Categories

Archive for the ‘Chocolate’ Category

Death by Brownie…and a special cause.

I would like to start off by saying that I have been given the amazing opportunity to team up with Share Our Strength South Florida! I am extremely excited to work with such an amazing organization and have the opportunity to join my passion with a very important cause. Not only that, but my readers can look forward to some fun features and opportunities in the coming weeks.

If you haven’t seen the PSAs usually shown on the Food Network, and you aren’t familiar with Share Our Strength, let me fill you in a bit. Share Our Strength® is the leading national organization working to end childhood hunger in America. They weave together a net of community groups, activists and food programs to catch every at-risk child and make sure no kid in America grows up hungry.

One of the many events that Share Our Strength hosts in order to raise funds for the nationwide program is Taste of the Nation. Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation® is the nation’s premier culinary benefit dedicated to making sure no kid in America grows up hungry. Each spring, the nation’s hottest chefs and mixologists donate their time, talent and passion at more than 40 Taste of the Nation events across the United States and Canada, with one goal in mind: to raise the critical funds needed to end childhood hunger.

I am lucky enough to have one of the events hosted in my local area, Fort Lauderdale, on May 13th. I am excited to have the opportunity to attend the event and can’t wait to share the experience with all of you.

If you live in South Florida (or want to pay a visit) and would rather experience this amazing event on your own, you can visit www.strengthsouthflorida.org to purchase tickets. Not only that, but I am offering my readers 10% off the ticket rate. Just enter discount code*: WEBFTL.

Okay, so what does all of this have to do with the blog you ask?? Well, in honor of the Fort Lauderdale Taste of the Nation, I am going to be doing a series of posts dedicated to the food served at past Taste of the Nation events, and the chefs who created it. So look for my weekly Taste of the Nation posts to see what dishes of the past have inspired me to make a version of my own.

To kick this series off, I was inspired by Chef Christine Najac, from Really Good Cookies in Boca Raton, FL.  What did she make??  Chocolate Fudge Brownies!  It’s a classic comfort food that most people can’t resist, especially kids.  We are doing this for the kids, right?

Since I don’t have Chef Christine’s personal recipe, I had to venture out to find a recipe of my own.  Thanks to the blog, The Piggly Wiggly, I didn’t have to venture too far.  She introduced me to a  brownie recipe that has been awarded best brownie honors from America’s Test Kitchen, The Today Show, and Oprah’s O Magazine.  I mean come on…Oprah wouldn’t lie!!  I must say that this was one incredible brownie.  If you have a chocolate craving, this will DEFINITELY fulfill it.  Richness….that would be the perfect word to describe it.

Okay, enough talking already!  You go check out Share Our Strength South Florida and Taste of the Nation, and I will get on with giving you this incredible recipe!

On second thought, jot down the recipe first and then go check out the sites while you wait for the brownies to bake in the oven.

*Discount code only good for the Fort Lauderdale  event.

Fudgy Brownies

courtesy of Baked: New Frontiers In Baking (Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito), via The Piggly Wiggly

1-1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoon dark cocoa powder
11-oz quality dark chocolate (60-72%), chopped coarsely (I used Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips)
2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder (I used instant coffee powder)
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
½ cup light brown sugar
5 large eggs, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter the sides and bottom of a glass or light colored metal pan 9x13x2 pan. I prefer to line my pan with parchment paper for easy release.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, the salt, and cocoa powder.

Configure a large sized double boiler. Place the chocolate, the butter, and the instant espresso powder in the bowl of the double boiler and stir occasionally until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and combined.

Turn off the heat, but keep the bowl over the water of the double boiler and add both the granulated and brown sugars. Whisk the sugars until completely combined and remove the bowl from the pan. Mixture should be room temperature.

Add 3 eggs to the chocolate/butter mixture and whisk until just combined. Be sure NOT to over-mix! Add the remaining 2 eggs and whisk until just combined, but don’t over mix.

Add the vanilla and stir until combined. Do not over beat the batter at this stage or your brownies will be cakey.

Sprinkle the flour/cocoa/salt mix over the chocolate. Using a spatula (DO NOT USE A WHISK), fold the dry into the wet until there is just a trace amount of the flour/cocoa mix visible.

Pour the mixture into the pan and smooth the top with your spatula.

Bake the brownies for 30 minutes (rotate the pan half-way through baking) and check to make sure the brownies are completely done by sticking a toothpick into the center of the pan. The brownies are done when the toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs.

Cool the brownies completely before cutting and serving.

Share

A Spring Twist on Cupcakes

I hope everyone had a very happy Easter, or at least a fabulous weekend. In the spirit of Easter and Spring I wanted to do something fun and festive, especially for the little ones that I knew would be present during the family gathering today. When I saw these little bird’s nest cupcakes I thought they would be the perfect sweet treat. After all, my only instructions were to bring dessert and to make sure there was chocolate involved! So that I did. I decided to rely on my favorite cupcake combination….yellow cake with chocolate frosting. Oh how I love thee!

In the end I not only had a tasty dessert (that included chocolate), but also an eye catching one. These were a crowd pleaser and really weren’t that difficult to make. The worst part was keeping the chocolate “nest” pieces from melting during the decorating process. Then again, who’s going to complain about a little melted chocolate on their fingers??

Bird’s Nest Cupcakes

idea courtesy of Bakers Royale

1. Prepare your preferred cupcake and frosting (see recipes below).
2. Use any egg shaped candy for the “eggs.” I used Hershey’s chocolate eggs.
3. For the nest look, melt some chocolate and spread it to a 1/8 of an inch on parchment. Cool in fridge for 5 minutes. Once removed, starting at one end of the parchment roll it to the other end. Your chocolate will crack in shreds. For 12 cupcakes I used around a half of a bag of mini chocolate chips for melting.
4. Work quickly as the chocolate tends to melt from the warmth of your hands. If it does, return the chocolate to the fridge for a few minutes.

Yellow Cupcakes
courtesy of Joy of Baking

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup granulated white sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.

In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract.

In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and milk, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Evenly fill the muffin cups with the batter and bake for about 18-20 minutes or until nicely browned and a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Once the cupcakes have completely cooled, frost with icing.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
adapted from Evan’s Kitchen Ramblings

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 cup cocoa powder, sifted
1 tablespoon milk

Whisk the butter in a mixing bowl for about 6-8 minutes, until pale and creamy.

Add the powdered sugar, cocoa powder and milk and whisk for another 6 minutes, until fluffy and creamy. Pipe or spread onto cooled cupcakes.

Share

An Update and a Romantic Treat

My blog, how I have missed it so! I feel like I haven’t cooked in forever, and I know I haven’t updated this poor blog in forever. I feel like my kitchen is almost a stranger to me at this point. We’ve even bought a few pieces of the cherished Le Creuset since I updated last, but the sad part is I haven’t even used it yet! Don’t worry, it has been broken in a few times, but unfortunately for me, it’s been by my husband.  I will get there though, eventually.

My absence is for good reason though; I got a job! Not only did I get a job, but I got a fabulous job that I am loving so much. The only downside is that my free time has been non-existent, which means my hobbies have been put on the back burner. The good news is that I have every intention of figuring out how to manage my time to where I can put my all into this fabulous new job and still have time to do the things I love, like cook and blog. So please hang in there with me because I promise there will be more fabulous stuff to come.

With that all said, it is now time to share with you a recipe that I have been holding on to now since December!  I think this is the perfect time to pass it along though because it would be a great choice for that little romantic holiday we have coming around the corner. It is something that I saw in a Food & Wine magazine and it intrigued me from the first moment I spotted it.  Red wine, chocolate and whipped cream; need I say more?? I think that has romance written all over it! Did I mention that those ingredients resulted in a cake? Yes, a divinely decadent cake. The best part about it is that it is very simple to make, but will wow a crowd (or just that someone special – whichever you choose).

cake 2-crop big

Chocolate Red Wine Cake

Courtesy of Epicurious and Food & Wine

2 cups (250 g/1/2 lb) flour
3/4 cup (100 g/3 1/4 oz) cocoa
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (175 g/6 oz) butter
1 3/4 cup (350 g/15 oz) sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups (300 ml/1/2 pt) well-rounded red wine
confectioners’ sugar (for dusting)

Wine Jelly
1/2 cup (125 g/4 oz) Concord grape jelly
2 to 3 tablespoons red wine

Heat the oven to 350°F (175°C/Gas 4). Butter the 9 inch cake pans, line each pan with a round of parchment paper, and brush again with butter. Sprinkle the pans with flour, discarding the excess.

Sift flour with the cocoa, baking soda, and salt into a bowl; set aside. Cream the butter in an electric mixer, beat in the sugar, and continue beating until the mixture is light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one by one, and then the vanilla, and continue beating 1 to 2 minutes. Sift a third of the flour over the butter mixture and fold them together, using a spoon. Fold in a third of the wine. Add the remaining flour and wine alternately in two batches.

Spread batter in the prepared pans and bake in the oven until the cakes start to shrink from the sides of the pan, 30 to 35 minutes; a metal skewer inserted in the center should come out clean. Let the cakes cool 10 minutes in the pans, then turn them out on a rack to cool completely.

Meanwhile make the wine jelly: Melt the jelly with the wine over low heat, stirring gently until combined. Let it cool.

Shortly before serving, sandwich the cake with the cooled jelly. Sprinkle the top with confectioners’ sugar and transfer the cake to a plate to serve. Top with whipped cream and and a little drizzle of wine jelly if you desire!

Share

Oh, those college days!

As a mentioned in a previous post, I decided to make my husband’s cousin a little care package and send it off to her in college. This is her freshman year and of course she is living in the dorms and having the time of her life. It seems like just yesterday I was moving into my dorm and starting college, but it has actually been 8 years since that big move! It is crazy how time flies. I do remember though how nice it was to get packages of goodies from my mom and my Nana. I mean if she is anything like I was, I lived off of ramen noodles and rice, unless I ventured off to have some of the less than spectacular cafeteria food. Of course I had my occasional Subway, Taco Bell and Wendy’s, which is a splurge on a college budget, but there was nothing like getting that package of homemade goodies. I had suite-mates, but no roommate, so I didn’t have to share either.

Okay, enough reminiscing of days past, back to my care package for Juliann. I didn’t realize how hard it was going to be to come up with the contents of the package. The main problem being, the temperatures down here in Florida are well into the 90’s and I knew anything that contained too much chocolate was going to melt. So I needed things that weren’t only sturdy (to make it through the shipping process), but that would also get to her without being a complete and utter mess. So I decided on the Apple Cinnamon Scones I mentioned in a previous post and also went with a Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Blondie. I figured since the blondies were much more dense than a cookie the chocolate chips should hold up fairly well. I think my conclusion was correct, but Juliann will have to confirm that for me. Just an FYI, the scones didn’t do as well getting to her as I would have liked. They were more of a muffin consistency than a typical scone consistency, so by the time they got to her they were a bit on the soggy side. Once again, I believe the blondies were okay though, but Juliann will have to confirm.

I originally found this recipe on Martha Stewart’s website, but I did some modifications because honestly, they sounded a bit bland in their original form. The final product came out quite nice. My husband absolutely loved them! It’s a good thing he went out of town the day after I made them or else they probably would have never made it to you Julianne! This is a very simple recipe that is perfect for having around the house. With school just starting back this is a great treat for an after school snack or for the lunch boxes too. Not that I have children to test this theory on, but I am assuming. One day though, one day.

oat bar-cropped

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Blondies

adapated from MarthaStewart.com

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick-cooking)
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet minis)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush an 8-inch (or 9 inch) square baking pan with butter. Line bottom and two sides with a strip of parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on both sides. Butter paper, and set pan aside.

Using a mixer, beat butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla, and beat until combined. With mixer on low, gradually add the flour, granulated sugar and baking powder; mix just until combined. Mix in 3/4 cup oats. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Using a spatula or table knife, smooth batter evenly. Sprinkle with remaining oats, pressing gently to adhere. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached, *30 to 35 minutes (see note below). Let cool in pan 30 minutes.

Using overhang, transfer blondie (still on paper) to a wire rack to cool completely. Place on a cutting board (peel off paper); using a serrated knife, cut into 16 squares. Store blondies in an airtight container at room temperature.

*Notes:

-If you are using a 9 inch pan, I suggest checking the blondies at 20-25 minutes (depending on your oven), otherwise they may get too dry.  I completely forgot that I used a larger pan than directed and left them in the full time; they were good but I would have liked them a bit more moist.

-According to Martha Stewart’s website, these will freeze for up to 2 months.

Yields: 16 bars

Share

A Last Summer Treat

That last couple weeks of summer are upon us and with them brings mixed emotions for all. People like me, who live in Florida, are suffering through the most brutal days of the summer and begging fall to get here as quickly as possible in hopes of seeing 70’s in the forecast. Our friends to the north are looking forward to the apple picking and beautiful foliage but are savoring the last few warm days of the year. On the other hand we are also battling with our cooking desires. We are counting down the days until we have the scents of pumpkin, cinnamon, apple and cranberry slithering through our homes, as well as pots of soups and stews simmering on the stove. At the same time we are also trying to fit in those last few summer dishes we haven’t gotten around to yet. Needless to say, our menus are probably a bit of a mix mosh these days.

Labor Day was probably the last of the big summer get togethers and barbecues for most. So while I was thinking of sweet treats to bring to the BBQ I attended, I kept the traditions of summer in mind. I knew I had to make the banana bars I had found a recipe for, but I wanted one more thing. What is more of a summer treat than s’mores?? We weren’t going to have a campfire handy, so I needed to think along other lines. I decided to go with a s’mores brownie. That is a combination that most wouldn’t turn down!

I went to work looking to see if I could find a tried and true recipe, but to my dismay they all came back with mixed reviews. I really didn’t want to take the chance of them coming out sub-par. So I decided to take a brownie recipe that I knew was a winner and then add the s’more elements on my own. While trying to decide on what brownie recipe I wanted to go with, I remembered that I had bookmarked a Cook’s Illustrated version that Annie from Annie’s Eats had made recently and raved about. It was simple and chocolatey, so I went with that one.

I added a graham cracker crust and “roasted” some marshmallows on top. In the end I had a yummy s’more-like concoction without the campfire and flaming marshmallows. They were a perfect end of summer treat!

brownie 3-cropped

brownie 4-cropped

brownie 1-Cropped

S’mores Brownies

brownies adapted from Baking Illustrated as seen on Annie’s Eat’s
crust courtesy of The Bon Appetit Cookbook

Crust:
6 whole graham crackers, broken into small pieces
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into pieces

Brownies:
5 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped (I used chocolate chips)
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into quarters
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
3 large eggs
1¼ cups (8¾ oz.) sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup (5 oz.) all-purpose flour

Topping:
1/2 bag mini-marshmallows

Position oven rack to the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Line a 8×8 or 9×9 inch pan with parchment paper (allowing edges to extend over sides). Blend graham crackers, sugar, and butter in a food processor until moist crumbs form. Press crumbs evenly onto the parchment paper in the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake crust until light golden brown, about 7-10 minutes. Place to the side.

Move the oven rack to the lower-middle position.

In a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter, stirring occasionally until smooth. Whisk in the cocoa powder until smooth. Set aside to cool.

In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt; whisk until combined, about 15 seconds. Whisk in the warm chocolate mixture until incorporated. Then stir in the flour with a wooden spoon until just combined. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and spread with a spatula to make an even layer. Bake until slightly puffed and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a small amount of sticky crumbs clinging to it, 35-40 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven. Carefully move the rack to about 6 inches from the broiler and preheat to broil. Top the brownies with the marshmallows, making an even layer. Place the pan on the rack and watch carefully with the oven door cracked. Make sure to stay by the oven and watch because the marshmallows will smoke a bit and brown VERY quickly (if you aren’t careful they could potentially catch on fire). As soon as the marshmallows have a nice brown crust, remove them from the oven. Let cool completely before attempting to remove from pan and cutting. You may want to butter your knife a bit to prevent the marshmallow from sticking.

Cut to your desired serving size.

Share

A Grandma Approved Treat

When we go to family gatherings I always try to bring a sweet treat. I love to bake but I don’t do as much as I would like because it is just Greg and I. So I jump at any opportunity I can find to make some yummy baked goods.

I always try to make an array of things that I know most people will like. Not only that, but if it is a casual gathering I also try and make something that is simple to grab and munch on at each guest’s leisure. While searching for a new recipe for one of the many gatherings we attended this summer, I found a delicious recipe from The Baking Blonde. Oatmeal Fudge Bars! That is a combination that most people would not snub their nose at. Not only that, but it was a recipe from her grandma, so how could you go wrong with that??

These bars were rich and delicious. They were a definite hit at the barbeque we attended. So if you are looking for a sweet treat that is finger friendly, I would definitely give this a shot.

oatmeal fudge bars 3

oatmeal fudge bars 2

Oatmeal Fudge Bars

Courtesy of The Baking Blonde

2 1/2 cups flour
1 teasponn baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups quick cooking oatmeal.

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 can sweetened condensed milk (15 oz.)
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat oven to 325.
Grease and flour a 10×15 jelly roll pan.

In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, beat together softened butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.
Add eggs, one at a time and beat until combined. Add vanilla and mix well.
Slowly add the sifted flour mixture and mix until combined. Stir in oatmeal.
Gently spread 2/3 of the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Reserve the rest for topping.

Making the filling:
Over Medium-Low heat, melt together chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk, 2 tablespoons butter, and salt. Stir until smooth. Remove mixture from heat and stir in vanilla.
Evenly pour filling mixture over the crust but keep the filling about a 1/4 inch away from the side of the pan so it does not stick to the pan while baking. Evenly dollup the remaining oat mixture on top of filling. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until topping is light brown and fudge layer is set but not solid. Don’t overbake these bars or they can become dry.

Cool in pan on rack until set. You can chill them if you need them to set up faster.

Keep stored in an airtight container either room temp or in the fridge.

Share

Sweets from the heart.

As I mentioned in my previous post, we made a special Valentine’s dinner in this year. It was fabulous and we enjoyed every minute of cooking and eating it. Along with the side dishes, I was also in charge of the dessert. Of course I wanted to make something special that we wouldn’t have everyday. Sometimes the dessert decision can be a bit of a challenge since Greg and I have different tastes. I love pretty much any kind of dessert, especially cakes and things that are incredibly indulgent. Greg on the other hand, he would be happiest with a cookie, brownie or bowl of ice cream. So, what was I to do??

Well, my original thought was to make individual chocolate lava cakes, as that is one of my all time favorite desserts. The more I thought about it though, I realized that this was not something Greg would enjoy as much. Valentines Day dessert had to be something we would both enjoy equally.

I don’t quite remember what triggered this thought in my head, but after much debate I finally figured out the perfect dessert that Greg would especially enjoy. Ice cream sandwiches made with oatmeal chocolate chip cookies (Greg’s favorite) and homemade vanilla bean ice cream. I had some vanilla beans in the closet that I have been meaning to use and we hadn’t put our ice cream machine to much use since we got it as a wedding gift.

After realizing I couldn’t go wrong with this choice, I went to scrounge up some recipes. The cookie recipe I found on Cooking Light and adapted it. Honestly, I think they were the best homemade oatmeal chocolate chip cookies we have ever had. That is a major score since they are also lower in calories than most. I also came across an incredible vanilla bean ice cream recipe in the blog, Amber’s Delectable Delights, where she credits The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz. It was amazing and better than any store bought vanilla ice cream. By the way, I highly recommend a visit to Amber’s blog because she has tons of great recipes.

So we put these two great recipes together and had some yummy ice cream sandwiches. They were a bit messy when you bit into them, but they were worth the mess.

Unfortunately I never got a picture of the actual sandwiches, but I was able to snap some of the individual ingredients.

dsc_0036

dsc_0038

Oatmeal-Chocolate Chip Cookies

adapted from cookinglight.com
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour (about 5 ½ ounces)
1 cup regular oats
¾ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
¾ cup granulated sugar
½ cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup butter, softened
1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 large egg
½ cup semi-sweet minichips (next time I will probably add a few more)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife.  Combine flour and next 4 ingredients (through salt), stirring with a whisk; set aside.

Place sugars and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended.  Add vanilla and egg; beat until blended.  Gradually add flour mixture, beating at low speed just until combined.  Stir in the minichips.

Drop dough by tablespoons 2 inches apart onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper.  Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes or until edges of cookies are lightly browned.  Cool on pans 2 minutes.  Remove cookies from pans; cool on wire racks.

Yields: 3 dozen

dsc_0034

dsc_0009

Vanilla Ice Cream

courtesy of Amber’s Delectable Delights
1 cup whole milk
¾ cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream, divided
pinch of salt
1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
6 large egg yolks
¾ tsp. vanilla extract

Warm the milk, sugar, 1 cup of cream, and salt in a medium saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the warm milk and add the bean as well. Cover, remove from the heat, and let steep at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Pour the remaining 1-cup cream into a large bowl and set a mesh strainer on top. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.

Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Pour the custard through the strainer (into the remaining 1-cup cream) and stir until cool over an ice bath.

Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator. When ready to churn, remove the vanilla bean, and then freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturers instructions.

Share

Low-Cal. Chocolate Goodness

Who isn’t looking for a decadent dessert they don’t have to feel guilty about eating?? With the sweet tooth I posses along with being a chocoholic, this is a mission in life for me. :o) Especially since I gain weight just looking at food!

I was so happy to find a chocolate cookie that would feed my sweet tooth, but not leave me avoiding the scale afterwards. Did I mention that this cookie tastes great too?! It is actually more decadent than most full-fat cookies I have eaten. Think cookie meets brownie. Honestly, I really don’t think any further explanation is needed. One bite and you will be sold, I promise!

p10100791

Cocoa Fudge Cookies

courtesy of cookinglight.com
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. salt
5 tbs. butter
7 tbs. unsweetened cocoa
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup plain low-fat yogurt (I used vanilla)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat; stir in cocoa powder and sugars (mixture will resemble course sand). Add yogurt and vanilla, stirring to combine. Add flour mixture, stirring until moist. Drop by level tablespoons 2 inches apart onto baking sheets coated with cooking spray.

Bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until almost set. Cool on pans 2 to 3 minutes or until firm. Remove cookies from pans; cool on wire racks.

Yields about 2 dozen cookies.

Share

A few of my favorite things..

During the holidays I saw Oreo Truffles mentioned on the What’s Cooking board numerous times. You mention truffles and I am immediately intrigued. So I decided to look into these truffles that everyone spoke of. Pretty much crushed Oreos and cream cheese covered in chocolate….what more could a girl ask for? These definitely had to go on my “to make” list. I decided to whip a batch up for Christmas day. We would be going over to visit with family and I thought it would be the perfect treat. They are so incredibly easy to make, but they look like you purchased them at a high end chocolate store. Oh, did I forget to mention that they are also DELICIOUS!! I highly recommend these for any occasion. You can used whatever type of chocolate you prefer and you can change up the decorations. Just be prepared for them to disappear very quickly! :o)

dscn0104

Oreo Truffles

courtesy of lovestoeat’s weblog, originally from recipezaar.com

1 lb. Oreo cookies (3 sleeves) 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract 1 lb. milk chocolate 1/2 lb. white chocolate Using a food processor, grind cookies to a fine powder.

With a mixer, blend cookie powder, cream cheese and vanilla extract until thoroughly mixed (there should be no white traces of cream cheese).

Roll into small balls and place on wax-lined cookie sheet. (As suggested, I used my cookie scoop, refrigerated for a while, then rolled them and this made it a lot less messy).

Refrigerate for 45 minutes.

Line two cookie sheets with wax paper.

In a double-boiler, melt milk chocolate (I used a Pyrex dish over a pot).

Dip balls in chocolate and coat thoroughly.

With slotted spoon, lift balls out of chocolate and let excess chocolate drip off. (I used toothpicks to do this instead).

Place on wax paper lined cookie sheet.

In a separate double-boiler, melt white chocolate.

Using a fork, drizzle white chocolate over balls. (You may also choose to use decorative sprinkles or sugars for decorating).

Let cool.

Store in airtight container, in refrigerator.

Yields approximately 40 truffles.

Share

Cookies n’ Cream Cake

As I mentioned in my last entry, we hosted a birthday dinner for my dad. I really wanted to make it special since not only was it his birthday, but it was the first time I had that side of my family over for a real dinner. I love to bake, so that is usually my favorite part of a meal. I was so excited about making him a cake.

I had seen a few posts on the What’s Cooking board for a Cookies n’ Cream Cake. When I originally saw it I bookmarked it because I didn’t really have a reason to bake a cake at the time. When I decided to host the birthday dinner I knew that the Cookies n’ Cream cake would be THE cake.

Greg admitted after the fact that he never thought I could pull it off. HA, I guess I showed him! He was very impressed, not to mention the reaction I got out of my family. Everyone loved it!

dscn0079

Cookies n’ Cream Cake

courtesy of Just2Good, cake and frosting originally from Hershey’s.
Cake:
2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

Filling:
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1/8 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
10 chocolate sandwich cookies, chopped

Frosting:
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2/3 cup cocoa powder
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease two 9 inch round baking pans.

In a large bowl, stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be very thin). Pour batter into round baking pans.

Bake 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans. Once removed place on baking racks until completely cooled.

To make the filling, combine cream, confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on low until sugar is incorporated, then beat on high until stiff peaks form (do not over beat). Gently fold in chopped cookie pieces.

To make the frosting, melt butter in a medium bowl. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add confectioners’ sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency. If needed, add additional amount of milk. Stir in vanilla.

To assemble the cake, place one layer of cake on a cardboard circle. Pipe a border of frosting along th rim of the cake. Spread a thick layer of cookies n’ cream filling inside the circle. Top with the other layer of cake. Frost the side of the cake with the frosting. Pipe a decorative border of chocolate frosting along the border of the cake. Fill the inside of the decorative border with a thick layer of cookies n’ cream filling. Garnish with cookies and frosting as desired.

Share

Valid CSS! [Valid RSS]