Sunday, September 22, 2013

Cosmic brownies

My friends at OXO recently contacted me about a Cookies for Kids' Cancer program that they are sponsoring to help raise funds for pediatric cancer research. I have had several friends and family members affected by cancer, so obviously agreed to participate in this cause.

For every specially marked item sold, OXO will donate 25 cents in support of pediatric cancer research as part of its $100,000* pledge to Cookies for Kids' Cancer. (Look for specially marked OXO products at participating retailers.) You'll see a green sticker like this one below:

To help raise money for this awesome cause (OXO will be donating $100 towards the cause for my blog post), I decided to bake up some Cosmic brownies that I found online. I used to eat Little Debbie's Cosmic Brownies quite a bit growing up but always picked off the nuts. This version is nut-free, but you are welcome to add them if you are a fan of them. 

These brownies were straight-up awesome. The brownie layer was incredibly fudgy, and the frosting/ganache was simply out of this world. My husband took some brownies to his swimming friends one morning, and everyone was fighting for a slice. He actually had to turn some people away because the brownies were claimed so quickly. Yes, my friends, these brownies were that big of a hit, and I know that I will be making this recipe again.

*In 2013, OXO will donate up to $100,000 to Cookies for Kids' Cancer through specially marked baking tools, bake sale matches and other fundraising efforts. Cookies for Kids' Cancer is a recognized 501c(3) public charity duly incorporated under the laws of the state of New Jersey. Your donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowable by law. 100% of proceeds raised by Cookies for Kids' Cancer fund pediatric cancer research.

For more information about OXO's involvement with Cookies for Kids' Cancer, visit, or watch this video. To learn more about this worthy cause, visit

Cosmic brownies 
Brownie layer
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter (1 and 1/2 sticks), melted
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 TBSP coffee or water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder (I used Hershey's Dark)
  • 1 teaspoon instant espresso granules, optional but recommended
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 and 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half or cream
  • 1 cup M&M candies (can use mini M&Ms as well)
To make the brownies: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8x8 or 9x9 inch square baking pan with aluminum foil and set aside (I used a silicone 8x8 baking pan and did not spray or line with aluminum foil).

In a large bowl, melt the butter in the microwave. Then mix in the eggs, sugars, coffee (or water) and vanilla.

Add the cocoa powder, instant espresso (if using), and mix the batter with a spatula until the batter uniform and smooth. Finally, add the flour in small increments and gently mix with your spatula until the flour disappears. You don't want to overmix your batter.

Transfer the batter into your prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake in your preheated oven for about 25 to 29 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Turn off the oven, remove the brownies from the oven and let them cool in the pan at room temperature.

To make the ganache: In a medium bowl, microwave the chocolate chips for 1 minute (they might not be fully melted, but that's OK - just let them hang out and rest, but do NOT stir them).

In a small bowl, microwave the cream for 1 minute. Pour the cream over the somewhat-melted chocolate chips and let the two ingredients rest. Again, do NOT stir them.

Using a hand whisk or a lot of elbow grease with a spatula, mix the chocolate and cream together until you achieve a smooth and silky ganache. If the chocolate has fully melted by this point, you can pop the entire mixture into the microwave for about 15 seconds and continue to stir. If the chocolate still isn't melted, microwave for an additional 15 seconds at a time.

Once the brownies are cool, pour the ganache over the brownies and use a rubber or silicone spatula to even out the ganache layer. Add the M&Ms on top of the ganache and cover with aluminum foil. Place the brownies in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or until the ganache has hardened - it should not longer be liquidy.

The brownies can be stored in an airtight container for about 1 week at room temperature, up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator, and about 6 months in the freezer.

Yield: One 8x8 or 9x9 inch pan; About 16 brownies

Source: Averie Cooks

Disclaimer: OXO provided me with some complimentary baking tools for participating in this program and will donate $100 towards the Cookies for Kids' Cancer program, but I did not receive any compensation for this post. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. 



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