S’more Brownie Bites

Happy National S’mores Day! Will you be enjoying the campfire treat today? Truth be told, I had my first actual s’more last year and I must admit it was pretty good. I am not a big marshmallow fan so I think that’s why I never tried one, also, I’ve never been camping. Although you don’t have to go camping to have a s’more. Last year friends and I made them for dessert after a BBQ by roasting the marshmallows over sterno gel chafing fuel. Believe it or not, it actually worked! For today’s s’more treat I made S’more Brownie Bites.

I started by making the brownie batter. I melted a stick of butter in a small saucepan and then added in mini chocolate chips and whisked it until it was melted and smooth. I transferred this a medium bowl and stirred in sugar, eggs and vanilla extract. Using a hand mixer I then beat in all-purpose flour. And finally I stirred in mini chocolate chips. Now, the recipe called for quinoa flour along with all-purpose flour. I decided to omit the quinoa flour and just used all-purpose flour. I honestly didn’t want to spend money on quinoa flour which I probably wouldn’t use again and it didn’t seem necessary to the outcome of the recipe. I even researched making my own quinoa flour, but, it just didn’t seem worth the time and effort. Sorry if I sound so negative, but, I’ve finally learned that tweaking a recipe to the ingredients you have on hand is obviously much easier but also builds one’s confidence in the kitchen and you truly learn what works and doesn’t work. Back in the day, I would avoid a recipe if it included an ingredient not readily available or a bit on the pricier side, but, now I look for ways to make the recipe work with what I have on hand.

Once the batter was ready, using a small cookie scoop, I filled a mini cupcake pan, which I lined with liners, with the batter. Next, I pressed three mini marshmallows into each of the brownie bites and then topped them with crushed graham crackers. Here’s my simple trick for crushing graham crackers… Break them up a little and add them to a quart-size Ziploc bag. Seal the bag, removing the air, and then using a rolling pin, roll the graham crackers to crush them to your desired consistency. I opted to leave the graham crackers with little pieces to give the tops of the brownie bites a little texture to them.

After baking in a 350 F preheated oven for about 12 minutes they were ready! One downfall of baking marshmallows is that they melt considerably, so removing the brownie bites from the pan wasn’t as easy as just removing basic cupcakes. I let them cool for a few minutes before removing them so that could have been part of the problem, but, I also didn’t want to remove them right out of the oven since I wanted the brownies to settle a little before removing them. Removing them too soon could have resulted in smooshed brownie bites. Regardless, they still tasted yummy! The extra mini chocolate chips in the batter really added another level chocolate goodness to the brownie part and the marshmallows were perfectly melted into the brownies.

 

S’more Brownie Bites

  • Servings: 24 Brownie Bites
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Ingredients:

3-4 large graham crackers, finely crushed

1 stick unsalted butter

1 ¼ cups mini chocolate chips

½ cup sugar

2 large eggs, at room temperature

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 cup all-purpose flour*

Mini Marshmallows

*Original recipe called ½ cup all-purpose flour & ½ cup quinoa flour

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a mini cupcake pan with papers liners and set aside.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Remove from the heat and add in ¾ cup of the mini chocolate chips. Whisk until the chocolate chips have melted and the mixture is smooth. Transfer to a medium bowl and whisk in the sugar, eggs and vanilla. Using a handheld mixer, gradually beat in the flour until the mixture is smooth and thick. Finally, whisk in the remaining ½ cup of mini chocolate chips.

Using a small cookie scoop, fill each paper line with the batter. Press 3 mini marshmallows into the center of the batter and then sprinkle with graham cracker crumbs. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes, the marshmallows will be puffed and lightly golden. Let cool for 20 minutes and enjoy!

Recipe From Food Network

Mexican Brownies

Happy Cinco De Mayo! Do your plans include guacamole or a margarita today? Or maybe a sweet dessert? These Mexican Brownies are the perfect sweet treat for today. Unlike traditional brownies, these flavor in these brownies are enhanced by the addition of cinnamon and chili powder in the batter. Don’t worry, they aren’t spicy or anything. It actually offers a nice balance to the chocolate and they are super moist and fudgy.

 

If you are looking for some other desserts for today check out some of my past Cinco De Mayo treats.

Sopapilla Cheesecake and Mexican Wedding Cookies

Tres Leches Cupcakes and Churros

Coconut & Lime Cupcakes

Tres Leches Cake

Horchata Treats

 

Mexican Brownies

Ingredients:

2 sticks unsalted butter

2 cups granulated sugar

4 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon chili powder or cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on the long edges of the pan. Press the paper into the corners of the pan and spray with cooking spray or lightly grease with butter.

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat, do not boil. Remove from the heat and let cool for a few minutes.  Add the sugar, eggs and vanilla extract and stir until well combined.

Add the remaining ingredients and continue mixing until smooth. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a tester inserted in the middle comes out fudgy. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool. Once cooled, use the parchment paper to lift out the brownies and then slice.

Recipe from Food Network

Pumpkin Chocolate Brownies

I came across this brownie recipe in a recent issue of People magazine. At first it sounded great, but, then I started to make them and I began to question them due to the vast amount of ingredients.

In one bowl I sifted together flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt. In another bowl I combined 9 eggs, 2 1/2 cups of pumpkin puree and 4 1/3 cups of sugar. And finally, in another bowl I melted 1 2/3 cups of unsalted butter. YIKES! I’ve made brownies from scratch before and usually they require about 4 eggs or so and definitely not that much sugar. Oh, and if you didn’t know 1 2/3 cups of butter is roughly 27 tablespoons! So, I had my doubts, but I plowed ahead.

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To combine these three, I continued to beat the pumpkin mixture on low while slowly adding in the melted butter and then gradually added in the flour until the mixture was completely blended.

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And finally I stirred in 1 1/2 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips.

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Next, I spread the batter into a greased 18 x 12 – inch rimmed baking sheet.

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And baked it for about 45 minutes, until a cake tester came out clean in the center.

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And after letting them cool completely I went to slice them and problems quickly arose. While they did appear to be completely cooked for some reason when I went to slice them they seemed to be undercooked in the middle. Granted, if I had left them in the oven longer the edges would have really burned. So while it appeared that I would have been able to slice these into 20 healthy-sized brownies I really only ended up with 12. While they did taste good the verdict is out as to whether or not I will make them again. I actually brought them to a friend’s house and we jokingly coined them “The $50 Brownies” because of the amount of ingredients… LOL!

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Pumpkin Chocolate Brownies

Ingredients:

2 1/4 cups flour

1 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ginger

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon salt

9 large eggs

2 1/2 cups pumpkin puree

4 1/3 cups sugar

1 2/3 cups unsalted butter, melted

1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease an 18 x 12 inch rimmed baking sheet.

In a medium bowl sift together the flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together the eggs and the pumpkin puree on medium speed until well combined. Add the sugar and continue beating until all ingredients are well combined.

With the mixer running, slowly add the melted butter to the pumpkin mixture. Gradually add in the flour mixture until fully incorporated, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Spread the batter into the prepared baking sheet and bake for about 45 minutes, until a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool completely and then slice.

Recipe from Buddy Valastro People Magazine

 

S’mores Brownies

I hope you are all having a wonderful summer thus far! Today I have a treat for you that is perfect for these summer days, a spin on a favorite campfire treat… S’mores Brownies.

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I began by spraying a 9 x 13 inch pan with cooking spray and lining it with graham crackers.

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Next, I made my brownie batter and poured it right over the graham crackers…

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And then baked it in a pre-heated 325 F oven for 40 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the middle came out almost clean.

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I then switched my oven to the broiler setting and topped the brownie with mini marshmallows, chocolate chips and crushed graham crackers and placed it back in the oven for just about a minute until the marshmallows began to brown.

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I let the brownie cool on a wire rack and then transferred it to a cutting board to slice it. The key is to make sure the brownies have completely cooled before slicing into them, if you slice them too soon you will have a marshmallow mess as they will still be warm and gooey and the brownies will fall apart as they won’t have had enough time to set. I speak from experience on the latter.

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These brownies were perfect! The texture was spot-on… Not cakelike or too dense. And while you may think that the addition of the marshmallows and chocolate chips on top would make them too sweet, the opposite is true, it enhanced the flavor of the chocolate in the brownies. And let’s not forget the graham crackers on the bottom, they incorporated nicely into the brownie and while you may think they would get crispier when baked they actually provided a soft base to the brownies, sort of like a built-in plate. Overall, all of these flavors and textures worked together perfectly; just like your regular S’mores does.

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S’mores Brownies

Makes 12 Brownies

 Ingredients:

10 graham crackers

3 cups mini marshmallows

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, plus an additional 1/2 cup for the topping

1 stick unsalted butter

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup light brown sugar

4 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325 F. Spray a 9 x 13 inch pan with cooking spray and line it with graham crackers.

In a medium saucepan melt 2 cups of the chocolate chips with the stick of butter over low heat, stirring frequently.

Once the chocolate chips and butter have melted remove from the heat and whisk in the granulate sugar and light brown sugar, cool slightly.

Whisk in the eggs, one at a time and then the vanilla extract.

Stir in the flour and salt and pour the batter over the graham crackers.

Bake for 40 – 45 minutes, until a tester inserted in the middle come out almost clean.

Remove the pan from the oven and set the oven to the broiler setting. Top the brownie with the mini marshmallows, and the remaining chocolate chips and graham crackers – crush the graham crackers. Place the pan back in the oven for 30 – 60 seconds, until the marshmallows begin to brown. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cooled transfer the brownie to a cutting board and slice into 12 pieces.

Cheesecake Brownies

Brownies… They are probably the one thing I don’t bake too much of. I’m not really sure why that is since I do like them, especially when they have walnuts in them. Yum! I tend to like that crunchy texture in my deserts… walnuts in brownies or loaf cakes, sprinkles on cupcakes and ice cream and so forth. As I am thinking about it I think the major turn-off I have with brownies is having to slice them once they are cooled. They always tend to fall apart on me and I never end up with the amount the recipe says I’ll have; 12 somehow becomes 8 or 9. But, with this recipe not only did I end up with some delicious brownies, but, I also was able to cut them into 16 equal brownies as the recipe called for.

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In the bowl of my stand mixer I combined a box of Chocolate Fudge cake mix, oil, water and an egg and using the stir setting I mixed the ingredients until they were smooth. I then added in a 1/2 cup of chocolate chips and continued mixing until they were well incorporated.

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I then spread the mixture into a 13 x 9 inch pan that I sprayed with baking spray.

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Using a hand mixer – these are the times that I wish I had a second bowl for my stand mixer – I combined cream cheese, sugar, vanilla extract and an egg and beat the ingredients until they were smooth.

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After spreading the cream cheese mixture over the chocolate mixture I sprinkled chocolate chips over it.

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Once it was done baking – 35 minutes in a 350 F preheated oven – I let the brownies cool completely in the pan over a wire a rack.

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After some careful maneuvering – flipping and sliding – I placed the brownies on a large cutting board so I could cut them.

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And then it was time to enjoy them! Overall this recipe is a keeper. While the brownies are made using a cake mix they definitely tasted like they were made from scratch – i.e. flour, cocoa powder, etc. And the chocolate chips added to the brownie batter offer a nice texture and extra dose of chocolate in each bite. These brownies actually reminded me of the Mini Chocolate-Chip Cheesecakes I posted about a few years ago and continues to be a treat I make over and over again as it is a hit amongst many of my friends. And I am sure these brownies will become something I make quite a few more times.

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Cheesecake Brownies

Yield: 16 servings

Ingredients:

1 box Chocolate Fudge Cake Mix (Betty Crocker SuperMoist)

3/4 cup vegetable oil

2 tablespoons water

2 eggs

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1 8oz. package cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Prep a 13 x 9-inch pan by spraying the bottom with baking spray.

2. In a medium bowl, stir the cake mix, oil, water and 1 of the eggs until smooth. Stir in 1/2 cup of the chocolate chips. Spread batter into prepared pan.

3. In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla extract and remaining 1 egg with an electric mixer until smooth. Spread the mixture over the batter and sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup chocolate chips.

4. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in brownie 1 inch from the side of the pan comes out almost clean. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack, about 1 hour 30 minutes. Cut into 4 rows by 4 rows.

Pumpkin-Brownie Swirl Pie

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend filled with love and laughter amongst family and friends and of course some delicious food! My Thanksgiving was good and while there was plenty of scrumptious food to be had there was also plenty of yummy desserts… Including this Pumpkin-Brownie Swirl Pie.

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To begin, I made the brownie batter portion of the pie by melting a stick of unsalted butter and a 12-ounce bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips along with light brown sugar over medium heat in a saucepan. Once the butter and chocolate were melted I removed the saucepan from the heat and whisked in two eggs and vanilla extract. In a medium bowl I whisked together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt and then added this flour mixture to the chocolate mixture and whisked it until the both were combined and smooth.

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Following that I transferred the brownie batter into a measuring cup to ensure that I would pour the right amount – a third of the batter – into the prepared pie plate.

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While the brownie was baking in the oven I made the pumpkin filling by whisking together pumpkin puree, heavy cream, an egg, granulated sugar, flour, pumpkin pie spice and salt in a medium bowl until it was smooth.

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By the time I was done with the pumpkin filling the brownie was ready to come out of the oven.

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I immediately poured the pumpkin filling over the brownie. I stirred a tablespoon of water to the remaining brownie batter and then spooned the batter onto the pumpkin filling. Using the back of the spoon I then pulled the batter into the filling.

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After baking for about 40 minutes in a 350 F preheated oven the Pumpkin-Brownie Swirl Pie was ready to come out. Unfortunately it did end up cracking a bit but luckily it didn’t affect the flavor one bit!

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Pumpkin and chocolate is definitely a winning combination! The sweetness of the brownie is such a nice complement to the mellow taste of pumpkin spiced with pumpkin pie spice (a combination of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg & allspice.) I took half of this pie to a friend’s house for dessert and one of the guests commented that I needed to go home and get the other half. You can’t beat a complement like that!

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Pumpkin-Brownie Swirl Pie

Ingredients:

For the Brownie Filling:

1 stick unsalted butter, plus more for the pie plate

1 12-ounce bag semi-sweet chocolate chips

2/3 cup packed light brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

For the Pumpkin Filling:

1 cup pure pumpkin puree

1 cup heavy cream

1 large egg

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter the bottom and side of a 9 1/2 – inch deep-dish pie plate. Make the brownie filling; Heat the butter, chocolate chips and brown sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until the butter and chocolate are melted. Remove from the heat. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla, whisking until smooth. Whisk in the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt until combined.

2. Pour about one-third of the brownie batter into the prepared pie plate; set aside the remaining batter. Bake until just starting to set and the top is shiny, about 20 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, make the pumpkin filling: Combine the pumpkin puree, heavy cream, egg, granulated sugar, flour, pumpkin pie spice and salt in a medium bowl; whisk until smooth.

4. Pour the pumpkin filling over the warm brownie layer. Stir 1 tablespoon water into the remaining brownie batter, then spoon the batter (in about 6 scoops) onto the pumpkin filling. Use the back of the spoon to pull the brownie batter into the pumpkin filling and create a swirled pattern. Bake until the pie is set, 40 to 45 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool completely.

 

A Slow Cooker Hit And Half Miss

The cold days of winter call for warm and hearty soups (or stews) to help keep you feeling warm and toasty to beat the winter chill. In a recent issue of Rachael Ray Magazine I came across one such soup that had the added bonus of being made in a slow cooker. A kitchen item I do enjoy using but don’t use often enough.

This stew – a Sausage, Bean & Spinach Stew  – was a cinch to make and was ready in about four hours. I began by adding white beans, chopped onions, carrots & celery, garlic, bay leaves and chicken broth to my slow cooker and cooking it on high heat for three and a half hours. I then added sausage meatballs and let them cook in the soup for about twenty-five minutes. Finally, I added in the spinach for the final ten minutes.

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Final verdict… The stew was delicious. I’ll definitely be it making again. But, I think next time I’ll cook the meatballs a little before adding them to the soup.

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Since I had my slow cooker out from obscurity I figured I would finally try making a dessert in it – a Triple Chocolate Brownie recipe I came across from Martha Stewart.

To begin I whisked together my dry ingredients: flour, unsweetened cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.

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To get started on my wet ingredients I melted butter and bittersweet chocolate together.

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After giving it a few good stirs I added in sugar and eggs.

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I then folded it into the dry mixture along with walnuts and semi-sweet chocolate chips.

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I then poured it into my slow cooker, which I sprayed with cooking spray and lined the bottom of with parchment paper.

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I cooked it on low for four hours, the final half hour uncovered.

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After letting it cool in the insert for two hours I flipped out the brownies to sadly discover that the edges were quite burnt and definitely not edible.

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All was not lost though… After some clever cutting I was left with six, albeit irregularly shaped, brownies that were quite tasty and definitely not lacking in chocolate flavor.

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Baking in a slow cooker… definitely not my first choice for delicious desserts, but, I wouldn’t rule out trying it again, just not brownies though!

Sausage, Bean & Spinach Stew

Ingredients

1 pound dried large white beans, such as great northern, rinsed and picked through

8 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1 onion, peeled and finely chopped

2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped

2 ribs celery, finely chopped

6 cloves garlic, finely chopped

8 sprigs fresh thyme*

1 bay leaf**

Parmesan rind (optional)*

1 pound sweet or spicy Italian sausage, casings removed, shaped into 1/2-inch meatballs

1 bunch spinach, trimmed

Juice of 1/2 lemon*

Crusty bread, for serving

Directions

In a large slow cooker, stir together the beans, chicken broth, onion, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme, bay leaf and Parmesan rind, if using. Cover and cook on high heat until the beans are nearly tender, about 3 1/2 hours.

Place the sausage meatballs on top of the beans. Cover; cook until the meatballs are no longer pink in the center, about 25 minutes.

Discard the thyme sprigs, bay leaf and Parmesan rind. Stir in the spinach, then cover and let stand until the spinach wilts, 10 minutes.

Stir in the lemon juice; season. Serve with crusty bread.

*I omitted these ingredients when I made my soup

**I added in two bay leaves as opposed to just one

Slow-Cooker Triple Chocolate Brownies

Ingredients

Nonstick cooking spray

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1 cup sugar

3 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup walnut halves, coarsely chopped

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (6 ounces)

Directions

Lightly coat a 5-quart slow-cooker insert with cooking spray. Line bottom with parchment paper and lightly coat with spray. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt.

Place butter and chocolate in a medium microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 30-second increments, stirring after each, until chocolate is melted. Add sugar; stir to combine. Stir in eggs. Add flour mixture, walnuts, and chocolate chips and stir just until moistened (do not overmix). Transfer to slow cooker and smooth top.

Cover and cook on low, 3 1/2 hours. Uncover and cook 30 minutes. Remove insert from slow cooker and run a knife around edge to loosen brownies. Let cool completely in insert on a wire rack, about 2 hours. Turn out onto a work surface and cut into 14 brownies.