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Snowcapped Brownies

 Snowcapped Brownies
Baking is one of my favorite hobbies, and my wife says these brownies topped with a cream cheese layer are outstanding. When you really want to impress, drizzle them with caramel sauce and sprinkle on chocolate curls. —Lyle Borcherding, Johnstown, Pennsylvania
30 ServingsPrep: 20 min. Bake: 35 min. + cooling

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter, cubed
  • 3/4 cup baking cocoa
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped nuts, optional
  • TOPPING:
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1-1/2 cups cold 2% milk, divided
  • 1 package (3.4 ounces) instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1-1/2 cups whipped topping
  • Caramel ice cream topping and chocolate curls, optional

Directions

  • In a small saucepan, melt butter; stir in cocoa until smooth. Remove
  • from the heat. In a large bowl, beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla for
  • 1 minute. Gradually add flour and salt. Stir in cocoa mixture. Fold
  • in chocolate chips and, if desired, nuts.
  • Pour into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Bake at 350° for
  • 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes
  • out with moist crumbs (do not overbake). Cool on a wire rack.

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Snowcapped Brownies (continued)

Directions (continued)

  • In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and 1/2 cup milk until smooth. Add
  • pudding mix and remaining milk; beat for 2 minutes or until
  • thickened. Stir in extract; fold in whipped topping. Spread over
  • cooled brownies. Refrigerate until set.
  • Just before serving, drizzle with caramel topping and garnish with
  • chocolate curls if desired. Yield: 2-1/2 dozen.
Nutritional Facts: 1 brownie (calculated without optional ingredients) equals 232 calories, 13 g fat (8 g saturated fat), 50 mg cholesterol, 154 mg sodium, 29 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 3 g protein.