Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Peanut-Butter Swirl Brownies, Key Lime Bars, and Mini Black-and-White Cookies

I was asked to make some goodies for a meeting and for some reason, everytime someone asks me to bake for them, I come up with 3 things that I want to make. I usually want to make something fruity, something chocolately, and then something else.

There are quite a few cookies and bars I have been wanting to make out of Martha Stewart's Cookies Cookbook. I really love how there is a picture of every single cookie in this cookbook at the front. It helped me decide which ones to choose. Pictures are really helpful to me when it comes to picking desserts.

All of these recipes came together really fast.

I had some key lime juice in the freezer and it just happened to be enough for these bars. I made the bars in a pie plate and ended up cutting them into triangles. I didn't have any key lime slices to use as a garnish, so I used strawberries.

The peanut butter brownies were fabulous! We really didn't get to try a normal serving size of any of these desserts, but we sampled small portions of each one. I think the brownies were the favorite with the taste-testers.

The mini black-and-whites were a soft, buttermilk cookie, with a delicious, lemony glaze. They were the perfect size to pop in your mouth.

Mini Black-and-White Cookies
Makes about 4 dozen
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup low-fat buttermilk
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon light corn syrup
2 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Sift flour, baking soda, and salt into a bowl; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix butter until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add granulated sugar; mix until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Mix in egg and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Mix in flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with the buttermilk.

Roll tablespoons of dough into balls (or use a 1/2-ounce-capacity ice-cream scoop); place them 2 inches apart on lined sheets. Bake until bottoms turn golden, about 10 minutes. Transfer to wire racks; let cool.

Whisk confectioners' sugar, corn syrup, lemon juice, remaining 1/4 teaspoon vanilla, and 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl until smooth. If necessary, add more water (icing should be a bit thicker than honey). Transfer half to a small bowl. Stir in cocoa; if necessary, thin with water. Spread white icing on half of each cookie's flat side, and cocoa icing on other half; let set 30 minutes

Key Lime Bars
makes about 16
1 cup finely ground graham cracker crumbs
2 1/2 tablespoons finely ground graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 large egg yolks
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lime zest
2/3 cup fresh Key lime juice , (about 23 Key limes total)
1 cup sweetened condensed milk, (14 ounces)
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 Key limes, thinly sliced into half-moons

Make crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir together graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter in a small bowl. Press evenly onto bottom of an 8-inch square glass baking dish. Bake until dry and golden brown, about 10 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.(Leave oven on.)

Make filling: Put egg yolks and lime zest in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Mix on high speed until very thick, about 5 minutes. Reduce speed to medium. Add condensed milk in a slow, steady stream, mixing constantly. Raise speed to high; mix until thick, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low. Add lime juice; mix until just combined.Spread filling evenly over crust using a spatula. Bake, rotating dish halfway through, until filling is just set, about 10minutes.

Let cool completely on a wire rack. Refrigerate at least 4 hours (or overnight).

Cut into 2-by-2-inch bars. Put cream in the clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the clean whisk attachment. Mix on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. Garnish bars with whipped cream and a slice of lime. Ungarnished bars can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 3 days.

Peanut-Butter Swirl Brownies
To swirl brownies, work quickly so that batter and filling don't set, and place dollops of filling on the first layer of batter about one inch apart. Repeat with next layer of batter and remaining filling. Then, run a butter knife through the layers three times lengthwise and three times crosswise, being sure knife reaches the bottom of the pan. Store brownies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days.
Makes 9 large or 16 small squares.
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, plus more for pan
2 ounces good-quality unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
4 ounces good-quality semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a buttered 8-inch square baking pan with foil or parchment paper, allowing 2 inches to hang over sides. Butter lining (excluding overhang); set pan aside.
Make batter: Put butter and chocolates in a heatproof medium bowl set over a pan of simmering water; stir until melted. Let cool slightly.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl, and set aside.
Whisk granulated sugar into chocolate mixture. Add eggs, and whisk until mixture is smooth. Stir in vanilla. Add flour mixture; stir until well incorporated.
Make filling: Stir together butter, confectioners' sugar, peanut butter, salt, and vanilla in a bowl until smooth.
Pour one-third of batter into prepared pan, and spread evenly with a rubber spatula. Place dollops of filling (about 1 tablespoon each) about 1 inch apart on top of batter. Drizzle remaining batter on top, and gently spread to fill pan. Place dollops of remaining filling on top.
With a butter knife, gently swirl filling into batter, running knife lengthwise and crosswise through layers. Bake until a cake tester inserted into brownies (avoid center and edges) comes out with a few crumbs but is not wet, about 45 minutes. Let cool slightly in pan, about 15 minutes. Lift out brownies; let cool completely on a wire rack before cutting into squares.

Coming Tomorrow- Quinoa Risotto with Hazelnuts


Look Younger said...

the peanut butter swirl brownies looks terrific!

Sophie said...

A delicious assortment of desserts. I'd personally want to try them all, but my husband would especially love the swirl brownies! I still have not tried baking with lime! :P

Pamela said...

I've made the B&W cookies before and LOVED them. The PB brownies are so pretty. Everything looks delicious!

Steph said...

Everytime I see something from you, I want to try it.. quinoa, swirled brownies.. if only I had the time! I still remember that chocolate bundt cake you made a long time ago that I still didn't get a chance to try yet.

Katherine Aucoin said...

I don't blame you, I couldn't choose one I want them all. The swirl brownies really have me though!

The Bentley Family said...

These all look heavenly! Thank you so much for your advice on the carrot cookies. I really appreciate you taking the time to respond. I'm going to give your recipe a try this weekend. I am still feeling discouraged after trying Martha's recipe. I posted that recipe today and have labeled them as the cookies that HATE me! I JUST LOVE your blog!

Sara said...

I'm a bit overwhelmed by the deliciousness of this post! :) Everything looks great. The PB swirl brownies would be my fave.

Karen said...

All three desserts look yummy! It's hard to choose a recipe when you need to make something, isn't it... like you, I want to make LOTS of stuff!

Cathy said...

*Sigh* Where do I begin? It all looks so incredible. The beneficiaries of your baking prowess are a lucky, lucky bunch, Mary Ann!

Meghan said...

Each of these desserts look fabulous! My hubby has been asking for a key lime dessert lately! That's really cool how the Martha Stewart book has a picture of each cookie - I honestly wish all cookbooks had a picture of each recipe. It really helps me decide whether I will like it or not.

Eliana said...

I love your philosophy on figuring out what to make and someone asks you to bring something. I may have to start adopting that as well.

Carrian said...

Mary Ann, those key lime bard looks so delicious! I love key lime anything!!

Maria said...

I love it when I get asked to bake, I can never decide on just one recipe either. They all look great!

Jeena said...

I always love seeing your desserts and cakes! I was drooling reading this post. :-)

The Blonde Duck said...

The cookie stealing bunny may be coming for those pb brownies...

Kerstin said...

You definitely spoiled them with 3 different desserts :) Love the swirled brownies!

TeaLady said...

Wow!!! So much baking When do you find the time. And it all looks so good.

Not Another Omnivore said...

I was going to comment on your most recent post, but the amazing bounty of delicious treats on this one caught my eye instead!


The Food Librarian said...

You amaze me with all your baking, cooking and blogging! You are awesome. I love those peanut butter brownies too!!! Everything looks delicoius.