Mini S’mores Brownies:Dense. Fudgy. Perfectly decadent. Easy. Everything you love about s’mores and brownies is compacted into this delicious dessert no one will be able to turn down!
Happy Friday! Today I’m coming at you with these Mini S’mores Brownies, which I think you are going to ♥. If you’ve been hanging around here for a few of years (if you have, I’d like to know who you are!), you might remember these that I posted back in 2014? This is a variation of that recipe.
I made a few tweaks which make these even better than the original and also a bit simpler; specifically in the just-as-tasty-but-easier-to-make meringue.
The original recipe uses a marshmallow meringue which is good, but a little more time consuming than I like. So for the version here today, I used a Swiss meringue. Much simpler, but just as good. In fact, I might even prefer it over the marshmallow – though that could just be the lazy inside of me speaking there… It seriously is so simple to make and yet provides you with the effect of marshmallow.
Another change made was to chop up the milk chocolate bar and incorporate it into the batter, instead of using whole squares placed on top. I was pleased with the results of this because it almost gives off the taste of a milk chocolate brownie and adds more to the overall s’mores effect.
The end result is so amazing, you guys.
These Mini S’mores Brownies are super easy to make and will be ready in under two hours! The serving size is perfect (helloo, no sharing!) and they are the perfect amount of dense and gooey; choc-full of chocolate, and also, who can resist a pillowy cloud of toasted meringue on top??
Enjoy and cottura felice!
Some Things to Note:
Baking: Please, please try not to overbake your brownies, you want them fudgy! (If you don’t, then this recipe is probably not for you!) They should be done in no more than 25 minutes (mine were done in 25). And when testing, remember that there is a lot of chocolate in there, so examine your toothpick/cake tester closely to see whether you are getting batter or chocolate. You want to look for some moist crumbs attached to the toothpick/tester; you will also be able to tell somewhat by looking at the tops. You do not want a center that looks dark and fudgy, if that makes sense. Here is a bit from Epicurious on the matter of baking brownies:
When done, the edges of the brownies will be visibly baked through and the center will be set (that is, not wiggly) when you shake the pan. Guy-Hamilton looks for the first sign of cracking on the brownie’s top—which should be shiny and set—and then pulls them out. These cues override the recipe; even if the instructions suggest baking for five more minutes, when your brownies exhibit these signs and look done, take them out.
Meringue: When adding the meringue, you can use two methods. You can pipe large dots like I did (see photos) or you can place in mounds and swirl it. I must confess that I did the dots for the sake of the photos alone (shame on me) and would actually recommend the mounds as you will have a LOT of meringue left otherwise! (Between you and me, I actually went back after the shoot and added the rest of the meringue, so they looked like they do here – the more the better, right?)
Pinch of kosher salt (sea or table salt is fine too!)
1 tsp. coffee granules, or espresso powder, optional
1 (4.4 oz) milk chocolate bar, chopped into small pieces
6 mini ready graham cracker crusts (I used Keebler)
For the Meringue:
3 egg whites
¾ C. granulated sugar
Preheat oven to 325° F. and place mini crusts on a baking sheet.
In a medium bowl, whisk together melted butter, sugar, and vanilla.
Add egg and whisk to combine.
In a small bowl (I actually used a cereal bowl!), whisk together flour, cocoa powder, salt, and optional coffee granules.
Gradually add to wet ingredients, whisking (or stirring) briefly after each addition until just combined.
Using a rubber spatula, stir in chopped chocolate.
Divide batter evenly between crusts and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick/tester comes out with moist crumbs attached. * Please see note in post!*
Transfer brownies to a cooling rack and let cool completely.
Once brownies are cool, make meringue.
For the meringue:
In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together egg whites and sugar.
Place bowl over a pan of simmering water (make sure bowl does not touch water) and whisk until mixture reaches a temperature of 160° F., or until sugar is completely dissolved and egg whites are warm to the touch, about 3-5 minutes.
Transfer bowl to stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whisk on high speed until stiff peaks form and mixture is thick, glossy, and marshmallow-like in texture, about 5 minutes.
Add meringue by placing mounds on each brownie and swirling around with a spoon. Again, see note in post!
Using a kitchen torch, brown/toast the meringue. Alternatively, you can place under the broiler for about 30 seconds, until browned.
Serve immediately (< recommended!) or place in fridge and bring out 30 minutes to 1 hour before serving to allow the brownies to come to room temperature.
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! ♥♥♥
Happy 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?
Brownies 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.
Another 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.
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.
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:
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.
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!!
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.
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??).
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. :)
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.
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.
1 box brownie mix (I used Ghiradelli’s Double Chocolate Brownie mix) or your favorite recipe (see note below!)
Preheat oven to 350° F.
Line a 9x13” baking dish with parchment paper, and spray with cooking spray.
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.
Add peanut butter, eggs, and vanilla, mixing to combine and scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
With the mixer on low speed, mix in baking soda and flour, mixing until just combined.
With a rubber spatula, fold in quick oats, M&Ms, and chocolate chips.
Prepare brownie batter according to recipe directions.
Press half of cookie dough evenly in the bottom of the pan.
Pour brownie batter on top and then crumble remaining cookie dough evenly over brownie batter.
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).
Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack. Let cool almost completely before removing and serving.
Make sure the brownie recipe you use yields a 9x13" pan of brownies.
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.
You’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.
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?
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.. andthree 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:
And sandwiched between said layers is a peppermint whipped cream frosting. On top? Ganache. Pure ganache.
I 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.
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.
Before making, here are a few things to note:
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.
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.
Cold brownie can be a little hard to cut through, so be sure to use a sharp knife for cutting.
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!
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.
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
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
1 ½ C. (9 oz) semisweet chocolate chips
1 C. heavy cream (or heavy whipping cream)
Crushed peppermint candies
Whipped cream frosting, optional
For the cheesecake:
Preheat oven to 350° F.
Line the bottom of an 8 in. round cake pan with parchment paper.
In a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth.
Add in sugar and beat until thoroughly combined.
Add eggs, beating after each addition.
Beat in half and half, then extracts. Beat until well combined, scraping the bowl as needed.
Stir in peppermint baking chips.
Pour into prepared pan and bake for 25-27 minutes, or until set in center and edges are puffed.
When done baking, remove from oven and place on a cooling rack. Cool slightly, then run knife around edges of cheesecake. Cool completely.
Once cool, invert cheesecake onto a sheet of plastic wrap. Wrap then place in freezer while making other layers, at least 1 hour.
For the cake:
Preheat oven to 350° F.
Line the bottom of an 8 in. round cake pan with parchment paper and spray with baking spray (or grease with butter and flour).
Sift flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large mixing bowl.
In a small/medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together buttermilk, oil, egg, and vanilla until combined.
Add coffee and whisk until just combined.
Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with moist crumbs attached when inserted.
Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack to cool.
For the brownies (if you have double ovens, the brownies can bake separately while the cake bakes to save time):
Preheat oven to 325° F.
Line the bottom of an 8 in. round cake pan with parchment paper and spray with baking spray (or grease with butter and flour).
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together sugar, cocoa, and salt.
Add butter, pouring in a steady stream, and whisking constantly until blended.
Add in vanilla and whisk to combine.
Add eggs one at a time, whisking vigorously to blend after each addition.
Using a rubber spatula, stir in flour and stir until just combined, scraping sides of bowl as needed.
Pour into prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs attached when inserted.
Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack.
Once cake and brownies are cool enough to handle, invert onto cooling rack to cool completely.
Once ready to assemble, make frosting.
For the frosting:
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.
In the chilled bowl using the chilled whisk attachment, whisk the cream until frothy and slightly thick.
Gradually add powdered sugar then peppermint extract and beat until thick. You will want it thick enough for spreading as a frosting.
If you have doubled the frosting recipe to use for garnish, reserve about ½ C. and place in fridge.
Remove cheesecake from freezer.
Trim top off of cake.
Place the brownie, top side down on a cake plate/pedestal.
Place ½ of the frosting on the brownie and spread evenly over the top.
Unwrap cheesecake and place top side up on top of brownie layer.
Spread remaining frosting evenly over the top of cheesecake.
Place cake top side down on top of cheesecake layer and place in fridge.
Make the ganache:
Place chocolate chips in a medium-sized bowl.
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.)
Pour cream over chocolate and let stand for about 5 minutes.
Then, whisk together until mixture is smooth and chocolate is completely melted.
Remove cake from fridge and pour ganache over the top, spreading with a spatula so it goes over the sides.
Using the spatula, spread ganache around the sides of cake until thoroughly coated.
Decorate the top with crushed peppermint candies and place in fridge to allow ganache to set.
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.
Store any leftover cake in the fridge and make sure it does not sit out for too long at room temperature.