Sweet Treats

Black + Gold Brownie Bars with Vanilla Ice Cream

Okay, maybe I spoke too soon about that spring weather coming in.

This week lulled us into a false sense of security. Mid-40s all week until yesterday, and then the cold set in. But that’s how it goes. Winter is that angry friend who goes to the door again and again and keeps turning back, “And another thing…!”

So instead of planning some out and about activities this weekend, we’ll probably be bundling up and staying closer to home. And doing some baking.

Because it’s been a bit since I whipped up a sweet treat.

And these brownie-blondie combo bars are pretty sweet.

You can make both halves of this black and gold brownie from scratch, but I make it half fresh cookie and half mix. Yes, I said mix.

I’m sure fabulous bakers out there have posted plenty of from-scratch recipes for brownies that will work well with this, but I haven’t tried one that I like nearly as well as a good mix. Ghiradelli. Betty Crocker. There are lots of good ones out there.

So I figure, why work harder for something I don’t like as well? It’s only half from scratch. Ina Garten will have to forgive me.

So if you can’t make up your mind between cookies and brownies or just want a brownie with a little more buttery scrumptious oomph to it, try these babies on for size!

Oh, and like I said, these go awesomely with homemade vanilla ice cream, which I’m including here as a bonus recipe. Enjoy!

Black + Gold Brownie Bars

Makes 24 bars. Inspired by Ghiradelli’s duo bars.

What You’ll Need:

For the brownie layer:

  • 1 box Ghirardelli brownie mix
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • or mix of your choice prepared according to directions

For the cookie layer:

  • 1 stick {or 1/2 cup} butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips

How to Make Them:

1. Preheat your oven to 325F and line a 9×13 inch baking dish with wax paper or parchment. You can also grease it, but the paper makes it a lot easier to get the bars out to cut.

2. Start with the brownie layer. Mix according to the box instructions until brownie batter is smooth. Pour into the wax paper and spread with a spatula until it evenly covers the bottom of the baking dish. Set aside for now.

3. If the butter is not already softened at room temperature, soften it slightly in the microwave and beat with a wooden spoon until easily workable. Beat in the sugars and then the egg. Beat in the vanilla.

4. In a small bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir into the dough by half cupful until the dough takes on the consistency you want. Mix in the chocolate chips.

5. Drop the dough by spoonful on top of the brownie batter. I recommend not trying to spread it, as it’ll just get mixed into the much softer brownie batter.

6. Bake at 325F for 40-45 minutes, or until the cookie dough is golden brown on top.

Vanilla Ice Cream

Makes about 2 quarts.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups heavy cream

How to Make It:

1. In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, vanilla, cream, and sugar until the sugar is well dissolved. Cover and refrigerate the mix for three hours or up to overnight.

2. Pour into an ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer’s directions. Processing usually takes 25-35 minutes, so if you have it ready ahead of time, you can process your ice cream while your brownies are baking and have fresh soft serve ready by the time your brownies are done!

3. When it’s done, serve immediately or put into a covered container and freeze an additional 3 hours to let it set and harden.

Note: I use this ice cream recipe as the base for just about any variation you could want. Add about 1 cup Dutch process cocoa powder for chocolate ice cream, add a stick of butter and a cup of chopped pecans for butter pecan, or the cocoa powder with a cup of chopped walnuts and a cup of miniature marshmallows for Rocky Road!

Looking forward to hearing what you guys think of these delicious bars – and if anyone else thinks the Groundhog sits on a throne of lies. Early spring, my ass.

About the ChefKristin

Career Army officer with a tendency toward workaholism. On the side, self taught cook, carpenter, and gardener, working to build a beautiful life for my family. Trying to tilt my balance in the right direction.


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