extreme rocky road brownies

Sometimes all you want is a bite of gooey brownie goodness. 

But then again …

Sometimes mini marshmallows are exactly what you’re craving.

Or maybe it’s pecans you’re after?

Wait.  I think we just added some toasted coconut to the mix.

And don’t forget tart dried cherries.

When you’re craving all of those things … make my extreme rocky road brownies

Oh yeah … and don’t forget the oreo cookie base.

HA!

That was a surprise eh?  You probably weren’t expecting me to add an oreo cookie base to brownies that are already chock full of chocolate, marshmallows, coconut, pecans and dried cherries?

Well … sometimes you just need to go all the way … and these brownies are all about being extreme.

I have to admit.  These are pretty stellar.  I’d been craving a rocky road brownie for a while … but wanted something a little different.

That’s when I came across Lisa Yockelson’s original rocky road mud bars in chocolate chocolate.  

It looked good.

Oreo base.  Chocolate chips.  Walnuts.  Mini marshmallows.

Only … I like pecans.  And I heart toasted coconut.  And I’m a little obsessive about dried cherries.  Add those things to the chocolate chips, mini marshmallows and oreo cookie base and I figured I had a real winner of a brownie.

I was right.

It’s a pretty easy recipe to follow.  Mostly it’s all about melting, whisking and then stirring.  

You can skip the oreo base if you want … but really … I wouldn’t recommend it.  These brownies are good.  Really good.  Trust me.  Once you make these … you might never go back to a regular brownie.

oreo chocolate cookie base

ingredients:

8 tbsp butter, melted and cooled to tepid

half a package oreo cookies, processed to crumbs

extreme rocky road brownie layer

ingredients:

1 1/4 c. flour

1/4 c. cocoa powder

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

3/4 c. semisweet chocolate chips

1/2 lb. butter, melted and cooled to tepid

6 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled to tepid

5 eggs, room temperature

1 c. sugar

1 c. brown sugar

2 tsp vanilla

1 c. chopped pecans

1/3 c. mini marshmallows

3/4 c. dried cherries

1 c. toasted shredded coconut

Preheat the oven to 325 F.  Line a rectangle baking pan with foil or parchment paper, then spray with nonstick spray.

While your oven is preheating, make the oreo cookie base.

Pour the melted butter into the bowl of your food processor (after you have turned your oreo cookies into crumbs), and pulse until well incorporated.  Spread and press the cookie mixture evenly over the base of the pan. 

Bake the crust for about 5 minutes.  Allow to cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the melted butter and melted chocolate until smooth.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs for 1 minute.  Add the sugar, and whisk for a further minute.  Blend in the melted butter – chocolate, mixing thoroughly.  Stir in the vanilla extract.

Sift in the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt into your chocolate ingredients.  Once the flour is just incorporated, fold in the chocolate chips, marshmallows, pecans, shredded coconut, and dried cherries.

Spoon the batter over the oreo cookie crumb base.  Spread the batter evenly using an offset spatula.

Bake for about 40 minutes – or until set.  Allow to cool in the pan on a wire rack.  Then I like to cover the pan and put it in the freezer for about 30 minutes.  It gets the brownies to firm up just enough that you can then lift the entire batch of brownies out of the pan and then cut into little cubes of goodness … seriously … you can get 60 cubes out of the pan.

These freeze well and should be stored in an airtight container. 

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coconut-almond sticky buns

I am so excited about this recipe … I honestly did a happy dance the first time I made it.  And then again the second … third … fourth and fifth times I made them.

There’s lots of dancing going on in my little apartment :0)

You might think it’s silly of me to be so excited about sticky bunsBut these aren’t just any sticky buns.  These are THE BEST sticky buns.

No lies.

Why you might ask???

1.  Super easy to make.  I have gotten the “prep” time down to 7 minutes.  Anyone can whip these up first thing in the morning or in a cinch when company unexpectedly arrive.  Or on Christmas morning …

2.  They smell ridiculously delicious while they are baking.  It starts with the smell of toasted coconut & almonds.  And then becomes a sugary sweet spicy doughy loveliness … wanna sell your house?  Bake these!

3.  They taste great.  Who doesn’t love coconut & almond?  Or chocolate & cherry?  Or cranberry & white chocolate?  Yeah … all of those are options … all you need is a little imagination and the perfect sticky bun can be all yours.

4.  You too can have a Martha moment!  I know … I usually shy away from a Martha reference … however in this case … I totally embraced the Martha in me … baking the sticky buns and then placing them in a slightly larger holiday tin.  Holy Martha! 

5.  Holiday hostess gift … check!  Who needs to gift a bottle of wine when you can gift a tin of sticky buns????  I think you want to join in the dancing, lovely smelling, martha madness that these sticky buns can bring to ones life. 

*bakers note: if you don’t have a food processor, this can be done with a handheld mixer or a whisk.  don’t worry about some of the cottage cheese curds – they bake out :0)

*the recipe below is for 1 pan for sticky buns … but I have actually divided the dough in half and made 2 different types at once … just use smaller pans.

coconut – almond sticky buns

ingredients:

1 c. shredded coconut

1/2 c. slivered almonds (or chopped almonds)

* other flavour options: dried cherries & dark chocolate chips, dried cranberries & white chocolate

dough:

3/4 c. cottage cheese (4% is great – but 2% works as well)

1/3 c. buttermilk

1/4 c. sugar

2 oz (4 tbsp) butter, melted

1 tsp vanilla

2 c. flour, extra for rolling

1 tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp b. soda

filling:

1 1/2 tbsp butter, melted

2/3 c. brown sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

1/4 tsp ginger

* you can also swap the nutmeg for cardamon, or use chinese five-spice … just about any spice that catches your fancy

Preheat your oven to 350 F.  Spread the coconut and almonds on cookie sheets, and bake until toasted – about 7 minutes.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Increase the temperature to your oven to 375 F or 400 F (depending on your oven).  Spray the sides and bottom of a 9 – 10 inch springform pan with non-stick spray.  Set aside.

 In the bowl of your food processor combine the cottage cheese, melted butter, buttermilk, sugar and vanilla.  Pulse until smooth – about 15 seconds.

Add the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda and pulse until the dough starts to clump together.  It’s pretty sticky.

Done. Scrape the dough out and place it on a very well floured surface.  Knead the dough – about 5 times, you’ll notice how nicely it comes together (and super quickly) … Grab your rolling-pin and roll the dough into a large rectangle. 

Time to use your pastry brush and that second batch of melted butter.

Brush the dough with the melted butter, leaving a 1/2-inch border unbuttered around the edges. 

In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg (or your choice spices): sprinkle the mixture evenly over the buttered surface.  Pat it gently, and then sprinkle the toasted coconut and almond on top.Once filled, roll up the dough.  Start at the long edge, and roll jelly-style.  With a sharp knife, cut the rolled dough into 12 equal pieces (I trim the slight excess dough at each end)Grab your springform pan and gently arrange each piece, cut side up.  Don’t worry if there are small gaps between each sticky bun – you want them to touch slightly. 

Ok … if you’re like me, you might think … both sides are cut sides!  Don’t worry, simply pinch one end and put the pinched end down.  You might notice that some of the almond/coconut mixture falls out … that’s ok, gather it up and then sprinkle the top of the sticky buns prior to baking. Bake until golden and firm to the touch, about 25 – 28 minutes (but there will still have that slightly raw middle … yum).

Allow to cool in the pan on a wire rack – about 5 to 10 minutes.  Remove the springform ring, and then transfer the sticky buns – all in one piece – to either a serving plate … or pull a martha and set in a parchment paper lined tin.  

Make a glaze (powdered sugar, lemon juice and a little milk – whisked together) and drizzle it over the buns.  That’ll add that extra hit of sticky to this buns.

Sigh.  I can’t wait to get home and dance my way through another batch :0)