Categories
Cookies Dessert

Combo cookies will be your next crowning achievement

Crownie Pinwheels
Crownie pinwheels combine store-bought cookie dough with a boxed brownie mix to create pretty, chocolatey cookies.

I have become completely susceptible to online cooking demos.

If I am scrolling through Pinterest or Facebook, I will inevitably find myself watching someone chopping up veggies or mixing up some kind of batter. Even if the recipe doesn’t particularly appeal to me, I find the process of watching someone cook completely fascinating.

It’s either that or videos of pets doing ridiculous things.

This past week, one of those recipe videos spoke to me, because it looked both delicious and easy, taking pre-made cookie dough and a box mix to create something new.

These “crownies”—half cookie, half brownie—were just as good as they looked, so I’m sharing the extremely simple recipe with you this week.

This comes from the website “So Yummy.” You can find the original post at https://soyummy.com/recipe/crownie-pinwheels/. I didn’t change any of the ingredients, but I did clarify some directions a bit.

Crownie Pinwheels
Print

Crownie Pinwheels

Crownie pinwheels combine store-bought cookie dough with a boxed brownie mix to create pretty, chocolatey cookies.
Course Dessert
Keyword brownies, chocolate, cookies, crownies, swirl

Ingredients

  • 16- ounce package chocolate chip cookie dough
  • 10- ounce package fudgey brownie mix prepared

Instructions

  • Place the cookie dough between two sheets of waxed paper or parchment paper and roll it out until it is the same thickness as the chocolate chips. Try to keep it in as much of a rectangle or square as you can.
  • Spread a thick layer of the brownie dough evenly over the dough, going all the way to the edges except on the top one inch. You probably won’t use the entire batch of brownies for this step.
  • Carefully roll the dough, starting from the bottom. You’ll likely have some of the brownie batter squish out a little.
  • Once you complete the roll, gently press to seal the roll, wrap it in the waxed/parchment paper, and place it in the freezer for at least 30 minutes so it sets up.
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  • Unwrap the roll and slice it into about 1/4-inch slices. Place them two inches apart on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until the cookies are golden brown.
  • Let the cookies cool for a few minutes before transferring to an airtight container.

I bought an 18-ounce brownie mix for my cookies, and I ended up having a ton of batter left over. I just sprayed a mini-cupcake tin with cooking spray and made mini brownie bites while my cookies were in the freezer. Win-win.

In hindsight, I wish I would have just bought a second package of cookie dough and made a second roll. I got about two dozen cookies out of the single package.

These were really good. They spread out into thin, pretty cookies that looked a lot more impressive than they should have, considering I really didn’t have to put in much effort to make them.

In the long run, my love of cooking videos is probably a good thing—it makes my suggested posts on social media a lot more positive, and every once in awhile, we end up with something delicious in the house.

This piece first appeared in print on May 20, 2021.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Dessert

Baking brownies can be a sticky situation

A gooey layer of caramel is nestled in between from-scratch chocolate brownies in this decadent dessert.

At some point in my baking adventures, I plan on trying to make homemade caramels, but I haven’t been brave over the years when it comes to candy making. 

I think that’s mostly because I didn’t grow up making candies regularly and only very recently invested in my own candy thermometer. But I am incredibly intrigued by the idea of making my own caramel and have earmarked several recipes that I want to try out at some point.

Part of the reason I want to try it out is because I love caramel so much. As a kid, I loved getting a Sugar Daddy or a box of Sugar Babies during Halloween or Easter.

The other reason is because every time I make a recipe that features caramels I buy from the store, I end up with a huge pile of little plastic wrappers on my kitchen counter. Not only does it make me feel wasteful to create all of that trash for one dish, but I also find it incredibly difficult not to pop those little squares into my mouth as I unwrap each one individually.

So you can say that I’m either environmentalist or I lack self control, but either way I should probably learn how to make this stuff myself. Unfortunately for this week’s recipe, I still have a conquered candy making, so we’ll stick with the stuff from the shelf.

This recipe comes from Sabrina Snyder’s “Dinner Then Dessert” blog. You can find her original post at https://dinnerthendessert.com/fat-witch-bakerys-legendary-chocolate-caramel-brownies/. I added extra vanilla in my version.

Print

Chocolate Caramel Brownies

A gooey layer of caramel is nestled in between from-scratch chocolate brownies in this decadent dessert.
Course Dessert
Keyword brownies, caramel, chocolate

Ingredients

  • 14 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 heaping cup of bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 11 ounces caramel squares unwrapped
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Prepare an eight-by-eight-inch baking pan by spraying it with cooking spray and lining it with parchment paper.
  • In a microwave-safe bowl, heat the butter and chocolate in 30-second increments, stirring in between each. Remove it from the microwave once the butter is fully melted, and continue stirring until the chocolate melts, too.
  • Set the bowl aside to cool a bit.
  • Place the caramels in another microwave-safe bowl along with two tablespoons water, and microwave for one minute. Remove it from the microwave and let it sit for about two minutes, and then stir until the mixture is smooth.
  • In a mixing bowl, beat together the eggs, sugar and vanilla for a couple minutes until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in the melted chocolate/butter mixture.
  • Beat in the flour and salt until the mixture is smooth.
  • Spread half of the batter evenly into the baking pan. Pour the caramel into the pan next, keeping it about one inch away from the edges.
  • Place the pan in the refrigerator for 20 minutes or until the caramel is set up.
  • Spread the rest of the batter evenly over the top of the caramel layer and bake for 35 minutes. Let the brownies cool before removing them from the pan using the parchment paper and slicing them into squares. Store them in an airtight container.

These brownies were incredibly decadent. Despite my sweet tooth, I was very satisfied with eating just one. They also were a little on the messy side, since the caramel was nice and gooey in the center. I would highly recommend these with a side of ice cream.

And at some point, I am sure I will learn to make caramel myself. Of course, that really only solves the problem of all the extra wrappers, since there’s no way I will be able to resist eating it, too. I mean, somebody’s got to test out the new recipes; it may as well be me.

This piece first appeared in print on March 25, 2021.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Dessert

Get shakin’ with salted caramel brownies

Salted caramel brownies have a hint of saltiness and lots of sweet caramel and chocolate flavors.

I have been on a popcorn kick lately when I’m in the mood for a snack.

Really, to be accurate, I should say that both I and our schnauzer, K.C., have been on a popcorn kick lately, since I never eat a bowl of it alone if she can help it.

There’s something about that combination of the sweetness of the corn covered in just a bit of salt that I can’t get enough of, and apparently, it’s because our bodies are literally wired to like salty and sweet tastes together.

An article by Justine Sterling for “Delish” notes that researchers have found a certain sweet tastebud that only activates when sodium is also present.

In other words, if salt and sugar are both in whatever we’re eating, we get a bonus taste receptor to notice it for us.

The good Lord knew what he was doing when he was crafting our tongues, it seems.

With my love of salty and sweet, I was immediately drawn to a recipe for salted caramel brownies recently, and the dense chocolatey-ness along with the caramel makes this a recipe worth trying.

I found it on the blog “The Salted Marshmallow.” You can find the original at https://thesaltymarshmallow.com/sea-salt-caramel-chip-brownies/.

Print

Salted Caramel Brownies

Salted caramel brownies have a hint of saltiness and lots of sweet caramel and chocolate flavors.
Course Dessert
Keyword brownies, chocolate, salted caramel

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup butter melted
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 10- ounce bag of sea salt caramel baking chips
  • 1/4 cup caramel ice cream topping

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Line a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper and spray it with cooking spray. Set it aside.
  • Add all of the ingredients except the baking chips and caramel topping to a mixing bowl and beat until everything is combined.
  • Fold in the baking chips and spread the batter into your baking pan.
  • Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
  • Let the brownies cool and then top with the caramel topping.
  • Store in an airtight container.

I didn’t wait for my brownies to cool all the way before adding the caramel topping, and it sort of melted into the tops, which still tasted amazing, but it didn’t let them have that nice drizzle effect. But if you don’t have time to wait, you won’t mess anything up by just dumping on the sauce while your brownies are still warm.

I also wish I would have sprinkled a little coarse salt on the top of these and definitely will the next time I make them, so you may consider that addition as well.

This also helped me clean out two different ingredients in my kitchen, since I had some salted caramel chips in my freezer and half of a jar of caramel sauce sitting in my refrigerator. If I keep it up, I may have my excess ingredient collection cleaned out by spring.

I really liked the combination of flavors in the brownies, and we enjoyed sharing them with friends, too.

K.C., on the other hand, was less than impressed with me eating chocolate snacks she’s not allowed to have. Her vote is still for the popcorn.

This piece first appeared in print on Jan. 9, 2020.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Dessert

Brownies prove spices not ‘cinnamon’ous with fall

Mexican cinnamon brownies have a very simple spice mix of cinnamon, sugar and vanilla and are an addictive, easy dessert.

“It smells like fall in here,” Joey announced this weekend when he came home to the scent of fresh cinnamon brownies in our kitchen.

I forget that cinnamon normally evokes a cold weather feeling from people. I’ll eat it any time of year. Find me some cinnamon ice cream, and I’d be all in.

But I suppose the waning days of summer put me in the mindset to grab my big shaker of cinnamon out of the pantry to try a new recipe.

I wasn’t initially certain what made these Mexican cinnamon brownies rather than just cinnamon brownies, but the recipe’s author explains in his post that cinnamon is widely used in Mexican cooking and these brownies would be a good dessert to show up at a Cinco de Mayo party, and that explanation was good enough for me.

I found this recipe on the website “One How To.” The recipe is by Max D. Gray. You can find the original at https://food.onehowto.com/recipe/how-to-make-mexican-cinnamon-brownies-10574.html. I fixed up some of the directions to make them more clear and added extra cinnamon.

Print

Mexican Cinnamon Brownies

Mexican cinnamon brownies have a very simple spice mix of cinnamon, sugar and vanilla and are an addictive, easy dessert.
Course Dessert
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword brownies, cinnamon

Ingredients

  • 2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 2/3 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 340 degrees.
  • Grease a 9×13-inch baking pan and set aside (an easy trick is to use the empty butter wrappers from the recipe to grease it).
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat together the brown sugar, butter, eggs and vanilla.
  • Beat in the flour, baking powder and salt until the mixture is smooth and everything is completely incorporated.
  • Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan and then evenly sprinkle the sugar and cinnamon over the top (in full disclosure, I just used a spoon and sprinkled both until I felt satisfied I had good coverage, so I likely used a bit more cinnamon than is listed in the ingredients list).
  • Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Let the brownies cool for about 20 minutes and then slice into bars and store in an airtight container.

As Joey pointed out, these made the whole house smell amazing, so if you’re having an open house and want to use the trick where you bake something right before people come over, tuck this recipe away.

They were great warm, but right out of the oven, I thought the cinnamon didn’t come through as much as I would have liked. I was vindicated the next morning, after they sat in their airtight container over night, when the cinnamon flavor popped perfectly in each bite.

They’re also the perfect texture to carry around and eat—no plates or forks required.

So maybe I’m pushing into fall spices too quickly in the year, but I figure any desserts that are good fodder for a Cinco de Mayo party can’t possibly only belong to autumn.

Now to see if cinnamon ice cream really does exist.

This piece first appeared in print on Sept. 12, 2019.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Dessert Snack

Cherry Garcia brownies makes friends ‘Grateful Fed’

Cherry Garcia brownies are patterned after the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavor of the same name.

Over the seven years since I started writing this column, my family has gotten very used to being guinea pigs for new recipes.

So much so, that when I showed up with a dish of still-warm brownies for a board game night with my sister and brother-in-law last weekend, my sister looked at me and said, “I’m going to get quoted about this, aren’t I?”

I just shrugged, but yes, Sis, you are.

As I often do when summer rolls around, I bought a big bag of fresh cherries last week, and these brownies seemed like the perfect candidate to include them. I also might have spent some time sampling cherries while I baked, too. Job hazards.

My sister said she generally hates the taste of cherries and chocolate together (she might be adopted), but she gave two thumbs up for the new recipe.

I found this one by Lauren Miyashiro on the website “Delish.” You can find the original at https://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/recipes/a48932/cherry-garcia-brownies-recipe/. I doubled the vanilla, added more cherries and specified a dark chocolate brownie mix in my version.

Print

Cherry Garcia Brownies

Cherry Garcia brownies are patterned after the Ben & Jerry's ice cream flavor of the same name.
Course Dessert
Keyword brownies, cherry, dark chocolate

Ingredients

  • 1 box dark chocolate brownie mix plus ingredients it calls for
  • 8 ounces cream cheese slightly softened
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup pitted and quartered fresh cherries
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and prepare an 8-by-8-inch baking pan by spraying it with cooking spray.
  • Prepare the brownie mix according to package instructions and dump into the prepared pan. Set it aside.
  • In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, vanilla, egg and sugar until it’s light and fluffy (mine actually ended up mostly soupy, which works, too. Just make sure it’s well combined).
  • Stir in the cherries and chocolate chips and dump the cream cheese mixture over the brownie mix in the pan. Swirl the mixture with a knife to get some of the cream cheese layer into the brownies.
  • Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted down into the brownie layer comes up clean (mine took a bit longer than 45 minutes) and the cheesecake layer on top is set up.
  • Let the brownies cool a bit before slicing. I stored mine in an airtight container in the fridge.

I would recommend cutting these on the smaller side, because they’re a bit rich. The top is creamy, and the bottom is dense and chewy. And then there’s a little layer in the middle between the cheesecake and the brownie layer that’s perfectly gooey.

We had a great time playing games and eating brownies together, and we all decided the recipe was a winner, which was the only winning I did all night.

Maybe next time we get together I can earn some victories with the board games in addition to the kitchen.

This piece first appeared in print on June 13, 2019.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.