Patriotic Peanut Butter Frosted Brownies

Patriotic Peanut Butter Frosted Brownies 4
You know how you run into Target for 2 things and leave with 10. Well, these patriotic M&M’s where one of the additional things on my latest trip. What is it about that place? Everything is so shiny and bright and hard to resist. I don’t know how they do it but they get me every time with those seasonal end caps.
Patriotic Peanut Butter Frosted Brownies 3
I was literally rushing through the store since Joel and the kids were waiting in the car and as I walked past the display my arm just went out and grabbed them. Like I didn’t even have control over it. Some kind of crazy hypnotism mind and body altering business going on there. But I like it. Joel probably doesn’t but I do all the shopping so that’s his price (literally) to pay.

I’ve had these hidden in the depths of the pantry for a couple weeks so my children didn’t find them because I’m pretty sure they are bloodhounds and their hunt is for chocolate. Even the babe knows what’s up.
Patriotic Peanut Butter Frosted Brownies 2
I know I’ve said it a million times but I love peanut butter and chocolate together. And a brownie slathered with peanut butter frosting, I’m pretty sure they’ll be served in Heaven. I didn’t think they could get better but then I added peanut M&M’s. I love the crunch they add to the chewy brownies and creamy frosting.
Patriotic Peanut Butter Frosted Brownies 1
After the first bite, I quickly cut a row to save for home and sent the rest with Joel to work. Because I can resist a lot of desserts but I knew these would own me.

For more patriotic ideas to celebrate the 4th, check out the end of the post.

Patriotic Peanut Butter Frosted Brownies

1 box brownies, plus required ingredients (13×9 size)
1 stick butter, at room temperature
1 cup peanut butter
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 bag patriotic peanut M&M’s*

1. Prepare and bake brownies according to package directions. Allow to cool.

2. Meanwhile, beat butter and peanut butter together in a mixer until combined. Add salt and vanilla and combine again. Add powdered sugar and combine slowly. Once powdered sugar has been incorporated, turn mixer on medium high and beat for about 2 minutes, until light and fluffy.

3. Spread peanut butter frosting on cooled brownies and sprinkles with M&M’s.

*If I remember correctly, they were exclusively available at Target. Oh darn, you have to make a Target run.

Patriotic Pudding Pops
4th of July Pudding Pops 5
Patriotic Funfetti Whoopie Pies
4th of July Funfetti Whoopie Pies
Patriotic Fruit Skewers
4th of July Fruit Skewers
Red, White and Blue Layered Milkshake
Red, White and Blue Milkshake 2
4th of July Rice Krispie Cupcakes
4th of July Rice Krispie Cupcakes 3

Peppermint Brownies

Peppermint Brownies 3
Mint and chocolate is one of my all time favorite combinations and is a classic for the holiday season. Combine it with fudgy brownies and it’s pure perfection.

Although I do love peppermint, I enjoy it in small doses. Like peppermint patties…one bite is enough to fulfill my sweet tooth. So when I saw this recipe I decided to double the brownie base but keep the peppermint frosting at the original amounts to cut the richness a bit. I also kept the chocolate layer on the lighter side since most of us aren’t huge chocolate lovers but I know that isn’t normal so I would recommend doubling it if you want more chocolate-y goodness.
Peppermint Brownies 2
It’s the perfect ratio of peppermint and chocolate and just a small square will satisfy any sweet tooth. I hope that you all are enjoying the holiday season with all your loved ones!

Peppermint Brownies

1 family size dark chocolate brownie mix (prepared according to box directions)

for the peppermint frosting:
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
8 Tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
2 Tablespoons whole milk
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

for the chocolate layer:
4 oz. chocolate chips
2 Tbsp. butter
1/4-1/2 cup Andes peppermint crunch pieces, or crushed candy canes

1. Prepare brownies according to box directions. Cool completely.

2. Meanwhile, cream butter and confectioners’ sugar together. Add milk and extracts and whip until thick and fluffy. Spread over cooled brownies and refrigerate for at least an hour.

3. Melt chocolate and butter together in the microwave in 30 second increments. Drizzle over peppermint frosting and spread. Sprinkle with peppermint crunch pieces or candy canes.

*frosting recipe from The Galley Gourmet

Salted Caramel Rice Krispie Treats

2Salted Caramel Rice Krispies 2
When I think of fall, pumpkin and apples always come to mind. But another flavor profile that screams fall to me is caramel. Whether it’s caramel cornrolls, cake, cider or apple pie, it’s always fall when I consider them.  It’s rich, sweet and creamy and salt always makes it better.Salted Caramel Rice Krispies 1
Salted Caramel Rice Krispies 1
We had some friends over recently for a Husker game and I wanted to try a recipe from one of my new cookbooks and when I flipped to these salted caramel rice krispie treats in Sally’s Baking Addiction I knew the search was over. Everybody loves a thick, chewy rice krispie but these are elevated to a whole new level with a homemade salted caramel and a finishing sprinkle of flaked sea salt. Are you drooling yet?
Salted Caramel Rice Krispies 4
Not only are they easy but they are the perfect treat to enjoy on a crisp, autumn night while watching the game.
Salted Caramel Rice Krispies 7
Salted Caramel Rice Krispie Treats
recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction: Irresistible Cookies, Cupcakes, and Desserts for Your Sweet-Tooth Fix

For the caramel:
1 cup granulated sugar
6 Tbsp. salted butter, cut into 6 pieces
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tsp.salt

For the rice krispies:
4 Tbsp. butter
1 (10 oz.) bag marshmallows (regular or mini)
4 1/2 cups rice krispies
1/2 cup salted caramel from above
sea salt, to sprinkle

1. For the salted caramel: Heat the granulated sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly. It will start to form clumps and melt into a thick brown liquid; be careful not to burn it. Once the sugar has melted completely, add the butter. The mixture will bubble rapidly. Stir for 2-3 minutes until the butter is completely melted then stir in the heavy cream and allow to boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in the salt. Pour into a heatproof bowl and allow to cool and thicken before using.

2. Lightly spray a 9×9 pan with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.

3. Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat. Stir in the marshmallows until they are completely melted and incorporated into the butter. Remove from heat and stir in the cereal. Gently fold in half the salted caramel.

4. Dump cereal mixture into the prepared pan and gently spread it out. Drizzle with the remaining caramel sauce then sprinkle to your liking with the sea salt. Allow to cool for at least 1 hour before cutting.
Salted Caramel Rice Krispies 3

Loaded Peanut Butter Cookie Bars

Loaded Peanut Butter Cookie Bars 2
These dense, chewy cookie bars are bursting with peanut butter and two different kinds of chocolate. They start out with my favorite peanut butter cookie recipe then huge handfuls of peanut butter M&M’s, dark and white chocolate are mixed in for some crazy good decadence. Then they immediately get taken to work with Joel because I have no self control. And apparently his co-workers don’t either because they were gone before lunch.
Loaded Peanut Butter Cookie Bars 1
I did save a little square for Noah and I to share because you know, I have to be able to tell you about the deliciousness. Gosh, the things I do for you! I really didn’t have to try them since I’m pretty sure the ingredient list and pictures speak for themselves. Who wouldn’t want to inhale one of those? Well, besides someone allergic to peanuts. That would be a bummer.
Loaded Peanut Butter Cookie Bars 4
Loaded Peanut Butter Cookie Bars

3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup butter flavored Crisco
1 1/4 brown sugar
1 large egg
3 Tbsp. half and half or milk
1 Tbsp. vanilla
1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
1 cup peanut butter M&M’s
1/2 cup dark chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup white chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream peanut butter, shortening and brown sugar until fluffy. Add egg; mix well. Stir in milk and vanilla.

2. Combine flour, baking soda and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture. Stir in M&M’s, dark chocolate and white chocolate.

3. Grease a 13×9 and spread cookie dough evenly. Bake for 18-22 minutes.
Loaded Peanut Butter Cookie Bars 5

Butterfinger Blondies

Butterfinger Bars 5
My mixer hasn’t seen much action the past few months and Noah really wanted to make a pretend birthday cake. Yep, he’s a weird but very very smart child. He can think of any excuse for dessert. He’d been throwing me a pretend birthday party all morning and what’s a party without cake? I have trained him well.

So, these aren’t cake but I had them on my mind since my mom raved about them days before when she had sampled them at a luncheon at work. It didn’t take much convincing to make blondies instead of cake since they had frosting AND chocolate.
Butterfinger Bars 3
I also assume you all have been really missing the sugary goodness around here so I decided I would sacrifice for you and sample one of these bars as my cheat for the week. Oh, the things I do for you guys! But then they were immediately wrapped up and sent to work with Joel. I just couldn’t be trusted with them in the house.
Butterfinger Bars 1
They are chewy and gooey with all kinds of butterfinger goodness throughout the blondies and frosting. Make sure to bake them just until they are set for ultimate deliciousness. Let me warn you, they are incredibly rich so just a few bites will satisfy your sweet tooth sufficiently.
Butterfinger Bars 4
And make sure to keep these in mind to use up those extra butterfingers after Easter!

Butterfinger Blondies

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. coarse sea salt
2 cups coarsely chopped Butterfinger Bars (approximately 16 “Fun Size” bars)

Frosting:
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
2 1/2 – 3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup chopped Butterfinger Bars (approximately 4 “Fun Size” bars)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cream butter and sugars in mixing bowl. Add the vanilla and eggs and mix until incorporated. On low add your dry ingredients (flour, salt and baking soda) until just combined. Stir in your chopped Butterfingers.

2. Spread in a 9×13 baking dish and bake for 25 minutes until center is JUST set. Remove from the oven and cool completely.

3. For the frosting: cream the butter and shortening together until smooth. Add in you powdered sugar on low speed. Turn speed up to medium and mix until smooth Stir in your chopped Butterfingers. Spread on your cooled blondies

 

 

 

 

Pumpkin Spice Gooey Smore’s Cake Bars

Pumpkin Spice Gooey Smore's Cake Bars
That’s quite a name, huh? I have been on a huge pumpkin kick lately, it is September after all (even though it still doesn’t feel like it). I have so many delicious recipes to share with you guys it’s been hard to keep it to just one a week.
Pumpkin Spice Gooey Smore's Cake Bars
I didn’t plan on making these bars but when I spied the pumpkin spice marshmallows at the store, they somehow jumped into my cart so I had to figure out something yummy to make with them. I was experiencing a major lack of creativity and for a few days could only think of rice krispie treats. But I wanted to share something more decadent. I was thinking and thinking, then smore’s popped into my head. Pumpkin and chocolate totally go together so I knew it would be a good combination.
Pumpkin Spice Gooey Smore's Cake Bars
I went searching through my saved dessert recipes and came across this one. I knew it was something I could alter into a delicious, spicy, fall treat. The original recipe called for yellow cake mix and white chocolate chips but to combine well with the pumpkin marshmallows, I decided to go with a spice cake mix and half dark, half white chocolate. If you prefer one kind of chocolate over the other, go with just that but I couldn’t decide which would be more delicious so I went with both!
Pumpkin Spice Gooey Smore's Cake Bars
Pumpkin Spice Gooey Smore’s Cake Bars
recipe adapted from Picky Palate

1 box spice cake mix
1 large egg
1 stick butter, softened
4 1/2 full graham crackers
5 ounces white chocolate chips
5 ounces dark chocolate chips
2 cups pumpkin spice marshmallows
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8×8 inch baking pan with tin foil that’s been generously sprayed with cooking spray. Make sure foil goes all the way up and over the edges.

2. Place cake mix, egg, and butter into a large mixing bowl. Mix with hands until a nice dough forms. similar to a cookie dough. Press half of the dough into the bottom of the prepared pan. Layer with graham crackers, white and dark chocolate chips then marshmallows. Top with remaining half of dough pressing evenly. Drizzle sweetened condensed milk over top.

3. Bake for 28-33 minutes, until cooked through and golden brown on top. Remove from oven. Let cool for 5 minutes then take a knife and run along edges to loosen marshmallow (this will make your life easier when pulling foil out of pan to remove bars.  Let cool completely then remove bars from pan with foil edges. Cut into squares and enjoy room temperature or chilled.
Pumpkin Spice Gooey Smore's Cake Bars

Frosted Zucchini Brownies {Gluten and Lactose Free}

Frosted Zucchini Brownies
My zucchini supply is finally starting to wind down, thank goodness. As much as I normally like zucchini, I will be happy to not see it for awhile. I had picked the last few right before we were heading out for Kansas City to visit our new nephew and see the Royals play the Red Sox and I knew I wouldn’t have time to do something with them for dinner but didn’t want them to go to waste. So, I decided I would whip up a baked good to bring along for the weekend.

I’ve mentioned before that our nieces eat gluten and lactose free so that can sometimes make things difficult. A lot of gluten-free recipes I come across use about 50 (exaggerate much?) different kinds of flours that I just don’t want to invest in since it’s only a once and awhile thing for us. But I do always keep a box of gluten-free all-purpose flour around for such occasions. I have had pretty good success switching the gluten-free version for regular flour in most recipes.
Frosted Zucchini Brownies
When I whipped up these brownies, I followed the recipe exactly and the batter was incredibly dry and I just didn’t feel comfortable with it. I decided to mix in an egg and then it was the perfect consistency. And an added bonus was that it made them more dense, rich and cake-like. The zucchini kept them moist and I promise you can’t taste it in the finished product. It’s almost like it melts away in the batter.

This may not be the healthiest way to use up that last bit of zucchini growing in your garden but it is quite delicious and is still a way to sneak in some veggies. You could totally trick your kids or significant others…I tried with Joel but he isn’t a big chocolate fan so he didn’t want them. Darn, I love foolin’ that guy.
Frosted Zucchini Brownies
Frosted Zucchini Brownies
recipe adapted from allrecipes.com

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour (or regular all-purpose flour)
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups shredded zucchini
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

For the Frosting:
6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup vegan margarine (or regular if dairy isn’t a concern)
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup almond milk (or regular)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9×13 inch baking pan.

2.In a large bowl, mix together the oil, egg, sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla until well blended. Combine the flour, 1/2 cup cocoa, baking soda and salt; stir into the sugar mixture. Fold in the zucchini and walnuts. Spread evenly into the prepared pan.

3.Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until brownies spring back when gently touched. To make the frosting, melt together the 6 tablespoons of cocoa and margarine; set aside to cool. In a medium bowl, blend together the confectioners’ sugar, milk and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Stir in the cocoa mixture. Spread over cooled brownies before cutting into squares.