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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Chocolate Sugar Cookies

Obviously, I’m on a cookie streak. Sorrynotsorry! I love cookies, as they are perfectly portioned portable desserts! (P.S. Do you see the alliteration? Apparently I miss my job a bit!)These chocolate sugar cookies have everything you want in a cookie. Chocolate, sugar, crisp outer layer, soft and chewy on the inside. Just great. I really didn’t change much from the original recipe, and you will love these.I don’t have much more to say other than go make these! It’s short and sweet – like these cookies – this week!

Ingredients:

Yield: 24-30 cookies

2 c. plus 2 tbsp. flour
¾ c. cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. salt
1¼ c. butter, softened
2 c. sugar, plus more for rolling
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350°F.In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add in the eggs and vanilla, beating again.Add in the flour mixture, mixing on low, until a cohesive, smooth dough forms.Scoop out tablespoon-sized balls of dough, and roll them in a small dish of sugar before placing on pans.Bake in the preheated oven for 11-13 minutes, or until the cookies are just starting to crack. Cool on pan for 2 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

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.

No-Bake Chocolate Tart

If you love chocolate, but don’t want to turn on your oven, this tart is the perfect dessert for you! It’s only a few simple ingredients, takes no time to whip up, and gives high-quality delicious results.

I’m a sucker for a smooth, velvety ganache. This tart has just that. It is simple, only two components, but so, so rich and chocolatey. I found the recipe here, and didn’t change a thing, except I did make a little bit extra of the crust because I like a thicker crust sometimes!

I’ve been incredibly busy the past few weeks, and this is also the haul to the end. We’re almost to the end of the school year. At the end of this week I also go to Edmonton to mark Diploma exams, so unfortunately, don’t expect a post next week, as I won’t even be in town!

When July hits I’ll be able to spend a bit more time with the things I’ve been neglecting lately: the blog, my saxophone, my cats… the list seems to be endless when you are busy and have no time for anything. (Thankfully Paul and I have scheduled a few date nights to actually be able to see one another.)

Either way, bring on the chocolate!

Ingredients

Yield: 1 9-inch tart

For the crust:

2½ c. chocolate baking crumbs
½ c. butter, melted

For the ganache filling:

1 c. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 c. milk or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 c. heavy cream
¼ c. butter

To make the crust, in a heat-proof bowl, melt the butter, and add the chocolate baking crumbs. Stir together until combined, and press into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch tart pan. Place in the refrigerator to chill and set for at least 30 minutes. (If you want the crust a little crisper, you can bake it at 350°F for 5-6 minutes… but that’s if you want to turn on your oven.)

In a small saucepan, combine the butter and heavy cream. Heat until the butter is melted and the mixture is at a low boil. In a large heat-proof bowl, place the chopped chocolate. Pour the hot cream mixture over the chocolate, and leave for 1-2 minutes. Using a spatula, stir the mixture until melted and smooth. Pour ganache over crust and refrigerate until set, at least 4 hours or overnight.

I also whipped some heavy cream with some vanilla and powdered sugar to make a whipped cream topping. Delish!

Keep in the fridge, and slice and serve.

Chocolate Sea Salt Caramel Chip Cookies

These cookies, despite their mouthful of a name, are extremely easy to make and are absolutely delicious. I first tried them at a meeting with a few people, and when I found out I had the recipe in my house the whole time, I immediately had to make them! The recipe for these is found on the bag for the Hershey’s Sea Salt Caramel Chips. (This post is not sponsored by Hershey’s.) They are so easy! I followed the recipe as written, and they turned out beautifully. Definitely put these on your to-make list.

Side note – blog posts have been sparse and/or haphazard lately. I apologize for that, especially if you are a devoted reader. May and June as a teacher are incredibly busy and stressful. I have barely enough time to mark everything I need to, let alone do a blog post. I’ll be more consistent in July, when I have time to plan, bake, and relax a bit. Cramming twelve months of work into ten months is tiring!

I wanted to make a few things before I go marking Diploma exams again, and these were on my list. They took barely any time, with a high reward – my kind of cookie! Either way, if you are a chocolate/caramel combo lover, these cookies are for you. But enough blather, to cookies!

Ingredients

Yield: 3-4 dozen cookies, depending on size

½ c. butter, softened
¾ c. light brown sugar, packed
½ c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
1½ c. flour
½ c. cocoa powder
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
1 2/3 c. (1 pkg.) Hershey’s Sea Salt Caramel Chips

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease or line with parchment paper two cookie sheets.In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter, brown sugar, sugar, and vanilla until well blended and creamy. Add eggs, beat again.In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add to the butter mixture, beating after each addition.Fold in caramel chips, and drop by rounded teaspoon onto the prepared cookie sheets.Bake in the preheated oven for 7-9 minutes, or until cookie is just set. Cool for 3 minutes on pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, and enjoy!