My Super-Decadent Candy Cane Brownies

This is the dessert recipe you need this year!  Whether for your own festivities, to bring to a friend's gathering, or to give as gifts...my Super-Decadent Candy Cane Brownies will make everyone's holiday much sweeter.  Simple to make, rich and decadent, and sure to be appreciated by all.  They're a fun project to do with the kids, yet pretty and party-perfect to pair with with after dinner drinks at an adult bash.

 Follow along with my video and let me know if you try them!  xo Julie

Chef Tip:  Swap out the semi-sweet chocolate chips with an equal amount of your favorite dark or bittersweet chocolate for an even richer result.

 

Decadently Delicious Candy Cane Brownies

Ingredients

2 sticks salted butter, chopped

8 ounces high quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped

4 eggs

1 cup sugar

1 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 tsp peppermint extract

1/2 teaspoon table salt

1 cup flour

2/3 cup white chocolate chips

½ cup crushed candy canes or peppermint candies

 

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9”x13” baking pan.

Combine butter and bittersweet chocolate in a large heat safe bowl set over a pot of simmering water and melt, stirring often, until smooth. Let cool slightly. Beat together eggs, sugars, vanilla, peppermint extract, and salt in a large bowl and whisk into chocolate mixture. Fold in flour until just combined. Spread batter into prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes or until set in the middle. Let brownies cool completely.

Place white chocolate chips in a large heat safe bowl set over a pot of simmering water and melt, stirring often, until smooth.  Use a spoon to quickly drizzle white chocolate evenly over the top of the cooled brownies, then sprinkle with candy cane pieces.  Let chocolate set before cutting brownies into squares.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Yield: Makes 24 brownies

Skip the Thanksgiving Food Baby w my 6 Sneaky-Light Sides!

It can be tricky to keep your healthy-eating intentions over the holidays...with Thanksgiving being one of the biggest challenges!   This year, skip the post-dinner "Food Baby" with some of my best, lightened up, holiday-worthy dishes.  (As a Recipe Developer for Weight Watchers - I've got quite a few tricks up my sleeve!)  These dishes are all sneakily-healthy yet super tasty...so you can save your indulging for sausage stuffing, sweet potato casserole...or wine! Hey, whatever works for you ;)

Cider Braised Kale Ribbons with Cranberries & Walnuts:  A delicious cross between salad and saute, the sweet-tart cranberries & crunch of toasted walnuts give this gorgeous dish major crowd appeal!

Cider Braised Kale Ribbons with Cranberries & Walnuts:  A delicious cross between salad and saute, the sweet-tart cranberries & crunch of toasted walnuts give this gorgeous dish major crowd appeal!

Cheesy Cauliflower Gratin with Crunchy Panko Topping:  A mix of cheeses is the secret to this dish's decadent-seeming cheese sauce.  Pecorino cheese & panko breadcrumbs work magic together as a crispy topping.

Cheesy Cauliflower Gratin with Crunchy Panko Topping:  A mix of cheeses is the secret to this dish's decadent-seeming cheese sauce.  Pecorino cheese & panko breadcrumbs work magic together as a crispy topping.

Sneakily-Rich Butternut Squash Bisque:  One of my all-time favorite secret weapons when lightening up recipes?  Blend Greek Yogurt into the finished result for a rich finish instead of heavy cream.  This recipe is delish as is...but feel free to spice it up with fresh ginger or go exotic with a dash of my current spice-blend obsession - Ras el Hanout.  Extra points for serving in teacups or fun shot glass portions.

Sneakily-Rich Butternut Squash Bisque:  One of my all-time favorite secret weapons when lightening up recipes?  Blend Greek Yogurt into the finished result for a rich finish instead of heavy cream.  This recipe is delish as is...but feel free to spice it up with fresh ginger or go exotic with a dash of my current spice-blend obsession - Ras el Hanout.  Extra points for serving in teacups or fun shot glass portions.

Roasted Pear Salad w Gorgonzola, Pecans, & Maple-Balsamic Dressing: This gorgeous, upscale salad would be welcome at any holiday dinner.  To lighten it up even more & slash prep time?  Use your favorite light balsamic dressing...it's ok...I won't tell!

Roasted Pear Salad w Gorgonzola, Pecans, & Maple-Balsamic Dressing: This gorgeous, upscale salad would be welcome at any holiday dinner.  To lighten it up even more & slash prep time?  Use your favorite light balsamic dressing...it's ok...I won't tell!

Roasted Fennel & Carrots with Pecorino, Orange, & Thyme:  Fennel wedges turn meltingly tender and lightly sweet after a stint in the oven at high heat while the orange-pecorino-thyme combo makes this Thanksgiving-table worthy!

Roasted Fennel & Carrots with Pecorino, Orange, & Thyme:  Fennel wedges turn meltingly tender and lightly sweet after a stint in the oven at high heat while the orange-pecorino-thyme combo makes this Thanksgiving-table worthy!

Cardamom Spiced Apple-Cherry Tart:  Don't worry...you don't need to skip dessert!  This so-impressive yet so-simple tart is WAY lighter than traditional apple pie.  Phyllo dough is the secret for a low-fat, crisp crust, with no rolling required.

Cardamom Spiced Apple-Cherry Tart:  Don't worry...you don't need to skip dessert!  This so-impressive yet so-simple tart is WAY lighter than traditional apple pie.  Phyllo dough is the secret for a low-fat, crisp crust, with no rolling required.

My Top 12 Recipes for an Epic Super Bowl Bash!!!

It's time to get set for The Biggest Sunday Funday of the Year!!!   Before you resort to Doritos & Dominos be sure to check out my roundup of killer game day recipes.

From potent cocktails & simple slow cooker dishes that feed a crowd, to fun party apps & adorable sweet treats...I've got you covered with plenty of easy options for your party or to bring to a friend's.  Just click through the photo to get the recipe!  

PS:  I've included a few of my sneaky-healthy favs to mix in with all that indulgence. Enjoy! xo Julie

Super Bowl parties pretty much begin as a football-centric brunch right? Kick things off properly with a batch of my Spicy Sriracha Bloody Marys.

Super Bowl parties pretty much begin as a football-centric brunch right? Kick things off properly with a batch of my Spicy Sriracha Bloody Marys.

 
I'd consider these Mini Mexican 7 Layer Dips a party must-have!  They stay pretty and allow for double-dipping with wanton abandon. Even better? This one is a Weight Watchers recipe so it's sneaky-light too...shhhh!

I'd consider these Mini Mexican 7 Layer Dips a party must-have!  They stay pretty and allow for double-dipping with wanton abandon. Even better? This one is a Weight Watchers recipe so it's sneaky-light too...shhhh!

 

Let's move on to two awesome "feed a crowd" slow cooker main dish options...so you can chill & watch the game too vs being stuck in the kitchen.  Just set up a fun fixins bar next to that bad boy & you're good to go!

A big batch of Beer Braised Pulled Pork Tacos will be appreciated by the carnivores & Mexican food lovers in your crew.... 

A big batch of Beer Braised Pulled Pork Tacos will be appreciated by the carnivores & Mexican food lovers in your crew.... 

 
Vegetarian or health-conscious friends in the house?  Go for my Spicy Vegetarian Chili  recipe for Weight Watchers. It's satisfying and substantial without breaking the calorie bank & the perfect base for fun toppings.

Vegetarian or health-conscious friends in the house?  Go for my Spicy Vegetarian Chili  recipe for Weight Watchers. It's satisfying and substantial without breaking the calorie bank & the perfect base for fun toppings.

 
Macho Mango Salsa is perfect to bring to a friend's party or to serve as a topping for my Pulled Pork Tacos or Spicy Veggie Chili.  Why "Macho"? This one packs a punch!

Macho Mango Salsa is perfect to bring to a friend's party or to serve as a topping for my Pulled Pork Tacos or Spicy Veggie Chili.  Why "Macho"? This one packs a punch!

 
What is it about football watching and Tex-Mex food? Doesn't matter if it's guacamole, nachos, soft tacos or chili - it's always a fan fav.  Mix up a big batch of my crazy-delicious & dangerously potent Lose Your Shoes Margaritas to get the party rocking.

What is it about football watching and Tex-Mex food? Doesn't matter if it's guacamole, nachos, soft tacos or chili - it's always a fan fav.  Mix up a big batch of my crazy-delicious & dangerously potent Lose Your Shoes Margaritas to get the party rocking.

 

Let's move on to some Super Snacks!  Perfect for your own spread or to bring to a friend's party...

A modern & fun take on the standard sub sandwich - my no-carb, & super-tasty Italian Sub Skewers are an easy-to-eat app.

A modern & fun take on the standard sub sandwich - my no-carb, & super-tasty Italian Sub Skewers are an easy-to-eat app.

 
Two classic stadium snacks are even better together!  My Pigskin Pretzel Dogs are an awesome mashup of hot pretzels & hot dogs.  Tip:  Cross slice them into quarters to serve as a fun take on Pigs N Blankets.  Easy to make ahead & tote to a party too.

Two classic stadium snacks are even better together!  My Pigskin Pretzel Dogs are an awesome mashup of hot pretzels & hot dogs.  Tip:  Cross slice them into quarters to serve as a fun take on Pigs N Blankets.  Easy to make ahead & tote to a party too.

 
Burgers are a tailgate-style staple & sliders are the perfect snack-sized option for party noshing.  My Bacon Cheddar Sliders with Chipotle Sauce totally bring it!

Burgers are a tailgate-style staple & sliders are the perfect snack-sized option for party noshing.  My Bacon Cheddar Sliders with Chipotle Sauce totally bring it!

 
Instead of the usual wings - try making up a batch of my Crispy Buffalo Chicken Tenders w Blue Cheese Dipping Sauce.  Less mess & easier to eat too!

Instead of the usual wings - try making up a batch of my Crispy Buffalo Chicken Tenders w Blue Cheese Dipping Sauce.  Less mess & easier to eat too!

 

Gotta have some Sweet Treats to make you a 4th Quarter Hero!  No matter what the game or party pool outcomes are...these are sure to send everyone home with a smile.

They'll never guess that these Mini Peanut Butter Pie Ice Cream Sandwiches are one of my most popular recipes for Weight Watchers. Crazy delicious & ridiculously easy. Make extra...trust me!

They'll never guess that these Mini Peanut Butter Pie Ice Cream Sandwiches are one of my most popular recipes for Weight Watchers. Crazy delicious & ridiculously easy. Make extra...trust me!

 
Seriously...who could possibly resist this chocolatey cuteness? Decadent  Chocolate Football Cake Pops are a total touchdown for your bash.

Seriously...who could possibly resist this chocolatey cuteness? Decadent  Chocolate Football Cake Pops are a total touchdown for your bash.

5 Easy to Make...& Easy to Take Thanksgiving Dishes

Headed to a friend or family members' for Thanksgiving? If you're stumped or stressed about what to bring I've got some easy, travel-friendly ideas for you!  These recipes are all simple to prepare, can be made ahead, are total crowd pleasers & will definitely be appreciated by the host. 

Orange and Fennel Marinated Olives make a great hostess gift, to nosh at Thanksgiving or break out for guests throughout the holiday season. Bring in a pretty mason jar tied w a bow.

Orange and Fennel Marinated Olives make a great hostess gift, to nosh at Thanksgiving or break out for guests throughout the holiday season. Bring in a pretty mason jar tied w a bow.

Asked to contribute a side dish but not up for major cooking?  This 4-ingredient, 15 minute Orange-Ginger Cranberry Sauce pairs perfectly with the Big Bird and other holiday favorites (plus this one blows away the canned variety!)

Asked to contribute a side dish but not up for major cooking?  This 4-ingredient, 15 minute Orange-Ginger Cranberry Sauce pairs perfectly with the Big Bird and other holiday favorites (plus this one blows away the canned variety!)

A guaranteed crowd pleaser - my highly addictive Sweet & Spicy Glazed Nuts w Cranberries & Rosemary make a much appreciated  hostess gift or cocktail nibble. 

A guaranteed crowd pleaser - my highly addictive Sweet & Spicy Glazed Nuts w Cranberries & Rosemary make a much appreciated  hostess gift or cocktail nibble. 

Trust me...bringing booze always makes for a happy host!  Instead of the usual bottle or two of wine, why not blow them away with this killer Winter Spiced Sangria instead? Pack in a portable beverage cooler for easy transit.

Trust me...bringing booze always makes for a happy host!  Instead of the usual bottle or two of wine, why not blow them away with this killer Winter Spiced Sangria instead? Pack in a portable beverage cooler for easy transit.

Nobody can resist! Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes make an adorable & delicious finish to any holiday meal.  Tote them along right in a disposable cupcake tin - no risk of crushed cake upon arrival!

Nobody can resist! Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes make an adorable & delicious finish to any holiday meal.  Tote them along right in a disposable cupcake tin - no risk of crushed cake upon arrival!

Happy Holidays! xo Julie

5 Fun Fall Parties to Host Outdoors

5 Fun Fall Parties to Host Outdoors

Think outdoor entertaining is only for summer? Not so!  September and early fall offer the perfect opportunity to use your outdoor space to the max.  Friends and family have all returned from summer adventures and are eager to get together for some fun...not to mention cooler temps keep things way more comfortable than hot summer nights!

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Top 5 Tips to Indulge Your Sweet Tooth...without Going Overboard!

Top 5 Tips to Indulge Your Sweet Tooth...without Going Overboard!

When it comes to eating and drinking, I'm a huge believer in "everything in moderation." One way I keep myself moderate, especially when it comes to sweets, is to concoct seemingly decadent and indulgent desserts that are sneakily light on fat, sugar and calories. With these 4 handy tricks I've picked up over my years as a recipe developer, there's room in everyone's life for treats!

Keep reading...

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There's still time! Host a Last Minute Holiday Get Together

There's still time!  Host a Last Minute Holiday Get Together

I know there are some of you out there who've been caught in a last minute panic because you meant to have a holiday party, but just never made it happen.

Fear not! We've got a few more days of Hanukkah before Christmas hits, and I've got a couple of great ideas that you can throw together in a snap to squeeze in a little QT with the friends and family before it's time to pack it all in for next year.

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