College Dorm Brownies

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College Dorm Brownies

When did I start baking? I can trace it back to my junior year of college.

I’ll get into why in a minute, but I was pretty much hooked from the start. What could be more amazing than dreaming of a dessert and then creating it? Sure, back then I needed recipes (I was very reliant on them),  but it was still a lot of fun to cook in my crappy dorm kitchen.

These brownies are the first ones I ever baked from scratch, and the first baked good I ever added my own spin to. I used to call them “candy bar brownies” because they are very much like that. Rich, fudgy brownies are filled with peanut butter and milk chocolate chips, with a thick layer of the same on top. They’re crazy addictive!

College Dorm Brownies

When I was in college, I had a boyfriend who was sort of local to the area. He’d invite me to his mom’s house on weekends, and I always wanted to bring a hostess gift of some kind. The problem? I didn’t have much money, and whatever money I did have I would spend on veggie burgers to make it through the week.

That’s when I started learning how to bake. I went to the college bookstore and bought a Pillsbury baking book (still one of my favorites) in the reduced-price bin. If I couldn’t bring expensive chocolates or bottles of wine (um, wasn’t 21 yet) as a present, I could at least bring baked goods.

College Dorm Brownies

At first, it was something of a struggle. I had no mixer, didn’t know what any of the directions meant (creaming? straining? whaaat?), and didn’t own more than one or two pans. Luckily, these brownies fit into the one kind of pan I did have: the ever-useful 9 x 13.

One day, I was in the baking aisle at the only grocery store I could walk to, and I found a box of Baker’s unsweetened chocolate. On the back was a recipe for one-bowl brownies, and there was no mixer needed. I could just melt the butter and chocolate in a microwave, mix stuff together, and be done with it. Instantly, that became my go-to brownie recipe of the 90s.

College Dorm Brownies

When Reese’s peanut butter chips burst onto the baking scene, I found them at the grocery store, too. They got a lot of use in my kitchen then, and they still do. I think they always will!

These brownies are full of both milk chocolate chips and peanut butter chips. When the brownies come out of the oven, I sprinkle the same mixture over the top, let it melt, and spread the chocolate over the surface. When it hardens, it’s like a brownie and candy bar in one!

College Dorm Brownies

I might not be in college anymore (not by a long shot), but I can still enjoy these brownies to the utmost. I hope you do, too!


College Dorm Brownies


3/4 cup butter
4 squares unsweetened chocolate
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
1 cup peanut butter chips, divided
1 cup milk chocolate chips, divided


  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Line a 9 x 13 pan with foil and coat with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Melt the butter and chocolate in the microwave for one minute. Stir, and then heat in 30-second intervals (stirring each time) until melted and combined.
  3. Add the sugar and mix well. Stir in the eggs and vanilla. Finally, add the flour and mix until just combined. Fold in 1/2 cup each of the peanut butter and milk chocolate chips.
  4. Spread in the prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, turn it off, and sprinkle on the other 1/2 cup of both the peanut butter and milk chocolate chips.
  5. Return the pan to the oven for 2 minutes. Take it out and use a knife to spread the melted peanut butter and chocolate chips together in a vague marbled pattern.
  6. Cool completely until the chocolate is set, about 2 hours. Cut into squares and store in an airtight container.


I fulfill many roles in life: wife, mother, teacher, everlasting learner. This site is dedicated to one role that expresses my creativity in ways that I find consistently challenging and rewarding: baker. Inventing new ways to enhance food, especially if that food involves chocolate or peanut butter (or both!), is a passion of mine. I look forward to sharing my ideas with you.

This Post Has 28 Comments

  1. Kate @ Framed Cooks

    Ah Mir, you just zapped me back to my own days of cooking in my college apartment kitchen. One year we decided to cook Thanksgiving dinner (why? we were all going home for Thanksgiving in a week – crazy kids!)…we should have made these delectable brownies instead! Happy Monday! 🙂
    Kate @ Framed Cooks recently posted…Torn Egg SaladMy Profile

    1. Mir

      I can’t argue with TWO Thanksgiving dinners. That sounds brilliant!

  2. Megan - The Emotional Baker

    These brownies are perfect! Tried and true recipes are the best 🙂 I love that you made these in college – the best I could do back in those days were muffin mixes (even though I started baking in high school!)
    Megan – The Emotional Baker recently posted…Banana Cashew Butter Yeast BreadMy Profile

    1. Mir

      I love this recipe because tried and true is definitely my happy place!

  3. Gayle @ Pumpkin 'N Spice

    My idea of baking in college was toasting a bagel! But luckily, I found my passion for baking and cooking after college. The the looks of these brownies, Mir! Yum!

    1. Mir

      I got very domestic in college. Now I’m over it! 🙂


    All I really remember preparing for myself and others in college was tuna! Hhahaha – I wish I knew you then – although you would have been in pre-school at the time… these are a treat and a half!! Pinned! recently posted…Soul Snacks {Food Edition}My Profile

    1. Mir

      I couldn’t bake in preschool. But yeah, I got my baking on early!

  5. Sues

    I definitely didn’t bake things like this in my college dorm! It wasn’t until I got an apartment that I really started getting into it… These look seriously delicious 🙂

    1. Mir

      Maybe it was having a college apartment. I had to do something with that kitchen!

  6. Cheyanne @ No Spoon Necessary

    Well it was totally sweet of you to want to bring your boyfriend’s mother a gift when she had you over! You need to come over to my house one of these days, Mir…. and don’t forget to bring me some baked goods. hahahaha. I KID! Anyways, I love hearing how you got your start baking! I’m still a fan of easy peasy, one bowl recipes that can fit into that trusted 9×13 pan!! Love these brownies! They look totally rich and off the charts delicious! Plus I’m a HUGE fan of Reeses peanut butter chips! Gimme gimme gimme (just in a white chocolate version of course) lol. Cheers, sweets!
    Cheyanne @ No Spoon Necessary recently posted…Ham & Pear Sandwich {with Arugula & Manchego}My Profile

    1. Mir

      Whenever I visit someone, I try to bring baking. It’s become a habit now!

  7. Karen @ The Food Charlatan

    Wow you were a super-aware 19 or 20 year old. I never would have thought to bring a hostess gift. I’m just classy like that. haha! But who could say no to these brownies?? They look amazing!!

    1. Mir

      I felt like I had to bring something for her because she fed me a lot, which was nice. 🙂

  8. Manali@CookWithManali

    They definitely look very fudgy, yum! first recipes are always special 🙂
    Manali@CookWithManali recently posted…Tofu Tikka MasalaMy Profile

    1. Mir

      They sure are! I’ll always love these!

  9. Alice @ Hip Foodie Mom

    Mir, I loved reading about how you started baking! what a great story! you spent all your money on veggie burgers in college? I ate stromboli’s like there was no tomorrow. . this is why I was heftier back then 🙂 LOVE these brownies! the perfect sweet treat!
    Alice @ Hip Foodie Mom recently posted…Zucchini Carrot MuffinsMy Profile

    1. Mir

      I ate veggie burgers because they were nutritious and affordable. Every now and then, somebody would treat me to pizza. And oh please. I’m sure you’ve always been as gorgeous as you are now!

  10. David @ Spiced

    Haha…what a fun story! I’m totally imagining you rocking out baking these brownies in your college dormroom…all while wearing a neon windbreaker. (It was the 90’s after all!) Admit it. You had a neon windbreaker. I know I did. Heck, I kinda wish I still had it. 🙂 These brownies sound amazing, and I could definitely go for one or four right about now. Yum!
    David @ Spiced recently posted…Sausage and Egg Breakfast BraidMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Oh my gosh. I SO miss my neon windbreaker!! That thing was ROCKIN’.

  11. Shashi at RunninSrilankan

    Mir, you are on a brownie roll! These look like they most definitely could be crazy addictive! Your college boyfriend’s mom must have LOVED you – taking baked goodies trumps wine or any other sort of gift – at least in my books! I so love how you made the most of what you had to come up with some stellar brownies – now please tell me you sold a gazillion of these to your college mates and got to eat the deluxe version of veggie burgers for the rest of your time there? 🙂
    Shashi at RunninSrilankan recently posted…Tahini-Free, Hummus Dips!My Profile

    1. Mir

      Oh man! I shoulda sold them. Why didn’t I do that?!

  12. Amanda

    I started baking with brownies too. My hat is off to you for baking in a college dorm. I tried that for a couple bake sales and it was challenging to say the least! These sound amazing!
    Amanda recently posted…Rice PuddingMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Brownies are the place to start! And yeah, it was tough in that tiny kitchen!

  13. Mary

    Brownies are my weakness, I can never have just one and these College Dorm Brownies would destroy my diet. lol They look delicious

    1. Mir

      They’re my weakness too, so I just give in. Thanks, Mary!

  14. Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust

    I never lived in a dorm…or with roommates. I think I was cheated out of an integral part of life!! These brownies…good anywhere, OMG!
    Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust recently posted…Salted Caramel Mocha Cheesecake DipMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Aw man! Dorm life is beautifully sketchy. No A/C, communal bathrooms…kind of like camp. But that’s okay. I’m sure you’ll be fine without that experience!

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