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

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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

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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

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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

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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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

Print the Recipe!

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

Print the Recipe!

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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