Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Trick or TREAT?




Of course you picked "treat"! Who wouldn't? Especially if these amazing (addictive) brownies brookies are the reward. That's right, "brookie".  Brownie + Cookie = Brookie.

Now when you can't decide if you're craving a brownie or a cookie, you don't have to! This is exactly what happened on a rare lazy, rainy, family-movie-marathon-Sunday in our household. We were all craving some kind of home-baked, decadent treat, but couldn't agree upon a recipe. My family was lobbying for brownies, but I had cookies on the brain. We compromised with this. Best of both worlds. And it was perfect, because these are so easy. No need to take tray after tray of cookies out of the oven.

I found a recipe from "Pinch of Yum" that offered excellent details for chocolate chip cookie brownies. The author had clearly done her "brookie" research, and her post was very helpful to the success of this recipe. After reading all of the instructions and insights, I altered the recipe to fit my craving.

On the day that I made these, I was craving candy corn and dry roasted peanuts. Around these parts, at this time of year, one can often find a delectable mix of peanuts and candy corn set out at parties and tailgates. It's that whole "sweet and salty for the win" combo. I had this in mind as I gathered my baking ingredients. And so...rather than chocolate chips for the cookie layer, I opted for peanut butter chips and candy corn.

The beauty of these is that you can use any brownie and cookie recipe combo to customize them to your liking.  This time I went with the Triple Fudge Ghiradelli brownie mix and the peanut butter chip/candy corn cookie mix. (And it was INCREDIBLE!) But the possibilities are endless. I've seen them with Oatmeal Scotchies baked on top of brownies and I imagine that peanut butter cookies with chopped Reese's cups stirred in would make for an amazing peanut butter/chocolate combination. Or hey, maybe stir in or top with some chopped up Halloween candy. You've gotta get rid of it before the Christmas candy starts rolling in, right? Be creative!

Let's gather the ingredients. A quick glance shows that you just need a brownie mix, oil, water, and egg for the brownie layer and ingredients for a small batch of cookie dough + whatever stir-ins you choose. In this case, I selected peanut butter chips and candy corn.

To get started, line an 8x8 or 9x9 baking pan with foil and spray with a little non-stick cooking spray or grease with butter.

Then prepare the brownie mix and pour it into the pan.

Prepare the cookie portion, just as you normally make cookies- cream the butter and sugars, add the egg and vanilla, beat in the dry ingredients until just mixed.

Finally, stir in the chips.
Drop the cookie dough by spoonful over the brownie batter. Or find a determined, brownie-lovin' 3 year old to complete this step for you. I recommend the latter. It was pretty entertaining.
You only want to use about 2/3 of the cookie batter. I took the remaining batter and baked it into 5 or 6 cookies. This was a really good thing, since these brookies took about an hour to bake and at least 20 minutes to cool to the point that they were ready to cut. Conversely, cookies only take 10 minutes to bake. I used the cookies to satiate the hungry crowd who was growing increasingly impatient for the brookies as the smell of them baking filled the house.
Gently press the cookie dough into the brownie batter and smooth it a bit.

Our finishing touch was the candy corn. My pre-schooler and I arranged a little over 1/4 cup on top and then gently pressed them into the dough for a festive fall twist.
Pop the pan into a 350 degree oven. The recipe recommended baking for 40 minutes. When I checked at 40 minutes, they were still really "jiggly" in the center. I continued baking them for another 20 minutes, checking at 5 minute intervals, until the center was a little more "set". Not completely firm- I do love my brownies pretty gooey- but the cookie layer should be baked so that a toothpick would come out clean if you tested it.

This was a very long wait for a certain young man...

The recipe also recommended covering with aluminum foil to allow the brookies to bake without getting too brown. I followed "Pinch of Yum's" suggestion, and baked them for 20 minutes uncovered, then 10 minutes covered, then I uncovered them for another 5-10, and finally I covered them up for the remaining baking time.

Hey! Maybe that's why they took so long to bake?!? I kept opening the oven! Ha!

Mine came out of the oven looking like this. Now you just need to let them sit and cool for a bit. I'd say 20-30 minutes is ideal.

Ugh. More waiting!

I cooled mine on a baking rack to allow cool air to get underneath and speed things along.


Finally, a little over two hours after I announced, "I'm baking brownies!" these were ready to cut and serve.

And let me tell you, they are worth the wait!

I actually had to take the last 9 over to the neighbor's today. I just couldn't stop eating them. Every time I walked by the plate I'd break off another piece. And that bite would be so good that I'd find a reason to walk by the plate again for another piece. And another. And another. My will power was just no match for the mighty "brookie". And so I made them my neighbors' problem. Aren't I thoughtful? (Insert evil Halloween laugh here).

Okay, so here's the recipe as adapted by me. If you have a chance, pop over to "Pinch of Yum" and read the original author's post. After all, she tested it like 4 times as she was perfecting the recipe. Once you try these amazing treats, I promise, you will join me in thanking her for the hard work!

Peanut Butter Chip-Candy Corn "Brookies" 
Adapted by Krista's Kitchen from Pinch of Yum

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick salted butter (1/2 cup, very soft)
  • ¾ cup white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
  • 1 egg
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter chips
  • 18.9 ounce brownie mix - I used Ghiradelli Triple Fudge mix
  • (eggs, oil, and water for brownie mix)
  • heaping 1/4 cup of candy corn
Instructions
  1. With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugars in a small mixing bowl. Add vanilla and egg; cream again until smooth. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir gently until incorporated. Stir in chips. Store in refrigerator until ready to use.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare brownie batter as directed. Pour batter into a foil lined and greased 8x8 or 9x9 baking dish. Scatter pieces of cookie dough over the top of the brownie batter. In my 8x8 square pan, I was able to get about ⅔ of the cookie dough to fit over the brownies and I just saved the rest for regular cookies. Press gently on the dough just until it starts to sink down into the batter a little bit and smooth slightly. Arrange candy corn evenly over the top, pressing gently into the cookie dough.
  3. Bake for 40 minutes, then check for doneness, covering with foil if you need to keep the cookies from getting too brown on top. Let stand for 20-30 minutes and cut into pieces for serving.
Notes from Pinch of Yum:
Beware of taking these out too early because the cookies look brown - usually when I do that, the brownies are still underdone and they sink down in the middle. I found that it was easiest to alternate baking them covered and uncovered. I did the first 20 minutes uncovered, the next 10 minutes covered, and the last 5 minutes uncovered. This allows the brownies to bake without the cookies getting too brown. I've also taken foil and just made a cover around the edges so the middle can bake without burning the tops of the edges.

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