Homemade brownies and bars—yum! These days—what with everyone working so much—time spent baking really can be regarded almost as a luxury. But whether you are tight on time or have a little extra, I’ve got a recipe for you to try.
The first one REALLY takes not more than 10 minutes to prepare and then about a half-hour to bake. It uses a rich, fudge brownie mix that is embellished with lots of cut up maraschino cherries, broken up chocolate wafers, and walnuts—and then the whole thing is drizzled with that magic baking ingredient, sweetened condensed milk. Makes for a yummy chocolate cherry brownie with lots of “goodies” poking out of it.
Brownies are classic but I also love a great bar—“bar cookie” that is. The recipe for Caramel Triple Nut Bars takes a bit of extra work and skill but is worth it. You make the crust layer first then, while it’s cooling, you make the caramel layer, so no fancy footwork is required to get the timing right. But you do need to use a candy thermometer. The top layer calls for butterscotch morsels; however, chocolate-lovers can use half butterscotch and half chocolate or all chocolate if you insist.
©2009 by Kathy Casey Food Studios®
Quick Chocolate Cherry Brownie Jumble
Makes 16 brownies
1 box (21 oz) fudge brownie mix
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil or melted butter
16 chocolate cookie wafers, broken into large pieces
1 (10–12 oz) jar maraschino cherries, drained and halved
1/2 cup chocolate chips
3/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9”x13” baking pan. Mix brownie mix, eggs, water and oil in a large bowl until well blended. Spread batter in greased pan. Scatter top of batter with cookie pieces, cherries, chocolate chips and walnuts. Drizzle with condensed milk. Bake for about 35 minutes or until topping is golden. Let cool and then cut 4×4 into 16 pieces.
Baker’s Note: If using a glass baking pan, increase cooking time to 40 minutes. ©2009 by Kathy Casey Food Studios®
Caramel Triple Nut Bars
Makes 48 bars
1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
1 cup pecan halves, coarsely chopped
1 cup hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter, cut into chunks
2 Tbsp heavy cream
1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups (12 ounces) butterscotch morsels, or a mixture of 1 cup butterscotch morsels and 1 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease or coat a 9”x13” baking pan with nonstick spray. Line the pan with aluminum foil, letting foil overhang the two narrow ends by about 2 inches. Spray the foil with nonstick spray. Mix the nuts, spread on a rimmed baking sheet, and toast in the oven until lightly browned, about 6 to 8 minutes. Let cool and set aside. (Leave oven on.) To make the dough: In a medium bowl, thoroughly mix the flour and sugar. Using a pastry blender or fork, cut in the butter until the mixture is the consistency of cornmeal. Sprinkle the cream over the flour mixture. Lightly stir to mix in. Gently knead until the mixture holds together. (The dough can also be done in a food processor.) Press the dough in an even layer into the baking pan. Refrigerate for 20 minutes. Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until lightly browned. When the crust layer is done, set it aside to cool while you make the caramel layer. To make the caramel layer: In a heavy saucepan, thoroughly stir together the cream, corn syrup and sugars. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, or until slightly thickened. Reduce the heat to a simmer and insert a candy thermometer into the mixture, being careful that the tip does not touch the bottom of the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally to prevent burning, until the thermometer reads 245 degrees. Immediately remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the vanilla and 2 cups of the nuts (reserve 1 cup for sprinkling over the top later) then immediately spread the caramel-nut mixture evenly over the baked crust, all the way to the edges. Immediately sprinkle the morsels evenly over the caramel layer. Let the morsels melt, then, using a table knife, spread the melted morsels over the caramel layer. Sprinkle the remaining nuts over the melted morsels, pressing in lightly. Refrigerate until completely cooled. Using the overhanging foil as handles, transfer the slab to a cutting board. Carefully peel off and discard the foil. Using a large knife, cut the slab into 48 bars. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 1/2 weeks. ©2009 by Kathy Casey Food Studios®