Peanut Butter Nutella-Swirled Brownies

I'm ba-ack! :)

Vacation was AMAZING. I am so going on a cruise again, that's for sure. Alaska was beautiful, and, trust me, we have the pictures to prove it. Between Dave and I, we wound up with just over 1200 pictures. Don't worry, I will not be posting them all. In fact, I need a break from organizing photos, so it'll be a few days before any of those get posted.

The food? Oh, man. I tried valiantly to balance out my fruit/veggie consumption with my dessert consumption. I think I was mostly successful. Definitely didn't have to worry about this girl getting scurvy. I kept a notebook with what I ate (including the many new things that I tried), but that's in the other room at the moment, and.. yeah, I'm a bit lazy tonight.

Yesterday morning didn't start out in its usual way. I overslept, didn't wake up until 10:30a. So right there, only one baked good would be made. Which would be good... if only I knew what I was going to make.

I have no idea how I found it, but I wound up at The Craving Chronicles where this recipe was posted. And having read that it was a "forgiving recipe", I decided to alter things around a bit. Theresa mentioned that she found them too sweet, so I dropped the sugar down a bit, and added a bit more Nutella, because, truly, is there such a thing as too much Nutella? I think not.

Overall? It's a dense brownie that has a variety of flavors. LOL I taste more of the peanut butter, while Dave and my mom taste more Nutella. *shrug* I guess it could be a sort of a surprise brownie? Or one of those "choose your own adventure" brownies? LOL (I was never a fan of those books, though. Hmm.)

½ cup butter, melted
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
½ cup flour
½ cup cocoa
¼ tsp. baking powder
Pinch of salt
¼ cup peanut butter
½ cup Nutella

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9-inch baking pan.

Beat butter and sugar until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, then vanilla. Sift together dry ingredients before gradually adding to butter mixture.

Put peanut butter and Nutella in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for about 30 seconds, until they're easily stirrable. Fold into brownies. Spread in prepared pan.

Bake at 350F for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Let cool completely before cutting into bars.



Cutting things down to the wire? No, not this girl. LOL Yet here I am, 3am, and I'm sitting in front of the computer. LOL Our flight leaves at 6am.

So, yes, just a quick post that there won't be much going on here until the 23rd or so. Thankfully there's internet access on the boat, so I won't start to get twitchy from extended lack of internet. ;)

Take care! :)


Nutty Brownies

Alright. Slightly more relaxed tonight than I was when I posted yesterday. This is a good thing. My "to-do" post-it notes are still floating about the computer, as well as two "to buy" post-its as well. I'm making progress. Seriously. I do need to remember to pay the credit card bill before we leave, though. LOL Another post-it. :)

So my second birthday treat of this week is for Tasha. I think I've mentioned on here before the girl that didn't like cheesecake? Yeah, that's Tasha. But don't worry, I brought her over to the yum side after all. Thank you Nutella and lemon cheesecake bars. ;) Her birthday isn't until the 9th, but since tomorrow's my last day of work before leaving, she gets hers a bit early. I'm sure there won't be any complaints about that.

Anyways, her request was super-duper simple: brownies with walnuts. I didn't have to do search for any recipes, just went with the stand-by small-batch brownie recipe and we were good to go.

I did manage to get a picture of these, since I've been lazy tonight. Still in the baking dish, still not cut, I really like this picture. And not bad for such horrible lighting. (Blue skies, sunshine? I miss you. Please come back.)

1 cup flour
½ cup cocoa power
3/4 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
1½ cups sugar
3/4 cups butter, melted
2 tsp. vanilla
3 eggs
1 cup walnuts

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9-inch baking pan.

Sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

Beat butter and sugar until smooth, then add vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated. Gradually add dry ingredients. Stir in most of the walnut pieces. Spread in prepared pan. Sprinkle with remainder of walnuts.

Bake at 350F for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Let cool completely before cutting into brownies.


Vanilla Cream Blondies

So we're T-minus like 3½ days until vacation, and I feel like all I'm doing is rushing around. Granted, some of it is my own doing, because somehow that always happens that way.

Back in March - maybe? - I decided that I needed to read fifty books BEFORE vacation. That way, ya know, I wouldn't fall behind and what not. Yesterday I finished A Homemade Life by the lovely Molly of Orangette, and that was number forty-eight. So I have between now and Thursday night to read two more books. I think I can do it.

Also on my "Kristen put too much on her plate" list is my own little tradition with friends. For their birthday, they get their own request of a baked good. Whatever they want (within some reason, however; something that's easily portable is a must), and they don't have to share it with anyone if they don't want to. Pretty good deal, right? Except here, all of a sudden, I have three friends with birthdays between May 1st and May 9th. Thank goodness Rachel (the May 1st birthday) said that she'll take hers after my vacation. (Seriously. Thank you lol) So that leaves me with Marcos (tomorrow) and Tasha (Saturday).

Marcos' first request was something with bananas. Um, nope, sorry. LOL I don't like bananas. At all. Taste, texture - ugh. Yuck. So after much deliberation and harassment, he went with something with vanilla. Works.

I had the idea of cream cheese blondies, but could never find anything that really clicked. The recipe I did eventually find (after two days of searching) was over at Group Recipes. I played around with the quantity of vanilla, pretty much adding a bit at a time, until I felt there was enough vanilla-ness. :)

The result? A blondie that's dense yet almost cake-like at the same time, with a vanilla flavor that really makes me question whether I really want to bring these to work tomorrow or not. Just kidding. I promise I'll bring them in. Really. ;)

(They're already packed in a box, thus no picture. But I really wish I had a chance - and better lighting - since the swirls came out so nicely this time!)

Edited to add: So the blondies? They were all gone before 3pm. And supposedly Marcos shared them. ;) I think that has to be a new record. LOL

9 Tbsp. butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2½ tsp. vanilla
1-2/3 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt

6 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 Tbsp. butter, softened
2 Tbsp. flour
1 egg
3-4 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 325F. Grease an 8-inch baking pan.

Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

Beat butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla, beating until well combined. Gradually add dry ingredients. Spread half of the batter onto the bottom of prepared pan.

Beat cream cheese, sugar, butter, flour, egg, and vanilla until smooth. Spoon 2/3's of cream cheese mixture on top of blondie batter and spread evenly. Gently top with remaining blondie batter. Drop small dollops of cream cheese on top and gently swirl.

Bake at 325F for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near center comes out nearly clean. Let cool completely before cutting into bars.