Bailey’s Brown Butter Frosted Brownies

Bailey's Brown Butter Frosted Brownies are rich and fudgy brownies topped with a thick, creamy and sinfully delicious Bailey's & brown butter frosting. The perfect sweet treat! I remember when I turned 21, I wanted to drink everything in sight. Because, my rationing, I’m 21 and YOLO. (I wasn’t the most intelligent back then. Hindsight is 20/20, you know).

As I navigated my way through the world of beer, wine, and spirits, I quickly realized what I liked and what I didn’t. Hard lemonade = no bueno. Whiskey? The surprising like. Vodka? Talk about highway to hell. Flavored liqueurs (especially Midori)… hook me up to an IV with it.

But the one I didn’t delve into a whole lot were the cream liqueurs like Bailey’s. No reason why, just didn’t manage to get a hold of a bottle. But when I did, I realized this creamy, dessert-y drink is best paired with something equally sweet, like frosty ice cream, a glaze on spiced donuts, or, say, a fudge brownie recipe like this one.

If you’re like me and don’t have much experience with Bailey’s, or if it’s been awhile, let me remind you of what you’re getting yourself into. Bailey’s is a rich and creamy spirit that’s composed of a heavenly blend of Irish whiskey and cream-based liqueur that’s spicy, sweet, and totally mind-blowing. While some people enjoy it straight or on-the-rocks, I prefer mine laced in desserts since the liqueur pairs so beautifully with sweeter flavors, like chocolate, caramel, and spice. Bailey’s also has other flavors, too, like Salted Caramel, Vanilla, and even Chocolate Cherry, but this recipe uses the original to really drive home that decadent Irish cream flavor.

Bailey's Brown Butter Frosted Brownies are rich and fudgy brownies topped with a thick, creamy and sinfully delicious Bailey's & brown butter frosting. The perfect sweet treat! Oh. And there’s brown butter in the frosting, too. You’re welcome. I can’t even tell you how magical the brown butter and Bailey’s pairing is; it’s simply perfect.

But don’t take my word for it. Take yourself back to your 21st year and make yourself these brownies! I think you’ll quickly discover a newfound love!

Bailey's Brown Butter Frosted Brownies are rich and fudgy brownies topped with a thick, creamy and sinfully delicious Bailey's & brown butter frosting. The perfect sweet treat!

5.0 from 2 reviews
Bailey's Brown Butter Frosted Brownies
Author: 
Recipe type: Brownies
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 15
 
Thick, ultra-fudgy and topped with a creamy layer of brown butter and Bailey's frosting, these brownies are the perfect way to celebrate St. Patrick's Day... or any other day, for that matter.
Ingredients
  • 1 box fudge brownie mix, plus ingredients on back of box
  • ¼ cup hot fudge sauce
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
  • ⅓ cup Bailey's Irish Cream Original Liqueur
  • 2 Tbsp milk or heavy cream
  • About 2-3 cups powdered sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Liberally grease a 13x9" baking pan with cooking spray; set aside. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, prepare the brownie batter according to package directions. Stir the hot fudge sauce and cinnamon into the brownie batter to combine.
  2. Spread the batter into the prepared pan and bake according to package directions, about 20-23 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean or with moist crumbs. Do not over-bake. Cool completely in the pan.
  3. While brownies cool, prepare your frosting. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Allow the butter to melt completely, then carefully watch it during the browning process. Over the next 5-7 minutes, the butter will begin to sizzle, foam and pop, eventually turning an amber color. Watch it closely to prevent it from burning, until the butter is a deep amber color with brown flecks in it. Remove the pan from the heat and pour into a heat-proof bowl to cool completely.
  4. Once butter has cooled, combine it with the Bailey's liqueur, milk or heavy cream, and powdered sugar, stirring vigorously until a thick yet spreadable frosting is achieved. You want it thicker than a glaze, but something you can spread rather than pour. Add more powdered sugar if necessary.
  5. Spread the frosting over the cooled brownies. Allow the frosting to set, approx. 20 minutes or so at room temperature, before cutting into squares. Serve immediately.
  6. **For an alcohol-free version, feel free to substitute the Bailey's Irish Cream Liqueur with Irish Cream-flavored coffee creamer instead. Bailey's makes a fabulous coffee creamer that tastes like Irish Cream but sans alcohol.**

Bailey's Brown Butter Frosted Brownies are rich and fudgy brownies topped with a thick, creamy and sinfully delicious Bailey's & brown butter frosting. The perfect sweet treat! These are so freakin’ good, you guys! I love the rich creaminess of the brown butter & Bailey’s frosting – it is so luxuriously decadent and sweet, flecked with all those golden brown butter nuggets and scented with the indulgent hint of whiskey. Amazing!

**For an alcohol-free version, feel free to use Bailey’s Irish Cream Coffee Creamer in place of the liqueur. The flavor is the same, minus the alcohol. Use equal parts coffee creamer for the liqueur in the frosting recipe, and proceed as directed.**

Bailey's Brown Butter Frosted Brownies are rich and fudgy brownies topped with a thick, creamy and sinfully delicious Bailey's & brown butter frosting. The perfect sweet treat! Have a delicious day!!

xo, Hayley

 

Samoas Sugar Cookie Bars

Sugar Cookie Samoas Bars - thick and chewy sugar cookie bars topped with rich, buttery caramel and toasted coconut, then drizzled with milk chocolate! Just like a Samoas Girl Scout Cookie!Every year around this time, I start to realize bikini season is creeping up on me… and every year around this time, I vow to eat better, exercise more, and transform myself into a Victoria’s Secret model.

And for awhile, it works. I’ll throw spinach in my smoothies. I’ll walk an extra mile a day. I’ll send Victoria’s Secret my bikini modeling pictures and they’ll call me and tell me to please stop sending photos to them. Same old routine, you know?

But then… then something happens. I’ll be walking to the grocery store to buy more birdseed to snack on when suddenly, I’m attacked by throngs of miniature girls with ribbons in their hair and teeth missing in their mouths asking me in their cute voices if I’d like to buy some Girl Scout Cookies. And then there’s always that one little girl dressed up like a gigantic Tagalong or something and I just want to scream why are you doing this to me!? because it’s so rude to say no to a girl dressed up like a giant cookie, you know?

It’s like, I may say no to a cookie here and there, but a cookie with a face? A cookie with a toothless grin, pigtails, and shoes that light up when she dances? That’s a low-blow to breeze on by and be like, I don’t need you, dancing cookie girl. I just can’t do it.

Sugar Cookie Samoas Bars - thick and chewy sugar cookie bars topped with rich, buttery caramel and toasted coconut, then drizzled with milk chocolate! Just like a Samoas Girl Scout Cookie!So inevitably I spend my kale money on Do-Si-Dos and Thin Mints and Samoas and insist to the moms multiple times that I’m buying for my family, we all love cookies, har har har, and then I get home and eat every last crumb of those evil concoctions. I’ll check the boxes later after the damage is done and see that one serving is two cookies and I’ll laugh because everyone knows that eating two Girl Scout Cookies is equivalent to the impossibility of seeing pigs fly, finding Justin Bieber attractive and eating pizza on the moon. It’s just not possible.

Sugar Cookie Samoas Bars - thick and chewy sugar cookie bars topped with rich, buttery caramel and toasted coconut, then drizzled with milk chocolate! Just like a Samoas Girl Scout Cookie!So while my kale and boiled chicken diet may be done, my Girl Scout Cookie diet is alive and well. And since Samoas are my favorite Girl Scout Cookie in all the land, I have been ramping up my baking with tons of Samoas-inspired recipes for when Girl Scout season is over and my cravings are still alive and well. And you guys, these bars could not be easier and they taste just like a thicker, softer Samoa cookie!

Don’t mind me, just making the impossible into possibles. Except for J.Biebs. He’s a lost cause.

Sugar Cookie Samoas Bars - thick and chewy sugar cookie bars topped with rich, buttery caramel and toasted coconut, then drizzled with milk chocolate! Just like a Samoas Girl Scout Cookie!*sugar cookie bar recipe adapted from Lauren’s Latest

5.0 from 1 reviews
Samoas Sugar Cookie Bars
Author: 
Recipe type: Bars
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 15
 
Thick, soft and chewy, these Sugar Cookie Samoas Bars taste like the Girl Scout Cookie classic but can be made yearround when the craving strikes!
Ingredients
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp almond extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 pkg Kraft Caramels, unwrapped
  • About 3 cups toasted coconut, cooled
  • 1 pkg Chocolate CandiQuik
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 13x9" baking pan with foil, extending the sides of the foil over the edges of the pan. Mist the foil liberally with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg, vanilla extract and almond extract until combined. Lastly, beat in the baking powder, salt, and flour, adding the flour about a cup at a time, until a soft dough has formed.
  3. Press the dough evenly into the baking pan. Bake for approx. 20-25 minutes or until light golden brown and center is set. Cool the bars completely in the pan.
  4. Melt the caramels according to package directions, or until smooth. Stir in the toasted coconut, tossing to coat. Working very quickly, spread the caramel-coconut mixture on top of the sugar cookie bar base. Using your greased hands or a greased off-set spatula or spoon, spread the mixture to cover the entire base; you may have to press it out, but be gentle about it as to not crush the sugar cookie base beneath. Allow the caramel coconut layer to set, about 15 minutes.
  5. Once the bars are set, lift the bars out using your foil handles and cut them into squares. Melt the CandiQuik according to package directions, until smooth. Dip the bottoms of the bars into the CandiQuik and place onto a wax-paper lined surface. Repeat with remaining bars. Pour the remaining CandiQuik into a resealable plastic bag, seal out the air, snip off a corner of the bag, and drizzle the remaining CandiQuik over top of the bars. Allow the CandiQuik to set, about 10 minutes, before serving.

Sugar Cookie Samoas Bars - thick and chewy sugar cookie bars topped with rich, buttery caramel and toasted coconut, then drizzled with milk chocolate! Just like a Samoas Girl Scout Cookie!

Sugar Cookie Samoas Bars - thick and chewy sugar cookie bars topped with rich, buttery caramel and toasted coconut, then drizzled with milk chocolate! Just like a Samoas Girl Scout Cookie!If I could, I would subsist exclusively on the caramel and toasted coconut layer alone – it is fabulous! These are so chewy and gooey, and such a great way to transform a basic sugar cookie bar into a fantastical Samoas-inspired dessert!

Sugar Cookie Samoas Bars - thick and chewy sugar cookie bars topped with rich, buttery caramel and toasted coconut, then drizzled with milk chocolate! Just like a Samoas Girl Scout Cookie!Have a sweet day!

xo, Hayley

Biscoff S’mores Seven Layer Bars

Biscoff Smores Seven Layer BarsAs you’re reading this, I am partying my face off in Orlando, FL for the Food Blog Forum conference. We’re at Disney World, and I’m pretty positive I will convince the cast members to let me move into Cinderella’s castle.

…or being kicked out of Disney World for pouting at their obvious ‘no, you may not live in Cinderella’s castle’ answer. Whatever.

With that being said, I’m gonna keep Sunday’s post short and sweet by introducing you to your new favorite dessert: these Biscoff S’mores Seven Layer Bars. I’ll let that sink in for a minute.

DSC_0120ASo yeah, Biscoff S’mores Seven Layer Bars. It combines the classic flavors of s’mores with an unexpected but delightful twist of Biscoff spread. You guys have heard of Biscoff right? It’s got the consistency of peanut butter but is made with ground Biscoff cookies, creating a very smooth, sweet and slightly spicy spread that’s perfect on virtually everything… including seven layer bars.

DSC_0128ASince graham crackers and Biscoff are similar enough, I decided to swap out classic honey grahams with Biscoff cookies in this recipe. It creates a nice, spicy kick to the bars thanks to the ginger, cinnamon and rich flavors in the Biscoff cookies, and it pairs so nicely with the sweet, fluffy marshmallow and the rich milk chocolate. You guys are gonna love these bars.

Okay, gotta go infiltrate the castle. I’ll invite you over for Biscoff S’mores Bars when it’s mine.

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5.0 from 1 reviews
Biscoff S'mores Seven Layer Bars
Author: 
Recipe type: Bars
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 15
 
These seven layer bars have two unexpected flavors that come together for a truly delightful and delicious sweet treat: Biscoff and S'mores! You'll love this new, winning flavor combination.
Ingredients
  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup oil
  • 4 pkgs (8 total) S'mores Pop Tarts
  • 1 cup Biscoff Cookies, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup Kraft JET-PUFFED Miniature Marshmallows
  • ½ cup Biscoff spread
  • 1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
  • About 2-3 squares of Chocolate CandiQuik
  • About 1 cup Kraft JET-PUFFED Mallow Bits, for garnish
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 13x9" baking pan with foil, extending the sides of the foil over the edges of the pan. Spray the foil generously with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, egg and oil with a spoon until a soft dough forms. Press the dough evenly into the prepared pan and bake for approx. 12 minutes. Remove from the oven but keep the oven on.
  3. Line up the Pop Tarts gently onto the crust. There should be four on top and four on bottom, but if needed, break up Pop Tarts to fit. Top first with the miniature marshmallows, then the chopped cookies and chocolate chips. In a small bowl, quickly whisk together the Biscoff spread and sweetened condensed milk until combined; pour the mixture evenly on top of the bars.
  4. Return to the oven and bake for approx. 18-20 minutes or until the top is golden brown and bubbly. Center will appear just about set. Cool completely, preferably overnight.
  5. Once bars are cool, cut into squares. Prepare the chocolate CandiQuik according to package directions or until melted and smooth. Pour the chocolate into a small resealable baggy and snip off a corner of the baggy. Drizzle the bars with the CandiQuik and immediately top with the Mallow Bits for garnish. Serve!

DSC_0130A

DSC_0136AThese are so unbelievably delicious, you guys. Sweet, chewy, gooey, slightly spicy and just oozing with chocolate and marshmallow… they are a s’mores lovers dream come true! I highly recommend you bake with Biscoff cookies to add that additional crunch and spice – it’s what makes these bars extra special!

Biscoff Smores 7 Layer BarsHave a fabulous day!!

xo, Hayley

 

Samoas Magic Bar Pie

Samoas Magic Bar PieWhen I was in Girl Scouts, our troop leader totally didn’t do anything cool. Other troops were raising money to go to Disneyland, or sleepovers at the zoo, or other cool things.

We went camping. Once. It was lame because two girls kicked me out of their tent.

We went to a safety school. We learned not to walk in front of cars. All it made me do was want to walk in front of a car.

And the rest of the time, we spent in a cold, empty classroom at my elementary school. All the girls knew each other super well, so they clamored together. I was just kinda the outcast brownie, the one who never had all her patches sewn on, the one who didn’t get along with the other girls, and the one who longed for sleepovers at the zoo while secretly hating our troop leader for being a loser who totally dropped the ball on this life-building girl-power skills thing.

But I didn’t need the girls there. I had cookies, obvi. The cookies were pretty much the only redeeming factor of putting up with all those shenanigans because the second it was cookie season, I was alllll about the Samoas. To me, the Samoas are pretty much the perfect cookie. Crunchy shortbread, creamy caramel, sweet toasted coconut and that perfect drizzle of chocolate… it’s pretty much one heavenly, perfect little bite. And I know I’m not the only Samoa-freak out there… there’s hoards of ya, and this is our time to unite and REJOICE over the invention of this fabtastic pie.

DSC_0354AYou know magic bars? This is that… in pie form. It’s chewy, gooey and positively luscious. It tastes of Samoas, thanks to the classic components swirled in every bite: actual Samoa cookies, coconut, bits of caramel, chocolate chips, Rolos, and the whole thing is smothered in sweetened condensed milk (aka the nectar of the Gods). Then it’s baked until golden and bubbly and served up to Samoa-lovers everywhere. You’re welcome.

DSC_0372AOkay. Enough chit-chat. We need to dig in. This caramel is bananas. Or rather, s-a-m-o-a-s. I’ll stop.

DSC_0362A

Samoas Magic Bar Pie
Author: 
Recipe type: Pie
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Samoa-cookie lovers everywhere, rejoice! This chewy, gooey, outrageous pie tastes just like a giant Samoa cookie, in a fun twist between magic bars and pie!
Ingredients
  • 1 refrigerated pie crust, room temperature
  • 1 pkg (24 count) refrigerated chocolate chip cookies, room temperature
  • 1 pkg (about 20) Samoas cookies, roughly chopped (if you can't find Samoas or don't want to chop up a box, Keebler makes a similar cookie sold at most supermarkets)
  • ½ cup chocolate chips
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 pkg Kraft caramels, unwrapped and cut in half
  • ½ cup Rolos, unwrapped and chopped
  • 1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9" pie plate with cooking spray. Roll out the pie crust to fit into the bottom and up the sides of the pie plate. Crimp the edges of the pie crust if you'd like.
  2. Using your hands, press the cookie dough into a plane of dough and press into the bottom of the pie crust; it'll be super thick. Top evenly with chopped Samoas cookies, chocolate chips, shredded coconut, caramels and chopped Rolos. Drizzle evenly with the sweetened condensed milk. Cover the edges of the pie crusts with a pie shield.
  3. Bake for approx. 30-35 minutes or until the center is golden brown and bubbly, but appears set. If it slightly jiggles, that's okay, but it shouldn't be sloshing around. Allow the pie to cool completely before cutting into squares. Serve with ice cream or more caramel, if desired.

DSC_0381AGooooooooey. So very gooey!

DSC_0388ATo be honest, I added the chocolate chip cookie dough into the bottom layer for a couple reasons. 1) for substance. It helps create a nice, thick, gooey cookie base for this pie. 2) because I needed to use up some refrigerated dough I had in my fridge (oops). And 3) because it’s freaking delicious – why are you questioning my decision? :)

Samoas Magic Bar PieHave a delicious day!!

xo, Hayley

Neapolitan Seven Layer Bars

NeapolitanSevenLayerBarsWhat happens when you forget to post a Valentine’s Day-themed recipe before Valentine’s Day? You post it days later, obvi!

I try to stick to schedules since I tend to be a planner and a huge list-maker. But stuff happens, I forget, I don’t care, or Intervention is on and I just neglect it. I’m sorry. I’m the worst blogger ever.

BUT, the good thing is is that Neapolitan’s a yearround flavor. It doesn’t necessarily have an expiration date like eggnog or peppermint (though if it were up to me, eggnog and peppermint would not be judged in summertime), and it works because it’s comprised of three fabulous flavors that are seasonless: vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry. What’s not to love?!

…and it happens to be the theme of my sweet new blog design! BTW, did you enter my giveaway yet? I’m giving away a FREE pair of Tieks flats, a Too-Faced Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bar Palette or a $25 Baskin Robbins gift card! Winners are chosen on Tuesday, so wiggle your butt over to that post to enter!!

DSC_0166AANYWHO. Since I’m a lover of both Neapolitan and seven layer bars, I figured there had to be some combining love-child makin’ happening between the two. The results are magical! There’s bites of chocolate, vanilla and strawberry goodness in every bite, and if you’re as fanatical about this flavor as I am, there’s a must-make for sure!

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Neapolitan Seven Layer Bars
Author: 
Recipe type: Bars
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 15
 
Packed with strawberry, chocolate and vanilla, these fabulous Neapolitan Seven Layer Bars are a winner!
Ingredients
  • 1 box strawberry cake mix
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup oil
  • 1 tsp strawberry extract (optional, but enhances the flavor - I recommend it)
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 pkg. Ghirardelli Chocolate & Strawberry Squares, unwrapped and roughly chopped (if you cannot find this flavor, substitute with Chocolate & Raspberry - no one will tell the difference)
  • 1 cup Jet-Puffed Strawberry Marshmallows
  • About 20 Berry Oreos, roughly chopped
  • 1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
  • Rainbow sprinkles, if you'd like
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 13x9" baking pan with foil, extending the sides of the foil over the edges of the pan. Mist the foil liberally with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, egg, oil and strawberry extract, if using, until a soft dough forms. Press the dough evenly into the prepared pan and bake for approx. 12 minutes.
  3. Remove the pan from the oven but keep the oven on. Evenly distribute the chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, chopped chocolate squares, marshmallows and Oreos onto the dough. I like putting the marshmallows on first so they're covered - it prevents them from burning and expanding as much. Drizzle evenly with the condensed milk.
  4. Bake for approximately 20-22 minutes or until center appears set and the top is golden brown and bubbly. Cool completely (I recommend overnight) before lifting out of the pan and cutting into squares. Garnish with sprinkles, if you'd like!

DSC_0179AI love the rich burst of sweet strawberry in these chewy, gooey bars! They would be perfect alongside a bowl of Neapolitan ice cream… but that’s only if you want to do it a la Hayley :)

Nuts for Neapolitan? Check out my other fun Neapolitan recipes!

Neapolitan CupcakesNeapolitan Cupcakes – be sure to enter my giveaway! 

neabundtNeapolitan Bundt Cake

neapcheesecakeNeapolitan No-Bake Cheesecake

Have a sweet Sunday!!

xo, Hayley

 

Red Velvet Seven Layer Bars

Red Velvet Seven Layer BarsMost of the time, I know I’m really, truly a woman. I love makeup, I’m obsessed with anything glittery, I own several tutus, and the semi-annual sale at Victoria’s Secret gets me giddy.

But.

There are a couple of girlie things I could never, ever get behind. Things that often make me question if I’m actually a girl since they rock the girl-code a little. Things like…

Hating the Cyndi Lauper song, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun. If I were taking an elevator ride down to Hell where I would be spending the rest of eternity eating porkchops with my pet monkeys *shudder*, this song would be playing during my descent. I absolutely, positively loathe it with every humanly fiber in my being. The opening riffs are jarring against my eardrums, sending panic waves throughout my body to find the nearest exit before I set myself on fire. Cyndi’s clamoring begs for fun shake me to my core and almost induce projectile vomiting. I hate, hate, hate that song, yet it manages to be the girliest anthem there is with every XX chromosome in the world.

Then there’s the long-ass makeup rituals. Dude. Back when I used to have sleepovers, I would dread the morning-after when it took my sleepover friend approximately 34768734 eons to get ready, only to emerge from the bathroom with a normal-looking face. Like, did it really take you 20 minutes to apply foundation that still makes you look like that? And another 30 minutes to get your mascara just barely coating your lashes? Kill me now. And don’t even get me started on the hair rituals. Full blow-outs, straightening wands that turn every individual follicle on her head into a pin-straight plank of hair… not my cup of tea. If I’m not rolling out of bed with whatever’s on my head, I’m getting feisty and throwing it in a pony. I just can’t with the day-long makeup rituals.

Oh, and girl shopping? Torturous. I had this friend who flicked through every. single. rack in a store. Seriously, every single one of them. Just getting through the first floor of a double-story Forever 21 would take like, 3 hours of mind-numbing hanger flicking. I don’t know if she expected to find like, a golden ticket or a secret portal or what, but it was so skull-throbbingly BORING that I would always tell her I was gonna go to the bathroom and complete my other-store shopping. I don’t know about you, but when I go in a store, I kind of scan the area to see if there are any racks that stand out. If so, I’ll flick through those racks (or through the item that stood out) and then move on. It was like my friend was planning on writing a dissertation on all of the fabric counts for every item in-store. And if that store decided to play Cyndi Lauper, which was inevitable since the universe hates me, I nearly stabbed myself with a clothes hanger in an attempt to end the misery.

So combining that knowledge with the fact that I don’t understand acrylic nails (how do you wipe!?), a love for Beyonce music and any signage that says “Keep Calm and ___”, sometimes I just wonder if I’m really a woman or some kind of mutant alien hidden inside a curvy chick’s body.

ANYWHO. Let’s change subjects before I melt.

DSC_0097AIf you’ve been a human on this planet for longer than a couple months, you’ve probably heard the speculation about the new Red Velvet Cake Oreos coming out… and their subsequent release last week. Even though I’m not the largest fan of red velvet, I was still determined to try them in the name of research and tracked ‘em down at my local Target. Final verdict? They’re good, but they needed a little doctoring up in the form of an in-your-face, outrageous Red Velvet Seven Layer Bar. 

DSC_0094AAs you know, seven layer bars are one of my favorite concoctions on this site. I love combining unexpected ingredients to create fabulous, seven layers of heavenly bars – and I was desperately missing a red velvet version. After the release of the Oreos, I scoured Target’s shelves to find matching ingredients to compose these rich and velvety bars, and the end result is fabulous. If you love the decadent, moist texture of red velvet cake, then you’ll flip for these incredibly indulgent bars. Trust me!

And you don’t even need to be a woman, man, or mutant alien woman to enjoy them. They’re good for everyone!

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5.0 from 1 reviews
Red Velvet Seven Layer Bars
Author: 
Recipe type: Bars
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 15
 
Red Velvet Cake fans, these are for YOU! Layers of gooey red velvet deliciousness combine to create these indulgent, heavenly bars, featuring Oreo's newest Red Velvet cookie flavor. If you can't find the Oreo cookies, substitute with your favorite red velvet bakery cookies.
Ingredients
  • 1 box red velvet cake mix
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup oil
  • 1 pkg. Red Velvet Oreos, coarsely chopped
  • ¾ pkg Dove Milk and Red Velvet Swirl Chocolates (available at Target - if you cannot find these, substitute with a regular milk chocolate and white chocolate swirled candy, like by Hershey's Kisses or Dove), chopped into bite-sized chunks
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 pkg. (9 count) Vanilla Creme Peeps, chopped into chunks
  • 1 cup Red Velvet M&M's candies
  • About 9 miniature red velvet cupcakes, frosted and prepared from your favorite bakery, roughly chopped in half
  • 1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 13x9" baking pan with foil, extending the sides of the foil over the edges of the pan. Spray the foil liberally with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the cake mix, egg and oil with a spoon until a soft dough forms. Press the dough evenly into the prepared pan and bake for approx. 12 minutes. Remove from the oven but keep the oven on.
  3. Top the crust evenly with the chopped Peeps first, then layer evenly with the Oreos, red velvet chocolates, chopped red velvet cupcakes, white chocolate chips, and M&M's candies. Drizzle evenly with the sweetened condensed milk. Return to the oven and continue baking for another 20-22 minutes or until the top is bubbly and golden and center appears set.
  4. Allow the bars to cool completely before gently lifting out of the pan and cutting into squares. Serve immediately, or store leftovers airtight at room temperature.

DSC_0105AThese bars are so indulgent and incredibly rich, bursting with red velvet cake flavor! I love the unexpected addition of chopped red velvet cupcakes, which melt into the bars and create a fabulous texture from the caramelized cream cheese icing. If you cannot find Red Velvet Oreos, substitute red velvet cookies from your local bakery. If you cannot find the Dove Milk & Red Velvet Swirl chocolates, substitute a white & milk chocolate-swirled candy, such as Hershey’s Kisses or Dove chocolates.

Have a fabulous day!

xo, Hayley

 

Best Ever Fudge Brownies

BestEverFudgeBrownies

So I recently had a startling revelation: I actually do have a sweet tooth.

After years and years of staunchly denying my sweet tooth, telling people that I have a ‘salty tooth’ in reference to my preference for chips, fries, pickles, and all things salty, I finally realized I’m a liar because I effing love sweets and what the hell was I ever talking about?

(Related: I also feel very ‘wtf’ in retrospect about my high school appearance, past boyfriends, and 90% of the mix-tapes I own that I once thought were great).

So yeah. I’m coming out with it: I have a sweet tooth. A massive one, in fact. I mean, as far as I’m concerned I could easily double-fist a basket of piping hot onion rings and a handful of macarons simultaneously. Just call me ‘classy’.

I figured this revelation out when I would look at my bank statements and realize I spent $70 on macarons from Laduree every time I visited New York. Or how whenever I visit a bakery, I have to try every. single. thing. and I secretly enjoy every. single. bite. It isn’t research; it’s because I’m a fat-ass who freakin’ loves food. End of story.

And brownies? LOVE ‘EM. While I’m still not wild about chocolate (you will not, in fact, find me shoveling a chocolate bar down my gullet — yet), I do love me some brownies. They’re pretty impossible to resist at any point in their short lifespan, but I’m especially weak for them right when they come out of the oven. They’re all hot and gooey, with those crackly-crisp tops. If there is anything sexier, let me know.

DSC_0070ABut so often, brownies are disappointing. It’s like when you highly anticipate the newest season in your favorite series because it’s about a circus and OMG, SOMUCHCREEPYPOTENTIAL but then they totally BLOW IT by making every lame character sing like this is some kind of disturbed Glee spin-off and you’re like, you really only had one episode with a ventriloquist doll? Really? and then you kinda sorta vow to never watch it again because it was such crap.

Hypothetically speaking, you know.

DSC_0041AI’m here to change your views on brownies. Those “fudge” brownies that are drier than a Sahara desert in summertime? Never again. Brownies that are labeled as “chewy” but taste like chocolate cake? Sayonara, losers. And brownies that are too sweet, too fudgy, not sweet enough? Later dude. It’s time to say goodbye to mediocre brownies and HELLO to the most amazing, best, fudge brownies ever. I don’t like throwing around ‘best’ and ‘perfect’ all the time since I know brownie recipes can be subjective, of course. I don’t want to step on your ancient Grandma Mildred’s recipe, or your favorite boxed mix, but for me personally, this is my new favorite.

This recipe comes from a delicious bakery here in Sacramento called Ginger Elizabeth. If you’re ever here, I highly recommend stopping by for a sweet treat and some of their amazing hand-crafted artisanal chocolates.

But in the meantime… make these!

DSC_0052A

5.0 from 1 reviews
Best Ever Fudge Brownies
Author: 
Recipe type: Brownies
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 24
 
Ultra rich, gooey and fudgy, these brownies are some of the best-ever! They have crispy tops but soft and chewy middles, and bake up incredibly thick. They'll be your new favorite in no time!
Ingredients
  • 1 & ¼ cups unsalted butter
  • 3 cups white sugar
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract (I recommend a high-quality vanilla like a Madagascar Bourbon)
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 & ¼th cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp - 1 tsp instant espresso powder (optional but recommended for a flavor boost; start with ½ tsp for a deeper flavor and use 1 tsp if you want something stronger)
  • 12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips or baking bar
  • 4 oz unsweetened chocolate chips or baking bar
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Liberally grease a 13x9" baking pan with cooking spray and set aside. In a large bowl, melt the butter and chocolate together. You can either do this in a microwave-save bowl in the microwave, heating at 45-second increments, stirring after each round until smooth, or you can do it in a glass bowl over a pot of simmering water, like a double-boiler method (just make sure the water is not touching the bottom of the bowl). I did the microwave method and it worked just fine.
  2. NOTE: if you are using baking bars (such as Baker's), break them up into individual, segmented pieces before melting. This helps expedite the melting process and make for a smooth batter.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the sugar, eggs and vanilla with the paddle attachment until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add in the chocolate butter mixture until smooth. Then, add in the flour, espresso powder (if using) and salt until a soft yet thick batter has formed.
  4. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan. Bake for approximately 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out with moist crumbs (not super wet). Here's where it's up to your preference. I baked mine for exactly 37 minutes, creating VERY fudgy brownies that almost seemed slightly undone which is how I like it. If you want something still fudgy but more structured, bake up to 45 minutes. Do not overbake, as brownies WILL continue to cook and set up once they cool.
  5. Allow brownies to cool, preferably overnight, before cutting into bars. Brownies may slightly sink in the middle during cooling; this is normal. If you'd like, you can frost them or sprinkle them with powdered sugar. Serve room temperature or warm, and store leftovers airtight at room temperature for up to a week. These would freeze well, too - wrap individually and freeze up to 3 months.

Oh my fudge.

DSC_0063A

DSC_0071AI mean, these are positively irresistible! Like I said, buttery, fudgy, moist and chewy with those delectable crispy-crunchy tops that add such great texture to these monstrous fudge-bombs. As you may have noticed, there is no leavening in these brownies since they’re already so thick and tall on their own. Even for a 13×9″ pan, these bake up some seriously thick brownies. Feel free to substitute an 11×16 pan or something larger like a sheet pan if you’d like; just reduce the baking time and mind the brownies so they don’t burn or overcook.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some lost time to make up for :)

Have a delicious day!!

xo, Hayley

Best Ever Fudge Brownies

 

 

 

 

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Baklava

ChocChipBaklavaSo. I kinda sorta trashed the living ish outta this baklava, but I’m not sure anyone will be too upset about it.

I remember the first time I tried Greek food. I was dating this guy — we’ll call him A — and he and his family lived in downtown Sacramento in this gorgeous 40’s-era mansion. ‘A’ and his folks were really liberal and artsy and totally not at all like what I was used to, growing up in a pretty conservative-dominant neighborhood. They shopped at farmer’s markets and liked thrifting; they listened to obscure jazz musicians, traveled the world, and used organic soap. Like, totally hippie-dippie-complete-opposite of everything I’ve ever known.

BUT. Because of this, I got a couple of odd (but good-odd) dates with A. Like, one time we went to a lecture for this supposedly-famous psychologist. And another time we went to a really nice restaurant two hours away from home, just because. But my favorite date had to be the time his parents gave us tickets to a Greek Food Festival.

I wasn’t sure what to expect, but dude – Greeks are awesome. And their food is ridiculously good. As a girl who grew up on Taco Bell and Twinkies, pastitsio, dolmas and moussaka were a whole new world for me. And don’t eeeeven get me started on baklava. One bite of that heavenly, sticky-sweet confection and I was sold… and I don’t even really like honey all that much. It’s just something magical that the Greeks do to make phyllo and nuts taste like heaven. I’m convinced they have voodoo powers or something.

DSC_0342AANYWHO. Despite attending this food festival over 10 years ago (wait, omg.), I still had yet to make baklava. There was just something so … annoying? with all the preparation required in making it, and again – honey gives me the shivers. But I decided to get over my weird honey-phobia and stick it to baklava by making it my own unique way — trashed up beyond recognition with chocolate chip cookie dough and a gooey brown sugar & vanilla simple syrup.

DSC_0355AOh honnnnaaayy. This is the ultimate.

Y’all ready to get baklava crunk?

DSC_0346A*inspired from Tieghan’s recipe

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Baklava
Author: 
Recipe type: Treats
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 24
 
Rich & sinful, this outrageous Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Baklava will be your new favorite dessert!
Ingredients
  • 1 pkg phyllo dough, thawed
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • FOR COOKIE DOUGH:
  • 1 & ½ sticks butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 Tbsp milk
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp salt
  • About 3 cups flour
  • 1 & ½ cups miniature chocolate chips
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 2 squares Chocolate CandiQuik
  • FOR VANILLA & BROWN SUGAR SYRUP:
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 & ½ cups brown sugar (I used dark, but light works too)
  • 2 Tbsp vanilla
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Liberally grease a 13x9" pan with cooking spray; set aside. Meanwhile, make your cookie dough: in a large bowl with a stand mixer, beat together the butter, brown sugar & sugar with a paddle attachment until creamy. Add in milk and vanilla, beat to combine. Lastly, add in the salt, flour, walnuts and chocolate chips until a soft dough has formed. Set aside.
  2. Begin layering your phyllo in the pan. Place one sheet of phyllo in the bottom of the pan and brush it with melted butter. Top with another piece of phyllo, brush it with butter, and repeat the process until you've stacked 10 pieces of phyllo on top of one another. *NOTE: while you work, be sure to keep the rest of the phyllo dough covered with a damp cloth to prevent it from drying out.*
  3. Carefully press HALF of the chocolate chip cookie dough on top of the bottom phyllo layer. You may want to take chunks of cookie dough, flatten them in your hand, and kind of form them into a layer by hand to prevent ripping the phyllo underneath.
  4. Repeat by adding TEN (10) more layers of buttered phyllo (buttering each sheet of phyllo after laying it), then top with the remaining cookie dough. Lastly, add the remaining phyllo dough, buttering each sheet as you layer. Cut the baklava with a very sharp knife in square or diamond pattern.
  5. Bake for approx. 45 minutes or until golden and bubbly. Remove from the oven and immediately pour the vanilla & brown sugar simple syrup over top. Allow the baklava to set for at LEAST 6 hours, preferably overnight* before cutting completely into squares or diamonds and serving.
  6. If desired, feel free to drizzle on melted CandiQuik for an added chocolate drizzle garnish, as I did. Store leftovers airtight, at room temperature, for a couple days.
  7. *TO MAKE THE SIMPLE SYRUP: Bring the water, brown sugar and vanilla to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat.

DSC_0358AThis stuff is damn good, people. The buttery cookie dough, crispy phyllo, crunchy walnuts and chocolate chips, and the drizzle of chocolate on top makes for such an indulgent, badass dessert. If you don’t like walnuts, feel free to leave them out – I liked adding them for crunch and to keep one traditional component to this baklava. You could also use pistachios, pecans or peanuts, or swap the cookie dough for a peanut butter, butterscotch or sugar cookie dough!

…Just invite me over if you make those changes :)

Happy Baking!

xo, Hayley

 

Chocolate Cherry Seven Layer Bars

ChocolateCherryI will never understand super touchy people. You know the ones who always feel the need to touch you, hold you, hug you, pick at you… whether they know you or not?

As a teenager with Day-Glo colored neon hair, I was constantly being touched by random strangers. Picking out apples in the grocery store, I suddenly felt hands on my hair and turned to see a woman inspecting my hair to see if it was real or a wig. Um, excuse me? Or just the random people who seemingly couldn’t believe that real hair could exist in colors like that, so they’d just reach out and pet me like some kind of rare zoo animal.

And while I’ve never been pregnant, I have heard horror stories of mothers-to-be mentioning random people rubbing their bellies in public places as if the mother was some kind of magical Buddha. This ain’t no Chinese restaurant, and your fortune says to kindly eff off. Don’t touch my belly!

…I certainly don’t want anyone touching my muffin top and mistaking it for a child. I don’t know what would be more mortifying.

But yesterday I was in ULTA waiting in a mile-long line when I felt something on my head. I must preface this by saying that I loathe long hair on me. Like, super-duper hate it. One, because I am really low-maintenance with my hair. Like, I don’t even own a hair dryer and I wash it about twice a week. And two, because of my major-lax attitude about my hair, I don’t brush it. Say what you will, cringe if you please, but I loathe brushing it. And YES, I do have an appointment to get it cut, thankyouverymuch. I’m kinda-sorta counting down the minutes if we’re being honest, and I’ve come thisclose to shaving it off myself.

SO. That being said, I was minding my own damn jolly business when I felt something on my head. I quickly reached up to touch the back of my hair and was greeted with a hand. A HAND ON MY HEAD. I spun around and the woman behind me looked at me sheepishly and said, “you know you have a knot in your hair, so I was trying to get it out for you.”

So here I was, standing in line with arms full of beauty products, listening to Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas Is You for the 876th time, while a strange woman picked out the rat’s nest in the back of my head. It was both humiliating and irksome at the same time, which is a delightful combination of emotions if you weren’t sure. I had to politely tell the lady to PLEASE stop picking apart my dreadlocks because A) we are not apes picking bugs out of one another’s fur, and B) because really? There’s polite, and then there’s psychotic… and she surely wasn’t being the former.

And it was with that that I came home with my dreadlock and held it close. We may have our differences, but I’ll be damned if someone assault’s my dreadlocks in an ULTA line.

DSC_0087AAnywho. Let’s talk food, specifically these outrageous seven layer bars. You guys know me and my seven layer/magic bars. I love them. There’s something so irresistible about seven layers of glorious goodness within each bite, and I love coming up with brand new flavor combinations… including this one! I’m a big chocolate + cherry fan, and these bars are for all those chocoholic cherry lovers out there. Packed with multiple layers of bright, sweet cherries and rich, creamy chocolate, they’re the epitome of decadence in one gooey, bite-sized bar!

This is one instance where it’s totally okay to get touchy-feely. Pick away!!

DSC_0083A

5.0 from 1 reviews
Chocolate Cherry Seven Layer Bars
Author: 
Recipe type: Bars
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 15
 
Rich and gooey, these Chocolate Cherry Seven Layer Bars have bursts of bright, sweet cherry flavor throughout!
Ingredients
  • 1 box chocolate cake mix
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup oil
  • 1 pkg Nestle Tollhouse Cherry Delight-Fulls Morsels
  • 1 cup cherry morsels (by LogHouse Foods)
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 pkg Andes Chocolate Cherry candies, chopped
  • 1 & ½ cups Hershey's Cherry Cordial Kisses, chopped
  • 1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
  • Maraschino cherries, for garnish (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 13x9" baking pan with foil, extending the sides of the foil over the edges of the pan. Mist the foil with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, egg, and oil until a soft dough has formed. Press the dough evenly into the prepared baking pan and bake for approx. 12 minutes. Remove from the oven but keep the oven on. Evenly top with the assorted chips and chopped candies; drizzle evenly with the sweetened condensed milk.
  3. Return to the oven and continue baking for an additional 18-20 minutes or until the bars are bubbly and the center appears to be just about set. It may wiggle slightly; that's okay -- it will continue to set up as it cools.
  4. Allow the bars to cool completely before cutting into squares. I recommend cooling them overnight for extra time to set up. You can also pop in the fridge to speed up cooling time, but allow to come to room temperature to cut. Store leftovers airtight at room temperature, and garnish slices with chocolate sauce and cherries if you'd like.

DSC_0101ADuuuuuuuuuuude. These are rockin’!

FYI – cherry morsels, cherry cordial Hershey’s Kisses and Andes Cherry Cordial Candies can typically be found during the Christmas season and sometimes Valentine’s Day. If you like these candies, stock up now since they tend to be seasonal. Nestle TollHouse Delight-Fulls are available yearround in the baking aisle next to the other chocolate chips.

Have a sweet day!!

xo, Hayley

 

 

Sugar Cookie Seven Layer Bars

Sugar Cookie Seven Layer BarsAs a slightly insane food blogger, it’s my civic duty to report to you guys about the latest food products on the market.

So without further adieu, FRENCH TOAST CRUNCH CEREAL IS BACK!!! 

If I could somehow scream this through a megaphone, you bet your cute booty I would. I am so excited, people. I’ve waited years for this glorious reunion of miniature toast-shaped cereal flavored with maple and cinnamon.

But while on the hunt for this iconic 90’s throwback, I stumbled upon some other doozy products I just had to buy… AKA, what happens every time I shop at Target. (No wonder I’m always so broke).

First up: Sugar Cookie PopTarts. I mean, really? It’s like the folks at PopTarts just get me, you know? Shoving sugar cookie dough inside of a pastry and calling it breakfast… if only I could get a guy to think the same philosophy and I’ll put a ring on it.

Next: Sugar Cookie Peeps. I know Peeps are a love-it-or-leave-it food, but I happen to love them. Along with Sugar Cookie, I also spotted Hot Chocolate, Red Velvet (!!) and Peppermint. Yes, jump in my cart and take my damn money.

But after pushing my cart full of sugar cookie Peeps & PopTarts around, an idea gave birth in mah brain. What about Sugar Cookie Seven Layer Bars?! It was a brilliant idea that had to happen… and that was promptly eaten in one sitting. Sorrynotsorry.

DSC_1527A{BTW, every Christmas my mom begs me to make sugar cookie cut-outs with royal icing. Well, royal icing gives me the heeby jeebies and after numerous failed attempts, has made me moderately homicidal, so we compromised with these bars that pack the sugar cookie punch without the hassle of cut-outs and royal icing murder.}

DSC_1528AEAT UP.

DSC_1525A

5.0 from 3 reviews
Sugar Cookie Seven Layer Bars
Author: 
Recipe type: Bars
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 15
 
Seven layers of sugar cookie heaven, packed into one glorious bar! No need to hassle over cut-out sugar cookies since these pack the sugar cookie punch in a convenient cookie bar that everyone will love.
Ingredients
  • 1 box white cake mix
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • About 5 Sugar Cookie Pop Tarts
  • 1 (12-cookie count) pkg refrigerated sugar cookie dough
  • About 12 baked sugar cookies, roughly chopped
  • 2 pkgs Sugar Cookie Peeps, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
  • Sugar, for sprinkling on top (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 13x9" baking pan with foil, extending the sides of the foil over the edges of the pan. Mist the foil liberally with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, egg, melted butter and vanilla until a soft dough has formed. Spread the dough into the prepared pan in an even layer and bake for 12 minutes.
  3. Remove the pan from the oven but keep the oven on. Gently lay the Pop Tarts across the surface of the dough in an even layer, breaking Pop Tarts to fit if needed. Top the Pop Tarts layer with pieces of sugar cookie dough, the chopped sugar cookies, the chopped Peeps candies, and the white chocolate chips as evenly as possible. Drizzle evenly with the sweetened condensed milk.
  4. Return to the oven and bake for an additional 18-20 minutes or until the top is lightly golden and the center appears just about set. Sprinkle with additional sugar if desired. Cool in the pan completely, then gently lift the bars out of the pan using the foil sides and cut into squares. I like letting my bars sit overnight for an easier cut.

DSC_1530AAll that’s missing is a HUGE frosty glass of milk! These are the ultimate for sugar cookie lovers… so much sugar cookie goodness packed into one petite, fabulous bar!

Have a fantastical day!!

xo, Hayley

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