Archive for the ‘Bars & Brownies’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Browned Butter Brownies with Fluffy Peanut Butter Frosting

Yes, really.  If that title doesn’t make your heart skip a beat then I don’t think you’re human.

I’m sure most people are trying to lose those extra holiday pounds (myself included) so save this recipe as I’m sure the sugar high from Christmas will wear off eventually. These brownies are truly amazing. Moist brownies topped with the sweetest peanut butter frosting, it’s truly the perfect combination. However, make sure you make these brownies when you have guests because this is not a dessert you want to be alone with. The only mistake I made when making these was doubling the recipe and making a 9×13 pan of delicious brownies. I highly suggest making the original recipe (in an 8×8 pan) unless you’re feeding a ton of people since these brownies are so sweet, a little bit definitely goes a long way with these bad boys!

Browned Butter Brownies with Fluffy Peanut Butter Frosting

For the Brownies:
10 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup cocoa
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup flour

For the Fluffy Peanut Butter Frosting:
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup peanut butter
Pinch of salt

In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium low heat. Continue cooking until butter has turned a golden-brown color. It should smell caramel-y. Remove from heat and stir in sugar and cocoa. Add vanilla. Stir in eggs on at a time, until well-incorporated. Stir in salt and flour until just combined.

Line an 8 x 8″ baking dish with parchment paper. Pour in brownie batter and smooth the surface. Bake brownies at 325 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until brownies are set. (A toothpick inserted will still come out with a few crumbs) Allow brownies to completely cool before frosting.

Make frosting by beating butter, powdered sugar, peanut butter, and pinch of salt until light and fluffy. Spread over brownies. Slice brownies into 16 squares.

Makes 16 brownies.

Source: One Lovely Life


PostHeaderIcon Chocolate Chip Bars

I have a little confession to make. One that I’m not super proud of. While I was pregnant I only blogged at a certain time since that is when my creative juices flowed. I wish I could say it was always in the afternoon while sipping tea and eating scones. Sadly, it was not like that at all. My creative juices flowed at an odd time…..around 2 am. I’m not kidding. I always went to bed super early (like I do now) and it was around the third trimester that I always woke up at the exact same time, around 2 am, and CRAVED a huge glass of milk and something sweet. While eating I would jump on my computer and blog (How did I only gain 35 lbs while pregnant??). I wish I was joking but that was the only time when I had the energy and creativeness to blog. Now I have neither of them but I try my best to blog. Anyway, I do have a point to this – I wish I had this recipe back then. I know my pregnant self would have absolutely loved these bars at 2 am. However, I’m very glad I didn’t have this recipe because I would have a lot more weight to lose right now. :)

This recipe was passed on to me by my mother-in-law, who received it from her mother. I love making recipes passed on by family since you know that they’ll always turn out delicious. I was a little hesitant on making this recipe since it contains shortening (ewe!) but I got over my fear and used it. I’m sure it would be just as good with butter but it was darn good with shortening. This recipe is very simple – you just mix the first list of ingredients together and press it into a 9 x 13 pan for the crust. Then you top it with beaten egg whites, brown sugar, and chocolate chips. Yup, it does taste as good as it sounds!


Chocolate Chip Bars

For the cookie base:
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 egg yolks (save the egg whites)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon water

For the topping:
3 egg whites
1 cup brown sugar
6 oz. chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray. Set aside.

For the cookie base – Mix ingredients in order given until well-combined. Evenly press the mixture into the 9×13 pan.

For the topping – Beat the egg whites together until peaks form. Gradually mix in the brown sugar and chocolate chips to the egg whites. Spread over the cookie base and sprinkle with chopped nuts, if desired.

Bake at 350°F for 25 – 30 minutes.


Source: Grandma Jane :)


PostHeaderIcon Sugar Cookie Bars

Since I recently posted my favorite sugar cookie recipe I thought it was only fair to share this awesome recipe for sugar cookie bars with you. When I say these are awesome, I mean they are unbelievably awesome! Even though I love the process of making sugar cookies, sometimes I just want a short cut to satisfy my sweet tooth. These are definitely that short cut since they are quick to whip up and sweet enough to satisfy my pregnancy sweet tooth (which at this point, is very sweet). :)

This is the perfect dessert to bring to an upcoming cookout or graduation party. Trust me, everyone will love it….and love you in return. I split this recipe in half and used an 8 x 8″ baking pan (which made about 16 bars). However, the directions call for a large 13 x 18″ (or similar size) baking sheet. If you use a baking pan like I did, the baking time will increase dramatically since the bars are thicker. I’m pretty sure I took them out of the oven after 25-30 minutes of baking but make sure to keep a close eye on them. Bake until light golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Make sure you have plenty of help eating these because they are very addicting!

Sugar Cookie Bars

Yield: about 4 dozen bars (depending on which size pan/sheet you use)

For the cookie bars:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise (or 1 Tablespoon vanilla paste)
1 teaspoon almond extract
5 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda

For the frosting:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
5 Tablespoons milk
Food coloring (optional)

To make the cookies, preheat the oven to 350˚ F.   Grease a 13 x 18″ rimmed baking sheet . Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer.  Beat on medium-high speed until light and smooth, about 2 minutes.  Mix in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  Blend in the vanilla extract, seeds from the vanilla bean, and almond extract.  In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt and baking soda.  Whisk together to blend.  Add the dry ingredients to the mixer bowl and beat on low speed just until incorporated.

Transfer the cookie dough to the prepared baking sheet and press into an even layer.  Bake 10-15 minutes, until light golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting, place the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium-high speed until smooth, about 1 minute.  Blend in the vanilla, salt, and confectioners’ sugar until smooth, about 1-2 minutes.  Mix in the milk.  Tint as desired with food coloring.  Spread over the bars in the pan (add sprinkles if desired), cut into bars, and serve.

Source: Annie’s Eats, originally from The Repressed Pastry Chef


PostHeaderIcon Andes Mint Brownies

The moment I saw this recipe I instantly saved it for future use. I mean, who doesn’t love the combination of chocolate and mint? About a week after I saved the recipe I found these bad boys on clearance at Target…..

Could it be fate? I think so.

I love trying new versions of brownies and these definitely did not disappoint. I loved how moist they were, and the mints inside were a nice added bonus! (But I still think my all-time favorite would have to be these s’mores brownies – you must try them!) Like most brownies, make sure you cut them when they’re still a little warm so they don’t crumble apart. I cut them about 20 minutes after taking them out of the oven and they didn’t crumble too much.

I decided to halve the recipe since a pregnant woman doesn’t need an entire pan of brownies just laying around. I made them in an 8×8-inch pan and it worked perfectly, no change in the baking time. I saved a couple brownies for my husband and I to snack on and packaged the rest up for our doormen and neighbor. I love sharing my baked goods!

Andes Mint Brownies


1 cup butter (2 sticks)
2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup cocoa
½ teaspoon salt
1 package Andes mints (24-28 mints) or 1 package of Andes baking chips


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9 x 13-inch pan with foil and lightly grease with cooking spray. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, and salt. Set aside.

If you’re not using Andes baking chips, unwrap all the mints and coarsely chop. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. Remove from the heat and add the sugar, stirring well to combine. Whisk in the vanilla and then the eggs. Blend well.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix well. Gently stir in the chopped Andes mints. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 32-35 minutes, until the brownies are set in the middle but not overbaked. Let cool completely, slice into squares and serve.


Source: Mel’s Kitchen Cafe


PostHeaderIcon Cocoa Brownies with Browned Butter and Walnuts


I subscribe to way too many cooking magazines. I love getting them in the mail, reading through them, and admiring the amazing photography. When I received the February issue of Bon Appetit with “The Best-Ever Brownies” on the cover, I knew I had to make them ASAP!

This past weekend my brother-in-law and his friend came to visit. Since they are high school boys (who are always hungry) I knew this was the perfect occasion to make these “best-ever” brownies. I have so many recipes that I have held off making and I’m glad I did not put off making this! These brownies are so easy to make and very delicious!

This was on the cover of the magazine next to this recipe and it’s so true:


Cocoa Brownies with Browned Butter and Walnuts


10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 1/4 cups sugar

3/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder (spooned into cup to measure, then leveled)

2 teaspoons water

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt (generous)

2 large eggs, chilled

1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour

1 cup walnut pieces


Position rack in bottom third of oven: preheat to 325 degrees. Line 8x8x2-inch baking pan with foil, pressing foil firmly against pan sides and leaving 2-inch overhang. Coat foil with nonstick spray. Set pan aside.

Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Continue cooking until butter stops foaming and browned bits form at bottom of pan, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; immediately add sugar, cocoa, water, vanilla, and salt. Stir to blend. Let cool 5 minutes (mixture will still be hot).

Add eggs to hot mixture 1 at a time, beating vigorously to blend after each addition. When mixture looks thick and shiny, add flour and stir until blended. Beat vigorously 60 strokes. Stir in nuts. Transfer batter to prepared pan.

Bake brownies until toothpick inserted in center comes out almost clean (with a few moist crumbs attached), about 25-30 minutes. Cool in pan on rack. Using foil overhang, lift brownies from pan. Cut into squares.

Source: Bon Appétit, February 2011


PostHeaderIcon S’mores Brownies

I went to visit a friend today and wanted to bake something delicious to bring her. Deciding on what to bake is like deciding on what to major in college – I wish I was being sarcastic. I have SO many recipes on my to-bake list it’s starting to get out of control. For instance, whenever I see a recipe I want to make while browsing on my iPhone I snap a screenshot of the recipe to save it…..I have over 700 recipes saved on my iPhone! Insane? Yes. Will I be adding more? You bet!

This recipe is so quick and easy to make! I know I say this with most of my recipes but this one is especially true. It would be an awesome dessert for a cookout in the summer……or just for two chatty friends hanging out. It starts out with a nice graham cracker crust, then a delicious brownie, topped with more chocolate, mini marshmallows, and graham crackers.

I apologize for those of you making diet resolutions for the New Year.

S’mores Brownies

Yields: 36 bars


10 graham crackers, broken in half (20 squares), divided

3/4 cup butter

4 oz unsweetened chocolate

2 cups sugar

3 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup flour

2 1/2 cups mini marshmallows

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chunks


Heat oven to 350°F.

Line 13 x 9 inch pan with foil (I split the recipe in half and used an 8 x 8 pan); spray with cooking spray. Place 15 grahams in pan, enough to cover the entire bottom of the pan. Break remaining grahams into pieces for the topping, set aside.

Microwave butter and chocolate squares in large microwaveable bowl on HIGH 2 min.; stir until chocolate is completely melted. Add sugar, eggs and vanilla; mix well. Stir in flour. Pour over grahams in pan.

Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out with fudgy crumbs. (Do not overbake.)

Sprinkle with marshmallows and chocolate chunks. Broil for 3 to 5 min. or until marshmallows begin to puff (or use kitchen torch).

Press reserved graham pieces gently into marshmallows. Cool. Use foil to lift brownies from pan before cutting to serve.

Source: Kraft


PostHeaderIcon Cranberry Crumb Bars

I made these delicious Cranberry Crumb Bars (and these Pumpkin Cupcakes) for Thanksgiving dessert. They were both a hit and people gobbled them up, even though we were stuffed full of delicious turkey.

These bars are tart and crumbly and oh-so delicious! They are very easy to make since the base and the crumbly topping are made from the same mixture. This recipe is very simple to make by hand but if you have a food processor, use it! Your arms will thank you!

I found that these bars went very well topped with vanilla ice cream! The tartness of the bars and sweetness of the ice cream complimented each other perfectly.

Cranberry Crumb Bars


1 cup white sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup almond meal*

1 cup (2 sticks) cold butter

1 egg

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

juice of 1/2 of an orange (I used a couple splashes of orange juice)

4 cups fresh cranberries

2/3 cup white sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon cornstarch


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 9 x 13 pan; set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix together 1 cup sugar, baking powder, salt, flour, and almond meal. Use a fork or pastry cutter to blend in the butter and egg. The dough will be crumbly. Alternatively, you can pulse the dry ingredients in a food processor with the butter until pebbly, and then mix in the egg until it all comes together. Pat half of the dough into the buttered pan.

In another bowl, stir together the sugar (2/3 cup), cornstarch, vanilla extract, and orange juice. Mix in the cranberries. Sprinkle the cranberry mixture evenly over the dough in the pan.

Add 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon to the remaining dough, then crumble over the berries. Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until top is a light golden brown. Cool completely and chill in the refrigerator before cutting into squares. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

* If you don’t have almond meal, just toss some almonds in a food processor until finely ground to make almond meal.

Source: My Baking Addiction


PostHeaderIcon Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cookie Bars

The combination of anything sweet and salty is one of my major weaknesses! I can easily polish off a bag of chocolate covered peanuts in a few minutes hours. Don’t get me started on chocolate covered pretzels, those are just bad news for me (and my thighs).

I love to try new recipes and these were on the top of my to-bake list for some time. I knew these bars were going to be great but they were truly amazing! These bars were so dang good that I had to give them away the very next day so I wouldn’t eat them all! I will definitely be making these again (and again and again).

Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cookie Bars


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1½ sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
12-ounce bag bittersweet (or semisweet, if you prefer) chocolate chips
1½ cups mini pretzel twists, coarsely chopped
¼ cup chocolate chips, for drizzling
¼ cup peanut butter, for drizzling
1/4 cup pretzels, crumbled, for topping


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray.

In a bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda and salt. Using a mixer, beat the butter and both sugars at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Beat in the eggs and the vanilla extract. On low speed, beat in the dry ingredients just until incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips and pretzel pieces.

Spread the batter evenly in the pan and press it down evenly with a spatula. Bake for 30 minutes, until golden brown. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool completely.

In separate sandwich size baggies, melt the chocolate chips and peanut butter. Cut off a small corner on each bag and drizzle the chocolate and peanut butter over the top of the bars. Sprinkle the extra crushed pretzels on top. Let set and then cut into squares.

Source: Two Peas and Their Pod