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.

Peanut Butter Blondies

Peanut Butter Blondies

Ingredients

1 ½ sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter
cup creamy peanut butter
1 ½ cups packed brown sugar
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp fine grain kosher or sea salt
1 tsp vanilla extract or paste
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
½ cup chocolate chips (whatever you like most. I used milk chocolate this time)
½ peanut butter chips (optional, but delicious. If you can’t find them just add another ½ cup of chocolate chips)
8 – 10 peanut butter cup candies

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray an 8×8” baking pan with non-stick spray. Line the pan with parchment paper, leaving some paper to hang over the sides to use as a handle for lifting out the blondies later. Spray the parchment with non-stick spray as well. Set aside.

In a small bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set this aside too.

In a medium saucepan (big enough to add your dry ingredients to later), melt the unsalted butter. Allow to cool for a few minutes, then stir in the peanut butter. Add the brown sugar and whisk together until fully combined. Add the vanilla and eggs and whisk until they are completely incorporated.

Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, being careful not to over mix. Just barely fold everything together until there are no more streaks of flour. Fold in the chips. Pour the batter into your prepared pan and smooth the top. Scatter the chopped peanut butter cups over the top and lightly press into the batter.

Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until the top is a lightly golden brown. A toothpick or skewer inserted in the middle should come out with just a few crumbs.

Let cool on a wire rack for at least an hour. Go do a puzzle or watch an episode of that show. Remove from the pan (using your handy dandy parchment handles 😊) and either allow to cool completely or go absolutely mad and just start munching.

Peanut Butter Stuffed Brownies

Peanut Butter Stuffed Brownies

Ingredients

Brownie Batter
1 stick unsalted butter
3 oz bittersweet chocolate (70% is my preference, but at least 60% to avoid too much sweetness, especially with the peanut butter filling)
1 tsp espresso powder or instant coffee crystals
¾ cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup dark cocoa powder
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp fine grain salt
3 large eggs, room temperature
¾ cup granulated sugar
Peanut Butter Filling
¾ cup creamy peanut butter
¾ cup confectioners sugar
2 tbsp milk (I used whole milk, but any milk will do)
Etcetera
2 tbsp each of chocolate chips (milk chocolate if you have it) and peanut butter chips

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray an 8×8” 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. If that makes ABSOLUTELY no sense to you, just really spray your pan really, really well. The brownies will come out. Pretty sure.

Melt butter in a small saucepan. Add chocolate and espresso to the melted butter and stir until melted and well mixed. Allow to cool.

While the chocolate is cooling, let’s make the peanut butter filling.

Place all the filling ingredients in a medium bowl and, using a hand mixer, beat everything together until mixed very well. It will have the texture of a shortbread cookie dough, and that’s exactly what you want. Now it’s time to press the dough into a 7.5” inch square. Here’s a good way to do that: Draw a 7.5” square on a piece of parchment paper with a pencil, then turn the paper upside down. (No graphite in our peanut butter, thank you.) You should still be able to see the square through the paper. Plop the peanut butter filling inside of the square, and place another piece of parchment on top of it. Peanut butter parchment sandwich. Using a rolling pin, gently press the peanut butter filling into the square shape. Finally, take your peanut butter parchment sandwich and place it on a small baking sheet or cutting board, then place it in the freezer to firm up while we finish up the brownies.

Sift flour, salt, baking powder, and cocoa powder together. Set aside.

Combine eggs and sugar in stand mixer and, using the whisk attachment, whip together for about 3-4 minutes, until the mixture thickens and lightens in color. Using really well whipped eggs like this helps to give the brownies their traditional “crackly paper” top. I love that part 😍

Drizzle the cooled chocolate mixture into the eggs and sugar and combine until completely incorporated. Remove the bowl from the mixer and, using a silicone or rubber spatula, fold the flour mixture in by hand just until the last bits of flour have completely mixed in. I don’t use a mixer for this part because over-mixing the flour can lead to too much gluten development. That’s just fancy baking talk for “it will make your brownies tough and chewy.” No thank you.

Place half of the batter in the prepared pan and, using a small offset spatula or your fingers, press it into all the corners and get it as flat as possible. Take your peanut butter filling out of the freezer and peel off the parchment paper. You should then be able to lay it precisely in the center of the pan, right on top of the batter.

Spread the remaining brownie batter evenly on top of the filling, making sure to get batter all along the edges, effectively “sealing in” your filling.

Sprinkle your chocolate and peanut butter chips evenly over the top give them a teensy push into the surface. Oh, I’m so excited for you!

Bake in a 350° oven for 30-35 minutes, turning the pan around half way through. I start checking at 25 minutes so I don’t over bake cuz no one wants a dry brownie.

How do you know when a brownie is done? Tricky question, since a toothpick inserted in the center will always come out with some chocolate on it, but this is my take. When they are done the edges of the brownies will be definitely set and the center will have no jiggle. You may also start to see some of the crackling of the top, usually near the edges as well. (They’ll finish their crackle as they cool and as you cut them.) Best bet? Take them out as soon as you see these signs since they’ll continue cooking in the pan for a few minutes.

Please, oh please, allow these to cool in the pan for at least 30 minutes to an hour. I know, I KNOW your instinct is to get these in your mouth at Olympic speeds, but you want to let that beautiful filling set a bit. You also want the brownies to cool down a little so you don’t have to do the dog pant when chewing. The wait will be worth it.

Okay, GO!

Salted Caramel Brownies

Salted Caramel Brownies

Ingredients

Salted Caramel
½ cup granulated sugar
3 tbsp unsalted butter
¼ cup heavy cream
½ tsp flaky sea salt (or 1/4 tsp if using table salt)
And Let’s Not Forget the Brownies!
1 stick unsalted butter
3 oz bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (70% is my preference, but at least 60% to avoid too much sweetness)
1 tsp espresso powder or instant coffee crystals
¾ cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup dark cocoa powder (it should say “dutched” somewhere on the label)
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp fine grain salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
¾ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup brown sugar (light or dark)
A sprinkle of flaky sea salt for the top (optional, but hey…)

Directions

Salted Caramel

Place the sugar in a small saucepan over medium high heat. Stir frequently – the sugar will form clumps at first, but will melt into a thick amber colored liquid. Watch it carefully, as it will go from perfect to ruined really fast. I’d rather you make a lighter color than burn it.

Remove from heat. Add butter and stir in until melted. Add cream and stir in. Be careful! It will bubble and spit, but don’t worry, that’s just what caramel does. Return to heat – let it bubble for another two minutes. Stir in your salt. Pour the caramel onto a parchment paper lined plate or bowl. Freeze for 20-30 minutes to solidify. When ready, spray a sharp knife with non-stick spray and cut the caramel into small pieces. Place back in the freezer until ready to add to the brownie batter. Don’t eat it.

Don’t Forget the Brownies!

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray an 8×8” 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. I highly recommend that you don’t skip this step because there will be melty pools of caramel trying to keep your brownies in the pan!

Melt butter in a small saucepan. Add chocolate and espresso to the melted butter and stir until melted and well mixed. Allow to cool.

Sift flour, salt, baking powder, and cocoa powder together. Set aside.

Combine eggs and sugars in stand mixer and, using the whisk attachment, whip together for about 3-4 minutes until the mixture thickens and lightens in color. Using really well whipped eggs like this helps to give the brownies their traditional “crackly paper” top. I love that part 😍

Drizzle the cooled chocolate mixture into the eggs and sugar and combine until completely incorporated. Remove the bowl from the mixer and, using a silicone or rubber spatula, fold the flour mixture in by hand just until the last bits of flour have completely mixed in. I prefer to do this part by hand so that I don’t overmix the batter.

Go get your (uneaten) caramels out of the freezer and fold about 2/3 of the pieces into the batter. Pour the batter into your prepared 8X8 pan. Press the rest of the caramels into the top of the batter. Sprinkle a bit of flaky sea salt on top to tell everyone what you’re about.

Bake in 350° oven for 30-35 minutes, turning the pan around half way through. I start checking at 25 minutes so I don’t over bake cuz no one wants a dry brownie.

How do you know when a brownie is done? Tricky question, since a toothpick inserted in the center will always come out with some chocolate on it, not to mention melty caramel, but this is my take: When they are done, the edges of the brownies will be definitely set and the center will have no jiggle. You may also start to see some of the crackling of the top, usually near the edges as well. (They’ll finish their crackle as they cool and as you cut them.) Best bet? Take them out as soon as you see these signs since they’ll continue cooking in the pan for a few minutes.

Please, oh please, allow these to cool for just a little bit. Can you wait about 10-15 minutes? This will allow the caramel to go just a bit below the temperature of molten lava and allow you to eat one without melting your face off. Safety first.

Classic Fudge Brownies

Classic Fudge Brownies

Ingredients

1 stick (113g) unsalted butter
3 oz (85g) bittersweet chocolate (about 70% is good), coarsely chopped
1 tsp espresso powder or instant coffee crystals
¾ cup (98g) all-purpose flour
¾ cup (75g) dark or dutched cocoa powder (exactly what “dutched” cocoa is, is a story for another day, but it will say dutched somewhere on the label. Hershey’s Dark cocoa powder is actually dutched, but just doesn’t say that 😒 Ugh)
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp fine grain salt
2 large eggs, at room temperature
¾ cup (150g) granulated sugar
¼ cup (50g) brown sugar (dark or light)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray an 8X8 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. If that makes ABSOLUTELY no sense to you, just really spray your pan really, really well. The brownies will come out. Pretty sure.

Melt butter in a small saucepan. Add chocolate and espresso to the melted butter and stir until melted and well mixed. Allow to cool.

Sift flour, salt, baking powder, and cocoa powder together. Set aside.

Combine eggs and sugars in stand mixer and, using the whisk attachment, whip together for about 3-4 minutes, until the mixture thickens and lightens in color. Using really well whipped eggs like this helps to give the brownies their traditional “crackly paper” top. I love that part 😍

Drizzle the cooled chocolate mixture into the eggs and sugar and combine until completely incorporated. Remove the bowl from the mixer and, using a silicone or rubber spatula, fold the flour mixture in by hand just until the last bits of flour have completely mixed in. I don’t use a mixer for this part because over-mixing the flour can lead to too much gluten development. That’s just fancy baking talk for “it will make your brownies tough and chewy.” No thank you.

Pour into prepared 8X8 pan and bake in 350° oven for 30-35 minutes, turning the pan around half way through. I start checking at 25 minutes so I don’t over bake cuz no one wants a dry brownie.

How do you know when a brownie is done? Tricky question, since a toothpick inserted in the center will always come out with some chocolate on it, but this is my take. When they are done the edges of the brownies will be definitely set and the center will have no jiggle. You may also start to see some of the crackling of the top, usually near the edges as well. (They’ll finish their crackle as they cool and as you cut them.) Best bet? Take them out as soon as you see these signs since they’ll continue cooking in the pan for a few minutes.

If you want to cut these brownies into nice and tidy squares, perfect for sharing, allow to cool for at least an hour before removing from the pan and cutting them with a sharp chef’s knife. If you are an absolute beast and want to dig right in, maybe wait 10 or 15 minutes and just fork it. Neatness doesn’t always count.

These brownies will theoretically last for 3 days in a covered container. I say “theoretically” because I’ve never actually seen 3 day old brownies in my house.

Chocolate Banana Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies

Chocolate Banana Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies

Ingredients

1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
¾ cup dark cocoa powder ( i use a blend of dutched and natural cocoa)
1 tsp espresso powder or instant coffee crystals
¼ tsp fine grain salt
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 bananas, mashed
¾ cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
½ cup peanut butter, warmed until liquid
1 banana, split down the center

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°. Line an 8X8 inch square baking pan with parchment paper and spray with non-stick spray. Set aside.

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan and allow to cool for a few minutes. Stir in the sugar, cocoa powder, espresso powder, and salt until combined. It will be very thick!

Stir in the eggs, one at a time until fully incorporated. Next mix in the vanilla and the two mashed bananas (i just peeled mine and mashed them up with a fork). You might see little chunks of banana peeking out here and there. That’s nice ☺️

Sprinkle the flour, baking powder, and baking soda fairly evenly over the top of the batter and fold it in gently. The point is to get it all mixed in without over-mixing, which can leave you with tough brownies. Pour the batter into your prepared pan and spread it out evenly. Spoon warmed peanut butter in five or six plops over the top of the batter. Using a knife, toothpick, or skewer, swirl the peanut butter all throughout the brownie batter. Place the two slices of banana on top of the whole thing, with the seedy inside facing up. It’s decorative, tasty, and SCREAMS banana.

Bake for 45-55 minutes at 350° or until the center is no longer jiggly and a toothpick (or knife) inserted in the middle comes out clean or with just a few crumbs.

Allow to cool for at least 30-45 minutes before slicing. You can practice your swivel hips while you wait. Enjoy your brownies. Get all shook up! 🕺🏻