brownie stuffed chocolate chip cookies

Look at these chocolate chip cookies, fresh from the oven. So innocent looking, right?
There’s nothing about these cookies that could possibly reinforce your trust issues.

They’re chocolate chip cookies. They look so inviting and comforting sitting next to a tall glass of cold milk.  They’re a little large and lumpy… but a homemade chocolate chip cookie is a homemade chocolate chip cookie. The largeness/lumpiness just enhances their whole “homemade” vibe.  Right? 

WRONG!  These seemingly innocent cookies were all large and lumpy because they were hiding a full on double-fudge brownie on the inside!  You sneaky cookie you!

Let me tell you how these stealthy cookies came about.  I was experimenting with a new brownie recipe, and I screwed up… they tasted pretty good but they were unbelievably skinny, and no one likes skinny brownies.

I was about to chuck messed up batch in the trashcan when I felt a bout of sympathy for those brownies.  It wasn’t their fault that they were too little to cut it in the harsh world of thick cut, chocolate chunk brownies.  They hadn’t done anything wrong… it was my duty to save them.

So with a little help from some homemade cookie dough, those sorry little brownies were saved.  I wrapped each one in a big layer of soft cookie dough, and they were transformed into these huge, amazing mounds of bake-sale-worthy-goodness.

With love,
Erica


Ingredients
1 pan of baked brownies (either homemade or from a mix)
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
2 large eggs, plus 1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
12 oz. chocolate chips

Cut your brownies into 10, 1 inch squares.  Enjoy the leftovers for yourself 😉

To make the chocolate chip cookie dough, beat butter and sugar with a mixer until creamy. Add the eggs, yolk, and vanilla.  Beat until smooth.  Mix all of the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl and add to the butter mixture until combined.  Stir in chocolate chips.

Let dough chill covered in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
Scoop out 1/2 cups of the cookie dough (I told you these are HUGE!).  Place the dough onto the baking sheet. You can only fit six cookies on a standard sized baking sheet — so you will have to make several batches.

Make an indention in each mound of cookie dough and
place a cut brownie in the center. Press the brownie down
and work the remaining dough around the brownie. Shape the dough into a ball.

Once all your cookies are “stuffed” with a brownie, bake at 350 degrees for about 18 minutes. Return the remaining dough
to the refrigerator until time to bake the second batch. Cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes and then cool completely on a wire rack.

© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

ferrero rocher brownies

My track coach is a very wise man.  He always pushes the point that although painful, the 200 meter dash takes up a mere 30-seconds of your life, and that sometimes, one has to suck-it-up for a little bit to reap serious rewards.




I’ve applied his wisdom to less painful pursuits than the 200-meter dash — like getting a pedicure, shopping, and baking brownies. 



My friend Emilia and I treated ourselves to pedicures last weekend.  What could be better than an entire hour devoted to pampering yourself?  I can’t think of many things I’d rather do than get a pedicure (except for maybe shopping or baking brownies… keep reading).  Every moment is pure bliss… except for those few minutes at the beginning when the lady scrubs the bottom of your feet with a pumice stone.  I am painfully ticklish, and it takes every ounce of will power to not start screaming/crying/laughing.  But once that’s done, I’ve still got another 45 minutes of bliss to go.

I love shopping for shoes, and often find myself falling head-over-heels for the latest, crazy pair.   Suddenly, there’s nothing I’d rather do than buy them on the spot, take them home with me, rip the tags off, and walk around in them for the rest of my life.  However, I’ve learned the hard way that buying shoes (and ripping the tags off) without trying them on is a recipe for blisters and tears.  Although frustrating for an impatient girl like me, waiting to try them on saves me a box of band-aids.


Just like enduring the pumice stone and waiting to try on shoes, these knock-your-socks-off brownies require a bit of will power as well.  I had to unwrap not one, but two boxes of Ferrero Rochers to put in these brownies, and couldn’t even eat one.  However, after struggling through, and waiting for these to (almost) cool, I got to stuff three of these super fudgy bad boys in my face. Totally worth it. 

With love, 
Erica

P.S. I think I’ve found my new go-to brownie recipe! Tartine’s brownies are the perfect balance between cakey and fudgy, with a beautiful, crinkly crust! 


Ingredients
3/4 cup butter
1 pound bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 large eggs (the original recipe calls for five eggs, but I don’t like tall brownies)
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 boxes of Ferrero Rocher chocolates

Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish.
In
a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Remove from the heat
and add the chocolate. If the heat from the butter does not fully
melt the chocolate, put the pan back over the heat for 10 seconds and
stir until melted. Set aside to cool.

Sift
the flour into a small mixing bowl. Set aside. In a medium mixing
bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, salt, and vanilla. Using a mixer fitted
with the whisk attachment, beat on high speed until the mixture
thickens and becomes pale in color and falls from the beater in a wide
ribbon that folds back on itself and slowly dissolves on the surface, 4
to 5 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, fold the cooled chocolate into
the egg mixture. Add the flour and fold it in quickly but gently with
the rubber spatula so that you don’t deflate the air that’s been
incorporated into the eggs.

Pour
the batter into the prepared dish and smooth the top with a spatula. Drop the Rocher candies evenly throughout the brownie batter (4 rows and 5 columns).  Make sure you cover each Rocher with a bit of brownie batter so their tops don’t get burned while baking. Bake
until the top looks slightly cracked and feels soft to the touch,
about 25 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

Using
a sharp knife, cut into 12 squares, or size desired. The brownies
will keep in an airtight container in a cool place for up to 1 week.

Adapted From Tartine and Mrs. Renaissance

© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

nutella pretzel brownies

I can’t think of a better snack than butter pretzels dipped in Nutella. The pure awesomeness of this snack is captured perfectly in these brownies.

There is no question that this recipe is going to become a new staple in my “bake sale repertoire.” I mean, it involves a butter pretzel crust and almost an entire jar of Nutella! The real question should be: why weren’t these in my repertoire before?!

Recently, I joined the Freestyle Rap Club at my school, and they are having a bake sale this coming Tuesday to raise money to buy some pretty great sweatshirts.  I am not a very good rapper…  in all honesty, I really should not even refer to myself as a “rapper.”  But some of the members of the club are very good, and I love to listen to the other raps and attempt to rap myself.  I mean how many kids can say they go to a school with a Freestyle Rap Club? Not many, so I take advantage of the opportunity. YOLO as they say…

What clubs were/are you in at your high school?

With love,
Erica

Ingredients
FOR THE CRUST
1 1/2 cups pretzels
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
FOR THE BROWNIES
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup nutella hazelnut spread
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
More Nutella spread for frosting the brownies
Extra pretzels for garnishing

To make the crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat an 8 x 8 inch baking dish with cooking spray; set aside.
Place the pretzels in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until
broken up into tiny pieces. Add the sugar and pulse until combined, then
pour in the butter. Continue pulsing until combined.
Press the pretzel mixture firmly into the prepared pan. Bake for 12
to 15 minutes, until the edges are golden and the crust feels firm.
While the crust is baking, make the brownies: In a medium saucepan,
melt the butter. Once melted, remove from heat and whisk in the sugar
until combined.
Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla.
Whisk in the dry ingredients until combined and pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle
comes out with a few crumbs clinging to it. Allow brownies to cool for
at least 45 minutes before frosting with Nutella spread and garnishing
with pretzels.

 From Bakingdom

oreo cheesecake brownies

We have already established that cream cheese brownies are an absolute must-have in the repertoire of any baker (especially when that baker is often called upon to supply high school bake sales and fundraisers).  But what would happen when you throw a box of Oreos into the batter?

Amazing things, I tell you.

Imagine a big wedge of the Cheesecake Factory’s Oreo Cheesecake that you can hold in your hand.  Sure, it’s not the classiest thing to ever come out of my oven… but who cares.  Warm one (or two) up in the microwave, top with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream, and enjoy a filthy good treat. 

With love,
Erica

Ingredients:

1/2 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 1/3 cups coarsely chopped Oreo cookies

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the
bottom and sides of a 8 inch metal baking pan. Put a long piece of
parchment paper in the bottom of the pan, letting the parchment extend
up two sides of the pan and overhang slightly on both ends. (This will
make it easy to remove the bars from the pan after they have baked.)
Butter the parchment.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Whisk in sugar and
bring to a boil, whisking frequently; boil 1 minute. Set aside to cool
for 5 minutes.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat
together cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla extract until
combined, about 1 minute.
In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder and salt; whisk until combined.
In a large bowl, whisk together eggs until combined. Whisk in melted
butter-sugar mixture until well combined. Stir in flour mixture until
just combined, followed by Oreo cookies.
Spread half of brownie batter into the prepared baking dish, followed by
cream cheese layer. Distribute the remaining brownie mixture in 8
dollops over the cheesecake layer and spread evenly. Swirl in with a
knife or spatula.
Bake for 24-28 minutes, until brownies and cheesecake are set. A knife
inserted into the cheesecake mixture should come out clean and the edges
will be lightly browned.
Let cool completely in pan on a cooling rack before lifting out the parchment paper to remove the brownies.

cream cheese brownies


After reading Deb’s post in the back of Martha Stewart’s Living, I had to make these brownies! Although nothing beats plain, super-rich chocolate brownies, cream cheese brownies are a classic. I love how the tangy cream cheese balances out the deep, fudgy rich chocolate. I always like to have a stash of brownies in the freezer that I can whip out for an unexpected bake sale, a fundraiser, or an afternoon snack ;). However, I don’t think this stash will last too long…

With love,
Erica

P.S. These brownies are super gooey, fudgy and delicious. To cut them into neat little squares, pop the pan in the freezer for a bit, run a sharp knife under hot water, and slice away!

Brownie batter
1 stick (1/2 cup or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup all-purpose flour

Cheesecake batter
8 ounces cream cheese, well softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg yolk
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
 
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Make brownie batter: Put oven rack in middle position and
preheat oven to 350°F. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan. Heat butter
and chocolate in a 3-quart heavy saucepan — though I did mine
double-boiler style, placing the mixing bowl I was using over simmering
water, thereby creating one less dirty dish and melting the chocolate
more gently — over moderately low heat, whisking occasionally, just
until melted. Remove from heat and whisk in sugar, eggs, vanilla, and a
pinch of salt until well combined. Whisk in flour until just combined
and spread in baking pan.
Make cheesecake batter: Whisk together cheesecake batter
ingredients in a small bowl until smooth. Dollop over brownie batter,
then swirl in with a knife or spatula.
[I actually like using a butter knife because the tip of it is round
enough that you can use it to fold bits of the brownie batter over the cheesecake batter for a more visibly marbled effect. Try it!]
Sprinkle chocolate chips over cheesecake/brownie batter swirl.
Although it might be more logical to just mix them into the cheesecake
batter (and feel free to do this, it will have no ill-effect) I thought
it might interrupt the swirl-ability of it.
Bake brownies: Bake until edges are slightly puffed and center is just set, about 35 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

s’mores brownies

I love pumpkins, apples, cinnamon, and nutmeg; but sometimes, around this time of year, I start to dearly miss the fun, carefree flavors of August. Especially s’mores. 

I was always the kid who burnt their marshmallow to a crisp in the campfire. Parents, teachers, and even other kids would always tell me to stop — but I was relentless. I would happily chomp down blackened marshmallows by the bag-full.  I never understood those kids who would cheerfully sit by the edge of the fire, carefully turning one marshmallow until it reached that perfect, golden brown. I was too impatient to scarf down gooey, marshmallow goodness to be bothered with perfection. So into the fire they went.

Now the weather is to cold to build a fire, but with these decadent brownies, I can still enjoy the gooey flavor sensation of s’mores. These were a HUGE hit with my advisory at school, and the JV soccer team reportedly scarfed down an entire pan of these in less than five minutes.
Whip up a batch of these to conjure up sweet, summer memories.

With love,
Erica

Ingredients:
1 family size box mix of brownies and the ingredients to make the brownies (probably canola oil, water, and 2 eggs)
9-ish honey graham crackers
12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips (or more!)
4 cups mini marshmallows
1 box yellow cake mix
1 egg
1 stick butter, softened
1 cup sweetened condensed milk
Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 by 13in pan with parchment
    paper or aluminum foil that has been generously coated with cooking
    spray. Make sure your lining goes all the way around the pan.
  2. Mix up your brownie mix according to the box directions and pour it into the pan.
  3. Cover the brownies with the graham crackers. You want to fit as many of the graham crackers on there as you can.
  4. Pour the chocolate chips onto the graham crackers and then add the mini marshmallows.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the box of yellow cake mix,
    egg, and stick of softened butter. Use your hand to mix the dough all
    together.
  6. Top the marshmallows with the dough. I found the best way to do this
    is to take some in your hand, press it so it’s flat, and place it on
    top of the marshmallows. Repeat this until all the marshmallows are
    covered (it does not have to be perfect) and then drizzle on the cup of
    sweetened condensed milk.
  7. Bake it in the oven for 18-22 minutes. It’s hard to know when it’s
    done, but the top layer should be a nice golden brown. I took mine out
    after 18 minutes and it turned out wonderful- the brownie layer was
    really fudgy.
  8. It takes a long time for this to cool enough to cut. If you wait for it to cool completely, you can
    cut nice, even squares (you can see the difference in the ones I cut
    right away and the ones I cut the next day).

From Just Everyday Me