Peppermint is often paired with dark chocolate, but it can be an excellent match for white chocolate, too. White chocolate is creamy and sweet, and can serve as a very nice counterpoint to strong, bright peppermint. This is exactly how these flavors come together in these White Chocolate Peppermint Crunch Blondies. The easy to make bar cookies are buttery, chewy and tender, with a creamy sweetness from white chocolate and a bright flavor of peppermint that pops without overwhelming the other flavors in the bar.
I made the bars with chopped up peppermint bark, Andes Peppermint Crunch Baking Chips (full review coming soon) specifically. Many types of peppermint bark, including the Andes chips that I used, include a bit of chopped up peppermint that gives them a bit of a crunchy texture. This alone will add a subtle hint of crunch to the blondies that give them a little texture, however it’s a much more subtle crunch in a blondie than it is when eaten plain, so I opted to add some sliced almonds to the bars to give them a little more texture. The thin almond slices add crunch and a hint of almond flavor without taking away from the mint or chocolate.
Any peppermint bark – so long as it has white chocolate and a generous amount of peppermint – can work in this recipe, so you can use what you have on hand or any brand that you pick up in the store. If you don’t have peppermint bark, however, you can easily substitute it by combining a few tablespoons of crushed peppermint or candy canes with a cup of white chocolate chips.
If you love pumpkin, but are getting a bit tired of baking pumpkin pies, you might want to mix things up a little bit with a pumpkin bar cookie. These Pumpkin Bars with Spice Glaze are a nice change of pace, but will still satisfy a pumpkin fan with their flavor. The bars are moist and tender, with a crumbly and almost pound cake-like texture to them, which is quite different from many dense and chewy pumpkin bar cookies. They’re topped off with a simple glaze that includes the same spices found in the bars – the bars themselves include a generous amount of pumpkin puree and a blend of cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg – and adds sweetness while highlighting those spices.
The bars are made with a slightly unusual method for bar cookies, a method where the butter is cut into the flour mixture instead of being creamed together with the sugar. This is a method that is commonly used for shortbread, and makes for an exceptionally tender cookie – not a cakey or chewy one. The texture makes the cookies feel rich and satisfying, since they almost seem to melt in your mouth a bit as you eat them.
I recommend cutting these into small rectangular bars. A small piece is enough to satisfy the urge for something sweet, and with the melt-in-your-mouth texture of these bars, they can be quite rich if cut into large pieces. If you want a little variety, topping them with a thin layer of cream cheese icing that has been spiced with a little cinnamon would also be a good option. +Continue Reading
I think that everyone should have one go-to brownie recipe. This One Bowl Brownie recipe is mine. The recipe takes just a few minutes to put together and I typically have everything that I need to make it on hand at any given time. Brownies are a huge crowd pleaser, so they’re perfect for almost every situation when you need or want a baked good. Plus, you can put any number of spins on the basic recipe by adding nuts, chocolate chips, dried fruit, frosting or ice cream to it, which means that it never gets boring.
The brownie recipe is very straightforward, using cocoa powder and dark chocolate to give them a rich chocolate flavor. I’ve seen brownie recipes that have a lot more chocolate in them than these do, but believe me when I say that you get a lot of chocolate into every bite with these. Sometimes, I find that adding more chocolate can just make the brownies heavy and more like a block of fudge than an actual brownie. And, for those times when I am really craving chocolate, I can always stir in some chocolate chips for even more chocolate in these. There is no leavening in the recipe, which keeps the brownies dense and moist.
To me, a one bowl recipe means that everything can be measured out straight into one bowl and easily mixed together. These brownies definitely fit that definition and I frequently measure things out directly into the mixing bowl. Plus, you don’t even need a mixer for this recipe because it comes together fast with a simple whisk or spoon. In fairness, if you don’t have a microwave-safe mixing bowl, then you should melt your butter and chocolate together in a smaller microwave-safe bowl first. This adds a second bowl if you need to do it, but fortunately small bowls always seem easier to clean than the big ones, so it won’t make much of a mess.
To demonstrate just how easy to make these are, I even put together a short video that will walk you through the process:
Lemon and dark chocolate may not always sound like a match made in heaven, but the two flavors are a surprisingly good combination. The bright and tart flavor of the lemon really highlights the richness of chocolate by contrasting with it. You get a lot of chocolate flavor, and a much more refreshing finish from the lemon. Of course, both lemon and dark chocolate are strong flavors, and you need to balance them to get a good mix in the finished product. Sometimes this means adding just a hint of chocolate to a lemon dessert. In this case, it means giving a hint of lemon to a chocolate dessert in these Lemon and Dark Chocolate Brownies.
This recipe definitely delivers a rich chocolate brownie with a pop of lemon to it. I used a favorite recipe for Chocolate Mint Sticks as the inspiration for these brownies, as that recipe introduces mint in a subtle way and seemed like the perfect fit for a lemon twist. The brownies have a fudgy dark chocolate base and they’re topped with a very thin layer of lemon icing, made with fresh lemon juice and lemon zest. They’re finished with a very thin drizzle of chocolate glaze, which really serves to drive home the chocolate flavor and is also a nice way to temper the sweetness of the icing.
The brownies are baked and cooled, before being spread with the lemon icing. The iced brownies should spend a few minutes in the refrigerator to set the frosting, before the chocolate glaze is added to finish them, too. The brownies can then sit at room temperature until the glaze sets up – but it is much quicker to pop them into the fridge or freezer for a few minutes (especially on a hot day!) to make slicing easier and neater. I think that fresh lemon juice and zest is going to deliver the most refreshing lemon flavor for this frosting, but you can substitute milk for the lemon juice and use lemon extract to add lemon flavor. +Continue Reading
I bake brownies more often than I bake blondies, because the fudgy chocolate bars are always a crowd pleaser and they simply come to mind a bit more often than their non-chocolate counterparts. Blondies are such a versatile type of bar cookie, however, because you can work any ingredients you want into them – chocolate or not. They’re also much quicker to bake than individual cookies, since you don’t need to portion out the dough or bake in batches. This particular batch of blondies is something that I put together just to break out of my brownie rut, but the recipe is definitely a keeper.
Milk Chocolate and Coconut Blondies are moist, chewy bar cookies that are bursting with milk chocolate chips and shredded coconut. These two flavors make a great combination, and I wanted to make sure that I used enough of each that they would really stand out and shine in these bars. The batter for these bars starts out much like cookie dough, with a touch less leavening because you want them to keep a dense and brownie-like consistency as they bake. You definitely get the butter-brown sugar-vanilla combination that you get in a good batch of chocolate chip cookies with these, though the milk chocolate and coconut are still the stars.
I used sweetened shredded coconut, but unsweetened coconut can also be used. Milk chocolate is sweet and rich tasting, but a little bit more mellow than dark or semisweet chocolate chips are, so they don’t overwhelm the flavor of the coconut. That being said, you could certainly give these bars a try with regular chocolate chips if you don’t have milk chocolate chips (or you could chop up a bar of milk chocolate). The toasted coconut on top of the bars helps to keep the coconut flavor in the forefront no matter what else you decide to mix into these bars. +Continue Reading