Snickerdoodle Blondies

I'm pretty sure my neighbors think I'm loony.  By "my neighbors", I mean the real estate brokers who work in the building next to mine.  My living room windows just so happen to look directly into two of their office windows.  I also just so happen to take my blog photos on my desk, in front of one of my living room windows. (Gotta have that natural light too!)

I'm sure these folks don't realize what's going on.  All they see is a flash going off every 20 seconds in this apartment.  No big deal really, but sort of weird if you're just minding your own business working at your desk.

This usually doesn't happen very often since I tend to cook or bake on the weekends.  However, recently I've been getting up early to whip up some treats and the brokers are in the office by the time I'm taking pictures around 8am.  "Good morning!" from the crazy lady across the alley.

This crazy lady did something really crazy the other day.  I made brownies without chocolate.  That is insane because I have something you may call a "chocolate obsession".  It's not always out in full force, but it's always there.  I have never, ever in my life, made non-chocolate brownies before.  But since there's a time and place for everything (and since I was out of chocolate chips and didn't want to leave my apartment to brave the polar vortex), I pulled together some cinnamon sugar goodness in blondie form.

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Toffee Squares

These bars have no toffee in them.

Yes, I know what they're called, but I didn't name them.  However, I didn't feel the urge to change the name either.  Hear me out.  If you have ever savored the wonder of a Heath candy bar, you would definitely recognize the flavor of these gorgeous desserts.

These dessert bars were the business!  I loved these so much that I eventually had to get them out of my apartment or I would have eaten them all.  One thing to note is that the crust can be a bit crumbly.  That didn't bother me one bit.  In fact, I took one for the team and "disposed" of any broken bars so that no one else had to worry about them.

In the end, I packed up the majority of the bars (the unbroken ones) and took them over to a friend's place so I could salvage my dignity.  Or at least attempt to.

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Bailey's Brownies

I want to have a heart-to-heart with you about Bailey's.

You see, the holidays are upon us.  Starbucks says that they are.  Don't worry about that little Thanksgiving thing in between now and then.  Focus.

We need to start trimming trees, decking the halls, and adding Bailey's to every darn drink we pour. But let's not limit ourselves.  I want to eat it too.  Is that strange?  No.  No, it is not.  Don't look at me that way.  This is how I make friends.  I put booze in a bunch of desserts and go forth into the world.  Ok, that's not completely true.  It's close though.

Can we add brownies to that list of desserts?  Yes.  Yes, we can.  Because we are adults and we do what we want!

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Banana Speculoos Microwave Brownie

I can't be the only person obsessed with the Starbucks chocolate smoothie, right? ... 

OK, I'm pretty sure 90% of the people reading this have no idea what I'm talking about.  Let me drop some knowledge: Starbucks makes protein shake smoothies!  The next time you go there, check out the menu and you'll find it.  It's pretty much overshadowed by any and every holiday/seasonal/espresso drink, but it's there.  (Speaking of holiday drinks, I got my gingerbread latte yesterday in my very first red Starbucks cup of the season!  It was initially a weird experience since I picked up my drink right next to a display offering coffee grounds in the flavor "Thanksgiving".  I was confused for a second and then realized that pop culture is now celebrating Christmas a month before Thanksgiving and two months before the actual Christmas day, which is sort of aggravating to me but...I'm digressing...)  Chocolate Smoothie.

This smoothie happens to be a chocolate banana protein shake (20g protein!).  I discovered this by accident one day when I was bored and scrolling through the Starbucks app on my phone.  Over the past year or two, I've become a consumer of protein shakes before, during, and/or after a workout, so finding this shake was exciting for me!  I admit that at first I didn't love the taste of it.  My taste buds were expecting a pretty sweet milkshake instead of a slightly sweetened and (relatively) good-for-you smoothie, but eventually I came to love it.

The other day I was looking for a quick snack to whip up and I came across this recipe for a Banana Nutella Microwave Brownie.  Right away, it reminded me of the Starbucks smoothie!  Alright, it's definitely not the same thing, but the flavors are sort of similar.

Then I realized I didn't have any Nutella in my pantry.  However, I do have crushed cookies in the form of Speculoos hanging around!  I picked that up instead and got to work.

Do the dang thing!

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Guinness Brownies

I don't know about you, but I've been on a Guinness kick lately.  And since I'm an equal opportunist, I would even venture to say that I am on a "stout beer" kick.  I blame it on the stout beer that I had to consume as a member of my local bar's beer club.  After a few of those, the taste just started to grow on me and soooo...here we are.  With me checking off stout after stout on that beer list.  Yah, that's how I'm livin'.

What's better than stout beer?  Stout beer in brownies.  Have I told you I've been on a brownie kick lately too?  Mmmmhmmmm.  That has been happening.  What can I say?  I'm a mess.  A mess of beer and chocolate.  I could do worse.

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Spiced Cocoa Brownies

In case you're wondering, I ended up in Target the other day.  Big surprise.  I seriously went in to get some candy and a few toiletries...

Let's cut to me in the Home Decor section, which, in case you were also wondering, is nowhere NEAR the candy and toiletries aisles.  You know how it is.  You just stop in for one or two things and the next thing you know, you get sucked into a vortex, your shopping cart is filled to the brim, and your credit card bill is atrocious.  I ended up purchasing a starburst mirror for my new place (new obsession), along with a set of pots and pans, a set of knives, utensils and a few small kitchen gadgets.

As I ran away from the store hiding my face in just a little bit of shame, I realize that I still. don't. have. a. brownie. pan.  Target trip fail.  Well, not a real fail, since I also didn't own a starburst mirror, a set of pot and pans, a set of knives, utensils, and a few small kitchen gadgets prior to this trip either.  I complained about my lack of a brownie pan in my red velvet brownie post from way back in December, and I still haven't resolved this situation.   I'll just have to "stumble upon" a brownie pan the next time I swing by Target to pick up some face cream or something else just as obscure.  Until that happens (probably next week), I had to make these spiced cocoa brownies in the trusty ole' casserole pan.  You just do what you need to do.

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Espresso Brownies

I am currently playing hide and seek.

Let me explain.

My roommate's selling our apartment (aka her apartment that I happen to live in as well).  We vacate the place when there are people coming over to check it out.  Since my mobility is currently questionable due to the orthotic boot around my right foot, I've been opting to hide out in the stairwell while prospective buyers peruse the goods.  Once I hear the elevator signaling everyone's departure, I know it's safe to head back into the apartment.  So, I guess it's the hide and seek game where the other people don't actually care to find me.

Over the past week, I think I've spent at least six hours in the stairwell and I've even started bringing a pillow to make the hard stairs a little more comfortable.  Although my iPad keeps me pretty occupied, I also bring drinks and snacks to help pass the time.  You know, coffee, beer, salads, espresso brownies...

Let me tell you about these espresso brownies.  These beasts be fudge-y and cake-y at the same time.  Is that even possible?  Yes.  Why yes, it is.  You don't actually taste the espresso, but in case you don't know, chocolate tastes even more chocolate-y when coffee or espresso gets involved.

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Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies

Just so you know, I still fully intend to blog about desserts that are bad for you but oh-so-good for your tastebuds.  Really.  Your tastebuds will thank you for these.

I constantly reaffirm how much I'm not on the "red velvet" bandwagon.  But these brownies are thought-provoking.  As in, "I think I may be in love with these red velvet brownies".

Let's break this situation down:

1. There's cheesecake involved.  Actually, there's cream cheese involved that turns into a cheesecake-like batter.  Gimme.

2. I melted some high quality dark chocolate all up in this piece.  Things went down like that.

3. I'm a sucker for a good swirled dessert.  It could be a simple marble cake that gets me.  In this case, it just happens to be a fudge-y, rich red-and-white brownie.

On a related side note, do you know what I DON'T have in my kitchen?  An 8- or 9-inch square pan.  Exactly the pan that I need to bake brownies.  I guess I just never bake brownies enough for this to be a problem.  For about 3 minutes, I entertained the idea of running to Target to pick up a new pan.  Then I realized I didn't have enough time to do that.  Then I tried to use two loaf pans instead.  Um, these will make thin brownies.  Thin brownies are no bueno.  Finally, I ended up using an 8 x 10 inch casserole dish.  So maybe I should have asked for a brownie pan for Christmas.  Only need to wait 360-something more days for it to come...

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