Here’s a tip I learned over the years. Just because your cookbook says holiday cookies doesn’t mean you can only make them for the holidays. In fact, nothing about the recipes makes them holiday only (except maybe pumpkin for fall cookies and the way cut-out cookies are decorated). Take these rocky road brownies for example. The book is called Grandma’s Christmas Cookies, but give me one good reason why these should be made only for Christmas. In fact, I bet if I didn’t tell you the title of the book, you never would have known. Personally, holiday cookbooks were invented so if I were making a cookie tray, having company, or invited to a cookie exchange (someone please invite me!), I don’t have to look very far for an “elegant” recipe. By elegant I mean more than your traditional chocolate chip cookie.

Fact – I hate, hate, HATE the lighting in my kitchen. Another fact – I love marshmallows, which is why I picked these brownies. That and the picture in my book looked amazing. Plus I had peanuts leftover. The topping looked amazing, and I tried to capture that in a photo, but it was hard because the brownies are very gooey. It is best to eat these cold because of the topping, but they can also be eaten at room temperature (provided that it’s not a hot summer’s day).

Rocky Road Brownies

1/2 cup butter or margarine
2 squares (1 oz each) unsweetened chocolate
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup salted peanuts, chopped

2 Tbsp butter or margarine
1 1/2 oz cream cheese
1/2 square (1/2 oz) unsweetened chocolate
2 Tbsp milk
1 1/4 + 2 Tbsp powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup mini marshmallows
1/2 cup salted peanuts

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line 8×8 pan with greased foil.

2. In a saucepan, melt butter and chocolate, stirring constantly. Add sugar, flour, eggs, and vanilla; mix well. Stir in peanuts. Spread into baking pan. Bake 20-25 minutes or until brownie starts to pull away from sides of pan. Cool completely

3. Topping: In another saucepan, combine butter, cream cheese, chocolate, and milk. Heat until melted, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add sugar and vanilla. Beat with mixer until smooth. Stir in marshmallows and peanuts. Immediately spread over cooled brownies. Cool completely before cutting. Store in refrigerator.

Source: Grandma’s Christmas Cookies 1997 p.62