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Chocolate Stout Pretzel Peanut Butter Bars

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I recently moved apartments in Hoboken and now I live pretty close to an Everlast boxing gym. Boxing is definitely not for me, but there is a stellar Strength and Conditioning class that I’ve started taking 1-2 times a week. It’s only 45 minutes long which is a perfect length of time. I’m usually dying by the 30 minute mark, so it’s good to know that we’re at least in the home stretch by then.

I bring this up because ever since these Chocolate Stout Pretzel Peanut Bars have entered my life, I feel like i need to spend even more time at the gym. These dessert bars are so addictive! Honestly, if you’re going to have a vice, it should be something like a mixture of pretzels, dark chocolate, and peanut butter. This is going to shock you, but I’m not a huge peanut butter fan. I don’t dislike it, but I don’t go crazy over it. At least not until now. I absolutely loved the peanut butter flavor in these bars. I just can’t get enough of them. And, this is why I gym.

Oh, did I mention that there is also stout beer in here? We already had so many reasons to love this dessert, and now there’s one more. Granted, there’s not a lot of beer and since these bars are baked, they’re still fine for kids to eat. The stout just adds a subtle malty flavor to bars. Friendly reminder: St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner. I’m sure your family and friends would really enjoy if you decided to turn up on their doorstep with a plate full of these treats.

So yeah, you’ll be seeing me at the gym some more, as I’m pretty certain these dessert bars will be in my oven quite regularly from now on. Sorry, not sorry!

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Chocolate Stout Pretzel Peanut Butter Bars
makes 9-16 bars, depending on the size of your bars


Print Recipe

  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (do not use natural peanut butter)

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

  • 1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar, packed

  • 1/2 cup white sugar

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1/4 cup stout beer

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips, divided

  • 1/2 cup pretzels, slightly crushed


1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8x8 baking dish with cooking spray, or line with parchment paper. Set aside.

2) Add the peanut butter and melted butter to a large bowl. Use an electric mixer to beat the two ingredients together until incorporated.

3) Pour in the brown and white sugars. Mix together again until fully combined.

4) Add in the eggs, beer, and vanilla, beating each ingredient in until mixed well.

5) Stir in the salt, flour, and 1/2 cup chocolate chips.

6) Pour the batter in the prepared pan and spread it as evenly as possible. Top the batter with the remaining chocolate chips and the pretzels.

7) Bake until the edges have set and the center is slightly wobbly, about 30 minutes.

8) Allow the bars to cool before cutting and serving.

—recipe slightly adapted from The Beeroness

Quick One-Bowl Brownies

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I'm not exactly sure why it's taken me so long to post a one-bowl brownie recipe.  I've honestly had so many brownie recipes on this blog over the past ten (ahhhh 10!!!!) years.  The making of this recipe was a spur of the moment decision.  I had scheduled a girls afternoon with a few friends to firm up our summer trip details to Ireland and I wanted to bring something with me.

First of all, we had to make this an afternoon affair as my success rate of staying out late may be marginal at best.  Second of all, I'm going to Ireland!  I've never been but I've heard some great stories.  I'm also going to head to Amsterdam and potentially Brussels while I'm nearby.  Needless to say, there will be a ton of photos from this excursion.  Maybe I'll make some Ireland- and Amsterdam-inspired recipes before I go?  Hmmm...

But for now, we're talking about brownies!  Warm, chocolate-y, fudge-y brownies.  These came together in no time, like the name suggests.  It actually took longer to take the "after" pictures than it did to mix the batter together and throw it in the oven.  Facts.  At any rate, these were really tasty and was such a quick sugar fix...or a pleasant dessert to present to your friends.  Come on.  Who doesn't love when someone shows up at their door with brownies in tow?
 

Quick One-Bowl Brownies
makes ~2 dozen

Print Recipe

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder, optional
  • 3 large eggs
  • 8 teaspoons (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Use cooking spray to lightly grease an 8" x 8" pan. (I used this for thicker brownies, but you can use a 9" x 13" pan or a 9" x 9" pan for thinner brownies.)

2) In a large bowl, add all the ingredients in the order given. Stir together, and then beat the mixture until fully incorporated.  I had a few lumps left  in the batter, but I didn't want to overbeat it since the eggs were included.

3) Pour the mixture into the prepared baking pan.

4) Bake the brownies for about 31 minutes for the 8" x 8" pan (25 minutes if you are using a 9" x 13" pan or 26 minutes for the 9" x 9" pan).  Alternately, monitor the brownies and once they begin to pull away from the sides of the pan, insert a toothpick in the center and look for it to come out clean and perhaps with a few crumbs.  Once you see that, remove the brownies from the oven.

5) Allow the brownies to cool completely before slicing into squares.  Store leftovers wrapped and at room temperate for 5-6 days.

--recipe from King Arthur Flower

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Gooey Snickers Cake Bars

 

Oh my.

How have I not shared a dessert recipe with you since 2016?  Yeah, go ahead and check.  It's sad but true.

As you can imagine, I have been EATING desserts and chocolate like mad.  (Can we say half-priced Valentine's Day chocolates?  Yes please.)

So now I present to you a cake bar that I had no intention of making for the blog.  I was "teased" at work that I hadn't brought in any snacks lately.  Which was true.  So I decided, alright, fine, I'll make a sweet treat for everyone.  I pulled out a quick recipe from my extensive list of Coworker recipes (yes, I have a Bookmark for recipes to make for my coworkers).  This Snickers cake bar was so delicious that I seriously contemplated only taking half of the pan to work.  I could easily finish off half a pan of this myself.  But I did the right thing and took them to work.

Since I hadn't actually taken any quality shots along the way, I knew I had to make these bars again so I could showcase them here.  I'm sorry / You're welcome.  You'll also be hooked by how quickly this can be whipped up and also by how tasty and gooey these are.  Let's not forget that Snickers bars are fabulous too.  I always overlook them because I'm weird and like to eat small pieces of candy, but I'll never turn up my nose at chocolate!

 

Gooey Snickers Cake Bars
makes 12-16 bars

Print Recipe

  • 1 stick softened butter
  • 1 box Yellow or Golden Butter Cake Mix
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 package Snickers bites or 2 1/2 cups chopped Snickers
  • 3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 3/4 - 1 cup melted chocolate

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Use parchment paper to line a 9" x 13" baking pan.  Set aside.

2) Add the butter, cake mix and egg to a large bowl.  Use your hands to combine everything.  The dough will be shaggy but if pressed, it should hold together.

3) Transfer the dough to the baking pan and press into a crust.

4) Scatter the Snickers pieces on top of the crust.  Press them gently into the dough.

5) Drizzle the sweetened condensed milk over the Snickers pieces.

6) Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until baked through.

7) Allow to cool completely.  Drizzle the melted chocolate over the bars and allow to set.  Cut the bars into squares and serve.

--recipe from Picky Palate

Snickerdoodle Bars

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This holiday season, I would like to present to you these Snickerdoodle Bars.

I grew up eating a ton of sweets and those included anything covered in cinnamon sugar.  I have fond memories of making loaves of bread (well, my mom made them - I definitely didn't) and rolling out extra dough to make cinnamon-sugar-filled rolls.  Warmed and slathered in butter, it was one of my favorite treats.

This year, I think we should all satisfy our cinnamon-sugar sweet-tooth cravings with snickerdoodle flavors.  Message: approved.

Hint - These would be perfect for a New Year's Eve gathering.  Or, if you STILL haven't gotten a gift for that one friend, try whipping up a batch of these and wrapping them up with a bow.  I promise you that this will go over well.  Don't forget to sneak a few of these on the side for yourself as well!

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Salty Pumpkin Cookie Butter Brownies

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You guys....This is my last. ever. Secret. Recipe. Club. post!  What?!?!!?!  The club is closing it's doors and so I wanted to go out with an epic dessert.  I mean, let's be real that dessert is my THING.  As much as I'd like to be healthy, my sweet tooth really steers me toward those cookies and chocolate bars by the time 10am rolls around.  Not that I eat chocolate for breakfast.  Haha.  Ha.  I mean, no, definitely not!

For this month, I was paired up with Sarah from Well Dined.  I love this blog!  How cool is it that Sarah is a restaurant foodie and an avid homecook.  Sarah also mentioned that she is constantly working on her writing and photography skills.  Yup.  Me too!  My photography skills are improving I think.  Writing skills?  Welllll, just take a look at the previous paragraph and you can be the judge!  Also, I overuse exclamation points.Sarah claims she is not much of a baker, but you wouldn't guess it from the photos that she took of her brownies.  They look delicious!  I didn't have peanut butter on hand for this recipe, but I did have cookie butter.  Pumpkin cookie butter.  Yup, I said it!  The only drawback is that cookie butter has a slightly different consistency than peanut butter AND I didn't realize there were cookie chunks in it until I was already making the recipe.  BUT I followed Sarah's instructions anyway and everything turned out so well!

Now if you don't have a serious sweet tooth like I do, I would definitely recommend that you check out some of Sarah's other recipes, such as the Tabbouleh, Zucchini Pizza (Yes, please!), or the Slow Cooker Parmesan Tomato Soup.  (I just noticed all of these recipes are vegetarian.  I'm not a vegetarian by any means, but really, these are the recipes I'm truly interested in!  It's not easy being green!)

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Millionaire Bars

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Clearly I've got smart eating on the brain for 2016.  I bring you another post that is just the picture of health.

Ahem...

There are so many things I could tell you about these bars.  I should start at the point where I tried to make the caramel on the stovetop and subsequently kept burning it (twice!).  Do you know what burnt caramel smells like!?!?!?!? I do.  I know it too well.  Ordinarily, I would have given up on these bars for the day, but I had already made the shortbread, so I was committed to this!

I could also tell you how I was making these at 9pm on a Saturday night and had to trudge out to the grocery store to pick up $15 worth of sweetened condensed milk so I could attempt the aforementioned caramel several more times without having to return to the store.  Of course the next time I made the caramel layer, all went swimmingly well and I now have 3 extra cans of sweetened condensed milk in my pantry.  Like you do.

Anyhow...I'm suuuper excited to tell you about how awesome these are.  I had been meaning to make these bars since around the time I started my blog @#$^@#% years ago.  I could have eaten these all myself but I ended up taking most of them to my office to "share the wealth" (and calories!).

As long as you're not scared of a potential caramel-making debacle and you have backup caramel ingredients, then I would recommend making these bars.  They're just too good to pass up!

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Salted Maple Pecan Bars

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It's still pecan season, right? Because I'm not letting go of deez nuts just yet.  They're my favorite nut and I would honestly eat them every day if they weren't so expensive.  But since it's the holidays and we're treating ourselves all fancy-like, let's go ahead and splurge a little on this treat.

If you've been around these parts for a while, you'll know that pecan pie is one of my all-time favorite desserts.  I could eat it non-stop.  This bar situation tastes very much like a cross of pecan pie and shortbread cookies.  If you're into that, I've got you covered.

This is actually the second timeI've made these bars.  The first time I made these, it was a weeknight and I was entering my office's holiday bake-off competition the next day.  I thought these bars would be perfect since they seemed to be really similar to pecan pie, they took less than an hour to make from start to finish, and they needed to be refrigerated overnight anyhow.  I wasn't yet sure if this was a recipe I actually wanted to post to this blog.

Well, I had several taste test of these bars before I went to work the next day (I call this "quality control") and I knew I needed to share these here.  I actually ended up tying for first place in the bake-off competition!  Just to set the scene, there were at least twenty desserts at this event, so this was no small feat.

Now.  Here I am, sharing this recipe with you.  I hope you get a chance to make this as soon as possible.  As some people say, "Run. Don't walk."  I think that applies in this case.

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Bailey's Cheesecake Brownies

 

Bailey's, I appreciate you.

I enjoy you in my coffee on Saturday mornings when I force myself out of bed at 8am.  I wake up at that ungodly hour on the weekend mostly because I have FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out).  I'm certain something interesting is going down super early and I will have missed it because I decided to sleep in.  Thus begins my weekend routine of sleepily lying on the couch guzzling hazelnut-flavored coffee.

Bailey's, you've also got some pretty good swagger when I simply pour you over ice.  Sometimes, when you've had a really long day and when you come home, you'd like to treat yo'self by having a small glass of this tasty beverage.

Bailey's, you are excellent in cupcakes.  I have proven this time and again with my Irish Car Bomb and Boilermaker cupcakes.  Hands down, these are some of my favorite cupcakes to make.  I think I mostly enjoy smelling the Bailey's in the frosting.  There's something completely magical about that.

Bailey's, why haven't I ever put you in cheesecake?  That is a shame.  You already know about that brownie life, but let's work on that cheesecake game too.  This is why I was super excited to see Bailey's Cheesecake Brownies on Tracy's site, Pale Yellow, which just so happens to be my assigned blog for the Secret Recipe Club this month!

Tracy is similar to me in a few ways: (1) We are both professionals by day and baker/bloggers by night; (2) We enjoy sharing our treats with co-workers (honestly, I've been pretty crappy about doing this lately and I really need to get back on the wagon!); (3) and finally, we both live in the NYC area.  So basically we're the same person.  Clearly she knows how passionate I feel about Bailey's and so we're gonna rock out with this most excellent recipe from Tracy's blog.

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Lemon Bars

 

I really want to be a responsible adult and make more salads and light, fresh, healthy summer foods.  But really, in the depths of my soul, all I really want to do is eat dessert like a maniac.  And maybe finish things off with a flavored vodka (hint hint for a future blog post!).

I feel like these lemon bars are a compromise on what my body needs and what it actually wants.  I've had a desire to make lemon bars for years.  And in this case, I literally mean I've wanted to make them for years.  But as with all good intentions, I've been sidetracked by chocolate and cupcakes and sometimes even a bunch of kale.  But now I have a great "excuse" to make this wonderful dessert:  it's Secret Recipe Club time!

This month I was assigned Melissa's blog, Smells Like Brownies.  What a treat!  Melissa is a stay-at-home mom who takes care of two young'uns all day long, which I'm pretty sure means that she's a superhuman.  Melissa started her blog as a way to try out new food and eat well, which is one of the reasons I started mine as well!  Not surprisingly, I wanted to make pretty much everything on Melissa's site.  I really must stop researching recipes when I'm hungry.  Seriously.  I'm definitely making those hazelnut meringues one day soon though.  They will be mine!

Once I saw that Melissa had a recipe for lemon bars, I was sold.  It didn't hurt that I had to bring a dessert for my friends' Memorial Day BBQ and I knew I would need to impress since one of the hosts recently graduated from culinary school.  After I was done, I realized that I was a complete fool for not making these earlier.  You will not believe how easy and delicious this recipe is.  I ended up doubling the amount of filling for my bars because I am obsessed with the tangy lemon filling, but you could also choose to make bars with less filling if you so desire.

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Beer Brownies

Beer Brownies

 

Today, I bring you these beer brownies...

I can explain.

I know I just blabbed on and on about the wonders of Greek Yogurt Chicken and how I was striving to be healthier, etc.  That is still true.  However, I don't know if you are aware, but this coming Sunday, a little-known American football game called "The Superbowl" will be on your television screens.  People will be into it.  There will be parties.  There will be drinking.  There will be appetizers. There will be shouts and laughter and maybe even a few tears. 

Now I know not everyone is down with the big game, but if you're not hanging out for that (or the commercials), then you're most definitely there for the food.  I mean, do you know anyone who can resist a cheesy dip?  If you do, steer clear of them.  Hashtag #suspicious.

While I am not personally invested in the game, as I don't care for either team, I still feel it's in my best interest to provide a decent addition to the dessert table.  If you're at a Superbowl party, you know there will be beer to drink, but why can't we also eat our beer?  THAT is an important question.  I don't know why I never thought to put beer into my brownies before, even though I have no problem at all incorporating it into my cupcakes.

I am now on a mission to make all the boozy brownies that my friends and coworkers can stand.  If you my friend or coworker, consider this your warning.  I'm kicking things off with these delicious chocolate-y beer brownies.  Make them for your Superbowl party.  Make them for neighbors.  Make them because you're bored and then eat them all yourself because you don't want any to go to waste.  I won't tell.

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