Chewy Chocolate Cookies with White Chocolate, Toffee, Peanut Butter and Almonds

After polishing off an entire carton of Ben and Jerry’s “Everything but the Kitchen Sink” ice cream, I was craving more………….must be the weather.  Instead of buying and eating another entire carton of ice cream I decided to make a cookie that encompassed the same flavors as my Ben and Jerry’s because it is harder to eat an entire batch of cookies than it is to inhale that tub of ice cream (or maybe not, as I found out).

I started with this recipe that I have used a number of times when I craved chocolate but didn’t feel like a brownie but modified it a bit.

The recipe produces a soft, chewy cookie that lends itself to being the perfect backdrop for a number of add-in possibilities. Don’t get me wrong, the cookie itself still shines, it just does so in a ‘not-in-your-face’ sort of way. I have to say that this recipe more than hit the spot. I found myself grabbing one every time I entered the kitchen which I made sure was quite frequent. Like many chocolate cookies, I find the flavor only improves as they cool and seems to intensify a bit.  After cooling a bit the cookie remains soft and chewy with a bit of creaminess from the white chocolate, a bit of saltiness from the peanut butter cups and a bit of sweetness from the toffee and a bit of crunch from the nuts. All in all, these cookies have something for everyone.

These were so dangerous for me, I ended up taking them to a work event just to get them out of my house. Needless to say these were polished off in no time flat by the gentlemen and several commented “these are so much better than anything my mom every made”. The best compliment one can get in my book.

I have amounts for the ‘add-ins’ listed below but feel free to add more or less of an ingredient, I just eye-balled it and when by what I had on hand.

I rate this cookie a 9

Chewy Chocolate Cookies with White Chocolate, Toffee, Peanut Butter and Almonds
inspired by Ben and Jerry’s Everything But…. ice cream 

2 cups flour
½  cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
½  teaspoon salt
12 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder (optional)
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups packed (10 1/2 ounces) light brown sugar
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
4 oz. good quality white chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used Ghirardelli)
½ cup chopped chocolate covered Almonds (or regular almonds)
¾  cup toffee pieces
1  heaping and overflowing of cup chopped peanut butter cups (I used Reese’s)

*again, add more ‘add-ins’ if you want, i just didnt’ have any more on hand or i might have upped the amount of white chocolate and almonds for sure!

In a small bowl wisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.

Melt the semi-sweet and bittersweet chopped chocolate in medium heatproof bowl. Be careful not to scorch or burn chocolate. Set aside to cool.
In a small bowl wisk the eggs, vanilla and Espresso powder until combined.

In a mixing bowl, beat the butter until smooth and creamy. Add sugar and beat another minute. Add the egg mixture until well mixed. Gently add the melted and cooled chocolate and beat until combined

Slowly add the flour mixture and beat until just combined. Do not overbeat. Gently fold in your ‘add-in’ options.
Cover with dough with lid or plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature until consistency is scoopable and fudge like, about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350.
Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Scoop dough onto sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes or until edges are set but centers are soft.

Allow cookies to cool on sheets about 10 minutes before transferring to racks to cool completely.

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

These cookies have been a favorite of mine since I was a little girl. Many of my Christmas’s were spent hanging out by the treat tray gobbling these up without being too obvious. I ate way more than my fair share and often had a stomach ache by dinner.

Were these worth it? Yep.There is something about the combination of peanut butter and chocolate that makes me go weak in the knees. While these have been a favorite of mine for years, this is actually the first time that I have made them! Usually I wait all year long for Christmas and gorge myself on the ones my relatives make.

However, an urge, a strong urge, called me to make these now and not wait. Maybe it is the changing weather, maybe it was the stressful week at work, whatever reason I gave in to my craving and just like Christmas, enjoyed too many to count. I am sure many of you are familiar with the recipe or at least the concept of the cookie.

Basically it is a peanut butter cookie baked in a mini muffin pan and then a miniature Reese’s peanut butter cup is smooched into it before they cool. What you end up with is a sweet and slightly salty peanut butter and chocolate treat. The size makes them perfect for enjoying more than 1 or 2 or 5 in one setting.These are a breeze to whip up but without a couple of tips can be frustrating to make.

First whip up the dough. I rolled them into balls, lightly rolled in sugar and then placed them into the lightly greased muffin tin. I used the back of my ½ Tablespoon to make an indentation into the balls so placing the peanut butter cup would be easier and less messy. (I have found if you press the dough using your fingers up the side of the cups that the edges do not turn out smooth and even but rather look jagged and less ‘cute’). Second, make sure your peanut butter cups are cool (I chill mine while the cookies bake). This makes them easier to push into the hot cookies. Last, I pop them back in the oven for about 2-3 minutes after I push down the peanut butter cup, this makes them melty and more cohesive.

Since I lightly grease the pan before baking these are usually a breeze to come out after cooling down. Overall, these have a special place in my heart not only for their taste but for the memories they bring back to me everytime I bite into one.

Go ahead, make some memories for yourself and bake some up today! Maybe these can be your Spring-is-coming cookie!

I rate this recipe a 9

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

Adapted from allrecipes.com
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk
30-40 miniature chocolate covered peanut butter cups, unwrapped (depending how many cookies you make), chilled
Sugar for rolling dough balls (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Lightly spray mini muffin pan with cookie spray

In a large bowl, mix together the butter, sugar, peanut butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the egg, vanilla and milk. Continue mixing until incorporated. Slowly add the flour, salt and baking soda. Mix until combined.

Using a cookie scoop, scoop out about 1 TBS of dough, shape into a ball.
Lightly roll in sugar. Place into mini muffin pan.

Bake for about 8 minutes.Remove from oven and immediately press a mini peanut butter cup into each ball. Cool and carefully remove from pan.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars

I know the title alone makes you want one of these. I don’t blame you. This dessert takes two of my favorite sweets and combines them perfectly. This is an easy recipe to whip up but does create quite a few dishes and is multi-stepped. You need to make the crust, cheesecake filling and the cookie dough. You could use store bought cookie dough to save some time if you are in a pinch but really, if your making a crust and filling why not just whip up some dough as well (plus you can eat it raw since there are no eggs in it! BONUS!!).

I suggest using mini chocolate chips for the dough as it makes these bars easier to cut and eat, plus you get a little more chocolate in every bite! Yeah!

I whipped each component up  by hand but you could use a mixer if you want. I found with melted  butter and room temperature ingredients there was no need to lug out my stand mixer.

If you do make these I suggest making them a day before you need them. Like cheesecakes these get better with a day of rest. I highly recommend eating these chilled (as I do a cheesecake). They will be creamy and crumbly and just so satisfying that a small piece will do. Everyone at work loves these and these were the first to sell out at our bake sale. I think the name draws people in but the flavor kept them coming back for another!

I can’t wait to make these for easter using some pretty colored sprinkles and Holiday colored M&M’s on top. How irresistible will that be??

Before easter, I may make these again with some peanut butter cheesecake filling and peanut butter cookie dough. To top it off I think some chopped Reese’s PB cups on top would be phenomenal! If you try it, let me know!

I rate this recipe an 9

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars
adapted from here

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
4 TBS butter, melted
1 TBS sugar
2/3 cup mini chocolate chips

5 TBS butter, melted
1/3 cup brown sugar
4 TBS sugar
1/8 tsp  salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup flour
1 cup mini chocolate chips

8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325.
Grease a 8×8 pan with butter, line pan with parchment paper and butter the paper, leaving enough to extend over the sides.
Crush graham crackers into crumbs to make 1 & 1/2 cups. Add sugar and mix. Stir in butter and mix until crumbs are moistened. Stir in chocolate chips.
Press crust mixture into bottom of pan. Bake for 6 minutes. Set pan on wire rack to cool.

In a medium bowl stir together the butter, brown sugar, sugar, salt, and vanilla extract at medium  until smooth. Gently fold in flour. Mix just until incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips. Set aside.

In a small bowl stir cream cheese until soft. Add sugar and stir until smooth. Add egg and vanilla extract, stir just until blended.

Pour batter into cooled, baked crust. Drop cookie dough by teaspoonfuls over the top of the filling. Sprinkle a few more mini chips over the top and gently press down (this makes it look pretty)

Bake about 30 minutes, or until set. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Place in the refrigerator to chill several hours.

Thick and Chewy Triple Chocolate Cookies

May 026While searching for a new brownie recipe to try I came across this recipe that I had bookmarked from one of my favorite cookbooks, America’s Test Kitchen. This has been a great all-around-cookbook. It has everthing from salads to desserts and I have been more than pleased with the outcome of each recipe I have tried. These cookies are no different.  I am usually not a fan of chocolate cookies, there are a few exceptions, but really I would rather have a brownie any day than a chocolate cookie. These, however, satisfied me more than any brownie could have. 

My oh my. These cookies are like a  rich, chocolatey, chewy brownie only in cookie form. Each cookie is studded with chocolate chips which only serve to intensify the chocolatey flavor. I adapted the recipe a bit based on what I had in my kitchen and my own preferences (with my changes they are more like a quintuple chocolate cookie).  These cookies take a little longer to make than most, first you have to melt and cool chocoalte before adding it to the butter/sugar mixture, then after mixing the dough you need to let it firm up for at least 30 minutes (could be sped up by chilling in the fridge) at room temperature. Let me tell you though, if your sweet tooth is calling, these will surely answer and are well worth the little extra time and effort making the dough. 

The dough itself is rich and fudgelike and gives you a sweet glimpse of what the finished cookies will look and taste like. Chocolate is the star of the show so I would suggest that you use a fair to good quality chocolate for melting and adding to the dough. The chocolate flavor is only deepened and enhanced by the addition of Instant Espresso powder. I know some people may be leary about adding it, but as noted, I added less than called for and could not taste it one bit, neither did anyone who ate devoured inhaled these little gems.  These kind of remind me of Outrageous Brownies, only in cookie form. 

The cookies bake up soft with slighlty shiny tops after they cool. They are fragile right out of the  oven so it is best to let them rest a bit before transfering them to a rack to cool. With chocolate cookies it is hard to tell when the cookies are finished baking many bakers tend to overbake them resulting in tough, hard, dry cookies. I baked mine for 10 minutes and 30 seconds and they came out PERFECT. Chewy, chocolatey, rich and gooey from the chunks of chocolate in each cookie. I could not have asked for more from a brownie or cookie. 

After storing these at room temperature overnight in a sealed container they are still chewy; firmer, but chewy none the less. Next time I might add some chopped Reese’s Peanut Butter cups because that is how me and my peeps like to roll: on the Peanut butter train all the way to chunky town.  These would also be great with chunks of Oreo cookies or toasted walnuts added to the batter. 

If you love chocolate and are looking for a nice and rich, flavorful brownie or cookie recipe, I highly recommend you give this recipe a try and see for yourself the glorious chocolateyness that they behold.

I rate this recipe a 9 

 

Double-Chocolate Cookies, Thick and Chewy Cookies
Makes about 3 1/2 dozen cookies
To melt the chocolate in a microwave, heat at 50 percent power for 2 minutes, stir, then continue heating at 50 percent power for 1 more minute. If not completely melted, heat an additional 30 to 45 seconds at 50 percent power. We recommend using a spring-loaded ice cream scoop to scoop the dough. Resist the urge to bake the cookies longer than indicated; they may appear underbaked at first but will firm up as they cool.
Ingredients:
2 cups (10 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
16 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons instant coffee or espresso powder
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups packed (10 1/2 ounces) light brown sugar
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
Directions:
Sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl; set aside.
Melt chocolate in medium heatproof bowl set over pan of almost-simmering water, stirring once or twice, until smooth; remove from heat. Beat eggs and vanilla lightly with fork, sprinkle coffee powder over to dissolve, and set aside.
In bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter at medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 5 seconds. Beat in sugars until combined, about 45 seconds; mixture will look granular. Reduce speed to low and gradually beat in egg mixture until incorporated, about 45 seconds. Add chocolate in steady stream and beat until combined, about 40 seconds. Scrape bottom and sides of bowl with rubber spatula. With mixer at low speed, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Do not overbeat. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature until consistency is scoopable and fudgelike, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Leaving about 1 1/2 inches between each ball, scoop dough onto parchment-lined cookie sheets with 1 3/4-inch ice cream scoop.
Bake, reversing position of baking sheets halfway through baking (from top to bottom and front to back), until edges of cookies have just begun to set but centers are still very soft, about 10 minutes. Cool cookies on sheets about 10 minutes, slide parchment with cookies onto wire racks, and cool to room temperature. Cover one baking sheet with new piece of parchment paper. Scoop remaining dough onto parchment-lined sheet, bake, and cool as directed. Remove cooled cookies from parchment with wide metal spatula and serve.
Variation — Thick and Chewy Triple-Chocolate Cookies:
If you like bursts of warm melted chocolate in your cookies [and who doesn’t? —Alex], include chocolate chips in the batter. The addition of chips will slightly increase the yield of the cookies.
Follow recipe for Thick and Chewy Double-Chocolate Cookies, adding 12 ounces (about 2 cups) semisweet chocolate chips to batter after dry ingredients are incorporated in step 3.
 Thick and Chewy Triple Chocolate Cookies
2 cups AP flour
1/2 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped (the original recipe calls for all semi-sweet chocoalte) 
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons instant coffee or espresso powder (I used 1 1/2 teaspoons)
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups packed (10 1/2 ounces) light brown sugar
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
1 cup Milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup Semi-sweet chocolate chips 
*Could use all semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips, whatever you have on hand. The original calls for all semi-sweet chips
In a small bowl wisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. 
Melt the semi-sweet and bittersweet chopped chocolate in medium heatproof bowl. Be careful not to scorch or burn chocolate. Set aside to cool.
In a small bowl wisk the eggs, vanilla and Espresso powder until combined. 
In a mixing bowl, beat the butter until smooth and creamy. Add sugar and beat another minute. Add the egg mixture until well mixed. Gently add the melted and cooled chocolate and beat until combinedMay 029 

Slowly add the flour mixture and beat until just combined. Do not overbeat.
Cover with dough with lid or plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature until consistency is scoopable and fudgelike, about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350.
 Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Scoop dough onto sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes or until edges are set but centers are soft. 
Allow cookies to cool on sheets about 10 minutes before transfering to racks to cool completly. 

Cinnamon and Toasted Nut Biscotti

february-0911

I have been wanting to make biscotti since well before Christmas. I had origianlly intended to make peppermint biscotti drizzled with chocolate and package with hot cocoa mixes to give as gifts. Well, somehow time got away from me and I never go around to making the biscotti and went with plan B for gifts.

I decided this was the weekend to try my hand at some biscotti but decided to try a cinnamon nut version since I feel peppermint season has past me by.   I did some searching and  found this recipe on allrecipes. I did adapted it a bit to suit my tastes and the ingredients I had on hand.

This recipe came together much quicker than I had planned despite needing to bake it twice. Infact  these only took me about an hour start to finish. I had always thought it would take me hours from start to finish, that is partly why I never got around to making biscotti before Christmas. Let me tell ya, I don’t know why haven’t made biscotti sooner! I loved this recipe.

The smell of the toasted nuts and cinnamon permiated my kitchen and tempted my tastebuds while the logs of dough were baking. It took all of my willpower not to eat one of the biscotti before the second baking.

I couldn’t be more pleased with these. They baked up nice and crisp with a golden brown exterior. They have a delicate cinnamon flavor that is enhanced nicely buy thte flavor of the  toasted nuts. Usually I do not care for crispy cookies but these are a true winner in my book. I can’t wait to make them again.

I rate this recipe a 9

Cinnamon and Toasted Nut Biscotti
adapted from allrecipes
3/4 cup butter
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped macadamia nuts,  toasted
1/4 cup chopped almonds,  toasted
1 cup Cinnamon Chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a cookie sheet or line with parchment paper. Evenly spread nuts over baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven about 10-15 minutes stirring every 5 minutes until evenly toasted and fragrant. february-089
Remove from sheet and allow to cool.

In a medium mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla.
Sift together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt. Add to the batter and mix until almost combined. Gently fold in the nuts and cinnamon chips.  

Shape dough into two equal logs approximately 12 inches long. Place logs on baking sheet, and flatten out to about 1/2 inch thickness. Be sure to leave enough room for them to spread out slightly. (I baked mine side by side on two pans, rotating half way through baking)

Bake for about 30 minutes in preheated oven, or until edges are golden and the center is firm. Remove from oven to cool on the pans. When loaves are cool enough to handle, use a serrated knife to slice the loaves diagonally into 1/2 inch thick slices. Return the slices to the baking sheet.

Bake for an additional 10 minutes, turning over once. Cool completely, and store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Outrageous Brownies

january-086

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

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

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

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

I rate these brownies a 9

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Peppermint Oreo Bark

december-052

Look at that picture, how can you resist?

With all of the baking I do during the month of December, I love treats that require few ingredients, easy preperation and take minimal time from start to finish. Here is a no-bake treat that you are sure to love during this Holiday season. What better combination than Oreo cookies, peppermint and white chocolate? 

The hardest part for many will be melting the chocolate. Make sure you are melting very slowly using good quality white chocolate and not the white chips in the baking aisle. If you want you could  also use almond bark, candy melts or milk/semi-sweet chocolate. I really like the white chocolate in this recipe, it is not overly sweet and provides a creamy and smooth base without competing with the Oreo and peppermint flavors

This treat is perfect with a cup of hot cocoa and will be a treat loved by children and adults!

I rate this recipe a 9

Peppermint Oreo Bark
6-8 oz. white chocolate, chopped into pea size pieces
10 oz. Vanilla Almond Bark
1 TBS Crisco or Parafin Wax
1 cup Andes Peppermint Chips
10-15 Oreos broken into peices
 

Prepare a 13 inch rimmed cookie sheet by lining with Reynolds Quick Release aluminum foil. Set aside.
Melt the white chocolate chips, almond bark and Crisco in a heat safe bowl in the microwave in 30 second intervals. Stir after each interval and continue heating and stirring until smooth.
Sprinke 1/4 cup of the Andes Peppermint chips and 5 Oreo cookies (broken) over half of the baking sheet.
Gently pour the melted chocolate mixture odecember-044ver the Andes Peppermint chips and Oreos. Smooth with the back of a spoon (spray with PAM first). Evenly sprinkle the remaining Andes Peppermint chips and broken Oreos over the warm melted chocolate.
Chill until firm.
Remove from freezer/fridge and break into pieces.
Store in air tight container in a cool place.

Chocolate Mint Fudge Brownies

december-011

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.

Oreo Fudge Bars

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

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

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

I rate this recipe a 9

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

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