This is a reader suggested project. This particular reader states she attempted Brookies with a partner and was met with a brutal truth that did NOT match her expectations:


I’m hoping I’m not met with the same end. Especially because I’m making these for a graduation party so they will be judged…For those of you who don’t know a brookie is, it’s a brownie + a cookie. I suppose it could be any type of cookie, but most of the tutorials I’ve seen are for chocolate chip cookies. I’ve read that these are life-changers. A miracle of modern baking.

Sexy, right? I’m using the recipe from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe.
I’m personally skeptical these will work because brownie and cookie dough have different textures. I’m having visions of a beautifully crafted brownie-cookie hybrid coming out of the oven, only to taste like total boo-boo. Conversely, they could resemble small regurgitated piles of brownie-cookies, but taste like pure nirvana. I don’t know, but I have to be brave. I have to let the world know.

Why I chose this project:
-I wanted a challenge, something that had the potential to turn out so badly that I never spoke of it again.
-I wanted to bring a dish to a friend’s graduation party. In retrospect I have no idea why I decided to do this because it put that much more pressure on me to create perfection.
-Food. Duh.

-mixing bowls (small and medium)
-measuring spoons and cups
-baking sheet
-parchment paper

Brownie Cookie Batter:
0 tablespoons butter, softened
-2/3 cup lightly packed brown sugar (5 ounces)
-2/3 cup granulated sugar (5 ounces)
-1 large egg
-1 large egg yolk
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-1 1/4 cups plus 3 tablespoons flour (7.25 ounces)
-1/2 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder (1.5 ounces)
-1 teaspoon baking soda
-1/4 teaspoon salt

Chocolate Chip Cookie Batter:
-10 tablespoons butter, softened
-2/3 cup granulated sugar (5 ounces)
2/3 cup light brown sugar (5 ounces)
-1 teaspoon vanilla
-1 large egg
-1 large egg yolk
-2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (about 10.75 ounces)
-1 teaspoon baking soda
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1 1/4 cup chocolate chips (mini size preferred)

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

Brownie Batter:
2) In a medium bowl with a mixer, beat the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar together until smooth and creamy, 1-2 minutes. Add the egg, yolk, and vanilla and beat the mixture for 2-3 minutes until light in color.

3) In a separate small bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the batter and mix until combined. Cover and refrigerate while making the chocolate chip cookie batter.

Cookie Batter:
4) For the chocolate chip cookie batter, in the bowl of an electric stand mixer or with a handheld electric mixer, cream together the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until smooth, 1-2 minutes. Blend in the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla, mixing for 2-3 minutes until the batter is very light in color.
*Truth Tidbit* This is the exact same as Step 2.

5)  In a separate small bowl (you can use the same one as the brownie batter dry ingredients), whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the batter with the chocolate chips and mix until no dry streaks remain and the chocolate chips are evenly


6) Portion both sets of dough into about 4 dozen equal pieces; they will be small teaspoon or so sized balls (if you want to be super precise, I weighed about 0.5 ounce balls for the brownie batter and 0.65 ounce balls for the chocolate chip cookie batter).
*Truth Titbit*I measured out a teaspoon sized ball and used that as a guide for all the other balls.
 I could only bake about 16 cookies at a time so I only made 16 sets of dough balls at once.
After you’re done making one batch of dough balls PUT THE REST OF THE DOUGH BACK IN THE FRIDGE!

7) Grabbing one chocolate chip cookie ball and one brownie batter ball, press them together and use your hands to gently form into a cookie shape, flattening and turning to smooth the edges and form a flattish but still thick cookie shape; they’ll spread out while baking. See the simple picture tutorial below the recipe, if needed.


Roll your balls….


…smush together


and form into a brookie!

8) Bake the cookies on the prepared baking sheets for 8-10 minutes. Don’t overbake or they will be dry and crunchy – underbake just slightly for a soft, chewy texture. It’s ok if the chocolate side crackles just a bit. Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool on the pan for 1-2 minutes before scooping onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
*Truth Tidbit* All ovens are not created equally. I figured out that 10 1/2 minutes created the perfect cookie in my case.

I’m not kidding when I say that the entire time I was making these I was terrified that I would pull them out of the oven, only to be like:


When your cookies turn into gooey puddles of FAIL

but NO!


I would describe these as perfection, yes.

These are as delicious as they look. Moist, but not underdone with distinct flavors of both cookie and brownie. Truly glorious I say. I was able to make about 60 cookies to bring to the graduation party and there were a total of 3 left at the end. No, I did not eat 57 cookies because I know some of you are thinking that. My husband and I witnessed MANY party guests enjoying these.
Brookies are real. They can be done, but not without some tender loving care.
*Potential Pitfalls*
-You need to keep the dough cold. I cannot stress this enough! Otherwise your Brookies will flatten when you bake them!
-Follow the directions closely. There isn’t a lot of wiggle room, although I didn’t weigh a damn thing.
-Set aside a few hours if you plan on using all of the dough at once. 
-Take great care when smushing the 2 types of dough to avoid having them separate while baking.
-Let them cool completely before taste-testing. If you try one right out of the oven you may think it’s too gooey and pop it back in when you don’t really need to so have some patience and chill.

So it IS possible to make a Brookie that is both sexy AND delicious. I encourage everyone to give this a try on a rainy day.
Fear not the Brookie.


DIY Fruit Snack Gummies

Fruit snacks, gummies, snackies, whatever you call them – they are some of the most glorious processed foods I have ever eaten. If you want to feel really guilty about eating them, then go ahead and read the Wikipedia page for fruit snacks; it does a great job of emphasizing that the treats have very little to do with fruit and are more of a convenient dessert.

But that’s okay because today we are making our very own fruit snacks without the addition of any sugar! If you think that is the same thing as a sugar-free fruit snack, however, you are sadly mistaken. The ingredients call for 100% fruit juice and honey which has plenty of sugar already in it. That’s why this is a snack…not a meal and not a staple.

gummiesI will not have a really cute, tiny hand to hold these DIY fruit snack gummies, but everything else seems doable. The recipe can be found at Honest to Nod.
-1 cup 100% fruit juice
-2 tbsp unflavored gelatin
-3 tsp honeyMaterials:
-silicone mold or glass baking dish (I used this mold)
-small saucepan
-measuring cups
-syringe (optional, but it makes life so much easier)photo-jun-16-6-07-06-pm
Honest to Nod 
1) In a small saucepan, add the fruit juice and sprinkle the gelatin over the top. Allow the powder to be absorbed in the liquid (it will look a little wrinkly on the surface) before whisking to fully combine.
Truth Tidbit: If you’re using the Knox gelatin, it contains 1 tbsp of gelatin in each packet, so just sprinkle in 2 packets.
photo-jun-16-6-09-47-pm2) On the stovetop, heat the liquid slowly until it warms through over medium heat. Cook the liquid until it is thin and no longer grainy. Once it reaches this stage, turn off the heat, and whisk in the honey. Depending on how sweet your juice is you can slightly increase or decrease this amount.
photo-jun-16-6-24-30-pmphoto-jun-16-6-25-02-pm3) Carefully pour liquid into candy molds or into an 8×8 inch glass baking dish. This is where your syringe will come in handy if you are using mold.
Truth Tidbit: At this point, I would say a syringe is quite imperative if you plan to use a mold. I don’t know how you would practically and safely get the liquid into the molds without it. Be sure to place your mold on a flat, portable surface prior to filling it; silicone is wiggly and you will have a heck of a time getting the mold into the fridge without spilling.
photo-jun-16-6-27-37-pmphoto-jun-16-6-32-01-pm4) Transfer molds or glass dish to the refrigerator and chill until set – about an hour.  Remove from molds or cut the flavored gelatin into squares.
*Truth Tidbit* I let the mold set for 90 minutes, just to be safe.
Now are you ready for a good joke? Ok, here goes:
I tried to make fruit gummies once.EXPECTATION ≠ TRUTH

There are so many things wrong…so very many things wrong.

I knew I was in trouble the second I attempted to remove these from the mold…and couldn’t. I tried every possible way to get these out without mangling them, but nothing helped. They were all butchered. Every single one. It became one of those situations where everything you do just makes an even bigger mess.


So after this initial dip in the wading pool of fail I was hoping that these would at least taste decent enough for me to ignore that  these turned out looking “like chunks of flesh,” as my husband so eloquently put it.

But the fail just kept coming. In fact, the fail is strong with this one.

These taste like tiny pieces of honey flavored Jell-O, and I don’t mean this in a good way. Fruit snacks should not taste like this. The texture is basically just Jell-O-esqe. There is no chewiness to them. No fruitiness. No love.

This is wrong. All wrong. Nothing, but wrong.

I can say, with confidence, that I will never make these again. I have my own expectation of what a fruit snack should taste like and this is not it. I wasn’t expecting Welch’s-level fruit snack greatness, but I wasn’t expecting Jello-y flesh chunks either. Could these somehow be modified and improved?

Potential Pitfalls:
-It’s apparent that this mold was a huge part of the problem because of the way it’s shaped. It requires a lot of force to get the gummies out. I’m not sure if the material is inferior or if the shape of the mold is to blame.
-I tried to research what exactly makes gummies so chewy because it obviously isn’t plain gelatin. What I found appeared to be very scientific involving temperature, pH levels, and other ingredients like pectin, starch, wax, etc… At this point, I don’t think it’s possible to create a truly glorious fruit snack unless you have access to a lab, a fact that is very disappointing.
-These weren’t sweet enough for me. I’m tempted to suggest you use flavored Jell-O over unflavored, but that would defeat the purpose of making a snack that has less processed sugar than a store-bought fruit snack.

These were easy and cheap, but were they worth it? Of course they were. I learned something!
…I learned to never attempt this again.