Monday, March 17, 2014

Mint Cookies & Cream Bars

Happy St. Patrick's Day!! I made these delish bars for a St. Paddy's Day brunch we went to yesterday. They were so good! Kristen over at Confessions Of a Cookbook Queen posted them a few days ago, and I knew they would be perfect for the brunch. With a tweak to her recipe of course.

Ingredients for bars

Have I mentioned how much I love cake bars? They are so easy to make and can be easily adapted to make all different kinds of bars.  You combine your cake mix, oil, water, 1 egg, 1 egg yolk, food coloring and peppermint extract in a bowl.  I started with two teaspoons of peppermint extract, tasted, and then added a third. I like a noticeable mint flavor and I didn't want it getting lost. Once it is mixed, it should look like the below picture. Nice and thick.

I used Wiltons Leaf Green food coloring. I was worried that it would be too light, but just a little bit went a long way. I thought it was a perfect green. Next, I put about 10 Oreos in a bag and chopped/crushed them with the end of a knife. You should crush them so they are still big chunks like the below picture.

Add them to your batter and fold in gently. You don't want to completely crush the cookies. 

Add to your prepared pan and spread to the edges. I used a 9x13 pan covered in tin foil. I was totally out of Pam, but the bars didn't stick as bad as I had expected. I would totally use Pam or some other cooking spray whether you use tin foil or not.

Ready for baking

Bake in a 350 degree oven. I baked mine for about 15-17min. If you use a smaller pan, you need to adjust your cooking time by a few minutes.

All done!
After your cake has cooled about 10 minutes, you can start preparing your frosting. 

Ingredients for Frosting

Because the frosting cooked really quickly, I didn't get to take pictures of the prep. Sorry about that. It is really easy though. Crush an additional 4-5 cookies. Melt 4 TBS of butter on medium heat. Add your milk and cocoa powder and whisk until it just begins to boil. The mixture will thicken up. Remove from heat and whisk in your powdered sugar. Continue to whisk until mixture is smooth. Pour over bars and spread. Immediately sprinkle crushed Oreo's over frosting and lightly press in. The frosting starts to set as soon as it starts to cool so you have to do that quickly. I actually had my sister spread the frosting while I poured it on.

Looks so good! 
Closeup of the Oreo covered frosting

These bars were so good. They had a great mint flavor that worked really well with the dark chocolate frosting and the Oreo's. I loved the texture of the bars too. They were almost 'fudgy' like without being overly gooey. And they were a big hit at the brunch. 

Recipe (adapted from Confessions of a Cookbook Queen)
 For the bars:
 1 box white cake mix
 1/3 cup oil
 1/4 cup water
 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
 3 teaspoons peppermint extract (you can use less)
 10 Oreo's, chopped
 Green Food coloring
For the frosting:
 4 TBS butter
 2 heaping TBS Dark Chocolate cocoa powder
 3 TBS milk
 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
 4-5 Oreo's, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Line a 9x13 pan with foil and/or spray with cooking spray
Combine cake mix, water, oil, egg, egg yolk, extract and food coloring. Beat with electric mixer until well combined.
Fold in chopped cookies gently.
Spread batter in prepared pan
Bake for about 15-17 minutes until edges are lightly browned.
Let bars cool about 10 minutes and prepare frosting.
In a small saucepan, melt butter.
Add milk and cocoa powder and whisk until mixture just starts to boil. 
Remove from heat and whisk in powdered sugar. Whisk until smooth.
Pour frosting over bars and spread to edges. Immediately press remaining chopped cookies.
Allow bars to cool completely before cutting. 
Mint Cookies & Cream Bars

Monday, March 10, 2014

Cookie Dough Stuffed Brownies

A couple of weeks ago, my twin sister wanted to have a weekend of baking. Really for no reason other than to try some new recipes and get ourselves and the rest of our family totally chocolate-wasted. How could I possibly pass that up? 

Now, I know everyone has seen cookie dough stuffed cupcakes. Like total deliciousness right? Well, I'd never seen cookie dough stuffed brownies and I REALLY wanted to try it out.  Now, these didn't turn out exactly the way I'd hope, but I do have some tips on how to make them better which I'll include as I go.

Ingredients for cookie dough balls

My favorite part of this recipe is the cookie dough. Who doesn't like to eat raw cookie dough?! If you don't, I'm sorry but you are missing out.  Good thing for you, this is totally egg-less and safe to eat! You need to make these ahead of time as you want to freeze them for a couple hours to overnight. Your first step is creaming together your softened butter and sugars. It should look like the below picture.

Then mix in your milk and vanilla extract. Add your flour and salt and mix until combined. Lastly add your mini chocolate chips. The resulting dough should resemble the following picture:
Next, take small amounts of dough (I did about a tablespoon) and roll into balls. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat with remainder of the dough. Freeze overnight. I did mine for 6 hours, but I think they could have used longer.
Ready for freezing

Once your cookie dough balls are thoroughly frozen, you can start making your brownies. I used DH Dark Chocolate Fudge brownies. I love dark chocolate brownies and I really like boxed mix. I know, I know... If you want to substitute a 'from scratch' recipe, go ahead!
Ingredients for Brownie Mix

Prepare your brownie mix according to recipe or box instructions.  I doubled the brownie mix, which probably wasn't the best idea. Anyway, pour half your mixture into a greased baking dish. I used a 2qt dish.

Half the mix in
Frozen cookie dough

Remove your frozen cookie dough balls from the freezer. Place immediately into your brownie mix pushing them into the batter a bit, like below.

Don't you just want to pull one out and eat it?

Cover with the remaining brownie mix.

Little lumps of cookie dough goodness

Bake according to brownie directions.  Now, here is where my great idea got a little wonky. Because I doubled the mix and used a smallish pan, the brownies took forever to cook. Not a great idea when you want balls of cookie DOUGH in the batter.


My brownies were pretty gooey, and more gooey than the cookie dough. I would recommed smaller cookie dough balls and a longer baking sheet so the brownies don't cook as long. Or doing brownie cups which is what I will do if I make these again. All in all, they still tasted great, and the cookie dough balls (though not super doughy) were still yummy.

For the cookie dough balls
 1 stick softened butter
 6 Tbs brown sugar
 6 Tbs sugar
 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
 2 Tbs milk
 1 1/4 cup flour
 1/8 tsp salt
 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

For the Brownies
 1 box Dark Chocolate Brownie Mix
 Egg, water & oil according to box directions
 Brownie recipe of your choice

Combine softened butter and sugars until creamy
Add milk and vanilla and mix until smooth
Add flour and salt and stir until combined
Stir in chocolate chips
Using tablespoon, scoop out cookie dough. Roll into balls
Place on parchment paper lined baking sheet
Repeat with remaining dough
Freeze overnight

Prepare brownie mix according to box directions
Pour half of brownie mix into greased baking sheet
Press balls of cookie dough into brownie mix
Top with remaining brownie mix
Bake according to box directions

Pour brownie mix into muffin tins, filling halfway
Press cookie dough ball into each tin
Cover with remaining brownie mix
Bake in 350 degree oven for 18min.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Chocolate Chip M&M Cake Batter Bars

My girls and I made these lovelies for the Superbowl.  I made Cake Batter Blondies before, but they were chocolate free. We love chocolate in this house, and these are chock full of it!


Kae, my daughter, was obsessed with the Valentine's day cake mix when we saw it at the store. I think she really liked the red sprinkles. I liked that I didn't have to add extra sprinkles to the mix. Your first step is to combine the cake mix, oil, egg and milk. Add the milk slowly, as you want a dense batter. It should resemble the below picture.
My little helpers were REALLY excited to help clean the beaters. 

Once your batter is ready, you can add in your chocolate chips and M&M's. I did a cup of each, since I wanted it REALLY chocolaty. 

Ariana adding in the Chocolate Chips
Kaedence adding the M&M's

Stir in the chocolate chips and M&M's until they are thoroughly mixed in. It should look similar to the below picture.

Spread your batter into a greased pan. I used a 2qt glass pan because I wanted thick bars.  As you can see in the below picture, I topped mine with a couple M&M's and chocolate chips. They turned out fine, but given the long cooking time, the chocolate chips did come close to being too cooked (burning). So you can skip that step if you choose.
Ready for cookin'!
Bake your bars for about 25-30 minutes in a 350 degree pre-heated oven until the top is golden brown. Allow to cool for about 30 mintues before cutting into bars. 
Ready to eat!

Topped with ice cream (how we ate them the first night) or alone they were perfect. Every bit had chocolate in it and they were not over powered by the cake flavor. They really were delicious. 

1 box Funfetti (or other sprinkle cake mix)
1/4 cup canola oil
1 egg
1/3 cup milk (you can use more if needed, do not exceed 1/2 cup)
1 cup Chocolate Chips
1 cup M&M's (I used Dark Chocolate)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Grease baking pan
Combine cake mix, oil, egg and milk. Add milk slowly.
Mix in chocolate chips and M&M's. Do not over stir.
Pour into prepared baking pan.
Bake 25-30 minutes until edges are just turning brown.
Cool for at least 30 minutes and cut into bars.