Blondies

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Chocolate Shortbread Blondies with Coconut Topping

So, you’ve been invited to a Labor Day barbecue this weekend. That’s so nice. And the hostess asked if you would bring dessert, but you’re a little baffled right now because you can’t come up with something that’s sorta easy to make but tastes really good, huh? Well, Mama has a suggestion that you might like. It involves all the things I hold dear in life, which is chocolate, brown sugar, coconut and salted nuts. Yes I know, all rolled up into one!

I just can’t get enough of these Blondie Bars, each layer of these bars is delish on their own. You’ve got your chocolate shortbread crust, your creamy sweet Blondie layer, and then it’s all topped off by a chewy coconut macaroon topping. Now how good does this sound?

Your going to line your pan with foil so that when the Blondie’s have finished cooling in the pan, you can lift them out using the edges of the foil so that you can cut them into professional looking bars. To get extra clean cuts, I chilled mine for about 4 hours before cutting.

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Chocolate Shortbread Blondies with Coconut Topping

Blondies

From Better Homes & Gardens 

  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 2/3 cups unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup salted cashews, roughly chopped

Coconut Topping

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 1/4 cups sweetened flaked coconut
  • 3 lightly beaten egg whites
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Directions

The Crust:  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 13″ x 9″ baking dish with foil that’s been sprayed with cooking spray, having the edges extend over the sides about 2 inches so that you’ll be able to lift the finished bars easily from the pan. Whisk together 1 1/2 cups of the flour, the sugar and the cocoa powder in a medium bowl. Using your thumbs and forefinger, cut in 1 cup of the butter until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Then mix in the mini chips. Press the mixture evenly into the foil-lined baking dish and bake for 8 minutes until set.

Coconut Topping: Whisk the 1/3 cup sugar and 1/4 flour together in a medium bowl.  Add the 1 1/4 cups of flaked coconut and toss with your hands coating the coconut with the flour/sugar mixture. Stir in the egg whites and the vanilla until everything is incorporated. Then set aside.

Next, in a medium saucepan, add the brown sugar and 2/3 cup of butter, and over medium heat, stir until the mixture is melted and smooth. Cool slightly.  Add the eggs one a a time stirring with a wooden spoon after each addition until combined. Stir in the vanilla. Stir in the remaining 2 cups of flour, the baking power and baking soda. Stir in the nuts. Pour the batter over the crust using a small offset spatula to make it smooth and even. Spoon the coconut topping into small mounds on top of the batter, carefully spreading it to the edges of the pan. Bake for 32-34 minutes until topping starts to lightly brown. Cool in the pan on a wire rack.

When cool, using the edges of the foil, lift the Blondies out of the pan and cut into bars.

Makes 24 – 2″ square bars

Chocolate Shortbread Blondies

Chocolate Shortbread Blondies

Mama’s Tips:

I kept these bars in the fridge to chill and they took on the consistency of candy bars as opposed to a brownie bar. They were quite good.

You don’t necessarily have to cut these bars into 2″ squares, get creative. I cut some of them into 1″ x 3″ bars and others into 1″ squares for a bite-size party treat. To get a good, clean cut with your knife, make sure you chill these first. Use a ruler when measuring these out so all the bars are the same size.

Blondie Bars

Blondie Bars

Recipe: Easy


Chocolate Biscotti

Chocolate Biscotti

Chocolate Biscotti

I love crunch and I love nuts, and come on friends, we’ve been over this again and again…you know how obsessed I am with chocolate. So here we have it, Chocolate Biscotti, it’s a virtual no-brainer!  And, as if this cookie is not already sheer perfection, yes, you guessed it, it’s dipped in a lovely chocolate glaze. Need I say more?

Well…of course I’ll say more, that’s what I do. I love to make biscotti simply because they’re so easy.  You shape the dough into logs, bake ‘em, slice them while they’re still warm, and then, bake ‘em again. These biscuits are really perfect to accompany a cup of coffee or a hot cup of tea, but seriously I eat six of these before the coffee’s even brewed. I’m so bad.

But I’m still not done touting the virtues of this humble confection. These little gems will store for at least a couple of weeks in an airtight container (yeah right, like these would last at my house for a couple of weeks!) And, if you’re like me and you love to send your friends and loved ones homemade treats, these will arrive at their intended destination fully intact. So what more could a girl ask for…well, maybe a flat stomach and longer legs, but that ‘aint gonna happen.

Chocolate Biscotti

Chocolate Biscotti

Chocolate Biscotti

From “Great Cookies” by Carole Walter

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sifted cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3 large eggs
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter melted and cooled to tepid
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 1 bag (12 ounce) semi sweet chocolate chips

Chocolate Glaze

  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 8 ounces good quality semi sweet chocolate

Directions

  1. Place the racks in the oven in the upper and lower thirds. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line your baking sheets with parchment or a silpat.
  2. Sift together the flour, cocoa and baking powder and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs and salt on medium speed until lightened in color, about two minutes. Gradually add the sugar, then beat in the vanilla. Pour the tepid butter down the side of the bowl and beat for 30 more seconds.
  3. Using a spatula, stir in the walnuts and chocolate chips, then fold in the dry ingredients in three additions, mixing only until ingredients are incorporated. Let the dough rest for ten minutes to thicken.
  4. Drop the dough by heaping spoonfuls onto the pans and form four logs (2 logs on each pan) measuring about 10 inches by 2 inches wide. Flour your hands lightly so you can easily work with the dough.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes, or until set on top. Let logs cool on pan for at least 20 minutes.
  6. Lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees F. Using a serrated knife, cut the logs into 1/2″ slices. Turn the slices cut side up, and return to the oven to bake for 10 minutes. Turn the cookies onto their other side and return to the oven for another 10 minutes until cookies are crisp. When done, remove from oven and let cookies cool.
  7. To make the glaze:  Place the water, corn syrup and sugar into a heavy 2-quart saucepan. Bring to a boil over low heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate. Let it stand for 3 minutes, then whisk until smooth. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes to thicken, then dip the ends of the cookies in the glaze and place on parchment until the chocolate is set.
Chocolate Biscotti

Chocolate Biscotti

Chocolate Biscotti

Chocolate Biscotti

Recipe: Easy


Flourless Chocolate Cake

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Flourless Chocolate Cake

A chocolate smackdown. That’s the only way I can describe this Chocolate Flourless Cake. It is a dense cake, with such intense chocolate flavor that I assure you, my food infatuated friends, that a small sliver is all you’ll need. And don’t be alarmed when you take it out of the oven and it seems to slowly deflate and become cracked and dented, that’s what’s supposed to happen. That’s this cake’s natural charm. It’s not about physical perfection in this particular decadent dessert, but about flavor. If you don’t like chocolate, then pal, you came to the wrong blog posting.

I like to serve it lightly dusted with powdered sugar and a dollop of freshly whipped cream. I guarantee, when you serve this to your troops, you’ll look like a real hero. Mama doesn’t lie.

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Flourless Chocolate Cake

From Tyler’s Ultimate

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut up, plus more to butter the pan
  • 1 pound bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
  • 9 large eggs, separated
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • Powdered sugar for dusting

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Melt 1-2 tablespoons of butter, and using your pastry brush, butter the inside of a 9″ springform pan.
  2. Using a sharp knife on a cutting board, chop your chocolate into small pieces all approximately the same size for even melting. Cut your butter into pieces and place the chocolate and the butter in a medium sized plastic bowl and melt in the microwave in 20 second increments. Using a rubber spatula, stir the chocolate mixture after each 20 seconds. Be very careful not to burn the chocolate as it will seize.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, or with a hand-held mixer, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until pale yellow in color. Mix a little of the chocolate mixture into the egg yolk mixture to temper the eggs. If you add all the warm chocolate to the egg mixture all at once it will scramble the eggs and we don’t want that. Then add the rest of the chocolate to the eggs.
  4. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or with a hand-held mixer, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks are formed. Gently add the egg whites to the chocolate mixture being careful not to deflate your egg whites.
  5. Pour the mixture into your prepared pan.
  6. Bake until the cake is set, the top starts to crack, and when a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out with moist crumbs clinging to it. It took about 50-55 minutes for my cake to bake. All ovens are different, so the time is approximate.
  7. Let the cake sit in the pan for about 10 minutes before releasing the sides.
  8. Serve at room temperature. You can dust with powdered sugar, and serve with a dollop of freshly whipped cream.

Serves 8-10

Flourless Chocolate Cake, right out of the oven in your 9" Springform pan.

Flourless Chocolate Cake, right out of the oven in your 9″ Springform pan.

Mama’s Tips:

When separating your eggs; take good care not to get any yolk in the whites or stiff peaks will not form. Also, make sure that your bowl and beaters used to whip the whites are free of any grease as that will cause your whites not to peak.

When adding stiff egg whites to a batter, always do so gently so that you do not deflate the egg whites. Fold in gently with a metal spatula.

When melting chocolate in the microwave; always do it in small increments of 20 seconds so that you do not burn the chocolate. If the chocolate gets too hot it will seize. Always stir with a rubber spatula after each 20 seconds.

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Recipe: Easy


Chocolate Pecan Cookies

Chocolate Pecan Cookies

Chocolate Pecan Cookies

What can I say, baking cookies never gets old for me. Yes, I’m at it again, yet another cookie recipe. People ask me all the time, “Sheryl, don’t you ever get tired of doing this?” No, no I don’t. While others are out in the world doing productive things with their lives, I prefer to remain at home in the privacy of my own kitchen measuring out flour and butter, rolling dough into cute little balls and watching them sprout into delectable little cookies.

I know, girl get a life. I do like to stand in front of the oven with the light on watching my dough balls morph into crispy, crunchy edible treats. It’s a harmless obsession really. These Chocolate Pecan Cookies are a particular favorite of mine as I like nothing more in life than chocolate and nuts, best combo ever since Kim and Kanye, am I right? As if these cookies are not already perfect enough, the chocolate drizzle on top is the icing on the cake, or the cookie…you know what I mean.

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Chocolate Pecan Cookies

Chocolate Pecan Cookies

From Bon Appetit

  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, melted & cooled
  • 1/3 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons, plus 2 teaspoons light corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (I used half cup of each)
  • 1/2 cup bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.  Stir the melted butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, corn syrup, milk and vanilla in a medium bowl until you achieve a smooth consistency. Next, stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture. Then add the nuts, stirring to incorporate. Transfer the mixture to a covered container and chill for at least four hours. You can make the dough a day ahead of time, and just keep it chilled in the refrigerator.
  2. On baking day, preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line 3 large baking sheets with parchment. Measure 2 tablespoons of dough, roll it between your palms to form a ball. Place the ball on your prepared baking sheets. Using your fingers, spread out the dough into a 3-inch diameter disk. If it makes it easier for you; pre-draw 3-inch circles on your parchment paper. Using a 3-inch round cookie cutter, I placed my ball of dough in the center of the cutter and smushed it out inside the cutter to form a 3-inch disk. I fit 6 cookies on each baking pan.
  3. Bake cookies about 10 minutes until flat and beginning to darken around the edges. Transfer the cookies on the parchment to a cooling rack.
  4. To make my chocolate drizzle, I took about 4 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate (finely chopped) and about a teaspoon of Crisco and placed it in a bowl. I gently microwaved it at 15-second intervals, stirring after each interval until I got a drizzly consistency of chocolate. I placed my cookies on a cooling rack and then put paper towels underneath the cooling rack before I drizzled the cookies with the chocolate. Let the cookies stand for about 30 minutes until the chocolate sets.

Makes 16 – 3″ cookies.

Chocolate Pecan Cookies

Chocolate Pecan Cookies

Mama’s Tips: 

One of my most useful kitchen accouterments is a cookie cutter set like this.  For this particular recipe, I used the 3-inch cutter. I placed the cutter on the parchment covered cookie sheet, and then took my dough ball and pressed it into the cutter to achieve a uniform size for all my cookies. You always want your cookies to be the same size and thickness so that they will bake evenly for yummy results.

Recipe: Easy


Chocolate Doughnuts

Chocolate Doughnuts

I guess this recipe is going out to all the chocolate lovers out there. Those of us who openly and freely admit that we love chocolate. I was having a real hankering the other day for something chocolatey, and so I took out the doughnut pans and decided, why not make these baked Chocolate Doughnuts with a Chocolate Glaze.

In retrospect, these may have even been a bit too chocolatey even for me. Next time I may douse them in a vanilla glaze, or simply just dust them with a sprinkling of powdered sugar. Nonetheless these were still delicious, and extremely easy to make. You will however need a standard sized doughnut pan to accomplish the task. I found mine at my local baking supply store, but you can also easily find them online was well. I won’t try to con you into thinking these are not highly caloric, but the upside is that these are baked and not fried, so that’s a good thing, right?

The secret ingredient here is the espresso powder, as it really enhances the chocolate flavor. But, if you don’t have access to it, don’t worry, they will still taste amazing. And then, bring out your array of sprinkles and jimmies because that’s the best part of this entire process. Really, who doesn’t like jimmies!

Chocolate Doughnuts

Chocolate Doughnuts

From King Arthur Flour

  • 2/3 cup good quality cocoa powder
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon espresso powder, optional
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons vinegar, white or cider
  • 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) melted butter or 1/3 cup vegetable oil

Chocolate Glaze

  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 6 tablespoons half & half or cream (light or heavy)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease the wells of two standard doughnut pans. If you don’t have two pans, simply bake the batter in two batches.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cocoa, flour, sugar, baking powder, espresso powder, baking soda, salt, and chocolate chips. Set aside.
  3. In a large measuring cup or medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, vanilla and vinegar.
  4. Add the wet ingredients, along with the melted butter or vegetable oil, to the dry ingredients, stirring to blend; there’s no need to beat the batter, just make sure everything is well-combined.
  5. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan(s), filling them between 3/4 and full.
  6. Bake the doughnuts for 13-15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of one comes out clean.
  7. Remove the doughnuts form the oven, and after 30 seconds or so, loosen their edges, turn the pan upside down over a rack, and gently let the doughnuts fall onto the rack.
  8. For sugar-coated doughnuts, immediately shake the doughnuts in 1 tablespoon granulated sugar; add 1/2 teaspoon cocoa powder to the sugar for an additional touch of chocolate.
  9.  If you want to ice the doughnuts rather than shake them in sugar, allow them to cool completely before icing.
  10.  To make the glaze: Combine the chocolate chips and half & half or cream in a microwave-safe bowl or measuring cup. Heat in 20 second increments, stirring the mixture in between until you get a smooth consistency.
  11. Remove from the microwave, and stir until the chips have melted and the glaze is smooth.
  12.  Spread glaze on the doughnuts.

Makes 18 doughnuts

Chocolate Doughnuts

Mama’s Tips

Let your doughnuts cool completely before you cover them in the glaze.

Store doughnuts in an airtight container, and they should last for three days…if you don’t finish them first.

Chocolate Doughnuts

Recipe: Easy


Chocolate Truffle Brownies

Chocolate Truffle Brownies

What’s the best way for a mother to send her child off to college; with a pan of super-chocolatey brownies of course. I had spent days packing for my son Michael, purchasing him some pots and pans, bedding and laundry detergent, as well as a variety of other items I know he’ll never use. I had filled boxes with every and anything a young man would need for his survival out there in the world. It was as if we were sending him off to the most remote region of the universe, when in reality he was only going an hour away to Santa Barbara.  Oh my God, did I pack the electric pencil sharpener?

We loaded two cars and made the quick trip up the Pacific coast to the student housing where he was sharing an apartment with three other guys. I laughed to myself as we entered the apartment. There were three sets of parents unpacking, making beds, setting up tv’s and printers, and stacking a hundred boxes of Kraft macaroni and cheese into the pantry closet. The kids all sat in the living room with their cell phones and laptops, laughing and getting to know one another, while the mothers nervously scurried about.

After roughly four hours in that apartment my work there was done, and I could see the look on my son’s face. “Mom, will you just go!” He couldn’t wait to begin his new adventure…without his mama!  As my husband and I left, I handed him a tray of my chocolate truffle brownies. He had his pencil sharpener, a year’s supply of black sox, and brownies. Mission complete.

Chocolate Truffle Brownies

Chocolate Truffle Brownies

Bon Appetit, July 2010

  • 12 ounces semi-sweet, or bittersweet chocolate ( do not exceed 61% cacao), chopped and divided into half
  • 11 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into 1″ cubes
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup walnuts, toasted, coarsely chopped
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream

Directions

  1. Place the rack in the center of the oven, and preheat to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line a 9x9x2-inch baking pan with foil, leaving an overhang. This will make it easy to lift your brownies out of the pan when it’s time to cut them. Spray the foil with non-stick vegetable oil spray.
  3. Combine 6 ounces of the chocolate, and the butter in a medium microwave safe bowl. Start microwaving at 25 seconds, then stir, then 20 seconds and stir until the mixture is smooth and melted. Cool the chocolate mixture for 10 minutes.
  4. Whisk sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, and salt in large bowl to blend. Then whisk in the chocolate mixture. Stir in flour, then chopped walnuts.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake the brownies until a tester inserted into the center comes out with moist crumbs attached, 26-28 minutes. Transfer pan to a cooling rack and let the brownies cool completely.
  6. When brownies are cooled, bring the cream to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat. Place remaining chocolate in a medium bowl and pour the heated cream over the chocolate. Let it stand for 5 minutes then whisk until smooth.
  7. Pour the chocolate ganache over the brownies in the pan and spread evenly to cover completely. A small off-set spatula works well for this.
  8. Let stand at cool room temperature until topping is set, about 4 hours.
  9. Using the overhang foil as an aid, lift the brownies from the pan and fold down the edges.
  10. You can now cut the brownies into squares,  1″x 3″ bars, or into 1″x 1″ squares.

Chocolate Truffle Brownies

Mama’s Tips:

Using better quality chocolate will yield better tasting brownies. Use the best you can afford.

When the brownies have cooled, place them in the refrigerator for an hour for easier cutting.

I like to keep my chocolate truffle brownies in the refrigerator as they turn to a fudge-like consistency. At room temperature they remain more cake-like.

Recipe: Easy


Mini Chocolate Mousse

Chocolate Mousse

Chocolate Mousse

Last weekend my job was to bring a dessert to a friend’s wedding shower. I thought I had been handed quite a daunting task. I knew that if I was going to serve dessert to a group of women in Los Angeles that it would have to be in mini portions. Perfect.  No problem. What better way to end a meal than with a rich, creamy, chocolatey mousse.  Any three ounce vessel will work for the mini portion.  Being the Mama that I am, it made me very happy to see that everyone had finished their desserts.

Mini Chocolate Mousse

Mini Chocolate Mousse

Mini Chocolate Mousse 

From Tyler’s Ultimate 

  • 6 ounces semi sweet chocolate, chopped (good quality)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/4 cup, plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup chilled heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Directions
  1. Bring about an inch or two of water to a simmer in a saucepan; put the chocolate and butter in a heat proof bowl and set it over the pan. Stir with a wooden spoon until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. At no time can any water get into the chocolate or it will seize. Remove the bowl from the heat and let the mixture cool slightly. Then whisk in the egg yolks, one at a time until the mixture is smooth.
  2. In the bowl of your electric mixer, beat the egg whites with the whisk attachment until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in 1/4 cup of sugar until stiff peaks form.Gently transfer  the egg white mixture to a grease-free bowl, and rinse the electric mixer bowl with very cold water.
  3. In the cleaned bowl of the electric mixer, beat the heavy cream until it begins to thicken. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar and the vanilla and continue beating until the cream holds soft peaks.
  4. Next, stir a spoonful of the egg white mixture into the chocolate mixture to lighten it, then fold in the rest. Next, fold in the whipped cream, do not overwork the mousse or it will become heavy. You can now evenly divide the mousse among your glasses. This recipe will serve 4 regular sized portions, or about 10 mini portions.

Mama’s Tips:

  1. Do not get any egg yolk into the egg whites, or stiff peaks will not form.
  2. Make sure all bowls and utensils used to whip egg whites are grease-free, or stiff peaks will not form.
  3. Do not get any water into chocolate, or the chocolate will seize.

Recipe: Intermediate



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