Box Brownie Hack – Cookies and Cream Brownies

Hack BrowniesI recently made the move from NYC to CA. And let me tell you something…it is not that easy to move all of your belongings across the country. Some things got cut – and by some things, I mean all the furniture. When I finally got to CA, I was excited to start from scratch and create this awesome shabby chic beach cottage. I had so many ideas and so many things I wanted to buy. And then I realized I couldn’t afford any of them. Literally – any of them. So Ikea became my new best friend. I spent a lot of time there, the ice cream man actually began to call me by my name. (It’s a $1 cone – don’t judge me) But, the most important thing I learned during this whole process was the beauty of the “Ikea Hack”. There is a whole community out there who are dedicated to taking basic Ikea furniture and taking it to the next level. It is amazing. And all this hack talk got me thinking…you could probably take some pretty basic recipes and hack them too. I went straight to the kitchen and the result turned out way better than expected. In this recipe, we are taking a basic box brownie recipe and adding a little something to take it to the next level.

Cookies and Cream BrowniesBrownie Hack

  • 1 box brownie mix
  • eggs  (as directed on back of box)
  • oil (as directed on back of box)
  • water (as directed on back of box)
  • 16-20 Oreo cookies

*I highly recommend Betty Crocker’s Supreme Triple Chunk with Hershey Syrup

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Coat the bottom of a 9 x 9 pan with butter or PAM and line with parchment.
  3. Prepare the box brownies as directed on the back of the box.
  4. Roughly crush Oreo cookies in a plastic bag
  5. Mix crushed Oreo cookies to batter and mix thoroughly.
  6. Scrape batter into pan and bake for roughly 40 minutes (Or as directed on the pack of box).
  7. Allow them to cool before cutting. Brownies

These brownies are awesome just like this. But if you want to make them even better add some cookie and cream frosting.

Cookies and Cream ButtercreamCookies and Cream Frosting

  • 1 cup room temperature butter
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • water
  • candy thermometer
  • 16 Oreo cookies

Directions

  1. In a small sauce pan put 1/2 cup (MINUS TWO TABLESPOONS) of sugar and cover the sugar with a little bit of water until the sugar looks like wet sand. Cook on a stove top over high heat until it reaches 248 degrees Fahrenheit (you need a candy thermometer here).
  2. While the sugar is cooking, whip eggs whites in a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment at a high speed until you reach soft peaks.
  3. Once the egg whites reach soft peaks add two tablespoons of sugar and mix on a high speed until the egg whites reach stiff peaks. You can keep mixing the egg whites at a high speed until the sugar is done cooking.
  4. Once the sugar reaches 248 degrees, immediately add it to the egg white mixture. Mix on a high speed for 30 minutes.
  5. After 30 minutes, add the room temperature butter and mix on a high speed for 5-10 minutes until the butter is fully combined and the mixture resembles buttercream.
  6. Add vanilla and mix until just combined.
  7. Roughly crush Oreo cookies in a plastic bag.
  8. Add Oreo cookies to frosting mixture and mix until combined.
  9. Apply a nice layer of frosting on top of the cooled brownies. Brownie Hacktake me home

Ginger Molasses Cookies

Ginger and Molasses Cookies
Ginger snaps, as the name suggests, are usually a spicy cookie with a nice crunchy texture. These ginger molasses cookies have that similar spicy flavor, but are super soft and have a much chewier texture. These are especially good warm out of the oven with a nice scoop of ice cream.
Ingredients
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. ginger
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar, plus extra for rolling
  • 2 egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup molassesginger molasses cookies

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees °F.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix all dry ingredients together and set aside.
  3. Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and 1/2 cup of sugar on high speed until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes).
  4. Once the mix is fluffy, lower the mixer to a slow speed and add egg white. Mix until just incorporated.
  5. Once the egg white is incorporated, slowly add molasses until it is incorporated and the color of the entire mixture is an even brown color.
  6. Put mixer on a low speed and slowly add dry ingredients until just incorporated. Be careful not to over mix.
  7. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and put 1/3 cup of sugar in a small bowl.
  8. One dough is cooled, use a one tbs. ice cream scoop to form a ball.
  9. Rolls the ball in the bowl of sugar until full coated in sugar.
  10. Place balls 3 inches apart and with the back of a spoon squish the dough balls flat.
  11. Bake 13-15 minutes and allow to cool on baking sheet.Ginger and Molasses CookiesGinger and Molasses Cookiestake me home

Tips and Tricks – Cookie Dough

Tips and TricksTwo years ago I was obsessed with finding the perfect chocolate chip cookie. I made about 20 different variations of different recipes and finally came up with this Chocolate Chip Cookie. It was easy, delicious, and everything you needed to make these cookies was probably already in your baking cabinet.

But I have a confession to make…I lied. It was just a little white lie, but it was a lie. They were not the best chocolate chip cookies I had ever made. They were the second best. The best cookies I had ever made were the NY Times Chocolate Chip Cookies. But they high maintenance. You have to get cake flour and bread flour and they have to sit over night. Usually I want to just want to make the cookies and be done with them. (I am not very good at waiting). So, I made the decision 2 years ago to not go with this recipe…but now I am giving it to you.

NY Times Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 2 cups minus 2 tablespoons (8 1/2 ounces) cake flour
  • 1 2/3 cups (8 1/2 ounces) bread flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 pounds chocolate chips (about 2 bags – I do 3/4 bag bittersweet and 3/4 a bag semi-sweet)
  • Sea salt

cookie doughDirections

  1. Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside.
  2. Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Drop chocolate pieces in and incorporate them without breaking them. Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. Dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.
  3. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside.
  4. Scoop 6 3 1/2-ounce mounds of dough (the size of generous golf balls) onto baking sheet, making sure to turn horizontally any chocolate pieces that are poking up; it will make for a more attractive cookie. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then slip cookies onto another rack to cool a bit more. Repeat with remaining dough, or reserve dough, refrigerated, for baking remaining batches the next day. Eat warm, with a big napkin.

Yield: 1 1/2 dozen 5-inch cookies.

This recipe is pretty great. And even better…it taught me something very important about cookies. Cookies can be great when you make the dough and then immediately put them into the oven. But, cookies are even better when you let the dough sit over night. It allows the flour to absorb the flavor of the other ingredients and just gives it that little something extra. So today’s first tip is…tips and tricks

I know it’s annoying…but it really works. And if you don’t want to make the whole batch, you can keep some of the dough and make them later. So the second tip is…Tip 2The best way to do it is to use an ice cream scoop with a spring action release. Form the balls of dough and then put them in the freezer, making sure they are tightly wrapped in saran wrap.

Cookie Doughtakemehome