Tuesday, May 12, 2015


Our daughters get older, and there is an increase in the amount of chicken scratch covering the calendar that hangs on our refrigerator.  By color-coding this scrawl for each family member, my husband and I are able to successfully manage the chaos (though some days it doesn't feel like we're as efficient as we'd like to be).  I imagine this time of year is particularly crazy for most families as we gear up for summer break and the associated change in family rhythm and routine.  In previous posts, I shared some gifts that we make to give our daughters' teachers for Christmas and at the end of the school year.  One of the gifts is homemade bread with a cute tag made by the student.  My daughters and I love to bake.  I've let them help me in the kitchen since they were really young.  Most times we bake from scratch, but there are other times when we choose to use prepackaged ingredients.  Using measuring cups and spoons has been a great way for the girls to practice and improve their math skills without even knowing it.
Several years ago, I was introduced to the Brookie, an irresistable combination of brownies and chocolate chip cookies.  With just one bite, I was instantly hooked.  And then I learned how to make them... Brookies quickly became a family favorite!  Our older daughter's name is Brooke, so she thinks it's fun to take Brookies to her classmates for her birthday, and she gives Brookies as gifts during the holidays.

Every time we make Brookies, people ask me for the recipe.  As I mentioned earlier in this post, we usually bake from scratch, but when we make Brookies, it is much easier and quicker to use prepackaged ingredients.  So instead of a recipe, I have rather a list of instructions.  After searching online for a link of instructions to share in this post, I discovered there isn't a website out there that describes how to make Brookies like we do.  We have made this sweet treat many times, and my girls (ages 9 and 8) can now make it all on their own.  Of course, I'm always there to supervise the use of the hand mixer and oven.  After a great deal of trial and error, here are some tips for baking the perfect Brookies:
  • Purchase a box of Betty Crocker Triple Chunk Brownie mix and a tube of Pillsbury refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough.  By choosing a different variety of cookie dough (peanut butter or sugar cookie, for example) and adding various toppings (chocolate chips, crushed peppermint candy, etc), the options are endless.  That being said, these two products have yielded the best results for us.
  • Spray an 8"x8" glass pan with cooking spray. (While we prefer to use a glass pan, please note that any oven-safe pan can be used).
  • Preheat the oven as directed on the box of brownie mix.  If using the mix mentioned above, and if using a glass pan, the oven should be set to 325 degrees.
  • Set the unopened tube of cookie dough on the kitchen counter to soften.
  • Prepare the brownie mix as directed.  For this specific brownie mix, combine 1/4 cup of water, 1/3 cup of vegetable oil, and 1 egg in a medium bowl.  
  • Stir until well blended.
  • Pour batter into the prepared baking dish.
  • Bake as listed on box.  If using the mix mentioned above, the recommended time is 35-38 minutes.  We usually leave the brownies in the oven for 38 minutes.  A shorter baking time has yielded a really gooey brownie layer in the finished product. Keep an eye on them so they do not bake too long.  
  •  Remove brownies from oven and increase the oven temperature to 350 degrees (as directed on the tube of cookie dough).
  • Using a spatula, spread the softened cookie dough over the warm brownies.  
  • Bake for 10-11 minutes or until the edges are lightly brown.  Remember the cookie dough will continue to bake as it's cooling.  The edges shouldn't be too dark when removed from the oven, but the middle of the cookie dough layer shouldn't be raw either.
  • Let cool completely before cutting.  
  • When my daughter is taking the Brookies to her classmates at school, I cut the 8x8 pan into 25 pieces.  If we're serving Brookies for dessert or giving them as gifts, I may cut them into 16 larger pieces.  
  • I set each Brookie on a flattened cupcake liner.  Mini cupcake liners are a good size when the pan has been cut into 25 pieces.  Most kids can devour it in three or four bites.  It's the perfect little treat to satisfy a craving!  But be warned...most people can't eat just one!

Place a couple Brookies in a snack-sized zippie bag or slide them into a treat bag and tie with a pretty ribbon.  In my experience, the Brookie is out of the wrapper and gone before the packaging is even noticed.  

For Girl Scout troop leaders, help your girls satisfy a step for the Brownie Snacks badge or the Juniors Simple Meals badge by baking Brookies with them.  While the Brookies are in the oven, the girls can work on other badge steps.  Have fun!  Thank you for reading!

UPDATE (October 2015):  
I volunteered to make a treat for my daughter's Halloween party at school.  She asked for Brookies with a twist.  We decided to drizzle white chocolate over the top once they had baked and completely cooled.  We wanted to cut this batch into a dozen pieces, so we gently pressed a mellowcream pumpkin in the center of each piece.  After letting the white chocolate set briefly, we cut the pieces and placed them in orange cupcake liners.  NOTE:  The traditional Brookie as prepared with the ingredients described above is nut-free, but individuals with certain food allergies may wish to avoid this Halloween treat.  I used a bar of Ghiradelli white chocolate for the drizzle.  The package stated the bar may contain tree nuts, and the Brach's pumpkins were manufactured in a facility where milk, eggs, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, and soy are used in the production of other products.  

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