Dessert = Happiness

Delightfully Delicious Brownie Bars

We all have days when we feel like crud. Nothing you do goes as planned; clothes don’t fit properly; food doesn’t taste right; people are mean to you; accidents happen; bruises appear; your general outlook on life is tarnished and nothing seems to sparkle any more. We all have days like this. At least I hope we all do…either that or I’m just an old curmudgeon who does have days like that and you all have lives that glitter like recently decorated cookies and smell like freshly washed puppy dogs.

On days when I feel somewhat crappy and rather odious, I tend to reach for a wee nibble of something sweet -- a sliver of cake; a tiny cupcake; a petite portion of fudge. Just a small morsel; it will soothe and pamper in a way nothing else can and will undoubtedly park a smile on my face with just one or two mouthfuls.

But it can’t be just any confection. Oh, nooooo. It has to be something self-indulgent and attractive; something that just cries out, requesting that it be pandered to and enjoyed. It should be something dappled with marshmallows, topped with gold leaf or wrapped in stunning spun sugar. Something drenched in icing, covered with colourful sprinkles or topped with one flawlessly formed, perfectly pink fondant flower. This is what it takes to bring me out of a funk…just looking at the decadent dessert will undoubtedly make me smile; taking the first bite will send me into raptures. It’s really something I should indulge in with the shades drawn, the lights dimmed and no one around.

It was just one of these “I’m-in-a-funk-and-nothing-and-nobody-can-drag-me-out-of-it” days when I made these delightfully delicious brownie bars. Topped with marshmallows, chocolate and butterscotch chips, they are the perfect way to bring a smile to anyone’s face. Make them now. Make a batch for someone you love, even if that someone is you!

Mood-Altering Brownies 


1/2 cup unsalted butter, plus more for pan
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup light brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
½ cup butterscotch chips
½ cup dark chocolate chips
½ cup milk chocolate chips
1 cup mini-marshmallows


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan and line at least the bottom with parchment. Set aside.

2. Place butter and chocolate in a small sauce pan and stir until chocolate and butter are melted, likely less than 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool for about 10 minutes.

3. Stir sugars into cooled chocolate. Whisk in eggs one at a time, whisking until smooth after each addition. Whisk in espresso powder and salt. Gently fold in flour.

4. Pour batter into prepared pan, and bake for about 20 to 40 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Top of brownies should be bubbled and crisp while insides are still soft and slightly runny.

5. Add marshmallows and chips to top of brownies, slightly pressing them down into the top of the not-quite-cooked batter. Bake for another approximately 15 minutes until the brownies are cooked almost all the way through but still retain their soft, fudge-like centres. 


Jennifer Hamilton adores food. The cooking of it, the eating of it, the discussing of it, the laughing about it, the taking pictures of it, the describing of it, the contemplation of it, the sharing of it and the writing of it.

Sometimes she lies awake at night reading cookbooks: tempting herself with all the new dishes she can make from both familiar and foreign ingredients. To her, cookbooks contain the magnetism of a romance novel, vacation brochure and screenplay – written in a seductive language of zesting, rolling, beating, sweating, kneading, searing, trussing and roasting. Her fingers ache for the roughness of a wooden spoon or the weight of a cast iron skillet, even when she isn’t in the kitchen.

Hoping to pass this enthusiasm along to her young son, she has taken him under her wing and into her kitchen. It takes tolerance and a keen sense of humour to cook for and with a kindergartner—two things Jennifer has in spades.

She will share with you her culinary secrets, and might even admit some of her own shortcomings in the kitchen, and in life. She is devoted to sharing her love of her son, her adoration of food and her trials with her family through her writing, in the hope of inspiring you to love sticking your fingers in the bowl as much as she does.

Follow Jen on Twittter @JennGoddess and visit her other blog