Category Archives: Brownies/Bars

Candy Cane Brownie Bites

candy cane brownie bites | pale yellowI almost didn’t share this recipe, it seemed too easy.  But then I remembered that people like easy, simple recipes that can be whipped up in a few minutes.  The first time I made these brownies, it was after work to bring to a church group meeting I had to leave for in about an hour and a half.  In less than 90 minutes I had homemade, from scratch brownies cut and ready to go!

candy cane brownie bites | pale yellowThis brownie recipe is my absolute favorite and is so versatile.  It’s dressed up for Christmas with a little peppermint extract and crushed candy canes on top.  Cut into small pieces it makes a for a delightful hostess gift of shared treat.  The holidays feature so many desserts, it’s best to provide everyone with small bites!

candy cane brownie bites | pale yellowI brought these to Andrea’s lovely holiday party and a guest asked me if they were soft.  Two questions – where does one find non-soft brownies? Who would bring hard brownies to a party?  Clearly my sarcasm could not be contained!  These brownies are deliciously soft, moist, fudgy, peppermint-y, and easy.  Whip up a batch now, anyone can do it!

candy cane brownie bites | pale yellowTwo Years Ago – Eggnog Cookies

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Candy Cane Brownie Bites

Adapted from MMMMM Brownies

Yield – 8” x 8” pan, 36 bites

 

1/2 cup sugar

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons water

1 teaspoon instant coffee

10 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips

2 eggs

1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

2/3 cup flour

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 mini candy canes crushed

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 ˚F.  Grease an 8” x 8” square pan and line with parchment paper leaving an overhang.  Grease that too.
  2. In a medium saucepan melt the butter, sugar, water, and instant coffee.  When melted add in the chocolate chips and stir until combined and melted.  Add in the eggs one at a time and then the peppermint extract, stir to combine.  Add in the flour, soda, and salt mixing until just combined.
  3. Pour the brownie batter in the prepared pan and sprinkle with the crushed candy canes, press them in slightly.
  4. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the top is shiny and crusty and a toothpick comes out almost clean.  DO NOT OVER BAKE!
  5. Let cool slightly and then slice and serve.  For bites, I remove the whole brownie from the pan and cut into 9 large pieces.  Then, I cut each ninth into 4, placing in a mini cupcake wrapper for maximum cuteness.candy cane brownie bites | pale yellow
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Eggnog Cheesecake Bars

Eggnog Cheesecake Bars | Pale YellowI love eggnog, absolutely and completely!  Almost every Christmas season I try to make the most eggnog-y of eggnog treats and always end up disappointed.  It’s not that the recipes aren’t tasty, because they are, they are just not eggnog-y enough.  I’m not ashamed to admit I can drink eggnog straight up!  Obviously I try to limit the indulgence, but that doesn’t stop the cravings.

Eggnog Cheesecake Bars | Pale YellowThis is a delightfully eggnog-y recipe!  I’m sure the original recipe had enough eggnog flavor for the average person, but I wanted to ensure there was plenty of eggnog flavor for me.  I used all the tricks I could think of like adding rum extract (obviously rum is essential in eggnog!) and extra fresh nutmeg; the results are super!Eggnog Cheesecake Bars | Pale Yellow

The base is crumbly and moist while the middle is lovingly smooth and creamy.  A crumb topping on top is perfect for providing a little crunch and texture.  Throughout the filling and crust there is significant proportion of fresh nutmeg and eggnog flavor.  These eggnog cheesecake bars are my favorite thing on the cookie tray this year!Eggnog Cheesecake Bars | Pale Yellow

One Year Ago – Easy Turtles

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Eggnog Cheesecake Bars

Adapted from Annie’s Eats

Yield – 25 pieces

 

Crust

2 cups flour

2/3 cup sugar

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2-3/4 of a fresh nutmeg, grated

12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold

6 tablespoons eggnog

Filling

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

1/4 cup sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon rum extract

1/4 of a fresh nutmeg, grated

1/2 cup eggnog

  1. Crust – Preheat the oven to 350 ˚F and grease an 8×8” pan with shortening.  Line the pan with parchment paper and grease the paper as well.
  2. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg in a medium bowl.  Cut the butter into small pieces and incorporate into the flour mixture with a pastry blender.  Blend until you have pea-sized pieces.
  3. Stir in the eggnog with a fork until the dough is shaggy.  Squeeze a bit with your hands to incorporate the loose flour.
  4. Press 2/3 of the dough into the bottom of the prepared pan as evenly as possible.  Set aside.
  5. Filling – In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese until smooth.  Add the remaining ingredients, one at a time, beating to incorporate each.  Scrape the bowl as needed.
  6. Pour the filling over the crust.  Use the remaining dough to make crumbles on top of the filling.
  7. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the filling no longer jiggles and the topping just begins to brown.
  8. Let cool completely on a wire rack.  Refrigerate to firm up before cutting and servingEggnog Cheesecake Bars | Pale Yellow

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Brown Butter Blondies with Chocolate, Walnuts and Toffee Bits

Brown Butter Blondies with Chocolate, Walnuts, and Toffee Bits | Pale YellowWhen you’re a baker and you’re meeting new people, it can be a little awkward, at least for me.  Baking is a huge part of my life and I’m quite good at it.  However, I’m not a braggart, or at least try not to be, and I don’t want people to have high expectations.  Also, I’m not just a baker, I’m kind of a baking snob – no mixes in my kitchen.

Brown Butter Blondies with Chocolate, Walnuts, and Toffee Bits | Pale YellowWith that being said, when I bake for a new group of people, I’ve very conscience about what I’m bringing, I want it to be good, home-run good!  I do have a reputation to uphold.  I also want something easy to make after work.  Enter blondies.

Brown Butter Blondies with Chocolate, Walnuts, and Toffee Bits | Pale YellowBrown butter blondies at that.  First of all, no need to wait for butter to soften because you’re melting and browning.  Second, there is no scooping and portioning like cookies; just smooth it all in a pan.  Finally, these are best made a day or two before you need them.  One tip I’ve learned is the importance of letting brownies and bars completely cool before cutting.  That way it is easy to turn them out onto a cutting board and slice smooth, beautiful squares.

Brown Butter Blondies with Chocolate, Walnuts, and Toffee Bits | Pale YellowThe best part of making bars is eating all of the edges!  Obviously you want nice neat edges, so it’s best to trim before slicing into squares.  It’s a bakers best kept secret!  The blondies are moist, dense, and tender.  Best of all they are filled with rich bittersweet chocolate chips, toasted walnuts, and little bits of toffee.  And yes, these blondies exceeded expectations and secure my place as a bonifide baker!

Brown Butter Blondies with Chocolate, Walnuts, and Toffee Bits | Pale YellowOne Year Ago – Chocolate Sour Cream Bundt Cake

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Brown Butter Blondies with Chocolate, Walnuts, and Toffee Bits

Adapted from Bake or Break

Yield – 24 generous pieces

 

1 1/4 cup (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter

2 cups packed brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

3 eggs

2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

2 1/4 cup flour

1 cup chopped, toasted, and cooled walnuts

1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips

9 ounces toffee bits

  1. Add the butter to small saucepan to melt and brown.  Remove when the butter has lost all of its yellow tones and there are dark brown bits at the bottom.  Move the butter to a large mixing bowl to cool.  Be sure to scrape the brown bits into the bowl.
  2. Toast the walnuts.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 ˚F and grease a 9 x 13” pan with shortening.  Line with parchment paper leaving an overhang and grease the parchment paper.
  4. Add the sugars to the cooled and browned butter.  Mix until all the sugar is moistened.  Stir in the eggs and vanilla, mix for several minutes until light and fluffy.
  5. Stir in the baking powder and salt until completely mixed in.  Add the flour and mix until almost combined.  Add the walnuts, chocolate chips, and toffee bits and mix until all the flour is incorporated.
  6. Transfer the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly.  Bake 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  7. Let cool completely on a wire rack before cuttingBrown Butter Blondies with Chocolate, Walnuts, and Toffee Bits | Pale Yellow

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Dark Chocolate Brownies with York Peppermint Patties

Dark Chocolate Brownies with York Peppermint Patties | Pale YellowCan we have my annual pity party for one?  No?  You don’t feel bad for me that I have to go back to work today after two months of “not” working?  Not is in quotation marks because I worked a fair bit between trips, FYI.  It’s okay if you don’t feel bad for me, I’ll just go talk to my teacher friends, they understand what it means to mourn the end of summer.  Luckily, I have a lot of teacher friends!

Dark Chocolate Brownies with York Peppermint Patties | Pale YellowTo celebrate the last days of summer I’ve spent two days at the beach, eaten plenty of tasty food, and imbibed delicious frozen beverages; it’s best to go out on a high note!  Hopefully the warm weather will hold so I can have some relaxing fall days on the beach.  I love beach living.

Dark Chocolate Brownies with York Peppermint Patties | Pale YellowWhen you spend your days at the beach, you need easy delicious treats.  Baking the same recipe can get boring, so I’m always looking for inspiration to jazz up a favorite recipe.  Little York Peppermint Patties in my favorite brownie recipe was inspiration from above.  A dark fudgy brownie is perfectly accompanied by these minty candies.  The brownies are rich, decadent, and amazing!  Feel free to jazz them up with whatever inspires you!

Dark Chocolate Brownies with York Peppermint Patties | Pale YellowOne Year Ago – Fall Favorites

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Dark Chocolate Brownies with York Peppermint Patties

Adapted from MMMMM Brownies

Yield – 8” x 8” pan, 16-25 pieces

 

1/2 cup sugar

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons water

1 teaspoon instant coffee

10 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips

2 eggs

1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

2/3 cup flour

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

25 mini York Peppermint Patties

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 ˚F.  Grease an 8” x 8” square pan and line with parchment paper leaving an overhang.  Grease that too.
  2. In a medium saucepan melt the butter, sugar, water, and instant coffee.  When melted add in the chocolate chips and stir until combined and melted.  Add in the eggs one at a time and then the, stir to combine.  Add in the flour, soda, and salt mixing until just combined.
  3. Pour in about half the brownie batter, layer the peppermint patties and then cover with the remaining batter.  Bake for 20-25 minutes until the top is shiny and crusty and a toothpick comes out almost clean.  DO NOT OVER BAKE!
  4. Let cool slightly and then slice and serve!Dark Chocolate Brownies with York Peppermint Patties | Pale Yellow

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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

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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

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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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