Category Archives: Brownies/Bars

S’more Rice Krispy Treats

S'more Rice Krispy Treats | Pale YellowI’ve spent the past three days at the Bronx Zoo and am there again today for graduate school.  Despite all the learning, fun, and viewing of baby sea lions & lemurs, I’m exhausted.  Class gets over at 3:30 and I have a lot of energy that slowing dissipates over my hour-plus drive home.  Saturday I was pumped to go out and be social but after eating a lobster roll, I rode my bike home at quarter to eight to drink wine and go to bed because I was just too tired!  But hey, at least I’m still able to post!

S'more Rice Krispy Treats | Pale YellowThere is this little boy I know who turned two and is renowned and loved by all who meet him.  I was fortunate enough to be in attendance at his second birthday; it was great fun with pizza, a Thomas cake, and adorable decorations.  “Choo, choo, I’m two!”

S'more Rice Krispy Treats | Pale YellowObviously I wanted to bring a treat, but I wanted one that didn’t require an oven.  I also wanted something that was easy; it’s summertime, we all need a break from complicated desserts.  A quick browse through my Pinterest boards brought me here.  Bonus – mini blowtorch required!

S'more Rice Krispy Treats | Pale YellowNot only are these treats easy, they are super tasty.  I don’t think I’ll be able to go back to plain rice krispy treats now that I’ve had a chocolate version, chocolate for everyone!  Any recipe that requires two bags of mini marshmallows is a winner and has plenty of sweetness.  The treats are soft and chewy with a decadent topping.  This is a perfect recipe for any summer event!S'more Rice Krispy Treats | Pale Yellow

Print the Recipe!

S’more Rice Krispy Treats
Adapted from Foodie Crush
Yield – a million little pieces (or about 48)

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 10-ounce bags mini marshmallows, divided
1 12-ounce bag semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 sleeve graham crackers, crushed and divided
5 cups rice krispy cereal

  1. Cover a 9×13” pan with foil, spray the foil liberally (very liberally, trust me!) with cooking spray.  Set aside.
  2. Add the butter to a large saucepan to melt.  Stir in 1 1/2 bags of mini marshmallows.  Stir and heat until all the marshmallows are melted.
  3. Turn off the heat and stir in about 1 cup of chocolate chips.  Stir until the chocolate is melted.
  4. Crush the graham crackers into medium-fine crumbs and stir in one cup into the marshmallow-chocolate mixture.  Stir in the salt and vanilla.
  5. Add the cereal and lightly toss until all the cereal is coated. Press evenly into the prepared pan.
  6. Use a piece of wax paper to spread the mixture evenly in the pan.  Sprinkle the remaining graham crackers over the top.  Evenly sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips over the graham crackers.
  7. Sprinkle the rest of the mini marshmallows over the top.  Use a mini blowtorch to toast and melt the marshmallows.  Or, if you’re uncool and don’t have a mini blowtorch, use the broiler.
  8. Let cool complete before cutting and serving.S'more Rice Krispy Treats | Pale Yellow
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Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Gooey Bars

chocolate chip cookie dough gooey bars | pale yellowJuice cleanse done!  And I know it sounds sarcastic, but I feel great!  I have more energy, my insides are moving, and I’m not hungry.  If you’re looking for a little reboot, I highly recommend a 3-day cleanse.  It’s just enough to make you feel different and require discipline, but short enough to commit.  In all honesty, I think I’m ready for a five day cleanse!

chocolate chip cookie dough gooey bars | pale yellowI made these bars in the middle of the cleanse for the lovely Andrea in celebration of her 30th birthday!  She is from the outskirts of St. Louis and gooey butter cake is apparently a thing there.  As soon as she started talking about it, I knew I needed to find a recipe and save it for her birthday.

chocolate chip cookie dough gooey bars | pale yellowHere’s the thing though, I’ve never had gooey butter cake before, and I still haven’t.  There is one piece saved in my fridge for Thursday when I reintroduce sugar into my diet.  This is probably the first recipe I’ve posted that I’ve never actually eaten.  Weird.

chocolate chip cookie dough gooey bars | pale yellowAnd, obviously, instead of making an original version, I jazzed it up with a layer of cookie dough in the middle.  Since I can’t describe the bars from my first hand experience, we’ll use Andrea’s words, “I would call them rich buttery sugar bombs that are indulgent and comforting.  And the perfect treat to start a new decade!”  I’ll report back Friday!

chocolate chip cookie dough gooey bars | pale yellowTwo Years Ago – Watermelon Martini

Print the Recipe!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Gooey Bars
Adapted from Cookies and Cups and Mel’s Kitchen Cafe
Yield – 9 giant bars, 16 regular sized bars

Crust Layer
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup cake flour
1/4 cup nonfat dry milk powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
seeds from one vanilla bean
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cold
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 egg

Cookie Dough Layer
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon whole milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Topping
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
3/4 cup powdered sugar

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 ˚F and line an 8×8” pan with parchment paper.  Liberally grease the parchment paper with shortening.
  2. Crust Layer - To make the crust, add the sugar, flour, cake flour, milk, powder, and seeds from a vanilla bean to a medium bowl and whisk together.
  3. Cut the cold butter into small pieces and use a pastry blender to cut the butter into the flour mixture.  You are looking for coarse crumbs, finer than a pie crust.
  4. Melt the butter and add to the mix with the egg.  Stir until combined.  The dough will come together nicely.  Press evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan.chocolate chip cookie dough gooey bars | pale yellow
  5. Cookie Dough – Toss the butter in the same bowl you just used.  Cream in the brown sugar until light and fluffy.  Stir in the milk and vanilla until well combined.  Add the flour, salt, and chocolate chips, stir until just combined.
  6. Spread evenly over the crust, leaving 1/2” of the crust showing.chocolate chip cookie dough gooey bars | pale yellow
  7. Topping – Again, use the same bowl.  Beat the cream cheese until smooth.  Stir in the brown sugar, egg and vanilla until the mixture is well incorporated.  Mix in the powdered sugar.chocolate chip cookie dough gooey bars | pale yellow
  8. Pour over the cookie dough and spread as evenly as possible.
  9. Bake for 30-40 minutes until the edges start to brown.  The middle will still be jiggly.
  10. Let cool completely on a wire rack before refrigerating.  Cool overnight and then slice.
  11. Serve with an extra dusting of powdered sugar.chocolate chip cookie dough gooey bars | pale yellow

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Peanut Butter Swirled Brownies – GF

peanut butter swirl brownies GF | pale yellowHappy Memorial Day!  There is a little memorial park at the end of my block and it’s perfectly decorated with red ribbons and crisp American flags.  It’s beautifully maintained and the perfect reminder of what this weekend is all about.  Thank you.

peanut butter swirl brownies GF | pale yellowI’m spending the weekend catching up on errands and Sons of Anarchy.  Wow SoA, wow!  I didn’t see those plot twists coming.  Bam, bam, they’re all shot and dead.  It slightly scares me how much I enjoy watching all the violence on TV.

peanut butter swirl brownies GF | pale yellowIn other, less violent news, these brownies were made for a spa weekend to celebrate Michelle’s upcoming wedding at her bachelorette party.  And really a spa weekend is the absolute opposite of violent, motorcycle gangs on TV!  The party was a great success and perfectly lovely and relaxing.  I wish I could afford more spa get-aways.

peanut butter swirl brownies GF | pale yellowThese brownies are delightfully fudgy and gooey.  Spread the peanut to the edges so every bite has decadent, creamy peanut butter.  You wouldn’t even know they are gluten free. Using coconut flour in place of all-purpose or GF all-purpose adds the slightest coconut flavor and a toothsome texture.  It’s time for some brownies with peanut butter!peanut butter swirl brownies GF | pale yellow

Print the Recipe!

Peanut Butter Swirled Brownies – GF
Adapted from Top with Cinnamon
Yield – 16 pieces

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
3 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate
1/2 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup coconut flour
3 tablespoons dark cocoa powder
3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon coconut milk

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 ˚F.
  2. Add the butter to a medium saucepan and heat until it is melted and browned.
  3. Meanwhile generously grease an 8×8” pan with butter.  Cut parchment paper to fit on the bottom and over two sides.  Grease the parchment paper.
  4. Chop the chocolate, remove the browned butter from the heat, and add the chocolate to the butter.  Stir until melted.
  5. Stir the honey and vanilla into the chocolate-butter mixture.  Add the eggs one at a time and stir to make sure the mixture is well incorporated.
  6. Stir in the salt, soda, flour, and cocoa powder.  Spread evenly into the prepared pan.
  7. Place the peanut butter and coconut milk in the same pot you just made the brownies.  Heat until the peanut butter becomes melted.  Dollop over the brownie batter and swirl with a knife.
  8. Bake for for 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  9. Cool completely on a wire rack before cutting into pieces.peanut butter swirl brownies GF | pale yellow

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Chocolate Toffee Shortbread Bars

chocolate toffee shortbread bars | pale yellowSome recipes are too good not to share right away.  There are many recipes in my queue, but I wanted to post this one before the others.  Also, I just had to look up the word “queue,” I wanted to spell it like “que,” but that is wrong.  Then, in my effort to quickly look something up, I overwhelmed my computer, twelve open tabs will do that, and had to restart.  All that for one little weird word.

chocolate toffee shortbread bars | pale yellowClearly it’s too late!  Usually I try to limit my after work activities because I like to go home and stay home, but this has turned into a busy week.  Yesterday I completed TWO major activities after work: laundry and a trip to the mall.  I don’t know how people work until 6 or 7, how do you get anything done?  I miss my 3 p.m. dismissal.

chocolate toffee shortbread bars | pale yellowAnyway, these bars were made in a week with a much slower pace when I had time to bake and only one after work activity.  The shortbread bars were taken to one of my favorite after work activities – baby holding!  I was able to go visit the twins for a little awhile, and they are getting so big!  It’s amazing how quickly they develop their own personalities, and likes and dislikes.  They are a lot of work!  A. Lot. Of. Work!

chocolate toffee shortbread bars | pale yellowChocolate toffee shortbread bars quite simple for such a decadent treat.   Press the crust in the pan, bake.  Pour the filling, bake. Spread on chocolate, melt.  Sprinkle toffee bits, cool.  Done.  Easy peasy, delish.  Make it happen!  Chewy, rich, crunchy, yum.

chocolate toffee shortbread bars | pale yellowTwo Years Ago – Sweet & Salty Chocolate Guinness Pie

Print the Recipe!

Chocolate Toffee Shortbread Bars
Adapted from Cookies and Cups
Yield – 20 bars

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon butter
10 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
1 cup toffee bits
sprinkling of sea salt

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 ˚F and grease an 8×8” pan.  Cut parchment paper to fit on the bottom of the pan and up two sides, grease the parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment until pale yellow.  Mix in the flour until just combined.
  3. Press in the bottom of the prepared pan as evenly as possible.  Bake for 15 minutes or until lightly golden brown.  Let cool slightly.
  4. Meanwhile heat the milk and remaining butter in a small until melted together.  Pour over the crust and place back in the oven for 12-15 minutes.  The filling should become golden brown.
  5. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top and place in the oven for 2 minutes to melt the chips.  Spread evenly and cover with toffee bits.  Press the toffee bits into the chocolate.  Sprinkle with sea salt.
  6. Allow to cool completely before trying to cut.  Small pieces are best, these are rich!chocolate toffee shortbread bars | pale yellow

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Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

brown butter chocolate chip cookie bars | pale yellowYesterday  I went home sick.  There is nothing worse than driving yourself home, and hoping you make it.  I just couldn’t stay at work any longer, my bones hurt so bad.  Even laying in bed is uncomfortable because I feel like I’m putting too much strain on my hips and back.  At least I have a lot of padding, I don’t know how skinny people do it!

brown butter chocolate chip cookie bars | pale yellowI’ve even lost my appetite – that’s when I know I’m really sick.  I ALWAYS want to eat; I need the comfort.  Not right now though, just some water, tea, and juice.  I really just want to feel better soon, there are a lot of things that need to get done and this illness is standing in my way!

brown butter chocolate chip cookie bars | pale yellowSometimes I bake something, eat it, and don’t post recipe for a month.  Not the case with these bars, they were just too good to not share as soon as possible.  I was looking for an easy recipe that can be made ahead.  Usually bars fit the bill because there is no pan rotation in the oven and they need a day to really set up.  This was the perfect recipe and I can’t wait to make variations.

brown butter chocolate chip cookie bars | pale yellowI ate the edges of these bars a little warm and let me tell you, that is the correct decision!  I bet these would be even better with a scoop of ice cream on top.  However, the bars were still perfect room temperature.  The brown butter provides wonderful nuttiness and the sprinkling of sea salt on top adds delightful balance.  Plus, there are plenty of rich, decadent chocolate chips to go around.  If you’re looking for a quick, easy (one pot), and delicious bar to impress your friends, look no further!

brown butter chocolate chip cookie bars | pale yellowTwo Years Ago – Bellini Cupcakes

Print the Recipe!

Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
Adapted from Buns in my Oven
Yield – 20 bars

3/4 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups flour
10 ounces dark chocolate chips
fancy sea salt for sprinkling

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 ˚F and generously grease a 9 x 13” pan.  Cut parchment paper to fit the bottom of the pan.  Grease the paper as well.
  2. Add the butter to a medium saucepan and heat until browned.  The butter will smell nutty; stir the whole time.  Let cool for 5-10 minutes.
  3. Whisk the sugars into the butter and then whisk in the egg and vanilla.
  4. Stir in the cornstarch, soda, and salt.  Sprinkle the flour over the mixture and stir to combine.  Stir in the chocolate chips.
  5. Press the dough evenly on the bottom of the pan and sprinkle with sea salt.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the top begins to brown.
  7. Let cool completely before cutting into squares.brown butter chocolate chip cookie bars | pale yellow

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Bailey’s Cheesecake Brownies

bailey's cheesecake brownies | pale yellowI’m not a fan of this whole Daylight’s Saving Time.  One nice things about winter is the ability to hunker down earlier and hide in my apartment.  Now that the sun is shining bright at 6 p.m. I feel like I should be outside or at least be productive.  All I want to do is stay in and watch TV: a co-worker gave me the first two seasons of Game of Thrones and I can’t stop.

bailey's cheesecake brownies | pale yellowSince October I’ve been reading the book version; I’m half way through the third book.  The books are phenomenal, but long; I am very much invested.  I wanted to watch the show to see what the characters look like and I’m quite displeased.  Everyone kept telling me the show was just like the books – not true!  The show has the same plot, but so many minor changes.  And so much more sex, everyone is having sex with everyone else.  Except for Arya, she’s my favorite!  Winter is coming, put your clothes back on.

bailey's cheesecake brownies | pale yellowBetween episodes I try to be productive, but that’s not going well.  My dishes keep piling up and my floors are filthy, as usual.  I also spend plenty of time looking up robot vacuums.  Unfortunately I cannot afford one, if anyone wants to help me out and buy me one, that would be greatly appreciated.

bailey's cheesecake brownies | pale yellowThere are few things better in this world than a cheesecake bar: a rich chocolate base plus a creamy, flavored topping.  The brownie base is rich and chocolatey with a hint of Bailey’s flavor.  The cheesecake layer is even better because it is so creamy and even boozier.  Obviously, this a perfect dessert for a St. Patrick’s Day party!

bailey's cheesecake brownies | pale yellowPrint the Recipe!

Bailey’s Cheesecake Brownies
Adapted from Cozy Country Living
Yield – 24 pieces

Brownie Layer
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup dark chocolate cocoa
1 3/4 cup sugar
4 eggs
2 1/2 tablespoons Bailey’s
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Cheesecake Layer
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2 1/2 tablespoons Bailey’s
1 egg
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon flour

  1. Brownie Layer - Preheat the oven to 350 ˚F and grease a 9×13” pan.  Line the bottom of the pan with piece of parchment paper.  Grease the paper and dust with cocoa powder.
  2. In a medium saucepan melt the butter.  Whisk in the chocolate chips to melt them.  Whisk in the cocoa powder and sugars.
  3. Whisk in the eggs one at a time and then stir in the Bailey’s.  Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt until just combined.
  4. Cheesecake Layer - Add all the ingredients to the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment and beat together until smooth and creamy.
  5. Pour the cheesecake mixture over the brownies and swirl to combine the layers with a knife.
  6. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out almost clean.
  7. Let cool completely on a wire rack and then refrigerate before cutting into squares.bailey's cheesecake brownies | pale yellow

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake Bars

chocolate peanut butter cheesecake bars | pale yellowAs you all know, it’s winter.  And here in New York it’s been one hell of a winter.  Frankly, I’m tired of it all.  I like the snow as much as anyone, I’m just sick of scrapping it off my car every morning and worrying out getting stuck.

chocolate peanut butter cheesecake bars | pale yellowI just want to enjoy being outside again without getting cold and wet.  I also want to wear flip-flops and Toms.  My boots are great, but my feet want to be free!  In other words, I’m ready for some warm spring days and I’m especially ready for hot summer days.  I just moved to the beach, let’s get this beach party started!  I haven’t even walked to the ocean yet.  Yes, a large part of that is laziness; but a bigger part is a my fear of slipping on the ice.  It’s treacherous out there; safety first.

chocolate peanut butter cheesecake bars | pale yellowEnough whining, let’s discuss something happy, babies!  These delightful treats were made for John and Irene.  Clearly the babies aren’t ready for chocolate peanut butter cheesecake bars, but until they are, their daddy can eat the treats for them!  I can’t think of a better way to survive this winter than staying inside holding little babies.  Of course when I was there Gavin and Kait slept and were perfectly happy; apparently having twin 3-week olds is a piece of cake!  Obviously, I’ve never cared for newborns :-)

chocolate peanut butter cheesecake bars | pale yellowNew parents need lots of sustenance.  What I lack in baby-caring skills I make up for in sugar, butter, chocolate, and peanut butter.  This is one of the best recipes I’ve posted to the blog, seriously.  I couldn’t stop eating them so I had to take the four remaining bars to Jackie’s; I want to fit through doorways.  The chocolate cookie/brownie bottom is rich and chocolatey with a creamy peanut butter layer on top.  The extra crust and chocolate drizzle keep the bars together and make it a complete package.  I wish I had some more bars, they were just so perfectly perfect; everything you could ever dream of wanting from a chocolate-peanut butter pairing.  Whether you have a little baby or not, you need to start shoving these bars in your face!chocolate peanut butter cheesecake bars | pale yellow

Print the Recipe!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake Bars
Adapted from Inside BruCrew Life
Yield – 24 bars

Chocolate Base
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup dark cocoa powder
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips

Cheesecake Layer
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
8 regular size Reese’s cups, frozen

Topping
3/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon shortening

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 ˚F and grease a 9×13” pan with shortening and then dust with cocoa powder.  Set aside.
  2. Base – In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment add the butter, shortening, sugar, and brown sugar.  Beat until creamy.  Beat in the eggs and vanilla.  Scrape the bowl as needed.
  3. Sift together the flour, salt, soda, cocoa powder onto parchment paper.  Add slowly to the creamed butter and mix on low until just combined.  Mix in the chocolate chips.
  4. Wet your hands with cold water and dry.  Press two-thirds of the dough on the bottom of the greased pan as evenly as possible.  The dough will be sticky.  Save the remaining dough for topping.
  5. Filling – In a clean bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar until creamy in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment.  Beat in the egg and peanut butter.  Chop the peanut butter cups and stir into the mixture.  Spread evenly over the base.
  6. Take the leftover dough and make round, flat disks.  Spread the disks over the top of the peanut butter filling.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes or until the filling is set.  Let cool for 1-2 hours on a wire rack and then overnight in the fridge.
  8. Topping – Melt the chocolate chips and and shortening together.  Add to a disposable piping bag.
  9. Cut the bars into 24 pieces.  Drizzle the melted chocolate over each bar.
  10. Let the chocolate harden before packaging.  Store in the fridge.chocolate peanut butter cheesecake bars | pale yellow

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