Brown-E’s

I know I talk a bit about eating lighter and better lately and about working out more. My fascination with baked goodies may seem counterproductive, but honestly all the aforementioned is what allows for us to enjoy the creativity that happens in our kitchen. I’ve always had a bit of a sweet tooth, so this is kinda unavoidable really. On any given night, I have at least one dessert however small at the ready to finish off dinner.

We didn’t have many trick-or-treaters this year for Halloween, so we ended up donating half of the candy we bought and eating some of it. The rest (the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups), I hoarded those for a really special treat! It’s often that way with me. Other people, like my friend Shawna, can look at a piece of furniture or textiles or what-have-you and see potential. I’m this way with ingredients/food. I can see an item and come up with a few ideas — Chopped style. Except I never want to go on Chopped. Way too much pressure!

For the peanut butter cups, I knew instantly I wanted to bury them into a batch of decadent chocolate brownies! Apparently there are people out there who don’t like brownies… I don’t know how you couldn’t like brownies. Based on a cake-like texture, and so innately American, that I’m not even sure you can be American if you don’t like them. Kidding! Seriously though, if you want to try one of the original recipes, just stop by the Lockwood Restaurant located in the now-Hilton-owned Palmer House Hotel to try Bertha’s Brownie.

So, back to my brownies. I’ve been babysitting my friend’s baby during the day since she went back to work a couple of months ago. Not to sound trite, but I feel like Barbara Stanwyk in Christmas in Connecticut when I say the baby is “quite companionable” even though she’s not quite eight month’s old like the character’s literary baby. She hangs out with me in the kitchen in the mornings on her little bouncy seat while I cook or bake something up. I chat to her about what I’m doing and she babbles and coos in appreciation. At least I imagine it’s appreciation. She could just be laughing at me inwardly…

This week was my friend’s wedding anniversary; so on the morning of, Maddie and I whipped up a batch of Hershey’s Deep Dish Cake Brownies. There’s something about Hershey’s that’s so iconic and home-like. At any given time, you can find containers of both regular and dark cocoas in my pantry. I’ve always been partial to dark chocolate, but since many prefer milk, I opted for the regular variety this time. Although, with how the peanut butter cups melded so seamlessly into the brownie batter, I may try the dark cocoa next!

For this recipe, instead of using an 8in square (typically 2qt) baking dish, I opted for my slightly larger Pioneer Woman 2.3qt rectangular floral baker. I chose this route because I knew I would be adding in the Reese’s cups. The dessert ended up being super rich, so this was a good call. Half a brownie ended up being satisfying enough. After greasing the baking dish, I layered the bottom of the pan with about half of the brownie batter. I gently pressed 6 peanut butter cups into the batter and spread the remaining batter atop and baked it for 40 long minutes! I couldn’t wait to dig in and you better believe I sent some home with my friend (“and her husband”) for her anniversary.

As for me, these were tasty, but I rather prefer my brownies with chocolate frosting and toasted pecans on top. What do your favorite brownies look like?

Currently Reading: A good old-fashioned letter from my grandmother. (We correspond back and forth like the good ol’ days!)

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