spoonfulls (I used my medium ice cream scooper) onto cookie sheets, leaving 2 inches between cookies for spreading.
*I chilled my dough for 30 minutes before baking so mine did not spread as much as room temp dough may. I had to press my dough balls down a bit with my finger tips to form discs because the dough was stiff and would not have baked evenly if I did not.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until edges are set. Cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in airtight container (with a piece of bread to keep soft).

Apple Jack Cookies

Anyone who has read my blog probably realizes really quickly my love for all things chocolate and peanut butter as reflected by the numerous recipes including those ingredients. However, I also have a deep deep love for fruit. I rarely bake with fruit but thought today was a great day to change things up a bit. *In the picture above those are chunks of apples, not white chocolate!

This is a recipe that I copied from a roommate in college. I think it is a Betty Crocker recipe but could not find it. If anyone does, please let me know and I will provide the link.
These cookies are very very good. I had just bought a bag of Kraft Caramel Bits and decided to throw some of those in as well even though the original recipe did not call for them. They are very good warm while the caramel is all gooey but I am afraid it may harden after they cool. Only time will tell. Either way, it is a GREAT addition and these are wonderful with a scoop of cinnamon icecream!
Next time:
I may try Heath bits instead of the Caramel bits to add a toffee/carmel flavor. Nuts like chopped pecans or walnuts would be good as well.
I will also chop the apples into smaller chunks (about 1/4 inch x 1/4 inch). Some of my chunks were pretty big and caused for uneaven spreading while baking and made it difficult for the cookies to hold their shape (do to the low ratio of dough to apples) and are not as sturdy as most cookies.
I may make a cinnamon/creamcheese filling/frosting and turn some into “Carmel Apple Whoopie Pie Cookies” even though they are not the sturdiest, I bet it would be messy but good.
I will be making these again for sure, especially with Spring here it is a nice change of pace.
.
I would rate these cookies a 7
Apple Jacks
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup apple chopped (I would small dice 1 small-medium apple)
1/2 to 3/4 cup Kraft Carmel bits or Heath Baking bits (optional)
Preheat oven to 350.
Line baking sheet with Parchment or lightly spray with PAM.
In a large bowl stir together the flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon.
Beat the butter with a mixer and add the sugar, vanilla and egg and beat until light and fluffy. Add the flour mixture and stir to combine.
Fold in the apple pieces (and any other add-ins).
Drop the dough onto baking sheet about 2 inches apart (these spread a bit).
Bake for 9-12 minutes or until light brown and edges are set. Allow to cool slightly on baking sheet and then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
NOTE: *DO NOT store completely covered or they will be very very soft and not hold up well due to the moisture in the apples. I find storing loosely covered in the fridge helps them keep their texture, however then the Caramel Bits get hard. I am thinking Toffee Chips might be a better addition next time. These really are best the day you bake, especially after they have cooled a bit but are still warm!
*These are really good with cinnamon icecream and hot caramel sauce.

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.