Simply Brownies

Sometimes you want a brownie that isn’t gooey – this is that brownie. It has a deep, rich chocolate flavor but is not overly sweet; more of a grown-ups brownie but the kids want seconds, too.

8 ounces unsweetened chocolate
12 Tbsp. ( 1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
4 large or extra large eggs
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
9 x 13 throw away aluminum pan from the grocery store (optional)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9x 13 pan (aluminum throw away kind does not allow the bottom of your brownies to burn). In a medium pan melt the butter and chocolate, set aside to cool for about 10 minutes.

Into a large bowl place the sugar, eggs & vanilla, and with an electric mixer beat on medium-high for 3 minutes, add the melted chocolate & butter and beat that in well, too. With a wooden spoon, mix in the flour, baking powder and chips. Spread in the pan and sprinkle the chopped nuts on top, gently pressing down to kinda have them stick into the chocolate. Or, you can can add them into the mix when you add the chips, I just prefer them on top of the brownies.

Bake for about 35 minutes or until a toothpick or knife inserted near the center comes out with some moist crumbs. Place on a rack to cool completely then slice and serve.

Ooey Gooey Fudgy Brownies

Another brownie recipe. Another PERFECT brownie recipe.

2 sticks butter
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate
2 cups sugar
2 beaten eggs
1-1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 cup flour

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease an 8 x 8 pan.

In a medium sized pot melt the butter & chocolate over a low heat, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon; remove pan from heat and stir in the sugar. Add the beaten eggs & vanilla – stir until smooth. Add the flour and stir only until it is incorporated.

Pour batter into the pan and bake for about 60 – 70 minutes; when a knife or toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Let these brownies cool for at least 2 – 3 hours before you cut them. Then, they are best served chilled.

Creamsicle-Like Cookies

Remember those vanilla & orange ice creams on a stick? Well, these are like that with a crunch.

2-1/2 cups flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt (try to buy Kosher)
2 sticks butter, unsalted, at room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup regular sugar
1 extra large egg, at room temperature
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tsp. grated orange zest (they now sell this in the grocery store spice section)
1 cup (big, giant handful) vanilla chips

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and set out the the butter, egg, and measured orange juice on the counter while the oven preheats. Give it a good 30 minutes.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars until they’re smooth – takes about 2 minutes. Add the egg and orange juice and mix well.

Whisk or sift together the the flour, soda, and salt and add to other ingredients; mix well. Stir this into the creamed ingredients then stir in the zest and chips.

Drop by teaspoonfuls onto an ungreased, or better yet parchment lined, cookie sheet. Bake for about 14 minutes – they’ll be golden brown.

Cool on the sheet for 1 minute, then remove to cool on racks.


Snow-Day Brownies

It snowed all day today and I was out of eggs. What’s a woman to do? Use canola oil, that’s what.

1/2 cup vegetable (canola) oil
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 9 or a 7 x 11 pan. Mix everything together, pour into pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the brownie begins to pull away from edges of pan. Let cool on a wire rack before cutting into squares

Chocolate Chunk Peanut Butter Blondies (with Icing!)

img_0020.jpgPeanut butter lovers will adore these. I made them for a party my daughter hosted and they disappeared in a snap!

Bars:
6 oz. bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
2/3 cup butter – room temperature
2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1-1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs – room temperature
2-1/4 cups flour
2-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. kosher salt

Preheat your oven to 350 degree; Lightly grease the bottom only of a 9 x 13 baking pan, or line it with parchment paper. While oven is preheating, set the butter & eggs on the counter for at least 30 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine butter & peanut butter; add both sugars and vanilla – cream this until light and fluffy -about 2-3 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down bowl after each egg.

In separate bowl, whisk/sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Blend this into the peanut butter mixture. Stir in the chips. Spread batter into pan. Meanwhile, make the glaze.

Bake for about 35-45 minutes and set on cooling rack. Spread with the warm glaze. Cool completely before cutting. They’re worth the wait.

Glaze:
6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter

Combine ingredients in a small saucepan; cook over very low heat stirring constantly until the chocolate is melted and its smooth and creamy. Immediately spread it onto the baked bars.

Cocoa Balls

Make these with the kids.

2 sticks softened butter
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract or 2 1/2 tsp. vanilla; 1/2 tsp. almond
1/4 cup chopped almonds or nut(s) of your choice
12 ounces chocolate chips
2 cups flour
2+ cups confectioners’ sugar

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl cream together the butter and sugars until fluffy. Beat in the vanilla. With a wooden spoon, stir in the almonds and chips. Add the flour, then with your hands, knead the dough until the flour is incorporated. Roll into 1-inch balls and place on ungreased (or parchment lined) cookie sheets.

Bake for 15 minutes. Cool them on the baking sheets for about 5 minutes. Put the 2 cups of confectioners’ sugar in a bowl or pie plate. Remove cookies from baking sheets then roll in confectioners’ sugar. Cool completely.

Blondies

Simple. Perfect. Hands down the best blondies recipe. See for yourself.

1 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1 stick unsalted butter (1/2 cup)
1 cup firmly packed (light or dark) brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3/4 – 1 cup chopped walnuts (preferable toasted)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. If you are going to toast the walnuts then place them in a small pan and place in your oven for 10 minutes while it is preheating. Remove from oven and set aside.

Meanwhile, lightly grease an 8 x 8 square pan (this keeps the foil in place) then place aluminum foil in it making sure foil is tucked into the corners well, all smoothed out and there’s about 2-inches of overhang.

Whisk the dry ingredients together in a small bowl, then set aside. Melt the butter in a medium pan remove from heat and stir the sugar in to melt it. Whisk the egg and vanilla in, then add the dry ingredients and mix only to incorporate, add the nuts and spread in the pan. Bake 30 minutes and remove to a rack to cool completely. Using the foil to lift, remove from pan, remove foil then cut into squares.

THE Brownies

img_0136.jpgTo me, this is the quintessential recipe – fudgy and chocolaty. The top crackles like bakery shop brownies. And the best thing is you can whip out a batch without breaking a sweat. I’m a purist and prefer not to have nuts in my brownies, but you can add them if you wish. Pour a glass of really cold milk and dig in.

1 cup butter – 2 sticks (no margarine, please!)
1/2 cup cocoa powder (I use Hershey’s)
2 cups sugar
4 eggs – beaten
2/3 cup flour (you can even use a gluten-free blend)
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups semi-sweet chips (or a combo of semi & bitter)
1 Cup chopped nuts if you wanna add them

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking pan. (In my house we call it “The Brownie Pan”)

img_0135.jpgIn a medium sized pot, over low heat, melt the butter; remove from the heat. Add the baking cocoa and sugar. Stir. Then stir in the eggs.

In a separate bowl, whisk or sift together the dry ingredients; stir this into the cocoa mixture. Stir in the vanilla, then stir in the chocolate chips and if using nuts, now’s the time to add them.

Spread this out into the greased pan and bake for about 30 minutes. They’re done when they start to crackle and pull away from pan slightly – don’t under bake them.

Place them on a cooling rack to cool completely. Once cooled, cut them and place on a plate or two, then place in the fridge for at least 1 hour. This may be the hardest part, but they need to cool so you can cut them. If you can’t wait, why not try a spoon? To really gild the lily, once cooled and set, dust with confectioners sugar. Wow!

Mincemeat Bars

Mincemeat may not be everyone’s favorite ingredient, but you’ve gotta try these bars. The shortbread base and crumbly topping enables the center filling to be something that folks are surprised about. Everybody in my house eats them. You may need to soften up the mincemeat by placing it in a bowl and microwaving it for a few seconds to make spreading easier.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9 x 9 pan.

Shortbread Base:
1 cup (2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract (not imitation)
2 cups flour
2 Tbsp. cornmeal
1/4 tsp. kosher salt

Filling:
1-1/2 cups mincemeat (Nonesuch makes an excellent 9 oz. box)

Using your standing electric mixer or a hand held mixer, cream the butter for 1 minute. Add sugar and beat for 2 minutes. Beat in the vanilla.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal and salt. Gently stir the dry ingredients into the butter mixture just until its incorporated.

Evenly press 2/3 of this shortbread into the bottom only of the pan. Evenly spread the mincemeat over the shortbread leaving a 1/4-inch border all around.

With your fingers, crumble the remaining shortbread dough over the mincemeat. Gently press the dough into the mincemeat.

Bake for about 40-45 minutes – until golden brown on top. Remove and place on a wire rack. Let set for 10 minutes, then cut. Cool completely in the pan before removing.

Scotcharoos with Icing

Gooey crispy rice cereal bars. No way are these just for the kids. Why bother with a plate, just stand over the pan and eat them. Mmmm.

1 cup light colored Karo syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup peanut butter
6 cups Rice Krispies cereal
12 oz. milk chocolate chips
6 oz. butterscotch chips

In a large saucepan, over low heat, bring the syrup and sugar to a boil, Remove from heat and add the peanut butter and cereal. Stir this to combine. Spread evenly into a 9 x 13 cake pan. As much as you want to, please DO NOT press down.

Melt the milk chocolate and butterscotch chips together in the microwave or a medium sized pan – over low heat.

Spread melted chips over the top and let cool. Cut them into squares.