Chocolate Chunk Brownies

I love a good brownie, and I love all brownie pieces equally: corner, edge, center… but if I HAD to choose, I’m a center piece girl. I love the fudgy, gooey brownie that is soft, and ever-so-crusty on top. Yes. Brownies are a wonderfully indulgent treat. I like them a little fudgy, but not too gooey, and I have a fantastic brownie recipe that I’ve been using for a few years now, this one.

However, I went to make brownies yesterday and realized I was short an egg. I quickly looked up a brownie recipe that had all ingredients that I had (because I hate when I go to make something and I need to go to the store!), and wasn’t disappointed. These brownies are thick, rich, and the perfect amount of fudgy. I find they get a little goo-ier than I’m used to because of the chocolate chunks, but they are still absolutely incredible.

I mean, is there such thing as a bad brownie? I think not.

Paul cooked us up an indulgent steak dinner, with rib-eye steaks, Ceasar salad, garlic bread, grilled Cajun corn, and a potato-carrot-onion concoction. I wanted something as equally indulgent to be able to stand up to such a great dinner, and these brownies sure hit the spot!

I changed a few things – I didn’t have milk chocolate chips, so I used semi-sweet, and instead of the extra milk chocolate chips in the batter, I put in a bag of 70% Dark Chocolate chunks. They were perfect with the sweetness of the brownies. I’m reflecting the changes I made in the recipe below, but the link to the original recipe I used is above.

Go make these, and get some chocolate into your life!

Ingredients

Yield: 16 brownies, a 9×9 inch pan

½ c. plus 2 tbsp. melted butter
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
½ c. melted chocolate chips, milk or semi-sweet
¾ c. flour
¼ c. cocoa powder
½ tsp. salt
1 c. (or 1 small bag (a little more than 1 cup)) Dark Chocolate chunks

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8×8 or a 9×9 inch square pan with foil and spray with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter and sugar. Add in eggs and vanilla, and whisk again.

In a small bowl, melt the chocolate, then add to the butter and egg mixture. Whisk together until smooth.

Using a spatula, fold in the flour, cocoa powder, and salt until smooth. Fold in the chocolate chunks.

Transfer batter to prepared pan, smooth out, and bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Cool in pan at least 30 minutes, then slice and serve.

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Pina Colada Bars

We are knee-deep into summer. I was invited to a Hawaiian luau, pig roast and everything, and I decided to make a dessert to contribute to the dessert table. This was a few weeks ago, and I just got around to write the post for this recipe now.

These Pina Colada bars are really easy. Think lemon squares, with the addition of pineapple and coconut. If you like Pina Coladas, you will definitely like these. They are light, tropical, fruity, and delicious.

I found the recipe here, and they were extremely easy to make. Low risk, high reward. The recipe is easy to follow, and it yields delicious, tropical results.

They have a bit of a shortbread crust, and a creamy, almost custard-y filling. Take the plunge headfirst into seasonal treats, and make these ASAP!

Ingredients

Yield: 1 9×9 pan, approx. 2 dozen squares

For the crust:

½ c. butter, softened
1 c. flour
1/3 c. icing sugar
1 tbsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. vanilla

For the filling:

2 eggs
1 c. sugar
½ c. lemon juice
2 tbsp. heavy whipping cream
¼ tsp. rum extract or spiced rum
2 tbsp. flour
1 8oz. can crushed pineapple, drained
¾ c. sweetened flaked coconut

Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 9×9 square pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray.

To make the crust, combine all crust ingredients in a medium bowl, cutting in the butter with a pastry cutter. Press the dough into the prepared pan. The mixture will be crumbly. Pierce the dough a few times and place in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes until barely golden brown.

Remove from oven and cool slightly.

While the filling cooks, in a large bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, lemon juice, cream and rum extract, and whisk until smooth. Add in the flour, and whisk again until smooth. Stir in the drained pineapple and coconut until combined.

Pour mixture over warm crust, and bake in the oven for 18-25 minutes, or until center does not jiggle and the edges begin to slightly brown. Allow bars to cool in the pan until room temperature. Transfer to the fridge, cool completely, then slice and serve.

Maple Rice Krispie Treats

The weather in Southern Alberta has been really up and down lately. It’s been extremely cold and rainy for July, but the hot days have been hot. So I decided that I wanted to have a bit of a baking day on one of the cooler days. I ended up making these rice krispies, I made chocolate chip cookies, sugar cookies, and cinnamon roll cookies (coming next week)!I made everything partly because I wanted to, but also because our next-door neighbours are awesome and keep mowing our lawn (and shoveling the walks in the winter… we kind-of drop the neighbour ball… oops!). I wanted to give them a bit of a thank-you-for-being-awesome-neighbours-and-sorry-we-fail-at-life-sometimes gift, and I decided that I needed to give them snacks. Everyone likes cookies of some kind, right? (Plus, my baking has been used as a currency all its own before. No shame!)This post is not sponsored in any way, but I went to the store to pick up a few cookie-baking supplies, and saw President’s Choice Maple Marshmallows. I immediately had to try them, and my gut reaction to buying them was MAKE RICE KRISPIES, because it’s been probably about 5 or 6 years since I’ve had one.Honestly, I don’t know why it took so long, because I forgot how easy rice krispie treats are to make, and these maple marshmallows are phenomenal! Honestly, if you don’t like maple (leave Canada, please… kidding!!) you can totally use just regular marshmallows. If you can’t find maple marshmallows, my thoughts are with you, but also maple extract would be a great substitute.I got this recipe right off the box of rice cereal that I bought, but it’s a classic, straightforward recipe that is a snap to make.

Ingredients

Yield: 1 9×13 pan of rice krispie treats

4 tbsp. (¼ c.) butter
1 400g bag President’s Choice Maple Marshmallows (or 1 400g bag regular marshmallows)
1 tsp. vanilla (or maple extract)
6 c. crisy rice cereal

Spray a 9×13 pan generously with cooking spray. Set aside.In a large, heavy bottomed pot, melt the butter. Add the marshmallows and vanilla/maple, stirring constantly until all marshmallows are melted and liquidy. Remove from heat.Spray a spatula or spoon with cooking spray, and add the cereal to the marshmallow mixture, mixing to combine evenly. Pour into the prepared pan, and using the greased spatula, or your hands sprayed with more cooking spray (to prevent sticking), smooth out the mixture into an even layer.Set aside for 20-30 minutes to cool and firm up before cutting and serving.

Nanaimo Bars

Happy Canada Day!

I was feeling in the mood to celebrate Canada Day, and I figured what better way to celebrate than making a treasured national dessert.

I had no idea how easy Nanaimo bars are to make, and I’m kind of kicking myself for not making them sooner. I like Nanaimo bars, but I find that they can be a bit rich, so when I indulge, I usually only have a small piece. Paul loves them, though, and he doesn’t get them very often. These are also no-bake! How fantastic is that! There is a little bit of stove-top use, but really, that’s about it. For the recipe, I actually went to my mom, and to the plethora of cookbooks I have in my kitchen. I found a recipe in a Company’s Coming cookbook, and my mom (bless her heart!) actually sent me to the City of Nanaimo website, where they HAVE A RECIPE FOR THESE! Crazy, right?

The Company’s Coming cookbook was the 150 Delicious Squares book, (where these Marshmallow Squares originated from), and here is the link to the City of Nanaimo website. I compared them to see how different they are, and they are almost identical, so I took a few things from the cookbook, and a few things from the website to create (hopefully) a perfect version of a Canadian classic.

Happy Canada Day from me to you!

Ingredients

Yield: 1 9×9 inch pan (24-36 bars, depending on cut size)

For the bottom layer:

½ c. butter
1/3 c. cocoa powder, sifted
¼ c. sugar
1 egg, beaten
1¾ c. graham cracker crumbs
¾ c. shredded unsweetened coconut
½ c. finely chopped almonds

For the middle layer:

2 c. icing sugar
½ c. butter, softened
3 tbsp. milk or cream
2 tbsp. vanilla custard powder (I used Bird’s brand)

For the top layer:

2/3 c. (or 4 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 tbsp. butter

To make the bottom layer, melt the butter in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add in the cocoa and sugar and stir until smooth. Add in the beaten egg. Stir until mixture thickens. Remove from heat.

Stir in the graham cracker crumbs, coconut, and almonds. Press into an ungreased 9×9 square pan. Set aside in the fridge to firm up.

To make the middle layer, beat the butter with the icing sugar and custard powder until smooth. Add in the milk or cream as needed. Spread evenly over bottom layer. Set aside in the fridge to firm up.

To make the top layer, in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the butter and chocolate chips, stirring often. Remove from heat when chocolate is almost fully melted, and stir until smooth. Spread evenly over middle layer. Smooth out, and chill in the refrigerator until top layer is set.

Slice and serve.

Chocolate Mascarpone Brownies

Everyone loves a good brownie. After making last week’s knockout Olive Oil Cake with the Limoncello Mascarpone Cream, I had a bit of mascarpone cheese left over. Being that mascarpone is not cheap, I wanted to make sure it was put to good use. I was torn between these brownies, and a tiramisu panna cotta, but Paul voted for the brownies, so here we are!

These brownies are so easy to make! It’s a one-bowl recipe, which is always nice for clean up at the end. Everything is mixed into one large bowl, poured into the pan, and baked. Maybe 10 minutes of work went into these brownies.

I love easy recipes with high-yield results. It makes life so much better, knowing that there are some recipes out there specifically designed to get you dessert with minimal effort. And whoooo boy! These brownies!

Brownies are so good. I’m a center-piece lover, but you also can’t go wrong with an edge piece.

These brownies are rich and decadent, and not too sweet. They go well with a huge glass of milk. The inside is a little fudgy, but this is a winning variation on a classic brownie.

Ingredients

Yield: 1 8×8 inch pan of brownies

For the brownies:

1 c. butter
3 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 c. sugar
½ c. cocoa powder
½ c. mascarpone cheese, softened
3 eggs, room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla
½ c. flour
¼ tsp. salt

For the ganache:

6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
6 tbsp. heavy cream
3 tbsp. butter

To make the brownies, preheat the oven to 325°F. Line an 8×8 inch baking dish with butter, or parchment paper.

In a large, microwave-safe mixing bowl, heat the chocolate and butter on 30 second increments, stirring after each heating. Continue until both are melted and smooth.

Sift in the sugar and cocoa powder, and whisk together. Whisk in the mascarpone cheese, eggs, and vanilla until mixture is smooth. Fold in the flour and salt.

Pour batter into prepared baking dish, smoothing out top. Bake in preheated oven for 40-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the pan comes out clean.

Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.

To make the ganache, place chocolate in a small, heat-proof mixing bowl. In a small saucepan, heat the cream and butter until almost boiling, and pour over chocolate. Let sit for 30 seconds, then whisk together into a smooth, thick ganache.

Pour ganache over cooled brownies, allow to set up and cool, then slice and serve.