Game Day Grub: 7 Decadent Cookie and Brownie Recipes

Few things in life are as wonderful as kicking back to watch your favorite NFL teams on Sundays, but the experience loses a little of its luster when you find yourself eating mediocre takeout. That’s where our Game Day Grub series comes in. Each week, we’ll bring you seven recipes for some of your favorite football foods. It’s going to be a delicious season. 

Wings and pizza usually do a good job of covering all your savory food needs. Dessert can be a little more of a challenge because many recipes involve multiple components that each take a lot of time. You also don’t want serve something too ornate. Anything involving utensils and a pile of napkins is just too stuffy for a fun get together. Cookies and bars are perfect because they’re easy to make, taste fantastic, and can be eaten with one hand. These seven recipes are all winners, so get baking.

1. Easy Chocolate Chunk Caramel Brownies

caramel nut brownies

Source: iStock

Brownies from a box sort of seem like cheating. If you add a layer of gooey caramel, they’re more than acceptable. The Comfort of Cooking’s recipe, which was adapted from Tracy’s Culinary Adventures, is about as easy as it gets and still manages to feel special. The filling is made from premade caramels thinned with a bit of cream, so you don’t even have to mess around with cooking sugar. For a turtle effect, stir some chopped pecans into the batter.


  • 1 (16-ounce) box chocolate chunk brownie mix
  • Eggs, as instructed on mix
  • Vegetable oil, as instructed on mix
  • Water, as instructed on mix
  • 14 ounces chewy caramel candies
  • ⅓ cup heavy cream

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil and grease with nonstick cooking spray.

Prepare brownie mix according to package directions, then pour just under half of the batter into the prepared pan, spreading with a spatula into an even layer. Bake for 15 minutes, remove from oven, and let cool for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt caramels with cream in a medium saucepan set over medium-low heat. Stir frequently until melted and combined. Pour caramel over brownie layer in the pan, and spread into an even layer. Top with remaining batter, making sure to completely cover the caramel. If brownie batter is too thick, heat in the microwave for 30 seconds to loosen it a bit.

Return pan to the oven and bake for an additional 25 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack. Use foil to lift brownies from pan, cut into squares, and serve.

2. Monster Cookies


Source: iStock

These timeless treats might have one of the best origin stories in the world of food. Supposedly, the recipe was published in a Michigan newspaper in 1971 after years of adaptation. The creator, Dick Wesley, was apparently trying to make a regular batch of peanut butter cookies when he realized there wasn’t any flour in the house. He improvised by tossing oats into the blender. Over time, the recipe grew to a huge quantity that required the assistance of an electric drill.

The cookies most of us know are probably a vast improvement from the original since baking is a lot more finicky than the recipe indicates. Taste a truly delicious version with this easy method from Recipe Girl. No drill required.


  • 1½ cups creamy or crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 4½ cups quick-cooking oats
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chocolate-coated candies

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease cookie sheets with nonstick cooking spray. Alternatively, line with parchment paper.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream peanut butter, butter, and sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla, and mix to incorporate. Add oats and baking soda, and mix on low speed just to combine. Using a spoon, stir in chocolate chips and candies.

Drop dough by heaping spoonfuls onto prepared baking sheets. Transfer to oven and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until set and edges are lightly golden. Cool for 5 minutes on cookies sheets, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

3. Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

Peanut Butter Cookies

Source: iStock

Recipes for three-ingredient peanut butter cookies have been floating around for years. They’re good, but they can be great by adding just a hint of vanilla and a sprinkle of salt. Try it out with Claire Robinson’s recipe, featured on Food Network. These cookies are the perfect dessert for anyone with friends avoiding gluten, just make sure to thoroughly clean you sheet trays and mixer if you’re baking any other cookies.


  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • Coarse sea salt

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and position racks in upper and lower thirds of oven. In a medium bowl, mix peanut butter, sugar, vanilla, and egg to combine. Spoon tablespoonfuls of the mixture onto ungreased baking sheets, leaving about 1 inch between each. Flatten mounds with the tines of a fork to create a crosshatch pattern. Sprinkle tops with salt.

Bake cookies until golden around the edges, about 10 minutes, switching position of sheet trays halfway through. Transfer to racks to cool and repeat with remaining dough.

4. Triple-Chocolate Cookies

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

Chocolate fans are a whole different breed of dessert lover. Not only do they require it in their treats, they also want it to be the star of the show. Satisfy the chocoholics in your life with Epicurious’s decadent cookies. The recipe features melted bittersweet chocolate, cocoa powder, and chocolate chips for a triple dose of rich flavor.

These treats are pretty fantastic the way they are, but you can play with a bunch of different mix-ins. Try white chocolate chips, nuts, or even toffee bits. To go seriously decadent, you can turn them into ice cream sandwiches.


  • 10 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • ½ cup plus 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Directions: Position rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two large, rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. In a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, melt chocolate, stirring, until smooth. Remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, sift flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in another medium bowl until crumbly. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Continue to beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add chocolate and vanilla. Beat just to combine. Fold in dry ingredients, then chocolate chips.

Drop dough by ¼ cupfuls onto prepared baking sheets, leaving 2 inches between each. Bake, one sheet tray at a time, until tops are cracked but cookies are not yet firm to the touch, about 16 minutes. Cool on baking sheets, then serve.

5. Oatmeal-Raisin Bars

Granola Bars, Breakfast

Source: iStock

With both oats and dried fruit, these bars from Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food are about as close to health food as dessert can get. Nutritional benefits aside, they’re also completely delicious. The combo usually appears in cookie form, but bars are even less work. Instead of portioning out the dough, you just press it into a pan. After 30 minutes, you’ll have some fantastic treats.


  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, melted, plus more
  • ¾ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup raisins

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan. Line bottom with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two sides, then butter parchment.

In a large bowl, whisk butter, sugars, eggs, salt, and cinnamon until smooth. Add flour, oats, and raisins. Fold just until combined.

Spread batter into prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool completely in pan. Use parchment to lift bars out of pan and cut into 16 squares.

6. Pretzel Chocolate Chip Cookies


Source: iStock

Anyone who loves sweet and salty treats will go absolutely nuts for Averie Cooks’s chocolate chip cookies studded with pretzels. It’s a simple twist that makes a huge difference. This recipe is also the perfect way to use up the leftover crushed pretzels, which always seem to accumulate at the bottom of the bag. For even more crunch, stir in some roasted, salted almonds.


  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1⅓ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 heaping cup mini pretzel twists, crushed
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Directions: In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter, sugars, egg, and vanilla on medium-high speed, about 4 minutes. Stop and scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula. Add flour, cornstarch, baking soda, salt, and beat just to combine.

Add pretzels and chocolate chips. Mix on low speed just to combine. Scoop ¼-cup portions of dough, roll into balls, then flatten slightly, and place on a large tray. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or grease with cooking spray. Set cookie dough rounds onto prepared sheet, leaving at least 2 inches between each. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until edges are lightly golden and tops have just set. Tops do need need to take on much, if any, color. Remove from oven and let cool on baking sheet. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week or in the freezer for up to six months.

7. Butterscotch Blondies

Blondie Brownies, Cookies, Peanut Butter Bars

Source: iStock

Not everyone loves chocolate. In fact, some despise the stuff. Instead of leaving those folks to fend for their own sweets, make a batch of these Butterscotch Blondies from Southern Bite. These bars are particularly good for a last-minute get togethers because they can be mixed and baked in just 30 minutes.

If you’re having a huge crowd, you might be tempted to double this recipe. Resist the urge, because baking doesn’t scale evenly. Your best bet is to make two batches. As long as you have enough butter softened, it won’t take much additional time.


  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup butterscotch chips

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large bowl, stir butter, brown sugar, egg, and vanilla until well combined. Add dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Stir in the butterscotch chips. Transfer dough to an ungreased, 8-inch square baking pan, and smooth top. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until just set. Let cool completely, then cut into bars.

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