CHOCOLATE BUTTERSCOTCH BROWNIES

My baking crusade continued, working to try and find more ways to use up the bag of butterscotch chips that I had bought when prepping for the monster cookies that I had made a little while back. I’m not sure if my baking ideas just started to naturally progress towards brownies, since I had already done cookies, cornbread, and a banana bread during that span. It’s also very true that I hadn’t made brownies in quite some time, so I think multiple factors were pulling me in this direction.

With a nice balance of sweet flavors from the chocolate chips, M&M’s, and butterscotch chips, these decadent brownies will disappear from any storage container before you know it.

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Chocolate Butterscotch Brownies
Makes 24 – 26 squares

~ 1 cup butter
~ 1-1/2 cups white sugar
~ 1 cup brown sugar
~ 1 tbsp vanilla extract
~ 4 eggs
~ 1-1/2 cup all-purpose flour
~ 1 tsp baking soda
~ 1 tsp salt
~ 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
~ 2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
~ 1/3 cup butterscotch chips
~ 3 tbsp mini M&M’s

Mixing:

  • Preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Take out a 9″ x 13″ casserole dish to use as your baking pan.
  • I wanted to emphasize the use of a casserole dish instead of a normal 8″ x 8″ baking dish (which is what I’m used to making brownies in). If you go with the smaller dish, the brownies might end up way too tall and not bake properly.
  • There’s two ways to approach using the casserole dish: either lightly grease up the inside or use parchment paper as a barrier. I opted for the parchment paper, since that would significantly reduce the clean-up effort.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt, using a whisk to ensure everything is distributed evenly. Set that dry mixture aside when complete.
  • In another bowl, combine your white sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla extract. Throw the butter into the microwave and soften it before adding it into the sugar mixture, creaming together well.
  • Beat the eggs into your sugar mixture one at a time until everything is well blended.
  • Gradually stir your dry mixture into the sugar mixture until everything starts to reach a batter-like consistency. Mine ended up turning out pretty thick, so you might need to put some elbow grease into it.
  • Stir in your chocolate chips and butterscotch chips until they are well distributed into the batter. Spread your batter evenly across the casserole dish before sprinkling your mini M&M’s on the top.

Baking:

  • Put the brownies into the oven for approximately 40 – 42 minutes. Because the baking medium is glass, it will transfer heat differently than if you had just a regular metal pan. That’s why there could be a little more uncertainty of the final baking time for the brownies, but 40 minutes was just about the right spot for me.

Cooling:

  • Once time is up and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out relatively clean (some of the melted chocolate chips could get on there), remove the dish from the oven and let cool on the stovetop for 5 minutes.
  • Transfer the brownies over to a wire rack to continue the cooling process. Here’s where you’ll have to restrain from cutting the brownies into squares too quickly; if the brownies are still too hot in the middle, they’ll be more of a batter consistency rather than the cake consistency you want. I think I let the brownies sit for 25 – 30 minutes before attempting to move them to the cutting board.
  • I put my individual squares onto the wire rack for an additional 15 minutes after that to let them fully cool down.

One of the downsides of using the parchment paper method with the casserole dish is that you won’t get those nice, even edges on the outside of the brownie squares. As you can also see from the photos, the final brownie squares might not be as picturesque as those you might buy from the store, but it’s the taste that counts. And these brownies deliver.

With a light, crisp shell on the top and moist, cake-like consistency in the middle, the brownies aren’t overbearingly sweet. It’s a balanced chocolate flavor (between the chocolate chips and M&M’s) with the occasional butterscotch flavor showing up as well. The brownies aren’t too rich either, but two squares was usually enough to tide me over for a little while. Give these brownies a try and I’m sure that your sweet tooth will be sure to thank you.

MONSTER COOKIES

My cookie crusade continued last week as I set my sights onto another baking project: the monster cookie. I was first introduced to monster cookies when I went to college, and the dining courts would periodically rotate them into the desserts section. With chocolate chips, M&Ms, peanut butter, and oats all mixing together to provide such an exciting melding of flavors, it quickly became something I would keep an eye out for. The idea to attempt these cookies came up when talking to my friends at work, and I happily accepted the suggestion.

Chocolate chips, M&Ms, peanut butter, and butterscotch chips all combine to pack a flavor punch.

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Monster Cookies
Makes 14 – 16 cookies

~ 1-1/2 eggs
~ 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
~ 1/4 cup white sugar
~ 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
~ 1/4 cup butter
~ 3/8 cup flour
~ 1 tsp baking soda
~ 1/2 tsp salt
~ 3/4 cup peanut butter
~ 1-7/8 cups oats
~ 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
~ 1/4 cup butterscotch chips
~ 1/2 cup mini M&Ms

Mixing:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs before adding in the sugars and vanilla extract, combining well. Soften your butter inside the microwave before adding it into the mixture as well.
  • In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, and salt with a whisk to ensure everything is well combined. Gradually add this into the sugar mixture. At this point, things should start to be looking more like cookie dough.
  • Drop in your peanut butter and mix that up with the dough before also combining the oats. Finish things off by throwing in the chocolate chips, mini M&Ms, and butterscotch chips.

Probably one of the more colorful cookie dough you’ll see.

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Baking:

  • Using an ice cream scoop, drop the rounded cookie dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Since I wasn’t sure how much the cookies were going to spread, I kept it to six cookies per sheet, but there’s probably enough room to stretch it to eight on the sheet.
  • Bake the cookies for 13 – 15 minutes, leaning probably more towards the high side. Now when you take the cookies out, do not be alarmed if the cookies still look semi-raw on the inside. I certainly was and had to resist every urge in my body to throw them back into the oven to cook longer.

Cooling:

  • Let the cookies cool for two minutes on the cookie sheet before transferring them over to a cooling rack to finish the process. Handle them carefully during the transfer, since they are still soft in the middle.
  • I think I let my cookies sit for about 30 minutes before I was satisfied that they were fully cooled down. You could, however, start to pick them up after 15 minutes or so without the fear of them breaking apart on you.

Pictured: one healthy serving.

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I applied that same technique of doing one batch in the oven at a time to keep the cooking temperature consistent. This actually allowed me to experiment around with the cooking time to see what would yield a fully-cooked cookie, but also meant that I was trying one from each batch. By the time all the cookies had cooled down, I think I had already tucked away four of the cookies and, in the process, ruined my appetite for dinner.

Overall, the peanut butter, chocolate, and oat flavors were very prevalent throughout the cookie. The butterscotch flavor would occasionally pop in, but never be too overwhelming. I think the salt also helped to balance out the cookie to make sure it wasn’t overly sweet. To help me avoid temptation, I brought the rest of the cookies into work with me, and they were gone in no time. One bite, and it’s easy to see why.