You may see this post and think “are they serious? More dessert on Halloween?!” Our short answer is YES! While the kids are out trick or treating, we like to have this easy and elevated dessert for the adults. It is wild how a simple step of browning the butter completely changes the taste of a traditional rice krispie treat. The desserts have a slightly nutty taste that compliments all of the sweet marshmallowy goodness inside. We particularly like that these treats can be made ahead of time so that there is less to prepare on Halloween day.
Line a 9×13 baking dish with parchment paper and spray on both sides with cooking spray.
In a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Continue to cook the butter for 5-7 minutes until it is browned. The butter will initially boil and bubble and then will settle down as it starts to brown. Monitor it closely during this time and lower the heat when it starts to have a nutty aroma.
Add the marshmallows and stir consistently with a spatula until the marshmallows are melted and full incorporated.
Add the vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Stir until the ingredients are thoroughly combined. Turn off the heat.
Stir in the rice krispies until the cereal is fully coated in the marshmallow mix. Pour the mix into the greased baking dish and spread/pat evenly to form a single layer. Let cool and cut into desired shapes. Serve immediately or store in a tightly sealed container and save for later.
If you have been around the Neistat family for at least one summer, you have likely experienced the famous ice box éclair cake that our dad makes. If you haven’t been lucky enough to eat it, we know you’ve heard about it. The gist of the ice box eclair cake is layers of graham crackers and thick vanilla pudding topped with a rich layer of chocolate ganache. He claims his recipe is a secret (we are pretty sure it can be found on the back of a pudding box somewhere) and that he won’t share it with us, or you. In lieu of sharing his recipe, we have done our best to reimagine this dessert into something of our own. Introducing our S’mores Ice Box Pie: everything we love about Rick’s ice box eclair cake, in pie form, with a gooey torched marshmallow twist for summer.
The perfect chilled summer dessert that is a guaranteed crowd pleaser. While you can make this pie with about 60 minutes of refrigeration time, it can also be prepared the night before if you want to get some of your cooking done in advance.
2 cups of graham cracker (about 10 crackers)
1/2 stick of melted unsalted butter
1 packet of French vanilla pudding
2 1/4 cups whole milk, divided
8 oz. cool whip
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Prepare the crust. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Using a Cuisinart, pulse the graham crackers until they are all broken down into crumbs. Add the melted butter and stir to combine. Place the graham cracker mix in a pie dish going up 1/2 inch on the side of the pie. Gently press the crackers into the pan to form a crust. Bake the crust for 10 minutes and set aside to cool.
While the pie is cooking, prepare the pudding. Combine the vanilla pudding packet and 2 cups of milk and whisk until a thick pudding forms. Lightly fold in the cool whip. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or until chilled.
After the pudding has chilled for at least 30 minutes, prepare the chocolate sauce. In a microwave safe cup, combine the chocolate chips and remaining 1/4 cup milk. Microwave for 1 minute, and then 30 seconds at a time, until the chocolate is fully melted. Stir to combine with the milk to form a sauce.
Assemble the pie. Layer the pudding/cool whip mix over the graham cracker crust. Pour the chocolate sauce over the pie and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, up to 24 hours, until the chocolate sauce has hardened. If you are refrigerating overnight, insert a few toothpicks to the outside of the pie and gently tent with saran wrap.
Before serving, add a layer of marshmallows to the top of the pie. We love to torch the marshmallows to make them extra gooey. There are two options for this, a kitchen torch or broiling quickly in the oven. If using a torch, lightly toast the marshmallows to your desired level and serve immediately. If broiling, set the oven to high and put the pie in the oven for no more than one minute. Serve immediately.
When preparing for any sort of “show” event like the Super Bowl, Golden Globes, or Academy Awards, we like for dessert to be pre-made and something that can be served easily. We don’t want to miss the best part of the event because we are assembling a fancy dessert in the kitchen. Any sort of bar or cookie is great for events like these because they can be made in advance and sliced to serve when it comes time for dessert. We love these brookies and they are especially appealing to all of the chocoholics in our group. The only thing better than a warm chocolate chip cookie is a cookie with a brownie layer on the bottom. If you’re feeling really fancy you can serve these with a little scoop of ice cream on top, but we prefer to eat them hot out of the pan.
A classic dessert for the big show, big game, or any group get together.
Ingredients For The Brownie Layer
¼ cup butter
1 oz unsweetened baking chocolate
½ cup sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 tbs coffee
½ cup flour
¼ tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
Ingredients For The Cookie Layer
5 tbs salted butter at room temperature
¼ cup brown sugar
1/8 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1 ¼ cup all purpose flour
½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8 x 8 inch baking dish with parchment paper. Set aside.
Make the brownie layer. Heat a medium sauce pot over medium heat. Add the butter and melt until it fully coats the bottom of the pan. Add the chocolate and melt completely. Remove from the heat immediately after the chocolate has melted. In a separate bowl, whisk the sugar, eggs, vanilla, and coffee together. When the chocolate mixture has cooled, add that into the mix as well, whisking as you go to evenly distribute the heat. Add the salt, baking powder, and flour into the chocolate mix. Use a rubber spatula to fold the mixture together, being careful not to over-mix. Pour the batter into the bottom of the baking dish and set aside until ready to bake.
Make the cookie layer. Use a hand mixer to beat the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar in a medium mixing bowl. Mix for about 3 minutes, or until the butter is fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla, mixing well to combine. Add the baking soda, baking powder, salt, and flour to the mixing bowl. Stir until just combined. Use a spatula to fold in the chocolate chips. Gently flatten the cookie dough and place it in as even a layer as possible over the brownie batter, being sure to not press too firmly into the batter and disturbing the layers.
Bake the brookies for 25-30 minutes, or until they just come out clean with a toothpick. Let the brookies cool completely before slicing and serving.
To cap off our Valentine’s Day menu, we wanted to do a dessert that was fun and festive while making sure it was an easy venture in the kitchen. Whenever we are planning a dinner menu, we always try and extend effort to one particular item and make the rest of the menu easy and straightforward so that we don’t get overwhelmed. Chocolate is pretty much essential on Valentine’s Day, so we decided to go with a red velvet brownie for our finale. One of our favorite desserts to order is the pizookie from BJ’s Pizzeria, which is a chocolate chip cookie served hot out of the oven in a skillet and topped with ice cream. We decided to make these brownies pizookie style and serve them the same way. We love cracking into the top of the brownie and letting all of the melted ice cream seep into the center. The best part? You can make the batter in advance and refrigerate the batter in the pan. Bake them straight from the fridge, adding about 2 minutes to the baking time, and you will have the perfect date night dessert.
Our favorite red velvet brownies, made skillet style! The perfect dessert for date night.
1 oz bittersweet chocolate
3 tbs salted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup + 1 tbs all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 + 1/8 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
red food coloring (about 1/4 oz)
vanilla ice cream, optional
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Put the butter and bittersweet chocolate in a microwave safe bowl. Melt the ingredients in 30 second increments, stirring between each 30 seconds, until the chocolate is completely melted (about 90 seconds total). Let the mixture sit on the counter top to cool slightly.
Whisk the eggs and sugar together in a medium sized mixing bowl. Slowly add the chocolate mixture to the eggs and sugar, whisking as they are added, so as to not cook the eggs. Whisk vigorously until all of the chocolate has been added to the eggs.
Add the red food coloring to the eggs and whisk well to combine. We prefer to add most of the food coloring now, so as not to over mix the brownie batter once the flour has been added.
Add the flour, baking powder, vanilla extract, and pinch of salt to the batter. Gently stir until the mixture is just combined. At this point, add more red food coloring as necessary and gently whisk until all of the dye is evenly distributed.
Pour the brownie batter into a greased small skillet. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the brownies come out clear with a toothpick. Serve hot with vanilla ice cream.
We love making bite sized desserts for a party because they can be made in advance and don’t require any last minute effort in the kitchen. Particularly for the Super Bowl, where you typically don’t want to be cooking and tending to food in the kitchen throughout the game, it is nice to be able to have this step taken care of well in advance. This blondie recipe is a sure crowd pleaser and we especially love the addition of the s’mores toppings to the mix. The mixed in marshmallows make the blondies extra chewy and the chocolate chunks make them even more decadent…. how can anybody say no to that?! These are a family favorite from everyone aged 1.5 to 86, and we know they will be a favorite of yours, too!
Our favorite blondie recipe, made “s’mores style” with marshmallows, graham crackers, & Hershey bars.
3/4 cup salted butter (1 1/2 sticks), melted
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 tsp baking power
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup mini marshmallows
1/2 cup graham crackers, broken into small pieces
1/2 cup Hershey’s chocolate bars, broken into small pieces
1/3 cup dark chocolate chips, to drizzle on top of the bars (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8 x 11 Pyrex baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
Use a hand mixer to mix the melted butter and brown sugar in a medium sized mixing bowl. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until well blended. Add the vanilla, baking powder, baking soda, salt and flour to the batter. Mix on a low speed until just combined. Add 1/3 cup of the mini marshmallows, graham cracker pieces, and Hershey’s bars to the batter. Mix just to combine.
Use a spatula to pour the batter into the baking dish. It will be thick; use the spatula to make sure that everything is in an even layer in the pan. Bake the blondies for 25 minutes. After 25 minutes, quickly remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle with the remaining pieces of graham cracker, Hershey’s bar, and mini marshmallows. Bake for another 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the blondies cool completely before slicing.
If you want to add the chocolate drizzle to the bars, melt the dark chocolate in the microwave after the bars have been cooled and sliced. Use a spoon or paper cone to lightly drizzle over top the blondies.
If you follow us on Instagram, you know that we love to treat ourselves to donuts! Sweet, crispy, fried dough – what is not to love? One of the most popular Hanukkah desserts is sufganiyot. For those unfamiliar, sufganiyot are Israeli donuts that are traditionally stuffed with jelly. We decided to recreate sufganiyot in our air fryer to lower the high calorie count of this dessert and have used both nutella and jelly as fillings. Admittedly, these bad boys don’t taste exactly like donuts (you really can’t completely recreate that fried taste), but they are flaky, sweet and completely hit the spot after a big dinner. Serve warm with ice cream and we promise you won’t have any complaints. Even Nana (our biggest skeptic) loved these!
Combine the yeast, water and 1 tbs sugar into a bowl. Stir to combine and set aside for 5-10 minutes until the yeast has completely dissolved and the mixture starts to bubble.
Add the remaining 2 tbs sugar, eggs, butter and vanilla and mix all ingredients thoroughly.
Mix in 2 cups of flour and combine the ingredients until a dough has formed. The dough should be a little on the sticky side but still able to hold its shape. If the mixture is too sticky or wet, add 1/4 more flour at a time until you can roll the dough into a ball. Using the same bowl (you don’t need to bother cleaning it out), shape the dough into a ball and set aside, covered, in a warm area to rise for 1 hour.
Heavily flour a hard surface and roll the dough into 1/4-1/2 inch sheet. Using a biscuit cutter or a drinking glass, cut out circles and add them to a sheet pan. Let the cut dough rise for another 30 minutes.
Set your air fryer to 350 degrees. Air fry the donuts for 5 minutes, 2 1/2 minutes on each side. Be sure to flip them half way through.
Once the sufganiyot are cooked and cooled, put the nutella and jelly in piping bags. Puncture the center of the sufganiyot and pipe 1-2 tbs of filling in each donut. You can get creative here and mix and match flavors however you would like. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve.
Oh my, apple pie. While people can be hit and miss about their love of pumpkin desserts, we haven’t found anyone yet that dislikes apple pie. We always have some sort of apple dessert on the table at Thanksgiving, and this year we wanted to really take things up a notch and made a deep dish apple pie. To achieve this feat, we used a 10 inch springform pan and made a double batch of homemade crust to keep walls of our pie standing up tall. While the length of this recipe might seem overwhelming, you can make this recipe over the course of a few days and even buy pre-made crust to save you some time in the kitchen.
Our spin on classic apple pie, made mile high for your Thanksgiving celebrations.
Ingredients For The Crust
– 2 1/2 cups (315g) all purpose flour
– 1 tsp salt
– 1 cup cold, unsalted butter
– 1/2 cup ice water, plus more as needed
Ingredients For The Apple Filling
– 10 granny smith apples, peeled, stem removed, and thinly sliced
– 3/4 cup brown sugar
– 1/3 cup all purpose flour
– juice of 1 large lemon
– 2 tsp cinnamon
– 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
– pinch of salt
Ingredients For The Crumble Topping
– 2/3 cup oats
– 1/3 cup all purpose flour
– 2/3 cup brown sugar
– 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
– 1 tsp cinnamon
– pinch of salt
Make the pie crust. Cut the butter into pea-sized cubes. Put the butter on a small cookie sheet or into a bowl and put it in the freezer for 5-10 minutes. You want that butter cold!
Combine the flour, salt, and butter in a large bowl. Use your hands or a pie cutter to break the butter cubes into the flour; by hand you do this by squishing the butter cubes into flat discs, letting the butter absorb any flour along the way. Add the ice cold water to the flour and mix until the dough is just combined. The dough should stick together and be clumpy; you might need to add another 1 tbs of water to get to the right consistency.
Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead the dough until it forms into a ball. Flatten the ball into a disc and wrap the ball in saran wrap. Put the dough into the refrigerator and chill for at least an hour, up to overnight.
While the dough is in the refrigerator, make the apple filling. Combine all of the filling ingredients (sliced apples – salt) in a large mixing bowl; toss everything well to combine. Let the apples sit for 30-40 minutes. After they have sat, drain most of the liquid from the bottom of the bowl. Taste an apple after draining and add any additional cinnamon or brown sugar to your taste. Set the apples aside.
Finally, make the crumble topping. Combine the crumble ingredients (oats – salt) in a medium sized mixing bowl. Stir well to combine so that the butter is coating all of the crumble ingredients. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Roll out the pie dough. Lightly flour a large surface to roll out the dough. The diameter of the dough will depend on how large your springform pan is. For a 10 inch pan, you will want to roll a circle that is approximately 18 inches in diameter; 10 inches to cover the bottom and 4 inches on all sides for the deep dish look.
Gently roll the dough onto your rolling pin and transfer it into the springform pan. Press the dough into the rounded corners of the pan so that you have a clear bottom of the pie with tall edges around the springform. You want the dough to go up the sides of the pan but not over the top, as it will be hard to remove the springform later to serve. You will have some extra dough. You can use the extra bits to fill in any gaps or patches if you get holes in the dough during the transfer into the pan.
Once the dough is in the pan and secure on all of the sides, add the apple filling. As gently as you can, pour the apples into the pan and use a spatula to ensure there are apples in even layers starting by the bottom of the crust. You can give the pan a little shake to help settle the apples.
Top the apples with the crumble topping, creating an even layer of topping all over the top of the pie. Bake the pie for 55-65 minutes- the crust will be brown and any juices from the apples will be bubbling.
Remove the pie from the oven and let it rest for 30 minutes before slicing and serving. You can cover the springform in foil to keep it warm while it rests, and serve with ice cream, if desired.
One of the joys of Tate having a human brother is that we now have a new excitement for celebrating the holidays. Even though Tate’s brother Myles is just over a year old, we have gone off the deep end with the celebrations for Halloween. This Trick or Treat Puppy Chow is the perfect, whimsical Halloween snack for both kids and parents alike. It’s also a great way to use up any extra candy after Halloween is over. We have toned down the sugar in a traditional puppy chow recipe to compensate for all the added candy. It’s a quick, easy recipe to add to your Halloween festivities over the next few days, and a guaranteed crowd pleaser regardless of the average age of your guests.
Our favorite way to use up that extra Halloween candy!
1 cup white chocolate chips
2/3 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup butter
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp sea salt
9-11 cups Chex cereal (one full box)
1 1/2 – 2 cups powdered sugar
2-3 cups Halloween candy of your choice
Heat the butter, peanut butter, and white chocolate chips in a pot over low heat. Stir constantly to keep any from sticking to the bottom of the pan. When the chocolate chips are fully melted, add the vanilla and salt, and stir to combine. Remove from heat immediately.
Pour the Chex cereal into a large bowl, and drizzle the peanut butter/chocolate mixture over the top. Use a spatula to gently fold together so that all of the cereal is coated. Be careful not to stir too hard and break the cereal in the process!
Add the powdered sugar one cup at a time, tossing to evenly combine and coat. This can be done effectively in the bag that the cereal came in or any other large ziplock. Use enough powdered sugar so that the peanut butter liquid is coated over and the pieces are not sticky to the touch. Toss with the Halloween candy and serve.
October is the month for spooky, scary festivities and lots of sweet treats! As an alternative to the bags candy you’re bound to have around the house over the next few weeks, we are taking things up a notch with some homemade dessert options. If you are overwhelmed by the thought of making caramel from scratch, don’t be! It is actually quite simple and takes less than 20 minutes from start to finish. We have gussied this version up with bourbon and sea salt, but you can omit those ingredients if they aren’t for you.
Bourbon Salted Caramel Makes: about 2 cups of caramel Prep Time: 5 minutes Total Time: 20 minutes
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream, room temperature
4 tbs butter, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbs of your favorite bourbon
1 teaspoon sea salt
Combine the sugar and water a medium sauce pot. Stir to combine before putting onto the burner.
Turn your burner onto medium-high heat. DO NOT STIR OR TOUCH THE PAN until the sugar has caramelized. This process will be tedious and you need to keep an eye on the sugar. It will go from being clear to champagne colored before turning light brown. Once it gets to light brown, it can go from light brown to burnt very very quickly. Remove the sugar from the heat and burner when the caramel is just lighter than the coppery color of a penny.
Turn the burner on to medium-high heat. Then — this is very important — do not stir or touch the pan until the sugar has caramelized. The sugar mixture will go from being completely clear, to a champagne color, to a light golden color, and then to increasingly darker shades of amber. (Keep a close eye on the sugar, as it darkens quickly once it begins to caramelize.) Once the sugar reaches a deep amber color (about the color of a copper penny), remove the saucepan from the heat and turn the burner off.
Right away after removing the sugar from the heat, add the heavy cream to the sugar in a steady stream, whisking vigorously to incorporate the cream. Don’t be worried when the mixture bubbles like crazy- this is totally normal! When the heavy cream has been added, whisk in the butter until combined. Add in the bourbon, vanilla, and sea salt.
From here, you can serve immediately hot from the stove or you can let the caramel cool and reserve for another time. The caramel will last up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator, and will thicken quite a bit as it chills. If you are planning to refrigerate and use later, heat it for just a few seconds in the microwave to loosen so that you can drizzle easily over ice cream, brownies, or any other dessert of choice!
After celebrating quite a few birthdays in May & June, we have had to start getting creative about what to do with leftover birthday cake. We love our share of cake, but after a few days, we were getting a little tired of tasting the same ingredients. We experimented a bit with different leftover birthday cakes and repurposed them to create summer trifles. By adding homemade whipped cream and fresh berries we were able to continue to enjoy our sweet treats in a different way. No extra cake? No problem. You can pick up an angel food cake at the store and use it in the same way.
1 leftover cake- about 8 cups cubed (or store bought angel food cake)
3 cups of heavy whipping cream
1 vanilla bean, scraped
3 tbs sugar
4 cups of mixed berries (we used strawberries, blackberries and blueberries)
If you are using leftover cake, scrape the frosting off the cake and cut the cake into one inch cubes. This does not need to be perfect. If using store bought, cut the angel food cake into one inch cubes. Set aside.
Using a hand mixer, mix the heavy whipping cream, vanilla bean, and sugar until the cream forms stiff peaks. About 5 minutes.
Assemble the trifle by layering the cake cubes, whipped cream and mixed berries. You want to make sure that the cake is thoroughly coated in the whipped cream so that it can soak up the moisture. Top with a layer of whipped cream and use any remaining berries for decoration.
Keep the trifle refrigerated for at least 30 minutes before serving. This can be made overnight. Serve cold.