Easy (after) dinner recipes: It's Friday. Celebrate with dessert!

Easy (after) dinner recipes: It's Friday. Celebrate with dessert!
These rich brownies combine no less than three types of chocolate.
Recipe: Midnight chocolate brownies (Robert Lachman / Los Angeles Times)
It's Friday. You've made it. Celebrate with brownies. Or bread pudding. Or graham cracker chewy bars. Or have all three -- I won't tell.
Midnight chocolate brownie bites: These rich brownies combine no less than three types of chocolate, along with a hint of orange. They may be small, but they pack powerful flavor. Arm yourself with a big glass of milk when tackling these treats. You can find the recipe below.
Pete's bread pudding: Sometimes nothing beats a warm serving of bread pudding for dessert ... that is, unless you top it with a drizzle of rich caramel and creme anglaise.

Graham cracker chewy bars: These delicious little bars combine a dense graham cracker base with a velvety custard filling rich with brown sugar and chopped pecans. Sweet, but not overly so, each bar is like a perfect miniature pecan pie baked over a wonderfully crumbly graham cracker crust. Plan ahead and make an extra batch.


For more ideas, click through our easy dinner recipes gallery and check out our Dinner Tonight! page, devoted to recipes that can be made in an hour or less. Looking for a particular type of recipe? Comment below or email me at

Total time: 1 hour | Makes 25 brownies

Note: From former Times test kitchen director Donna Deane.

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter plus more to butter the dish
1/2 pound bittersweet chocolate
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon Grand Marnier
1 1/2 teaspoons lightly packed grated orange peel
2 eggs
1/4 cup best-quality cocoa
1/4 cup flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8-inch-square baking dish with aluminum foil, leaving a 1-inch overhang. Lightly butter the bottom and sides of the foil.

2. Melt the butter and bittersweet chocolate in a medium metal bowl set over simmering water until the mixture is smooth. Stir in the brown sugar until dissolved. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla and Grand Marnier, then the grated orange peel.

3. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, until completely blended and the mixture is shiny and smooth; the mixture will be thickened at this point.

4. Sift together the cocoa, flour and salt, then stir the flour mixture into the batter until blended. Fold in the mini chocolate chips.

5. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until puffed and almost set. Do not overbake. Cool while still in the pan, on a wire rack.

6. Lift the brownies out of the pan, using the foil as a handle, and invert the brownies onto a cooling rack. Gently peel off the foil, then return the brownies to their original position. Cool completely. Cut into 25 squares, trimming off the edges if desired.

Each serving: 134 calories; 2 grams protein; 15 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 9 grams fat; 5 grams saturated fat; 27 mg. cholesterol; 21 mg. sodium.