Malted Nutella & Biscoff Brownie Torte

February 5, 2020

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So I gotta ask….are there any Nutella fans out there? Cause let me tell you I love me some Nutella! I actually didn’t even know it existed until I was living in Ireland and my friend Theresa had a jar. I watched with amazement as she spread it over her toast. I was like “What! You can eat chocolate on toast!” I had no idea it was a thing. Yup, love at first bite. And Biscoff? Well I first encountered those little Biscoff cookies when an air host handed me a packet for a snack when I was on a flight. I loved them. At first I thought maybe it was just because I didn’t have very high expectations for any snack given out on a flight, but then they magically appeared in grocery stores and I found that I also enjoyed them when I wasn’t a captive audience, shoehorned into a tiny uncomfortable little seat.

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When I found out that there was a cookie butter version that I could spread on toast, I cannot tell you how excited I was! This amazing treat that I’m going to tell you about today features both Nutella and Biscoff – both the cookies and the cookie butter AND it is not only malted but it is also salted!!! GET. OUT!!! So without further ado (insert drum roll here) – I present the magnificent Malted Nutella & Biscoff Brownie Torte! Just look at this big boy!

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This treat has got it all going on – Three – that’s right I said THREE – layers of oooey, gooey chocolatey brownies interspersed with malted Nutella & Biscoff-y goodness, all frosted with salted Biscoff frosting, further adorned with malted milk balls

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and Biscoff cookie crumbs

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It is not by chance that I’m blogging a recipe which features Nutella today. Today February 5th is World Nutella Day. This celebration of all things Nutella was started in 2007 by Sara at Ms. Adventures in Italy and Michelle at Bleeding Espresso as a day to celebrate, get creative with and most importantly, to EAT Nutella.

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A couple of years ago, the founders have transferred Nutella Day to Ferrero the companywho owns that most beloved spread. Take a peek at their Facebook page and see how folks are celebrating the day! I love Nutella so I usually try to participate with a Nutella laden recipe every year. One of my favorite Nutella creations was this Nutella, Double Chocolate & Banana Tart which was quite stunning if I do say so myself.

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Last year I gave you this gorgeous Nutella Star Bread:

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And there was the amazing Nutella Chocolate Chip Babka:

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And for quite a few years I was on a cookie streak. I made some Nutella Sea Salt Stuffies:

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And there were these irresistible Salted Peanut Butter & Nutella Sandwich Cookies – sweet salty bliss I tell you!

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I was still loving the salty / sweet thing when I blogged about  Salted & Malted Nutella Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies. These cookies feature silky, decadent Nutella, creamy caramel, nostalgic malted goodness and rich chocolate chips, all rolled up together in a crunchy chewy salted cookie.

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Yeah quite obviously I have a malted, as well as a sweet salty flavor obsession. So it is easy to see why I chose this year’s Nutella Day offering: Malted Nutella & Biscoff Brownie Torte. This is undeniably one impressive looking cake!

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Needless to say, this decadent treat is truly rich. So slice it thinly and serve with whipped cream and maybe a tall glass of milk. There will be enough to feed an army I tell you!

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Although there are several steps, this amazing creation comes together quite easily. You can make up the various components over several days and then put them all together rather quickly right before whatever gathering at which you hoping to amaze folks with your baking prowess. So what are you waiting for? Step one – eat some Nutella. Step two –  eat even more Nutella while making this jaw-dropping indulgence! And have a Happy Nutella Day!

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Malted Nutella & Biscoff Brownie Torte

  • Servings: 0ne 8
  • Difficulty: easy - but several steps
  • Print

recipe from: Heather Baird of Sprinkle Bakes

Ingredients:

For the Brownie Layers;

  • 1 1/2 cups butter
  • 6 ounces unsweetened baker’s chocolate, chopped
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda

For the Malted Nutella & Biscoff Layers:

  • 6 cups powdered sugar, divided
  • 1 cup (about 9 oz.) Biscoff spread
  • 1 cup (about 9 oz.) Nutella spread
  • 1/2 cup malted milk powder
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted, divided
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream, divided

For the Salted Biscoff Frosting:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup (about 9 oz.) Biscoff spread
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk or cream
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

For the Nutella Frosting:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup (about 9 oz.) Nutella spread
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1-2 tablespoons milk or cream

For Assembly:

  • 15 chocolate malt balls
  • 6 Biscoff cookies, pulverized
  • Maldon flake salt for garnish

Directions:

For the Brownie Layers:

Preheat the oven to 350°F.
In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, melt butter and chocolate; stir until smooth. Transfer to a large bowl and whisk in sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, whisking well after each addition. Whisk in vanilla, flour, salt and baking soda.
Pour into three greased and floured 9-inch (or 8″) round baking pans. Bake for 23-25 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes in the pans; remove from pans to a wire rack to cool completely. Wrap in plastic wrap or store in air-tight containers until needed.

For the Malted Nutella & Biscoff Layers:

Line two round 9-inch (or 8″) pans with plastic wrap (the same ones used to make the brownie layers, if possible).

Biscoff Layer: Mix together 3 cups of the powdered sugar, 1 cup Biscoff and 4 tablespoons melted butter in a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mixture will be crumbly. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of cream 1 tablespoon at a time until the mixture becomes consistent workable dough. It should not be crumbly or stick to your fingers. The mixture should hold together easily when a small amount is squeezed tight in the palm of your hand. Press the dough evenly into one of the lined pans. Cover and chill for 30 minutes.

Malted Nutella Layer: Mix together 1 cup Nutella, malted milk and remaining 4 tablespoons melted butter in a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the 3 cups of confectioner’s sugar slowly. About 1/4 cup at a time, mixing until each addition is incorporated before adding the next. Mixture will be crumbly. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of cream 1 tablespoon at a time until the mixture becomes consistent workable dough. It should not be crumbly or stick to your fingers. The mixture should hold together easily when a small amount is squeezed tight in the palm of your hand. Press the dough evenly into the remaining lined pan. Cover and chill for 30 minutes.

For the Salted Biscoff Frosting: Combine the butter and Biscoff in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whip attachment. Beat until fluffy. Add the powdered sugar slowly, about 1/4 cup at a time, mixing until each addition is incorporated before adding the next. Add cream 1 tablespoon at a time until the mixture is thick and fluffy; add the salt and whip again. Scrape down the bowl and beat for 2 minutes longer, or until the salt is well dispersed throughout the batter.

For the Nutella Frosting: Beat the butter and Nutella in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whip attachment. Beat until fluffy. Add the powdered sugar slowly – no more than 1/4 cup at a time, mixing until it is incorporated before adding the next 1/4 cup. Add cream 1 tablespoon at a time, if needed. Transfer the frosting to a large piping bag fitted with a large closed star piping tip.

For the Assembly: Place a brownie layer on a serving plate or cake stand. Turn out the Nutella candy layer on top of the brownie; top with another brownie layer. Turn out the Biscoff layer onto the brownie layer and top with the final brownie layer. Frost the entire cake with the salted Biscoff frosting, using an offset spatula to swirl the icing. Pipe 12 to 14 rosettes of Nutella frosting on the top edge of the cake. Garnish each with a malt ball. Place the cake on a baking sheet and gently toss pulverized cookies onto the bottom edge of the cake, allowing the excess to fall onto the baking sheet. Finally garnish the top of the cake with Maldon flake salt.

Store the cake covered at room temperature

Enjoy!

Links for helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Malted Nutella & Biscoff Brownie Torte:

Kitchen Aid Artisan Stand Mixer

Biscoff Cookie Butter Spread

Biscoff Cookies

Nutella Spread

Maldon Sea Salt Flakes

Premium Dark Chocolate Malt Balls – these look great, but truth be told I used Whoppers on my cake.

Sea Salt Sweet by Heather Baird – The recipe for Malted Nutella & Biscoff Brownie Torte is from the Sprinkle Bakes blog by Heather Baird. If you love that salty/sweet flavor combination like I do, you will love Heather’s “Sea Salt Sweet” cookbook. This book is a treasure trove of recipes for the salty sweet lover!

 

 

 


Boozy Irish Brownie Bites

March 13, 2017

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Boozy Irish Brownie Bites?!! Now we’re talking! These rich, decadent little gems are chock full of Irish Whiskey and frosted with a white chocolate, Baileys and Whiskey Ganache! I’m telling you, there is no way you could go wrong here. And just a warning, these guys are indeed boozy. I took care to add those spirits after the ganache was removed from heat, so there is no “oh the alcohol cooked off” with these darling treats. It is all there. Another thing that is absolutely great about these little guys is their diminutive size. You can literally just grab one and pop the whole thing right into your mouth.

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You know, just a small bite, a wee taste if you will, just in case you don’t really want to commit to eating a whole big honking brownie.

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Now, I’m sure that sounds good in theory and I know there are folks out there that have that kind of “I’ll just take a taste” self-restraint. I’m not really one of them. I just end up eating a plate of these irresistible little devils over the span of the evening. But hey, no regrets. St. Patrick’s Day only comes once a year. You should definitely enjoy it!

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Boozy Irish Brownie Bites

  • Servings: 32- 34 Brownie Bites or 16 Regular sized Brownies
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe slightly adapted from: Vintage Kitty

Ingredients:

For the brownies:

  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 9 Tablespoons salted butter
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup Irish Whiskey
  • 3/4 Cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup flour

For the Ganache:

  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon salted butter
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • pinch of salt
  • 8 oz. white chocolate, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon Baileys Irish Cream
  • 2 Tablespoons Irish Whiskey

Directions:

For the Brownies:

Preheat oven to 325° F and line a 8″ square pan with parchment paper.

Slice the vanilla bean and scrape the seed outs.

Place the seeds and the pod in a medium sized dutch oven.

Add the butter and sugar to the pan and melt over medium heat, stirring frequently.

Once sugar has melted, remove vanilla bean pod.

Sift cocoa into the butter mixture and stir to combine.

Remove pan from heat and let mixture cool a minute or two. Add whiskey and stir to combine.

Add the flour and stir just until it is incorporated.

Pour brownie batter into prepared pan and bake for 20 -25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out mostly clean.

Set brownies to cool on a metal rack.

For the Ganache:

While the brownies are cooling, combine sugar, butter, heavy cream and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently.

Let the mixture boil for 2-3 minutes.

Remove from heat and slowly add the white chocolate, stirring until it is completely melted and smooth.

Slowly add the Baileys and Irish Whiskey, stirring until combined.

Pour the ganache over the warm brownies and spread with a spatula.

Allow ganache to harden over an hour or so.

If you wish to serve regular brownies, go ahead and slice them and enjoy. If you wish to make smaller brownie bites as I did here, use whatever shaped small cookie cutter to cut the brownies. I used a 1 1/2″ circle cutter.

Enjoy!

Boozy Irish Brownie Bites brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

 


Mississippi Mud Brownies

November 8, 2016

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Hmmmm….what is going on with me? I mean my blood sugar levels have barely recovered from my self-induced Halloween Candy Coma and here I am posting a recipe for more sweeties! Oh…and let me tell you, this isn’t just any old dessert. No sir-ee…this here is one of the most rich, decadent and utterly addictive brownie creations I have ever had the pleasure of sinking my teeth into…Mississippi Mud Brownies! Now I am well aware that there are countless Mississippi Mud Brownie recipes out there, not to mention the legions of Mississippi Mud Cakes, Mississippi Mud Pies and Mississippi Mud bars. Seems folks just can’t get enough of that good ole Mississippi Mud. What all of these delectable creations have in common is lots and lots of rich chocolate and oooey – gooey marshmallow. Many also have some nuts thrown into the mix and I even came across a few that make some good use of peanut butter. Yup many variations indeed. It seems like this quintessentially Southern dessert must have been around forever. But it looks like it actually originated in the 1970’s and was wildly popular back then. Apparently it wasn’t just a fad. Mississippi Mud desserts are still hot to this day!

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This particular Mississippi Mud Brownie recipe will deliver you up a batch of moist, rich, dense chocolate chip filled brownies which are topped with a layer of fluffy marshmallow creme and lovingly drizzled with even more chocolate. I really think critical chocolate mass was achieved here. No nuts in these little gems, but as I’ve mentioned the recipe is easily customizable. Have a nut lover in your house? Throw a few handfuls into the mix or sprinkle them over the top. You can’t go wrong with this mouth-wateringly delicious creation. And perhaps if you hop to it you can have a batch ready before the final election results are in. I’m sure the resulting sugar rush will help soothe your frayed nerves. Though you might need to add something a bit more medicinal to that glass of milk – if you know what I’m saying. 😉

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Mississippi Mud Brownies

  • Servings: one 13x9 inch pan
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe slightly adapted from: Pass the Sushi

Ingredients:

For the Brownies:

  • 6 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips – I used semisweet

For the Topping:

  • 3/4 cup marshmallow creme
  • 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 teaspoon coconut oil

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325° F. Line a 9 x 13 inch baking dish with aluminium foil and spray with baking spray.

Melt chocolate and butter in a double boiler over barely simmering water, stirring occasionally, until smooth, 5-7 minutes. Cool slightly.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the eggs and sugar on low speed until completely incorporated. Pour in the melted chocolate and continue to mix. Add the flour and beat mixture until no streaks of flour remain. Remove the bowl from the mixer, and fold in chocolate chips.

Scrape the batter into the prepared baking dish and using a rubber spatula, smooth out evenly.

Bake for 40 -50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few wet crumbs. Place on a wire rack.

Scoop dollops of the marshmallow creme onto the hot brownies and let sit for one minute until softened.  Spread the marshmallow creme evenly over the brownies. Meanwhile, in a heat proof bowl, combine the chocolate chips and oil and microwave until smooth, 30 – 60 seconds. Using a spoon, drizzle the melted chocolate over the marshmallow creme layer.

Cool for at least 2 hours before removing from pan, cutting into squares, and serving.

Enjoy!

Mississippi Mud Brownies brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

 


Mini Mummy Brownie Bite Cupcakes

October 31, 2014

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Are you my Mummy? Ha! I couldn’t resist! Happy Halloween ya’ll! I thought I’d celebrate with some adorable Mini Mummy Brownie Bite Cupcakes. These little devils are actually pint-sized rich and chewy brownies chock full of mini chocolate chips and all wrapped up in Vanilla Buttercream “bandages”. Spooky in an adorable sort of way and definitely delicious!

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I really love Halloween! I think it might actually be my favourite holiday. I know last year I was lamenting that the husband and I have not attended a proper Halloween party since 2010 and I am sad to say that we have no Halloween plans yet again this year, Booo! (Ha! get it….”boo”) aside from these delightful little Mummy Cupcakes, that is. I have actually made quite a few fantastic Halloween treats in years past. Probably my all time favourite was the Soul Cake.

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It might just be the historian in me that makes me love it so much, because truth be told, unlike most sugar laden, tooth-achingly sweet candies found in abundance on Halloween, these little cake like cookies are only mildly sweet. There is not a speck of chocolate to be found in them, only a few currants top the cakes arranged in a cross pattern. What can I say, sometimes less is more. Here is a little bit from my Soul Cake blog post which talks about the origins of Halloween and the Soul Cake connection.

Our modern Halloween celebrations are derived from the Celtic holiday of Samhain. Samhain was Celtic New Year. It was a harvest festival which marked the dying of the sun-god and a turning to the colder, dormant half of the year. On this night, the Celts believed the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead was at its lowest point. The dead could more easily travel back over to our side, and if we weren’t careful, we could accidentally wander over in to their world and be trapped-a good reason to stay close to home and bonfires, no doubt! This belief likely gave rise to our Halloween legends of ghosts, ghouls and witches wandering about on this night in particular. As Christian beliefs took hold, Samhain celebrations became re-branded as All Soul’s Eve. By the eighth century beggars, rather than the spirits from the other world, would travel door to door on this night. In exchange for their prayers for the family’s departed, they were given a small cake, known as a Soul Cake.

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Last year I did some very tasty Cookies & Cream Salted Caramel Popcorn Bars.

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But enough reminiscing. Lets talk about these awesome tiny terrors from this year, the Mini Mummy Brownie Bites.

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They are actually very easy to make from scratch. In fact I would recommend making up the brownie bites the day before you need them and then making the frosting and decorating them the next day. I chose to go with the smaller brownie bites baked in a mini cupcake tin. I find mini bite sized things go over much better at a party. And they are super cute….And that you can eat more than one and not feel any guilt about it… after all, they’re just a wee little tiny bit of a thing. But you could also go for full size manly mummy cupcakes baked in a regular cupcake tin. Whatever you prefer. This is a very versatile recipe. Indeed, if you are really pressed for time, you could even throw the recipe to the wind and whip up a box of brownie mix and use some store-bought frosting for decorating. Likely no one but you and I will know and I’m not talking!

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Happy Hauntings!

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Mini Mummy Brownie Bite Cupcakes

  • Servings: 48 - 52 Mini Mummies or 18 Big Kahuna Mummies
  • Difficulty: easy to ridiculously easy
  • Print

Recipe from: A Baker’s Field Guide to Cupcakes by Dede Wilson

Ingredients:

For the Brownie Cupcakes:

  • 8 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into squares
  • 2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips ( if you are making the big mummy cupcakes you could use regular sized chips)

For the Vanilla Buttercream:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into small pieces
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar; plus an additional 1/2 cup if necessary
  • 1/4 cup milk, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

To Decorate:

  • 96 mini chocolate chips to form the pupils of the eyes (36 regular chips if you are making big mummies)
  • food coloring to tint the buttercream for the eyes
  • round piping tip
  • Ateco or Wilton tip #47 (basketweave tip – use the smooth side rather than the ridged side, for bandages or wraps)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350° F. Place paper liners in all wells of cupcake tins

Melt chocolate and butter together in top of large double boiler or in large bowl in microwave; stir until smooth and combined, then cool to lukewarm.

Whisk in brown sugar until well blended. then whisk in eggs one at a time, allowing each one to become incorporated before adding the next one. Whisk in vanilla extract and salt. Add flour and mini chocolate chips, if using, at the same time and fold in until no streaks of flour remain.

Divide batter evenly among cupcake wells. Bake for about 20 – 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center shows moist crumbs. The tops will be dry and crackled in appearance.

Cool pans on racks for 5 minutes, then remove cupcakes to cooling racks to cool completely.

Make the frosting. In a large bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter until creamy. Add 1 cup of confectioners’ sugar gradually. I usually do about 1 -2 tablespoons at a time, waiting for each addition to be incorporated before adding the next tablespoons. Scrape down the bowl as needed. Add 1 more cup of sugar slowly and then half of the milk. Beat until smooth and creamy. Add 1 more cup of sugar, again slowly, then add the remaining milk. Beat well and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Gradually add the final cup of sugar and the vanilla extract. Beat on high speed until very light and creamy. Evaluate the texture of the icing. If too soft, add remaining sugar until desired texture is reached.

To Assemble the Mummies:

Place cupcakes on clean work surface. Place frosting in a pastry bag fitted with tip #47. Pipe frosting onto cupcake to form mummy’s bandages or wraps. (Make sure you reserve a bit of frosting to tint for the eyes).

Tint remaining frosting whatever color you prefer for the mummy’s spooky glowing eyes: red, yellow, green or blue all work well. Fit another pastry bag with a round tip and pipe eyes onto each mummy cupcake. Insert chocolate morsels, tip side down, in the center of the eyes.

Enjoy!

Mini Mummy Brownie Bite Cupcakes brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

 

 


Cookies & Cream Salted Caramel Popcorn Bars

October 31, 2013

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Happy Halloween! I LOVE Halloween. Our neighborhood, which is near “Sleepy Hollow” (I kid you not!) is all decked out in all of its spooky finery

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I’ve noticed quite a few new residents

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who seem to be getting up to all sorts of mischief

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and well some of them are just downright creepy!

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I am so sad to say that the husband and I have not attended a proper Halloween costume party since 2010! I am simply appalled!! Unfortunately that trend is continuing this year as we have no big plans at all. As I mentioned in my last blog, things around here are craaaaZy (that’s right…with a capital Z) right now. I had all sorts of plans for the Halloween goodies I was going to conjure up for you. I’ve made some really fun treats in the past. I think my all time favourite Halloween creation is the Soul Cake.

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It might just be the historian in me that makes me love it so much, because truth be told, unlike most sugar laden, tooth-achingly sweet candies found in abundance on Halloween, these little cake like cookies are only mildly sweet. There is not a speck of chocolate to be found in them, only a few currants top the cakes arranged in a cross pattern. What can I say, sometimes less is more. Here is a little bit from my Soul Cake blog post which talks about the origins of Halloween and the Soul Cake connection.

Our modern Halloween celebrations are derived from the Celtic holiday of Samhain. Samhain was Celtic New Year. It was a harvest festival which marked the dying of the sun-god and a turning to the colder, dormant half of the year. On this night, the Celts believed the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead was at its lowest point. The dead could more easily travel back over to our side, and if we weren’t careful, we could accidentally wander over in to their world and be trapped-a good reason to stay close to home and bonfires, no doubt! This belief likely gave rise to our Halloween legends of ghosts, ghouls and witches wandering about on this night in particular. As Christian beliefs took hold, Samhain celebrations became re-branded as All Soul’s Eve. By the eighth century beggars, rather than the spirits from the other world, would travel door to door on this night. In exchange for their prayers for the family’s departed, they were given a small cake, known as a Soul Cake.

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I also was quite fond of these Halloween Popcorn Balls I made back in 2011.

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The husband is a big fan of popcorn. He would be quite happy to eat it every day. And I think his love of popcorn has rubbed off on our pup. He actually recognizes that word now and can make it into our kitchen from anywhere in the house in less than 10 seconds when he hears the telltale rattle of the popcorn kernels hitting the metal pan.

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Alas, all I could manage to get done this year was this batch of Cookies & Cream Salted Caramel Popcorn Bars. Yup, there sure is popcorn in this treat. I figured if I could only get one of my intended treats done, I would pick one that I knew would make the husband very happy. And turns out this one was a real winner!

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Believe me, if you find yourself a little short on time today and haven’t managed to conjure up any fabulous holiday treats, this might be the recipe for you. But let me tell you about these little devils. The bottom layer is a cookie dough crust. I used chocolate chips and those Halloween white chocolate Candy Corn M&M’s that can be found this time of year. I am so thankful that they are only found around this time of year, because those things are similar to the Cadbury Mini Eggs for me…pure crack! I could literally eat them until I popped….or more likely until the top button popped off my britches! So as happy as I am to see them arrive in stores, I am somewhat relieved when they disappear again. But back to the recipe, if you aren’t as fond as I am of the Candy Corn M&M’s (I can’t imagine!) you can throw in a cup of whatever candy you like and customize it to fit your taste. The original recipe I had for these uses Reese’s peanut butter cups, which I think would be delicious as well. I am a big fan of the Reese Cup, but I was really trying to Halloween things up around here so the candy corn colours of the M&M’s won out. On top of that great cookie base you will find a thin cream layer, similar to what you find sandwiched in the middle of a Oreo cookie. The top layer consists of gooey salted caramel coated popcorn, which has been drizzled with chocolate and sprinkled with flaky sea salt. Good grief! They are amazing! I think I chose well.

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Although there are several steps involved in making these bars, they are all pretty quick and easy. Make sure you allow for cooling time for the bottom cookie layer as well as at least 1 hour or so for the bars to set before cutting them. If you want to make them look even more “Halloween-y” you could sprinkle some candy corn over the caramel popcorn layer or even some Candy Corn M&M’s that you have left over from the cookie base. I’m sure you know by now that I did not have any “left over” M&M’s by the time I was adding the salted caramel popcorn layer. Nope I promptly inhaled the rest of the bag shortly after it was opened. I had to keep my strength up in the kitchen, I had no choice. But you might be able to exercise some self-control and set a few aside. Although I really wish the husband and I were getting all dressed up tonight and heading out to a fancy party to celebrate Halloween, I guess there is always next year. I definitely feel somewhat less deprived finding myself in possession of these sinfully delicious, salty sweet bars. Or maybe it is them who have possessed me……Mwa-hah-hah! Happy Halloween!

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Cookies & Cream Salted Caramel Popcorn Bars

recipe slightly adapted from: Half Baked Harvest

yield: 18 -20 bars depending on how you slice them

Ingredients:

For the Cookie Layer

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup Halloween Candy Corn M&M’s (or your favourite)

For the Cream Layer

  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For the Salted Caramel Popcorn

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar + 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup butter, cut into cubes
  • 3/4 cup cream
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup butterscotch chips
  • flaked sea salt
  • 5 cups popped popcorn
  • melted chocolate for drizzling

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease a 9×13″ baking tin or line in with parchment paper.

Combine the flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat the butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla in large mixer bowl until creamy, about 3-5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in the flour mixture and the 2 teaspoons water. Fold in the chocolate chips and M&M’s (or candy of your choice.)

Spread the dough into the prepared pan. Bake 18 – 25 minutes, until just set in the center. Allow to cool completely before adding the cream layer. You can pop the pan into the freezer or fridge to accelerate the cooling process if you are pressed for time.

Once the cookie layer is cool, make the cream layer. In a stand mixer, beat the butter until smooth and creamy. Add the powdered sugar slowly. I usually do 1 heaping Tablespoon at a time. It will be less gritty if you add the sugar slowly. Add the vanilla and salt and beat until smooth. Spread the cream over the cookie layer.

Now for the caramel popcorn. Combine the brown sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil. Once it begins to boil watch closely and whisk until the mixture starts to smell like caramel. This will take about 5-6 minutes. Add the butter cubes and slowly pour in the cream, whisking constantly. Continue to heat over medium-high until the mixture has thickened, about 5 -10 minutes more. rEmove from the heat and stir in the butterscotch chips, vanilla and a good pinch of salt. Stir until smooth. Place the popcorn in a large bowl and pour the caramel over it. Toss well and then spread the popcorn over the cream layer. Melt 1/4 cup chocolate chips and drizzle over the top. Sprinkle with a good amount of flaked sea salt. If you would like to add some additional candy decoration such as candy corn or the elusive “left-over” Candy Corn M&Ms, do so now. Let sit at least 1 hour before cutting. You can place them in the ridge to help them set faster. Cut into bars.

Enjoy!


Banana Split Brownies

May 21, 2013

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Banana Split Brownies! Sounds fantastic huh? The good news is they taste just as amazing as you might have imagined. Just picture this if you will…a fudgy banana brownie base, covered with a rich, banana infused chocolate ganache and then topped with gooey toasted marshmallows. That’s right! Three delicious layers!

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My husband loves banana anything, so he was over the moon with these brownies as that banana flavour really comes through. There is mashed banana in the brownie base and the chocolate ganache is made with cream that has been infused with banana flavour. You just can’t beat that chocolate banana combination. And no self-respecting banana split can be served without ice cream, so make sure you have some on hand when you bake a batch of these little devils. Are you drooling yet?

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Banana Split Brownies

recipe from: Tracey’s Culinary Adventures

yield: 16 brownies

Ingredients:

For the Brownies:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup mashed overripe banana (about 1 medium banana)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup (3 oz) all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup (2 1/2 oz) unsweetened cocoa powder

For the Topping:

  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup chopped ripe banana (about 1 medium)
  • 7 oz semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (55-62% cacao), finely chopped
  • 2 cups mini marshmallows
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds (I didn’t use these, husband doesn’t care for nuts)

Directions:

For the brownies: Preheat oven to 350° F.  Line a 9-inch square metal baking pan with foil, leaving an overhang on opposite sides so you can lift the brownies out.  Butter and flour the foil.

In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat until it smells nutty and is golden in color, about 4-5 minutes.  Turn off the heat and let the butter cool for 5 minutes.  Add the sugar and salt to the pan and whisk to combine.  Whisk in the eggs, banana and vanilla.  Finally, add the flour and cocoa powder and whisk until all ingredients are combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly.  Bake for about 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached.  Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool.

To make the topping: while the brownies are cooling, bring the heavy cream to a boil in a small saucepan.  Remove the pan from the heat and add the chopped banana.  Cover the pan and let steep for 1 hour.

Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl.  Return the cream (with the banana still in the pan) to a boil, stirring occasionally.  Pour the cream through a strainer into the bowl with the chocolate.  Discard the banana in the strainer.  Let the chocolate/cream mixture stand for 1 minute then stir until smooth.  Pour the ganache over the brownies and spread evenly.

Preheat your oven’s broiler and set a rack about 6 inches from the heating element.  Distribute the marshmallows and almonds over the top of the ganache.  Put the pan under the broiler – watch it very carefully and turn the pan frequently – until the marshmallows are browned.

Remove the pan to a wire rack and let cool until the ganache is set, at least 1 1/2 hours.  Lift the brownies from the pan using the foil handles.  Cut the brownies using a wet knife, which will keep the marshmallows from sticking. Served with ice cream, these brownies are to die for!

Enjoy!


M&M Cookie Bars

May 7, 2013

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Want a tasty, crowd pleasing treat that doesn’t take much time or effort to make? Look no further, you’ve found it here with these M&M Cookie Bars. These wonderfully thick and chewy bars are simply delicious, buttery and chocolatey and every single bite is just bursting with M&M’s. And as I’ve mentioned, they are so easy to make I could almost do it in my sleep. (And perhaps I have…though that is an entirely different story) But really, in 45 minutes these little devils are done and dusted with the dishes washed up and everything!

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The great thing about using M&M’s in these bars, besides the fact that folks just plain love them, is that it makes the dessert very versatile. M&M’s come in so many varieties these days. You can find bags of them with colours customized for almost every holiday, they come in white chocolate, dark chocolate, peanut butter, pretzel filled, etc. etc. By changing which type of M&M you use, you’ll seem to have come up with a brand spanking new dessert every time. Minimal effort, maximum results. Gotta love that. Bake yourself the first of many batches today!

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M&M Cookie Bars

recipe from: What Megan’s Making

yield: 16 squares

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/8 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 12 Tbsp butter (1 1/2 sticks), melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 tsps vanilla extract
  • 1 12oz bag M&M’s, divided ( I used mini M&M’s but regular sized will work fine as well)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325° F. Adjust the oven rack to lower-middle position. Grease a 9×9″ pan and set aside.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk the melted butter and sugars until combined. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and mix well. Using a rubber spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the egg mixture until just combined; do not overmix. Fold in 1 cup of M&M’s and turn the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with the spatula. Sprinkle remaining M&M’s on top and press in slightly.

Bake 25-30 minutes, until the top of the bars is light golden brown, slightly firm to the touch, and edges start pulling away from sides of pan. Cool completely before cutting.

Enjoy!


Brownie Tart with Irish Whiskey Meringue

March 11, 2013

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Alright, alright, alright! Only seven more days to go until St. Patrick’s Day! I can’t believe I’ve managed to get this far with my blogging extravaganza! I’m almost there! And today I’ve got a great St. Patrick’s Day recipe for you…Brownie Tarts with Irish Whiskey Meringue. Nom, nom, nom! I mean who wouldn’t love a moist, decadently rich, chocolate brownie topped with a veritable mountain of sweet, Irish Whiskey meringue?! Now you can make this dish as one large 9″ dreamy tart, or if you have the smaller, individual sized tart pans, it will make eight of those deliciously cute little devils.

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I’m a sucker for the personal sized dishes. Perhaps it is because small things are so cute…you know like puppies and kittens. It also might have to do with the fact that once you get your hands on an individual sized portion, which is often bigger than you likely would have helped yourself to if left to your own devices, you don’t have to share it with anyone else. Oooo…did I  just admit to not wanting to share? Everyone knows, “sharing is caring”. Except for when it comes to desserts and then I think it is more like “every man for himself”.

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Anywhoo…. I went with the individual tart pans. The original recipe said that it only would make four individual tarts, but I definitely got eight out of it…and they were not skimpy tarts, but filled the whole of each little pan…Dunno…I’m just going to go with “more is better” so lucky me!

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And although this dessert looks quite impressively difficult, it is very easy to make. Everyone can pull off some brownies, so no sweat there . Now meringues have been known to be a bit finicky and temperamental, but this one was very cooperative, rising to celestial heights and perhaps more importantly, once there, staying put and not sinking back down to the gloomy depths the second you turned your back on it. And I should mention, there is Irish Whiskey in this here meringue. I don’t want to leave that essential fact out. Perhaps it is the whiskey that makes that meringue so resilient. It definitely makes it particularly tasty! Come on…make up a batch today…you know you want to!

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Brownie Tart with Irish Whiskey Meringue

recipe from: A Communal Table

yield: Eight 3 1/4″ individual tarts

Ingredients:

For the Brownie Tarts:

  • 200 grams dark chocolate, chopped (about 7 oz.)
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 2/3 cup superfine sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/3 cups flour
  • 2 Tbsp. good cocoa powder
  • 1 Tbsp. Irish whiskey (I used Jameson’s)

For the Irish Whiskey Meringue:

  • 4 egg whites, room temperature
  • 1 cup superfine sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 2 tsp. white vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. Irish Whiskey

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325° F.

Grease a 9 inch removable bottom tart pan or eight 3 1/4 inch individual tart pans and set aside. Add the butter and the chocolate to a medium saucepan and heat over low heat until melted and smooth. Remove from heat. Add the sugars, eggs, flour, cocoa and whiskey to the saucepan and mix until thoroughly combined. Pour batter into prepared tart pan(s). Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the brownies are set. Remove from oven and cool.

For the meringue, add the egg whites to a mixer bowl and beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar while beating until the egg whites are thick and glossy. Add the cornstarch, vinegar and whiskey and beat until combined. Spoon the meringue over the cooled brownie. To toast, either use a kitchen torch or pre heat the broiler to high and broil for 1 minute until the meringue is golden brown. Slice and serve!

Enjoy!


French Brownies

February 4, 2013

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All you brownie lovers, pay attention now! These French Brownies a la Dorie Greenspan are just perfect. Well, let me be more specific. If you love “cake like” brownies, these probably are not for you, so sorry for the interruption. You can move on now and go ahead about your business. But for those of you who prefer a nice, moist, fudge like brownie, look no further! These French darlins have a completely silky texture and decadent chocolate flavour. I love the addition of the rum soaked raisins. I never would have thought to add raisins to my brownies, but it works oh so well. Another amazing thing about these brownies is that they don’t taste too sweet. You know how the first bite of some brownies can send you into a full-on sugar conniption, they are just that tooth-achingly sweet? Not these. They have just the right amount of sweetness to leave you satisfied.

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So easy to make, I bet you could have a batch baked before you know it. And their appearance will give you and excuse to talk with an outrageously ridiculous french accent. Come on…you know what I’m talking about! I want to hear zee  “Sacre Bleu!” , “Ooh là là!”,  and “Mon Dieu!”, followed by that crazy French laugh “Hon, Hon, Hon!”, which I’ve heard does not actually occur in France, but we are being ridiculous here, so I say go for it! I want to hear outrageous accents like the French Knights were sporting in Monty Python’s Holy Grail. (I love that movie! To see a clip of the actual “French Taunting” click here.)

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Well, there you have it (voilà)! What else can I say at this point but “Bon Appètit”!

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French Brownies

recipe from: Dorie Greenspan’s Baking From My Home to Yours

yield: 16 bars

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dark rum
  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 sticks ( 12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces, at room temperature
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar

Directions:

Center a rack in the oven and preheat oven to 300° F. Line a 8X8″ pan with foil, butter the foil and place the pan on a baking sheet.

Whisk the flour, salt and cinnamon together.

Put the raisins in a small saucepan with the water, bring to a boil over medium heat and cook until the water almost evaporates. Add the rum and let it warm for about 30 seconds, then turn off the heat, stand back and ignite the rum with a long match. Allow the flames to die down and set the raisins aside.

Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir occasionally until the chocolate melts. Remove the bowl from the saucepan and add the butter, stirring until it melts. Don’t let the butter/chocolate mixture to get very hot.

Working with a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs and sugar until thick and pale, about 2 minutes. Reduce the mixer speed and pour in the chocolate-butter mixture, mixing only until it  is incorporated. You’ll have a thick, creamy batter. add the dry ingredients and mix at low speed for about 30 seconds-the dry ingredients won’t be completely incorporated. Then finish folding in the dry ingredients by hand with a rubber spatula. Fold in the raisins, along with any liquid remaining in the pan. Scrape the batter into the pan.

Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the top is dry and crackled and a thin knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool to warm or room temperature.

Carefully lift the brownies out of the pan, using the foil edges as handles, and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into 16 squares, each roughly 2 inches on a side, taking care not to cut through the foil.

Enjoy!


Biscoff Brown Sugar Bars

January 28, 2013

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Biscoff you say? Yum! I’m sure everyone is familiar with Biscoff cookies by now, but just in case you’ve gone totally hermit and don’t know what Biscoff is, Biscoff cookies were originally made by the Lotus Bakery in Belgium in 1932. Overseas they are referred to as Speculoos Biscuits. These cookies are really delicious and have a caramelized cinnamony taste. You may have eaten one if you’ve flown anywhere recently, because many airlines have been serving them as a snack since 1984. I really love them, completely unadorned, just all on their own. But they dress up nicely as well. A little over a year ago I blogged about Biscoff Crunch White Chocolate Chip cookies, which are deee-lish! Definitely check those out if you haven’t done so. And now I’m thrilled to report that you can not only get the cookies here in the good old US of A. But you can get the spread!

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That’s right…Biscoff Spread! And just like peanut butter, you can get a smooth version or a crunchy version which actually has little bits of the Biscoff biscuits crumbled up in there. Heaven! Recently I found a recipe that calls for the spread. Not that I’m not happy to just eat it directly out of the jar with a spoon, or my fingers if said spoon is unavailable. Or, you know, if I can’t reach a spoon fast enough….Anyway….Biscoff Brown Sugar Bars are fantastic! You get all of that lovely, gooey cinnamony Biscoff spread filling cradled in a buttery shortbread crust. I particularly like how the top of the bars bake up all crinkly and crackly. And of course, I used the crunchy spread, so the occasional bit of the gooey filling in my bars had a little extra crunch to it.These little devils are pure bliss with a cup of tea or coffee. Make yourself some soon!

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Biscoff Brown Sugar Bars

Recipe from: Handle the Heat

yield: 16 bars

Ingredients:

For the crust:

  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • Pinch salt

For the filling:

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup Biscoff spread, or other cookie spread
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Directions:

For the crust:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8×8-inch baking pan with parchment paper or foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to combine the butter, sugar, flour, and salt until mixture is well combined and moistened. Press the mixture evenly into the prepared baking dish. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown. Let cool.

For the filling:
In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to combine the eggs, sugar, Biscoff, and flour until well combined and smooth.

Pour the mixture over the cooled crust and bake for 30 minutes, or until the middle is just set. Let cool completely on a wire rack before cutting into 16 bars to serve. Bars can be made up to 2 days ahead of time and stored at room temperature in an airtight container.

Enjoy!


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