Posts Tagged ‘chocolate’
Salty Sweet is one of my favorite flavor combinations. Wait, is that a flavor? In any case, I LOVE it! This recipe is a super easy, super fast one that both kids and adults will love. It is also a terrific recipe to get your kids involved in. Admittedly, I am sitting and directing the “baking” of this recipe while writing the blog post for it. It’s awesome to have such great helpers when I am feeling super lazy and just don’t feel like getting off my big preggo butt am 20 weeks pregnant and need to get rest every opportunity I can. Of course, I have to get up on occasion to take a picture of my adorable assistants. My children are unwrapping the candy pieces, arranging everything on the baking sheet, etc. This is a great opportunity to teach the kids (project manager is 10 and his worker bee is 6 years old) the important steps of cooking/baking: tying hair back, washing hands multiple times, procedures with hot items, and more.
We made this treat to give in a Valentine goody bag for the kids’ school teachers, and also for a little dessert to bring to a friend’s house this evening. The kids are always so excited to give their teachers presents that they get to create on their own!!!
Chocolate Pretzel Pieces (number of servings typically decided on the number of Rollo candy pieces)
- 1 bag of Rollo candy pieces (our batch had 56)
- 1 small bag pretzels, either the small twists or snaps (the square ones…I think these work best)
- 1 bag of m&ms
Place the pretzels in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Unwrap the Rollo pieces and place one directly in the middle of each pretzel. Place in preheated oven and bake 1 – 2 minutes, just long enough to melt chocolate pieces. Remove from oven and place one m&m on the top middle of each melted Rollo. Push the m&m down enough to flatten/squish the Rollo. Refrigerate immediately to set. Enjoy!
This recipe can be created with any of your favorite chocolate pieces (anything that melts) and candy pieces for the top. I have made this with Hershey Kisses to melt and pecans on top, etc… You decide!!!
Happy Early Valentine’s Day!
Holy Cow, I have a new favorite cookbook! Well, dessert book! Recently, while searching for inspiration, I went to my local library and checked out a few of the cookbooks. I have been looking for books that will not just give me recipes, but teach me how to bake. Why baking powder and not soda? Why eggs or just the yolks or only the whites? Paddle attachment versus whisking balloon? Though I LOVE to bake and can reproduce pretty much any recipe, admittedly, I have no idea how these people came up with this stuff. I am tired of reproducing recipes and ready to start creating my own. Why re-invent the wheel? I don’t know…a new sense of ownership in what I am working so hard on all the time? As you can see, I have a lot of questions when it comes to baking.
Well, now a LOT of them are being answered. By Sherry Yard. Although I do not know anything about this woman except what the biography in the book says and the little I have looked at online, I can tell you she is most certainly good at what she does. Just Google her name and see what you find. Her book,
is phenomenal. Not only does it provide wonderful recipes, but for me, the main attraction is the fact that she gives you wonderful details about how to do things, why you are doing them, what you can do differently, and how you can personalize it to make it your own. I enjoy the way she has the cookbook organized. One recipe leads to the other with a great fluidity. For instance, the ganaches are all grouped together, then categorized by soft, medium and firm. All the recipes that are similar to ganache, or use ganache as a base to build on, are also put in these categories. She recommends which recipes you can combine and how. It is simply fantastic!
This is no new book, in fact, it was published 8 years ago. But it is new to me and I am in love! I will be trying a great deal of recipes from it and checking it out from the library over and over again.
I will go ahead and post the first recipe I made from the book, but I think after this one, I will just continue posting a link to places you can purchase the book. So go buy it, or go look for it at your local library!
Baked Whiskey Tortes
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted (or Pam)
- 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (I purchased the Ghirardelli chips)
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 5 tablespoons sugar
- 3 tablespoons whiskey (I used Johnny Walker Black Label)
- 2 large eggs at room temperature
- Whipped crème fraîche for serving
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Adjust the rack to the center of the oven. Brush the inside of four 6 – ounce (medium) ramekins with melted butter (I used Pam and it did just fine).
- Using a serrated knife, finely chop the chocolate into 1/4 inch pieces and place it in a medium heatproof bowl (I didn’t do this since I purchased the bittersweet chips).
- Bring the cream and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Immediately pour the cream over the chopped chocolate. Tap the bowl on the counter to settle the chocolate into the cream, then let it sit for one minute. Using a rubber spatula, stir in a circular motion, starting from the center of the bowl and working out to the sides. Stir until all the chocolate is melted, about 2 minutes.
- Combine the whiskey and eggs in a bowl. Whisk them together then gently stir them into the ganache. When the eggs are thoroughly incorporated, pour the mixture into the ramekins, filling them three-quarters full.
- Place the filled ramekins in a large baking pan. Carefully pour hot water into the large pan until it comes halfway up the ramekins. Bake the tortes for 20 to 25 minutes, or until they feel firm to the touch (mine took right around 30 minutes I think. I started watching them at 20 and my finger was still sinking into the torte when I touched them. I waited until it barely gave at all and didn’t stick to my finger when touched). Allow the tortes to cool slightly before serving. The tortes can be made up to one day in advance and rewarmed before serving in a 325 degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes. Serve with a small dollop of whipped crème fraîche (I used vanilla ice cream and it was lovely!).
This recipe was VERY easy to make, even if you don’t know what you are doing. The chocolate was so smooth going down and blended very well with the ice cream. Prep and bake time took no more than an hour. Any company you have will most certainly call you a gourmet baker if you prepare this for them! Though, it should be noted that this is NOT a low calorie dessert!!! The recipe makes 4 servings and each one is over 675 calories! YIKES! Glad I looked that up so I could plan my whole daily caloric intake around eating one of these tonight!
Don’t know what to get your Valentine for that special day this year? Instead of the typical stuffed bear and box of chocolates why don’t you try this box of Valentine cupcakes? It was super fun to make and a great excuse to play with all the different designing techniques involved when it comes to icing. I had most of the materials on hand but did buy a few things like the chocolate hearts and the sugared jelly cherry hearts.
This, of course was very dangerous because every cherry heart that was not put on a cupcake was put in my mouth. Ugh…so much for today’s calorie counting!!! A few items I used to decorate: red hots, chocolate covered sunflower seeds in purple, chocolate hearts filled with caramel, and the m&m’s to fill the box.
The cupcakes in this box are mint chocolate chip with mint icing and snickerdoodles with buttercream icing. Since I knew I would be putting the time into the decorating, I took the “box shortcut” (as seen in the recipes below). Of course, any flavors would be great. If I were making several of these at one time I would make all sorts of flavors so there would be an assortment like a true box of chocolates. Next time, I will also probably stick with four or five designs for the tops of the cupcakes and just repeat them over and over. My inspiration for this came from the Hello Cupcake Blog. I am very happy with the results and I think I did a pretty good job recreating it. What a great, different idea for your important someone!
Mint Chocolate Chip Cupcakes
- 1 box triple chocolate fudge cake mix and all ingredients box mix requires
- 1 teaspoon mint extract
- 11/2 cups chocolate chips
Follow recipe as given on box but add in extract and chocolate chips. Bake as directed on box
- 1/2 cup shortening
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon mint extract
- 4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 2 – 3 tablespoons milk
Cream butter and shortening until smooth. Mix in extracts and confectioners’ sugar. Add milk until you have reached desired spreading/piping consistency.
- 1 box yellow cake mix (I used butter recipe) and all ingredients box mix requires
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
Follow recipe as given on box but add in cinnamon.
- 1/2 cup shortening
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 2 – 3 tablespoons milk
Which one is your favorite cupcake in the picture???
Happy Weekend! How did your week go? Mine has been fantastic! We had friends over for several dinners this week, spent a lot of time outside and at the park (it’s warmed up at a whopping 30 – 40 degree highs this week!), enjoyed a great deal of quality time with the kids, and I even had date night with my husband. I also finished my week of running today, ending with a total of 40 miles run from Monday to Saturday. I get to rest tomorrow before my Monday long run for 18 –20 miles. I’m hoping to make it the latter!
To celebrate this terrific week, I decided to seize the day and throw all the calories out the window…I deserved a TREAT! Have you ever been to Serendipity 3? Well, I haven’t either, but apparently for $8.95 you can buy what has been proclaimed to me as being one of the most amazing frozen drinks: their Frrrozen Hot Chocolate. I have never tasted the scrumptious drink, but it sounded perfectly wonderful to me the first time I heard about it. A friend of mine recently posted pictures of the drink online and it completely put me in the mood for it. Hey, I said it had warmed up here a little!!!
Naturally, I did what I usually do and went in search of a recipe to re-create. I found as much at Epicurious.com. I had all the ingredients on hand at home, so I got right to it! The recipe called for 6 ounces of your favorite mixture of chocolate. I wasn’t sure if I should go dark or milk, or semi-sweet or what. I used some German chocolates we purchased while visiting family, some dark Hershey chocolate kisses, and a bar of Hershey’s milk chocolate. Yum! How could I go wrong with that combo??? It truly was delicious and tasted just like a frozen hot chocolate. It was the perfect consistency and had a lovely smooth texture. Surely it could go toe to toe with a genuine S3 frozen hot cocoa. Guess I’ll have to make my hubby take me there next time we go to NYC. Next time I make it at home I will probably use more dark chocolates and less milk chocolate. However, I still have a whole container in the freezer now and that will last me a little while. At least until I earn it again after another week of running!
*UPDATE!* First and foremost, this cake has been aptly renamed JoAnna Banana Cake after my wonderful MIL who came up with the idea. Secondly…OH. MY. GOSH. This cake was F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S. I brought it to a neighbor’s for a New Years Eve party and I am pretty sure I saw eyes rolling back into some people’s head in ecstasy. I know, paints quite a picture, hmm? When I posted this I had only tried some extra cake with some extra peanut butter frosting. Putting it all together in the cake with the layers of peanut butter frosting and the chocolate on top made this one of the most remarkable cakes I have ever eaten in my life. The cooking style of the banana cake made it incredibly moist and a terrific choice to mix with the peanut butter and chocolate tastes. I can claim no credit for this because if it weren’t for JoAnna Banana it never would have happened!
After a conversation with my mother-in-law the other day, my husband and I decided I just had to try to create this cake. My MIL had whipped up a quick lunch for herself the other day – slices of banana bread with peanut butter on top. She told my husband about it and they joked how if you stuck them together and dipped them in chocolate it would be the perfect meal. So, well, WHY NOT??? The challenge was on. I went searching for a few banana cake recipes but none of them were exactly what I wanted. I found one that was close enough and put my own spin on it. I added a few ingredients like chocolate chips and pudding mix and changed a few other things like sour cream instead of buttermilk.
To fill the cake I used a peanut butter buttercream recipe that I ADORE and my ever faithful chocolate ganache to top it off!!! Peanut butter sandwich dipped in chocolate! I only wish my MIL was here to taste it. I am sure she would LOVE it.
Banana Peanut Butter Chocolate Sandwich Cake. I know the name is a mouthful, but you should try the cake! It really is a party in your mouth. Very rich with the crazy combination of bold flavors, but I don’t feel like it is too much. All three, the chocolate, banana, and peanut butter hold their own in this cake and combined make it EXPLOSIVE! That, of course, makes it perfect to bring to the new years celebration we are attending tomorrow.
Thanks for the idea J! It’s awesome! (Pics to come later).
Here is yummy recipe #2 from my first annual cookie exchange. I think it is a fairly well known cookie. Chocolate crinkles are basically a brownie mixture that you chill for HOURS. After waiting and waiting and waiting, you take the dough out of the fridge, roll it into balls and coat it with powdered sugar before baking. It is totally worth the wait. This was the other cookie from the exchange that was gone the first day I had them. So yummy and addictive! Thanks H.B. for contributing!.Chocolate Crinkles
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 cups white sugar
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 4 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
- In a medium bowl, mix together cocoa, white sugar, and vegetable oil. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt; stir into the cocoa mixture. Cover dough, and chill for at least 4 hours.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Roll dough into one inch balls. Coat each ball in confectioners’ sugar before placing onto prepared cookie sheets.
- Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes. Let stand on the cookie sheet for a minute before transferring to wire racks to cool.
These cookies have a wonderful cracked texture with the powdered sugar. They will add beauty and taste to any holiday place setting!
It is holiday cooking baking time!! These “patties” are easy to make, don’t actually require any baking, and little people can help out! They lend themselves particularly well to cookie exchanges … easy, fun & fancy looking, and package well!! Just be sure that you label them as “containing peanut butter” for anyone that might have nut sensitivities/allergies.
2 boxes Ritz crackers
l large jar Peanut butter, creamy or chunky
2 large packages Chocolate melts/bark
Makes: A whole bunch!! (more than 100 sandwiches – but I lost count after making what I needed for the cookie exchange)
Spread peanut butter on the inside of a cracker; put a top on it to make a little sandwich
Heat chocolate melts/bark in the microwave until smooth (check after 1 minute). If the chocolate is not thin enough for coating purposes, melt a bit of shortening and mix in well (do NOT use milk or water).
Using tongs, dip each sandwich in the melted chocolate mixture. Let excess drip off and place on cookie sheet lined with parchment or waxed paper.
Decorate before chocolate has a chance to set (I usually add the decoration/sprinkles after dipping 4-6 sandwiches). Can set up quickly by placing cookie sheet in the refrigerator.
Store in an airtight container.
This is it! Today is the day! 30 Days and 30 Bites has come to an end! I have made it through heaps of chocolate, fondant, fruits, FLOUR and more…and I am still standing and still married to my amazing husband :). I cannot express to you how glad I am that it is over! I am so happy I chose a THIRTY day challenge, and not a 365 day challenge. I give major kudos to Julia for making it through that cookbook in a year! I thoroughly loved this walk down the baking path, but I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again. The last thing I want to look at for at least a week is SUGAR. I don’t want to smell it, see it, eat it, feel it…I may even bring what I have left to my neighbors so it is out of the house!
When I started this challenge I thought it would be a good idea to keep track of the volumes of the various items that it took me to make it through the 30 days of baking. This was a bit of a let down actually. I definitely went through several bags of powdered sugar (all that icing!) and there is a good dent in my Sam’s Club size vanilla extract bottle. Other than that though, the amounts of things were not that impressive. I may have used 10 lbs of flour and five of sugar. Definitely half a (big) bag of brown sugar. I didn’t even use more than one or two cake boxes though. What a let down! I did, however, buy all sorts of things I never thought I would. For instance, almond paste, which took forever to find and looks like a refrigerated sausage. This just goes to show though, baking can certainly be done on a budget. For the most part, if you do any baking at all, you are probably going to have most of the materials on hand. And let me tell you, Chips Ahoy ain’t got nuthin on my chocolate chip cookies! I would much rather bake fresh goods than buy them packaged, any day!
I would like to thank my husband, who not only encouraged this baking bonanza, but also gave his honest opinion. Thank you sweetheart, for always eating the ugly cookies and cupcakes so I could save the pretty ones to give to our friends. You are the best!
So, a few things I learned: there is no such thing as too much vanilla; washing the stuff it takes to bake every day is really annoying; chocolate is God’s gift to mankind; my husband really will eat anything; sometimes simpler is better; sometimes better requires A LOT of work; I have a long way to go before opening that bakery!
So what am I going to do now? I thought about 30 Days of Diet, but to be honest I actually lost 4 pounds this month. I certainly had my days where I pigged out on that daily concoction, but for the most part I was so good about only eating one of what I made. Let me tell you, it was rough at first, but you already know how I feel about sugar now! I really do know why bakers can be thin…you really get to the point where you just can’t eat anything made with flour and sugar anymore!
Needless to say, I am taking a break from the kitchen. I have a few things (like those mango muffins) that I have the supplies for, so I need to bake them! I think I’ll enjoy it even more now without the pressure of having to write about it each night! I only missed one day out of 30, and that was day 15. I figure I deserved a break at the halfway point.
Of course, now on to the topic of tonight’s post…
I was trying to be so clever for my big finale. First I thought I would do some enormous topsy turvy cake. I decided I didn’t have it in me. I’ve tried that once before and the results weren’t pretty. Then I thought I would do something that required NO baking. Alas, I did not feel like making cheesecake (I just ate a friend’s 2 days ago) or no bake Krispies cookies. I finally just decided that I would delve into my allrecipes.com recipe box and find something I have been wanting to do for a while and haven’t. The final decision: Magic Peanut Butter Middles.
These required a little bit of extra work. As I have shown in the picture, you form the middles of a peanut butter mixture and then wrap them with a chocolate mixture. Everyone’s comments on the site were about different ways to make this work. You can try one or all of them, but in the end, it is all about what you feel comfortable doing.
The cookies received rave reviews after we brought them to a friend’s house this evening for game night. I definitely think I prefer the peanut butter cup cakes I made on day two of 30D30B. Those took a lot less work for something that tasted just as great, if not better.
I hope you have all enjoyed 30D30B. I know I have! Thanks to you for reading and thanks to my neighbors for allowing me to invade your houses with baked goods this month!
Tonight is going to be a little difficult to explain folks. If you are looking for something to spice up your life, this will be the dessert for you! If not, well, don’t even go there.
I baked the Chocolate Chili Cupcakes. We tasted the cupcakes. We rolled them around in our mouths and minds a little bit, and came to a few conclusions:
1. This cupcake would be great baked in a mini muffin tin. I was thinking, “chocolate, certainly an extra large muffin tin would be awesome!” If it were only chocolate, yes. But the chili really makes this a recipe that is great in small doses.
2. Chocolate Chili Cupcakes would be best served at a work luncheon (or equivalent) in those mini cupcake tins. Also, best at something like a Mexican Fiesta where the chili taste is expected and welcomed with open arms. Everyone will be astounded by the peculiar flavors and think it is a whimsical addition to the potluck. This is probably not a recipe you are going to make to just serve to your family at home.
3. This is not a typical dessert. The first thing I thought after eating this tonight was “I do not want this to be the last thing I eat tonight.” The chili taste in the cupcake is actually pretty low key. It is the AFTERTASTE that will not leave you! That warm, spicy, chili sensation that works its way around your tongue and inside your cheeks that lasts forever. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Just intense, and like I said, not what I want to relish for the rest of the night.
4. Despite the negativity that appears to be spoken here about these cupcakes, they were EXACTLY what I set out to make. I created a chili cupcake on my own and it tastes precisely like what I set out to achieve. If you want to try chocolate chili cupcakes, I highly recommend this recipe. Not to toot my own horn or anything, but for the first time, I hit the nail right on the head. This recipe is geared toward a small, unique group of you who would appreciate what the cupcakes have to offer.
So, without further ado, I am going to provide you with the recipe, as I baked it this evening:
Chocolate Chili Cupcakes
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line large muffin pans with paper cups. In medium bowl, pour boiling water over cocoa, and whisk until smooth. Let mixture cool. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, chili powder, cayenne pepper, cinnamon and salt; set aside.
- In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at time, then stir in vanilla. Add the flour mixture alternately with the cocoa mixture. Fill muffin cups 2/3 way full with batter. Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Allow to cool. Top with chocolate frosting.
for Chocolate Frosting:
- Mix all ingredients in large mixing bowl until smooth and creamy. Makes enough frosting for 1 large batch of muffins.
The Great Chocolate Melt of 2010! Today was what I would pretty much call a dud. I wanted to continue with my “technique” work. Turns out it didn’t work so well. For the sake of ease and productivity, I used the cupcakes I had previously frozen from the pink and green day. After I defrosted them I covered them with store bought cream cheese icing. Tough, I know!
The special part of today was supposed to be the toppers for the cupcakes. I thought I would practice free form chocolate melting. I went online and found a bunch of typical clipart pictures. Things like shells, hearts, animals, stars, etc. I printed the pictures out on a couple pieces of paper and taped them to a cookie sheet. Over the top of the pictures I taped a piece of wax paper. The idea was that I would trace the outlines of the shapes with a piping bag filled with chocolate, creating the shape to put on the cupcake. Easy enough, right?
Well, the chocolate melting went fine. The tracing even went fine after I practiced a bit (I do not have the steadiest hand for details like that). I chilled the chocolates and took them out to put on the cupcakes. I literally could not get more than one on a cupcake before they all started melting!!! I tried sticking my hands in ice to keep them cold. I put the spatula on ice that I was pulling them up with. It didn’t matter. Even when I perfected the method to get them off the cookie sheet and onto the cupcake, they still continued to melt.
I think the best thing to do to try to remedy this would be put the ICED cupcakes in the fridge before ever putting the chocolate on. That way, the chocolate will stay cold as soon as it touches the cupcake. But still, doesn’t that mean the cupcakes will ALWAYS have to be cold? Won’t the chocolate still melt as soon as you take it out to sit for an event? Anyone have the answers for me?
I am also attributing the melting to the fact that the chocolate is so thin. But that is the whole point of the free form melting. Oh well. As you can see in the pics, the chocolate pieces I tried to stand on their ends melted and kind of flopped over. If I laid them flat on the cupcake it seemed to work better…for the most part!