Squash Hunger with My Butternut Squash Soup!

I have a love-hate relationship with butternut squash. I LOVE the way it tastes. I HATE peeling it.

But when I see the heavy Fall squashes at the farmers market, I just can’t resist. Home they come and on the counter they sit until I work up enough will to peel those suckers. But in the meantime, I can imagine all the cinnamony soup I’ll make and how I’ll coat the seeds with sea salt and toast them until they’re crunchy.

Butternut Squash Soup Pan

So how to prepare the squash for soup? Here’s some tips:

  • Trim the tops and bottoms off and separate the necks from the rounder bottom part.
  • Take the rounder bottom part and cut it in half. Scoop the seeds and pulp out (you can save the seeds for soup garnish or just to snack on like pumpkin seeds!)
  • Poke each piece with a fork (like you mean it!) and microwave for 8 minutes. Cool enough to handle.
  • Either with your peeler or knife, peel the skin off.
  • Dice into pieces.

 

Butternut Squash Soup Pot

I’ve made this soup several times and have perfected this recipe to exactly how I like it: it’s a little thicker than an average soup (if you like thinner, just add more stock), it has a creamy texture, and the cinnamon flavor screams Fall. I like adding a little sour cream on top which cools down the hot soup, as well as some of the roasted, salted squash seeds to add some another layer of texture.

Ingredients:
2 peeled butternut squash, chopped
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 granny smith apple, chopped
4 tablespoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Divide the butternut squash, onion, apple and cinnamon between two sheet pans, spray thoroughly with non-stick spray (I like coconut oil spray), and sprinkle with the cinnamon and salt. Bake for 20 minutes or until fork-soft.

Transfer the roasted fruit and vegetables into a large heavy bottom soup pan for with the chicken stock and black pepper and simmer on low-medium heat for one hour (this can also be done in the crock pot).

Using an immersion blender, blend together the contents of the pan. Simmer on low for an additional hour.

Yield: 6 servings

This will make you Fall in love

On Monday, my fiancé was going to a local community meeting and so I got to try out this month’s Food and Wine Baking Bucket List Challenge (month 7, wooo): Maple Pumpkin Pecan Snacking Cake. Unfortunately, I had work to do so I couldn’t make it, but he came back with an empty box with the reviews came back and they were two thumbs way up.

I’m not a huge fan of pumpkin flavors but Fall does call for it, and thankfully for me and other iffy-pumpkin eaters, these didn’t end up super pumpkinny. I was pleasantly surprised at how soft,  moist, and with a nice crunch of the pecans these turned out to be. The texture of this snacking cake is similar to a coffee cake, but softer, with notes of pumpkin and maple to balance the flavor profile.

Ingredients:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
7 ounces pecans (a little over a cup)
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
2 large eggs
2/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons demerara sugar for sprinkling (can substitute brown sugar)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and grease an 8-inch square cake pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, and salt and set aside.

In a sauté pan over medium-high heat, toast the pecans until fragrant, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes. Transfer half of the nuts to a small food processor and pulse until a coarsely ground flour forms. Roughly chop the remaining pecans over a cutting board into small sized pieces. Add both the pecan meal and loosely chopped pieces to the bowl of dry ingredients.

In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, eggs, brown sugar, maple syrup, coconut oil, and vanilla extract until very smooth. Gently fold in the dry ingredients until incorporated. Using a spatula, scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Smooth out the surface of the cake batter with the spatula and sprinkle the demerara sugar evenly over the top.

Bake for 45 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The top of the cake should be crispy from the scattered sugar coating. Let the cake cool for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.

Yield: 8 servings

You Won’t Fumble with These: Cheeseball and Homemade Crackers

Last weekend was my future nephew’s ninth birthday – which is completely crazy given I met him when he was five! He’s grown into an actual person, someone who you can have a conversation with, and is a little boy who’s very into the Patriots.

Given that, he decided that his birthday party was going to be tailgating themed during the Patriot’s game and everyone had to wear their Patriots gear. Now I have no Patriot’s “gear.” But I knew I would be teased (all in good fun, of course) by my fiancé’s Massachusetts-residing, Patriots-loving, “gear”-wearing family (particularly by the newly-minted nine year old or the recently-turned six year-old nephews). A Pats t-shirt over a dress and a red necklace from Paris and Patriots-tailgating-birthday party here I come.

Homemade Crackers Rolling Dough

For the actual party, when I offered to make something, the now nine-year-old’s mom asked for a savory appetizer. Savory is something I struggle with and football is something I struggle with even more. However a theme and baking – that I’ve got. Therefore: a football-shaped cheeseball and homemade crackers!

Cracker Dough w Season

Both the cheeseball and the crackers are completely customizable which also makes this so fun. For the cheeseball, you could fold in any kind of white cheese (pepper jack, american, LIMITLESS!), different spices (cumin, rosemary, ANYTHING!), endless kinds of coatings (pecans, tortilla chips, Doritos for extra cheesiness, THE WORLD IS YOUR OYSTER!).

And the crackers – don’t get me started. I like this recipe for two reasons: first because it has olive oil and no butter which makes me feel better about eating it because it’s not as caloric (right?), and second because it’s so versatile. I ended up making three kinds: one with chia seeds for crunch, thyme, and fresh cracked black pepper; one with garlic powder and salt; and one with just kosher sea salt.

The cheeseball is creamy and cheesy with a kick of the sharp cheddar, it’s the perfect spread. The buttered nuts on top complement the smoothness of the cheese adding a crunchy element to give it texture. And the crackers – man oh man. They couldn’t be easier to make and the crunch when you bite into this classic appetizer is elevated because everything is made from scratch. Trust me, this appetizer is no field goal — it’s without a doubt a TOUCHDOWN!

Football Cheeseball and Crackers Closeup

Ingredients:
Homemade Crackers
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup almond flour
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup water
Optional toppings: chia seeds, sea salt, thyme, garlic powder, cayenne, anything!

Football Cheeseball
2 8-ounce packages of cream cheese
8 ounces of white shredded cheddar
3/4 teaspoon hot sauce
3/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 shallot, minced
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 1/4 cup walnuts
1 piece white string cheese

Directions:
To Make the Homemade Crackers: 
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Then fold in and stir until it forms a soft (very sticky) dough. Divide the dough into three balls.

Shape the first ball into a rectangle with your fingers and place it on a floured sheet of parchment paper (this step is critical!). Using a rolling pin, roll the rectangle into 1/8-inch or less. Any thicker and crackers will turn out to be more chewy than crispy.

Once it’s been rolled out, using a pastry brush, brush the top with water and then sprinkle the toppings evenly across (the water will help the toppings stick!). Then take a pizza cutter, or very sharp knife, and cut squares. Last, take a fork and prick each square once, which will prevent them from puffing up like pillows.

Carefully slide the parchment paper with the dough onto a baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Once they come out of the oven, cool for five minutes, and break the crackers apart. As they cool, they’ll crisp up.

Repeat for other two balls of dough.

Yield: 70 crackers

To Make the Football Cheeseball:
Combine the cream cheese, cheddar, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, onion powder and shallots in a large bowl and mix until thoroughly blended. Transfer the cheese mixture to a large sheet of plastic wrap and cover with a second sheet of plastic wrap. Form the cheese into a football shape. Wrap in the plastic and refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours or up to overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the butter thyme in a small bowl.

Toss the walnuts with thyme butter and arrange on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Cool completely, then finely chop.

Unwrap the cheese ball and cover completely with the walnuts. Transfer to a serving dish. Separate the string cheese into strands and arrange them to look like the laces on a football.

Yield: feeds 12 people

How ’bout them apples? Honey Baked Apples that is!

There is a lovely woman in DC that I worked with, what seems like a lifetime ago, who has been a great supporter of this blog (she’s a writer for a living so huge compliment).

In addition to supporting and writing, she’s also a beekeeper! I’ve really enjoyed watching her grow beekeeping into such a passion and I’ve actually gotten to learn so much about her, bees, and of course honey!

She actually harvests the honey and jars it, along with a few other DC beekeepers, to sell in local places around DC like Bread Furst Bakery (side note: if you’re in DC and haven’t had a Bread Furst croissant: go immediately). Her Facebook page is called DC Bee and you can follow it too!

So this DC beekeeper was the inspo for this recipe, which unfortunately wasn’t made with her honey (read: SOS), but was made with some honey I got at the Love.Live.Local festival in Hyannis a couple weeks ago from Little River Bee Works.

Now this recipe isn’t anything if not simple. The hardest part is coring the apples but after that, some drizzling, ~30 minutes in the oven (depending on the apples you’re using) and you’ve got warm, sweet, cinnamony apples that you can cut into with a spoon!

Note that this recipe isn’t meant to be overly complicated and substitutions can be easily made! Adding some nutmeg? Great! Don’t want nuts but have steel-cut oats? No problem! Definitely a great way to be easily creative. This is also a great recipe if you need a dessert on the fly.

Ingredients:
6 apples, cored (make sure not to go through the bottom to hold in the juice!)
2 tablespoons of cinnamon
3 tablespoons of honey
1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped
Vanilla ice cream (optional, unless you’re my fiancé who is obsessed with Halo Top).

Directions:
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Spray a cake pan with cooking spray and place in the six, cored apples.

Sprinkle each apple evenly with the cinnamon and pecans and drizzle with honey (don’t forget the inside!)

Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until a fork can easily puncture the skin. Let cool for a couple minutes before serving with vanilla ice cream.

Yield: 6 apples

Bobbing for Apple Recipes? Here you go!

Life over the past couple of days has been busy for my fiancé and me. This mild Fall weather has been beautiful, allowing us to travel throughout New England and close to home. Some recent highlights include a nearby brewery to meet my fiance’s high school friends, then to a hardware store to look at paint samples for a condo we’ll soon close on as a rental property, then to a new Thai restaurant, and in between: lots and lots of driving.

Such a busy few days meant that on Sunday, my fiancé spent his day doing school work to finish up his master’s degree (only a few more weeks!) and I spent most of the day watching The Food Network. After I won’t tell how many hours, I felt inspired to bake – apple bread!

Banana bread is one of my favorites, but of course, I still have a peck (technical term) of apples in the fridge that we picked, so apple bread it was. It’s actually a very simple recipe, with not meany steps and easy to follow. So a few crispy apples, extra dashes of earthy cinnamon, and a handful of crunchy pecans and we were in business!

Sometimes the simpler the recipe, the more delicious your baking will turn out. I am obsessed with how soft the bread is, the crunchiness from the outer layers, and moistness of the inside makes it a great blend of Fall flavors.

Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups of peeled, diced apples (about three large apples)
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat eggs, sugar, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl; add apples.

Mix flour, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon in a separate bowl; add to apple mixture and stir just until evenly combined into a thick batter. Pour batter into a greased (I like coconut oil spray) loaf pan.

Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes. Cover loaf pan with aluminum foil; continue baking until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 15 minutes more. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack.

Yield: 12 slices of apple bread

Pecan Pie Cheesecake: A Thanksgiving dessert that will make you give thanks

Before you give me the eye-roll, don’t worry – I’m not going all CVS on you. Thanksgiving has not come early and I’m not looking to start turkey-day planning. I entered a cooking competition through the local paper, Cape Cod Times, and I needed a dessert when we went to Danbury, New Hampshire to see a friend (1. yay, my 24th state visited! 2. being from Texas, it’s still mind-boggling to me how close the New England states are up here. We’re an hour away from RI, CT, and NH!).

This IS however, a great recipe to consider if you’re looking for something that’s a little different with a classic twist. It IS a little time-consuming, though not much more than any other cheesecake. You need to bake the crust, but then the pecan pie filling sets while you’re making the cheesecake topping.

With a buttery, crumbly crust on the bottom, velvety gooey and nutty pecan pie in the middle, and a lusciously creamy cheesecake on top, this is THE dessert that will take care of every post-turkey sweets craving. I love this dessert because of the crunch of the pecans, the smoothness of the cheesecake, and the decadence of the pecan syrup at the bottom. You, your family, and friends will all give thanks for this dessert!

Ingredients:
Crust:
1 ¾ cups vanilla wafer crumbs
¼ cup firmly packed brown sugar
⅓ cup butter, melted

Pecan Pie Filling:
1 cup sugar
⅔ cup dark corn syrup
⅓ cup butter, melted
2 eggs
1 ½ cups chopped pecans
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cheesecake Filling:
3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 ¼ cups firmly packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 eggs
⅔ cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°.

To make the crust, combine wafer crumbs and brown sugar. Stir in melted butter. Press into bottom and up sides of a 9″ spring form pan. Bake for 6 minutes. Set aside to cool.

For the pecan pie filling, combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until thickened, about 8-10 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour into crust and set aside.

To make the cheesecake filling, reduce oven to 325°. With a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat cream cheese at medium speed until creamy. Add brown sugar and flour and beat until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each one. Stir in cream and vanilla. Pour over pecan filling. Bake for 1 hour. Turn off oven and leave cheesecake in oven with the door closed for 1 hour.

Remove from oven and run a knife along the outside edges to loosen cheesecake from sides of pan. Let cool. Chill for at least 4 hours before serving.

Yield: 8 slices

Apples (Crumb Cakes) for Dayyyyssss

In honor of Fall, last weekend, we made the trek “off Cape” to C.N. Smith Farm to pick apples and get pumpkins! It’s a tradition that my fiancé and I have done four Falls running now and I LOVE IT. The fresh air, the smell of apples, getting a warm cup of apple cider afterwards  (did I mention it was 70 degrees that day? Ugh, global warming).

Fortunately (unfortunately?) apple picking means lots and lots and LOTS of apples. Therefore, my next few recipes will be apple-centric as I try to get through all these babies.

Apple Trees

For my first apple recipe, I went with this month’s Food and Wine Baking Bucket List Challenge, which is Apple Crumb Coffee Cakes and is the 6th month I’ve been in it. I made a few modifications, like adding more cinnamon and more apples, which overall made the crumb cakes softer and more moist, which is perfect with my favorite kind of topping: streusel (butter and sugar that gets a tinsy bit crispy and crunchy while remaining soft and crumbly – YUM).

Apple Crumb Cakes tin
1. Batter in the prepared muffin tins and 2. Streusel topping before being baked.

Ingredients:
For the Streusel:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

For the Crumb Cakes:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup sour cream
1 large egg, beaten
3/4 cup peeled, small-diced apples (I used Cortland apples, which is what we picked)

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350°.

To make the streusel, in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle, combine the flour with the brown sugar and salt. Add the butter pieces and mix at medium-low speed until the mixture resembles coarse meal; continue mixing the streusel until very small clumps form. Transfer the streusel to a large plate and refrigerate until it is well chilled, about 10 minutes.

To make the crumb cakes, line 18 standard-size muffin cups with paper liners. Spray the liners with cooking spray. In the mixer bowl, combine the flour with the granulated sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon. Add the butter pieces and beat at low speed until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the sour cream and beaten egg and beat until the batter is smooth. Add the diced apple and beat just until incorporated.

Fill the muffin cups halfway with the crumb cake batter. Press the streusel into clumps and sprinkle on top. Bake the crumb cakes in the center of the oven for about 30 minutes, until risen, golden and springy to the touch; rotate the pans halfway through baking. Let the crumb cakes cool slightly before serving.

Yield: 18 crumb cakes

Parents Meeting and Lots of Eating (Strawberry Shortcake that is)

Three and a half years in the making and this past weekend, it happened – my mom, dad and my fiancé’s dad and stepmom finally met. My parent’s came to stay the weekend, which was completely lovely (with the exception of some weird fog that kept rolling in and rolling back out) – we went to two of my favorite places: Summer Shanty and Provincetown.

Summer Shanty has my favorite lobster rolls on Cape Cod (and shoutout here to my maid of honor who’s described the clam chowder as “the bomb!”) and Provincetown is the epitome of good, clean fun where all are welcome.

In between all of that though, I made this delicious strawberry shortcake-cake. When it boils down to it, it’s whipped cream, macerated strawberries, and shortbread – pretty easy and delicious (here’s where I let you in on a little secret: my favorite strawberry shortcake ever is the one at the Cheesecake Factory – I have no doubt it’s full of sticks upon sticks of butter, but man-oh-man if you get the chance, it’s worth it.)

This strawberry shortcake is a little different – it’s prettier (very important), the shortcake is a crunchy and crumbly shortbread but with the sugary strawberry syrup that’s seeped in and melts in your mouth. The velvety-ness of the whipped cream sneaks in from behind and melds everything together into a perfect bite – YUM!

StrawberryShortcakeCut

Anyway, needless to say, the meeting went off without a hitch, as did the cake, and I FULLY recommend you giving it a go – whether for a parent meeting or for an easy cake on a summer day.

Ingredients:
For the Shortcakes:
3 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups heavy cream
10 tablespoons cold (but not frozen) butter

For the Strawberries:
3/4 cup sugar
2 16-ounce packages of strawberries, hulled and sliced

For the Whipped Cream:
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Thoroughly butter 3 9-inch round cake pans.

To prepare the strawberries, combine the sugar and hulled and cut strawberries into a medium bowl. Place in the fridge.

To make the shortcake, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Add butter and use two knifes to cut the butter in until it resembles coarse crumbs. Slowly add heavy cream and stir in with a fork, just until moistened.

Gather dough into a ball and turn onto a lightly floured surface. Gently kneed and split into the three cake pans. Spread the dough all the way to the edges and press down to make as smooth as possible (think flat and thin like a pancake).

Bake for about 25 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Let cool in the pans before turning out.

When you’re ready to assemble, prepare the whipped cream. Using an electric mixer, combine heavy whipping cream and vanilla extract and beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar while beating until stiff peaks form.

To serve, place first layer on the serving plate, top with 1/3 of the macerated strawberries, and top that with 1/3 of the whipped cream. Top with second shortbread layer and repeat with 1/3 strawberries and 1/3 of the whipped cream. Top with the final layer and spread remaining whipped cream and pile remaining strawberries on top.

Serve immediately.

Note: it’s ok if it’s a little rustic and crumbly – that’s part of the shortcake charm!

Yield: 10 slices of cake

Making Lemon Bars out of Lemons

This week, we got to see a few friends that my fiancé and I used to work with who happened to find themselves in Cape Cod! Did I mention I met my hubby-to-be at work? We didn’t work in the same office, but our jobs brought us together on the same projects – we were both checking each other out over PowerPoint presentations to get ready for a conference about the ocean!

Lemon Bars mixer full
The dough for the crust should still be a little crumbly before it gets pressed into the pan.

Anyway, we’re in Cape Cod, prepping for my parents to come visit from North Carolina (i.e. cleaning), getting ready for my fiancé’s family to descend on Cape Cod from the other side of the bridges, as many Massholes (my fiancé’s term of endearment, not mine. He says he can say it because he is one.) do between end of May through mid-October, and my fiancé says to me: you know what we should make our friends? Lemon bars.

This, of course came as no surprise to me as he could eat lemon bars for days. So I responded with: make our friends lemon bars or make you lemon bars?

He answered: Well, I do like lemon bars…

And because I’m a sucker for my fiancé: voila – lemon bars!

In all honestly, I do find this recipe to be pretty quick, easy to follow, and sweet and tart – as any good lemon bar recipe should be.

Lemon Bars cooked full
Fully-cooked and pre-powder sugared – air bubbles are ok! We’ll fancy ’em up in the next step!

(At the end of the day, we did wrap most of the bars up in brown parchment paper to give to our friends…after we snuck a couple for ourselves, of course. And knowing my fiancé, I’m sure I’ll find that he hid a few for himself.)

Ingredients:
For the Crust:
1 cup softened butter (2 sticks) (or if you’re me, firm butter microwaved last minute!)
2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon of salt
Zest of 1 lemon *reminder to zest before you juice – it’s so much easier!

For the Lemon Filling:
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon flour
4 eggs
Zest of 2 lemons
Juice of 3 lemons (about 2/3 cup)

For the Topping:
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine 2 sticks of softened butter, 2 cups flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, zest of 1 lemon until crumbly (as shown in the first picture). Press into the bottom of an ungreased pan and bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown (it’s better to overbake then under-bake!).

To make the lemon filling, in another bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups sugar, 1/4 cup+1 tablespoon flour and then whisk in the 4 eggs, 2/3 cup lemon juice, and zest of 2 lemons.

Pour the lemon filling over the golden brown, baked crust. Bake for an additional 30 minutes.

If the bars aren’t completely firm when you first take them out, they’ll firm up when they cool.

After they’re completely cool, using a sifter, sprinkle powdered sugar over the top (if you try to do this before they’re 100% cooled, the sugar will melt!)

Note: the best way to cut them is to first let them completely cool, then stick the pan in the fridge for 30 minutes. They’ll still be a little crumbly when you start to slice in, but that’s part of the appeal!

Yield: 12 lemon bars

Tailgating and Gooey Brownies

Before we even got to Cape Cod, my fiancé’s brother asked my fiancé if he wanted to attend the Patriot’s opening game against Kansas City Chiefs, to which he responded to with a resounding yes and I responded too with a resounding ‘what’s the best tailgating dessert I can bake?’ (I know, but it’s how my brain operates, ok?)

I went through my repertoire for portable desserts; red, white, and blue (Patriots, hello…) desserts; football-themed desserts; and great-desserts-but-not-Super-Bowl-worthy desserts (whether I want to admit it, I’m marrying into a Patriots family after all; sorry mom and dad who are life-long Buffalo Bills fans).

To which, I arrived at these babies: gooey triple-layer-fudgy-peanut-buttery brownies with some classy/abstract football décor on top to keep them a smidge themed (have I mentioned how much I love a theme?). Perfect – easy to take for the game-goers and great for my fiancé’s sister-in-law and nephews who I Uno’d-til-we-dropped with at home.

Fun fact about this recipe: my beloved emailed it to me some time ago (if it’s yours, email me, and I’ll link to your site as I’m a big believer in giving credit where credit’s due!), he tried to make it, and to be frank, failed miserably. He has so many amazing qualities, but patience when brownies are involved is one that we’re still working on. With three trips to the fridge to cool and some Ashley-recommended freezer time, these require a lot of patience. But man-oh-man are they worth the wait. (Note: I actually started making them the day before just so I’d have enough time for all the cooling to commence). 

Gooey Brownies Making
1. Cooked and cooled brownies with peanut butter swirled (top left), 2. Brownies frosted with marshmallow topping (top right), 3. Peanut butter ganache layered on top of marshmallow frosting and being sprinkled (bottom left), 4. All four layers after cutting (bottom right).

Ingredients:
For the Brownies:
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter

For the Marshmallow Topping:
7 oz jar marshmallow cream or fluff

For the Peanut Butter Ganache:
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup corn syrup
1/3 cup heavy cream

For the Decorations (Optional):
Chocolate sprinkles
White icing to pipe

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 8×8 pan with foil so that it’s hanging over the sides; grease with cooking spray (I told you they’re going to be gooey!).

For the brownies, mix flour, baking powder, cocoa powder, and salt until combined. Then mix in sugar, eggs, vanilla, and vegetable oil just until the dry ingredients are wet and there are no lumps. Pour into greased foil pan, then take spoonfuls of the 1/3 cup of peanut butter and dollop it around so that it’s spread out. Then, using a butter knife or a toothpick, carefully swirl the peanut butter throughout the brownies. Bake for 20 minutes or until the sides start to pull away from the pan. Cool completely before proceeding to the next step.

After the brownies are cooled, use a butter knife to spread the marshmallow onto brownies. Place in fridge for at least 45 minutes, or until firm.

Once the marshmallow is firm, start to make the peanut butter ganache. In a small saucepan, combine peanut butter, powdered sugar, corn syrup, and heavy cream. Heat on low until you can stir it together and the peanut butter has completely melted (it may look like it’s starting to separate at first, but it will come together quickly). Wait five minutes for the ganache to cool slightly before pouring onto the brownies. Place in fridge for at least an hour, or until firm.

Once the ganache is firm, use the overhanging foil to remove the brownies from the pan and then slice.

(For decorations, I spread chocolate sprinkles all over, cut them into squares and then piped white icing diagonally to make an abstract sort of football.)

Keep uneaten brownies stored in the fridge and if you’re traveling with them (maybe to tailgating, perhaps), I’d strongly recommend freezing before transporting.

Yield: 12 decently sized brownies