Chocolate Sheet Cake Brownies

These should come with a warning: make at your own risk. If you don’t make these for a large group or party, you will eat them all.

This recipe makes so many that I took a big towering plate of brownies to work – and still had some leftover to snack on for the next few hours (days….I mean days!).

Just the frosting alone is addicting! The chocolate chips (and butter) give it the perfect sweet light chocolate flavor. For example, right after talking about our plan for the gym in the morning, Ryan and I stood in the kitchen scraping every last drop out of the frosting pan. Soo about that treadmill, am I right?

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For years, I only knew these brownies as “Sue’s Brownies.” She was a friend of my mom’s when we were stationed in Newport, Rhode Island while I was in elementary school. She was from Nebraska and always shared amazing family recipes! We didn’t live there long, but my mom has continued making Sue’s “famous” brownies since. And when I started craving these the other day, I knew no boxed brownie mix could compare!

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PS These brownies are even better when mixed with vanilla frozen yogurt and mini M&M’s… just a guess?

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Chocolate Sheet Cake Brownies

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 lb butter, softened
  • 1 C sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1 can chocolate syrup (or pour 16 oz from the bottle of chocolate syrup)
  • 1 C + 1 T flour
  • 1/2 t baking powder

Preheat the oven to 350* and prepare an 11 x 15 in. pan (a jelly roll/sheet cake pan is best) or two 9 x 9 in. pans. First, beat the sugar and butter together. Add the eggs, vanilla and chocolate syrup and mix. Next, add the flour and baking powder and stir until combined. Pour in the pan(s) and bake for roughly 30 minutes.

For the frosting:

  • 6 T butter
  • 6 T milk
  • 1 1/2 C sugar
  • 1/2 C chocolate chips

Start with the butter, milk and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and boil for 30 seconds. Then, take it off the heat and add the chocolate chips.  Beat with a whisk until thickened.  Pour over slightly cooled brownies. Let frosting set completely before cutting (overnight, or stick in the fridge to speed up the process).  Enjoy!

 

 

 

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Watermelon Rice Krispie Cake

I can’t think of anything that screams SUMMER more than a watermelon cake.

Unless it’s a watermelon ICE CREAM cake,  I guess.

So never mind on the above exaggeration. I can think of one thing. That’s it!

Anyway, when my mom sent me the picture of the cake (below) she made for my little sisters birthday party last week, I knew I had to share it! This watermelon rice krispie cake is the cutest idea for a kid’s birthday or even just a summer BBQ. It’s super simple to put together – and you don’t even have to turn on the oven!

She went all out with the watermelon theme and decorated the party with pink and green balloons and candies, and then sent everyone home with cute labeled mason jars full of goodies.

These watermelon slice cookies would have been a great addition as well! Take a look at my Sweet Tooth board on Pinterest for more sweet summer inspiration.

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Watermelon Rice Krispie Cake

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 10 oz bag marshmallows
  • 8 cups Rice Krispies
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • Salt to taste
  • Food coloring: pink and green
  • Chocolate chips

Directions: 

Microwave the butter and marshmallows in a big bowl for one minute, stopping to stir. Continue with thirty second intervals until it is all melted and mixed together. Add in the vanilla and salt. Then, BEFORE adding the rice krispie cereal, divide the mixture in half, into separate bowls. Put 6 or 7 drops of green food coloring in one mixture, and 6 to 7 drops of pink food coloring into the other. Ensure that you have the right color before moving on to the next step. Add four cups of rice krispies into each bowl and mix.

Once both are the right color and consistency, press the green krispie treats into the outside area of a round spring form pan with greased hands. Leave the middle open for the pink krispie treats. Press the pink mixture into the middle, and smooth it all down with a greased spatula or parchment paper. Cool it in the fridge for a few hours so that it comes out of the pan more easily and holds its shape better. Press chocolate chips into the top to look like watermelon seeds! Cut into wedges to serve.

Weekly Menu: July 14 + The Easiest Healthy “Ice Cream”

Dessert is always better before dinner.

Or after. Or, both. Moral of the story? Dessert wins.

So, before diving into the weekly menu, I want to share a favorite healthier dessert of mine! The Strawberry “Ice Cream” shown below is the perfect way to satisfy your sweet tooth this summer without going all out every night. And, it’s super simple! Just blend together frozen bananas, vanilla almond milk, and strawberries (fresh or frozen). For two people, I usually use three frozen bananas, six strawberries and almond milk to taste (depending on desired texture/thickness).

Because of this “ice cream” and all of the smoothies I’ve been making lately, I always keep frozen bananas around! The key is to peel them BEFORE putting them in the freezer (I learned that lesson the hard way). It’s also a great way to save bananas for bread, etc. later.

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Weekly Menu: July 14

Monday: Roast Chicken with Potatoes and Butternut Squash

Tuesday: Cheesy Spinach Stuffed Shells

Wednesday: Beef and Bell Pepper Kabobs

Thursday: Grilled BBQ Chicken and Pineapple Tacos

Friday: Taco-rubbed Burgers with Avocado and Crushed Tortilla Chips

 

Sprinkle Krispies

Are “sprinkle krispies” a thing?

If not, they are now!

Rice Krispie Treats with Sprinkles really needed a better abbreviation, because how boring is that? And in anything – like these Nutella Sprinkle Rolls – sprinkles should be in the spotlight.

I’m not sure if there’s anyone out there who dislikes sprinkles. The Grinch?

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When my friend Julie and I were younger, we used to seriously strategize on how to maximize the sprinkles we’d get on our frozen yogurt. Instead of just using them as a topping, we would alternate layers of rainbow sprinkles and swirl froyo in our cups. Genius, I know.

I made these little squares of sweetness for a Memorial Day BBQ. They are the perfect dessert to make for a party if you’re short on time! Plus, you don’t even have to turn on your oven.

But who am I kidding! Most of us have made rice krispie treats before. I’m just here to inspire you to add lots of sprinkles.

 

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Sprinkle Krispies

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 10 oz bag marshmallows
  • 4 cups Rice Krispies
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Salt to taste
  • Sprinkles (!)

Directions: 

Microwave the butter and marshmallows in a big bowl for one minute, stopping to stir. Continue with thirty second intervals until it is all melted and mixed together. Then, add in the vanilla and salt (and if you want the rice krispie treats colored, this is the time to add in food coloring!). Next, add in four cups of the Rice Krispie cereal (you can do a little more or less, depending on your desired consistency). Begin mixing, and add in lots of sprinkles. Then, press the mixture into the sprayed pan of your choice. I used an 8×8 square baking dish. I added more sprinkles on top, then sprayed a piece of parchment paper (foil would also work) to press down on the treats without it all sticking. Cover and let sit… then enjoy!

 

 

Lemon Bundt Cake + Three Things

Happy Cake Week!

Ok, fine – you caught me. I lied. It’s only cake week here, in this sweet little digital corner of the web. National Cake Week is actually Oct. 6 – 12.

But, in honor of summer break and sunshine, we’re celebrating this week with cake!

Every year around this time, I listen to students talking about their finals with envy. I am totally that girl who loved all aspects of school and constantly talks about it still. I joyfully holed up in the library to study hours away. I don’t think I ever missed a class (dork, I know). Of course, I loved summer break too. Is cake a good enough replacement for my lack of summer break these days?

I sure hope so. Because I have cake…but I also have work. I need that summer spirit!

I made this Lemon Bundt Cake for Mother’s Day last weekend, and it turned out to be so delicious and seasonal that I had to share! Serve it with vanilla ice cream and fresh berries and enjoy it out on a patio somewhere.

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Plus, three other cake recipes I’m dying to try:

 

 

Peanut Butter Banana Cake

You’re either a frosting person, or you aren’t.

If there’s anything truly important I’ve learned in my twenty four years of life so far – it’s that. There are people who can eat any and all frosting plain, and those who wipe frosting OFF THEIR CUPCAKES like lunatics.

Can you tell which one I am? As far as I’m concerned, cake is just an accessory for frosting.

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Of course, it helps if the cake is delicious too. But, the frosting is what takes it to another level.

This peanut butter frosting is life-altering good. I can seriously say that without one ounce of exaggeration. It’s the perfect mixture of creamy and sweet.

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I was home for the weekend, and my little sister Anna – who loves photography and just bought a camera – helped me take pictures of this cake! We experimented with different shots and colors, hence the varied backgrounds and styles.

There were LOTS of fingers dipping into the frosting while it was made. Between Anna and me, my brother, youngest sister and parents… let’s just say it was a hit. I am so glad we decided to mix it up and make a cake with those brown bananas instead of the typical bread.

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Peanut Butter Banana Cake

Via Two Peas and Their Pod

Ingredients:

For the Banana Cake:

  • 2 cups all-purpose Gold Medal flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 ripe bananas, peeled and mashed (to equal 1 cup)

For the Peanut Butter Frosting:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3 cups sifted powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease your pan/pans and set aside (you can do one 9×13… or, I did a 9×9 pan plus two smaller heart-shaped cakes).In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until creamy and smooth. Beat in the eggs, then stir in the Greek yogurt and vanilla extract. Mix in the mashed bananas.Slowly add the dry ingredients and mix. Spread cake batter evenly into the prepared pan.Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow cake to cool completely.

To make the peanut butter frosting, beat the butter and peanut butter on high until smooth (a mixer works best for this, but you could do it by hand). Slowly add the powdered sugar, 1/4 cup at a time. Add the milk and vanilla extract in between. Beat until frosting is smooth and desired consistency.

Frost the banana cake and enjoy!

 

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Peanut Butter Cookies

PB & J.

PB & chocolate.

PB & honey & bananas.

Clearly, peanut butter is a match made in heaven for everyone and (almost) every food!

Of course, I’m a little biased. My love for peanut butter is definitely not a secret!  I eat peanut butter toast for breakfast every morning. My preferred candy is Reese’s. I’ve even recently become obsessed with this Thai peanut butter dipping sauce for our chicken at dinner.

So, peanut butter in cookies? My favorite food mixed with sugar and butter and all the sweet goodness? Absolute perfection.

I haven’t even tried many other peanut butter cookie recipes because this one is always right on point! I’m not sure where it originally came from, but my mom has been making these for years with consistent results.

I mean, peanut butter AND cookies. In one (!)

Peanut Butter Cookies

Peanut Butter Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 C butter (2 sticks)
  • 1 C peanut butter (I use creamy but chunky would work)
  • 1 C white sugar
  • 1 C packed light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/2 C flour
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t salt

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350. Mix together the butter, peanut butter, sugars and eggs. Add the rest of the dry ingredients. Once it’s all mixed together, take a spoonful of batter and shape it into a ball. Then, roll the ball in sugar (This is separate from the 1 C above…I usually just pour a little white sugar into a small bowl for this), place it on the cookie sheet, and press down on the cookie ball with a fork (making a crisscross pattern). Continue to do this for each cookie. Timing depends on the size, but take the cookies out just before you think they’re ready – they’re best a little softer!