Preparation time: 20 mins
Cooking time: 35 mins plus cooling
Difficulty: Easy - for beginners
Serves: 30 servings
â€¢1 cup butter, cubed
â€¢3/4 cup baking cocoa
â€¢2 cups sugar
â€¢1 teaspoon vanilla extract
â€¢1 cup all-purpose flour
â€¢1/2 teaspoon salt
â€¢2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
â€¢1 cup chopped nuts, optional
â€¢4 ounces cream cheese, softened
â€¢1-1/2 cups cold 2% milk; divided
â€¢1 package (3.4 ounces) instant vanilla pudding mix
â€¢1/8 teaspoon almond extract
â€¢1-1/2 cups whipped topping
â€¢Caramel ice cream topping and chocolate curls, optional
â€¢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 nuts if desired.
â€¢ 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 over bake). Cool on a wire rack.
â€¢ 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.
â€¢ Just before serving, drizzle with caramel topping and garnish with chocolate curls if desired. Yield: 2-1/2 dozen.