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.

DSC_0021

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



Chocolate Brioche

Chocolate Brioche

I come from a long line of bread eaters. We’re a hearty group and we can make a meal out of bread. Meat, fish and vegetables are nice, but really we’re quite satisfied with just bread. Maybe it’s my Eastern European ancestry that makes me appreciate what one can do with a little bit of yeast and some flour. You see, we’re simple folk. I love a loaf fresh out of the oven, slathered in butter or with a dollop of marmalade. Pita, naan, ciabatta or tortillas, call it what you will, it’s all good to me. I think it’s funny, all these people nowadays cutting bread out of their diet, well that’s just plain crazy to me.

I know some people are intimidated when they see yeast in a recipe. One of my favorite books, “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day” has taken the trauma out of bread making. If you have the slightest interest in making your own bread, and trust me you should, then I highly recommend this book to you.

One of the best recipes in the book is their chocolate brioche. It’s a rich, eggy bread, golden on the outside with bittersweet chocolate ganache swirled on the inside. It was today’s breakfast, lunch and dinner. Nothing wrong with that, right?

Chocolate Brioche 

From Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

Brioche Dough

  • 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water 
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Kosher salt
  • 8 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, melted, plus butter for greasing the pan
  • 7  1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • Egg wash, (1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of water)
Directions
  1. You can make this dough using a spoon, a large food processor or an electric mixer. I made it in the bowl of my electric mixer.
  2. Mix the yeast, salt, eggs, honey and melted butter with the water in the bowl.
  3. Using the dough hook, mix in the flour until it’s all incorporated.
  4. When all the flour has been incorporated, cover the bowl, (not airtight) and allow it to rest at room temperature for 2 hours. After the initial rise, chill the dough as it will be easier to work with. This amount of dough will make four -1 pound loaves, so keep the dough refrigerated in a lidded container and use over the next five days.
Chocolate Ganache
  • 1/4 pound good quality bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 5 tablespoons corn syrup
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon water
  • granulated sugar for sprinkling on top
Directions
  1. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in a microwave in 15 second increments until smooth. Remove from the heat and add the butter, stirring until incorporated.
  2. In another little bowl, stir the cocoa powder and the corn syrup together and mix until smooth. Add to the chocolate mixture.
  3. Lightly butter a 9 x 4 x 3-inch nonstick loaf pan. Dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and with a serrated knife, cut off a one-pound piece. I use my digital scale to weigh it. Dust that piece with more flour and shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go. Using a rolling-pin, roll out the ball into a 1/4 inch thick rectangle, dusting with flour as needed.
  4. Spread 1/2 cup of the ganache over the rectangle, leaving a 1-inch border all around. Starting at the short end, roll up the dough and seal the bare edges.
  5. Tuck the loose ends underneath, elongate the dough into an oval and place it into your loaf pan.
  6. Let the dough rest for 1 1/2 hours in a draft-free spot.
  7. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Using a pastry brush, paint the top crust with the egg white and sprinkle with the granulated sugar.
  8. Bake the brioche for 45 minutes  until the top is golden brown and the sugar is caramelized.
  9. Remove from the pan and cool slightly. Reheat the remaining ganache, then drizzle it over the top of the loaf.

Recipe: Intermediate 


Brownie Cupcakes

Brownie Cupcakes

Growing up in a Philadelphia suburb, I have vivid memories of a restaurant called the Country Squire Diner. It was one of those typical 1970′s diners with large booths. The restaurant had a long counter with round stools, and behind the counter were mirrored display cases with sundae dishes filled with cubed jello or fruit cup. Does anyone even serve fruit cup anymore…or jello? Anyway, what always caught my attention upon entering this place was the revolving display case with pre-cut pieces of cake, endlessly going around in circles.

Now these were huge hunks of cake, usually seven or eight layers. Chocolate, lemon, carrot cake and strawberry shortcake were popular 1970′s favorites. My friends and I would actually order those desserts, one for each of us, and finish them.  Those days are so over.  If you read my blog, then you know I make my desserts now in mini versions. Everything in moderation, right?

My family are big chocolate lovers, so I made these Mini Brownie Cupcakes. They’re not really brownies, nor are they cupcakes, but kinda like if a brownie and a cupcake had a kid, this is what you would get. There’s lots of bold cocoa flavor in these little mini’s. You can give them a dusting of confectioner’s sugar if you like, or maybe a drizzle of melted chocolate. For me, they’re a perfect, little treat.

Brownie Cupcakes

Brownie Cupcake Bites

Adapted from Best Ever Cookie Collection

  • 1 1/2 sticks of butter
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetend coca powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch salt
  • 1 cup whole milk 
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line your mini muffin tin with mini cupcake papers, or you could brush your tin with melted butter using a pastry brush.
  3. Melt the butter in a small pan over medium-low heat.
  4. Pour the butter into the bowl of an electric mixer, and using the paddle attachment stir the sugar and cocoa powder in until incorporated.
  5. Add the eggs and vanilla and slowly beat until combined.
  6. In another bowl, sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and pinch of salt. Stir with a whisk.
  7. With mixer on medium-low, add flour mixture to the chocolate mixture. Stir in milk until well blended.
  8. Spoon batter into cupcake liners until 1/2 full.
  9. Bake for about 10-13 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Do not overbake these or they will become hard. Remember all ovens are different, so keep an eye on the pan
Yields about 60 mini bites

Recipe: Easy   


Chocolate Banana Bread

Chocolate Banana Bread

Ya know, I don’t want to say I’m obsessed with cake, but I do spend a lot of time thinking about it. Much more than the average person I suppose. I think about important things too; world peace, the economy, and conservation. But, at the end of  the day when my psyche needs a little relaxation…I think about cake.

The cake I decided to bake today contains all the ingredients that I hold near and dear to me; melted chocolate, bananas, toasted nuts and chocolate chips. And, just to kick things up a notch, I included the addition of Vietnamese cinnamon. So, this way, I can savor all my favorites in one tasty bite. This cake is easy to make and has a nice layering of flavors. Even if you don’t think about cake very much, you might still want to give this one a try. It’s real good!

Chocolate Banana Bread

Chocolate Banana Bread

Adapted from Tyler’s Ultimate

  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Vietnamese cinnamon (optional)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 very ripe bananas
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup lightly toasted walnuts 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter or spray a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.
  2. Stir together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter until lightened, then beat in the chocolate, eggs, bananas and vanilla. Stir in the dry ingredients until incorporated. Do not over mix. Gently stir in the chips and walnuts.
  4. Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out almost clean, 50-60 minutes.
  5. Transfer the pan to a rack to cool for at least 15 minutes before unmolding.

Makes 1 loaf

Recipe: Easy


Willie Wonka Ain’t Got Nothin’ On Me

If I had to pick three things to take on a desert island with me I would choose my family, my 8×10 photo of Brad Pitt and a never-ending supply of chocolate. Naturally chocolate appeals to one’s sense of taste, but it also has a physical effect on a person. This is due to the fact that chocolate has about 500 natural chemical compounds in it. It has something called theobromine in it, which is a natural stimulant similar to caffeine. That’s why I never eat chocolate late at night. Phenylethylamine is also present in chocolate and that’s a mood elevator that releases endorphins in your brain making you feel happier. That’s precisely the effect that chocolate has on me.

Truffles are easy to make. They can be an elegant accompaniment to dessert at a dinner party, or they make a great gift too. But I just keep them in the fridge so they’re readily available for whenever I need my next chocolate fix.

Chocolate Truffles

From Williams Sonoma

  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder (I used two different kinds of cocoa powder)

Directions:

Chop the ingredients
Put the butter on a cutting board. Using a table knife, cut the butter into small chunks. Set aside.Put the chocolate on the cutting board. Using a serrated knife, chop the chocolate into small, even bits. Set aside.
Warm the cream
Pour the cream into a small saucepan. Place over medium heat and warm until tiny bubbles appear in the cream around the edges of the pan. Turn off the heat.
Melt the chocolate
Add the butter and chocolate to the saucepan and stir with a rubber spatula until everything is melted and the mixture is very smooth. If the chocolate does not seem to be melting, turn on the heat to medium and warm for about 20 seconds. Turn off the heat and stir again. Repeat the heating and stirring process, if necessary, until the mixture is smooth. Do not let the mixture get too hot.
Chill the mixture
Let the mixture cool to the touch, about 15 minutes. Using the rubber spatula, stir in the vanilla. Scrape the mixture into a shallow bowl. Cover the chocolate mixture with plastic wrap and refrigerate until it is solid, at least 4 hours or up to overnight.
Scoop the truffles
Using a melon baller, scoop the chocolate mixture to make rough balls the size of a gumball.  Place each scoop of truffle mixture onto a cool work surface.
Shape the truffles
Put the cocoa in another shallow bowl.Working with 1 truffle scoop at a time, use the palms of your hands to roll it into a smooth, round ball. After rolling, put the balls in the bowl with the cocoa powder.
Coat the truffles
Roll each truffle in the cocoa powder until it is completely coated, then put in a serving dish. Cover and store the truffles in the refrigerator until you are ready to eat them. (You can even freeze the truffles for up to 3 months.)

This recipe: EASY


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