CHOCOLATE BLISS BROWNIES

This is another recipe I originally found over at Two Peas & Their Pod. Ironically she found the recipe for these decadent Chocolate and Peanut Butter Lover’s Brownies from Jessica of Delish’s new cookbook, Seriously Delish which is sitting in my bookshelf. You mean to tell me this recipe was here the entire time and I didn’t know it? Shhh, don’t tell hubby, he’ll be mad I haven’t made them before now! He is a chocolate and peanut butter fanatic – “You got chocolate in my peanut butter, no you got peanut butter on my chocolate”… from this vintage 80’s Reese’s TV commercial.

This is a Chocolate and Peanut Butter Lover’s dream come true – fudgy brownies with a layer of peanut butter, a layer of chocolate ganache AND peanut butter cups on top! These brownies are too good to be true!  PURE BLISS! If you love chocolate and peanut butter, you will go CRAZY for these brownies! They are truly to die for – pure cloud floating heaven! BUT, even better is that you can change up this recipe just by changing which candy bars or combinations of candy bars you chop up for the top of the ganache. I’ve tried the original recipe with Reese’s as is and have tried it also with ROLOS, KIT KATS and MOUNDS.  They are ALL good and have a distinct flavor despite the rest of the recipe being exactly the same each time.

Do yourself a serious favor and make these brownies SOON! They are a new favorite here at our house and I know they will be for you too!

CHOCOLATE BLISS BROWNIES
Yield: Serves 10-12
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 1/2 hours

BROWNIES
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3 1/2 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs, plus 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2/3 cup chocolate chips

  • Preheat the oven to 350.
  • Spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with nonstick spray.
  • Add the butter and chopped chocolate to a microwave-safe bowl and microwave until melted, 30-60 seconds. Once the chocolate is semi-melted, stir constantly to melt the rest. Set aside and allow the mixture to cool for 5 minutes.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter-chocolate mixture and granulated sugar.
  • Whisk in the eggs, egg yolk, and vanilla extract, stirring until a smooth batter forms.
  • With a large spoon, mix in the dry ingredients JUST until combined.
  • Stir in the chocolate chips.
  • Add the batter to the baking dish.
  • Bake until the brownies are set and no longer jiggly in the middle, 25-30 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and let them cool for 30 minutes.

FILLING
1 cup creamy peanut butter, melted
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon coconut oil

  • Stir together the melted peanut butter, powdered sugar, and coconut oil until smooth. The warm peanut butter will melt the coconut oil as you stir until well blended.
  • Pour the filling over the brownies, using a spatula to spread it around the top.
  • Let cool completely and firm up, about 20 minutes.

TOPPING
8 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups chopped peanut butter cups

  • Add the chocolate to a large bowl.
  • Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat just until it bubbles around the edges. Remove the cream from the heat and pour it over the chocolate.
  • Let the mixture stand for 30 seconds, then stir until the chocolate melts and a smooth ganache comes together, about 1-2 minutes.
  • Pour it over the top of the brownies, then cover with the chopped peanut butter cups.
  • Let the brownies sit for 30 minutes to set up before cutting.

NOTE: The brownies will stay fresh for 2 to 3 days at room temperature if covered or kept in an airtight container. You can also keep them in the fridge, they will last a few days longer.

CHOCOLATE CARAMEL APPLE CHEESECAKE BARS

CHOCOLATE CARAMEL APPLE CHEESECAKE BARS

CRUST
2 cups flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 sticks butter, softened and cubed
FILLING
2-8 ounce bars cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 JUMBO eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
FRUIT LAYER
2 medium apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
STREUSEL
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1 stick butter, melted
TOPPING
12 KRAFT caramels, melted in double boiler
4 ounces milk chocolate chips, melted in double boiler

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Line a 9×13 pan with heavy duty foil.
  • In a medium bowl, combine flour and brown sugar.  Cut in butter with pastry blender until crumbly.
  • Press firmly and evenly into pan.
  • Bake 15 minutes or until golden brown.
  • In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and 1/2 cup sugar until blended.
  • Add eggs, one at a time, on medium speed until smooth.
  • Add vanilla. Stir to combine.
  • Pour over crust.
  • In a small bowl combine the apples, 3 tablespoons sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Toss to coat.
  • Spoon evenly over cream cheese layer.
  • In a medium mixing bowl toss together the streusel ingredients until well blended.
  • Sprinkle over apple layer.
  • Bake 30 minutes or until filling is set.
  • Drizzle with caramel and chocolate.
  • Cool completely!
  • After cooling lift the foil out of the pan.  Fold foil out flat to cut the bars.
  • Store bars covered in the refrigerator.

COCONUT WALNUT BITES (MOUNDS BALLS)

The original recipe called for making the balls the size of walnuts, but we found they were too sweet to eat that much all at once so I began making them the size of cherries and we are much happier, PLUS as a bonus you get more chocolate! I took pictures of both sizes for you to see. These are like a cross between a See’s Cream center Easter egg, a Mound’s bar and finely ground walnuts.

COCONUT WALNUT BITES (MOUNDS BALLS)
makes 8 dozen cherry sized bites

1 pound sweet butter
2 pounds flaked coconut
2 pound bag powdered sugar
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup walnuts, chopped fine
2 packages candy bark
toothpicks (optional)
sprinkles (optional)

  • Cream butter and sugar together in a large mixing bowl.
  • Add coconut, milk, walnuts, and vanilla, blending well.
  • Chill several hours until just about firm.
  • Using gloves sprayed with non-stick cooking spray roll into cherry sized balls.
  • Place on wax paper coated cookie sheet.
  • Freeze for an hour or so.

  • Using a double boiler, melt candy bark, one half package at a time.
  • Use toothpicks to dip each ball into the chocolate and then place on wax paper to dry and harden. If you are decorating, do it as you go. Candy Bark hardens relatively quickly.
  • Keep chilled until serving. They also freeze well if you want to make them in advance for the holidays.

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FRITO BRITTLE

FRITO BRITTLE
10 ounce package FRITOS
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup JIF creamy peanut butter
1 cup milk chocolate chips.

  • Spread FRITOS on a greased jelly roll pan (11×15)
  • Sprinkle chocolate chips over FRITOS.
  • In a saucepan over medium heat whisk together the corn syrup and sugar until smooth. Bring to a slow boil stirring constantly to dissolve sugar.  Boil 1 minute.
  • Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter until smooth.
  • Pour over chips.
  • Chill.
  • Break or tear apart (may be gooey) into pieces.

SNICKERDOODLES an ALL TIME FAVORITE

APPLE PIE SNICKERDOODLES
1 cup butter, room temperature
2 large eggs
2 3/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • Sift together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.
  • Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Add eggs, beating well after each addition.
  • Gradually add in flour mixture until well blended.

3-4 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon apple pie spice

  • Combine sugar and apple pie spice until well blended.
  • Form cookie dough into small balls about walnut sized.
  • Roll each cookie ball in the sugar spice mixture and place on un-greased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.
  • Bake 8-10 minutes or until golden.
  • Cool 2 minutes before placing on wire rack to cool completely.
  • Decorations are melted candy bark and sprinkle.

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CHOCOLATE CHERRY TRUFFLES

CHOCOLATE CHERRY TRUFFLES

11 ounces QUALITY white chocolate, broken into pieces
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon cherry Jell-o**
CandiQuick or Melting Wafers for decorating
Sprinkles for decorating

  • In a small saucepan, heat whipping cream until warm.
  • Add butter, stirring until melted.
  • Stir in Jell-o.
  • Add in chocolate pieces, stirring quickly and constantly until smooth.
  • Refrigerate for at least an hour until it begins to harden.
  • When hard, scoop into balls on parchment paper lined baking sheet that fits in your freezer and freeze for about 30 minutes until VERY firm.
  • Once firm, melt chocolate until smooth and creamy – about 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds using the microwave.
  • Use a small flat spatula or spoon to dip each ball in chocolate and place on wax paper to dry.
  • Sprinkle with decorations immediately while chocolate is still wet.
  • Keep refrigerated.

**NOTE: for non-Valentine holidays change up the cherry flavor for some variety.  Also good with peach, raspberry and pineapple or any combo you can come up with I’m sure.

APPLE PIE SNICKERDOODLES and my new FAVORITE ornament

One of my favorite ALL time cookies is the Snickerdoodle.  One of the most versatile cookies, in my opinion, is the Snickerdoodle. You can change up the flavor for whatever holiday – pumpkin pie spice for fall, apple pie spice for for Christmas or Easter…, decorate or not, but according to hubby plain is BEST. I LOVE this time of year with ALL the baking and fun treats!

I also love that Victoria and Dave send a new unique snowflake in their Christmas card and I just ADORE my new FAVORITE ornament that my friend brought over for me.  She saw it at a boutique and said it reminded her of me – such a sweet thought and absolutely beautiful ornament.

APPLE PIE SNICKERDOODLES
1 cup butter, room temperature
2 large eggs
2 3/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • Sift together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.
  • Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Add eggs, beating well after each addition.
  • Gradually add in flour mixture until well blended.

3-4 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon apple pie spice

  • Combine sugar and apple pie spice until well blended.
  • Form cookie dough into small balls about walnut sized.
  • Roll each cookie ball in the sugar spice mixture and place on un-greased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.
  • Bake 8-10 minutes or until golden.
  • Cool 2 minutes before placing on wire rack to cool completely.
  • Decorations are melted candy bark and sprinkle.

GINGERBREAD BARS

GINGERBREAD BARS
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 egg
3 tablespoons molasses
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
4 ounces crystallized ginger, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup chopped candied lemon

OPTIONAL frosting:
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
4 tablespoons butter. room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and ground ginger. 
  • Toss flour mixture with lemon and ginger pieces. Set Aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl combine butter, sugar, molasses and egg, beating until creamy.
  • Gradually add flour mixture to sugar mixture until well blended.
  • Press dough into an un-greased jelly roll pan. (15x10x10).
  • Bake 16-24 minutes or until evenly golden brown.
  • Top with powdered sugar or cream cheese frosting.

TBY’s COOKIES aka MONSTER COOKIES or KITCHEN SINK COOKIES

My cousin who is quite a few years younger and her husband were in town this week with their 4 young children (ALL boys ages 7 months to 10 – God giver her strength) and we had dinner with them, her dad and another cousin I don’t get to see very often so all was good with that night.  My uncle grilled burgers, I made pasta and potato salads and Jenn brought fruit salad and tater tots for the boys.

While we were setting up Suzy was entertaining the boys and started telling them all about the strange words Jenn made up as a kid for foods – like calling hamburgers hinkleburgers LOL.  When Jenn and her sister, Michelle were little they could not say “m”s.  As a result I became better known as Tby for quite a long time, in fact Suzy (we’re the same age) still calls me that.

Jump to today when I made up a new cookie recipe and I asked hubby what I should call them.  He suggested Monster cookies because they are so full of things, but that name has been done so much as has Kitchen Sink so he suggested Tby’s Cookies.

I’ve also incorporated some unusual techniques to infuse the flavors I wanted.  I hope you give them a try and let me know what you think.  When Jenn was little I visited often. I baked a lot of cookies back then.  I liked walnuts in my cookies, but my uncle hated them so I began grinding the peanuts and incorporating the flour into the cookies for flavor.  HE NEVER CAUGHT ON! LOL

TBY’s COOKIES aka MONSTER COOKIES or KITCHEN SINK COOKIES
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
3 tablespoons quick oatmeal flour – see note – this is easy
1 tablespoon peanut flour – see note – this is easy
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon (high quality)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

  • Sift the above ingredients together and set aside. 
  • Preheat oven to 350°.

2 cups butter (high quality)
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons PURE vanilla

  • Cream butter with sugars until smooth and creamy.
  • Add eggs one at a time, blending until incorporated after each one.
  • Add vanilla, blending well.
  • Add flour mixture gradually, blending well after each addition.

Now on to the good stuff!
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup milk chocolate chips
1/4 cup peanut butter chips
1 cup small walnut pieces
1/3 cup caramel baking balls, cut in half (Kraft)
1/2 cup Heath bar pieces
8 ounces dehydrated pineapple, chopped small
1 cup coconut rum soaked golden raisins**

  • Add the above items while the mixer is running.  I like to add a little of each one in a rotating manner so that the ingredients get well dispersed into the dough and there are no big clumps of any one item. ADD THE RAISINS LAST AND SLOW THE MIXER TO THE SLOWEST SPEED TO NOT BREAK THEM TOO BADLY.
  • Drop by small scoop or small spoonfuls to a baking sheet with either parchment paper or a silpat on it.
  • Bake 11-12 minutes.

NOTE: Using a cuisinart junior blend oatmeal or nuts until they become powdery.

**About an hour before I plan to bake I pour about 1/4 cup of Malibu Coconut Rum over the raisins and then stir them periodically.  I start draining them as I begin to cream the butter.  While you want nice plump raisins you do not want to add a tone of liquid moisture so draining these well  is a key step.

BANANA BEIGNETS & CREAM CHEESE DIPPING SAUCE

BEIGNET is typically a French pastry made of  deep-fried choux pastry but is synonymous in English with the term, fritter, or fried dough.  Choux pastry is a pastry made of only butter, water, flour and eggs and does not use a leavening agent. Instead it uses a high moisture content to create steam during cooking to puff the pastry. Ironically the chef given credit for the original recipe is Chef Pantarelli from Florence Itlay and the original name was pâte à Pantanelli from 1540. He left Italy with Catherine de’ Medici and her court when she married King Henry II and became queen of France.

As with all things over time, the dough recipe evolved, and the name was changed to pâte à popelin, which was used to make popelins, small cakes made in the shape of woman’s breasts. Then, Avice, an 18th century pâtissier created what were then called choux buns with the same recipe and the name of the dough was changed to pâte à choux, as Avice’s buns resembled cabbages.

This recipe however uses a more traditional dough with baking powder.  But, only a true connoisseur can tell the difference though and they disappear just as fast as any French made pastry.

BANANA BEIGNETS & CREAM CHEESE DIPPING SAUCE
makes 2 dozen
BEIGNETS
2 cups cake flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 JUMBO egg
1 cup mashed bananas (2 large)
1/2 cup WHOLE milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 CRISCO stick for frying

  • In a small bowl whisk together the FINISH sugar ingredients ans set aside. You will be using this last.
  • In a large bowl mix sift together the cake flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and sea salt. Set aside.
  • In medium bowl whisk egg and milk until well blended. 
  • Add oil and mashed banana blending well.
  • Fold egg mixture into flour mixture until just blended.
  • Drop by small spoonfuls into HOT oil.  DO NOT CROWD PAN!!!!! Fry about 1 minute each side until golden brown. 
  • Drain on paper towels.
  • Roll warm beignets in Finish sugar an cool on rack.
  • Serve with Cream Cheese dipping sauce.

FINISH SUGAR
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup PACKED brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

CREAM CHEESE DIPPING SAUCE
4 ounces Cream Cheese, softened
1 cup Powdered Sugar
½ tsp PURE vanilla
5-6 teaspoons whole milk

  • Mix together softened cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth. 
  • Add vanilla and 5 teaspoons of milk, stirring until incorporated and smooth. If the mixture is too thick, add an additional teaspoon or two of milk, until you reach desired consistency.

CINNAMON PECAN BRITTLE

When I saw this recipe I thought I was going to fall in love.  Then I made a couple changes and KNEW I was in love! IT IS LIKE EATING A HEATH BAR WITH THE BONUS OF A HINT OF CINNAMON!


CINNAMON PECAN BRITTLE
Parchment paper
Vegetable cooking spray
1 1/4 cups butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon instant espresso (Yuban instant coffee)
1 tablespoon dark unsulphured molasses
1/2 teaspoon table salt
2 cups Fisher cinnamon pecans
2 cups semisweet chocolate morsels

  • Line a 15- x 10-inch jelly-roll pan with parchment paper, and lightly coat with cooking spray.
  • Melt butter in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat.
  • Stir in granulated sugar, brown sugar, espresso, molasses, salt and 1/3 cup water. 
  • Cook, stirring constantly, until a candy thermometer registers 290° (soft crack stage), about 17 to 20 minutes. 
  • Remove pan from heat, and stir in pecans. 
  • Immediately pour mixture into prepared pan spreading in an even layer, and sprinkle bittersweet and semisweet chocolate morsels over top. 
  • Let stand 5 minutes and then spread and swirl the chocolate pieces using an offset spatula. 
  • Chill 1 hour or until firm. 
  • Break toffee into pieces. 
  • Store in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 7 days. 
  • Serve cold or at room temperature.

CARAMEL SHORTBREAD BARS

I found this recipe in a waiting room Oprah magazine originally so I have no idea how old it is.  You know how waiting rooms are, the magazine may have been 10 years old for all I know. I made a few changes for our liking and am now calling it CARAMEL SHORTBREAD BARS. There are so many flavor possibilities with changing the chip flavors and/or nut pieces.

CARAMEL SHORTBREAD BARS
1 1/2-3/4 cup cake flour
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt
3 +/- tablespoon ice water
10 tablespoons COLD unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup honey*
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips
2 teaspoons espresso powder
1 cup chopped and toasted macadamia nuts

CRUST

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Spray 9×9 inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Using a metal blade food process the flour, powdered sugar and salt.
  • Add butter pieces and pulse several times until dough resemble coarse bread crumbs.
  • Add 3 tablespoons ice water and pulse until dough forms.  You can add more ice water as necessary if dough is too dry.
  • Press dough mixture into baking dish evenly.
  • Bake 30 minutes or until golden and edges are beginning to pull away.
  • Set aside to cool for 5-10 minutes.

CARAMEL SAUCE

  • While the crust is baking add the coconut milk, brown sugar and honey to a medium saucepan over medium-high heat stirring well to dissolve sugar.  Bring to a SLOW boil and continue boiling until mixture darkens and reduces by half (7-10 minutes). Set aside to cool.

ASSEMBLY

  • Sprinkle chocolate and butterscotch chips over crust evenly.
  • Sprinkle espresso powder evenly over chips.
  • Sprinkle macadamia nut pieces evenly on top.
  • Drizzle caramel mixture evenly over top.
  • Return to the oven for 15 minutes until golden brown and bubbling.
  • Remove from oven and run a knife all around the edges.
  • Cool on rack 15 minutes.
  • Cover and move to the refrigerator for 1 hour.
  • Cut into bars.
  • Keep refrigerated.

*use a quality honey, it really makes a difference