halloween candy cheesecake brownies

kit kat brownieIt’s about that time of year where our houses are filled with candy and we need to figure out what exactly to do with all of it. Well, fear not, I am here to help you out! A couple weeks ago I showed you how to turn our leftover candy into ice cream, last year we made a Halloween candy bark, and now, we take it one step further by shoving that delicious candy into brownies.  Continue reading

salty caramel pretzel brownies

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Sometimes managing a blog can be difficult.

I mean, aside from all the time spent shopping, prepping, cooking, photographing, and planning… all of that aside, the hardest thing by far is writing. Sometimes I just want to put up a picture and then put the recipe below and be done with it.

Writers block. It’s real, yo.

And it’s serious.

Sometimes I could talk about brownies for days (and sometimes I do)…  and then other times, like today, I’m all like, “How much can you really say about brownies?” 

Hi, I made brownies. Here is a picture to prove I made them. Here is another picture in case you’re still not convinced. And here is a recipe for said brownies. Yup. Looks like brownies.

>Brownies, brownies, brownies.

Then, a magical thing happened.

I realized I didn’t need to spend hours thinking about the brownies or how awesome their pretzelly crust was and how chewy and chocolatey they were and how delightful the little bits of caramel were or even how well the crunchy/salty pretzels accented them.

I didn’t have to ponder synonyms for “moist” (ew, right?) or different ways to describe the flavor of chocolate… in fact, I didn’t have to do any of that at all.

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I could, instead, talk about something completely different.  Like fortune cookies.  And how FH solidified for sure in his mind that we were meant to be (which is good, considering I’m wearing his ring on my finger and all. You think maybe he should have figured that out beforehand?)

Now you might be wondering what fortune cookies have to do with love, but let me get there.

FH and I tried a new Chinese joint last weekend. It was Saturday and I didn’t want to get out of my pajamas but FH wanted Chinese food, it was just our luck that someone left a menu on our doorstep for a new Chinese restaurant. I glanced through to see if they delivered (a lot of places don’t deliver when you live in the burbs – it’s the worst).

Luckily for us we were within their delivery area so we ordered it up and put a movie on – lucky for me O Brother Where Art Thou (which I recommend watching if you haven’t seen it yet) was playing on the movie channel so I got to watch my boy George while I waited for dinner to arrive.

The food came, and it was actually pretty good, which is neither here nor there… because the main star of this story, my friends, is this:

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Yeah, you’re eyes aren’t playing tricks on you. That’s two fortune cookies. One wrapper.

Two.

 “WE WERE MEANT TO BE! OUR FORTUNES CAME TOGETHER!

To this day we haven’t even OPENED the fortune cookies because FH said it was so rare, “like a unicorn,” and said we should save them in our memory book, which I reminded him would mostly likely result in crushed fortune cookies. So I think that tonight I will force him to crack open the cookies, read our fortunes, and hope it doesn’t say something ominous like, “Everyone dies alone” or “You’re about to make a grave mistake.”

Anyway, here’s the brownie recipe.

They’re good, I promise.

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salty caramel pretzel brownies

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes

Yield: 20 to 30 brownies (or 1 giant brownie, depending on how you slice)

Ingredients

    Pretzel crust
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose
  • 1 cup crushed pretzels
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • Brownie layer
  • 7 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (11-oz) package caramel bits; divided into 8 oz and 3 oz
  • For topping
  • 3 oz chocolate, melted
  • 3 oz caramel bits, melted
  • 1 c coarsely-chopped pretzels

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and line a 9x13 pan with foil and parchment
  2. For the crust
  3. Stir together flour, crushed pretzels, and brown sugar. Add melted butter and stir til combined. Press into bottom of lined pan.
  4. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until crust is golden brown. Set aside to cool while you make the brownies.
  5. For the brownies
  6. Combine chocolate, espresso powder, water, and butter in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium-low heat until butter and chocolate are melted, stirring occasionally.
  7. Once melted, transfer the chocolate mixture to a large bowl and allow to cool slightly (if it is too warm, it will cook your eggs when you add them).
  8. Once cooled to luke-warm, add the sugar and brown sugar, beating with mixer at medium speed until combined. Add eggs and vanilla and continue beating about two minutes more.
  9. Stir in flour and salt until just combined, then stir in caramel bits, being careful not to over-mix.
  10. Bake for about 25 minutes until cooked through - a toothpick should come out mostly clean with a few crumbs sticking to it. With brownies, I always err on the side of under-baked vs over-baked.
  11. Cool in pan for about 10 minutes.
  12. For the topping:
  13. Crush pretzels and sprinkle over top of the brownies.
  14. Melt chocolate in microwave or double-boiler until smooth, drizzle over brownies.
  15. Melt caramel in microwave or double-boiler until smooth, drizzle over brownies.
  16. Allow brownies to cool completely and for chocolate to harden (you can speed this step up by placing brownies in the fridge).
  17. Once cooled, slice into bars and serve.
http://wee-eats.com/2014/02/17/salty-caramel-pretzel-brownies/

[ adapted from Bakers Royale ]

salty caramel pretzel brownie pin

 

Brownie Swirl Cake

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I’m going to tell you all that I had high hopes for March.  I know that Spring is right around the corner and I was all excited to share some “healthy” (well, more healthy than usual) recipes with you so that you didn’t have to swear off the website while you readied yourself for Spring Break or whatever it is that you have looming around the corner that may require you to wear some less-skin-covering clothing items.

Much to absolutely no one’s surprise, that ended quickly.  I promise that I’ve been making juices and salads for you, but in between all of those green and healthful things there is cake.  So.  Much.  Cake.

Well, since March is my birthday month and I’m always in search of the perfect cake for my birthday anyway, I decided to embrace my cake madness and MAKE ALL THE CAKE!  Followed by eating all the cake, and posting all the cake.

all the cake

Last year I made pretty much the best cake ever – a three layer rich chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting and finished off with a dark chocolate ganache.  It was heavenly.  It’s going to be really hard to top.

But not everyone has hours to dedicate to cake-making.

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So, what if you have a birthday say, tomorrow, and you want to do something a little more special than just a box cake mix and you don’t know what to do because you have a job and a life and not enough hours in the day?

That’s where this comes in.

You get the ease of a box mix but with super fancy sprinkles and swirls that make it look like you worked really hard.  And the weirdest part?  Somehow you use brownie mix and a cake mix and it magically turns into this fun and pretty marbled sensation.

Not too shabby, huh?

So in honor of March, I’m going to say IT’S MY BIRTHDAY MONTH AND I CAN EAT CAKE EVERY FRICKIN’ DAY IF I WANT TO AND NO ONE CAN STOP ME.  And if you feel the need to celebrate March (officially renamed “Cake Month”) with me, then more power to you!  We’ll save all that healthy stuff for next month or something (or I’m sure I can sneak a recipe or two in between the cake).

For now, I’ll take another piece of cake please.

Brownie Swirl Cake

Yield: One 9- by 13-inch cake

Ingredients

  • *1 (15.25 oz) box cake mix
  • *1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • *1 egg
  • *1/2 cup milk
  • *1 "Family Size" box Brownie mix
  • *1 recipe frosting (or just a large can of frosting, I won't tell)
  • *Sprinkles, if desired

Instructions

  1. 1. Preheat oven to 350°F and spray 9x13 pan with cooking spray or line with foil/parchment.
  2. 2. In a medium mixing bowl combine cake mix, oil, egg and milk. Beat together for about 1 minute, until ingredients are incorporated.
  3. 3. Spread batter in the bottom of the prepared pan (it will be thick). I find the easiest way to do this is to wet my hands with water and use them to press and spread the mix until it covers the bottom of the pan.
  4. 4. Make your brownie batter according to the directions on the box. Pour the brownie batter on top of the cake layer.
  5. 5. Bake approx 25-30 minutes until center is set, err on the side of slightly underbaking than overbaking. What I ended up with was delicious brownie outsides (I like the dry brownie outside) and a nice, cakey inside. Surprisingly tasty.
  6. 6. Frost and top with sprinkles, if desired.
http://wee-eats.com/2013/03/03/brownie-swirl-cake/

 

[ Adapted from Cookies N Cups ]

Celebrating the New Year and Top 12 of 2012

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It’s New Year’s Eve and while some of us will be popping bottles of expensive champagne to celebrate, the rest of us will be taking a much more affordable approach.  Prosecco is an Italian sparkling wine and, in my opinion, is less dry and more delicious than your usual champagne anyway.  Mix it with a little pureed fruit or, for the lazier of us, peach nectar from a can, and you’ve got yourself what’s called a “bellini”.

Simple, delicious, bubbly.  Just like New Year’s Eve should be.

Making bellinis is super easy.  Just one part fruit juice or nectar to two parts prosecco.

Bellinis

  • 2 oz fruit juice or nectar
  • 4 oz Prosecco (the sommelier at our local grocer recommended La Marca brand)

Pour 2 oz fruit juice into champagne flute.

Add prosecco and let the bubbles mix it for you.

Drink, enjoy, pour another, drink more.

Happy New Year!

The Top 12 Posts of 2012

pds

moc

basil

ddcc

scc

peanut butter truffle brownies

gooey butter cake

chocolate peanut butter cake

smore cook

btc brownie

ccroll

peanut butter truffle brownies

peanut butter truffle brownie main

“I bet this is what heaven tastes like.”

Well, that’s what one of my official taste testers said at least. I’m bound to be biased where chocolate and peanut butter are involved, but I received nothing but praise over these babies, so I’m pretty sure they’re a solid bet.

I was initially worried that the peanut butter layer was too sweet and not peanut buttery enough, but was reassured that it was the perfect amount of peanut butter flavor. I’m a huge fan of peanut butter though, like, left unattended I will work my way to the bottom of a jar huge. So yeah, I’m always going to think something needs more peanut butter. It’s just my nature.

I did alter the filling a bit from the original recipe, and resorted to a box mix (gasp!) since I was short on time and had a work potluck to make these for. So if you’re short on time and need to cheat, who am I to judge? Otherwise, given how good these were with boxed brownies, I’m sure using your favorite go-to brownie recipe as a base will only make them more spectacular.

I cut mine into 1-inch squares (and then promptly consumed three of them), but these babies are RICH. I’m sure a regular person would be content with just one square. Enjoy :) Another win for Pinterest (and another loss for my waistline). Oops.

Thank goodness it’s Mardi Gras and calories don’t count today. :)

Peanut Butter Truffle Brownies

[ Printable Recipe ]

Brownie Layer:

1 batch of your favorite brownies (13×9-in pan)

Peanut Butter Layer:

1/2 Cup of butter, softened
3/4 Cup of creamy peanut butter
2 Cups of powdered sugar
2-3 Teaspoons of milk (if needed, I didn’t need it)

Ganache Layer:

1/4 Cup of creamy peanut butter
2 Cups of semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 Cup of butter
2 Tbsp of heavy whipping cream

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9×13 metal baking pan. Put a long piece of parchment or foil in the bottom, letting the ends extend slightly over the sides. Butter the parchment paper.

2. Make your brownies according to recipe directions. Remove pan and let cool completely on a rack.

3. While the brownies cool, make the peanut butter filling; fix a stand mixer with paddle attachment or use an electric mixer. Combine the peanut butter and remaining filling ingredients in a bowl and beat until smooth and creamy and spreadable (add a few teaspoons of milk, one at a time, If it’s not spreadable).

4. Take the cooled brownies and spread an even layer of peanut butter. Place in the refrigerator until filling is set, about 30 minutes.

5. While the filling sets, make the ganache; take a small saucepan and a glass or heatproof bowl. Simmer water and place the bowl over the saucepan. Melt the ganache ingredients together and stir to combine.

6. Take the chilled brownies and pour the ganache over the top. Spread gently. Chill until set.

7. When ready to serve, lift the brownies out of the pan using the ends of the parchment paper. Slice into 1-inch squares with a sharp knife, wiping with a warm damp towel between cuts.

[ Adapted from somekitchenstories ]