Because You Don't Need an Excuse to Eat Chocolate: Best 6 Brownie Recipes

Photo by: Tara Donne

Tara Donne

While there are times when you’re cooking for an obvious purpose — tonight’s dinner, the potluck on Saturday, a holiday feast — other times (and perhaps the best times) it’s for pure indulgence. And that’s especially the case when chocolate is concerned.

When it comes to treating yourself to a just-because dessert, look no further than these six best-ever brownie recipes from Bobby Flay, Rachael Ray, Ina Garten, The Pioneer Woman and more of your favorite Food Network chefs.

Peanut Butter Caramel Swirled Brownies

Leave it to an Iron Chef to create this sweet tooth-satisfying brownie masterpiece. Bobby makes his own peanut butter-laced caramel to swirl into his two-chocolate brownies. After building the brownies strategically — with a base batter, then dollops of caramel, then more batter, and finally the last of the caramel — he swirls the components together to achieve “a stealth peanut butter brownie.” It’s called that, according to Bobby, because “you can’t see the peanut butter, but you can taste it.”

RACHAEL_RAY_MARSHMALLOW_NUT_BROWNIES_H_alt.jpg

RACHAEL_RAY_MARSHMALLOW_NUT_BROWNIES_H_alt.jpg

Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Matt Armendariz, 2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Marshmallow Nut Brownies

Follow Rachael’s lead and start with a boxed brownie mix to make these super-speedy treats, then dress them up with rich peanut butter chips mixed into the batter. A salty-sweet topping of chopped nuts and gooey marshmallows is the perfect finishing touch.

Outrageous Brownies

With a five-star rating and more than 600 user reviews, Ina’s walnut-studded brownies laced with two kinds of chocolate surely live up to their name. Don’t be fooled by the use of espresso powder in the batter; it’s just there to bring out the flavor of the chocolate, not provide a taste of coffee.

WU0203H_knock-you-naked-brownies

WU0203H_knock-you-naked-brownies

Knock-You-Naked Brownies

The star of The Pioneer Woman’s epic brownies is the over-the-top filling stuffed between two layers of chocolate dough. After the base has baked, Ree Drummond pours on top of it a pecan-studded caramel sauce, then blankets that with a generous sprinkle of chocolate chips, and finally covers the filling with a second layer of dough. For a welcome shortcut, Ree opts for a box of German chocolate cake mix to make the dough.

Espresso Brownies

Remember how the coffee in Ina’s brownies merely boosted the flavor of the chocolate? That’s not the case with the espresso in Giada De Laurentiis’ top-rated brownies. These bite-size beauties are for the chocoholic and the coffee fan, thanks to their espresso-scented batter and the smooth espresso-laced batter that’s poured on top after baking.

Cheesecake Brownies

Dessert mash-ups hardly get more decadent than this surprisingly healthy recipe, featuring a base layer of moist brownies and a sweet, creamy topping of cheesecake. After arranging the batters in the pan, pile on a few reserved dollops of the brownie concoction, then swirl them into the cheesecake before baking for wow-worthy presentation.

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