S’mores Brownies

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S’mores Brownies by twocarolines.com

Summer and S’mores are MFEO – 💞and this dessert is such a perfect summertime treat, plus it’s easy and you don’t need a kitchen torch like you do for the s’mores cake I posted a few weeks ago.  If you want to make it super easy on yourself you could even use a brownie mix for your middle layer, but that seems silly to me when our recipe for Kristin’s homemade Brownies takes maybe 2 minutes more and is infinitely more delicious.  Either way, these are a guaranteed crowd pleaser for any summer soiree!

Graham Cracker crust:
18 full graham cracker sheets
1/3 c sugar
3/4 c melted butter

Brownie Layer:
1 cup butter (melted)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder (NOT soda)
2 teaspoons vanilla
optional – 3/4 cup chocolate chips, chopped walnuts or other additions

Meringue Layer:
3 large egg whites
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

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S’mores brownie meringue by twocarolines.com

  1. To make the graham cracker crust, preheat the oven to 375˚ F.  Butter a 9×13 inch pan and line with parchment paper.  Put graham crackers into a blender or food processor and mix until they are sandy crumbs then add sugar and butter mixing until combined.  Add mixture to the prepared pan and smooth with a dry measuring cup to create an even layer. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown. Clean mixer bowl for re-use and keep oven set to 350˚ to bake the brownie layer.
  2.  For the Brownie layer – mix sugars and butter until very well combined then add eggs one at a time until totally incorporated.  Next add salt then pile the cocoa, flour and baking powder all on top of your mixture and whisk until smooth.  Last add your vanilla and any additions (if using) until uniform, and spread on top of your graham cracker crust.
  3. Bake for anywhere from 25-30 minutes depending on how done you like your brownies.  If you enjoy a gooeyer texture opt for a shorter bake time, but go all the way if you like your brownies more done.
  4. To Make the Meringue Topping:  Set up a clean double boiler – I always use the metal bowl of my kitchenaid mixer on a pot of boiling water and it works perfect. When the water is simmering, add egg whites and sugar and whisk until the sugar has dissolved, about 3 minutes – you want them warm to the touch and smooth so you can tell the sugar is dissolved.   Put bowl back into your mixer, or if not using just transfer to a cool enough to touch bowl then, add the vanilla extract and cream of tartar. Whip (with the whisk attachment) on high for about 5-7 minutes, or until the mix starts to become stiff and glossy. You’ll know the mixture is ready when it will hold a stiff peak without deflating. Add topping to prepared brownies and smooth with the back of a wooden spoon, creating some peaks for decoration.
  5. To Brown Meringue:  If using a broiler, set oven rack about 8 inches below the flame and preheat for about 5 minutes. Add brownies and keep a close eye on them, adjusting the pan as needed so that they brown evenly.  If you are using a kitchen torch, which I to prefer because it looks so dramatically beautiful – torch topping by moving the flame in circular motions so not to stay in one spot for too long (it will burn) over the meringue until the surface is evenly browned – careful not to set your parchment on fire – but possibly do this next to the sink just in case!
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S’mores brownies by twocarolines.com

Recipe adapted from feed feed Ultimate Smores Brownie

King Butterscotch Brownies

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Care King v1.0 posted this brilliant butterscotch brownie when she was living in Berlin year before last.  You guys need to know- these have no chocolate- they appear to because of the dark brown sugar, but they are all butterscotchy goodness! 

In CK 1.0’s words:  This is a recipe that was a favorite of my Aunt’s and my Grandpa’s. This was a common request from both of them, so I thought it was only fitting. I decided to change up the type of brown sugar I used—a combination of half light and half dark brown for a bit of a Christmas vibe. Also, I browned the butter and added a pinch of salt to the brownie batter and the frosting, because I’m like that. And ooooweeee, it was good! These changes added a bit more depth and flavor to an already over-the-top-scrumptious dessert. So, be like a King and get yours! 
BUTTERSCOTCH BROWNIE BATTER:
1 cup flour
1/2 t. baking soda
pinch of salt
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup browned butter
1 t. vanilla
1 cup chopped nuts (optional—I eliminated this for texture reasons) 

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Brown butter in small saucepan. Whisk the rest dry ingredients together; add eggs and vanilla to butter and whisk until combined. Mix butter mixture into dry ingredients until combined well. If you choose to add nuts, stir them in at this point. Pour into greased 8×8-inch baking pan. Bake for 40 minutes. Spread hot cake with the following:

FROSTING:
1 cup brown sugar
pinch salt
3 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar

Combine brown sugar and butter; bring to a boil stirring constantly. Add milk and boil slowly for 3 minutes. Whisk in powdered sugar until well-combined and somewhat thick. Spread on hot cake and cool. Once completely cooled, slice up brownies and try to eat only one at a time, you gluttons! 

Does this look like candy? Cause it tastes like it!

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Dense Dark Chocolate Brownies with Walnuts

IMG_6852How many chocolate brownie recipes can two dessert bloggers named Caroline offer to you……more than you might think! If you click the “brownies and bars” category on the lower right column of our site you will get literally DOZENS of incredible square shaped treats.  There’s the super basic but practically perfect Kristin’s Brownies, my personal obsession Spelt Brownies and some extra fun layered bars like Buckeye Brownies, S’mores Brownies or Butterscotch Brownies – all of which I very enthusiastically recommend.  Some might think adding to this category is superfluous – those people just don’t understand the chocolatey magic of a perfect brownie!  I was in the mood for some really SERIOUS chocolate, like the dense, rich, dark and melty kind that urgently pleads for a large draw of milk with every bite.  These came from “How To Be A Domestic Goddess” by Nigella Lawson.  I halved the recipe and baked them in an 8×8, which I recommend because this recipe is massive so double if you’re feeding a crowd or if your doctor told you to gain a lot of weight as fast as you can (I can’t imagine a more delicious way to do that) because I halved it some of my measurements look a little wompy, like if it’s 1 & 2/3 in the original recipe it’s 1/2 & 1/3 halved – but they worked out perfectly in an 8×8.  After a day, heat them in the microwave for 10 seconds to get maximum brownie gooeyness – that is, if they make it to day two (not likely~).  -CK 2.0

  1. 1/2 & 1/3 cups soft unsalted butter (1 stick and 5 1/2 tablespoons of another stick)
    6.5 ounces of dark bittersweet chocolate
    3 large eggs
    1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
    1/2 & 1/3 cups sugar
    3/4 cups all purpose flour
    1/2 teaspoon (scant) coarse salt
    2/3 cups chopped walnuts (I used less than that because I only put walnuts in half – kids are so lame about nuts!)

    1.  Preheat oven to 350 and line your brownie pan with parchment.  I lined it both ways, but you can pull them out easy enough if you just line is one side, and you can even just spray it without parchment and cut them out of the pan too! Whatever works for you.

  2. Melt the butter and chocolate together – either in a double boiler over the stove or slowly in the microwave (20 second increments until they loose their shape and you can whisk it all smooth).  In a bowl beat the eggs with the vanilla and sugar.  Measure the flour and salt into another bowl.
  3. When the chocolate mixture has melted, let it cool a bit before beating in the eggs and sugar, and then the nuts and flour.  (I added the nuts on 1/2 of the brownies last on top and just pushed them in and smoothed the top).  Beat to combine smoothly and then scrape out of the bowl into the lined brownie pan.
  4. Bake for about 23-25 minutes until the top looks dried to a paler brown speckle but the middle will still be dark dense and gooey.

Recipe adapted from “How To Be A Domestic Goddess” Nigella Lawson.

Coconut Chocolate Granola Bars

These bars are seriously MY FAVORITE ever!  They are the #1 request of my husband and his “Sea Donkey” surf crew because there’s nothing better on a road trip or for a work-out recovery.  I enjoy making them for new Mom’s, to me they were the most satisfying snack and nursing a newborn always made me feel totally famished.  We often use them as just a quick on the go breakfast or afternoon snack.  The only other bar I make are the Chocolate Date Nut Bars I posted a few months ago.  Those are amazing, but more of a smooth chocolate treat, whereas these have all sorts of dimension with chewy dates and coconut, crunchy almonds and other nuts, plus hearty oatmeal and melty chocolate.  I always double this recipe, then I cut and wrap them individually with plastic wrap and put them in the fridge.  We eat them for weeks – and you can wrap them then freeze them too!  They freeze beautifully which is another reason I always make as many as I can.  The original recipe was from Smitten Kitchen – her almond date breakfast bars were the inspiration, but I’ve made a number of changes over the years to make them my own.  This a recipe begging to be messed with – sometimes I add other nuts like those Trader Joe’s coconut cashews, or pecans, and sometimes I will add another dried fruit such as tart cherries or apricots – it always turns out epic.  Have fun and make it your own.  I’m certain you’ll love them as much as we do!

1 cup chopped dried pitted dates (I buy them whole and chop them with some flour on my cutting board and knife)
1 1/4 cup quick rolled oats
3 tablespoons barely or whole wheat flour
1/3 cup wheat germ (or wheat bran)
1/2 cup thinly sliced almonds (you can use other nuts too)
1/3 cup shredded coconut (sweetened is fine, but you may want to use a bit less honey)
1/3 cup chocolate chips (I prefer the mini ones when I have them)
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup almond butter
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup honey
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. Preheat your oven to 350.  Line an 8×8 pan with parchment laying it in an X going first in one direction than perpendicularly in the other so you can easily pull out your bars when they are done.  I almost always double the above recipe and bake them in a 9×13 – but we eat these for days and like to have enough to give away so suit yourself.
  2. Stir together the dates, oats, flour, wheat germ, almonds (or whatever nuts you’re using) coconut, and chocolate chips.
  3. In a separate bowl whisk together the salt, cinnamon, almond butter, coconut oil, honey, and extracts until smooth.  Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir them until the dry ingredients are evenly coated.  Spread the batter in the prepared pan, pressing firmly into the bottom, edges and corners to ensure they are molded to the shape of the pan.  It’s handy to use a piece of plastic wrap or parchment while you do this so your hands don’t get super sticky.
  4. Bake the bars for 20-25 minutes until they are brown around the edges and there’s a little color on the top too.
  5. Cool the bars in their pan placed on a cooling rack.  After 20-30 minutes you can pull them up with your parchment sling and put that on the rack to speed the cooling process.  I recommend cooling them in the fridge for about 30 minutes before cutting.  I forgot to do this last time, which made them a little crumbly when cutting.  If they are a little chilled they are easier to cut.  I like to take the cut bars and wrap them individually then put them in a gallon bag in the fridge or even freeze half of them and enjoy them for weeks and months!

Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen Almond Date Breakfast Bars in The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman.

Oatmeal Fudge Bars

I very much love brownies and bars because in addition to being delicious, they are so quick, easy and satisfying.  You don’t always have time to make a special cake or pie, so brownies and bars are the ultimate lazy bakers delight.  This is one of the reasons twocarolines.com has dozens of amazing ones to choose from, which will not stop us from adding to the list frequently.  Whenever I come across a recipe I haven’t made before that looks great, I hop to it.  These ones were unique and you can make them a variety of ways.  In fact, I was in a rush and forgot to add the oatmeal to the bottom batter, so I laid a layer of it on top of the chocolate, swirled it in, and then dolloped the rest of the dough on and no one complained a bit!  I’m posting as recommended though, because next time I won’t forget and I think it would be an even cooler texture experience.  Either way, you’ll love these chewy, gooey, chocolatey oatmeal fudge bars.

1 cup butter
2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups quick cooking oats
1 can (14 0unce) sweetened condensed milk
1 package or 12 ounces chocolate chips
1/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional – I opted out of those so my kids wouldn’t turn up their picky noses)

  1.  Grease a 9×13 inch baking pan – I just laid down parchment which worked out great, but if you grease with butter or even spray that will work well too.  Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In a large mixer bowl cream the butter and brown sugar then add the eggs one at at time and the vanilla.
  3. In a small bowl sift flour, baking soda and salt then add that to the creamed mixture.  Mix in the oats.
  4. In a heavy saucepan, mix the sweetened condensed milk with the chocolate chips and butter, heat until just melted and you can whisk it smooth.  Stir in the vanilla and nuts if using.  Spread two thirds of brown sugar dough into prepared baking pan.  Spread the chocolate mixture on top, then drop remaining one third of brown sugar dough on top by spoonfuls.  Even out the top in a pretty way.
  5. Bake at 350 for about 25-30 minutes – be sure it’s not still doughy when you take it out, you can tell when it’s set and a toothpick will come out with moist crumbs not wet dough.  Cool for a good 15 minutes at least then cut into bars.  Makes about 36.

Recipe adapted from Lion House Classics Cookbook Oatmeal Fudge Bars

Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies by twocarolines.com

My sister with the same name and I are so much alike that we often go on binges with the same flavors, which is why there has been a lot happening in the chocolate peanut butter world of late.  We are trying to crave other things and bake them for you, but this  was a recipe that showed up on the back of my Bob’s Red Mill flour and I could not deny it access to my mouth.  They are a very chocolatey brownie with awesome texture and the perfect crispy top and edges that all brownie kids want.  Plus, how pretty is that swirl action?!

For brownie bars:
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips or chopped chocolate (these would be awesome with a dark chocolate or milk chocolate as well)IMG_2282
8 tablespoons butter (1 stick) cut into quarters
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 eggs
1 cup all purpose flour

For peanut butter swirl:
3 tablespoons butter melted
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. Heat oven to 350.  Line an 8 inch baking pan with parchment criss-crossing and leave the edges hanging over the sides.  Spray with cooking spray.
  2. In a pyrex or other heatproof bowl microwave the chocolate and butter, 30 seconds at a time stirring and repeating between until smooth and melted.  Whisk in the cocoa powder until all smooth and set aside.
  3. For peanut butter swirl combine melted butter, peanut butter, powdered sugar, salt and vanilla in a bowl and stir until smooth.  Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk the sugar, salt, vanilla, and eggs until combined.  Whisk melted chocolate mixture into egg mixture.  Stir in the flour until just combined.  Do not overmix.  Pour mixture into prepared pan.  Drop dollops of peanut butter mixture on top of brownie batter and use a butter knife to swirl in the peanut butter.
  5. Bake 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out mostly clean.  Cool on a wire rack as long as you can resist before serving.  Pull from pan using parchment liner.

Recipe from Bob’s Red Mill 2016

Peanut Butter Buckeye Brownies

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Peanut Butter Buckeye Brownies by twocarolines.com

Us Caroline’s obviously enjoy sweets, but the area where we display the most alarming lack of self control is in the “peanut butter/ chocolate” category.  We have posted a number of desserts with this combo such as our Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie, Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Chip Cake, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies, Chocolate Peanut Pretzel Brittle….the fact that there are quite a few more is making me wonder if we should ease up on the peanut butter chocolate desserts…..yeah, not going to happen.  These Peanut Butter Buckeye Brownies are a King Family Classic made originally from our matriarch Joyce King and then repeatedly enjoyed by our sister Kristin’s family and mine (CK 2.0) who can only make them on occasion because of the aforementioned lack of control around perfect peanut butter chocolate combo’s like this one.  If you also want to eat ALL of the peanut butter chocolate desserts maybe make these for a crowd, because they are insanely irresistible.

Brownie Layer (these are Kristin’s Brownies – more detailed instructions on that link):

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Buckeye Brownies by twocarolines.com

1 cup butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
1 cup flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
Peanut Butter Layer:
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup butter (room temp or softened)
8 ounces creamy peanut butter (I find the Jiff/Skippy variety work best because they don’t separate, but you could try using all natural peanut butter if you’d like)

Chocolate Ganache Layer:
2 cups chocolate chips
10 tablespoons butter

1. Preheat oven to 350 – spray or butter a 9×13 pyrex dish.  Mix all the ingredients for the brownie layer and spread into your prepared pan.  Bake for about 23-26 minutes and let cool.
2.  For the peanut butter layer, mix the butter and peanut butter until well combined then mix in the powdered sugar until it’s all combined.  I use a stand mixer because this layer gets thick so it would be tough to mix by hand.  Spread on top of your brownie layer and try to even it out pushing it into the corners etc.  Put in the fridge to cool about an hour.
3.  To make the chocolate ganache layer (it’s not really ganache, but we are going to go ahead and call it that because we’re fancy) melt the butter and chocolate chips in a saucepan until totally combined then spread over the peanut butter layer.  It will harden as the chocolate cools.  Serve at room temperature.  Side note this dessert freezes nicely, just let it come up to room temp before serving.  Enjoy!