St. Patrick’s Day Baileys Irish Cream Cheese Frosted Brownies

baileys brownie

My friend, Matt, is visiting from Cornell this weekend. We celebrated St. Patrick’s Day by making this AMAZING Guinness Chocolate Cake with Baileys Irish Cream Cheese Frosting. Seriously, check it out because that cake is delicious! We had the brilliant last-minute (read: poorly thought out) idea to add chocolate ganache in between cake layers… which oozed out everywhere, got all mixed up in the frosting, made the top layer slide, and rendered our delicious cake TUTP (“too ugly to post”). I still think a chocolate layer would take this cake over-the-top, so if you make the recipe, I recommend looking around for a good, thick ganache filling recipe (maybe this one?). Let me know if you can get it to work, because I’d love to successfully make this cake with a chocolate layer someday!

We were left with extra frosting from that adventure, so Matt whipped up this tasty, fudge-y brownie recipe from AllRecipes and we covered it with the leftover Baileys Irish Cream Cheese Frosting. This is quite a decadent pairing, and so perfect for St. Patrick’s Day. Cut small pieces because it’s insanely rich. If you’re just making the brownies and not the cake, only make a quarter of the frosting recipe. All recipes are provided at the links, so I won’t repeat them here. Enjoy!!

Advertisements

Good-Luck-on-Quals Brownies (or, Seven-Layer Bar Cookies Baked into Fudgy Brownies)

Do you think they got the "good luck" message?
Eleven students in my department recently took their qualifying exams (“quals”). Quals consist of five very open-ended, difficult questions written by five different professors. You have three days and three hours to complete the take-home exam, using any books, notes, the Internet, etc. that you want – you just can’t discuss the questions with anyone. Remember open-note exams in college? And how they were often more difficult than close-note exams? Well this is like that… but a million times harder. You have to pass quals to become an official PhD candidate, and you only get two chances. Yikes!

I’ll be taking this monstrous exam in a year, but this time around, I got to be on the “good luck” committee! Which doesn’t exist. I invented it. But it ought to exist. Because who doesn’t want a good luck brownie when they’re going into a three-day exam?!

While all the quals kids suffered, you can 1) be thankful that you are not in their shoes, and 2) consider making this recipe of fudgy, sugary ridiculousness. These brownies were inspired by a recipe from the book “Bake it in a Cupcake” by Megan Seling, which my best friend gave me for my birthday. This cookbook contains a bunch of fantastic desserts baked into various flavored cupcakes for double the awesomeness. I adapted the Seven-Layer Bar Brownie Cupcakes and made a tray of brownies instead. I increased many of the ingredients, added toffee bits to the brownies, and went bonkers over the crazy increase in baking time. These brownies are almost like fudge on the inside, they’re so gooey and sugary.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

SEVEN LAYER BAR COOKIES

6 tbsp. (3/4 stick) butter, melted
1 1/5 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips
1 cup toffee bits
1 ¼ cup shredded sweetened coconut
1 ¼ cup chopped pecans
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

BROWNIES

6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, broken or chopped into small pieces
1 1/8 cup (2 ¼ sticks) unsalted butter
3 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
¾ tsp. salt
1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 ½ cup all-purpose flour

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

1. Make the seven-layer bars first. Preheat oven to 350F, spray a 9”x13” baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Stir the melted butter & graham cracker crumbs together until all crumbs are moist; press them into the bottom of the pan. Evenly layer the rest of the ingredients, in the order listed, over top of the crust. Pour the condensed milk over the top and bake for some crazy amount of time. The book says 25 minutes; mine took 35+. You want the edges to be bubbling and the coconut starting to turn golden brown, but the inside of my bars was still a bit gooey at this point so I ended up cooking an extra 10+ minutes. Cool completely before cutting (but be sure to sample the corner while it’s warm, accompanied by a glass of milk!).

2. Make the brownie batter once the seven-layer bars are cool. Place the chocolate and butter in a medium microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for 90 seconds, stopping halfway through to stir the butter and chocolate together. Continue stirring until everything melted together – you can microwave a tiny bit more as necessary, but be really careful you don’t burn the chocolate. It’s much better to stir and wait for the chocolate to melt slowly. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the granulated sugar until it’s well-mixed. Stir in the eggs, one at a time until the mixture is smooth. Add the salt and vanilla and stir for 30 seconds, until they’re both well-mixed. Mix in the flour until just combined – don’t overstir!

3. Finally, assemble the brownies. Cut up the seven-layer bars into 1.5-2 inch squares (it doesn’t matter how neat these squares are) and move to a different plate/container. Wash the 9-inch by 13-inch pan, dry, and spray again with nonstick cooking spray. Pour about half the brownie batter into the tray, gently place squares of the seven-layer bars on top so they’re almost touching each other, and pour the rest of the brownie batter on top. Bake for goodness knows how long. I think I ended up baking for 50+ minutes. Keep testing the brownies with a toothpick. The edges and top will be very crusty, but the inside stays oh-so-gooey, so pull them out when there’s just a tiny bit of dough sticking to the toothpick. Allow them to cool before cutting (you can refrigerate them after 15 minutes if you want to speed this step up).

If everyone fails quals because they OD on sugar, this recipe never happened

Trifecta “Cupcakes”: Chocolate Chip Cookie + Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup + Brownie

You aren't dreaming, I promise - these are real. And really, really good!

A few people audibly gasped when they took a bit and discovered the Reese’s cup inside. It was a good gasp. These “cupcakes” are incredible! Definitely worth baking up, as they impress both the mind and the stomach. They were inspired by a post I saw on Pintrest.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE DOUGH LAYER

(adapted from Savory Sweet Life)

1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, softened

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar

2 large eggs

2 tsp. vanilla extract

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking soda

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

REESE’S PEANUT BUTTER CUP LAYER

~24 Reese’s peanut butter cups (unwrapped)

BROWNIE LAYER

any boxed brownie mix + necessary ingredients (usually eggs, water, vegetable oil, etc.)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a cupcake tray.

2. Make the chocolate chip cookie dough first. Cream the butter and the two sugars until fluffy (~3 minutes on medium-high speed). Add eggs and vanilla; beat for 2 minutes. In a separate bowl, mix baking soda, baking powder, salt, and flour. Slow beat dry ingredients into the wet until fully incorporated. Mix in chocolate chips evenly.*

3. Press cookie dough into each cupcake well, to a depth of ~1 centimeter.

4. Place a Reese’s peanut butter cup (unwrapped!) in each well, on top of the cookie dough.

5. Whip up any boxed brownie mix you like, and pour brownie mix on top of the Reese’s cup to just above 3/4 full.

6. Bake for about 22 minutes, until done in the center. Remove from the tray once they are cool enough to touch, place on a rack to finish cooling, and enjoy!

*Note: I had enough cookie dough leftover to (a) eat a ton while baking, and (b) make about 20 cookies. Which is great news, because this recipe makes very chewy and delicious cookies!