best brownies

IMG_1886Last Saturday I treated myself to the “chocolate brownie a-la-mode” pedicure at Spa in the Valley. It was divine! However, as a result, I was seriously jonse-ing for a real brownie when I got home, but I had no brownie mix in the house. And after this recipe, I don’t know that I will ever buy box brownies again! These were incredibly easy and quick to make and they came out delish. Thank Allrecipes. Enjoy!


  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour an 8-inch square pan.
  2. In a large saucepan, melt 1/2 cup butter. Remove from heat, and stir in sugar, eggs, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat in 1/3 cup cocoa, 1/2 cup flour, salt, and baking powder. Spread batter into prepared pan.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Do not over-cook.

Recipe Review: Chocolate Peanut Butter Surprise Cookies

IMG_1158Happy New Year!!! I know, it’s been a while. Holidays… Travel… Illness… It all takes time. But I’m back! So let’s kick off the new year with a sweet treat!

First off, a confession: I have a  weakness, ok I have many–one of which is peanut butter. I think if you put peanut butter on a rock I’d eat it; that’s how deep my love goes. (And for the record, Sarge–my dog–feels the same.) So when I came across this recipe I knew I had to try it. And boy was it worth it. A friend of mine made these before I did and had one word to say, wow. I agree. Let me know what you think!

Peanut Butter Surprise Cookies
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
3/4 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, softened
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
For the centers, mix the peanut butter and sugar together (you may need to use your hands). Form into approximately 30 balls and flash freeze on a baking sheet.
While they’re chilling, make the cookie dough:

  1. Beat the butter, sugars and peanut butter together until mixed.
  2. Add in the vanilla and egg and beat to combine.
  3. Gradually add in the flour, cocoa powder and baking soda until blended.
  4. Remove the peanut butter centers from the freezer, and shape the cookie dough around the ball until completely covered.
  5. Flatten the cookies with a sugar-dipped glass.
  6. Bake on 375 F for 7 to 9 minutes, until tops of cookies just begin to crack.
Tara’s Tip: Next time, I would flatten the cookies and then sprinkle the sugar on top. I kept dipping my glass in water before the sugar and flattening in step 5 and I didn’t feel there was enough sugar on the cookies using this process.