Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies

BLOG_July 29, 2014

Two of my favorite things in one decadent dessert, alright alright alright. These are BIG brownies, so they are meant to be cut into small squares, but if you want to eat the whole pan I won’t judge you.

The peanut butter top is made with cream cheese (I used reduced fat – in case you’re also inclined) so it’s actually not overwhelmingly sweet, but a mild creamy peanut flavor that pairs perfectly with chocolate. Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate Brownies
Author: Q&DK
Cook time: 1 hour 30 mins
Total time: 1 hour 30 mins
Serves: 12
  • 1 box Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate brownie mix
  • 2 8-oz packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 and 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 oz. semi-sweet chocolate (I used 1/2 of a 4 oz. Ghirardelli baking bar)
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 2 tbsp. heavy whipping cream
  1. Bake the brownies according to the box instructions in an 8×8 pan. Let cool completely.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese and peanut butter until combined. Sift the confectioners’ sugar over the cream cheese mixture and beat until smooth. Using a spatula, spread the mixture over the brownies and smooth evenly.
  3. In a heat-proof bowl set over a small saucepan of simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter. Add the whipping cream and stir until smooth and glossy. Remove from heat and let cool. Drizzle the cooled melted chocolate over the peanut butter layer. Place in the refrigerator and let chill until firm. Cut into bars and serve.



Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

vegan chocolate chip cookie bars

TGIF!! I just watched the Nashville on the Record concert – love that show! I’m usually not a country music fan, but I love the music and the actors on the show. After I get this post up, I’m heading to the grill to cook up a huge salmon fillet for a relaxing dinner at home. I hope you have a fabulous weekend filled with some good food – like these delicious cookie bars!

A friend of mine eliminated dairy while breastfeeding and sent this recipe to me. She found it at the blog Milk Free Mom, which has a ton of great recipes if you’re forgoing dairy. We love almond milk at this house, but I don’t do a ton of vegan baking. This recipe was so easy, and so delicious, I will definitely look into more vegan sweets.

My husband could tell there was a distinct flavor from the sunflower butter, but would have never guessed they were vegan. They are incredibly sweet and moist with a crumbly exterior. The center seems to stay a bit more dense and the outer shell crumbles a bit, but they are delicious from top to bottom. Fresh out of the oven – oh my! I can eat half the pan.

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: Milk Free Mom (blog)
  • 3/4 cup Sunbutter (you can sub peanut butter or any other nut butter)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup non-dairy milk (I used almond milk)
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all purpose unbleached flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 cup Enjoy Life Foods chips or chunks (or reg. chocolate chips for nonvegan option)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease an 8×8 baking dish.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the Sunbutter, oil and sugar, then add the milk and vanilla. Stir in the flour, salt, and baking powder.
  3. Gently fold in the chocolate chips. Spread the dough evenly in the baking pan and press it into place.
  4. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes. The edges should start to lightly brown, and the center should feel semi-firm. Let cool completely before slicing.


Soft & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

choc chip cookies

For most of my life I never really cared for chocolate chip cookies. I know, crazy. But I was always in love with brownies and felt no need to dabble in cookies. I’m fairly convinced that I know the absolute best brownie recipe, but I’ve been playing around lately with a lot of chocolate chip cookie recipes.

Once I realized I could literally make dozens of different types of chocolate chip cookies I became more interested in this classic dessert. The last recipe I worked on was the crispy cookies and I was surprised by how much I loved them despite my tendency to under-bake everything because I love gooey, doughy sweets.

This recipe has a chewy, soft texture similar to soft-baked cookies you might buy at the grocery. I used mini chocolate chips because I had a bunch, but I highly recommend either chopping baking chocolate or mixing a variety of sized chips (mini, chunks, etc) to ensure a nice spread of chocolately goodness. If you like a soft texture, I highly recommend these light, browned butter chocolate chip cookies also!

Soft & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: Adapted, Dorie Greenspan
Serves: 3-4 dozen
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temp
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups mixed chocolate chips or 12 oz. bittersweet chocolate chopped into chips
  1. Center one of your oven racks, put the other at the next level down, and preheat to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment.
  2. Whisk together flour, salt, and baking soda. Beat butter and sugars on medium speed for 3 minutes until well blended. Beat in vanilla. Add eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition.
  3. Reduce mixer to low; add dry ingredients in three portions, mixing only until each addition is incorporated (15 seconds should be fine).
  4. On low speed, or by hand, mix in the chocolate chips.
  5. Spoon dough in rounded tablespoons onto the baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between each. Place a few chips on the top of each cookie.
  6. Bake cookies – rotating sheets and switching from bottom to center rack at halfway point – for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown in center. Remove from heat, let rest 1 minutes, and then transfer (using a spatula) to a wire rack to cool completely. Let baking sheets cool and then repeat with remaining dough. If dough starts to get too warm, place in fridge or freezer while you wait.


The Ultimate Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookie

chocolate chip cookie

What is your favorite type of chocolate chip cookie? I’m torn between polar opposites: undercooked, cakey cookies that melt in my mouth and wafer-thin, heaven-to-the-ears crispy cookies. The cakey cookie recipe will be up shortly, but today I have the best crispy recipe I’ve ever tried.

Tips for great chocolate chip cookies:

*Don’t place dough on warm sheets. If dough becomes warm waiting for the oven, stick it in the fridge to stay cool.

*You can rest dough for 24+ hours in the fridge to allow the flavors to meld although it’s not necessary.

*When using new pans do a test run – different baking pans can cook at different speeds.

The Ultimate Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookie
Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: From Chocolate Chip Cookies by Jones and Lenzi
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 14 mins
Total time: 24 mins
Serves: 2 dozen
  • 1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup finely chopped semisweet chocolate, or chips
  • 1 cup finely chopped nuts, optional
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Adjust racks so they divide the oven into thirds. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.
  3. Melt butter in a small saucepan on the stove or in a microwave safe bowl in the microwave. Let cool until barely warm to the touch.
  4. Transfer butter to a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; add both sugars. Mix on medium until well blended, about 30 seconds. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until completely combined. Scrape sides of the bowl with a spatula.
  5. Add flour mixture and mix on low speed until just combined, scraping the bowl as necessary. Add chocolate and nuts (if using); mix on low or by hand to incorporate. The dough should be slightly shiny and loose.
  6. Using a small ice cream scoop or tablespoon measure, drop well-rounded balls of dough onto the parchment, about 2 inches apart. Dampen the palm of your hand, or the bottom of a glass, and flatten each cookie until about 1/4 inch thick. Keep dampening your hand/glass as needed to keep the dough from sticking. I prefer to use a glass.
  7. Bake for about 10-14 minutes, rotating baking sheets halfway through the baking time and changing shelves, until cookies are evenly golden. Bake them fully to ensure crispiness throughout. When cool enough to handle, transfer to wire racks.



Chocolate Peanut Butter Saltine Toffee


Can you believe it’s February already? Seriously, I feel like this year is already flying by! It’s been a really good start to the year, but I wouldn’t mind a little Slowing Down. That’s what I love most about food – a good, slow meal makes you really focus on the present and all that is good. Or, maybe just sitting down and eating a beautiful, crunchy piece of chocolate goodness. Slow down and enjoy it. Yesterday I posted a chocolatey-Valentine’s inspired recipe and I’m keeping the theme going today.

I found this recipe during the holiday season on one of my favorite blogs and was instantly intrigued. Apparently it’s a pretty common form of holiday treat, but I had never tried it. I just know I love anything with a mix of textures and sweet/salty components. It has been a big hit each time I’ve made it and it lends itself well to Valentine’s inspired celebrations because you can go crazy decorating with all sorts of cute red and pink Valentine’s themed sprinkles. Enjoy and try not to eat it all in one sitting! 🙂

Chocolate Peanut Butter Saltine Toffee
Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: Pinch of Yum
Serves: 8-10
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup salted butter
  • 1 sleeve Saltine crackers
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter
  • About 2 cups chocolate chips
  • Sprinkles to decorate, optional
  1. Cover a 9×13 baking dish with foil. Spray with nonstick cooking spray. Arrange the saltines in one layer in the pan, leaving a little bit of room between each cracker and set aside. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Melt the butter and brown sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and let boil without stirring for three minutes. Pour the hot mixture over the crackers and bake for 5 minutes.
  3. Drop the peanut butter onto the hot cracker and toffee mixture, bake for another 1 minute to melt. Spread the peanut butter. Sprinkle with the chocolate chips and bake another minute just to melt. Spread the chocolate evenly and top with sprinkles.
  4. Freeze or chill for 1 hours or until set. Break into pieces for serving.