Thursday, December 18, 2014

Guitard Double Dark Chocolate Cookies



Brownies, cakes and cookies are the staples of my holiday baking. I love to eat them as well as give them for gifts. Ordinarily I use recipes from my cookbooks, or Pinterest but lately I have been finding great recipes on the back of chocolate chip bags and these Guitard Double Dark Chocolate Cookies are one of them. 

Dark, decadent and bittersweet with a lightly crunchy top these cookies are perfect for gifts, a cookie exchange or keeping them all for yourself to enjoy sitting in front of a toasty fire.





Double Dark Chocolate Cookies

2 cups Guittard 63% extra dark chocolate chips, divided
2 tablespoons water
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
11/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Directions

Preheat oven to 375. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Melt 11/2 cups of chips and 2 tablespoons of water until smooth. Cream the butter and sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl and beat until light. Beat in eggs and vanilla until smooth. Add melted chocolate, stopping to scrape the bowl as needed. Mix in flour and baking soda until just incorporated. Stir in the remaining 1/2 cup of chips. Drop rounded teaspoons onto baking sheets. Bake 10 minutes or until tops are cracked and crusty. Centers shouls still be sorft and appear slightly underdone. Let stand 5 minutes before removing to cooling racks. Store in an airtight container. 





Enjoy!



Friday, December 5, 2014

Guittard Truffle Brownies



December 1st can you even  believe it? Christmas preparations are well under way at my house, decorating, buying and wrapping gifts and of course baking. Although I always make truffles this year I thought I would make Truffle brownies using a recipe I found on the back of a bag of Guittard extra dark chocolate chips.



These brownies are FABULOUS! They are dense, moist, extra chocolaty, and simply delicious.More like a truffle candy than a brownie.  If you are a "fudgie" brownie lover than you are going to enjoy these.






Truffle Brownies

12/3 cups Guittard 63% extra dark chocolate chips
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons water
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1/4 cup all-purpose flour

Position a rack in the center of the oven and pre-heat to 325. Line an 8 inch square pan with aluminum foil leaving the edges long enough to use as handles to life out the brownies after they bake.
In a medium pan, melt the chocolate, butter and water and stir until smooth. With a wooden spoon beat in the sugar, salt and vanilla. Beat in the eggs, one at a time until smooth and glossy. Stir in the flour until just combines. Spread the batter into the pan and bake 35-40 minutes or until a crust forms on the tip. The center of the brownies with be moist when tested with a toothpick.
Do NOT OVER BAKE.
Place pan on a rack and cool for 3 hours or overnight. remove brownies from pan and cut into 16 squares. Enjoy!








Enjoy the season!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Lily's Dark Chocolate, Cranberries and White Chocolate Drizzle



Good morning! The holidays are fast approaching and I am trying to narrow down my menu. Honestly, I can do without the turkey, just give me the mashed potatoes, gravy, yeast rolls and some sort of pumpkin dessert.

Of course I LOVE pumpkin pie but I also love to try new recipes at the holidays and when Lily's Sweets offered to let me try their new Stevia sweetened chocolate I though it might be an interesting accompaniment to my pumpkin bread pudding.





Lily's Sweets is the maker of no sugar added, fair trade chocolate bars and baking chips, which are both sweetened with all natural plant based, stevia.   In addition to the baking chips they sent me two of their delicious candy bars. I have to be honest, I was a little skeptical that I was going to like chocolate sweetened with stevia, but  all of the products are delicious!

They  taste exactly like the other chocolate chips and bars that I frequently buy and they melt just like chocolate too! If you are watching your sugar or are looking for  products to use in addition to other chocolate they are a wonderful alternative to traditional bars and chips. I also think they are a great way to shave a few calories off your baked treats this holiday season.




Pumpkin Bread Pudding

1 9 inch loaf of prepared pumpkin bread
Recipe HERE


Custard:
Recipe from Bobby Flay Food Network
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk
2 Tablespoons vanilla bean paste
6 large eggs
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons Bourbon
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Dried Cranberries and Baking Chips for Garnish
store bought or homemade caramel for garnish
1 cup white chocolate chips melted for garnish


Heat oven to 325. Cut loaf of pumpkin bread into cubes and place on baking sheet. Bake until toasted, about 15-20 minutes. Set aside. Prepare a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with butter, and scatter toasted pumpkin bread cubes across bottom.

In a medium saucepan, combine heavy cream, milk and vanilla bean paste. Bring to a simmer and set aside. In a large bowl combine eggs, maple syrup, pumpkin and whisk together.
Slowly whisk the cream mixture into the egg mixture, then add the Bourbon.
Add the Lily's Dark Chocolate Chips and the dried cranberries, mix well.
Pour the custard mixture over the pumpkin cubes and let sit for 15 minutes to soak in. Press down on the cubes to submerge.

Place the pan into a larger roasting pan and then pour hot tap water into the large roaster until it comes half-way up the sades of the pan containing the custard mixture.

Bake in the water bath until the sides are slightly puffy and the center jiggles, about 1 hour.

Remove pan from water bath and let cool for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Slice bread pudding and drizzle with melted white chocolate, and caramel then garnish with cranberries and dark chocolate chips






This pumpkin bread pudding is fabulous! It has great pumpkin flavor and the custard is almost like a thin layer of pumpkin pie filling over the top of the pumpkin bread. The addition of the dark chocolate and tart cranberries bring in an added layer of goodness and the flavors of the holidays. This dessert is going to be a staple at my table this holiday season.




I hope that you have a fabulous holiday, filled with tasty treats and lots of time with family and friends!




NOTE: I was not compensated in any way for this post. I was given complimentary products to sample but all opinions are my own. 

If you would like additional information about Lily's Sweets  chocolates visit their link or if you would like to purchase them they are sold at Whole Foods Market.

Also, if you are looking for other scrumptious baked goods made with Lily's chips, click HERE.



Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Haagen-Dazs Midnight Cookies & Cream Ice Cream

Recently I was invited to try a few gelato and ice cream selections by Haagen-Dazs and I have to tell you I was in love.  Each one was better than the next, but the Midnight Cookies and Cream was my favorite!





Unlike most cookies and cream ice creams, which feature a vanilla ice cream base, this limited edition flavor is made with dark chocolate ice cream. 




The ice cream has soft cookie chunks that are more like brownies and creamy "ribbons"of fudge evenly dispersed throughout.  The combination is rich, velvety smooth and very chocolaty. 




If you love cookies and cream ice cream and are a chocolate lover to boot than this may be something you want to try. If so you have until December as this is a limited edition flavor. For more information on Haagen-Dazs ice creams click the link.




Full disclosure: I was given a complimentary pint of this ice cream to try but all opinions are my own. 





Monday, October 13, 2014

White Cake!

Good morning! Life has been keeping me busy and this blog, which is my secondary blog has suffered. I hope to do better here soon here and thank you for your patience. 





In the meantime, if you would like to try something that is not chocolate, let me recommend, White Almond Cake filled with raspberries and frosted with Vanilla bean buttercream a scrumptious cake which I made last week twice for my husbands birthday! You can find the details on my other blog, Pine Cones and Acorns.

Have a great day!!







Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Chocolate Fudge No-Bake Cheesecake




Is there anything better than Oreo cheesecake? I didn't think so either until I made a no-bake version of my favorite Oreo cheesecake with fudge topping. It does not get any easier than this cake and I promise that it will become one of your "go-to" desserts for any occasion.






Honestly, since I have made this version I have made several others. In fact I now make a double batch of the cheesecake filling to keep in the refrigerator  to come up will all sorts of creations, like s'more cheesecake, double fudge raspberry cheesecake with white chocolate  drizzle and the list goes on, at a moments notice. Or whenever my sweet tooth kicks in.





Chocolate Fudge No-Bake Oreo Cheesecake


Crust Ingredients

21/2 cups of Oreo cookie crumbs
6 tablespoon melted butter

Combine butter and crumbs and press into the bottom of a 9 inch spring form pan. Place pan in freezer until ready to add filling

Filling

21/2 cups of heavy whipping cream, whipped
2 packages cream cheese at room temperature (16 oz.)
2/3 cups sugar
pinch of salt
juice from one small lemon
2 tablespoons vanilla bean paste
2 cups of crushed Oreo cookies

3/4 cup Fudge Topping

Crushed Oreo cookies for Garnish

Filling Directions:

Beat heavy whipping cream in a large bowl with electric mixer until just past soft peaks, set aside
In another bowl beat cream cheese, lemon juice, salt, vanilla extract and sugar until smooth and creamy. Do not over beat.
Fold the whipped heavy cream into the cream cheese mixture with a rubber spatula until just mixed. Then add the crushed Oreo cookies, gently fold into mixture.
Pour filling into Oreo cookie crust.
Then pour 1/2 cup fudge topping over the top and place into refrigerator overnight.

Remove from refrigerator, garnish with more crushed Oreo cookies and drizzle with fudge topping!




NOTE: Instead of fudge topping for the version pictured here I used leftover Hershey's chocolate frosting that I thinned down with a tablespoon of light Karo syrup which I then heated in the microwave. It was better than hot fudge sauce!

Also, I made mini-cheese cakes for these photos, the original recipe is for 9 in spring form pan.





Are you a cheesecake fan? Do you like the no-bake version better than the baked? Honestly, I love them both, this is just easier especially during the hectic holidays.

If you have a cheesecake recipe that you would like to share please do, I am always open to trying new things!

Enjoy!



If you would like to try my Chocolate Chocolate Cheesecake Bars, click HERE








Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Baked Chocolate Fudge




Brownies are hands down a favorite treat for many. However I have found that people who like brownies either like them fudgy or cake like, not both. I personally love them fudgy, I mean if I want cake I will make a cake.




Many years ago I was introduced to a fudgy brownie that was actually called "baked fudge". My husband's godfather had a restaurant for 40 years and this "baked fudge" was made daily and served with homemade ice cream, and hot fudge, the ultimate sundae. He told me the recipe came from Bon Appetite magazine but I have never been able to locate it.  






Baked Fudge 

Ingredients

2 cups of white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 cup of flour
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup 60% chocolate chocolate chips
1/4 tsp. instant espresso powder or instant coffee
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 eggs
6 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup water

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350. Prepare 9 x 13" pan with cooking spray and set aside. Combine, sugar, brown sugar,salt, cocoa powder, and flour in a large bowl. Add eggs, vanilla, the melted butter, vegetable oil and water. Stir until combined. Add both kinds of chocolate chips and stir. Pour into prepared pan.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a knife comes out clean. Do not over bake.






This "baked fudge" is basically a very fudgy brownie, moist and fudgy on the inside with a slightly crunchy top. The addition of the two different chocolate chips makes them perfect. 






We eat them plain and we also make brownies sundaes out of them, they are a little rich but hey, we aren't eating them everyday.





I hope that you try this baked fudge and then come back and let me know what you think. I would love to know if you liked it. 

Have a great day.



Thursday, July 17, 2014

Happy Birthday Dear Sister!



A toast to you my dear Jean! 
Happy Birthday! I wish we were sharing this scrumptious cake and a glass of champagne today. 

Have a fabulous birthday!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Outrageous Chocolate Cookies




I cannot believe that it is already July. Where does the time go? I feel as if Summer just started and now it is just whipping by. I am looking forward to the holiday weekend and will be making these scrumptious Outrageous Chocolate Cookies from Martha Stewart to take to a few barbeques. 





Outrageous Chocolate Chip Cookies
Recipe from Martha Stewart

8 oz semisweet chocolate roughly chopped
4 oz. unsalted butter
2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 eggs
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips


Directions:

Heat oven to 350. Place chopped chocolate and butter in a small bowl over boiling water on the stove. Heat chocolate until smooth. In another bowl mix flour, salt, and baking powder.

In a mixing bowl beat the eggs, brown sugar, and vanilla extract on high speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and beat in melted chocolate. Then stir in flour mixture until just combined. The add chocolate chips.

Drop heaping spoonfuls onto baking sheets line with parchment paper. Bake for 12-15 minutes, rotating the baking pans half way through. Cool on sheets for 10 minutes and  then remove to baking rack.





The cookies are soft and chewy, rich and chocolaty and would be the perfect addition to any party table!

Have a great 4th of July weekend. 


Monday, June 9, 2014

The Ultimate Fudgy Brownie

 Brownies are my "go to" dessert recipe for picnics, barbecue's and parties, because they are easy, they satisfy your chocolate craving and they are the favorite dessert of many. Not to mention that they can be "kicked up" with extra chocolates, candy bars, frosting and more.




My favorite types of brownies are fudgy and chewy and this recipe from Serious Eats is just that! They are fudgy, chewy, moist and more, the are "the ultimate fudgy brownie."




The "Ultimate Fudgy Brownie"
Recipe from 

Ingredient List:

8 tablespoons of unsalted butter
6 oz. bittersweet chocolate finely chopped
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate finely chopped
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon of salt
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
2 tablespoons of cocoa powder

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.
Prepare 13 x 8 pan with tin foil and then spray with cooking spray, set aside.
In a double boiler set over medium heat, melt the butter the bittersweet chocolate and the unsweetened chocolate. Once melted, set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, then add the salt and the vanilla extract.
Combine the flour and the cocoa in a small bowl.

Pour the melted chocolate mixture into the egg, sugar mixture and whisk until smooth and combined. Add the flour and stir until just combined, do not over mix. Pour the batter into prepared pan. Cook for 23-30 minutes. Do not over bake.




I hope you try this recipe or if you have a great brownie recipe that you would like to share please leave a link in the comment section.

Have a great day!


Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day Thoughts



Today remember those who served. All gave some...some gave ALL.

To all the men and women who serve in the Armed Forces, thank you for your time and sacrifice. 





Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Flourless Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache Frosting


Chocolate is perfect any time, any day and anywhere and what could be better than a 4 ingredient flourless chocolate cake with chocolate ganache and fresh berries? Almost nothing in my opinion!





This cake is so easy and so delicious I think it may become your favorite chocolate dessert to serve yourself or for parties.

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Ingredients:

8 cold eggs
1 lb. dark chocolate chopped
2 sticks of butter, cut into 16 pieces
1/4 cup coffee, espresso

Ganache:

9 oz. dark chocolate chopped
1 cup heavy cream

Place chopped chocolate in bowl. Heat cream in a small saucepan until bubbles form at the rim. Pour cream over chocolate, let sit a few minutes then whisk until smooth. Allow to cool a bit before pouring over cake.

Cake Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 325, and place rack in the lower middle position. Bring a kettle of water to boil, set aside.  Grease pan, and line bottom with parchment paper. Take 8 inch spring-form pan and wrap bottom and sides tightly with tin foil, set inside a large roasting pan.
2. In a stand mixer, beat 8 eggs on medium-high, for approximately 5 minutes or until volume doubles. 
3. In a double boiler, melt the butter and the chocolate, once melted whisk in the coffee. 
4. Using a rubber spatula, fold 1/3 of the egg foam into the melted chocolate, fold until a few streaks of white appear. Then fold in 1/2 of the egg foam and and finally fold in last 1/2 of foam and mix until mixture is completely blended.
5. Pour chocolate mixture into the foil wrapped pan which is sitting in the roaster. Place the pan into the oven, then carefully pour the boiling water into the roaster until half way up the side of the spring-form pan. Be careful not to splash yourself or get water into the batter.
5. Bake for 22-25 minutes or until a slight crust forms on the top, and the internal temperature reads 140 on an instant read thermometer.
6. Remove spring-form pan from water bath, set pan onto rack to cool to room temperature. Then cover and refrigerate overnight. 
7. 30 minutes before serving, run knife along sides of pan and then release the spring. Invert onto plate and remove parchment, then invert again onto serving platter. 

8. Pour ganache into center of the cake and let it run over the sides. Place in refrigerator to set, then garnish with berries.

You can skip the ganache and dust with powdered sugar and berries.






The cake is buttery, creamy, and chocolaty, almost like a mouse but a cake. It is rich and delicious and this one recipe will serve between 12-16 people! A small slice goes a long way. You can serve it with berries, ice cream or whipped cream, any an all options would be fabulous!




Enjoy! 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Browned Butter Peanut Butter Cup Rice Krispie Treats with Chocolate Ganache Topping



Is there anything better than a cereal treat? They are hands down some of the easiest and most favorite treat/dessert that I make. Throw in a little browned butter, peanut butter cups and chocolate and you have created a decadent, delicious treat!



Browned Butter Peanut Butter Cup Rice Krispie Treats with Ganache Frosting.

Ingredients:

10 oz bag of marshmallows
1 stick of browned butter
5 cups of Rice Krispie cereal

1 cup of peanut butter melted
1 bag of peanut butter cup mini's

8 oz bag of chocolate chips
1 cup of heavy cream

Directions:

Prepare 8 x8" pan with cooking spray. Melt butter in a small pan over low to medium heat. Once melted watch the butter and stir until the butter foams and turns brown. Be very careful it burns easily.
Add the marshmallows to the browned butter and stir until melted. Add the rice krispie cereal and stir until combined. Then pour and press into the prepared pan. While warm sprinkle the top with the mini-peanut butter cups. 
In a small bowl add peanut butter and melt in the microwave, about 30-50 seconds. Pour the peanut butter over the mini-peanut butter cups then set pan aside.
Pour chocolate chips into a bowl and set aside. In a small pan over low heat warm the heavy cream until small bubbles appear around the edges.  Then pour cream over the chocolate chips, wait a few minutes until the cream melts the chips and then whisk until smooth, pour mixture over the cereal treats and smooth out. Then refrigerate for a least 30 minutes, cut and enjoy!




The nutty flavor of the browned butter, the creamy marshmallows and crispy cereal combined with the peanut nut butter and chocolate... Frankly there are no words to tell you how good these are, they are a little like Reese's Peanut Butter Cup and an Outrageous candy bar combined. 


Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Mocha Hot Chocolate with Marshmallows



Although it is February the winter winds are still howling here.  In fact it seems as if they will never end. Today will be another day filled with snow and cold, not to mention bone chilling wind chills. Although I would love to stay inside that is not going to be an option today. 



But a nice mug of cocoa will be a warm welcome when I return.

Mocha Hot Chocolate

1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 cup instant espresso powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup of water

3  cups of milk
1 cup of half and half

Topping
marshmallows

Directions:

Place all ingredients in a medium saucepan, except milk and half and half. Cook over low heat, whisking constantly until cocoa is dissolved and the mixture is a paste. Slowly add the milk and half and half, whisking until small bubbles appear around the edges of the pan, do not boil. Pour into glasses and top with marshmallows. 



Enjoy!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Valentine Peanut Butter Heart Thumbprint Cookies



Valentine's day is all about love and what better way to show someone that you love them than baking a sweet treat for them?

These soft, buttery cookies with a peanut butter cup center are a perfect way to celebrate the people you love. 



Peanut Butter Heart Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies

Ingredients:

2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons of butter softened
1 cup powdered sugar
2 cups of flour
1 scant cup of cornstarch, not a full cup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla
20 Hershey's Kisses or Reese's Peanut Butter Hearts

Directions:

In the bowl of an electric mixer with a paddle attachment cream together 2 sticks of butter and sugar. In a separate bowl sift together flour and cornstarch add salt and stir. Add the dry ingredients and the vanilla to the bowl and mix on high speed until combined, if mixture seems crumbly add extra tablespoons of butter.

Form dough into a ball and wrap with plastic, then refrigerate for minimum 20 minutes or overnight. 

Preheat oven to 325, line baking sheets with parchment paper. Form dough into balls and place on baking sheet 1 inch apart. Then use either your thumb or a glass to flatten cookie. Bake cookie for 15-20 minuets or until golden around the edges. I recommend checking after 10 minutes and then keeping an eye on them. Remove cookies from oven and let sit for one minute. Then place an unwrapped kiss or peanut butter heart in the center. Cool and enjoy.

Note: I was not paying attention and my cookies browned more than I wanted around the edges. 



Have a Happy Valentine's Day!