Double-Frosted Bourbon Brownies

My dog Meg has a best dog friend.  She gets along with all the dogs in the neighborhood (or at least those who tolerate her), but has a special adoration for her friend Daisy who lives down the street.

Meg and Daisy hanging out tonight. #thatsmymeg #dogbff #wheatensofinstagram #wheatensofig

A post shared by Gwen Schimek (@gwenschimek) on

Due to a number of different circumstances (mostly working on my doctoral degree), I have not branched out much to get to know the people in the neighborhood until Meg arrived in my life.  I have become 1,000 times more social with the folks around here since that occurred.  As a result, I’ve come to adore Daisy’s owners/parents/insert-preferred-dog-language-here.  As they are getting ready to move away from the neighborhood, each step of the journey has occurred, from selling the house, to one of them finishing up her work last week as the school year ended.  Meg and I wanted to acknowledge the day, but Meg ended up getting sick on the last day of school and so we were delayed by a day in helping her start her celebration of being done with work.  But I think these turned out pretty well.  The bourbon flavor is light, and not overly noticeable.  The recipe came from the Iowa State Fair cookbook.

Double Frosted Bourbon Brownies

Double-Frosted Bourbon Brownies


3/4 c flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c sugar
1/3 c vegetable shortening
2 Tbsp water
6 oz semisweet chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 1/2 c chopped walnuts (I omitted — because I forgot about them entirely)
4 Tbsp bourbon whiskey

White Icing

1/2 c butter or margarine, softened
1 tsp vanilla
2 c powdered sugar

Chocolate Glaze

1 Tbsp vegetable shortening
6 oz semisweet chocolate chips

Sift together flour, soda, and salt; set aside.  In a saucepan, combine sugar, shortening, and water.  Bring to a boil.  Stir constantly until sugar is dissolved.  Remove from heat.  Stir in chocolate chips and vanilla.  Beat until smooth.  Beat in eggs, one at a time.  Add flour and walnuts; mix well.  Spread in a greased 9-inch square pan.  Bake for 30 minutes in a 325-degree oven.  Remove from oven.  Sprinkle with bourbon; cool.

Icing: Combine butter and vanilla; beat until creamy.  Add powdered sugar; beat until smooth.  Spread over cooled brownies

Glaze: In a saucepan, melt shortening and chips.  Spread over iced brownies.  When glaze has set, cut into squares.


Marshmallow Brownies

In addition to the midnight muncher bars I posted about a few days ago, I made these marshmallow brownies, so that anyone with a nut allergy would have an option as well.  This came from my mom’s binder of recipes, and from the notes on the page, it looks to be the recipe from the Six Sisters Blog.  I love their blog recipes.  A few of my favorites have come from them.  Again, I’m taking no news as good news from the students.  I should have let the marshmallows cool a little more before I frosted these…next time!

Marshmallow Brownies.jpg

Marshmallow Brownies

1 c margarine
2 c sugar
1/3 c cocoa
4 eggs
1 1/2 c flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
1 package miniature marshmallows

1 stick margarine, softened
1/4 c milk
1-2 tsp vanilla
3 Tbsp cocoa
2-3 c powdered sugar

Soften margarine and blend in sugar and cocoa.  Beat together and add eggs, one at a time, mixing after each one.  Add flour, salt, and vanilla and mix well.

Spread on a large (10x15x1) greased cookie sheet.  Bake 22-25 minutes at 350 degrees.  Remove from oven and cover entire top with 1 package of marshmallows.  Return to oven for 3 minutes, until marshallows are soft and puffy.  Cool and frost with chocolate frosting.

For the frosting: Mix all ingredients with a hand mixer until smooth.  Add more powdered sugar or milk until you reach the desired consistency and spread on top of bars.

Penzey’s Mint Brownies

For a potluck at work before we left for winter break, I decided to bring this recipe I’d seen on the back of my Mint Hot Chocolate mix from Penzey’s.  Have you ever purchased a Penzey’s product?  I’m a big fan of their business, their business philosophy, their products.  So, why wouldn’t I try this Hint of Mint Brownie recipe that seemed relatively easy and a little bit decadent?penzeys-mint-brownies

Penzey’s Hinty Minty Brownies

1 1/2 sticks butter
1 c hot chocolate mix with a hint of mint
`1/2 c sugar
2 eggs
1 c flour
2 tsp vanilla

Melt butter, stir in hot chocolate and sugar until dissolved.  Pour into a large bowl, add eggs, flour, and vanilla.  Stir until combined.  Pour into a greased 8×8 pan, bake at 325 degrees for 40-50 minutes.

Cinnamon Chocolate Crunch Brownies

In addition to the Balsamic Vinegar Strawberry Fudge Brownies I posted a few days ago, I made these cinnamon chocolate crunch brownies.  This is another recipe I’d been intrigued by for a number of years, but never made.  One of my cousins had put it in the Our Lady of Mount Carmel cookbook, second edition.  Almost every time I flip through the cookbook, I am intrigued by the recipe, and this seemed like a great time to try it out.

Cinnamon Crunch Brownies.jpg

Cinnamon Chocolate Crunch Brownies

1 box Cinnamon Toast Crunch
1/2 c butter, melted
1 Tbsp corn syrup
1 box fudge brownie mix
1/2 c vegetable oil
2 eggs
1/4 c water
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/3 c chocolate chips
3 Tbsp cinnamon sugar

(Make your own cinnamon-sugar mixture: 1/2 tsp cinnamon and 3 tablespoons sugar)

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray.  Place cereal in food processor and crush cereal; do in 2 batches.  Can also do this in a plastic bag, using a rolling pin to crush cereal.  It will be about 4 cups.

In a large bowl, mix butter and syrup.  Add crushed cereal, mix thoroughly, and press into pan evenly.  This will form a crust.

Mix the brownie mix as directed on box using eggs, oil, water, and cinnamon.  Stir in 2/3 c chocolate chips.  Pour over crust.  Sprinkle remaining chocolate chips evenly over brownie batter.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Sprinkle cinnamon-sugar mixture over brownies.  Bake for 14-18 minutes longer, or until brownies are set when lightly touched in the center.  Cool for 10 minutes.  Loosen edges, but do not cut.  Cool completely for 2 hours.

Balsamic Vinegar Strawberry Fudge Brownies

One of the folks who won treats for work requested something chocolate be brought in during one week of November.  I spent a few games of the World Series looking through cookbooks and cheering on the Cubs, and found this recipe I had printed from the Eat the Love blog 6 years ago!  I’ve never made them and thought this was probably the time to do it.  According to their blog, the recipe was adapted from David Lebovitz’s Ready for Dessert: My Best Recipes.  I didn’t end up bringing these into work because I didn’t feel like I’d reduced the jam enough, but they still look pretty and taste great!

Balsamic Vinegar Strawberry Fudge Brownies.jpg

Balsamic Vinegar Strawberry Fudge Brownies

Strawberry Balsamic Jam
2 tsp + 1 tsp of Aged Balsamic vinegar (divided)
1 Tbsp sugar
1 c roughly chopped into 1/4″ pieces strawberries
1 tsp tapioca flour

Brownie Batter
6 Tbsp unsalted butter
8 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 c sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 large eggs at room temperature
1/4 c flour

Put the chopped strawberries, sugar, tapioca flour, and 2 tsp balsamic vinegar into a heavy saucepan on a stove.  Cook over medium heat until the berries disintegrate and the jam thickens (about 5 minutes).  Remove from the heat and stir in the reserved tsp balsamic vinegar.  Put aside while make the brownie mix.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Take a piece of foil or parchment paper and line the inside of a 9-inch pan, leaving a couple inches of overhang.  Repeat going the opposite way, if the foil/paper doesn’t reach properly.  This will allow you to pull the brownies up from the pan, without having to dig around in it, ruining your pan and your brownies.

Put the butter and chocolate in a heavy saucepan.  Over low heat, melt the butter and chocolate together.  Remove from the stove and beat in the sugar and vanilla.  Add the eggs, one at a time and then add the flour.  Stir the batter for a full minute or so or until the mixture looks smooth and glossy and loses its graininess.  Pour the batter into the pan.  Spoon the jam onto the batter and swirl a knife around, making sure to pull some of the jam to the edges of the pan.  Don’t swirl too much or the jam will be incorporated into the batter.

Bake in the center of the oven for 30 minutes or until the center looks set.  Let brownies cool completely before you cut.

Brooke’s Best Bombshell Brownies

Before I get too far, let me tell you I don’t know who Brooke is.  Apparently, Brooke is the user who submitted this brownie recipe to the AllRecipes site.  I was cleaning through my folder of printed recipes a few weeks ago before one of my colleagues brought her family over for dinner and I had all of the ingredients on hand, so it was an easy choice to make.

As I was mixing the recipe together, I was reminded of a family story about my aunt and uncle as young newlyweds.  This is one of those stories that I’m unsure the level of truth with it, but in some ways, I don’t care because it is such a great demonstration of love for one’s partner.  In this instance, I had an uncle and aunt who were newly married.  As she cooked various meals, at some point she made a pan of brownies.  My uncle commented that they were great, but not the same as his mom’s.  (We all have those family favorites where you need to have the recipe you were raised eating, right?)  Well, my aunt, wanting to provide him with something special, tried brownie recipe after brownie recipe over and over, unable to find one that tasted the way he remembered.  Finally, she succumbed to the puzzle and reached out to her new mother-in-law to ask for the recipe.  The secret?  The brownies came from a box.

Isn’t that story kind of fantastic?  Sometimes we look for a complicated solution to a problem when an easy answer is right in front of us.  That being said, here’s the brownie recipe I made for these folks coming over.

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Peanut Butter Cheesecake Brownie Bars

When I was home visiting the family earlier this month, my mom shared these super rich peanut butter cheesecake brownie bars.  As a non-coffee drinker, I found myself cutting the sweetness with a diet coke.  I think that was last dessert I’ve eaten and the last diet coke I drank.  I’ve been on a bit of a detox as we enter into the academic year since the week of desserts, where we were eating all the desserts left and right.

As a last dessert, this one served me pretty well.  I don’t know that I’ve eaten something this rich in a long time.  And all the sugar.  Really, everyone should have these at least once in their life, but that might be the only time someone decides to eat them.  So, the next time you’re looking for something that is over-the-top delicious, you should consider making these.

My mom originally printed the recipe from the A Savory Feast blog.  They look even more scrumptious on their web site.  Peanut Butter Cheesecake Brownie Bars.jpg

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