Category: Chocolate Madness!


We have 3 July birthdays in karate, and they’re all within 10 days. That means 3 different birthday treats. Yikes!!Karate Flowers

The middle birthday is mine, and this year I got ice cream treats and flowers. Ice cream after karate? Fantastic!! And I’m still enjoying the flowers!

I made desserts for the other two birthdays: strawberry cheesecake for Alex, and these Oreo Fluff Brownies for John. John loves brownies, and last week he was saying how much he loves Oreos. So after a little poking around on the internet and looking at various ideas, I settled on the idea of Oreo Brownies.

Oreo Fluff BrowniesI found a recipe for Oreo Truffle Brownies, which is the delicious combination of Oreos and cream cheese atop a brownie base, and thought those sounded good. But I was really sugared-out from Birthday Week and all the treats I was given for my birthday, and it just sounded too rich and too chocolatey – if you can believe that!

I was thinking about how to lighten them up a bit and decided to use one of my favorite frosting additions – marshmallow fluff. It’s something I use to “customize” a can of pre-made frosting, or to combine with a block of cream cheese to make a lighter cream cheese frosting. It adds a little “something” that can really make a difference!

I used a boxed brownie mix because I was having a challenging week at work and made the “cake” version. If you want to make brownies from scratch, try the Craggy-Topped Fudge Brownies on the Mix it Up! page. After they cooled, I mixed up the topping, smeared it over the brownies, drizzled on some quick-setting chocolate ice cream topping, and popped them in the frig to set up.Oreo Fluff Brownies

I think the marshmallow addition was just right! It kept the topping from setting too hard, and provided a lightness that was really nice. The birthday boy was happy, too!

Oreo Fluff Brownies

Stuff you need:

1 9×13” pan of brownies, baked according to directions and cooled.

2 8-oz. blocks of cream cheese, softened

1 jar marshmallow fluff (7 oz, I think)

Magic Shell chocolate ice cream topping

1 14-ounce package of Oreos, crushed in a large zip-lock bag with a rolling pin. [I left some chunks of Oreos for a little texture but you can crush yours more finely if that’s your preference. This isn’t an exact science, so if you eat a few, it won’t ruin the brownies. 😉]

Now what?

Beat the softened cream cheese in a mixer until smooth.

Set aside ½ cup crushed Oreos and add the rest to the cream cheese and mix well.

Now stir in marshmallow fluff and mix until there are no streaks.

Spread the Oreo mixture on the brownies.

Drizzle with the Magic Shell chocolate topping and quickly sprinkle the remaining Oreo crumbs on top.

Place in frig to let the topping set up.

Store in frig. The topping will still be somewhat soft, but it will set up some.

I love cream cheese brownies! That’s because I love cream cheese and I love chocolate. Mix them together, and the taste is divine!Blackberry Cream Cheese Brownies

I honestly didn’t think that combination could get any better…until I tried these Blackberry Cream Cheese Brownies TL posted on our Chocolate Madness! board.

Oh my. Oh my, my, my!!!

I’ve never put berries in my brownies, but these I had to try. I love blackberries, and almost always have some in the house.

I was poking around in my frig and realized I had 4 packages of cream cheese, a full container of blackberries, and some stir fry veggie mix. Passing over the veggies, I was wondering what to bake this weekend, and was browsing our board. These jumped out at me – they looked like something I might like, and I had the time to make the multiple steps.

Blackberry Cream Cheese BrowniesTurns out they weren’t as difficult as I thought they might be! There are only 2 steps, not the 3+ I expected. The hardest part about these is stirring in the blackberries – and not eating them all. 🙂

They can be made with a boxed brownie mix (follow the cake-style notes on the package) and can be made gluten-free if needed. I made them with my Craggy Topped Fudge Brownies. The recipe calls for frozen blackberries. I had fresh, so I popped them in the freezer (in a single layer) for about an hour. Poof – perfectly frozen and ready to stir in!

These were delish just a few minutes out of the oven – with the berries still warm. Mmmm!! I keep trying them as they cool, just to make sure they still taste OK, and they do. But I’ll try them again in the morning just to make sure. Quality control, you know??

If you’re looking for an interesting brownie give these a try. They’re fantastic, I promise!

Blackberry Cream Cheese Brownies

Adapted from Bless Her Heart
350F, 9×13″ greased pan

Stuff you need:

For brownie layer:
1 brownie mix for a 9×13″ pan plus ingredients for the cake-style method or your favorite brownie recipe that makes a 9×13″ pan
[I used my Craggy Topped Fudge Brownies:  https://munchiesmind.com/2012/07/11/chocolate-madness-craggy-topped-fudge-brownies/  Check the Mix It Up! page for the recipe.]
1 1/4 cups frozen blackberries
1/3 cup chocolate chips

For cream cheese swirl:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 egg
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Now what?
Beat all cream cheese swirl ingredients and set aside while you mix up the brownie batter.

Make the brownies according to the cake-style method on the package directions or make your preferred recipe.
Gently fold in 1/3 cup of chocolate chips and 1 1/4 cups of frozen blackberries.

Pour the brownie batter into the pre-greased baking dish.

Using a large spoon, drop the cream cheese mixture into the brownie batter. Drag a butter knife through the cream cheese and brownie mix to create the cream cheese swirls.

Bake at 350F until a toothpick poked into the center of the brownie pan comes out clean, 25-35 minutes. This is kind of hard to tell, since you might be poking a juicy blackberry! [Mine took about 35 minutes.] 

We were getting ready for another big storm to hit KC. Like most people, I’m sick of the snow but what are you gonna do, right?

Well, with nasty weather coming in, I did what most normal women would do to get ready. First, I got a pedi. Everything’s better with fresh nails, right? And then, I baked cookies!Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

With fresh nails, warm cookies, books on my Kindle and plenty of movies, I don’t mind being snowed in!

We “lucked out” and this last round wasn’t as bad as it might have been. Still, I’m home waiting for the snowplow. We live on a cul-de-sac and are the last ones to be plowed out. It’s usually a combination of a bobcat and a snowplow. So far I haven’t seen either, but that’s OK with me. I’ve got cookies!

This recipe is simple and tasty. It doesn’t use any weird ingredients, so if you’re snowed in you might have everything in your pantry to make these now. I used peanut butter chips and no nuts, but you could use any combo of chips and nuts you like.

Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

Slightly adapted from She Makes and Bakes

Stuff you need:

1 cup butter, softened

1 cup brown sugar, packed

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

3 cups oats (quick or regular – both work)

1/2 cup chopped walnuts [use any combination of chips and nuts that equals 1 cup]

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips [use any combination of chips and nuts that equals 1 cup]

Now what?

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or using a hand mixer), cream together the butter and sugars until soft and mixed.

Add in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Add in the vanilla, baking soda, and salt, and mix on low until combined.

Mix the cocoa powder and flour together and add gradually with mixer at low speed.

Once combined, add in the oats and mix.

Stir in the nuts and chips and mix until just incorporated.

Form the dough into one-inch balls or use a cookie scoop and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet about 1-2 inches apart. Bake for 11-12 minutes until set, but don’t overbake.

Let them cool for one minute on the sheet and then remove to a cooling rack.

Store in an airtight container or bag.

Fridays at the office start with bagels and donuts, provided by the company. Next, we had a team lunch at a local Chinese restaurant to enjoy the company of a writer in town from Cebu for training. And then, not even two hours after we finished lunch, it was time for Treats-A-Palooza!

Chocolate Mint Brownies

The Birthday Twins!

Treats-A-Palooza is our team’s monthly birthday celebration, and our celebrations include – you guessed it – FOOD! Annie and I were in charge of bringing treats for the two birthday girls. One likes rich, sweet desserts with combinations of flavors; the other prefers salty goodness. With a little investigation and planning, Annie and I decided on a “tacky tray of chips” for Christy that included vinegar and salt Pringles, chips and salsa, and jalapeno cheddar Cheetos, and a plate of Chocolate Mint Brownies for Stacy. Click for recipe.

Now I know it sounds like a weird combination, and it tasted much better than it sounds. Salty chips and sweet brownies; spicy snacks and cool mint. Somehow it worked!

I wasn’t so sure about the idea of mint brownies, but one taste convinced me they were a great idea! The layers complement each other nicely – chewy brownie, fluffy mint cream, and a smooth, buttery ganache topping that I could have eaten all by itself.

Chocolate Mint BrowniesI made tweaks to the original recipe based on pan size used. The original recipe called for a 9” square pan but used a brownie mix for a 9 x 13” pan. I used the same size brownie mix but baked them in the 9 x 13” pan. But in doing so, I had to double the filling and topping to make sure there was adequate coverage. You can use the 9” square pan if you want a smaller batch, and if you do so, make sure to use the smaller brownie mix and halve the filling and topping ingredients.

People have mixed reactions about the combination of mint and chocolate, so my advice is to not overdo the mint! It’s such a strong flavor that if you add too much extract, the mint will overpower the flavor of the dessert. Start with the smaller amount of extract and taste the filling. If it’s not strong enough, add more in 1/8 teaspoon increments. I think I used about 1/2 teaspoon extract for the 9 x 13″ pan, and I think it was just right.

Make sure to plan ahead and leave yourself enough time to make these – each layer needs to cool before the next is added. I made the brownies a day ahead, then added the filling and topping the next evening. If you’re not serving them immediately, store them in the frig. Take them out about an hour before you want to serve them, and cut them while they’re really cold for straight lines.

Chocolate Mint Brownies - RFP Team

It takes lots of food to keep an RFP Team going!

Here’s a picture of my team enjoying our treats at the end of another crazy week. Finding time for so many of us to sit and chat at the same time is rare – even in this picture we’re missing 5 people for various reasons. Team lunches and treats afternoons are fun for the food, but even more fun because of the conversations! I’ve learned over the years that having great co-workers is one of the best parts of a job, and this group is no exception. Who wouldn’t want to work with smart, funny, hard-working people?!

Serve these delish brownies to your co-workers at your next Treats-A-Palooza or take them to a holiday party. Once you taste them you’ll want more. In fact, I might have one for breakfast tomorrow – if the rest of my group doesn’t get to them first!

These brownies are for Tom, one of my Cohorts in Chocolate, because neither he nor I care for the fudgy goop “brownies” that are all the rage these days. Craggy-Topped Fudge Brownies

Tom is the artist who drew my “brain” that’s on the “A peek inside…” page of my blog. He and I were talking about food. We talk about food a lot. We both love good quality chocolate, and sometimes share our discoveries. Somehow we got on the subject of brownies, and Tom mentioned he thought the boxed brownie mixes had become “fudgier” than they used to be. I thought so too, and I haven’t made them lately because I’ve been disappointed by them. (Yes, I use boxed brownie mixes. Why reinvent the wheel? I usually add nuts or chips or something to the mix, but lately I don’t think they’re as good as they used to be.)

Tom and I both prefer a more cake-like brownie, something that has more of a “chew” to it that you can sink your teeth into. I like brownies when they get a bit stale, and used to attempt to let some sit in the pan and dry out a bit before I gobbled them up. I say “attempt” because most of the time I wasn’t successful!

Craggy-Topped Fudge BrowniesI’m still on a quest to find a brownie I can portion-control and freeze for craving times, and these came to mind. I liked the Chocolate Quinoa Brownies I made earlier this week, but they don’t have the texture I usually crave. It had been quite awhile since I made this recipe, but I remember them being really good. What I couldn’t remember was how fudgy or cake-like they were. That could easily be solved by whipping up a batch.

These were every bit as good as I remembered! They’ve got the perfect texture to them – a little bit of chew, without being too soft or too dry. They obviously take a little more effort than a boxed mix, but not much – and the result is definitely worth it!

Butter and sugar are melted on the stove, chocolate chips are stirred in, then a few more ingredients are added. Pour them into a pan, sprinkle on some nuts, and bake until a toothpick comes out clean. Craggy-Topped Fudge Brownies

Try these by themselves or topped with praline ice cream, warm caramel sauce and toasted pecans. Doesn’t that sound good? I think you’ll find the extra effort these require produce a much better brownie than a boxed mix, and you won’t mind mixing these up when the brownie craving hits!

Craggy-Topped Fudge Brownies

Craggy-Topped Fudge Brownies

Stuff you need:
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
3 eggs
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup chopped walnuts

Now what?
Heat sugar and butter in medium saucepan over low heat, stirring until butter is melted.
Remove from heat.
Add 1 1/4 cups chocolate chips and stir until melted.
Stir in eggs.
Stir in flour, vanilla and baking soda until combined.
Spread into greased 9×13 inch baking pan.
Sprinkle 1/4 cup chocolate chips and 1/3 cup chopped walnuts on top. Press down lightly.
Bake in preheated 350F oven for 18-22 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out slightly sticky.
Cool and cut into bars.

Chocolate Madness! That’s the name of the Pinterest board I share with TL. She started it and invited me to participate, and with a name like Chocolate Madness! I had to play along. TL finds most of the desserts on our board and it’s difficult to decide which one to make. I hope to make them all, so let’s get started!

I met TL freshman year at Drake University. We were neighbors on Hooker Heights, one of the women’s floors, and roomies later on. I remember more than once sharing a dessert with the Hooker Heights girls. We’d put the treat in the middle of the group and everyone would dig in with their spoon or fork — no bowls needed, thank you very much! Unfortunately, TL lives in Albuquerque and I live in KC, so it’s tough to share treats these days. Regardless, I’m going to blog my way through our shared board. I’ll take responsibility for tasting the goodies for both of us; she’ll have to enjoy them vicariously, the poor dear!

TL’s twice posted a picture of Knock You Naked Brownies, so I was getting the idea that she thought they sounded good. Knock You REALLY Naked BrowniesThe second time she posted it was the magic time for me. I was looking for a gooey, peanut buttery, chocolate dessert for our Karate Club and this looked a good candidate.

Even though we don’t have any May Banzai Birthdays to celebrate, one of the other students and I decided we needed treats anyway, and we were due for something chocolate! The only thing it was missing was peanut butter. Well, as it turned out, I found a version that used a peanut butter caramel, so I was able to include that yumminess and dubbed them Knock you REALLY Naked Brownies!

Boy, are these good!! They may be one of the most delicious brownies I’ve ever baked!! I don’t know what else you’d need in a gooey, chocolate recipe – chocolate, pecans, chocolate chips, peanut butter and caramel. My, my, MY!! It took all my willpower not to eat the entire pan myself, although I thought about it.

Other than the addition of peanut butter to the caramel, the only other tweak I made to the recipe was to use a 9 x 13″ pan instead of the square used in the recipe. The recipe mentioned it had been cut down from a 9 x 13″, and I needed a full pan of brownies to feed a bunch of hungry karate students. It worked! The brownies baked up perfectly and had enough crust, both bottom and top. Click for recipe.

Don’t be scared off by having to unwrap and melt down the caramels and create layers. It’s easier than it looks, and the reward is definitely worth the effort! If you need some help eating them so you don’t eat the entire pan, give me a call. I’ll make the sacrifice and help you out. That’s what friends are for, right?