Nutella Swirl Brownies

Nutella Swirl BrowniesHey y’all! I’m writing from Cambridge, Massachusetts, where my baby sister (who is not a baby—she’s 30) is graduating from Harvard.

Yes, that Harvard. She’s wicked smart.
Nutella Swirl Brownies
I’m so proud of her and could write all about how incredible she is, but I’ve already done that twice. While she and her accomplishments are wonderful, I’m pretty sure you’re here for some Nutella Swirl Brownies.
Nutella Swirl Brownies
I don’t blame you. I’m pretty excited about Nutella Swirl Brownies, too.
Nutella Swirl Brownies
They’re exactly what they sound like: rich, chewy, fudgy brownies swirled with everyone’s favorite chocolate-hazelnut spread.
Nutella Swirl BrowniesNutella Swirl Brownies
The base is my very favorite recipe for Cocoa Brownies. It’s a foolproof no-mixer recipe that bakes up perfectly every time. The resulting brownies have just the right amount of squidge, and they’re only made better by swirling 1/2 cup of creamy Nutella right into the batter.
Nutella Swirl Brownies
Mmhmm.

So, in conclusion, sisters are great, Harvard’s great, graduate degrees are great, but Nutella Swirl Brownies are what’s really important…on this website, anyway.

Nutella Swirl Brownies
makes one 8-inch pan, about 16 brownies

10 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons cocoa powder (I prefer dutch process here)
2 large eggs, cold
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup Nutella

Preheat oven to 325F. Butter the inside of an 8-inch square pan. Line the bottom with parchment and butter again. Set aside.

Melt butter in a saucepan or the microwave. Stir butter, sugars, and cocoa together in a large mixing bowl. Let mixture cool for a couple of minutes. Add the eggs one-by-one, mixing until they are completely incorporated. Stir in vanilla extract. Fold in flour and salt just until combined.

Transfer batter into prepared pan. Drop spoonfuls of Nutella over the top of the batter and use a butter knife to gently swirl it into the batter. Tap the full pan on the counter a couple of times to release any air bubbles. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with only a few moist crumbs.

Let the brownies cool completely in the pan on a rack. Slide a knife around the edges of the pan before inverting to release. Slice into 16 squares.

Store leftover brownies in an airtight container, placing wax paper between layers. They will keep for a few days at room temperature or up to a week in the refrigerator.

Nutella Swirl Brownies

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Cheesecake Brownies {Grain-Free}

Cheesecake Brownies {Grain-Free}For a baking blogger, I sure haven’t baked much lately. It’s not because I haven’t wanted to–no, I always want to bake–but because I’ve been so crazy busy. Eliot was here, I went to Texas, my best friend from college was in town, I turned 32…I simply haven’t had the time!

Cheesecake Brownies {Grain-Free}My last three recipes haven’t required an oven at all. I’m not complaining though; I’ve been enjoying lots of Iced Matcha Lattes, Whole Wheat Pancakes, and Key Lime Pie Popsicles lately 😊

But enough about that. Today, let’s get back to baking.

Cheesecake Brownies {Grain-Free}Cheesecake Brownies are a classic for a reason–who can resist a fudgy brownie swirled with a layer of creamy cheesecake?! Add to that that this recipe is completely grain-free, thanks to my spin on Katharine Hepburn Brownies, and you’ve got a surefire crowdpleaser for all your cookouts this summer!Cheesecake Brownies {Grain-Free}

Cheesecake Brownies {Grain-Free}
makes one 9-inch square pan, about 16 brownies

Cheesecake:
8 ounces full-fat brick-style cream cheese
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 large eggs
1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Brownies:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup cocoa powder (natural or dutch process)
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt

Place oven racks in the top and bottom positions. Preheat oven to 325F. Line a 9-inch square pan with foil, leaving overhang on two sides. Grease foil with butter. Set aside.

Make cheesecake. In a medium mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat cream cheese until fluffy. Mix in sugar, followed by egg and vanilla. Set aside.

In a double boiler or the microwave, melt butter and unsweetened chocolate together until smooth. Let cool slightly before transferring to a large mixing bowl.

Whisk in granulated and light brown sugars, followed by eggs and vanilla. Mix in cocoa powder and salt. Reserve 1/3 cup of batter in a small bowl.

Transfer the rest of the batter to the prepared pan and spread in an even layer. Drop spoonfuls of cheesecake over the top, followed by spoonfuls of the reserved brownie batter. Swirl with a small, thin knife. Tap full pan five times on the countertop to release air bubbles and distribute. Cover pan with foil. Bake on the top rack for 20 minutes. Uncover pan. Bake on the bottom rack for an additional 20-30 minutes, until cheesecake just barely jiggles when the pan is jostled.

Let brownies cool completely in the pan on a cooling rack. Refrigerate in the pan for four hours (or overnight). Use foil overhang to remove brownies to a cutting board. Peel off foil. Slice and serve.

Leftover Cheesecake Brownies will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days.

Cheesecake Brownies {Grain-Free}

Brownie Truffles

Brownie TrufflesAre you on Pinterest? I’ve had an account since it started up a few years ago. I think this was during the height of the mason jar trend. If it could be baked, layered, or served in a mason jar, it made my recipe board. Never mind that I didn’t bake or own mason jars at the time. I just liked all those pretty things lined up next to each other on my computer screen.

Flash forward a few years to the creation of this blog. I went to create a Pinterest business account and took a scroll through my old, long-dormant page. To my utter shock, I hadn’t made any of those recipes, and most of them didn’t interest me anymore. Now that I’ve been running the E2 Bakes account for a year or so, I’ve made a point of only pinning things that actually inspire me. For this blogger, that means things made from scratch with real ingredients (or things I can easily convert to be made with real ingredients). There’s nothing wrong with using boxed cake mix. It’s just not my style.

Brownie TrufflesThis past weekend, I was scrolling through for Valentine’s Day fodder when I came across these Peanut Butter Brownie Truffles from Sincerely Jean. Brownie. Truffles. Brownies coated in chocolate. Does a better treat exist?!

In an effort to actually use my Pinterest for its intended purpose, I got to work making my own version of those truffles. Instead of boxed brownies, I use a double batch of my go-to Cocoa Brownies and leave out the peanut butter. I love peanut butter, but if I’m going to eat chocolate, I want it to be all chocolate.

Brownie TrufflesBrownie TrufflesBrownie TrufflesOnce the brownies are baked and cooled, the truffles come together in about an hour. Slice off the crunchy edges of your brownies and save them for a snack. Crumble the soft middle section with a couple of forks and then roll all that brownie goodness into balls. Freeze them for 15 minutes or so, and then dip them in a mixture of melted milk chocolate, coconut oil, and corn syrup. You could serve them unadorned, but I have a stash of chocolate sprinkles that were calling my name. Freeze everything for 15 more minutes and voilà! Brownie Truffles.

I have big plans to make a batch of these treats for my friends next week. Is there a better way to tell someone you love and appreciate them?! 

Brownie TrufflesLooking for more Valentine’s Day Treats? Check out these Chocolate-Dipped Strawberry Cookies and Glazed Cream Cheese Cake Doughnuts.

Brownie Truffles
inspired by Sincerely Jean
makes about 6 dozen truffles*

Brownies:*
1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
1 3/4 cups cocoa powder (natural or Dutch process)
4 large eggs, cold
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt

Coating:
16 ounces milk chocolate,* chopped
1 teaspoon coconut oil
2 teaspoon corn syrup
sprinkles, for topping

Preheat oven to 325F. Butter the inside of a rimmed quarter sheet pan or 9×13-inch pan. Line the bottom with parchment and butter again. Set aside.

Melt butter in a saucepan or the microwave. Stir butter, sugars, and cocoa together in a large mixing bowl. Let mixture cool for a couple of minutes. Add the eggs one-by-one, mixing until they are completely incorporated. Stir in vanilla extract. Fold in flour and salt just until combined.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Tap the full pan on the counter a couple of times to release any air bubbles. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with only a few moist crumbs. Let the brownies cool completely in the pan on a rack.

Line a separate quarter sheet pan with parchment. Set aside.

Lift brownies out of the pan and onto a cutting board. Slice off all edges–they aren’t good for crumbling. Use two forks to crumble brownies.

Scoop crumbled brownies by the tablespoon, press them together to hold their shape, and roll into balls. Place on prepared sheet pan. Freeze for 15 minutes.

Place chopped milk chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 1 minute. Stir with a fork. Add coconut oil. Continue to microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between, until smooth. Stir in corn syrup.

To dip, drop one brownie ball into the melted chocolate. Use a fork to coat brownie in chocolate. Drain briefly by scraping the tines of the fork on the edge of the bowl. Use the fork to gently lay the truffle on the prepared pan. Immediately top with sprinkles. Reheat chocolate in 15 second increments if it becomes too stiff. Continue this process until all truffles are coated.

Freeze truffles for 15 minutes before serving.

Truffles will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Notes:

  1. This recipe halves easily.
  2. Feel free to use your favorite brownie mix. Prepare them according to package directions (not the cake-style) and let cool to room temperature before proceeding.
  3. I like milk chocolate here, but feel free to use dark. I nearly always use Trader Joe’s Pound Plus bars. I do not recommend using chocolate chips.

Brownie Truffles

Brownie Mix {Easy Gift Idea}

Brownie MixChristmas is five days away! How did this happen? Where did the last three weeks go? As you read this, I am either on a plane or in Texas…unless you’re reading this before 4:15am, in which case, I am frantically running around my apartment, probably making more noise than is appropriate.

Have you finished all your Christmas shopping? Are you one of those people who has all the gifts under the tree by December 15th? I definitely am not. Nope. I am not quite a Christmas Eve shopper, but I definitely procrastinate.

Brownie MixTake this blog post, for instance. I had plans to do a post about baking with small children, but when I went to prepare everything, I realized it just wasn’t going to happen. Enter my best friend, Emily. She is something I am not: logical. She texted to ask if my Cocoa Brownies were an appropriate teacher gift. They’re quick, easy, and super fudgy and delicious–perfect gift for teachers, coworkers, or anyone who makes your life simpler. But again, it’s five days before Christmas. There is no time to make ten batches of brownies.

Brownie MixSo today, let’s take the work out of making brownies. Let’s keep the oven and stove off. Let’s not even break out a whisk. Nope. Let’s make brownie mix. Just layer all the dry ingredients that go into my Cocoa Brownies into a quart mason jar, top them off with chocolate chips (and pecans, if that’s your style), and screw on the lid. Tie on a ribbon and a little note with instructions for assembly, and voilà! Another gift done, and it only took five minutes! And it makes you look like Martha Stewart! Mason jars are magical like that.Brownie Mix

Looking for more easy food gifts? Check out this Hot Chocolate Mix, or pair these Orange Cardamom Pistachio Shortbread with a box of tea.

Brownie Mix
makes 1 quart mason jar

3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light or dark brown sugar
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons cocoa powder (natural or Dutch process)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped nuts (or more chocolate chips)

In a quart-sized mason jar, layer ingredients in the order in which they are listed (i.e. Granulated sugar will be in the bottom of the jar). Tamp down each layer with a long-handled spoon. Screw on lid.

To make Cocoa Brownies:

1 jar Brownie Mix
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs, cold, beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325F. Grease an 8-inch square pan with butter. Set aside.

Pour brownie mix into a large mixing bowl. Whisk ingredients together. Use a silicone spatula to stir in melted butter followed by beaten eggs and vanilla. Spread brownie batter into prepared pan. Bake 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out mostly clean. Let cool completely in the pan on a rack. Slice and serve.

Brownie Mix {Easy Gift Idea}

Ultimate Chocolate-Peanut Butter Brownies

Ultimate Chocolate-Peanut Butter BrowniesYesterday was full of surprises. At 6pm I was headed to the grocery store to pick up cilantro for the chicken fajitas I was making at work, when my boss called. Three hours later, I was serving dinner to Nobel Peace Prize Nominee Victor Ochen. Just…what?

Now, if I had known that a Nobel Peace Prize Nominee were coming to dinner, I probably would have done a few things differently. I would have worn makeup and a nicer outfit, for one. And I probably wouldn’t have put chicken fajitas and brownies on the menu. But when life throws you a huge curveball, you just have to go with it.

Ultimate Chocolate-Peanut Butter BrowniesUltimate Chocolate-Peanut Butter BrowniesI still haven’t had time to absorb it all, but I know one thing to be true: everyone loves chocolate and peanut butter, even Nobel Peace Prize Nominees. When I cleared the dinner plates and brought out dessert, I didn’t know what to expect. Do Ugandan humanitarians like peanut butter?* Is it weird to serve candy-topped brownies to someone who spoke at the United Nations just moments before showing up at my boss’s apartment in Brooklyn Heights?** What does a person even do when they find out they’re throwing an impromptu dinner party for one of the ten most influential people in Africa?***

1. Yes.
2. Probably.
3. They make extra guacamole and thank their lucky stars that they brought dessert to work.

Yeah, yesterday was weird. But it was also amazing.

Ultimate Chocolate-Peanut Butter BrowniesBut enough about my day. Let’s talk about these Ultimate Chocolate-Peanut Butter Brownies. They’re goooood. And how couldn’t they be? The base is my favorite cocoa brownie recipe. It’s layered with a mixture of peanut butter and sweetened condensed milk. All of that is topped with Reese’s Pieces, chocolate chips, chopped peanuts, and miniature peanut butter cups. They’re a chocolate and peanut butter lover’s dream dessert!

Ultimate Chocolate-Peanut Butter BrowniesI can usually restrain myself around baked goods, but I ate two of these for breakfast yesterday. They’re that delicious. Knowing I’d eat the whole batch if they remained in my apartment, I boxed them up so my boss could take them to her office. And thank goodness I did–if they hadn’t been on the counter, I don’t know what I would have served for dessert last night.Ultimate Chocolate-Peanut Butter Brownies

Ultimate Chocolate-Peanut Butter Brownies
makes one 8- or 9-inch pan, 16-25 brownies

10 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons cocoa powder (natural or dutch process)
2 large eggs, cold
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup Reese’s Pieces Baking Pieces
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup roasted salted peanuts, chopped
1/2 cup miniature peanut butter cups

Preheat oven to 325F. Grease an 8- or 9-inch square baking dish and line with parchment. Grease the parchment. Set aside.

Melt butter in a saucepan or the microwave. Stir butter, sugars, and cocoa together in a large mixing bowl. Let mixture cool for a couple of minutes. Add the eggs one-by-one, mixing until they are completely incorporated. Stir in vanilla extract. Fold in flour and salt just until combined. Spread batter in prepared pan. Set aside.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together sweetened condensed milk and peanut butter. Mixture will be thick. Drop spoonfuls of the mixture over the top of the brownie batter. Spread it out with a silicone spatula. Sprinkle the top with Reese’s Pieces Baking Pieces, chocolate chips, chopped peanuts, and miniature peanut butter cups. Lightly press toppings into the condensed milk layer.

Bake for 30-32 minutes, until the center just barely jiggles when the pan is jostled. Let the brownies cool completely in the pan on a rack. Use parchment to lift cooled brownies out of the pan. Slice and serve.

Brownies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to five days, or in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Ultimate Chocolate-Peanut Butter Brownies