Monday, May 13, 2013

I'm Back! With Chocolate =) Cookies and Brownies that is!

It's been pretty busy (and lazy at times too) around here, and I've almost forgotten about my blog again now that April is over! I was making brownies the other day from my note on facebook, and decided - hey! I should put that on my blog to share with more people!

I do a lot of baking, and I have lots of photos! One recipe is my own creation, Izzerdoodles (for a later post), but these brownie and cookie recipes are my other go-to desserts when I want to make something quick and fun.

On Friday, I made brownie cups with peanutbutter chips mixed in one half, and dark chocolate chips mixed in the other half. Both ended up delicious, but the dark chocolate chips melted more into the brownies, so they're moister and so good!

Here are the recipes I use for brownies and chocolate chip cookies, modified from Nestle's recipes (I add extra flour sometimes).

Chewy Cocoa Brownies:

1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter or margarine, melted (1 minute in microwave works well)
2 tablespoons water
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (the real stuff is best!)
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour (less flour for chewier gooier brownies)
3/4 cup cocoa powder (I use nestle, this recipe is on the package!)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
(optional: 3/4 cup chopped nuts; powdered sugar to top)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, prepare pan. I like to line a 9"x13" pan with aluminum foil then spray it with Pam non-stick cooking spray.

Combine sugar, butter, and water in large bowl (or mixer, I use my Kitchenaid for this part). Stir/blend in eggs and vanilla extract. Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl (an actual bowl for this); stir/blend into sugar mixture bowl. Stir in nuts (if desired). Spread into prepared baking pan.

Bake for 18 to 25 minutes or until wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out slightly sticky (but not really sticky, that’s under baked and will be very gooey – tasty but not as satisfying). Cool completely in pan on wire rack. If in aluminum foil lined pan, lift out and place on cake tote/whatever you’re using to store or transport brownies. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, cut as desired.

Chocolate Chip Cookies:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (adjust as needed according to how they bake - cookies that stay in lump have too much flour, cookies that spread like they're melting and touch, banking to the pan, have too little flour)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened(from refrigerator, heat in microwave on power level 3 for about 30 seconds, sometimes longer, if you don't have time to wait for it to soften, or have a cold kitchen like I do until I get the oven going!)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar(I sometimes add extra)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract(the real stuff is best!)
2 large eggs
1 cup (or more or less as you please, I like less, package recipe calls for 2 cups) chocolate chips - I use Nestle toll house semi-sweet chocolate morsels, or if there's a special, chunks, mini, or different kinds
(optional: 1 cup chopped nuts)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Combine flour, baking soda and salt in medium bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl (you really want a stand mixer for this, it’s really difficult to mix with a hand mixer or just by hand) until creamy – the butter and sugar should all be blended well. Add eggs, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts (if desired). Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes, remove to wire racks to cool completely.

 And... the fun variations I make with the basic recipes:

Brownie Pizza: 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit

Follow directions for making brownie batter.

Cut a circle of parchment or wax (parchment is better) paper the size of your pizza stone (or pizza pan, I haven’t tried it on one because I know the stone works and I have one).

Spread brownie batter onto paper-lined pizza stone, be careful to make it as even and smooth as you can – but it doesn’t have to be perfect, mine wasn’t!

Bake at 350 for 10 minutes, check, if not fully baked, add 2 minutes, check, 2 minutes, check, until done. I can’t remember how long mine took, I didn’t take notes that night like I often do with new creations.

To make chocolate topping, sprinkle chocolate chips on top right out of the oven (I used mini morsels, they melt faster!), let sit till soft, then spread around with frosting spatula.

Top however you like. Instead of the chocolate topping, you can spread a cream cheese frosting on top then put seasonal berries and fruit in a pretty arrangement on top. I plan to do something like that in the future, but when I made mine it was for my birthday and near Halloween, hence spider and web =)

Cookie Brownies:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit

Prepare brownie batter and cookie dough as above.

Line a 9”x13” pan with aluminum foil – it takes two strips. Take your time, you want it in there securely but fold the edges over the sides so you can easily pull out when the yumminess is baked.

Spray with Pam non-stick cooking spray.

Spread brownie batter into pan, bake in oven for 15-20 minutes, till almost baked.

Roll or smash cookie dough on pan lid if you have one, or counter, to easily deposit on brownies.

Add cookie dough on top of half-baked brownies. Bake for 10 minutes, check for doneness (insert toothpick, if it’s really gooey, not done). Add 5 minutes if not done, twice if you have to. After total 30-40 minutes bake time, it should be done.

Cool on wire rack, remove from pan (easy with foil), peel off foil and place on serving dish until cool. Cut as you wish.

Brownie Cups: 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit

Prepare brownie batter as above.

Spray a 24 count mini muffin pan with Pam non-stick cooking spray – make sure you get all the cups! You could use paper baking cups, but they would be harder to get the brownies out of, I think.

Scoop brownie batter into the cups – I used a tablespoon and mini spatula for consistency of size. You can also use a cookie scooper, but sometimes the batter gets too sticky for that.

Top with chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, anything else you can think of – or leave plain.

Bake for 10 minutes, check for doneness, add 2 minutes if not done, but 10 minutes should be enough.

Cool on wire rack, pop out of pan – a butter knife scraped along the edges of the cup works well and cool completely.

If topped with chips before baking, spread while melty to make a good coating. If not, top with frosting, sprinkles, whatever you like ^_^ And enjoy!

Let me know if you try any of these recipes and what you think, if you do!

Do you have any favorite recipes you go back to again and again? Please share =)