Fudgey Sandwich Cookies

The last hurrah of summer picnics was yesterday at my in-law’s house.  And while it’s sad to have one last pool weekend of the year, we had a perfect day for family, fun and feasting!  Nothing says party and picnic like these devil’s food sandwich cookies.  Milk’s bff, they’re rich, decadent and unbelievably easy to make.

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FUDGEY SANDWICH COOKIES

Ingredients

  • 1 Box Devil’s Food Cake Mix
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2/3 Cups Shortening
  • 1 Can Chocolate Fudge Frosting

Instructions

  • Cream shortening and eggs with an electric mixer until combined.
  • Add half the package of cake mix and beat until fluffy.
    • Note:  I’ve tried several mixes to get the best result and Kroger brand devil’s food cake mix is by far the best.  However, any brand will give you a good results as long as it’s devil’s food.
  • Add the remaining cake mix and beat just until combined.
  • Using a cookie scoop, drop 1″ balls onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet.
  • Bake at 375 degrees for 9-12 minutes.  BE CAREFUL!  These cookies can burn really easily so watch them closely.
  • Remove from oven and let cool completely on wire racks.
  • Spread bottom of one cookie with 1/2″ of fudge frosting and top with another cookie.
  • Store in an airtight container until serving.

This recipe will make a dozen sandwich cookies, so we typically double it every time we make it.  And while you could definitely make your own frosting and/or switch up flavors, this is a tried-and-true winner.  Try them for your next tailgate or birthday party.  Dig in!

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Ganache Brownies

Brownies are one of those universally-loved treats, perfect for almost any occasion.  On a recent trip to visit some friends I was making “anything chocolate” for a birthday dinner and came up with this elevated version of brownies.  The great part is that you don’t have to be a master baker to delight your friends and family.  Your favorite box mix gets dressed up with the addition of a rich layer of dark chocolate ganache and homemade peanut butter buttercream frosting – wow!

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PEANUT BUTTER & CHOCOLATE GANACHE BROWNIES

Ingredients

  • 1 Box Dark Chocolate Brownie Mix

Chocolate Ganache

  • 12 Ounces Semisweet Chocolate Chips
  • 3/4 Cup Heavy Cream
  • 1 Tbs. Strong Fresh-Brewed Coffee

Peanut Butter Buttercream

  • 1 Cup Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter, Softened
  • 1 Box (15 oz.) Powdered Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Milk
  • 1 1/2 Tsp. Vanilla
  • 1/4 Tsp. Salt

Instructions

  • Prepare box mix brownies according to directions in a 13×9 pan.  I like using dark chocolate brownies, but milk chocolate would work well too.  Avoid buying anything with chocolate chunks or chips because the ganache is rich enough on its own.
  • Allow brownies to cool.
  • Over a double boiler, or in a metal bowl over a simmering pot of water, combine all ganache ingredients.
  • Stir occasionally for 10-15 minutes until chips melt and mixture becomes smooth and is fully combined.
  • Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
  • Pour cooled ganache over baked brownies.  Use a spatula to spread evenly across the pan.
  • Place in refrigerator.
  • In a large mixing bowl, use a hand mixer to cream together peanut butter, butter, vanilla and salt.  Mixture should be smooth and fluffy.
  • Add 1/4 of the powdered sugar and mix well.  Continue adding fourths of all powdered sugar until fully combined.  Mixture will be thick.
  • Add half of the milk and mix until frosting becomes thinner.  You can continue to add as much milk as needed to make frosting light and spreadable.  Buttercream is usually fairly thick and this will be a little bit more so because of the peanut butter.
  • Remove brownies from fridge and spread frosting evenly over the entire pan.  Depending on your taste, you make only want to use 3/4 of the frosting mixture.  if you like a lot, then use it all!
  • Cover pan and store brownies in refrigerator until ready to serve.
  • Use a sharp knife to cut ample squares and serve.

These were a huge hit this weekend and for good reason!  They’re super-rich and decadent and everyone will think you’re a baking wizard.  Taking the guesswork out of the brownies themselves with a box mix keeps this easy.  Give them a try and let me know how much you and your family love the chewy deliciousness.  Dig in!

Peanut Butter Buckeyes

If you’re from Ohio, you’ve likely had the peanut buttery goodness of BUCKEYES!!  Shaped like the seed from our state tree, these namesake treats are a hit for the holidays or any time of the year.  You’ll find them at almost any store in Ohio that sells confections and definitely at Ohio State football tailgates!  Good news is, you don’t have to be an OSU fan or from Ohio to love the perfect combination of peanut butter and chocolate – just ask all of our Minnesota friends who clamored for a treat box of Buckeyes around the holidays.

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PEANUT BUTTER BUCKEYES

Ingredients

  • 18 Ounces Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 1 Lb. Powdered Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Margarine
  • 12 Ounces Semisweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1/2 Ounce Parafin Wax

Instructions

  • Using a stand mixer (you’ll need a heavy duty one) with a dough hook attachment, cream together peanut butter and margarine until smooth.
  • Add powdered sugar a little at a time and mix on low until thoroughly combined.
  • Roll into one inch balls and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Place balls in freezer for 15 minutes to harden.
  • While peanut butter balls are in the freezer, use a double boiler (or a metal bowl over a pot of simmering water) to melt chocolate chips and wax together.
  • Remove balls from freezer.  Using a toothpick, pierce each ball and dip 3/4 of the way into chocolate/wax mixture.  Place on parchment paper.  Chill a full tray in the freezer again for 10 minutes or until chocolate is set.
  • Keep stored in an airtight container.  I like to keep them in the fridge, but they’re fine at room temperature too.

There’s little practice involved in the dipping process, but overall these are really easy to make.  A good tip is to use a small bowl or boiler for the chocolate as you want the chocolate to be deep enough to dip into.  You can also make 1 1/2 of the chocolate/wax mixture to make it easier.  We like to then use the excess chocolate to dip pretzels in.  Or try mixing in enough corn flakes to coat them thoroughly.  Drop in small spoonfuls on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and top with sea salt flakes – wow are those good!  Try the buckeyes, share with your family and friends and make it a favorite holiday tradition like it is for us.  Dig in!!