Chocolate-Covered Pretzel Peanut Butter Brownies


Yes, you read that title correctly.

Chocolate-covered pretzels.

On top of fluffy peanut butter frosting.

With a homemade brownie base.

It is so good!!!

Let me say up front, plan to share this dessert with friends because this is in no way, shape, or form even remotely healthy. This may actually be the most decadent dessert I’ve ever made! Sometimes, though, you need to have a real dessert up your sleeves for special occasions. This one is a show-stopper, and if you are a fan of peanut butter and chocolate/salty and sweet, you will absolutely love these!


The brownie base can be made according to the recipe below, or if you are short on time you can use a boxed brownie mix. There are several steps to making these decadent bars, so you may not want to make these if you are in a last-minute rush. Did I mention they are worth every second?

The best part of this dessert, in my opinion, is the combination of textures. The brownie is thick and chewy, the peanut butter frosting is light and fluffy, and the chocolate-covered pretzels are super crunchy. There’s so much greatness going on that I can’t imagine anyone not loving these!


Chocolate-Covered Pretzel Peanut Butter Brownies


For the brownie base (use this recipe or use a boxed mix):

  • 1 stick of butter
  • 8 oz semi-sweet baker’s chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt

For the Chocolate Covered Pretzels:

  • 25 mini pretzels
  • 2 oz semi-sweet baker’s chocolate, coarsely chopped

For the Peanut Butter Frosting:

  • 1 stick butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1-2 cups powdered sugar

1). Let’s make the brownie base first. Preheat the oven to 350F, and spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray.

2). In a medium sauce pan, melt the butter and chocolate over medium heat. Stir constantly until melted together, about 6 minutes. Turn off the heat and let it cool for about 15 minutes.

3). After butter/chocolate has cooled, stir in the sugar and begin whisking in 1 egg at a time. Add the vanilla extract and whisk. Slowly fold in the flour and salt and mix until well combined. Pour into prepared 9×13 pan and bake for 27-30 minutes, or until a toothpick barely comes out clean.

4). Next, make the chocolate-covered pretzels. Place the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 30 seconds. Mix, then continue to microwave the chocolate in 10 second intervals, stirring the chocolate each time, until the chocolate has melted. Toss the melted chocolate with the pretzels and set aside to harden, or pop in the fridge to cool just a few minutes. Once cooled, chop the pretzels roughly.

5). For the peanut butter frosting, use a stand mixer or electric mixer to beat the butter and peanut butter together until combined. Add the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time until the frosting is very thick. I used 1.5 cups.

6). After the brownies have cooled about 1 hour, smooth the peanut butter frosting in an even layer on top of the brownie base. Then, sprinkle the chopped pretzels on top and gently press them into the frosting. Place the dessert in the fridge to set the frosting for 30 minutes to an hour. Cut into (small) pieces, serve, and enjoy!

Serving: about 28, depending on size preference.

Nutritional information per serving: Calories: 281 Carbs: 32g Fat: 17g Protein: 5g Sugar: 22g Fiber: 2g

WW PointsPlus: 8 Old points: 7

Recipe originally from:


Banana Chocolate Fudge Muffins

These may be some of the best muffins ever! Truthfully, these “muffins” may as well be cupcakes without frosting because they’re so sweet. No oil or butter is used, but there is quite a bit of sugar. They taste so rich and decadent that you would never imagine each one clocks in under 175 calories!


The banana flavor is almost undetectable here. Muffins are the only way I can get my husband to eat bananas, so I always try to find muffin recipes that call for them. It helps that I always have plenty in the freezer waiting to be used!


One look at these muffins and you know it has to be chocolate.  The cocoa powder addition elicits the dark brown, almost black, color of the batter, and a sprinkling of chocolate chips ensures that each bite is sweet and chocolate-y.


I could not believe how light and fluffy the texture was, considering I used half whole wheat flour and half all-purpose flour. I’d like to test it out with all whole wheat flour but I’m afraid it may weigh down the final product too much. Next time I will at least do 3/4 whole wheat and 1/4 all-purpose!

I will definitely be making these again!

Banana Chocolate Fudge Muffins


  • 3 very ripe large bananas
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup apple sauce
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

1). Preheat the oven to 375F. Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners. In a large bowl, mash the bananas with a fork until there are no lumps. Add the sugar, egg, and applesauce and mix well.

2). Add the flours, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda and baking powder to the wet ingredients. Fold but do not overmix! Evenly divide batter between 15 muffin cups. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow muffins to cool for 3 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Servings: 15

Nutritional information per Serving: Calories: 173 Fat: 5g Carbs: 33g Protein: 3g Sugar: 21g Fiber: 2g

WW P+: 5 Old points: 3

Recipe adapted from: 


Perfectly Chocolate Cake with Nutella Buttercream Frosting

Homemade chocolate cake…that tastes like it’s from a box,but it is free of MSG and preservatives. Just a few simple ingredients blended together to create the moistest, fluffiest chocolate cake you’ll ever make. I promise!


Having said that, make no mistake about it: this is not health food. This is a rich, indulgent dessert that should be made sparingly to preserve it’s appeal. And maybe your waistline. But I digress…


I have experimented with several chocolate cake recipes in the past, all of which left me slightly disappointed because they came out too dense or too dry.


And then, I stumbled upon this recipe! I will never go searching for another chocolate cake recipe again. It really takes only slightly more time to make than using a boxed mix, and the taste is even better. The almost black color of the batter alerts you to the intense chocolate flavor awaiting you once it bakes.


One important note to make here: the batter will be super dark, and very runny when you pour it into your baking tins. You may think you have done something wrong, but I assure you, it will come out perfectly. Because it is so liquid-y, do NOT try to use a cake pan with a removable bottom. You know, the kind with the latch on the side so it can come apart. Use a plain, normal, run-of-the-mill cake pan.

Unless you want chocolate batter dripping all over your kitchen as you frantically try to salvage the cake.

No? I didn’t think so. That may or may not have happened to me the first time I made this cake, so please learn from my errors and save yourself some cleaning time!

Scroll down for an exquisite, unique frosting recipe: Nutella Buttercream!!


Perfectly Chocolate Cake

(recipe adapted from Hershey’s)


  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup reduced fat buttermilk (or milk + 1Tbsp lemon juice after it sits for 3-5 minutes)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.

2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.

3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans, and flip over onto wire racks. Cool completely. 10 to 12 servings.

ONE-PAN CAKE: Grease and flour 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Heat oven to 350° F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely. Frost.

THREE LAYER CAKE: Grease and flour three 8-inch round baking pans. Heat oven to 350°F. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake 30 to 35 minutes. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost.

BUNDT CAKE: Grease and flour 12-cup Bundt pan. Heat oven to 350°F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 50 to 55 minutes. Cool 15 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely. Frost.

CUPCAKES: Line muffin cups (2-1/2 inches in diameter) with paper bake cups. Heat oven to 350°F. Fill cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake 22 to 25 minutes. Cool completely. Frost. About 30 cupcakes.

Servings: 18. Nutritional Information: Calories: 140 Fat: 6g Carbs: 21g Protein: 1g Sugars: 16g


Now for the Nutella frosting…

It really deserves an entire blog post all to itself, but I love how well it compliments the chocolate cake above, so I will post it here. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so I might spare the details of how fluffy, melt-in-your-mouth delicious, and Nutella-y this frosting is and just hope you will make it one day. It’s totally worth the extra miles you may have to run the next day!

IMG_20130325_202558 (1)

Nutella Buttercream Frosting


  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2/3 cup Nutella or other hazelnut spread
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tablespoons heaving whipping cream

1) In the bottom of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together on low until well combined. Add the Nutella and increase speed to medium. Beat for two minutes.

2) Add the vanilla extract and salt, beating for an additional 30 seconds.

3) Last, add the whipping cream and continue to beat for about one minute, or until frosting lightens slightly in both color and texture.

*This made more than enough to frost an entire cake, however that may be because I do not pile on frosting as much as most people!*

Nutritional Information per Serving: Calories: 279 Fat: 21g Carbs: 21g Protein: 2g Sugar: 20g

Recipe adapted from: 

The BEST Low-Fat Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever


I’ve mentioned on the blog before how much I love chocolate chip cookies. They are, quite possibly, my most favorite dessert. I am very particular about their texture and flavor. They are also an indulgence I try to stay away from most days!


Luckily, if you have a sweet tooth and love chocolate chip cookies like me, I have the perfect waist-friendly recipe for you! I was SO skeptical when I first tried this recipe. I figured these cookies would be hard as bricks or taste as dull as paper, but as it turns out, they were none of those things. Instead, they are fluffy, chewy, sweet, and chocolate-y. For low-fat and low calorie, these are amazing. The first time I made these for my husband I didn’t tell him they were “healthy” and he raved about how good they were! So, if you have friends and family that might be skeptical about a healthy cookie, test these out!


Just to let you know, half of the flour used in this recipe is whole wheat, and there are only 2 tablespoons of butter in the entire batch! The original recipe calls for whole wheat pastry flour, but I never have that on hand, so I use either white whole wheat or regular whole wheat. The regular whole wheat is drier and does change the texture of the cookie ever so slightly, so you may have to add a few more drops of water to smooth out the batter. If all you have is all-purpose flour, I’m sure that would work too, but you won’t get all the nutritional benefits of whole wheat.


The Best Low-Fat Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever


  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 tbsp apple sauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or white whole wheat flour)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

1). Preheat oven to 350F.

2). In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt.

3). Mix to blend. In another bowl, combine the sugars, butter, egg white, apple sauce, and vanilla until light and fluffy.

4). Whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in two additions until the batter is very well blended. *If the batter looks crumbly and not shiny/smooth, add a drop of water at a time until it smooths out. Fold in chocolate chips.

5). Drop by level spoonfuls on cookie sheets (spray them if your pans require it-mine do not!). Bake 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven. Allow to rest 5 minutes before removing cookies from pan onto wire racks.

Serving size: 2 cookies. Servings: 12. Nutritional information for TWO cookies (because you probably won’t stop at one!): Calories: 170.7 Fat: 5g Protein: 1.4 g Carbs: 34.5g Fiber: 1.4g Sugar: 24.4 g Sodium: 113.1 mg

Recipe adapted from

Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins


Oh yes, you read that title correctly.

Peanut butter.


AND chocolate chips.

All in one delicious muffin!

Can I tell you what is absolutely delightful about these muffins? Not only is there peanut butter incorporated into the batter, but there is an additional tiny dollop in the middle of each and every muffin. It is a savory little surprise you find as you bite into these fluffy muffins and just really amplifies the peanut butter flavor.


The peanut butter also increases the staying power of these muffins, making them a great option for a mid-afternoon/morning snack or even breakfast! Do you have a favorite brand of peanut butter? My husband and I both love Smart Balance for the short ingredient list (no oils or sugar!) and flavor. Since that’s what we have in the pantry, that’s what I used. Choose your favorite and go for it!


The chocolate chips are totally optional. I made these before without them and they still turned out fantastic. My husband made a special request to add them in so I did, but please feel free to leave them out. (Chocolate does make everything better, though…) 🙂


Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins


  • 3 ripe medium bananas
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (or white whole wheat!)
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 10 Tbsp peanut butter (I used Smart Balance), divided into 8 Tbsp for batter and 2 Tbsp for filling.
  • 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (completely optional!)

1). Preheat oven to 325F. Line muffin pan with muffin liners.

2). Mash bananas in a bowl. Set aside.

3). In another bowl, cream butter and sugar together until smooth with an electric mixer. Add egg whites, apple sauce, vanilla extract, and 8 Tbsp of peanut butter. Beat together until thick, scraping down the bowl occasionally.

4). Add flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix together and fold in chocolate chips. Don’t over mix!

5). Fill muffin pans halfway with batter. Top with a scant 1/2 tsp peanut butter, and add additional batter to fill up the muffin cup. Bake for about 22-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Servings: 17.

Nutritional Information per serving: Calories: 151 Carbs: 19g Fat: 7g Protein: 4g Sugar: 9g

Recipe adapted from: 

Thin Mint Milkshake

Girl scout cookie season is here. I usually don’t go crazy over pre-packaged cookies, but these are an exception!!


If you have a box of thin mints in your home, I desperately urge you to try this recipe! You may never be able to eat a thin mint cookie in any other way.

I mean, really. How can you go wrong with chocolate + mint + vanilla?


The mint flavor comes through perfectly against the chocolate and creaminess of the vanilla icecream. It only takes 5 minutes to prepare and you probably have ice cream in your freezer and milk in your fridge right now. There is no excuse! 🙂

You can tweak this however you would like…if you prefer cream in your milkshakes you can use that instead of milk. If you want a fainter mint flavor, you can use less cookies. My husband and I agreed, though, that the proportions below created the perfect flavor and texture! Try it and let me know what you think.

Homemade Thin Mint Milkshake


2 cups vanilla ice cream (we used Breyer’s)

10 thin mint cookies

1/2 cup fat free milk


1) Add 2 cups of vanilla ice cream to your blender!


2) Add 10 thin mint cookies to your blender.


Step 3: Add 1/2 cup fat free milk and blend until smooth. Enjoy!!!

This is seriously such a delicious treat!

Serves: about 3

Disclaimer: Nope, this is not one of my super healthy recipes. I do believe in moderation, so enjoy this when you make it but don’t do it every day! Although, for a milkshake, it is a MUCH “healthier” option than what you would get if you ordered this at a restaurant somewhere… just saying. 🙂

Nutritional Information Per Serving: Calories: 322 Carbs: 39 g Fat: 15 g Protein: 6 g Sugar: 30 g Sodium: 159 g

The Best Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix


Sorry for the poor quality photo!!

Confession: I LOVE Williams-Sonoma European hot chocolate. It is thick, creamy, decadent, and ultra chocolate-y.  I mean, really, it is basically melted chocolate in a cup. So good.

Of course, there is a STEEP price tag on such a luxurious beverage: $20!!!

That is simply not in our budget for regular every day consumption.

So, I save the gourmet stuff for special occasions and instead whip up my own hot chocolate mix that I can have any cold winter day I please.

Could you buy a box of Swiss Miss from the store? Yes, but I promise this is so much better. Plus, I really like knowing exactly what is going in my beverages. Don’t you?

The Best Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix


  • 3 cups nonfat dry milk powder
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1½ cups cocoa powder (Dutch-processed preferred, but regular okay)
  • 1½ cups white chocolate chips (or chopped white chocolate)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt


1. Whisk together all ingredients in a large bowl. Working in two batches, pulse the ingredients in a food processor until the chocolate is finely ground. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

2. To make hot cocoa, put 1/3 cup of the cocoa mix in a mug and stir in 1 cup of hot milk or water. Optional: Top with whipped cream or miniature marshmallows.

Makes 20 servings. Nutritional Information per serving: Calories: 139 Carbs: 28g Fat: 2g Protein: 5g Sugar: 24 g

Recipe adapted from Cook’s Country.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars


Why yes, these are every bit as good as they look.

I’m about to share with you one of the only dessert recipes I make more than once a year. Not only are these a crowd pleaser, but I can literally have them in the oven in 15 minutes. So, no clue what to make for that superbowl party that starts in just a couple hours? Problem solved.

Close friends and family know my favorite dessert is a warm, chewy, soft, chocolate chip cookie. The only downside to making them is:
a) most recipes produce several dozen…and with there being only 2 of us in this family I definitely do not need that many hanging around.

b) it takes FOREVER to scoop out that many cookies… and rotate baking pans… and clean them…

Well, really not an absurd amount of time. But, I DO love the fact that these eliminate all of those steps and the end result is in a dish that can be toted along to any picnic or party just the way it is.


See? All you have to do is cut it into bars, put a lid/foil on it, and take it with you. Quick, easy, delicious, and portable. It doesn’t get much better than that.


Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars


2 1/8 cup All-purpose flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

12 T butter

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1 egg yolk

2 tsp vanilla

2 cups chocolate chips (about 1 12 oz. bag)

1. Preheat oven to 325F. Melt butter in a large microwave safe mixing bowl.

2. Add sugars and mix until combined. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well.

3. Dump in your dry ingredients except chips, and fold together with a spatula or wooden spoon, just until combined. Don’t overmix or the gluten will develop and make the cookies tough. Fold in the chocolate chips.

4. Spread in greased 9×13 pan. Bake until just set in the middle, 27-30 minutes.

Makes about 26 bars (depending on your size preference).

Disclaimer: NO, these are not healthy. Enjoy in moderation, share with others, and maybe run an extra mile or two tomorrow. 🙂

Nutritional information per bar: Calories: 218 Carbs: 30g Fat:11g Protein: 1g Sugar: 22 Sodium:  50 g

Recipe adapted from:

Chocolate Puffs with Mascarpone Cream

Chocolate puffs with mascarpone cream…is your mouth watering yet?


Every now and again I make a dessert that really stands out. One that is truly special, both in flavor and appearance. This recipe defied the standard mold of cookie, bar, pie, or cake. It is difficult to put into words how delicious these were. Imagine silky mascarpone cream sandwiched between chocolate puffs as light as the name alludes, but rich and satisfying at the same time. Very decadent.

IMG_20140130_160438931_HDR (1)

Top them of with melted chocolate or chocolate ganache, based on your preference. Here’s what they looked like before the additional chocolate drizzle:


The original recipe is from the great baker Dorie Greenspan, someone about whom I had read over and over again on cooking blogs. Until now, I had never dared to replicate her recipes. I now realize I misunderstood the uniqueness of her recipes (and sometimes lengthy steps) for difficulty, as was almost the case with these chocolate puffs. But, due to the convenience of having leftover mascarpone, heavy cream, and chocolate ganache from a previous baking endeavor a few days prior, I decided to go for it. Just for the record, they are worth making a special trip to the store for those ingredients. Don’t be intimidated by the number of steps. Just follow the directions, enjoy them, and share them with someone you love. Valentine’s day is coming up, you know!


Chocolate Puffs with Mascarpone Cream


Cream Puffs:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder (I used dark)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream (or whole milk)
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt


  • 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • My not-so-optional addition: 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

    Also optional (but not really): melted chocolate or ganache for drizzling over top of the filled cream puffs.


  1. Let eggs stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Position oven racks to divide oven into thirds; preheat to 425F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. (I did not do this and it still turned out fine)
  2. For cream puffs, in a medium bowl sift together flour and cocoa powder. In a medium saucepan combine water, milk, butter, sugar, and salt; bring to boiling over medium-high heat. Add flour and cocoa mixture all at once; lower heat slightly. Using a wooden spoon or sturdy heatproof spatula, stir vigorously. The mixture will come together in a ball and there will be a film on the bottom of the pan, but do not stop stirring; give it another minute of energetic beating. Transfer hot dough to a mixing bowl; let rest for 2 minutes.
  3. Using a whisk (or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment), beat dough 1 minute. Add eggs, one at a time, beating very well after each. You’ll have a smooth, shiny dough.
  4. Using a small cookie scoop or small spoon, place 8 even mounds of dough on each of the prepared baking sheets, leaving at least 1 inch of space between mounds.
  5. Transfer baking sheets to oven; immediately reduce heat to 375F. Bake for 25-27 minutes or until the puffs feel hollow and lift easily off the paper, rotating the baking sheets from top to bottom and front to pack at the halfway point. Cool to room temperature before filling.
  6. For filling, in a medium bowl gently stir mascarpone with a spatula to loosen. Beating makes mascarpone turn grainy, so go easy. Set aside.
  7. In a medium bowl beat whipping cream until it just starts to thicken. Beat in sugar and vanilla extract. Continue to whip until the cream holds medium peaks that stand up nicely and just start to fold over at the top. Stir a spoonful of the cream into the mascarpone to lighten. Gently fold in the remaining cream.
  8. To assemble, cut cream puffs in half. Using a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip (or a spoon), pipe filing over one half; top with remaining half. To serve, drizzle with chocolate ganache (or melted chocolate), if desired. Makes 16 cream puffs.*A note about storage. Unfilled cream puffs will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 2 weeks. Filling will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Fill cream puffs just before serving.Nutritional Information per Cream Puff (will change depending on if you use heavy cream or whole milk, chocolate or ganache, etc.): 130 calories, 10 g fat, 51 mg cholesterol, 54 mg sodium, 8 g carbs, 0 g fiber, 2 g protein.

    Recipe adapted from Dorie Greenspan, Better Homes and Gardens February 2013.