Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Pecan Brownie Bites for a Cookie Drive #ChristmasWeek

Pecan Brownie Bites for a Cookie Drive #ChristmasWeek

Need/want to make 8 dozen brownie bites for a cookie drive or a whole bunch of cookie plates? Look no further! My second recipe of #ChristmasWeek is well suited to mass production and full of chocolatey goodness as well. I share my 3 lessons learned so you don't have the failures I did.


Welcome to Day Two of Christmas Week. This event is hosted by Kim of Cravings of a Lunatic and Susan of The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen. We hope to inspire you to break out those holiday sprinkles and get your bake on!

Hanging in my house is a poster of Life's Little Instructions. On it are such gems as 'overtip breakfast waitresses' and 'when you borrow a car, return it with the gas tank full', but one of my favorite ones is 'never refuse a plate of homemade brownies'. I don't care if the ingredients for the brownies came out of a single box or from multiple containers in your pantry--to me, if the brownies come out of YOUR oven they are homemade.


What if you want to give homemade brownies to 1,500 single Airmen who are spending Christmas away from their families? Or, more realistically, if you wanted to contribute several dozen brownies to the Airmen's Cookie Drive? You need a few Mass Production Techniques to enable you to churn out tray after tray, and that's why I wrote up this post for #ChristmasWeek.

Making individual sized treats for a cookie drive is a Big Project. Making brownies for a cookie drive [is that even legal? I mean, they're not technically cookies, whatever the technical definition of a cookie is] is another level of hassle. You either need to cut your pan nice and even [no 'you cut and your sister chooses first' here] or you need to make individual brownies and get them safely out of the pan.

Lesson #1:  Use paper liners.
Trust me and the pile of failures I shared with my kids and on my FB page. [Perhaps the kids would prefer we skip this lesson and just have 8 dozen less-than-perfect brownie bites piled up around the kitchen.] To spray or not to spray the paper liners I leave up to you. I didn't spray, nor do I spray my brownie pan normally. There are 3 sticks of butter in there, for crying out loud!


Lesson #2:  If you're using nuts, GO BIG.
I like nuts in my brownies, but I'd never put nut-filled brownies in a cookie tray for my friends who have food allergies. While the Cookie Drive Organizers said that nuts were OK, I didn't want the volunteers to guess if my brownies contained nuts.  Instead, I went big and glued a big ol' pecan half on top of each brownie using a candy melt. You can see through the lid that these treats belong with the other nut-filled goodies.


Lesson #3:  Just do it. It will make you feel good.
Doing for others makes you feel good. If you love to bake, then baking for others is an exceptional way to feel good. You don't need an Airmen's Cookie Drive either--police stations, fire stations, animal shelters and hospitals would be glad to follow the instructions to 'never refuse a plate of homemade brownies'.

Are you trampled by turnips? Collared by kohlrabi? Buried in beets? For recipes using my usual suspects, please refer to my Visual Recipe Index until #ChristmasWeek ends and I return to my local food, mostly savory ways.  If you're tempted by sweets and looking for holiday ideas--yesterday I shared Finnish Pulla {Cardamom Coffee Braid}, tomorrow I'll share Scandinavian Fruit Soup, Thursday brings us Toffee Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies, and I'll close out the week with Norwegian Lefse on Friday.

Swing by all the #ChristmasWeek participants to see what they've been whipping up for the holidays:

Turtle Hot Chocolate by  The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen

Rum Raspberry Tart by Cookistry

Chocolate Saltine Toffee (aka Christmas Crack) by Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts

Pecan Brownie Bites by Farm Fresh Feasts (that's me!)
Peppermint Brownie Cookies by Mind Over Batter
Bourbon Brownies by Cooking In Stilettos




Pecan Brownie Bites for a Cookie Drive (makes 8 dozen)


This recipe was adapted from the recipe on the canister of cocoa powder from Costco.

  • 3 sticks (1½ cups, ¾ pound) butter (I use unsalted)
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 6 eggs (hey! something local!)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup + 1 Tablespoon unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 cup + 1 Tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1½ cups chopped pecans + 8 dozen whole halves . . . wait, that doesn't sound right--intact halves? Complete halves? Pretty looking halves?
  • 8 dozen white candy melts (or whatever color you find festive)


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit, and line a 24 hole mini muffin pan with paper liners--if you can get your mitts on a couple of mini muffin pans you're in business. Set aside. 
  2. In a microwave safe bowl, melt butter and sugar by heating for a minute at a time on 50% power, then stirring. I repeated this cycle 3 to 4 times until the butter and sugar look like they do in the above photo. 
  3. Dump the melted butter and sugar into a large bowl, and add the eggs and vanilla, stirring well to incorporate. 
  4. Dump the flour, cocoa powder and salt on top, and stir briefly. 
  5. Dump the chocolate chips and 1½ cups of chopped pecans into the batter and stir until blended.
  6. Using a cookie scoop (easiest for Mass Production--mine holds about 1 Tablespoon) fill the muffin pan. 
  7. Bake for 12 minutes, then remove from oven and apple the candy melts to each brownie. Wait a moment after the last melt is placed, to give them time to soften and get shiny, then top each softened melt with a pecan half. 
  8. Cool in the pan for 15 to 20 minutes, then joyfully, easily, lift out the paper liners and cool completely on a wire rack.

And now, it's time to meet the good folks who are sponsoring the gifts in this giveaway! [I have not been compensated for this giveaway or this post]. Anolon is donating a 5-piece Bakeware Set. Swing by their Facebook Page to show them some love. We also have Ball supplying us with 4 sets of Jars in their gorgeous Green Heritage Color. Swing by their Ball Canning and Recipes Facebook Page to say hello.

Giveaway Prizes include:

One 5 piece set of Anolon Bakeware Set

Two Sets of Ball Heritage Collection Quart Jars (each set includes 6 jars)

Two Sets of Ball Heritage Collection Pint Jars (each set includes 6 jars)

One Set  of 1 Dozen Assorted Cookie Sampler Box from The Girl In The Little Red Kitchen Bake Shop
Two Sets of Brownie Brittle Snack Sampler (each set  includes One 5-ounce bag of each flavour)
Plus 1 Copy of each of these cookbooks:
One Autographed Copy of Make Ahead Bread by Donna Currie
One Copy of The Mixer Bible by Meredith Deeds
One Copy of 175 Best Babycakes Cake Pop Recipes by Kathy Moore and Roxanne Wyss
One Copy of 175 Best Mini Pie Recipes by Julie-Anne Hession
One Copy of The 250 Best Brownies, Bars & Squares by Ester Brody
One Copy of Oatrageous Oatmeals by Kathy Hester
One Copy of Adventures in Comfort Food by Kerry Alteiro
One Copy of Food Truck Road Trip by Kim Pham
One Copy of Decadent Gluten-Free Vegan Baking by Cara Reed
One Copy of 100 Juices, Smoothies and Healthy Snacks by Emily von Euw
One Copy of CopyKat coms Dining Out at Home Cookbook Recipes by Stephanie Manley
One Copy of Copykat.com's Dining Out At Home Cookbook 2 by Stephanie Manley

The giveaway has ended.


  1. Cookies, hundreds of cookies for all my friends and neighbors.

    1. Maryann,
      Your friends and neighbors are very lucky!
      Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Great tips, especially doing something for others. It's always a great feeling and something I should do more often. I need to take the cats in for their annual physicals, perhaps I could sweeten the deal for them, literally.

    1. Meghan,
      While Robert Barker and I were at one of our many trips to the vet a couple came in with caramel popcorn for the staff.
      I got the recipe--it sounded so good!

  3. Thanks for allowing me to feature your recipe in my round-up of 60 Ultimate Cookie Exchange Recipes on Taste As You Go. Happy Holidays!

    1. Michelle,
      Thanks for choosing my recipe! Pinned, slapped tickled, stumbled, Yummed and shared all around!