Double Peanut Butter and Chocolate Brownies

Happy Halloween, friends.

Halloween is one of my favorite times to make treats. Unfortunately, my favorite Halloweenie no longer lives at home. 😦 He’s almost 24 (what, you say?!?!) and is now living in the big city while he works on his master’s degree. But, that doesn’t mean that I can’t send him some Halloween treats. After all, I do miss seeing his freakishly handsome face around the house.

So, to celebrate his (and my) favorite holiday, I made him these double peanut butter paisley brownies from Hershey’s Kitchens.

They’re scary good.

I hope your goblins like them, too.

Ingredients

  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 10 oz. package of peanut butter chips
  • 1/2 cup chocolate syrup

Heat your oven to 350°. Grease a 9×13 pan. Beat butter and peanut butter in large bowl. Add granulated sugar and brown sugar; beat well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Blend in vanilla.ButterAndPeanutButter

Stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. Then mix that into peanut butter mixture, blending well. Stir in peanut butter chips.

PeanutbutterChips

Spread half of batter in prepared pan. Spoon the chocolate syrup over the top. Carefully top with remaining batter; swirl with a metal spatula or knife for marbled effect.

BeforeTheOven

Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely in pan on wire rack.

PaisleyBrowniesDone

Cut into squares. Makes about 24 brownies.

In honor of Halloween, let me leave you with this:

Sweet Potato Pecan Bread

It’s fall. The perfect time to make something awesome, particularly if that awesome thing is made with cinnamon, pumpkin or sweet potato, and pecans.

If you’ve been following along, you know that I discovered a culinary gem recently. This month’s Food Network Magazines features a little booklet with 50 quick bread recipes.

I vowed last week to try them all and started with the Carrot Coconut Bread. Today, it’s Sweet Potato Pecan Bread.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup pureed sweet potatoes
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2¼ cups flour
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest

Preheat your oven to 350°. Grease and flour a 9×5 loaf pan.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk the sweet potato puree, vegetable oil, brown sugar, water, eggs and vanilla. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, salt, orange zest and pecans.CuttingPecans

Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Bake 60 to 70 minutes.

SweetPotatoBreadDone

It’s delicious and tastes just like fall.

SweetPotatoBreadSlice

 

Carrot Coconut Bread

Is there anything better on a cool autumn day than baking something delicious that will make the house smell awesome? OK. There may be some things– jumping in a pile of leaves, taking a nice drive along a country road to see the colored leaves, picking out the perfect pumpkin – but they’re really only equally as good.

This month’s Food Network Magazine came with a little gem: a little booklet with 50 quick bread recipes.

I’ve decided to work my way through the entire thing, making each one.

This Carrot Coconut Bread was the first one, and what a way to start. It reminded me of carrot cake, and it was delicious.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup plain yogurt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ cup shredded coconut
  • ½ cup crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda

Preheat your oven to 350°. Grease and flour a 9×5 loaf pan.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the carrots, vegetable oil, yogurt, eggs and vanilla.  In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, coconut, pineapple, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda.BatterforCarrotCoconut

Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Bake for 55 to 65 minutes.

CarrotBreadDone

Optional glaze:

If you’re looking for more of a sugar high, you can make this glaze to drizzle on the bread while it’s warm.  Just whisk the ingredients together.

  • 2 ounces cream cheese
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
  • Pinch of salt

We did not feel the need for the glaze. The bread was super-duper without it. Doesn’t that look pretty?

CarrotBreadslice

 

Orange Brownies

OK, before you go, “Eew, that sounds disgusting,” hear me out. These aren’t chocolate brownies with orange indiscriminately tossed in ‘cause that probably could be disgusting. Unless … Oh, but I digress. These are brownies made with orange instead of chocolate. They are moist and dense and buttery and orange-y (is that a word?).  Oh, and they’re topped with orange cream cheese frosting. Do I have your attention now?

This recipe comes from Paula Deen.

The brownies

Ingredients:

  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks of butter, softened
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure orange extract
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest

Preheat your oven to 350°.  Grease a 13×9 pan and set aside.

In a mixing bowl, stir together flour, sugar, and salt. Add butter, eggs, orange extract, and orange zest and beat with an electric mixer until well blended.ButterSugarEggs

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes, or until light golden brown and set. Cool.

PreOvenBrownies

The orange cream cheese frosting

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces of cream cheese, softened
  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 16 oz. confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice

In a large mixing bowl, whip the butter and cream cheese together until fluffy. Gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar until it is smooth. Beat in the orange zest and juice. Spread over the brownies.

FrostedBrowniesThen stand back. ‘Cause if you get in the way, you may get knocked over.

 

Salted Caramel Frosting

Salty and sweet go together perfectly just like Rock Hudson and Doris Day,  or, so I don’t totally date myself, Kim and Kanye.

And salted caramel? Well, that may be one of the greatest pairings ever, perhaps even better than Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 3 ounces of cream cheese, softened
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 16 ounces of confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 15 caramels
  • 1 tablespoon milk

Beat your butter, cream cheese, vanilla and salt with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar alternately with three tablespoons of milk, beating at low speed until blended and smooth after each addition.CaramelFrostingBatter

Put your caramels in a microwave-safe bowl with one tablespoon of milk and microwave on high for one minute or until smooth. The time may depend on the power of your microwave. You may want to check and stir the mixture after 30 seconds so you don’t zap them too long.MeltedCaramel

Fold the caramel mixture into your frosting, creating some lovely swirls. You don’t want to completely blend it.

Frost something. (To add a little extra zing, I sprinkled a bit of kosher salt on the top.)

FinishedCupcakesBut, you don’t have to take my word for how tasty this frosting is. I frosted some yellow cupcakes and took them to my students in the Social Media Communication class I’m teaching this semester. I frosted half with this and half with the fresh strawberry frosting I told you about earlier.

My students pounced on them like a lioness on a gazelle. I didn’t take any home, much to the chagrin of He Who Must Be Fed.