I got mad skills…

There is nothing to make you feel more uncoordinated than playing video games with kids. I had an 8 year old desperately wanting to play Halo with me. I informed him that I was no good at playing Halo. That was putting it mildly. Being 8 an optimistic he didn’t seem to take me all that serious and assured me that he could do what others had not been able to before, he would teach me Halo.

I was already down and out staring at my little pink Xbox controller (yes, mine is pink) while he quickly went over what each button did and then listed the exceptions, which there seemed to be many of. I think at this point I was mostly blinking when I was informed just follow my guy and I’ll tell you what to do.

You think that would have been easy? Just follow his guy. Sure. Yeah, not so much. I couldn’t get my up and down right. I would move when I was supposed to be looking. And then the next thing you know I was somehow on fire. To which he was in awe that I was on fire since we hadn’t even gone against any enemy yet. Yes, my inadequate video game skills were shining through and through. Once I was brought back to life again and once I stopped laughing I attempted to follow him again. Which usually ended up with a whole lot of “no, up, you are looking down” and “where did you go?”

I never did end up getting to the point of actually going against an enemy. After 15 minutes of being completely lost and somehow setting myself on fire the oven timer went off and a 13 year came to my rescue and actually played the game how you are supposed to play it. I’m not giving up yet. I don’t think the 8 year old is going to let me. Next time I am just hoping to not catch on fire.

After a long day of being reminded you are old there is nothing better than chocolate. A few years ago I joined a group called Tuesdays with Dorie that my friend Laurie started. They finally reached the end of the book (it’s a big book and one you should own if you are a baker) and that got me thinking about some of the things I have made from that book. One was a chocolate chip topped brownie. Thought I would throw in left over Nutter Butters and add a few peanut butter chips and some peanut butter to the mix. Almost made me forget I suck at Halo. :D Almost.

Ghetto Chocolate Chip Topped Nutter Butter Brownie Bars

For the brownie layer:

9 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
8 ounces unsalted butter, cut into pieces (melt quicker that way)
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
30 Nutter Butter Cookies

For the cookie layer:

1 ¼ cups flour
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
10 TBSP unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 TBSP peanut butter, I used Jif
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
2/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
¾ cup milk chocolate chips
¾ cup peanut butter chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-x-13-inch baking pan, line it with wax or parchment paper and butter the paper. Put the pan on a baking sheet.

For the Brownie Batter: Put chocolate and the butter in a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Heat just until the ingredients are melted, stirring occasionally. Remove the bowl from the heat.

Working with a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the sugar and eggs on medium-high speed for about 2 minutes, until pale.

Beat in the salt and vanilla extract. Reduce the speed to low, and mix in the melted chocolate and butter, mixing only until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, then, still on low speed, add the flour, mixing only until it disappears into the batter.

Pour brownie batter into prepared pan. Place Nutter Butter Cookies close to each other but not overlapping (cut some in half if need be to make fit) until the brownie batter is covered in Nutter Butters.

Clean the mixer bowl to use again for the cookie dough.

For the Cookie Dough: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.

Working with a stand mixer, beat the butter, peanut butter, and both sugars together on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes.

One at a time, add the egg and the yolk, beating for 1 minute after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing only until they disappear into the dough. Mix in the chocolate and peanut butter chips.

Drop the cookie dough by spoonfuls over the brownie batter with Nutter Butters and, using a spatula and a light touch, spread it evenly over the batter.

Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until the cookie top is deep golden brown and firm and a thin knife inserted into the brownie layer comes out with only faint streaks of moist chocolate. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool to room temperature.

When the bars are completely cool, carefully run a knife between the sides of the pan and the brownies, then invert them onto another rack, remove the paper and turn right side up onto a cutting board. Cut into bars about 2 inches by 1 inch.

Adapted from Baking From My Home To Yours by Dorie Greenspan


  1. My teenage sons tried to get me to play Halo with them several times and while I never set myself on fire I never did get the hang of moving versus looking around. You are not alone!

    And, as always, LOVE your recipes…

  2. You are such a girl with your pink controller. :P

  3. Love the pink! I love to play video games but I am not a Halo person, at all,lol.

  4. LOL! “where did you go…?”
    ohhh lol
    The only video game I am decent at is that Mario Galaxy one–love that.

  5. Hah :) I’ll be happy to give you Halo lessons to impress the kids; it’s all about mapping the controller settings into something that works for you.

  6. my FIVE year old completely outplays me in Lego Star Wars.

  7. I USED to be good at video games. Played them all the time with my older brother growing up. But then one day he left for college, taking the gaming consoles with him (circa Nintendo 64) and since then have had little experience with gaming consoles and controllers outside of the Wii and Xbox Kinect (yay motion sensors). It’s really frustrating to know you used to possess these useless skills of video gaming. Hand me three of those brownie bars please.

  8. My attempts to play video games stopped with Ms. Pac-Man. Yep, I’m serious. And even then, I was better at making a pizza or a cookie look like a Pac-Man shape by biting into it than playing the actual game.

  9. I’ve written a few blog posts describing my videogame habits. For me it’s a hobby, has been since I was 2 1/2 years old (ColecoVision + Christmas + Awesome Parents :)). I’m a firm believer that there is a game for everyone you just have to find it. My mother used to play games all the time, but she’s not really adept at using a controller with more than two buttons. A few years ago we (brothers and I) took a chance and bought her a DS and Professor Layton and she was hooked. Now she anticipates the new games, and we love to surprise her with games we think she will like :).
    Halo is pretty advanced though :). I’m betting the reason why you were looking down when you thought you should be looking up is that you’re an inverted player (as am I), so you naturally pull back on the analog stick to look up and push forward to look down. Kids nowadays are the complete opposite so games do not default to this.
    The brownie looks awesome. Sometimes I forget I own that book. I should really flip through it again :). The images alone are enough to inspire a baking binge :).

  10. I’m not good at video games. I had a game cube when I was around 10 or so and the only games me and my sister played were Shrek and Aminal Crossing; those were fun games, but video games have gotten too complicated now.

    These brownies look delicious and full of awesomeness :)

  11. I’ve actually met Laurie at a Pittsburgh blogger meet-up, small E-world.

    I’m sure the 8yr old would forgive you for one of these bars, haha. I know I would.

  12. Those brownies look delicious!
    BTW, I wasn’t even good at video games when I was eight, so I can’t imagine how terrible I would be at 35. BUT, I can bake!

  13. As I sit here typing this I’m listening to my 14 yr old son play Halo with his friends, I get more joy out of listening to “dude, no, no, hey dude…stop, NOOOO, wait, and all the laughs and giggles, yes giggles (reminds me of Snidely Whiplash) so he can have his game. I’ll take 2 of these bars and just keep smiling while I listen <3

  14. I am just awful at all video games, too. The ‘rents never let us have a gaming system when we were growing up (“go play outside!”). As much as I hated it then, I’m glad for it now, despite my lackluster skills whenever I get near a controller these days.

  15. I suck hard core at any game where I could be attacked. Give me some tetris and I do have mad skills, lol. These butter butter babies look awesome.

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