I love chocolate and caramel. I love them on their own but I think they are better together. My daughter loves marshmallows and looks forward to the holidays for the holiday PEEPS. Combining all three creates a sweet Easter or spring treat.
I’ve been on the look-out for a homemade brownie recipe to rival Ghirardelli’s Triple Chocolate Brownie Mix. This recipe comes very close but doesn’t have that extra chewy consistency around the edges like the boxed brownie mix. I guess I’ll be forced to keep trying to find the perfect (for us) brownie recipe. One delicious recipe at a time!
With my daughter’s obsession with PEEPS I searched for fun ways to add them to our Easter and spring treats. Sunflower PEEP cakes were an obvious choice. I already had a stockpile of PEEPS (they were $1 per package at our local grocery store) in our pantry in every color. With a new brownie recipe to test and a fun way to use the PEEPS I found our spring-time treat. I had one package of the yellow chicks (10 come in one package) so I had to space our chicks out more than the Sunflower PEEP cakes show. I still love the way it turned out but if you are going for the full sunflower effect then grab two packages so you can place the chicks side-by-side.
I decided to top our brownie pie with a caramel sauce instead of a chocolate topping because my picky husband isn’t a huge chocolate fan. If you love chocolate then replace the caramel with chocolate frosting or ganache. I added Ghirardelli milk chocolate chips to the brownie mix and then topped the brownie with semi-sweet mini chocolate chips. So there is still plenty of chocolate for us chocolate lovers without going into chocolate overload.
I love how the caramel oozes over the edge of the brownie.
- 1¼ c. sugar
- 1 stick + 3 tbsp. (11 tbsp.) unsalted butter, melted
- ¾ c. unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 eggs, cold
- ½ c. all-purpose flour
- ⅛ tsp. baking soda
- 1 tbsp. cornstarch
- ¼ tsp. salt
- ¾ c. milk chocolate chips
- 8 ounces caramel, dulce de leche, or ganache
- 1 cup mini chocolate chips
- 10-20 PEEPS marshmallow chicks (20 if you want to make the sunflower)
- Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.
- Spray a 9.5-inch pie dish with cooking spray (I love using coconut oil spray) and set aside.
- In a small saucepan (or microwave) melt butter over medium-low heat; remove from heat.
- Add sugar to the melted butter and stir until incorporated.
- Cool butter and sugar mixture for 5 minutes (it’ll still be warm but not hot).
- Pour warm sugar and butter mixture into a medium bowl and stir in vanilla extract and cocoa powder.
- Stirring by hand (or using a hand-mixer or stand mixer on low-speed), add eggs one at a time until just incorporated.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cornstarch, and salt.
- Slowly add flour mixture to the butter and sugar mixture and mix until you can’t see the flour. Don’t over mix.
- Gently fold in the milk chocolate chips.
- Pour brownie batter into the prepared dish and use a spatula to help evenly spread the mixture.
- Bake for 22-30 minutes or until the brownies are set.
- Cool brownies for cool for 30-45 minutes before adding the caramel, dulce de leche, or ganache.
- If using the caramel, dulce de leche, or ganache pour over the cooled brownie.
- If you are using all 20 PEEPS, place the PEEPS marshmallow chicks (tails facing out) on the top of the brownie around the edge keeping the chicks side-by-side. If you are using 10 PEEPS you’ll do the same but will have a space between the chicks.
- Pour the mini-chocolate chips in the center of the brownie to form a circle.
- It’s ready to slice and serve for an Easter or spring treat.
Brownie adapted from Life Made Simple
Peeps decoration inspired by Peeps Brand
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