Brownies

Skillet Brownie w/Chocolate Espresso Whipped Cream

| by | Brownies, Desserts, Holiday Recipes, Recipes

Skillet Brownie with Chocolate Espresso Whipped Cream: This chocolatey skillet brownie is super easy to make and even easier to eat! Fudgy and filled with all the chocolate, then topped with a decadent dark chocolate espresso whipped cream, this is a dessert perfect to make and share with your loved ones!  

Skillet Brownie with Chocolate Espresso Whipped Cream | Sempre DolceHappy Friday and happy start of the weekend! Today, I’m going to get right down to business; brownie business, that is.

Valentine’s Day is 4 days away, tomorrow is 24 hours away (actually, it’s technically 7…), and be it for VD or tomorrow or next week, you need this skillet brownie and the whipped cream that accompanies it in your life. It’s chocolatey, espresso-y, chewy (< in a good way!), easy, fudgy, and there is absolutely no reason for you not to make it. No reason whatsoever – unless you happen to not like brownies, which in that case you may kindly leave the premises. Just kidding, I have plenty of non brownie desserts – but seriously though?

Skillet Brownie with Chocolate Espresso Whipped Cream | Sempre DolceBrownies are my go-to for comfort food. And I will even admit that the most comforting part about them is the process of mixing up the batter then licking the bowl, spatula, and anything with brownie batter remnants. If you’re laughing, I have nothing to say in my defense; I am completely guilty.

Skillet Brownie with Chocolate Espresso Whipped Cream | Sempre DolceAnother comfort food for me is skillet desserts, primarily cookies or brownies. There’s the anticipation of eating them warm, along with the way they just beckon for ice cream and chocolate sauce to be piled on top. Or whipped cream; like this chocolate espresso whipped cream.

Skillet Brownie with Chocolate Espresso Whipped Cream | Sempre Dolce I suppose you could say I’m in a mini espresso kick, but really I will take any chance to add espresso powder (or coffee granules if EP is not on hand) to a dessert. It can add so much to a recipe. However, not everyone may be a fan. So if you’re that person, I have good news: feel free to leave out the espresso in the whipped cream. It will taste decadent enough on it’s own, I assure you.

Skillet Brownie with Chocolate Espresso Whipped Cream | Sempre Dolce

Something else I ♥ about brownies – pardon all the love speak but it is the time for this, right? – is that they are super easy and quick to whip up, making them the perfect antidote to any sudden dessert cravings. This recipe only requires 8 ingredients, all of which you most likely have on hand. These ingredients are:

1.) Butter
2.) Sugar
3.) Vanilla
4.) Eggs
5.) Flour
6.) Salt
7.) Cocoa
8.) Chocolate Chips

If you do not have any of these ingredients on hand, this is where I draw the line and must inform you that we can’t be friends. (I will only make an exception on the grounds that maybe you haven’t been to the grocery store this week.) But I trust that since you are on this site, chances are pretty good that you have these essentials for life sitting around somewhere, amiright?

Something else you will need that you may or may not have is a cast iron or ovenproof skillet. If you do not have one, don’t fret, as you can make the brownie in a 10”round cake pan instead. I’ve done this with a skillet cookie and it turned out perfectly fine.

Skillet Brownie with Chocolate Espresso Whipped Cream | Sempre Dolce

Here’s hoping your weekend is filled with all sorts of fun and leisure, and your Valentine’s Day with skillet brownies, peanut butter cheesecakes, and other things sweet and chocolatey!!

Cottura Felice!

Skillet Brownie w/Chocolate Espresso Whipped Cream
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Ingredients

    Brownie:
  • ¾ C. (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 ¼ C. granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 C. + 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • ¾ C. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt (sea or table salt is fine too)
  • 1 ¼ C. dark chocolate chips (you can also use semi-sweet)
  • Chocolate Espresso Whipped Cream:
  • 1 C. heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 ½ tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 3 tbsp. dark or regular unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s Special Dark)
  • 1 tsp. Espresso powder or coffee granules

Instructions

    For the Brownie:
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. and spray a 10” cast iron skillet with cooking spray.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the butter, sugar, and vanilla until combined.
  3. Whisk in eggs, one at a time, until blended.
  4. In a small mixing bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa, and salt.
  5. Gradually add the flour mixture to butter mixture, stirring with a rubber spatula to combine. Then stir in ¾ C. chocolate chips.
  6. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan and sprinkle remaining ½ C. chocolate chips over top.
  7. Bake for 35-38 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with moist crumbs when inserted.
  8. While brownie is baking, make whipped cream.
  9. Once brownies are done baking, transfer to a cooling rack and let cool for about 20 minutes or until desired serving temperature. You definitely want to eat this warm, but not hot.
  10. For the Whipped Cream:
  11. To the bowl of a stand mixer, add heavy whipping cream, vanilla, sugar, cocoa, and espresso powder and whisk briefly to combine.
  12. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill in freezer, along with whisk attachment, for 30 minutes, at least.
  13. Once chilled, beat on high speed using the whisk attachment until stiff peaks form. (See note below!)
  14. Transfer whipped cream to a serving bowl.
  15. Serve brownies warm, with chocolate espresso whipped cream and chocolate sauce (if desired) for topping. Plain whipped cream and ice cream also make wonderful toppings.

Notes

If you have beat whipped cream for a few minutes and it’s still a bit runny, place bowl back in freezer for about 10 minutes, then beat again until you reach stiff peaks.

7.3
https://sempre-dolce.com/skillet-brownie-espresso-chocolate-whipped-cream/

Brownie & Whipped Cream adapted from allrecipes.

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Monster Cookie Brownie Bars

| by | Bars, Brownies, Cookies, Desserts, Recipes

Monster Cookie Brownie Bars: Gooey brownies sandwiched between two layers of monster cookie make for a delicious and comforting dessert/snack. Easy and quick to make, you’ll have these bars in your mouth with little effort involved – total. win.

Monster Cookie Brownie Bars | Sempre Dolce

Hi! I’m back.

I must confess that when taking a break from the blog over the holidays (and a little beyond), I didn’t expect to be gone this long! But life gets busy sometimes, you know?

Actually, what happened was the holidays (= busy), preparing for vacation, vacation, and then after that it’s a bit hard to get back in the swing of things.

So here I am near the end of January (which also means the end of most resolutions, right? Or is that Febraury?) with some photos from our time in the Rocky Mountains and… these Monster Cookie Brownie Bars for you to try (like I said, resolutions end in January, right??).

Idaho Springs, Colorado | Sempre DolceGranby, Colorado | Sempre DolceGranby, Colorado | Sempre DolceGranby, Colorado | Sempre Dolce

My family stayed in a cabin situated on top of a quiet hill near the Winter Park area of Colorado which featured the most gorgeous views. All in all we had a pretty great time, although nothing compared to the time my niece’s had – it was so fun to watch them experience some firsts in winter activities. :)

The Perk Coffee Company Winter Park CO | Sempre DolceGranby, Colorado | Sempre DolceGranby, Colorado | Sempre Dolce

OK, so about these bars. These monster cookies have been a family favorite and one of my personal favorites period (thanks, Sally!). So why not combine them with another one of my favorite desserts?

These bars are easy to make and I don’t think I need to say much about the yum factor. I mean, monster cookies + gooey brownies just kind of speaks for itself.

Monster Cookie Brownie Bars | Sempre Dolce

This recipe is easy to put together as the cookies are a one bowl affair and you can use a box mix for the brownies. I don’t usually go in for boxed mixes, but we had one around the house that needed to be used and since the brownies were going to be sandwiched between peanut butter cookie goodness, I used it to make life easier. And really, in this case you couldn’t tell – #winwin. But feel free to make them from scratch too!  Either way, they’re going to be soo good.

Monster Cookie Brownie Bars | Sempre Dolce

Cottura Felice!

Monster Cookie Brownie Bars
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Ingredients

  • 3/4 C. (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 C. light brown sugar, packed
  • ¼ C. + 2 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 C. + 2 tbsp. creamy peanut butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 ¾ C. + 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • ¾ C. quick oats
  • 1 1/2 C. M&Ms
  • 3/4 C. semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 box brownie mix (I used Ghiradelli’s Double Chocolate Brownie mix) or your favorite recipe (see note below!)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Line a 9x13” baking dish with parchment paper, and spray with cooking spray.
  3. Set aside.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using a hand-held mixer and large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugars together on medium speed until combined, about 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add peanut butter, eggs, and vanilla, mixing to combine and scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
  6. With the mixer on low speed, mix in baking soda and flour, mixing until just combined.
  7. With a rubber spatula, fold in quick oats, M&Ms, and chocolate chips.
  8. Set aside.
  9. Prepare brownie batter according to recipe directions.
  10. Press half of cookie dough evenly in the bottom of the pan.
  11. Pour brownie batter on top and then crumble remaining cookie dough evenly over brownie batter.
  12. Bake for 47-55 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with moist crumbs when inserted. Cover the bars with foil if you notice the cookie top getting brown early (you might check around 30-40 min).
  13. Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack. Let cool almost completely before removing and serving.

Notes

Make sure the brownie recipe you use yields a 9x13" pan of brownies.

7.3
https://sempre-dolce.com/monster-cookie-brownie-bars/

Monster Cookies adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction

 

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Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake Brownie Cake

| by | Brownies, Cakes & Cupcakes, Cheesecakes, Desserts, Holiday Recipes, Recipes

Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake Brownie Cake: Why choose between three desserts when you can have all three? This Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake Brownie Cake features three decadent layers of brownie, peppermint cheesecake, and chocolate cake. With a light peppermint whipped cream frosting sandwiched between, and topped with a chocolate ganache glaze, this cake is a stunner. 

Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake Brownie Cake | Sempre-Dolce.comYou’ll never believe this, but I’m writing this post in the mall. Truth. As I sit here waiting for my brother, the rush of people are, well, rushing by – although some might just be sauntering. A bench is serving as my office in the mall that was a Christmastime tradition, more than a dozen years ago. Even now, the Scrooge puppet show that we watched as kids has just finished, I heard it not too far off.

You might be wondering what could be so special about a mall. Especially a mall at Christmas during the utter chaos of the season. I’d be wondering too. But memories are filled with· my mom and aunt taking all of us cousins to see the big train display, marvel at the outrageous toys at FAO Shwarz and pick up some treats in the adjoining candy store. It may seem weird, but this mall was a fun place to visit during the festive season.

Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake Brownie Cake | Sempre-Dolce.com

How things change, but at least we have memories to hold on to! Unfortunately, many things have changed about this mall since I was a youngster. The arrival of new shops and the loss of some dearly loved shops; the big train display, the puppet shows, and the lack of penguins which used to appear around this time (yes, penguins). Even so, through all the changes, it is still a family tradition – which is partly why I’m here today. :)

Do you have any special Christmastime memories/traditions?

Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake Brownie Cake | Sempre-Dolce.com

Now about this cake… Oh, this cake. It’s not a memory or a tradition, but it should become one. If you’re an indecisive person, the person where the ice cream shop with 50 flavors is more nightmare than pleasure, you will love this dessert. Even if you’re not indecisive. It consists of three layers.. and three different desserts. Why choose between options when you can have them all?

Am I right or what?

OK, so more on these layers, these THREE luscious layers. They consist of:

  1. Chocolate Cake
  2. Peppermint Cheesecake
  3. Brownie

And sandwiched between said layers is a peppermint whipped cream frosting. On top? Ganache. Pure ganache.

Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake Brownie Cake | Sempre-Dolce.comI chose the whipped cream frosting because I’m not a big fan of the usual frosting fare paired with something other than pure cake. The idea didn’t just seem to work and the thought of cheesecake paired with a buttercream frosting wasn’t thrilling me. But whipped cream? That’s different. And it’s really what this cake needs as it’s heavy enough already.

And that’s also partly why I chose a ganache glaze for toppers – well, that and the fact it’s ganache. Ganache! Ganache goes with everything and is awesome with everything. Ganache and cake? Yes. Ganache and cheesecake? Heck, yeah. Ganache and brownies? One of the best toppings for a brownie! Ganache and burgers? Ok, not that, but you get my point.

Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake Brownie Cake | Sempre-Dolce.com

Now, let’s break down the layers individually. First, there’s the cake. This cake is my new favorite chocolate cake recipe and I don’t I’ll ever make another. It’s moist (which is pretty much all I look for in a cake) and full of chocolate goodness (um, it has coffee!). It also makes a wonderful accompaniment to the cheesecake.

Then there’s the peppermint cheesecake. It’s peppermint cheesecake and I shouldn’t have to tell you anything more… but I will. The highlight is the peppermint candies inside which melt into the batter and make for wonderful flavors. This not only goes well with the chocolate cake but is lovely with the brownie – think of a brownie base cheesecake.

Finally, the brownie. I chose one of my go-to recipes; it’s a good amount of fudgy and good in the way only a brownie can be. It’s also no muss, no fuss to make, which is what you need for this cake.

Put these layers together and voila, chocolate peppermint heaven.

Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake Brownie Cake | Sempre-Dolce.com

Before making, here are a few things to note:

  1. Make sure all your pans are exactly the same size. If you look, you can see the cake is a little off and that’s because one of my 3 identical cake pans went missing (how does that happen?) and so I used one that was a little deeper than the others. Not good.
  2. The brownie layer is definitely thinner than the other layers. If this bothers you, you can either, trim a little more off the cake (it’s pretty thick), double the brownie recipe, or use your personal favorite brownie recipe.
  3. Cold brownie can be a little hard to cut through, so be sure to use a sharp knife for cutting.
  4. If you want to decorate the top with some whipped cream, then I recommend doubling the whipped cream frosting recipe – it’s better than using store-bought whipped cream

And I think that’s about it!

Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake Brownie Cake | Sempre-Dolce.com

Cottura felice!

P.S. Please pardon the million steps (I wish I could break them up more!) and please don’t be intimidated by them – the time involved is really the hardest thing about this recipe. It’s worth the effort and you can do it! I have faith.

Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake Brownie Cake
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Ingredients

    Cheesecake Layer:
  • 2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 C. granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp. half and half
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp. peppermint extract
  • ⅓ C. + 2 tbsp. peppermint crunch baking chips (I use Andes)
  • Chocolate Cake Layer:
  • 1 C. + 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1 C. granulated sugar
  • 6 tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 C. buttermilk, shaken(I recommend full-fat buttermilk!)
  • 1/4 C. vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 C. freshly brewed hot coffee
  • Brownie Layer:
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/4 C. granulated sugar
  • 3/4 C. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 C. cup all-purpose flour
  • Whipped Cream Frosting:
  • 1 C. heavy whipping cream, well chilled
  • ½ C. powdered sugar
  • ¼ tsp. Peppermint extract
  • Ganache:
  • 1 ½ C. (9 oz) semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 C. heavy cream (or heavy whipping cream)
  • Garnish:
  • Crushed peppermint candies
  • Whipped cream frosting, optional

Instructions

    For the cheesecake:
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Line the bottom of an 8 in. round cake pan with parchment paper.
  3. In a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth.
  4. Add in sugar and beat until thoroughly combined.
  5. Add eggs, beating after each addition.
  6. Beat in half and half, then extracts. Beat until well combined, scraping the bowl as needed.
  7. Stir in peppermint baking chips.
  8. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 25-27 minutes, or until set in center and edges are puffed.
  9. When done baking, remove from oven and place on a cooling rack. Cool slightly, then run knife around edges of cheesecake. Cool completely.
  10. Once cool, invert cheesecake onto a sheet of plastic wrap. Wrap then place in freezer while making other layers, at least 1 hour.
  11. For the cake:
  12. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  13. Line the bottom of an 8 in. round cake pan with parchment paper and spray with baking spray (or grease with butter and flour).
  14. Sift flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large mixing bowl.
  15. In a small/medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together buttermilk, oil, egg, and vanilla until combined.
  16. Add coffee and whisk until just combined.
  17. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with moist crumbs attached when inserted.
  18. Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack to cool.
  19. For the brownies (if you have double ovens, the brownies can bake separately while the cake bakes to save time):
  20. Preheat oven to 325° F.
  21. Line the bottom of an 8 in. round cake pan with parchment paper and spray with baking spray (or grease with butter and flour).
  22. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together sugar, cocoa, and salt.
  23. Add butter, pouring in a steady stream, and whisking constantly until blended.
  24. Add in vanilla and whisk to combine.
  25. Add eggs one at a time, whisking vigorously to blend after each addition.
  26. Using a rubber spatula, stir in flour and stir until just combined, scraping sides of bowl as needed.
  27. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs attached when inserted.
  28. Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack.
  29. Once cake and brownies are cool enough to handle, invert onto cooling rack to cool completely.
  30. Once ready to assemble, make frosting.
  31. For the frosting:
  32. Place the bowl of a stand mixer (or a metal bowl and beaters of an electric mixer) along with whisk attachment in freezer for about 10 minutes to chill.
  33. In the chilled bowl using the chilled whisk attachment, whisk the cream until frothy and slightly thick.
  34. Gradually add powdered sugar then peppermint extract and beat until thick. You will want it thick enough for spreading as a frosting.
  35. If you have doubled the frosting recipe to use for garnish, reserve about ½ C. and place in fridge.
  36. To assemble:
  37. Remove cheesecake from freezer.
  38. Trim top off of cake.
  39. Place the brownie, top side down on a cake plate/pedestal.
  40. Place ½ of the frosting on the brownie and spread evenly over the top.
  41. Unwrap cheesecake and place top side up on top of brownie layer.
  42. Spread remaining frosting evenly over the top of cheesecake.
  43. Place cake top side down on top of cheesecake layer and place in fridge.
  44. Make the ganache:
  45. Place chocolate chips in a medium-sized bowl.
  46. In a microwave safe bowl/container/measuring cup, microwave on high setting for 1 ½ - 2 minutes, or until just beginning to simmer. (This can also be done on the stove top in a small saucepan set over medium-high heat, if you prefer.)
  47. Pour cream over chocolate and let stand for about 5 minutes.
  48. Then, whisk together until mixture is smooth and chocolate is completely melted.
  49. Remove cake from fridge and pour ganache over the top, spreading with a spatula so it goes over the sides.
  50. Using the spatula, spread ganache around the sides of cake until thoroughly coated.
  51. Decorate the top with crushed peppermint candies and place in fridge to allow ganache to set.
  52. If decorating with whipped cream frosting: once ganache is set and you are ready to serve, pipe some of the reserved frosting around the top of cake and sprinkle with peppermint dust (or very finely ground peppermints), if desired.
  53. Store any leftover cake in the fridge and make sure it does not sit out for too long at room temperature.
7.3
https://sempre-dolce.com/chocolate-peppermint-cheesecake-brownie-cake/

Recipe Adapted from Epicurious (cheesecake & brownies), Ina Garten (cake), and Food.com (frosting)

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Fudgy Peppermint Brownies

| by | Brownies, Holiday Recipes, Recipes

It’s less than two weeks until Christmas and I have the big total of 1 gift so far. Yeah, I’m doing great on my gift shopping…

What about you; how many gifts do you have?

Fudgy Peppermint Brownies | Sempre Dolce

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