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Bars - Squares - Filled

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Every one needs one cocoa-based brownie and one made with melted chocolate. These days, it is difficult to find quality unsweetened chocolate but new-kid-on-the-block chocolatiers, Scharffen Berger makes unsweetened chocolate, as well as semi-sweet and others that are the dreams of  pastry chefs like me. Here both types of chocolat get a work out in this second ‘little black dress” of brownie-dom.

Kids rarely tire of these, and adults have been known to become rather fond of this version.
These look like truffles that ballooned into brownies. Soft mounds of cocoa covered fudge brownies. Use a great cocoa inside and out. The cocoa is also a nice foil to the sweetness of the brownie. Chilled with ice-cream and hot fudge sauce, this is quite the treat.

The health food store near me has this thick, sweet, brownies that use date paste as part of the whole deal. I tried it and voila -  a beautiful brownie with pure gourmet taste and pedigree but with a health food store sensibility. These are dense, sweet and fudgy and best served cold. For goodness sakes, please don't tell your kids these have flax seed and are butter-free or otherwise healthy. The dates are mellow and sweet and being dark in color, they amplify the chocolate bouquet. These are more cake brownies than chewy but they are so dense and dark and served very well chilled, they are almost fudge.

Hola, hold up! Orange and lime juice make up the sour orange flavor of these wonderful shortbread based, luscious tropical filling treats.If you like lemon bars, you will love these.

Just a touch of spicy Pumpkin cheesecake - available in fridge-ready bars for your Thanksgiving nibbles. Extravagant but not as rich as a big cheesecake in the flavor of the holiday. A recipe from a very special collection in a feature I did for the now-defunct Coffee Magazine.

Meet You in St. Louis? This is heaven, pure and simple - at least, if you are keen on chewy/pastry coffeecakes with a sludge of butter and sugar.  This is one of my own personal favorite recipes because nothing beats buttery pastry, with a sweet chewy filling. It's a yeasty, sweet coffecake/bread base, topped with a caramelized, gooey delight. There is nothing else quite like it in unique taste, texture and appearance and it always brings raves. Apparently every pastry shop, bakery, and supermarket in St. Louis offers this cake but outside St. Louis, I would wager it is pretty unique. In a pinch, use frozen bread dough to make this recipe quick and easier.

A little bit of sugar makes these brownies extra special.
It is a nicer finish than plain brownies and not as sweet as iced ones. Heck - these are just super anyway!

Big and dense, golden, and buttery, this is the vanilla and brown sugar version of brownies updated with fresh raspberries. I had these once in a bakery that specialized in rustic breads but occasionally they offered up some sweet sensations. And so these huge blondies sat in the window, begging you to come in and buy them. Of course I succumbed (each square was a good half pound) and had to recreate them.

Here is a Canadiana treat, a classic square from Nanaimo, British Columbia respun with peanut butter. If you want a salty sweet version, used salted peanuts and or salted peanut butter. The counterpoint of sweet crust, sweet chocolate and salty peanuts is a perfect taste byte. So, ya got your graham peanut bottom, a sweet and creamy filling, and a topping of pure chocolate, dollied up with a peanut butter fondant drizzle.

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