Tag Archives: brownies

Black Forest Brownies

14 Feb

Valentine’s Day is here!  And what better way to celebrate than whipping up a special dessert for your loved ones?  Brownies are definitely one of my favorite desserts, and I thought, what could be better than Black Forest Cake?  Um, Black Forest brownies!  I love the cherry-chocolate combination, especially with the topping of a light cream cheese frosting.   I made up this recipe totally on a whim, not knowing how it would turn out, but Matt actually said this might be one of his favorite desserts ever.  That’s pretty monumental, and I’m pumped that they turned out so well!

Traditionally Black Forest cake is made with a whipped cream topping, so I wanted to combine that with a little bit of cream cheese frosting, and the result was DIVINE.  Like, probably this will be the cream cheese icing recipe I default on, because it had the lovely cream cheese flavor, without being so overly sweet and heavy.  It was light and delicious.

I like to cut the brownies and then spread the icing on, so I can do them “to order”.  If serving immediately for a crowd, feel free to spread them all and then cut them (though they may not turn out as clean looking).   I thought that they might get soggy if I frosted them all in advance and then didn’t eat them right away.  I just kept the frosting in a bowl in the refrigerator and spread it on a brownie as they are ready to be eaten.  Also, I like to store these brownies in the refrigerator because I thought they tasted better, and firmed up a little more, when kept chilled.

Black Forest Brownies

Time: 30 min. plus baking time  Yield: 16 brownies

  • 1 box brownie mix (I recommend Ghirardelli), plus eggs, oil and water for the mix
  • Chocolate chips (to add to the batter, if desired)
  • 2 cans cherry pie filling (16 ounces each) – I used Polar brand, which I had never heard of, but I liked that this brand did not contain high fructose corn syrup, just cherries and sugar, etc.
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 4 ounces reduced fat cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Chocolate shavings to garnish, if desired ;-)

Strain one can of the cherry pie filling to remove most of the liquid filling.  No need to rinse, just remove as much as possible so as to mix just the cherries into the brownie mix.

Prepare the brownies according to the package directions, stirring in the cherries from 1 can and chocolate chips (if desired)  immediately before pouring into a parchment-lined 9×9 baking pan. (Parchment lining allows you to remove the brownies from the pan as one unit, then you can cut them more easily on a cutting board).

Bake according to package directions.  Mine took slightly longer than the package instructions, possibly due to the increased moisture from the cherries.  So, you may want to extend the bake time by a few minutes if you notice they seem too wet when the time is up.  After baking, let the brownies cool completely in the pan.

Meanwhile, make the frosting.  In one bowl, whip the heavy cream with an electric mixer until it forms stiff peaks (when you pull the mixer out, the peaks on the mixer should stand up without flopping over).   In a separate bowl, beat the cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla until combined.  Gently fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture.

Once brownies are cooled, cut into portions, then spread each with cream cheese topping.  Top each with some cherry pie filling, if desired.

Valentine’s Day Blondies

7 Feb

In honor of Valentine’s day, which is quickly approaching, and my little brothers coming to visit me, I wanted to make some festive blondies.  One would think that as such an extreme chocoholic, I would not condone blondies, which are basically like brownies, minus the chocolate.  However, I love them.  And they really remind me of one big chewy chocolate chip cookie.

These blondies turned out so buttery and had almost a butterscotch flavor, due to all the brown sugar in them.  They really tasted like Mrs. Fields cookies – YUM!  I may almost go so far as to say that they were slightly too butterscotchy, and next time I make them I might use half white sugar and half brown sugar (or maybe 3/4 brown, 1/4 white?).  Either way, I’m sure your family will love these!

I followed the basic recipe from Better Homes and Gardens, adapting it slightly to incorporate M&M’s and chocolate chips.  I also realized that I was almost out of all-purpose flour when I was just about to make these, so I used 1 cup self-rising flour and 1 cup all-purpose flour (the self rising flour elminated the need for the baking powder and baking soda, but I included the original measurements below because I’m sure most people have all purpose flour on hand).

Valentine’s Day Blondies recipe slightly modified from Better Homes and Gardens cookbook

Time: 20 min. active, 35 min. inactive, Yield: 9 x 13 pan – cut into as many as  you want!

  • 2/3 cup butter
  • 2 cups packed light brown sugar (or half brown, half white sugar)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (or 1 cup all-purpose and 1 cup self-rising, and eliminate the soda and powder)
  • 1 cup M&M’s
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.  Line a 13 x 9 baking pan with parchment paper (for easily removal and slicing of the bars), and spray with cooking spray.

Add butter and brown sugar to a medium saucepot and heat, stirring constantly, until butter and sugar are melted together and smooth:

Allow to cool for ~5 minutes (you don’t want to scramble the eggs in the next step, so this is important!).

Add the eggs to the sugar/butter mixture, one at a time, stirring until incorporated.  Stir in the vanilla.  Then stir in the flour/salt/baking powder/baking soda until combined.

The mixture should be fairly cool by now.  Add in half the chocolate chips and some of the M&Ms (less than half).  Stir, and then pour the mixture into the baking pan.  Sprinkle the top with the remaining chips and M&Ms.

Bake until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean, 25-30 minutes.  Cool in the pan on a metal rack for a few minutes then transfer the bar out of the pan onto the metal rack and cool more.

Slice when the bars are still slightly warm.