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Bars - Squares - Filled

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Recently while on Martha Stewart Sirius Radio I was asked for a couple of my favorite brownie recipes. It's like choosing my favorite kid!  But here is one of my personal tried and truest (another one would be my famed Notting Hill Brownies, or maybe it is my Creme Brulee Brownies - so hard to choose!). This recipe doubles like a dream but bakes up gorgeous - simply decadent brownies. Not muddy or cakey but the perfect balanced brownie, due in part to the use of both cocoa and melted chocolate. These also freeze well but they never make it to the freezer. A great gift brownie that also takes well to anything you want to throw in it - from nuts, to chocolate chips or hunks of toffee.
 

Easily mixed by hand in minutes, these are dark, fudgy, and kid-approved.

There's almost famous and there's Notorious and these are so called because they are simply, outrageous. Actually, I should call these Shake, Rattle and Roll Brownies for midway through baking these, you gently lift the pan and drop it down to make the top settle (and not puff). These are wildly rich but chewy (without being cloying) and have that crackle top and a texture that somewhere between cake and fudge –in other words – totally perfect. So many great brownie recipes - do we need another one? If it is like this one, absolutely! 

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These treats were inspired by the "brownie scene" in the movie "Notting Hill". The characters stage a contest to determine whose life is more miserable and whom should enjoy the last brownie left over from dinner. They passed around a mega brownie that seemed luscious. I had to replicate it. This one is big, hunky, decadent, and the one I make almost weekly. It is that good. For the holidays, as referenced on Martha Stewart Everyday Cooking on Sirius Radio, I mentioned how I also cut this tiny and roll them in confectioners' sugar for a special look. You can also roll them in cocoa for a truffle-styled brownie. Or drizzle on a few types of melted chocolate (why stop at one type?). Lately I also line the pan with parchment paper. Bake the brownies, semi freeze and then flip them out on a board to cut neatly. These are dense and chewy but not muddy or stick-in-your-throat brownies. They are wonderful with icing but they always disappear before I can even frost an inch of them.

(Part of a series on "commercial foods")
Very sweet. Not much "nutri" in these. Kids might like them, or squirrels.

A classic re-visited. A sturdy oatmeal bar crust is a caramely-crisp throe for a fresh blueberry filling.
 Some of the crust doubles as the topping, making these really easy and quick. Use raspberries if you prefer but no matter what the fruit, these old-fashioned bars are so darned good!

Oatmeal and caramel are natural partners. These make high, moist, buttery, bar/cookies that look pretty and taste ambrosial.

Date squares may seem so yesteryear but frankly, between the goodness of dried dates, the wonders of tasty/healthy oatmeal, butter and brown sugar, and a touch of orange, they are state of the art baking. Many foods are called comfort foods but this one has earned it halo. When's the last time you made date squares? It's that time again.

A Canadian treat - reportedly from Nanaimo, British Columbia but widely accepted, as are Canadian Butter Tarts, as a purely Canuck treat. It is a deep chocolate base, followed by silk custard and a satiny smooth finish of melted chocolate. No one can each just one.

The taste of a Tollhouse cookie-cum blondie in a confection-like cookie. These are meant to be served served cold and for those times you want a real hit of something fudgey, sweet and chewy..
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