Category Archives: chocolate

Super Nifty S’mores Brownies

I was looking around online today to see what I could do for dessert tonight and came across s’mores. I thought to myself that s’mores are something I haven’t had in ages and that their multiple layers of sweet goodness is something that might make for a good dessert for tonight. I then asked myself how I can make them with the things I have home already. I remembered I had box brownie mix, graham crackers, and butter at home already, so all I would need are marshmallows and I would be able to create a kind of brownie s’more. yum.

Ingredients:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1- 1 box brownie mix

2- about 4 graham crackers smashed to crumbs and places in a bowl

3- about 6 tablespoons butter, melted

4- marshmellows

Directions:

1- Melt the butter.

2- Add the melted butter to the smashed graham crackers and stir to coat. All the graham crackers should be evenly coated.

3- Press the graham cracker crust into small custard cups, ramekins, or a pie plate. I didn’t have enough custard cups, so I ended up using some custard cups and some individual tart pans, which worked out alright.

4- Pre-bake the crust(s) for about 8-10 minutes. While the crust bakes, make the brownie mix.

5- Take the crust(s) out of the oven and evenly divide the brownie mix among the custard cups or pour the mix into the pie plate.

6- Bake for about 30 mins or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

7- Once done, take the marshmallows and place some on top of the fully baked brownie. Broil on high until the marshmallows are at your desired level of brownness.

Serve warm.

 

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Oh fudge!

I posted pumpkin fudge around Halloween, but recently I made chocolate fudge. The process for chocolate fudge is exactly the same as pumpkin, but I’ll go through it once more. You only need 6 ingredients, 5 if you count vanilla as an ingredient. I actually forgot to add the vanilla and it didn’t make a big difference. Some people say it enhances the flavor. I think that’s true if you’re using real vanilla, but I only have the imitation stuff, which doesn’t really cut it most of the time. Also, when using chocolate make sure you store it at room temperature, unless it’s very humid where you live. I bought the chocolate I used for this recipe in August and I live in the NE, so it gets very humid, so I stored it in the refrigerator. When the weather turned cold, I should have taken it out, but didn’t and when I went to use it to make fudge, the chocolate had bloomed. When chocolate blooms, it gets that grayish tint to it. This means the cocoa butter in the chocolate separated. Not a big deal. It’s still fine to use, but it won’t have that nice, deep color. So what I’m saying is to properly store your chocolate.

Oh before going into the recipe, don’t attempt to make this without a candy thermometer because testing for soft ball stage is just way too hard and then you have to cool the fudge to 120 degrees, so please just get a candy thermometer.

Ingredients:

4 1-ounce squares unsweetened chocolate

3 cups sugar

2 tbsp light corn syrup

1 1/4 cups milk

4 tbsp butter

1 tsp vanilla

Directions:

Line an 8 inch square pan with foil and spray the foil with cooking spray.

Melt chocolate in pan over very low heat. Stir in sugar, corn syrup, and milk. Increase heat to medium and cook, stirring until sugar dissolves.. Cook to 238F on candy thermometer. Remove from heat, and without stirring, add butter.

Let cool in the pan to 120F. Add vanilla and beat until mixture begins to thicken. It will begin to lose its shine, that’s when you want to pour it in the pan. Don’t wait to long or it will set as you are mixing it, which is not fun at all. I had to mix about 1 min.

Pour mixture into the pan and cut into squares when cool. It will last one week sitting out or about 3 weeks in the refrigerator.

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

We STILL have cinnamon rolls in the freezer, but we wanted dessert last night and, like I said, the cinnamon rolls are frozen, so we had no choice but to make cookies 😉 I can’t remember if I’ve ever made chocolate chip cookies with oatmeal, but I like the way they came out. It was interesting though because I did not use quick cooking oats and you are definitely able to taste the oats. I happen to like it, but you may opt to use quick cooking. Also, I have two baking pans, but only one silicone non-stick mat, so I used parchment paper to line one pan and the mat to line the other. The cookies on the mat came out with a crunchy bottom and soft middle, but the cookies on the parchment paper alone came out all crispy. I guess that has to do with how heat is conducted. Well anyway, pick which method you like best and have at it….or do methods if you’re making cookies for lots of people.

Ingredients:
Oven: 350 degrees

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
3 cups oats
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1. Line your cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.

2. Whisk flour, salt and baking powder together in a medium bowl.

3. In a separate bowl beat butter until creamy. Add sugars and beat the mixture until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in eggs one at a time.

4. Stir dry ingredients into butter-sugar mixture. Stir in oats and chocolate chips.

5. Place dough onto parchment-lined cookie sheets by large spoonfuls- Bigger spoonfuls=bigger cookies, smaller=smaller cookies.

6. Bake until cookie edges turn golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Slide cookies (on parchment) onto cooling rack. Let cool, and store in airtight container.

Put a piece of bread in with cookies to keep them soft! You can freeze these wrapped in foil and placed in a ziploc bag- only after totally cooled!

Enjoy:)

 

 

Ghirardelli Chocolate Chip Cookies

I promised a certain someone chocolate chip cookies if they ran 3 miles with me yesterday. To be honest, I didn’t think it was going to happen, but when it did, I had to deliver on my promise of chocolate chip cookies.
In terms of chocoalte, Valrhona and Scharffen Berger is definitely the best chocolate you can get, but since that’s very expensive, Ghirardelli is the best “affordable” chocolate for everyday use. I used to buy Hershey’s, but found that to be a little too waxy and also that it didn’t melt evenly.
I halved the recipe because we certainly do not need 4 dozen cookies laying around; these are being eaten quickly enough as it is. So, all’s I did for these cookies was to use the recipe right off the bag. You can add 1 cup of nuts, if you want. The recipe says to drop the cookies on the pan by the tablespoon full, but I made them a little smaller. Enjoy these cookies warm with a heaping helping (that’s alliteration!) of ice cream. Since I really didn’t make any significant changes to the recipe, I’m not going to post it this time. Instead here’s the link to where you can find it: http://www.ghirardelli.com/bake/recipe.aspx?id=1045.

Fudge Brownies

I had kind of an off baking day the other day. I just wasn’t paying attention and my pumpkin pie totally failed. It was bad…it made me sad…and angry. I needed to redeem myself…with chocolate. I love chocolate. Chocolate usually makes everything feel better. And when chocolate comes in the form of brownies, even better. This recipe comes from Alice Medrich, who is the queen of all things cocoa. I didn’t make the rules, she just is.  Anyway, this was my first time trying one of her recipes and the brownies came out so fudgey and gooey and delicious. I did make one addition though and that was to add 1 tsp of corn syrup. According to Shirlely O. Corriher in BakeWise, corn syrup makes chocolate look satiny and glossy.

A little piece of interest when making brownies with cocoa instead of melted chocolate is that because cocoa lacks much of the cocoa butter of chocolate, you need to melt butter with the cocoa. Also, when making brownies with cocoa, more sugar is needed because cocoa lacks the added sugar of already sweetened chocolate. One of the reasons why these brownies are so fudgey is the minimal amount of flour.

Anyway, the recipe is as follows:

Ingredients:

10 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups  sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, cold
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp corn syrup

Directions:

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F. Line the bottom and sides of an 8×8-inch square baking pan with foil, leaving some overhang to create handles.

Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a medium heatproof bowl and set the bowl in a double boiler. Stir from time to time until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth and hot enough that you want to remove your finger fairly quickly after dipping it in to test. Remove the bowl from the skillet and set aside briefly until the mixture is only warm, not hot.

Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one. Stir in the corn syrup. When the batter looks thick, shiny, and well blended, add the flour and stir until you cannot see it any longer, then beat vigorously for 40 strokes with the wooden spoon.

Bake until a toothpick plunged into the center emerges slightly moist with batter, about 35 minutes, but check after 25. Let cool completely on a rack.

Lift up the ends of the  foil liner, and transfer the brownies to a cutting board.

Have fun:)

Chocolate Cupcakes and Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Both of these recipes are simple and classic. They’re easy to make and always a hit. I usually don’t use cupcake papers, but I found tin foil ones at the store and was able to put the batter in the papers and bake them right on a cookie sheet. I halved each recipe so that I wouldn’t have a ton of each type of cupcake, but I will put the full ingredient amounts here. Also, I piped the icing on the cupcakes using a reusable Wilton piping bag fitted with a large star tip. When piping icing on cupcakes, hold the bag upright and then when you’re ready to pull the tip off, don’t pull straight up, rather pull to the side. This will eliminate an unwanted pointy tip. Don’t overfrost because the frosting is VERY sweet.


The first recipe is a Devil’s Food Cupcake. The recipe is from Chockylit (http://cupcakeblog.com/?p=10). She uses a chocolate buttercream frosting on her, but I opted for vanilla so as not to cause chocolate overload.

Ingredients:
Oven: 350 degrees

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder( I used Trader Joe’s)
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup butter (Unless you’re using a Kitchenaid Mixer, I’d let it soften a bit)
2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
Directions:
1- Add everything to a mixing bowl except eggs
2- Mix on low until incorporated
3- Mix on high for about 2 mins
4- Add the eggs
5- Mix on high for about another 2 mins
6- Measure out into cupcake papers or tin. Fill about halfway
7- Bake for about 15-20 mins or until knife comes out clean. Transfer to wire rack to cool

The second recipe is for Vanilla Cupcakes. The recipe is from Confessions of a Bake-a-holic (http://bradleykitchen.blogspot.com/2010/04/vanilla-cupcakes-with-vanilla.html).
Ingredients:
Oven: 375 degrees

3/4 cups butter (Again, unless you’re using a Kitchenaid Mixer, I’d let it soften a bit)
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/4 cups milk
Directions:
1- Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy (About 2 mins- It should come together)
2- Add eggs and vanilla and mix well
3- Add baking powder, salt, flour, and milk
4- Mix until well combined


5- Measure out into cupcake papers or tin. Fill about halfway
6- Bake for about 20 mins or until knife comes out clean. Transfer to wire rack to cool

The third recipe is for Vanilla Buttercream Frosting. It’s a basic recipe, so you can find it on pretty much any website. It will be enough to frost cupcakes from one recipe both recipes if you halve them.

Ingredients:
1- 4 cups powdered sugar (This is about 1 box. You can do 3.5 cups to make the icing a little less sweet)
2- 1/2 cup butter, softened
3- 1 tsp vanilla
4- 1/4 cup milk

Directions:
1- Beat butter and powdered sugar until combined
2- Add vanilla and milk
3- Beat everything until light and fluffy.
Frost when cupcakes are cooled. Should you have any additional frosting, you can freeze it.
Have fun:)

Super Easy Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

If I had to pick my all time favorite confection, it would have to be Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. When I think about, I have to wonder why it took me so long to make homemade cups since they’re just so easy! I wish I would have taken pictures, but they were gone before I even thought about it! Next time…

To make these delicious treats, you only need 5 simple ingredients and mini cupcake liners. This recipe adapted from Have Cake, Will Travel will make about 12 peanut butter cups. Now, I have to say that these came out perfectly fine without tempering, but if you want a nice crunch on the outer shell and also prefer not to have the chocolate melt in your fingers, I would temper. I definitely plan on doing that next time I make these.

Ingredients:
12 mini cupcake liners
3/4 cups semisweet or milk chocolate chips.
1/2 cup peanut butter + an additional spoonful to add to the melted chocolate
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch sea salt or plain salt

Melt the chocolate in the microwave stopping the microwave often to stir the chocolate so it does not burn. Or melt the chocolate over a double boiler, which is my preferred method. Or you can temper the chocolate. After the chocolate is melted, let it stand to cool for a minute and then add in the extra spoonful of peanut butter. Once the PB is incorporated, take a spoon and coat the bottom and the sides of the cupcake liners. Use enough to make a thick outer shell, but not too much that you don’t have enough to go on top of the peanut butter. Once all the papers are coated, stick them in the refrigerator and start to put together the peanut butter filling.

For the filling, mix the last four ingredients in a small bowl. It should look like a paste almost.

Check to see if the shells are hard. If they are, remove them from the refrigerator and put a spoonful of the peanut butter filling in each shell. After all the shells have filling, pour the rest of the chocolate over the tops of each cup, making sure there is no peanut butter showing. Put back in refrigerator to harden. You may have to re-melt the chocolate.

Have fun:)

Chocolate Truffles with a Hard Outer Coating

I found a super easy truffle recipe online so I decided to make truffles on this snowy Saturday, but I didn’t really like the chocolate combination the recipe called for and I also didn’t like that the outer coating chocolate was not tempered, so I decided to change that as well.

The recipe is adapted from The Pioneer Woman (http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2009/10/chocolate-truffles-with-sea-salt/), but I’ve changed some of the essentials.

Truffles
8 oz bittersweet chocolate. Depending on what you like, you can use 60% cacao, but I bought 70% at the store because I’m not as much of a fan of 60%.
8 oz semi sweet chocolate.
Small can of Sweetened Condensed milk

Over a double boiler of simmering water, add the chocolate and the sweetened condensed milk. Keep mixing until totally melted. Put in the refrigerator for about 2 hours so it can become workable. After 2 hours, take chocolate out of the refrigerator and roll chocolate into small balls. This will become the middle of the truffle.

Once all the chocolate is rolled into small balls, it is time to temper the chocolate. Tempering means heating and cooling chocolate to dip or coat things. Tempering will also give chocolate a nice shine and won’t melt in your fingers. Those truffles from Godiva and Lindt have a tempered chocolate coating. When you temper, it just means that you are distributing the crystals evenly in the chocolate. For tempering, you need a candy thermometer. Make sure it measures temperatures under 100 degrees as well as over.

While the process of tempering is easy, you have to remember that chocolate is very very picky.

Here is the method I use to temper chocolate as adapted from Ghirardelli’s website:

Grate or chop the desired amount of chocolate. Place two-thirds of the chocolate in the top pan of a double boiler. Heat over hot, not boiling, water, stirring constantly, until chocolate reaches 110°–115°F.
Place the top pan of the double boiler on a towel. Cool to 95°–100°F. Add the remaining chocolate to the top pan, stirring until melted. The chocolate is now ready to be used for molding candies, coating, or dipping.
When you take the chocolate off the stove and start dipping, it cools very quickly. Stay near the stove and warm the chocolate on the double boiler every so often so it does not harden as you dip. It is very hard to get the chocolate as perfect as the store bought truffles, but that’s what makes these special. Let them sit out for awhile to harden. Immediately after dipping each truffle, you can add a topping to it, like toasted coconut or nuts or anything else. You might want a friend to help you with this part because like I said, properly tempered chocolate will harden quickly. So irresistible!

have fun:)

Devil’s Food Cupcakes with a Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

I haven’t baked since Thanksgiving. Since the semester is drawing to a close and the work was piling up, I decided to take a bit of a hiatus, but now that I have a month and a week off (ahem!), I’ll be doing lots more baking. To start things off I made these:

Are they not just the cutest, most scrumptious things you have ever seen? The recipe was so easy, and, I think, if you’re going to go through the trouble of making homemade cupcakes then you might as well make your own frosting. This frosting is a basic buttercream. It’s a little on the sweet side, but the cupcakes are not sweet at all due to the unsweetened cocoa, so the flavors balance out nicely. I used a large star tip to apply the icing.

I got the cupcake recipe from the Cupcake Bakeshop blog by Chockylit, who is just the queen of anything cupcakes. She can make cupcakes from absolutely any ingredients. Anyway here is the recipe:

Devil’s Food Chocolate Cake
makes 24 cupcakes or over 50  mini/ 350 degree oven

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1-1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1. Measure out everything but the eggs directly into your mixer bowl.
2. Mix on low speed just until incorporated.
3. Beat on high speed for 2 minutes.
4. Add eggs, beat on high speed again for 2 minutes.

Measure out into cupcake pan lined with cupcake papers (or grease each cup if you’re like me and don’t like buying cupcake papers that will just be thrown away anyway). Bake for about 15-20 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool slightly in the pan then transfer to a rack to cool completely before frosting. 

As you saw in the picture above, I did mini cupcakes. The cooking time for these was about 15 minutes. If you decide to do mini cupcakes as well, fill each cup about 3/4 full.

Here’s my Buttercream Frosting recipe:

This made a little less than I thought, so you may want to make a serving and a half of icing.

2 cups confectioners sugar
a little bit of vanilla
1 stick butter at room temp.
2 tablespoons milk

With electric mixer, cream the butter until creamy. Make sure to scrape the sides of the bowl. Add in the vanilla once the butter is creamy. Add the confectioners sugar a little at a time, beating slowly after each addition. Once all the confectioners sugar is blended in, add in the milk and mix until it looks like it is spreadable.

Make sure the cupcakes are completely cool before icing. To ice, you can either use a spatula or use a piping bag with a large star, which is what I did. Don’t ice them too much!

Have Fun!

Mini Vanilla Cupcakes with Ganache Frosting

Last minute decision tonight to bake. I’ve had this recipe bookmarked for like a month now, so it’s definitely about time. Nothing much to add to the recipe, except that I added two chocolate morsels to each cupcake cup for some extra chocolate-y goodness. Make sure to let the cupcakes cool all the way before putting on the ganache and make sure to put the ganache on while that is still hot because it will harden. Happy Baking!

This recipe is courtesy of zoecuisine.com


Cupcakes:

Ingredients:
1 1/2 sticks of butter at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed for 3-5 minutes or until light yellow and fluffy. Crack the eggs into a small bowl. With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs one at a time, scraping the bowl down once during mixing. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix well. The mixture might look curdled, don’t be concerned!
In a separate bowl, sift the flour, salt, baking powder and soda together. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the dry ingredients and the milk to the batter in 3 batches, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. Make sure to scrape all the flour off the sides of the bowl into the batter.
Line mini cupcake tins with paper cupcake cups. Spoon a heaping teaspoon full of batter into each cup. The cups should be filled about 3/4 of the way to the top with batter. Bake for about 13-15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center. Let cool completely before frosting.
Makes approx 30 mini cupcakes or 1 – 9″ round cake.
 
Ganache Frosting
Ingredients:
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 oz (1 large bar) good quality semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
Instructions:
Place chopped chocolate in a medium size mixing bowl. In a small saucepan heat the cream until boiling. Remove from heat and pour the hot cream directly over the chocolate. Stir with a rubber spatula until completely incorporated and smooth. 
Dip the cupcakes into the ganache while it is still warm. It will harden when it cools.