Fudgy Graveyard Brownies

Oh boy. This Wednesday is not only Halloween, but it’s also the first Halloween where I get to give out candy to kids in my adult life. MY FIRST TIME!

Don’t you wish you could give out hand baked treats to Trick or Treaters without it being creepy or allergenic or a potential poison? That is definitely my ideal world.

I want to see a cute little princess, and be like “Hey little Princess, want a hand made graveyard brownie?”, without her parents giving me a death stare. Not possible.

So I’ll give out Kit Kat bars and share my Halloween baked treats with my adult friends who like me, wished so badly that they had the metabolism of those little kids who will probably eat chocolate until they’re sick Wednesday night. I used to. I think I need to make some 4-year old friends.

Have a happy and fun Halloween!

Fudgy Graveyard Brownies
Recipe lightly adapted from Picky Palate
Makes 6 giant brownies

Ingredients:
1 box of your favorite Brownie Mix
6 Milano Cookies, (for grave)
3 Oreo Cookies, crushed
6 Pumpkin candy corns and 6 normal candy corns

For icing:
1 cup milk chocolate, melted
1 tsp vegetable oil
1/4 cup icing sugar

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease an 8 x 8-inch baking pan. Bake brownies according to box instructions and let cool completely. Cut into 6 rectangles.

Mix the frosting ingredients together and then melt them either over a double burner or in the microwave. Frost brownies with icing reserving 2 Tablespoons for piping the cookies.

Cut one of the rounded bottoms off of the Milano cookie, and pipe RIP onto it with the chocolate icing. Press a Milano cookie into the back of each brownie.

Crush your Oreos and sprinkle a tiny bit in the center of each cookie for the “dirt”. Top with a candy corn pumpkin and candy corn. Serve!

Happy Hallowe’en!

Cookbook Queen’s Cookie Brownie Cupcakes with Chocolate Marshmallow Frosting

It’s spring, and I know I should be craving a big bowl of fruit salad or a nice strawberry tart, but I can’t get chocolate off of my mind. There is too much love there. We get each other.

I spotted this beautiful recipe a while ago and have been saving it for a good enough occasion to eat like a maniac indulge in a big time sweet treat. Exam time was the perfect occasion, and these cupcakes got me through some tough organic chemistry problems. I mean, brownies and cookies together to make a cupcake? Puuuuulease!

That semi-naked brownie below gets me hot.

Anyway, to begin, preheat your oven to 350 and line 12 muffin tins with cupcake liners. Then slice store bought refrigerated cookie dough into 12 1/4 inch slices.

Place one slice of cookie dough in the bottom of each lined muffin tin. You can eat any extra…I demand it in fact! You can always make your own cookie dough too, but I needed these bad boys FAST and making everything myself was not an option that day. Waiting stinks.

Mix up that awesome store bought brownie mix following the instructions on the box. I used Duncan Hines Chewy Fudge.

Spoon brownie batter over the cookie dough, filling cups to about 2/3 full.

Bake for about 20 minutes or until brownies are set.

Remove from oven and cool on a cooking rack.

When the cupcakes are all set and cooled, get your frosting ready.

In the bowl of a mixer, beat butter, vanilla, and milk on medium-low speed until smooth and combined. Add powdered sugar and cocoa powder and beat on low until just combined. Add chocolate syrup and increase speed to high. Beat for 2 minutes until light and fluffy.

Using a spatula, fold in marshmallow creme, just until swirled throughout. You don’t want it to be completely mixed in.

Pipe or frost icing on cookie brownies. Enjoy!

Cookie Brownie Cupcakes with Chocolate Marshmallow Frosting
Recipe taken from Confessions of a Cookbook Queen
Makes 12 cupcakes

Ingredients
For Cupcakes:
Brownie batter (use homemade or mix, I used Duncan Hines Chewy Fudge prepared for cake-like brownies)
Regular sized tube of refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough

For Frosting:
2 sticks salted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 Tablespoons milk
3 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 Tablespoons chocolate syrup
7 1/2 oz jar marshmallow creme (I used fluff)

Directions:
For Cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 350. Line 12 muffin tins with liners.

Slice cookie dough into 12 1/4 inch slices and place one in the bottom of each lined muffin tin. Don’t worry about any left-over cookie dough you might have–you will be eating it later.

Spoon brownie batter over the cookie dough, filling cups to about 2/3 full. Bake for about 20 minutes or until brownies are set. Remove from oven and cool on a cooking rack.

For Frosting:
In the bowl of a mixer, beat butter, vanilla, and milk on medium-low speed until smooth and combined. Add powdered sugar and cocoa powder and beat on low until just combined. Add chocolate syrup and increase speed to high. Beat for 2 minutes until light and fluffy.

Using a spatula, fold in marshmallow creme, just until swirled throughout. You don’t want it to be completely mixed in.

Pipe or frost on cookie brownies. Enjoy!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Brownies

Even though it’s illegal, I sometimes text when I’m at a stop light. I simply can’t help it! I was born in ’87 and need constant stimulation. It’s a well known problem of my generation.

I don’t however, talk on the phone while driving or text when the car is moving. Sooooo that’s better, right?

*Humf*

I don’t know. Anyway, I’m telling you this because yesterday while waiting for a red light to turn green I looked into the car next to me, and I saw something interesting…a 20-something girl talking on the phone with her left hand and eating french fries with her right hand. WHAT THE HECK?!

I can only assume that this young lady talks and eats at stop lights just like I text sometimes. I MUST assume this, or I will never walk through an intersection again! Craziness.

This wild event in my life required me to go home to brownies. Any event requires brownies really, though. Like:
“Oh, I should shower”….brownie first.
“My kitty is cute”….eat brownie and stare at kitty.
“I should wake up now”…and have a brownie.

I’m sure you agree.

To make these beauties, place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F. Grease an 8×8-inch baking pan. Line with parchment paper so that it overhangs on two sides and grease the parchment paper as well. Get your boxed brownie mix and beat all the ingredients needed together to make a brownie batter. Pour brownie mixure into prepared pan. I used Ghirardelli. They make the best boxed brownies.

To make the Peanut Butter Filling, place peanut butter, melted butter, powdered sugar, salt and vanilla extract in a bowl.

Whisk it all together until smooth.

Spoon the peanut butter mixture on top of the brownie batter in three lines.

Use a butter knife to swirl the lines together.

Arrange pretzels on top of the batter.

OMG.

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until a skewer inserted in the center comes out mostly clean. Let cool for about 30 minutes on a cooling rack before slicing and enjoying.

Yes!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Brownies
Makes 9 large brownies
Adapted from Joy the Baker

Ingredients:
1 batch of Boxed brownies. I used triple chocolate.

Peanut Butter Filling:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup smooth peanut butter, I prefer natural peanut butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

9 chocolate covered pretzels (I used Rold Gold brand)

Directions:
Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F. Grease an 8×8-inch baking pan. Line with parchment paper so that it overhangs on two sides and grease the parchment paper as well.

Get your boxed brownie mix and beat all the ingredients needed together to make a brownie batter.

Pour brownie mixure into prepared pan.

To make the Peanut Butter Filling, whisk together peanut butter, melted butter, powdered sugar, salt and vanilla extract until smooth.

Spoon the peanut butter mixture on top of the brownie batter in three lines and use a butter knife to swirl the two together. Arrange pretzels on top of the batter.

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until a skewer inserted in the center comes out mostly clean.

Let cool for about 30 minutes before slicing and enjoying.

Nanaimo Bars

Christmas is this weekend! Whoa.

Have I told you that I work in a shopping mall? Well, I do. While I’m going to school I work in a bookstore so that I can pay for college, but it’s more than that. I really like the people I work with, I like talking to customers about books AND I get a mad discount. So things are usually good.

As you know it is currently the holiday season, so this is the time of year where going to work is not so fun. Customers can be angry, rude, and plain and simply crazy! If we don’t have a book they are looking for many of them freak out. Here is some stuff I hear on a daily basis:

Customer: “Five cents for a bag? I donate to enough charities and don’t need to donate to yours”.
My thoughts: I don’t care.

Customer: “Why the hell are you selling books at the Canadian price when the American dollar is at par”?
My thoughts: I don’t make the prices, the publishers do.

Customer: “I’m looking for a book. It’s blue”.
My thoughts: ?

Customer: “I ordered that book a week ago and now it won’t make it for Christmas? I need it NOW”.
My thoughts: Stop last minute shopping.

There are nice customers too. There always are, and of course they usually out number the crazy ones. But it’s the crazy ones that I remember because they’re so ridiculous! People just need to relax. Sit down, have a coffee, and breathe. When I’m stressed I like to run. And when I’m not running I like to bake. It’s a vicious cycle.

I love these nanaimo bars. I was never really into the whole nanaimo thing until I went to my boyfriend’s Grandma’s house back in October and she served these. I fell in love and added them to my Christmas baking list as soon as I got home. The center is more of a buttercream, but still has that custard texture. The crust is buttery and soft and will blow your mind! I hope you enjoy these. I did. My thighs not so much.

Let’s start with the crust. Melt together the butter, brown sugar, and cocoa. I did mine in a pot, but a microwave or a double broiler would be great too!

Beat the egg, and quickly whisk it into the hot chocolate mixture. You need to add the egg slowly and keep the whisk moving, otherwise you will have scrambled eggs! Mix in the graham crackers, coconut, and walnuts.

Press the crust into an 8×8 pan that has been lined with parchment. Put the crust into the fridge to chill for a half hour. I hate waiting.

Cream together the powdered sugar, butter, and custard powder. Add the cream slowly, and beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Spread the cream layer evenly over the crust. Back in the fridge for another half hour or so.

Melt together the butter and chocolate (either a double boiler or microwave) and pour over the chilled cream layer. Put the pan back in the fridge for it to set up.

Cut into small squares (since they are really rich) and keep in the fridge until ready to serve. Enjoy!

Namaimo Bars
Makes enough for an 8×8-inch pan
Recipe adapted from Baked Bree

Ingredients
Crust:
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 Tablespoons cocoa
1 egg
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 cup coconut
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Middle Layer:
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup room temperature butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 Tablespoons custard powder

Chocolate layer:
3 ounces (1/3 cup) chocolate chips
1/4 cup (1 stick) butter

Instructions
Crust:
Start with the crust. Melt together the butter, brown sugar, and cocoa. I did mine in a pot, but a microwave or a double broiler would be great too!

Beat the egg, and quickly whisk it into the hot chocolate mixture. You need to add the egg slowly and keep the whisk moving, otherwise you will have scrambled eggs!

Mix in the graham crackers, coconut, and walnuts. Press the crust into an 8×8 pan that has been lined with parchment. Put the crust into the fridge to chill for a half hour.

Buttercream Layer:
Cream together the powdered sugar, butter, and custard powder. Add the cream slowly, and beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

Spread the cream layer evenly over the crust. Back in the fridge for another half hour or so.

Chocolate Topping:
Melt together the butter and chocolate (either a double boiler or microwave) and pour over the chilled cream layer. Put the pan back in the fridge for it to set up.

Cut into small squares (since they are really rich) and keep in the fridge until ready to serve.

Butterscotch Apple Blondies

It snowed for the first time this season yesterday. It wasn’t too bad. Instead of crumpling my face into Mr. Wrinkles and complaining, I decided to bundle up and enjoy the beauty of the winter wonderland around me.

And it WAS beautiful. It wasn’t too cold and the snow was perfect for packing and making a snowman – although I didn’t get to. Biting my mittens off made me want to go skiing so. freaking. bad.

With the colder season I’ve been baking a lot with apples. After the fall harvest my boyfriend and I were left with over 50 apples to bake and cook with. FIFTY! Luckily, I was in the mood to try new things and ended up coming up with a variety of recipes ranging from apple butter to cookies to these blondies. I brought these blondies into school and they were devoured in a matter of minutes. I hope you enjoy them!

To begin, preheat oven to 350° and spray a 9×13 baking pan lightly with cooking or baking spray. Then, cream butter and brown sugar in mixer until smooth.

Add eggs and vanilla and beat on medium until combined.

On low, add flour, baking powder, and salt. Mixing until just combined.

Stir in the chopped apples and butterscotch chips until evenly distributed.

Spread in prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes until the center is set.

Let cool completely before slicing or frosting.

It’s hard, I know…

Now, onto the buttery crazy-delicious icing. Melt butter in a medium saucepan.

Add brown sugar and milk and bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Let cool for 5 minutes.

Stir in powdered sugar with a whisk.

Let cool until it thickens enough to spread.

Stir before spreading on top of blondies and then pour that deliciousness on top.

Let frosting set for 30 minutes and then cut into bars.

Dig in! Awww, yeah.

Butterscotch Apple Blondies
Adapted from Cookies and Cups

Blondies
Ingredients:
2/3 cup room temperature butter
2 cups packed light brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups All-Purpose Flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup peeled, chopped tart apple (about 1 large)
1/2 cup butterscotch chips

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350° and spray a 9×13 baking pan lightly with cooking or baking spray.

Cream butter and brown sugar in mixer until smooth.

Add eggs and vanilla and beat on medium until combined.

On low, add flour, baking powder, and salt. Mixing until just combined.

Stir in the chopped apples and butterscotch chips until evenly distributed.

Spread in prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes until the center is set.

Let cool completely before slicing or frosting.

Brown Sugar Frosting
Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
2 cups powdered sugar

Instructions:
Melt butter in a medium saucepan. Add brown sugar and milk and bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Let cool for 5 minutes.

Stir in powdered sugar with a whisk.

Let cool until it thickens enough to spread.

Stir before spreading on top of blondies.

Let frosting set for 30 minutes and then cut into bars.

Chewy Butterfinger Blondies

Nobody better lay a finger on my Butterfinger.

Catchy commercial, and yet so true. I loved these bars right from the start. I saw them on Recipe Girl’s blog a little while ago and immediately made them. Not kidding. I ran down to the confectionary and threw these together. Good thing I have a lot of hungry friends at work to help me eat my baking. I might have a problem with my hips if I didn’t. A big, squishy, problem.

These are simple. Throw them together with the basic ingredients you have in your home. You just need to run to the nearest store for the chocolate bars. Mix ingredients, bake and serve to those awesome people you have in your life. I did :) To begin, grease your pan and preheat your oven.

Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl, and set it aside.

In a medium bowl, with electric mixer at medium speed, combine butter and brown sugar.

Beat in eggs and vanilla until smooth.

Stir in flour mixture and 1 cup of crushed butterfingers.

Spread in prepared pan. Sprinkle remaining crushed butterfinger bars over top of batter.

Bake 30- 35 minutes, or until the bars are a bit firm to the touch.

Cool completely before cutting into bars. Eat five (optional).

Chewy Butterfinger Blondies
Recipe from Recipe Girl
Makes 12 squares

Ingredients:
2¼ cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
¾ cup butter, softened
2¼ cups brown sugar
3 large eggs
1½ tsp vanilla extract
4 regular-sized butterfinger candy bars, crushed

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 13×9-inch baking pan.
2. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.
3. In a medium bowl, with electric mixer at medium speed, combine butter and brown sugar.
4. Beat in eggs and vanilla until smooth.
5. Stir in flour mixture and 1 cup of crushed butterfingers.
6. Spread in prepared pan. Sprinkle remaining crushed butterfinger bars over top of batter.
7. Bake 30- 35 minutes, or until the bars are a bit firm to the touch. Cool completely before cutting into bars.

Peanut Butter Crunch Brownies

Ever since I first saw these brownies I knew I had to make them. And make them I did…within hours of spotting them.

These beauties begin with a layer of chewy, fudgy brownie, are topped with peanuts and chopped peanut butter cups, and then are topped off with a melted chocolate, peanut butter, and Rice Krispies mixture. Heavenly and sinful all in one.

I’ve made these a couple of times and they are a true favorite of mine. My boyfriend loves them, I love them, and they’re a great pot-luck dessert for adults and kids alike. They disappear fast, and I’m always asked for the recipe.

To begin, prepare the brownies according to the directions and bake for about 5 minutes less than the recipe states.

Remove from the oven and sprinkle the top with the peanuts and chopped peanut butter cups. Return to the oven and bake for 5 additional minutes.

While they are finishing baking, melt the chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat.

Stir in the cereal to evenly coat.

Remove the brownies from the oven and evenly pour the chocolate and peanut butter mixture over top. Spread to cover evenly.

Refrigerate for 2 hours before cutting and serving. The waiting part is hard.

Peanut Butter Crunch Brownies
Makes 12 brownies
Recipe slightly adapted from How Sweet It Is’s Better-Than-Crack Brownies

Ingredients:
1 batch of Fudgy Chocolate Brownies
½ cup salted peanuts
1 cup Reese’s peanut butter cups, chopped
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1 cup creamy peanut butter
½ tablespoon unsalted butter
1 ½ cup Rice Krispies cereal

Directions:
1. Prepare the brownies according to the directions and bake for about 5 minutes less than the recipe states. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the top with the peanuts and chopped peanut butter cups. Return to the oven and bake for 5 additional minutes.

2. While they are finishing baking, melt the chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir in the cereal to evenly coat. Remove the brownies from the oven and evenly pour the chocolate and peanut butter mixture over top. Spread to cover evenly. Refrigerate for 2 hours before cutting and serving. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Pumpkin Cranberry Granola Bars

Because I have excess pumpkin from my Pumpkin Molasses Cookies, I decided to look over a few of my favorite blogs for some ideas. I came across so many good looking pumpkin recipes (with half of them on Sugar Crafter’s blog) but found this granola bar recipe on The Comfort of Cooking’s blog and thought I could turn this into a healthy snack.

The pumpkin, applesauce and honey flavours burst together in your mouth. When mixed with the rolled oats and cranberries this granola bar becomes the perfect healthy snack!

Let’s get baking. First, preheat your oven and spray your 8 x 8-inch baking pan with cooking spray and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk oats, spices, and salt together. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk brown sugar, pumpkin, applesauce, honey, and vanilla extract until smooth. I shouldn’t have used my red bowls to take pictures with….sorry for the ugliness! haha

Pour over oats and stir well, until all of the oats are moist. Evenly press oat mixture into prepared pan.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until golden brown. The pumpkin keeps the bars moist, so make sure they are golden and set. Under baked bars are yucky. Yeah, I said it – yucky. Remove from oven and let cool completely. Using a sharp knife, cut into bars.

Pumpkin Cranberry Granola bars
Adapted loosely from The Comfort of Cooking’s Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Granola Bars
Makes 10-12 granola bars
3 weight watchers points for for 1 of 12 bars

Ingredients:
3 1/4 cups old fashioned oats
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup applesauce
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8 x 8 baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, whisk oats, spices, and salt together. Set aside.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk brown sugar, pumpkin, applesauce, honey, and vanilla extract until smooth.
4. Pour over oats and stir well, until all of the oats are moist. Stir in cranberries.
5. Evenly press oat mixture into prepared pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until golden brown. The pumpkin keeps the bars moist, so make sure they are golden and set -you don’t want them to be under-baked!
6. Remove from oven and let cool completely. Using a sharp knife, cut into bars.

Easy Lemon Crumb Bars

This morning has been awesome. I woke up early, opened my cupboards and went through all of my “to bake” lists from 2010. There were so many recipes, I hardly knew where to start. Since it’s still January and I’m trying not eat too many double chocolate cheesecake pieces, I decided to go with an old favorite of mine.

Lemon Crumb bars are easy, and can be cut nicely into bite sized pieces. Plus, the light lemon taste makes this bar feel like a light snack.

To begin, chop up your butter stick into little pieces.

In a large bowl, place the cake mix, butter, and egg.

Beat the cake mix, butter, and egg until crumbly.

Stir in cracker crumbs, set aside 2 cups for topping.

Press remaining crumb mixture into a 13-inch x 9-inch baking dish, coated with cooking spray.

Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.

In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks, condensed milk, and lemon juice.

Pour over crust, sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.

Cool on a wire rack. Cut into bars. Store in the refrigerator.

Done and done! Easy Peasy.

Lemon Crumb Bars
Makes 2 dozen bars

Ingredients:
1 package (18-1/4 oz) of lemon cake mix
1 stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter
1 egg
2 cups crushed saltines (1 whole package)
3 egg yolks
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup lemon juice

Directions:
1.In a large bowl, beat the cake mix, butter, and egg until crumbly. Stir in cracker crumbs, set aside 2 cups for topping.
2. Press remaining crumb mixture into a 13-inch x 9-inch baking dish, coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.
3. In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks, condensed milk, and lemon juice. Pour over crust, sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.
4. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into bars. Store in the refrigerator.

Christmas Baking – Chocolate n’ Peanut Butter Dreams

Here they are…my favorite Christmas treat. This is the bar that I reach for on the goodie plate every time. I simply can’t get enough of them. I got this recipe from a good friend last year, and have now made them about 11 times!! A tried and true amazingly delicious dessert.

Want to learn how to make them? Of course you do!! Let’s bake. Combine peanut butter and butter in a saucepan over medium heat.

Let it combine nicely. Take off the heat.

Add icing sugar and graham wafer crumbs and stir it up.

Place yummy mixture into a 9 x 9-inch pan.

Then get the chocolate ready. Melt chocolate chips and shortening together.

Pour the chocolate on top of the peanut butter base, and place in the fridge for about 2 hours.

Eat! Oh my these were good. Key word being “were”.


Chocolate, Peanut Butter Squares

Makes 16 large squares.

Ingredients:
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup butter
2 1/2 cups icing sugar
2 cups graham wafer crumbs
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 tbsp vegetable shortening

Directions:
1. Combine peanut butter and butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Melt completely.
2. Take off the heat and add icing sugar and graham crumbs, mix together. Place mixture into a 9 x 9-inch pan and smooth the surface.
3. Melt the chocolate and shortening together. Pour evenly over peanut butter base. Place pan in the fridge and wait for 2 hours.
4. Cut into 16 squares and enjoy!