Brown Butter Cookies and Cream Blondies

Brown Butter Cookies and Cream Blondies

Ingredients

2 sticks (16tbs/226g) (or 13tbs/185g if not browning) unsalted butter
¾ cup (150g) dark brown sugar
¾ cup (150g) granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract or paste
2 ¼ cups (293g) all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp fine grain kosher or sea salt
2 large bars (4oz each) Hershey’s Cookies ‘n Cream Chocolate
18-20 (230g) Oreos, roughly chopped

Directions

Melt butter in a medium skillet over medium heat, swirling the pan occasionally. (Turn off the heat here if you’re skipping the browning!) After melting, it will start to simmer and look foamy. Swirl some more. The foam will start to clear, and the solids at the bottom will begin to brown. It should take 10-12 minutes to start seeing some nice brown bits. Immediately pour into the bowl of your stand mixer, or a large bowl if you’re using a hand mixer, and allow to cool.

Heat oven to 350°. Prepare a 13×9″ baking pan by lining with parchment paper, leaving a few inches to hang over each side to use as “handles” for removing the blondies when they’re done baking. Give the paper a good spritz with nonstick spray.

In a small mixing bowl whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.

In stand mixer with the paddle attachment, or a bowl with a hand mixer, beat together the butter and brown sugar for 1-2 minutes until lighter in color and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and beat another 2 minutes, scraping down the sides if necessary.

Gradually add in the flour mixture and beat on low speed until just combined and no flour pockets remain. Stir in the chopped Oreo cookies and cookies n’ cream chocolate with a large spatula, saving some of the goodies to put on the top of the bars before baking (because it’s pretty ☺️). Spread batter evenly into prepared pan and top with remaining chocolate and cookies.

Bake blondies until the edges are just golden, about 22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly or completely clean. Cool completely on a wire rack, and then cut into squares. Enjoy!

Full Pan Cookies and Cream Blondies

Pecan Turtle Shortbread Bars

Pecan Turtle Shortbread Bars

Ingredients

Chocolate Shortbread Base
2 cups (260g) all purpose flour
¼ cup (21g) unsweetened cocoa powder
½ cup (100g) brown sugar (light or dark)
½ cup (50g) powdered sugar
½ tsp fine grain kosher or sea salt
¾ cup (170g or 12 tbsp) cold unsalted butter, diced
Turtle Filling
¾ cup (150g) brown sugar (dark or light)
¾ cup (170g or 12 tbsp) unsalted butter
½ tsp kosher or sea salt
¼ cup (60g) heavy cream
1 ½ cups toasted pecans, finely chopped
Finishing Touches
8 oz (225g) semisweet chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
¼ cup (60g) heavy cream
½ cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped
Flaky sea salt (optional)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 9×13″ baking pan with parchment paper, leaving some paper to hang over the sides to use as a handle for lifting the bars out of the pan later. (Always thinkin’ ahead!)

In a food processor (or with an electric mixer) mix together flour, cocoa powder, butter, sugar, and salt until fully combined and crumbly. Press evenly and firmly into the bottom of the pan and bake for 15 minutes. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, bring brown sugar, butter, salt, and cream to a boil, stirring continuously until sugar dissolves. Boil for two minutes stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Stir in 1 1/2 cups of chopped pecans.

Pour the caramel and pecans over the baked shortbread. Bake at 350° until caramel bubbles and darkens in color, about 18-20 minutes.

While the bars are baking, place chocolate chips, or chopped chocolate in a heat safe bowl with the heavy cream. Set the bowl over a pot of barely simmering water and stir until the chocolate is melted and everything is combined and smooth. You made ganache!

Spread the ganache evenly over the caramel and pecan layer and sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of pecans. Finish with flaky sea salt if desired. Allow to cool completely before slicing.

Cut into slices using a warm dry knife, wiping between slices. I do this by dipping the knife in a tall glass filled with hot water and drying it on a towel then slicing. Slice, dip, dry, repeat, EAT!

Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Brownies

Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Brownies

Ingredients

Brownie Base
½ cup (113g or 1 stick) unsalted butter
3 oz (85g) bittersweet chocolate (about 70% is good), coarsely chopped
1 tsp espresso powder or instant coffee crystals
¾ cup (150g) granulated sugar
¼ cup (50g) brown sugar (dark or light)
2 large eggs, at room temperature
¾ cup (98g) all-purpose flour
¾ cup (75g) dark (or dutched) cocoa powder
½ tsp fine grain kosher or sea salt
½ tsp baking powder
Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Layer
1 ½ cups (255g) semi-sweet chocolate (either chips or chopped chocolate will work)
1 ½ cups (405g) creamy peanut butter
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 ½ cups (40g) Rice Krispies cereal
1 cup chopped peanut butter cups

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°.

Melt butter in a small saucepan. Add chocolate and espresso to the melted butter and stir until melted and well mixed. Remove from heat and allow to cool a few minutes as you prepare your pan.

Spray a 9X13″ baking pan with non-stick spray and line with parchment paper, allowing some to hang over the sides to act as handles for lifting the brownies out at the end.

Sift flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking powder together in a bowl. Set aside. Now you have a saucepan with the chocolate mixture, and a bowl with a flour mixture. Got it? Good.

Whisk the sugars into the chocolate mixture until fully combined. Add in eggs and whisk well. Fold the flour mixture in by hand just until the last bits of flour have completely mixed in.

Spread into prepared pan (it’s a thin layer) and bake in 350° oven for 15-20 minutes, turning the pan around half way through. Once the time’s up, check it with a toothpick. Just poke it in to the center. If it comes out with just a bit of chocolate crumbs, you’re good. If it’s got some extra gooey bits on it, give it a few more minutes and check again. Allow to cool on a wire rack while you prepare the top layer.

In a heat proof bowl set over a pot of simmering water, melt chocolate, peanut butter, and coconut oil, mixing until smooth. Fold in the cereal. Spread mixture in a smooth layer on top of brownies and sprinkle with the chopped peanut butter cups. Lightly press the larger pieces to adhere to the surface. Chill for at least 90 minutes in the refrigerator or overnight on the counter before cutting and serving.

Dark Chocolate Caramel Oatmeal Rye Bars

Dark Chocolate Caramel Oatmeal Rye Bars

Ingredients

Oatmeal Cookie Layer
1 cup (226g) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup (200g) brown sugar
1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
¼ cup whole milk
2 tsp vanilla extract or paste
1 ½ cups (195g) all-purpose flour
1 cup (120g) dark rye flour (can substitute with all-purpose flour)
1 tsp fine grain kosher or sea salt
½ tsp baking soda
1 ½ cups (120g) old fashioned (whole) oats
1 ½ cups (120g) old fashioned (whole) oats, coarsely ground in food processor
1 cup (100g) toasted pecan, chopped
1 cup (180g) mini chocolate chips
Dark Chocolate Caramel Layer
11 oz (311g) bag of caramels, unwrapped
4 oz (113g) dark chocolate, chopped in bits
cup (80g) heavy cream
1 tsp sea salt

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9×13 inch pan with parchment paper and spray liberally with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large bowl stir together flour, dark rye flour, salt, baking soda, and the oats. 
In the bowl of your stand mixer (or with a hand mixer), cream together butter and sugar for about 2-3 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Add eggs, milk, and vanilla, and mix until well combined.

Add wet and dry ingredients together and mix just until everything comes together. Toss your mini chocolate chips and pecans together and fold most of them into the dough, reserving some (75 g or so) to sprinkle on top. Spread 2/3 of the batter into the bottom of your prepared pan. Set the rest aside. We’ll get to it in a few minutes!

In a heat proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, combine caramels, chopped chocolate, cream, and salt mixing occasionally until completely melted and smooth. Pour into the pan, over the layer of oatmeal cookie dough, and spread evenly with an offset spatula I find spraying the spatula with some nonstick spray helps the smoothing go smoother. 😜

Drop teaspoonsful of remaining dough on top the caramel in a random cobblestone pattern. Sprinkle the reserved mini chocolate chips and pecans over the top.

Bake for 25 minutes. Sprinkle with some flaky sea salt and allow to cool completely before cutting into bars. You really should wait.

Peanut Butter-Chocolate Rice Krispie Treats

Peanut Butter-Chocolate Rice Krispie Treats

Ingredients

For the “Treats”
¼ cup unsalted butter
1 bag (10 ounces) mini marshmallows
¾ cup creamy peanut butter
pinch of fine sea salt
½ tsp vanilla extract
5 cups Rice Krispies cereal
Ooh, That Topping
1 cup chocolate chips of your choice. You might like milk chocolate. Sometimes I’m in a dark chocolate mood. Feel the chocolate vibe and make your choice.
1 cup peanut butter chips. If you can’t find them, just use another cup of chocolate chips. Oh no, please don’t give me more chocolate, said no one ever.
Sprinkles of flaky sea salt (optional, but highly recommended)

Directions

Line a 13×9” pan with parchment paper or foil, leaving some to hang over the edges to help remove the treats from the pan later. Spray with non stick spray and set aside.

Pour your cereal into a large bowl and set this aside too.

In large saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Add in the peanut butter and continue stirring until the mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract and salt.

Pour the mixture over the cereal and stir until completely coated. Plop this into your prepared pan and, using your buttered hands, pack into the pan. If you don’t like getting your hands messy, spray the bottom of a measuring cup (or whatever you got) with nonstick spray and use it to press the cereal mix into the pan. Don’t forget the corners!

In a microwave or over a double boiler, melt the chocolate and peanut butter chips. Spread over the cereal mixture with an offset spatula. Make pretty swirly designs if you want. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt if you are so inclined. I was.

Place in the freezer for 15-20 minutes or until chocolate is fully set. Cut into pieces and share with your friends and loved ones, if you want. Cut into really teensy pieces so you can pretend you’re a giant. Aaarhhh.

Super Soft Frosted Sugar Cookie Bars

Super Soft Frosted Sugar Cookie Bars

Ingredients

Sugar Cookie Dough
¾ cup room temperature unsalted butter
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 room temperature large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp cornstarch
½ tsp fine grain salt
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
Yummy Frosting and whatnot
½ cup (one stick) room temperature unsalted butter
2 cups powdered sugar
½ tbsp (1 1/2 tsp) vanilla extract
2 tbsp heavy cream (maybe one more, but usually not. You’ll see)
Gel food coloring (optional, any color you fancy)
Sprinkles (optional, but also not)

Directions

Preheat your oven to 375° and line a 13X9” or quarter-sheet pan with parchment paper, leaving a little bit to hang over each side as a “handle”. This will make removing the bars so much easier when they’re done.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt, cornstarch, and baking powder. Whisk together and set aside.

With a stand mixer or hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes on medium-high. Think of it this way: The fluffier your butter and sugar is, the fluffier your cookies will be!

Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well and scraping down the sides of the bowl after each egg. Add the vanilla extract and mix.

Add half the flour mixture, and mix on low until just incorporated. Then add the second half, and mix as well. Adding just half of the flour at a time and mixing on low avoids a flour shower 🚿. Finish mixing everything with a rubber spatula before spreading into your pan. Make sure there’s no nakey flour bits hiding anywhere! 🙈

Press the cookie dough into the pan using a greased offset spatula, or just do what I do: I like to spray my hands with non-stick spray, and press the dough evenly into all the corners and across the bottom. Don’t worry if you leave some finger marks or spatula grooves on the surface, it’s getting all covered in frosting 🎉

Bake for 15-18 minutes or until just lightly golden. A toothpick or skewer poked into the middle should come out clean. Allow to cool completely while you make frosting 🎉

Let’s get Frosted

In your stand mixer, or with your trusty hand mixer, beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add one cup of powdered sugar and mix, starting slowly so you don’t end up wearing the sugar. Scrape the sides of the bowl down. Add the other cup of sugar and proceed with caution. Scrape the bowl again. Add vanilla and mix. Add 2 tablespoons of heavy cream and whip the dickens out of the frosting, getting it as fluffy as you can. If it still feels a bit stiff, you can add another tablespoon of cream. It depends on how accurately you measured your sugar. In America we go by volume, not weight, so it can be iffy. (I should really change to weight, but I’ll do it later. I want a cookie right now.)

Decide what color you’d like your frosting and add a few drops of gel food color. Start with a small amount, you can always add more. I ended up with 6 drops of red color to get this tint of pink, and I may have added one more than I wanted. I was going for cotton candy. I got Barbie. It’s fine.

Using your parchment paper handles, remove the giant cookie from the pan. Using an offset spatula, or even a butter knife, schmear frosting all over the surface cookie. Try to get some good swoops on there if you can. Swooping is a learned skill, so do your best 😊 Sprank on some sprinkles. (Only if desired, but really? You desire them.) Cut the cookie into whatever size bars you deem a respectable serving and enjoy!

Rocky Road Chocolate Shortbread Bars

Rocky Road Chocolate Shortbread Bars

Ingredients

Chocolate Shortbread Crust
¾ cup all-purpose flour
cup packed brown sugar, light or dark
¼ cup of unsweetened cocoa powder, the darker the better
½ tsp fine grain salt
6 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut in pieces
Rocky Road Topping
½ cup toasted almonds, walnuts, or your nut of choice, some whole, others chopped a bit
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
½ cup mini marshmallows
2 tbsp heavy cream

Directions

Chocolate Shortbread

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 8 inch square pan with non-stick spray and line with parchment paper so that there is overhang to act as handles to remove your finished bars.

In a food processor, pulse together flour, brown sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Add butter and pulse just until combined. The dough should be crumbly, but should hold together when pinched.

Press dough into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake 10-12 minutes, or until it is just beginning to get puffy, and remove from oven. Allow to cool on a rack for 15-20 minutes.

Rocky Road Topping

In a small bowl, mix together the marshmallows, nuts, and 1/4 cup of the chocolate chips. Set aside. To a microwave safe bowl add remaining chocolate chips and microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring between each, until melted and smooth. Add the room temperature heavy cream and stir until fully combined.

Using an offset spatula spread ¾ of chocolate over the cooled shortbread. Sprinkle marshmallows, toasted nuts, and reserved chocolate chips over the top, reserving a bit for a final topping. Using the offset spatula, smooth out and press all the topping into the chocolate. Sprinkle the remainder of the toppings over that and gently press down to “secure” them to the top.

Drizzle the remaining chocolate over the rocky road mixture. Chill the rocky road in the refrigerator until set, at least one hour, then remove from the pan and cut into squares. Caution: it’s pretty darn good. You might want to put some aside for sharing, because that won’t come naturally.