Riesen Brownies

I took one bite of these brownies and lost consciousness…

In the blackness, my eyes focus upon a dark mountain stacked with rocky chunks of chocolate.  A river of fudge syrup flows through fields of chocolate blossoms, extending as far as I can see.  There is nothing but the pounding of sweet, decadent chocolate coursing through my veins, beckoning me farther and deeper into an entire land filled with chocolate.  Ahhh…the adventures I could have here.  The aroma gives way to pure bliss.  Total relaxation.  Divine *tug*   Mmmm… *tug*     happiness *tug*

Unfortunately, the tugging of my two-year old forced me out of my chocolate stupor and back to my slightly-less- chocolate-filled-life.  I made these brownies last Saturday as a gift for my brother-in-law.  His birthday was this week and he loves Riesens.

So, I did a little research and found this absolutely delectable recipe which just happened to be graced with not one but two entire packages of Riesens.

The look of sheer pain on my husband’s face when I told him that these brownies were for his brother and that he couldn’t eat any was positively heart breaking.  Luckily, when I packaged them up on Sunday, there were a few left for us to taste (read devour) and I must say they were positively earth-shattering.

I urge you to try them as soon as humanly possible.  In the brownie world, I dare say, they are a game changer.

Riesen Brownie Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 box German or chocolate cake mix
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted
  • 2/3 cup evaporated milk, divided
  • 2 packages Riesen candies
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°, coat a 9×13 inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. In a large bowl combine cake mix, butter, and 1/3 cup evaporated milk, stir until dough sticks together, forming a ball. Press half the dough into the baking dish, bake for 6 minutes.In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, melt caramels with remaining 1/3 cup evaporated milk, stir frequently. Remove baking dish from oven. Sprinkle chocolate chips over warm dough. Spread melted Riesen mixture over the chips, then crumble remaining dough over the top. Bake for 20 minutes. Let cool then refrigerate for at least 1 hour before cutting. (or I just let mine sit on the counter to cool.)

Chewy Nutella & Oatmeal Bars

I seem to be experiencing a butter deficiency as of late.  I blame it on the holiday consumption of more buttery treats than I care to admit having entered my body.  I have failed to divulge in sweet treats for approximately eighteen days now, give or take (with one cherry pie inserted somewhere in between) and so my body is saying “Hello? Yes, Hello!  It’s your body.  I need something with butter.  And sugar.  And chocolate would also be delightful.”  Imagine my shock, horror (and delight!) when I discovered this recipe in my “To Try” folder contained two sticks of butter on the ingredient list.  Of course, some sugar and chocolate too.  Who am I to deprive my body of what it needs?  Butter just seems to make everything better.  I think it should be called better, instead of butter…  I just don’t know if Webster would agree with me.

So, I printed this recipe off ages ago when I was high in my Nutella fascination.  Don’t get me wrong.  I am still highly fascinated with Nutella.  Or maybe infatuated is a better word.  When I make pancakes for the kids, sometimes I secretly sneak a pancake, slather it with Nutella, and eat it with my back turned so my kids  don’t see me.  I don’t want them to see the Nutella and want some too.  I want to keep it all for myself.  Please don’t tell my kids about the Nutella.

While Nutella alone is reason enough to make these bars (and, of course, to satisfy my ever-growing butter deficiency), we are having guests over for dinner tonight and I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to make these delightful bars for dessert.  While I may seem selfish about my Nutella, I also enjoy a good reason to share it.

I had a few glitches with this recipe, mostly because I have not updated my Nut Database in a while.  I searched high and low, scanning the aisles for hazelnuts at two different grocery stores over the last few days.  At store number two, I gathered up the courage to ask an employee if they carried the elusive hazelnuts.  Now, I did look at the filberts and they did appear an awful lot like hazelnuts.  However, they did not state hazelnuts on their package.  None of the packages of nuts specified hazelnuts anywhere.  Trust me.  I looked.  Well, the sweet little cashier came back with the answer.  ‘Filberts are the same as hazelnuts, you crazy lady.’  Well, she didn’t actually call me a crazy lady but I most certainly felt like one.  So, when you go to the store, just look for filberts.  Or hazelnuts.  ‘Cause, y’know, they are The. Exact. Same. Thing.  Here is a photo for those of you who are visual learners.

Glitch Number Two was the tin foil.  I have never made bars that required the lining of tin foil in the pan.  I don’t do a lot of bar baking apparently and haven’t quite graduated to the tin foil method.  But I will tell you that the pan looked fantastic, requiring virtually no cleaning at all.  This alone is a great reason to use the tin foil.  The trouble for me was in the step where you are supposed to lift the bars out of the pan.  There was no way around it.  I’m not going to lie to you.  There was a bit of breakage.  I felt terrible but it had to be done.  I tried to be swift.  But it didn’t matter.  *deep breath* *moment of silence*  Okay.  I’m over it now.

I, somewhat sheepishly, need to divulge that these did not earn a high stamp of approval from my husband, the Sweet Connoisseur.  I think they fall into more of a Ladies Tea category.  They team up splendidly with coffee.  If I make them again, I think I would increase the mini chocolate chips from 1/2 cup to one whole cup.  I don’t think they were quite ooey-gooey enough for my husband and I think that would help solve that issue.

Here is the recipe, courtesy of Cookin’ Canuck

Chewy Nutella & Oatmeal Bars

  • 1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup (packed) brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped hazelnuts (filberts!)
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp Nutella
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, with rack set in middle of the oven. Line a 13- by 9-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, leaving a some foil overlapping on each side. Spray lightly with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and ground nutmeg.

In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl with a hand mixer), beat butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add eggs, one a time, beating after each addition.
Turn the mixer to low and gradually add flour mixture. Beat until just combined, about 30 seconds. Stir in oatmeal, chocolate chips and hazelnuts.

Press the mixture into the prepared pan. Bake until the top is turning golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out just slightly moist, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Holding edges of foil, lift the bars out of the pan and let cool completely on wire rack. Cut into squares.
In a small saucepan set over medium-low heat, whisk together Nutella and heavy cream until melted and smooth. Drizzle over bars. Serve.

Makes about 48 squares.

Printable recipe

Banana Bread

Our family is a bit into bananas. My husband enjoys eating the heck out of them. My children enjoy them now and again. I, myself, do not enjoy eating them. I find the texture a bit off putting. Due to the husband factor, finding two overly ripe bananas in my kitchen is truly a rare encounter. But it happened just last week. You may be thinking ‘if she doesn’t like bananas, why would she be interested in brown bananas?’. Well, dear friends, this means I get to bake. I don’t always bake. Only when the mood strikes and the conditions are right. In this case, the two ripe bananas and the autumn weather got the best of me.

Here she is in all her golden glory. Isn’t she gorgeous? I think one of her best assets is the smell she evokes while baking in the oven. My whole house smelled amazing. Banana bread in the oven and a gorgeous fall day. Just what nature intended.

I am pretty sure we all have recipes for the ever-delightful banana bread but this one is worth a try, if you are willing to deviate from your usual recipe. I skip the nuts because to be honest, my kids are not nutty about nuts. (That was a test to see how maybe times I could make reference to nuts in one sentence.) If I am feeling particularly naughty, I replace the aforementioned nuts with chocolate chips. I must have been feeling nice because I just baked a straight up plain version with no additions whatsoever.

Here is the Banana Bread recipe.

Bake for the love of bananas, the love of bread, or the love of amazing baking smells. Or all three. 😉