Brownie Blondies, Blond Brownies, Brownie Double Deckers… Hey, Brownies!

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When faced with a difficult choice such as brownies or blondies, my answer is both! We love dense, chewy brownies, and lots of Dutch processed cocoa makes the brownie layer in this recipe super chocolatey. Slightly caramelizing the brown sugar gives the blondie layer a rich caramel flavor. There doesn’t seem to be a clever portmanteau to name these bits of deliciousness… How about Double Decker Blondie Brownies?

Every couple of weeks I have a bake sale in my classroom. Students save up tickets and can buy various privileges, or they can choose to spend their earnings on Barbra’s Bakery. Everyone wins, right? I get to bake and they get to enjoy freshly made items created just for them. The tasty products keep them earning tickets!

Last Friday, I asked my students for some ideas. They were smitten with the blondies I’d previously whipped up and suggested a double-decker version of blondies and brownies sandwiching a layer of chocolate frosting. I love sweets, but that sounded too sweet. However, the double-decker idea was intriguing. The key would be to somehow keep the layers separate for an appealing visual effect, like a black and tan beer.

The trick turned out to be first partially baking the brownie layer and then gently layering on the blondie dough before the final bake. The concoction was a big hit with the students and also with all the lucky adults who got to participate in the tasting.

Brownie Double Deckers


For the brownie

  • 1 1/4 cups dutch processed cocoa
  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

For the blondie

  • 2/3 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • a little less than 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. Line a 9 x 13 inch baking dish with foil and generously butter. Set aside.
  3. Sift together dry brownie ingredients – flour, cocoa, and salt – in a large bowl.
  4. In a medium bowl, mix together melted butter and granulated sugar.
  5. Mix in one egg at a time until all 5 eggs are thoroughly mixed in.
  6. Stir in vanilla extract.
  7. Stir dry ingredients into wet.
  8. Pour brownie batter into baking dish and bake for 20 minutes. Brownie should be just starting to set.
  9. While brownie is baking, make blondie dough.
  10. Place butter and brown sugar in a medium pot. Stir over medium heat until mixture is just melted.
  11. Let mixture cool for a few minutes, then stir in eggs and vanilla.
  12. Stir in flour one cup at a time.
  13. Stir in baking powder and salt. Do not overmix.
  14. After the brownies have baked for 20 minutes, reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  15. Carefully spoon blondie mixture on top of brownies. Gently spread blondie mixture to cover brownies. Don’t worry about making the dough perfectly even, it will spread during baking.
  16. Bake double-decker for an additional 30 minutes. A toothpick inserted in the center of the brownies will come out clean when it is done.
  17. As delicious as these smell straight out of the oven, they taste best when totally cool. We served ours with freshly brewed cups of chai tea.

Recipe adapted from Rachel Ray.

Chocolate Candy Bar Coffee Cake

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Warm afternoon sunshine streamed in through the windows on a cool fall day, illuminating this rich, moist afternoon snack created from a favorite chocolate candy bar. Served with freshly brewed cups of hot tea it was just the thing before a walk into town.

Chocolate coffee cake is tempting straight out of the oven. But this cake tastes best the day after it is baked. The traditional streusel topping turns a good cake into an irresistible afternoon treat.

Chocolate Candy Bar Coffee Cake


Streusel top:

  • 2/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 6 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 quality chocolate candy bar, chopped fine


  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1  1/4 cups plain yoghurt
  • 1  1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped pecans


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Grease a 9 x 13 inch glass baking dish.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together the following streusel ingredients: flour, sugar, and cinnamon.
  4. Rub in butter into streusel mixture, until coarse crumbs form.
  5. Fold in chopped chocolate pieces. Set aside.
  6. To make the cake, in a large bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  7. In another bowl, cream together butter and sugar.
  8. Add eggs, one at a time, beating thoroughly.
  9. Mix in yoghurt and vanilla extract.
  10. Stir wet ingredients into dry. Mix thoroughly.
  11. Fold in chopped pecans.
  12. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  13. Sprinkle streusel mixture evenly over batter.
  14. Bake until topping is golden, about 40 minutes. Cake is done when toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean.
  15. Let pan cool on wire rack. Cut into squares to serve.

Mocha Toffee Bites

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A coffee lover’s must! These coffee-infused chocolate cookies have a wonderful chewy texture with a surprise toffee crunch. Serve with a hot beverage or a scoop of rich vanilla ice cream for a decadent dessert.

After a very successful try at coffee-flavored ice cream, I had wanted to use coffee in other desserts, but to achieve a really rich coffee flavor, I learned that I had to steep a lot of beans. The problem is we had shipped up just enough beans for our required morning brew. So, coffee flavors were put on hold until a recent trip to Anchorage where I had an opportunity to pick up some organic coffee extract. I was hoping it would provide the same rich flavor as steeped beans. It did! Just one and a half teaspoons of extract turned really good cookies into great cookies. The addition of the toffee crunch sent the confection over the top. These cookies could be gussied up with a dusting of powdered sugar or a drizzle of melted chocolate. But those additions are unnecessary in an already perfect recipe.

Mocha Toffee Bites


  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 tsp coffee extract
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1  1/2 tsp coffee extract
  • 2 tbsp plus 2 tsp dutch processed cocoa
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/3 cup English toffee bits


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a double boiler, melt chocolate and butter. Stir until smooth. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together sugars and egg. Beat until smooth.
  4. Add vanilla and coffee extracts. Beat until well mixed.
  5. Add cocoa powder and salt, beat until well mixed.
  6. Mix in chocolate-butter mixture from double boiler.
  7. Mix in flour and baking powder.
  8. Stir in toffee bits.
  9. Drop dough by rounded tablespoons onto parchment-lined sheet, at least an inch apart.
  10. Bake in preheated oven for 8 – 10 minutes.
  11. Let cool for a couple of minutes on sheet. Then transfer to wire rack to completely cool.

Yield: about 15 cookies

Chocolate Pots for Two

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Creamy dark chocolate pots with an almond essence are an elegant dessert, perfect for two.

Our holiday guest has left and we are back to just the two of us in our home in the Arctic. I like to scale down recipes so that Jack and I can enjoy freshly made sweets without having too many around to tempt us. These chocolate pots are rich and delicious, and half-cup servings provided a gourmet finish to a meal of caribou stroganoff. While I flavored these with a hint of almond, adding orange zest, a sprig of mint, or a very thin curl of lime peel would be among numerous other delectable variations. We topped the pots with a chocolate covered pomegranate.

Chocolate Pots

Ingredients: (For two 1/2 cup servings)

  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp almond extract


  1. Place chocolate chips, sugar and cream in a small pot.
  2. Heat chocolate mixture over low heat. Stir continuously until mixture is smooth. Turn off heat.
  3. Whisk yolks and extracts in a small bowl.
  4. Slowly pour half of the melted chocolate mixture into egg yolks while whisking to temper eggs.
  5. Pour egg mixture back into small pot.
  6. Heat pot over low heat while stirring continuously for 3 – 5 minutes. Mixture should thicken slightly.
  7. Pour chocolate into two decorative ramekins.
  8. Let chill in refrigerator uncovered. Serve fully chilled and topped with something fun – a candied nut or a chocolate covered espresso bean.

Molten Lava Chocolate Cake for Two

One bite reveals a dark, rich, molten chocolate center. Served warm, this dessert tastes like a celebration.

When we got word that the seller had accepted our offer for our new home, Jack and I both thought “Champagne!” With that not being possible in Point Hope, we went for the next best option – a gourmet celebration meal. Jack created a perfect dinner of seared strip steaks topped with bleu cheese and garnished with a sautéed medley of onions, mushrooms, and garlic. He served the steaks with carrots and parsnips sautéed with a hint of maple syrup. Foil-wrapped baked potatoes and sour cream finished off the plate.

My contribution was dessert. I had read several recipes for molten lava chocolate cake that sounded just right – rich, warm, chocolate and sized to serve individually. I adapted my version from a blog that had scaled down the recipe to two.

Jack had purchased these beautiful ramekins when he lived in Japan. My original thought was to serve the cakes in the ramekins as pictured. I decided to experiment with mine and inverted it. The jam spread perfectly under the cake. I dusted the inverted cake with a bit more powdered sugar. It was a perfect end to a perfect meal.

Molten Lava Chocolate Cake

adapted from Sweetebakes


  • 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar, plus extra for garnish
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Butter two ramekins and place on baking sheet. Set aside.
  2. In a double boiler, melt chocolate chips and butter, stirring until smooth.
  3. Scrape chocolate mixture into a bowl and add powdered sugar. Mix until incorporated.
  4. Add egg and whisk until smooth.
  5. Stir in flour and vanilla extract until smooth.
  6. Pour batter into prepared ramekins and transfer baking pan to oven.
  7. Bake for 12 minutes. Cakes should puff to surface of ramekins.
  8. Allow to sit for 1 minute.
  9. Place a dollop of raspberry or peach jam on cake before inverting onto plate.
  10. Dust with powdered sugar to garnish.

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