Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Beautiful Brownie Indulgence

As we head into the holiday season, on this very special week where we focus on giving thanks, I thought I'd share a couple of indulgent recipes I've recently tried out.  Because in this household, we're thankful for chocolate.  Like, a lot.  This first recipe experiment stemmed more from the fact that I felt we were drowning in leftover Halloween candy.  I saw this pin and decided that it looked incredibly tasty...and a good freezable entity. 

Of the two brownie recipes you'll see in this post, this first one is David's favorite.  Both are a chocolately, ooey, gooey, cookie/brownie, tasty goodness...this one was just lucky enough to win out with him.  Here's the recipe:

Ultimate Pretzel Crusted Peanut Butter Cookie Candy Brownie Bars
From Baby Gizmo's blog

2 ½ cups crushed butter pretzels (one 9 oz. package)
1 cup melted butter
5 tbsp sugar
Betty Crocker Peanut Butter Cookie Mix (and all the ingredients the mix calls for)
Brownie Mix (and all the ingredients the mix calls for)
Snack Size Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (20-24)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Crush the pretzels in a food processor, but leave some small pieces for texture...you don't want just dust.  Mix with the melted butter and sugar.

Press into a lightly greased 13x9 pan.  Mix the cookie dough according the package instructions.

Lightly press the cookie dough over the pretzel layer.  You'll need to do this gingerly, as the pretzels will want to stick to the cookie dough. 

Unwrap the peanut butter cups and begin distributing them evenly over the cookie dough layer.  The original recipe called for 24 cups, but I only had 20.  This was still plenty for this recipe...and don't worry if they're a little beat up (like mine) because they still taste the same and melt beautifully in the final product.

Prepare the brownie mix according to the package instructions, then pour that over the peanut butter cup layer.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes.

Let cool and then cut into bars...and enjoy!!

These are dangerous...because they're so dang delicious!  Because they're so heavy and decadent and wonderful and filling, I didn't want us to eat the whole pan all at once.  Or even within a few days.  So, I separated the brownies into plastic-wrapped packages of two.  Then, I froze them.

These freeze beautifully and taste just as good after you've let them thaw.  What I've been doing, because of David's impatience is this...when I bake something in the oven (which I do at almost every meal), when I'm done I'll turn the oven off.  Then, I'll put a frozen brownie (or 2) in a glass baking pan and place it in the still-warm oven for about 10 minutes.  Ta da!  Warm and gooey brownie(s) in minutes...and a fully satisfied and satiated husband.  Mission: complete.

This next recipe is also another Pinterest find that I decided to try out.  David's favorite dessert anything is "cookies and cream."  Ice cream, shakes, candy, etc.  He loves it.  So, when I saw this pin, I knew I had a winner.

This is, yet another, super easy and delicious brownie recipe.  And this one comes from a blogland favorite, Picky Palate.

Gooey Cookies and Cream Chocolate Cake Bars
from Picky Palate

1 Devils Food Cake Mix
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
14 Oreo Cookies, broken into bite size pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a 9×13 inch baking pan with tin foil sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.

Place cake mix, butter and egg into a large bowl, mixing to combine.

I have to admit that I tried using that wooden spoon first, but she's right...use your hands, it works much quicker.  Press into prepared baking pan.

Top with broken pieces of cookies (I used 20 cookies instead of the 14 the recipe calls for...I didn't want to accidentally eat the 6 leftover cookies, lol!).

Pour sweetened condensed milk over cookies and top with chocolate chips.

At this point, I think this post qualifies as food porn, am I right?  Because this looks completely delectable to me...

Bake for 23-25 minutes, until cooked through. Remove from oven.

After 5 minutes of cooling, run a plastic knife around edges to loosen, this makes it much easier to remove from foil.  Let cool completely, remove foil from pan, then cut into squares.

And enjoy!!

I did the exact same thing with these brownies that I did with the others; I wrapped them up in packages of two and froze the delectables.

These freeze perfectly as well.  And I do the same oven-warming trick with them.  Honestly, these are my favorite of the two...they aren't quite as rich, which I like.  Of course, they're not 3 inches thick either!

I would highly recommend both recipes (new Dave's Faves, both of them) and I would highly recommend freezing them both.  The good thing about freezing (and this is more important at this time of year than even in other seasons) is that you have to put some effort into thawing and preparing them for consumption.  You can't just walk over to the pantry and stick your hand in a bag and boom=instant gratification.  When you eat these after thawing them, you've really made yourself a treat and will truly enjoy them without (hopefully) a nagging feeling of guilt in the background.

I hope you're having a fantastic Tuesday, leading up to the most thankful holiday of the year! 


  1. Holy Karpe! I just gained 5 pounds reading this post! Which one to make first? :)



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