Gluttony: Brownie Peanut Butter Parfait

Happy Thanksgiving! As everyone is preparing to get their eat-on, here’s some additional gluttony for you to enjoy!

I’ve always been a fan of a good parfait. Not only does the word amuse me, but I’m yet to meet a parfait I didn’t like. Sure, granola and yogurt parfaits are good, but we all know that those with whipped cream, pudding, and anything else remotely unhealthy tastes even better! My boss actually made this when she had us over for dinner a few weeks ago, and I’ve been dreaming about it ever since. She got the recipe from a friend, and it’s so decadent and easy to make I just had to share it with you. I mean, if you’re not running to the store to make this after reading the ingredients and seeing the picture, I question your sanity (no offense).

This particular recipe makes A LOT, so it’s best used for a party or big group of people. You can make it the night before, too, so everything really settles together for maximum flavor potential. If you’re looking for a quick and easy non-traditional Thanksgiving dessert, this comes highly recommended. If my mom wasn’t bringing both an apple and pumpkin pie already, this would definitely be a part of our Thanksgiving. Maybe next year!

I warn you, though. This is seriously addictive despite how heavy it is, so pace yourself!

Brownie Peanut Butter Parfait

2 boxes of brownie mix
½ cup peanut butter
2 boxes of instant vanilla pudding
2 16 oz containers of Cool Whip (you’ll have a little left over)
1 bag of mini Reese’s peanut butter cups

1. Prepare brownies per the box instructions, set aside to cool.
2. Prepare vanilla pudding per the box instructions.
3. Melt peanut butter in the microwave till it has a slightly liquid consistency. Slowly pour peanut butter into pudding, while stirring. *You can add more peanut butter to up the pb flavor
4. Chop Reese’s peanut butter cups
5. Layer – brownies, pudding, cool whip, a few peanut butter cups. Repeat until all ingredients have been used (top with peanut butter cups).


July Fourth means 4 miles of agony and rum and coke brownies!

Ahh yes, the fourth of July. The day of America’s birth, and an awesome excuse to relax, drink, barbecue, and enjoy fireworks.

Sunday was Cranford’s annual Firecracker Four Miler race, which just so happens to be the first running race I ever competed in, last year. The race starts at 9:30am in Nomaheagan Park, and by the time we got there at about 8:45a it was already a good 80 degrees. Most of the race is in the sun, and since it’s 4 miles instead of the usual 5k (3.1), they didn’t have a water station until 2 miles in. Needless to say the race was a struggle from the beginning, but I somehow managed to beat least year’s time, and PR my 5k time in the process at just under 26 minutes.

For signing up early, we got a t-shirt and a sweet pint glass, just as we did last year. We’re starting a nice collection! In the end, I finished in just under 34 minutes, with the “official” (the timing system was a little shotty) time of 34:50, about an 8:40/mile pace, and my fiancé finished in just under 32 with 31:45 (also a PR). I think we wound up spending the rest of the day trying to rehydrate, which was probably unsuccessful.

After the race, we rushed home so I could get started on the treats I was going to bring to our next barbecue adventure. This time, I went with a recipe I had found on Serious Eats, from a book called Boozy Baking. Seriously, I need that book. I love bringing alcohol infused desserts to parties where drinking is involved, because it’s just so fun. These particular brownies were called Cuba Libre Brownies, but I prefer to simplify the name, and just call them Rum & Coke Brownies. Yes, there is rum, coke, lime zest, and bittersweet chocolate in these bad boys – and they were awesome! The lime zest was really refreshing, and they’re definitely the booziest treats I’ve made so far, so keep that in mind if you decide to take a stab at them!

Rum & Coke Brownies (aka Cuba Libre Brownies)
– serves about 24 brownies –


For the brownies:
11/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
10 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
3/4 cup carbonated cola
1/4 cup white rum

For the frosting:
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/3 cup white rum
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
Freshly grated zest of 2 limes

1. To make the brownies, position a rack in the bottom third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 9×13-inch baking pan or spray it with nonstick spray. Dust with flour and tap out the excess. Set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt.
3. Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water. Stir constantly until the chocolate is almost melted. Remove the bowl from the heat and stir until the chocolate is completely melted.
4. In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the melted chocolate and beat until well incorporated, about 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
5. With a wooden spoon or a spatula, gently stir the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture just until combined. Gently stir in the cola and the rum; then pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing it to the edges.
6. Bake the brownies until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Cool the brownies in the pan completely.
7. To make the frosting, in a large bowl beat the butter, cocoa powder, and rum with an electric mixer until smooth. Slowly add the confectioners’ sugar, one cup at a time, beating until incorporated after each addition.
8. Spread the frosting over the cooled brownies. Sprinkle with the grated lime zest, cut into squares, and serve.

I’ll take you to the Candy Shop

Yes, those are in fact lyrics from a 50 Cent song, that I listened to many a times in a crowded Scranton basement in college. Candy Shop also happens to be the sub-brand of the Duncan Hines brownies I made tonight. I know, you’re thinking I’m a total cop-out for using a brownie mix instead of making my own while having a food blog. Well while wandering down the baking aisle at Target today, I stumbled upon a peanut butter brownie box and had to have it. Sometimes making mix out of the box is just as fun as making them from scratch? And by fun, I really just mean easy.

My fiancé has a seriously delicious salmon recipe that he got from his dad. It’s super easy, and I beg him every now and again to make it. So, after some coaxing this past week, he gave in and made it for me tonight, after letting it marinate overnight. We paired it with rice, and boy did it hit the spot! While I’m forbidden for sharing the recipe (so unfair, I know) I can at least show you how delicious it looked!

Back to the reasoning behind the post, the peanut butter brownies! I always find it interesting that brownie mixes provide you two options; one for fudgey brownies, and one for cake-like brownies. I always think to myself, “who wants cake-like brownies?! Fudge is where it’s at!” I suppose there are some people that would disagree, but I always go for the ultimate fudge-factor. That’s why I’m a huge fan of Ghiradelli’s mixes. For something that only required me to combine the brownie mix, a little bit of oil, water, and an egg and throw it in the oven for about 30 minutes, I’m impressed. Sure, I probably could have made better brownies myself, but it also would have taken me a lot longer. Sometimes a little sacrifice in authenticity is allowed for a quick treat on a weeknight. These badboys will be an excellent afternoon snack tomorrow during my 2:30pm “I really still have 3 more hours of work?” wallowing.

So I thought I’d end the post with a question: what’s your favorite straight-from-the-box dessert mix?

Happy nomzing!

Another Snow Day Means Baking!

Today we got MORE snow, so I was off from work. Unlike my past few snow days, though, I got stuck doing some work which was no fun. Aside from getting my TV and internet surfing fix, I made some Hot Chocolate Brownies!

As soon as I saw the recipe, I knew I had to make them immediately. I got the recipe from the blog New York City Dish, which I follow on Google Reader. Thankfully, I had every ingredient readily available, except for the marshmallows. I’m not a huge marshmallow fan, so I wasn’t too upset about having to leave them out.

I’ve never made brownies from scratch; I’m a big supporter of the Ghiradelli chocolate brownie mix; it’s super decadent and really chocolate-y, which I love. So, I was a little nervous about making my own brownies, but it turns out it’s super easy! And I got to add in chocolate chips for some extra gooey deliciousness.

If you’re someone that bakes relatively frequently, you probably have all of these ingredients already. So next time you’re bored, and in the mood for some chocolate, I definitely suggest these!

Hot Chocolate Brownies

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup chocolate chips (optional)
1 bag mini marshmallows

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour baking pan.
2.Stir together butter, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl. Add eggs and beat well. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Gradually add dry ingredient mix to the egg mixture and beat until blended. Add chocolate chips if desired. Spread batter evenly in pan.
3.Bake the brownies for roughly 20 minutes, until almost baked through. Distribute marshmallows evenly across top and bake for another 2-5 minutes until brownies begin to pull away from the sides of the pan. Cool completely and sprinkle with decorative sugar, if desired.

Should make roughly 16 brownies.