Category Archives: Brownies/Bars

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

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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

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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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Cookie Butter Truffle Brownies

cookie butter truffle brownies |pale yellowDo you know what day it is?  Yes, it is hump day, but that’s not what I’m talking about.  Today is my two year blog-o-versery!  TWO YEARS!  When I started this blog I hoped it would have longevity, but didn’t know how long I would last; sometimes my level of commitment isn’t so great.

cookie butter truffle brownies |pale yellowTwo years seems like so long ago, but has flown by!  I feel like I’m finally getting the hang of the blogging situation and have a respectable number of viewers.  Those first few months were only friends and family and now it’s crazy to thing strangers read this blog!  In two years I have amassed over 100,000 views; WOW!

cookie butter truffle brownies |pale yellowTwo years has brought quite a bit of improvement, at least better photography!  Those beginning photos are quite horrific.  I would like to think my writing and fluidity has improved; I doubt my proofreading skills have…

cookie butter truffle brownies |pale yellowHere are some delightful brownies to hopefully ring in another 2 years of blogging!  These are probably the best brownies I’ve ever made!  There are 28 brownie/bar recipes on this site and I’m telling you, this one is definitely in the top 3!

http://paleyellow.net/category/browniesbars/The brownies are super rich and fudgy; not cake-like at all.  The cookie butter truffles are fantastic little nuggets to sink your teeth into! Confession time – I bought a jar chocolate/cookie butter swirl months ago from Trader Joe’s and have been eating it by the spoonful, I thought it was time for some appropriate adult behavior, so I used it all up here!  Please celebrate my blog-o-versery with me and bake these brownies!

cookie butter truffle brownies |pale yellowTwo Years Ago – Salted Caramel Chocolate Cupcakes

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Cookie Butter Truffle Brownies
Adapted from Bakergirl
Yield – 16 pieces

1/2 cup cookie butter (I used Trader Joe’s Speculoos Cookie & Cocoa Swirl)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
12 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup chocolate chunks + more for the top

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 ˚F and line an 8×8” pan with parchment paper.  Liberally spray the parchment paper with Baker’s Joy.
  2. Mix together the cookie butter and powdered sugar until no longer sticky.  Roll into 10 balls and place in the freezer until you’re ready to use.
  3. Brown the butter in a small saucepan on the stove.  The butter should be a deep amber color.  Set aside to cool slightly.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment beat together the browned butter, sugar, and cocoa powder until well combined.  Beat in the salt, water, and vanilla.  Beat in the eggs one at a time.  Scrape the bowl as needed.
  5. Turn the mixer off and add in the flour and chocolate chunks.  Beat on the lowest speed until just combined.
  6. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan.  Place the cookie butter truffles throughout the dough and press down.  Sprinkle some more chocolate chunks on top.
  7. Bake for 25-30 minute or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  8. Cool completely before cutting.cookie butter truffle brownies |pale yellow

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Salted Caramel Pecan Bars

salted caramel pecan bars | pale yellowWarning – If you try to photograph these while the family is arriving for Thanksgiving, they’ll get eaten fast!  Plus you’ll be rushed and will take crappy, poorly lit photos.  Sorry readers, the pictures do not do these little bars justice.

salted caramel pecan bars | pale yellowYou’ll have to take my word for how good the salted caramel pecan bars are because the pictures are not worth 1,000 words.  My dad ate about 3 bars while I napped and my aunt and grandma were grabbing bars before dinner.  True story.

salted caramel pecan bars | pale yellowI didn’t even taste a full bar, just the trimmed edges.  Everyone gobbled (deliberate turkey-day pun) down the bars while I was enjoying my pumpkin pie.  And the remaining bars were eaten by father while I was out shopping on Black Friday.  No leftovers for Tracy.  There is a much bigger story to tell, but that’s a story for another day.

salted caramel pecan bars | pale yellowIn other news, the bars are a dream to pack and travel with!  There was minimum breakage and zero problems with TSA.  Honestly, I’ve never had a pecan pie before, but I imagine it would taste like this.  So if you like pecan pies, but don’t like the work of a pie, I recommend these bars.

salted caramel pecan bars | pale yellowThe crust is solid and tender so it holds its shape without being impossible to chew.  It sort of soaks up the caramel-y goodness from the top!  The topping is full of pecans and some caramel sauce to hold it all together.  Sprinkling sea salt on top makes the whole dessert sing on your tongue; salt is magical!  If you want to make your whole family happy, like mine, make some bars!

salted caramel pecan bars | pale yellowOne Year Ago – Vanilla Vodka Chai Cocktail

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Salted Caramel Pecan Bars
Adapted from Bake or Break
Yield – 15 bars

2 cups flour
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
3 1/2 cups pecan pieces
5 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup
3 tablespoons heavy cream
pinch of salt
smoked sea salt

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 ˚F and line a 9×13” pan with foil.  Spray the foil liberally with Baker’s Joy, set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment mix together the flour, powdered sugar, and salt on low speed.  Add the cold butter a few pieces at a time and mix until the mixture becomes coarse crumbs.
  3. Pour the mixture in the prepared pan and press evenly on the bottom.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes or until the crust just begins to brown.  Let cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack and then cool in the refrigerator for another 10.
  5. Start the filling after the crust comes out of the oven.
  6. Toast the pecans in a dry skillet until they are warmed through and begin to smell nutty.  Set aside.
  7. Add the remaining butter, brown sugar, maple syrup, cream, and pinch of salt to a medium saucepan.  Heat until the mixture begins to boil and then stir in the pecans.
  8. Pour the mixture evenly into the pan and spread over the crust.  Sprinkle with sea salt.
  9. Bake for 25 minutes or until the top is set.  Let cool completely on a wire rack, preferably overnight, before cutting into pieces.salted caramel pecan bars | pale yellow

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Fudge S’more Bars

Fudge S'more Bars | Pale YellowRemember on Monday when I was getting my brag on about being all caught up and ahead on blogging?  Despite all the work I did in typing recipes and organizing photos, I neglected to get this post ready.  So here I am, 10:30 p.m., three glasses of wine deep writing a post. I apologize in advance for any types and weirdness.

Fudge S'more Bars | Pale YellowWith all the craziness going on in my life these bars happened; I think they may be my kryptonite.  I couldn’t resist and literally thought about them all day at work.  Every morning I woke up and wanted to eat one for breakfast, but every morning I was strong and resisted.  The first thing I did when I got home from work was treat myself to a s’more bar. #treatyoself

Fudge S'more Bars | Pale YellowThis lasted about 4 days because after that all the bars were eaten.  The price you pay with roommates and a recipe that only makes nine servings.  Despite my sadness about not having anymore s’more bars to eat, my pants, especially the skinny jeans, say thank you.

Fudge S'more Bars | Pale YellowI made these bars because it was a three day weekend and I was sad about the prospect of moving out of my apartment; the eating-my-feelings trend is on in full force!  The original recipe called for homemade marshmallow fluff, which I’m sure is fantastic, I just wasn’t in the mood for that.  Sprinkle a few mini marshmallows on top and toss the whole thing in a broiler; it’s perfectly delightful.

Fudge S'more Bars | Pale YellowSeriously, make these fudge s’more bars asap!  The graham cracker crust is crumbly and sweet and serves as a solid platform for the rich fudge layer.  Imagine a thick, decadent chocolate frosting.  Are the wonderful flavors in your head?  Good, because that is basically what the middle layer is like!  Marshmallows on top make it almost too sweet, almost.  Each bite is gooey, delicious, and leaves you wanting more.

Fudge S'more Bars | Pale YellowOne Year Ago – Pumpkin Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting

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Fudge S’more Bars
Adapted from Cookies & Cups
Yield – 9 large pieces

1 cup graham cracker crumbs, about one sleeve
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips, Ghirardelli
~ 10 ounces sweetened condensed milk, I used about 1/3 of a 14-ounce can
1/2 bag mini marshmallows

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 ˚F and line a 9×9” pan with foil.  Spray liberally with cooking spray.
  2. Pulverize the graham crackers while you melt the butter in the microwave.
  3. Mix together 1 cup of the graham cracker crumbs, butter, sugar, and salt with a fork and press firmly into the bottom of the pan.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes.
  5. Add the chocolate chips and sweetened condensed milk into a small saucepan and stir until the chocolate is melted.
  6. Pour over the crust evenly and then sprinkle with a single layer of marshmallows.
  7. Turn on the broiler and put the pan under the broiler.  Broil until the tops of the marshmallows brown.  Critical step – do NOT leave the oven.  Sit and watch and check the marshmallows every 30 seconds until properly browned.
  8. Let cool completely before cutting.Fudge S'more Bars | Pale Yellow

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Pumpkin Spice Candy Corn Rice Krispie Treats

pumpkin spice candy corn rice krispy treats | pale yellowTime is moving much too rapidly for my liking.  Normally I’m always counting down the days to the next break or big event, but lately I want things to slow down a bit.  Maybe it’s because I’m getting older, that 30th birthday is quickly approaching, or maybe I’m finally learning to appreciate each day as it comes.

pumpkin spice candy corn rice krispy treats | pale yellowThis weekend was delightful.  I was able to make several new recipes, actually clean my portion of the apartment versus a quick once over, and host a party for friends.  I enjoyed the perfect fall weather, went for a walk, had my nails done, and even found time to have brunch with friends.  There was even time for a bit of work and plenty of time to get ahead with blogging.

pumpkin spice candy corn rice krispy treats | pale yellowWhy can’t every weekend be so productive?  Looking ahead I’m working the next five Saturdays in a row.  Not half-days like I’m used, full days.  Even though I’m doing everything I’ve always wanted plus a lot more I didn’t know I wanted, I’m desperately overwhelmed.  Perhaps that is why I would like time to slow down.  I need to catch up, appreciate what I have, and become ready to move forward.  Until that happens I need to somehow find a way to relax and maybe drink more wine.  Definitely drink more wine.

pumpkin spice candy corn rice krispy treats | pale yellowI had originally made these treats for a meeting I was going to attend, but life got in the way, so Ruth took them to a gathering instead.  Here is a pumpkin-spiced treat with zero pumpkin!  True story.  For all those pumpkin-haters out there here you go!  The original recipe calls for pumpkin pudding, but I couldn’t find that anywhere, so I improvised.  These rice krispie treats are full of fall spice flavor!  If you’re sensitive to flavor, you might want to dial back the spice.  Also, feel free to substitute pumpkin pie spice.  All-in-all, these are a quick, no-bake, option to satisfy your fall sweet tooth.  They are a tasty spin on rice krispie treats and are sweet enough to make anyone happy.

pumpkin spice candy corn rice krispy treats | pale yellowOne Year Ago – Better Than Sex Cupcakes

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Pumpkin Spice Candy Corn Rice Krispie Treats
Inspired by Shugary Sweets
Yield – 10-12 pieces

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
10 ounces mini marshmallows
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
4 1/2 cups rice krispie cereal
10 ounces candy corn
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
4 ounces white chocolate, a bar is best
orange sprinkles

  1. Liberally spray a pan, I used a 10-inch tart pan, with Baker’s Joy or another cooking spray.
  2. Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a large pot and then stir in the marshmallows.  Stir in all the spices.  Mix until all the marshmallows are melted.
  3. Stir in the rice krispie cereal and the candy corn until everything is covered with melted marshmallows.
  4. Press into the prepared the pan.  Spray your hands with Baker’s Joy and press the rice krispie treats flat.
  5. In a double boiler melt the chocolate and 1 tablespoon of butter.  Spread over the rice krispie treats and then sprinkle with sprinkles.
  6. Let cool and harden completely.  Cut and serve.pumpkin spice candy corn rice krispy treats | pale yellow

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Peanut Butter Nanaimo Bars

peanut butter nanaimo bars | pale yellowDo you ever have those moments that knock you off your tracks?  Life is just going forward and then out of left field something derails you.  I had one of those moments a few weeks ago and I had to bake my feelings.  Then eat my feelings.  And then force everyone around me to eat their feelings because I could stop eating the peanut butter nanaimo bars and I needed the help to get rid of them.

peanut butter nanaimo bars | pale yellowThankfully, everything worked out and the worry was unwarranted, but it was an excellent reason to make these bars.  While I was searching for a comforting recipe, my first thought went to some kind of bar.  And then I thought about adding chocolate to the mix.  And why stop at chocolate, let’s get some peanut butter in there.

peanut butter nanaimo bars | pale yellowBaking gives me so much comfort and joy.  It makes a bad day better and a good day awesome.  Since I was a teenager my family and friends have been telling me I should go to pastry school and the truth is – I’m scared to go because I fear I’d lose the the comfort and joy that comes from baking if it became my job.  Truth.

peanut butter nanaimo bars | pale yellowSo in the end, I accumulate zero dollars for my baking skills, but the payoff is worth it.  My tummy is almost always happy, I have made many friends with cupcakes, and I have found an outlet to express my creativity, challenge myself, and experiment.  All of those attributes are more valuable than money any day!

peanut butter nanaimo bars | pale yellowEnough sap, let’s get to the good stuff, the peanut butter nanaimo bars.  I know I’m about a year behind on the whole nanaimo bar craze (look for cronuts summer 2014), but I’m glad I joined the party!  The crust is solid, but not hard and  crunchy; the coconut provides flavor and chewiness, the graham crackers provide a little crunch, and the cocoa adds richness and depth.  A thick, creamy peanut butter layer is pure perfection in all its glory.  There are not words to describe and sweet peanut butter concoction, so I’m not going to try.  A little chocolate ganache of top hold all the flavors in and adds more chocolatey goodness.  Good day, bad day; weird day, regular day: it doesn’t matter, these peanut butter nanaimo bars are going to rock your world!

peanut butter nanaimo bars | pale yellowpeanut butter nanaimo bars | pale yellowOne Year Ago – Baked Brownies

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Peanut Butter Nanaimo Bars
Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker
Yield – 24 bars

Base
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
3/4 cup shredded sweetened coconut
1/3 cup cocoa powder

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 ˚F and line a 9 x 13” baking with parchment paper.
  2. Melt the butter in the microwave and then whisk in the sugar and eggs.
  3. Stir in the graham crackers, coconut, and cocoa.
  4. Spread and press evenly in the pan.  Bake for 12-15 minutes or until baked through.
  5. Let cool completely before adding the filling.

Filling
1 1/4 cups creamy peanut butter
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk

  1. Add the peanut butter and butter to a microwave safe bowl and heat in 20-second intervals until the butter is melted.  Stir to combine.
  2. Whisk in the powdered sugar one cup at a time with 2 additions of milk in between.  Whisk until smooth and then spread evenly over the base.  Let chill for about an hour.

Chocolate Topping
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

  1. Set up a double boiler and melt the chocolate and the butter.
  2. Spread over the peanut butter and allow to harden.  Cut into squares and store in the fridge.peanut butter nanaimo bars | pale yellow

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Lemon Cheesecake Bars

lemon cheesecake bars | pale yellow Every fall one of my favorite days of the year is Lobster Day.  Ruth, Dean, Nicole, Matt, (used to be & Stacey), and I get together to cook and eat lobster.  It started because I had never eaten lobster and now continues because we all love lobster and its a fun yearly tradition.  On Friday you can read about my recent trip to Maine and my LOVE for lobster.  Seriously, I ate it three times in one week!

lemon cheesecake bars | pale yellowSeveral months ago Nicole sent me this recipe and said I should make it.  I bookmarked the recipe and pulled it out just in time for Lobster Day.  This recipe was a great find!  All of the flavors of lemon pie and cheesecake are together in an easy to serve and eat bar.  I let Nicole and Matt keep the leftovers and I was seriously regretting that generosity the next day.

lemon cheesecake bars | pale yellowAs much as I enjoy lemon desserts and cheesecake desserts, neither is my go-to choice or something I crave.  However, when put together, something magical happened!  It was amazing to pour the cheesecake layer over the lemon layer and have it separate into three distinct layers upon baking.

lemon cheesecake bars | pale yellowThis recipe requires a few messy  bowls, but it is easy to mix up and ends with a lot of servings!  The crust is crispy and buttery and the perfect vehicle to hold all the lemon goodness.  The lemon layer is tart, but sweet, and the cheesecake layer is gloriously tangy and creamy.  All the textures and flavor notes are present to make you happy.  I’m serious when I say these bars are fantastic and you need to put them on your to-bake list now!

lemon cheesecake bars | pale yellowOne Year Ago – Dark chocolate and pistachio cookies

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Lemon Cheesecake Bars
Adapted from Allrecipes
Yield – 18 bars

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3/4 cup (1 1/2) sticks unsalted butter, cold
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/2 cup lemon juice (3-4 lemons)
2 8-ounces blocks of cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
splash of vanilla
pinch of salt

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 ˚F and line a 9×13” pan with foil making sure there is excess foil on all sides.  Grease the foil liberally.  Set aside.
  2. Crust – Whisk together 1 1/2 cups flour, powdered sugar, and cornstarch.  Cut the butter into small cubes and use a pastry blender to work the butter into the dry ingredients.  Work the crust until it clumps together.  Press the crust into the bottom of the prepared pan evenly and firmly.  Bake for 18 minutes until the crust begins to brown slightly.
  3. Lemon Layer – Whisk together 4 eggs, 1 1/2 cups sugar, salt, 1 tablespoon flour, lemon zest, and lemon juice until smooth.  Set aside.
  4. Cheesecake Layer – In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment beat together the cream cheese, 1 cup sugar, 2 eggs, vanilla, and salt until well combined and smooth.
  5. Assembly – When the crust comes out of the oven pour the lemon layer on top.  Pour the cheesecake layer on top of that.  It will look like the layers are mixing, but they will settle out in the oven.
  6. Bake for 40 minutes until the middle is no longer jiggly and the top just begins to brown.  Let cool completely and then refrigerate overnight before cutting and serving.lemon cheesecake bars | pale yellow

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Fudge Walnut Brownies

Fudge Walnut Brownies | Pale YellowIf you’ve ever been to the blog, In Jennie’s Kitchen, you know what a lovely place it is to visit.  Her words are beautiful and touching as she describes recipes and tells stories about her life and the photography is gorgeous.  It’s a wonderful and inspiring blog.  No surprise I wanted her cookbook!

Fudge Walnut Brownies | Pale YellowMy grandparents bought me the cookbook for my birthday two months ago and I’ve finally gotten around to making a recipe.  I shouldn’t have waited so long!  The cookbook is just as lovely as the blog and there is a huge variety of recipes and of course, everything is from scratch.

Fudge Walnut Brownies | Pale YellowI was having a particularly intense female moment and needed brownies the way I need oxygen.  It was a bad craving.  Everything on Pinterest was too fancy; I wanted a straightforward, rich, decadent brownie plain and simple.  Luckily, in addition to the internet, I have an ever growing cookbook collection and turned to Homemade with Love, correct decision.

Fudge Walnut Brownies | Pale YellowThese brownies were everything I craved and needed.  The melted chocolate and cocoa powder provide two opportunities for rich, chocolatey flavor.  The sprinkling of chocolate chips on top and throughout the batter added perfect chocolate bites.  The brownie is dense and moist.  I personally enjoy nuts in my dessert, so the walnuts were a delightful touch to make the brownies special.  This is a strong contender for my new go to brownie recipe, so good!

Fudge Walnut Brownies | Pale YellowOne Year Ago – Blueberry Mojitos

Print the Recipe!

Fudge Walnut Brownies
Adapted from Homemade with Love by Jennifer Perilllo, page 185
Yield – 16 brownies

1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips, divided
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup flour
1/4 dark cocoa powder
1 teaspoon instant espresso
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
2 eggs
3/4 cups sugar
1 cup chopped walnuts, divided

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 ˚F and grease a 8×8” pan.
  2. Make a double boiler by placing a heatproof bowl on a small pot of simmering water.  Add 1/2 cup chocolate chips and the butter to the bowl.  Heat and stir until all the chocolate is melted.  Take off the heat.
  3. Stir in the vanilla and set aside to cool slightly.
  4. In a small bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, espresso, and salt.
  5. In another small bowl whisk together the eggs and sugar until pale yellow.  Whisk into the melted chocolate and stir until well combined.
  6. Add the dry mix, 1/4 cup chocolate chips, and 3/4 cup walnuts to the chocolate.  Stir until just combined.
  7. Sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips and walnuts over the top.  Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the brownies are set.  Underbaking is best.
  8. Let cool and then devour.Fudge Walnut Brownies | Pale Yellow

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