Tag Archives: chocolate

Chocolate Halloween Pretzels

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An alternate heading and photo I probably should have led with:

What Not To Do When You Move

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In the spirit of putting away some extra food for a rainy day, I have a 5-gallon bucket full of chocolate chips (of various varieties). Shown above: what used to be a bag of Ghirardelli 60% Bittersweet Chips, Costco-sized bag. My favorite.

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Don’t judge my food storage choices. When the zombie apocalypse hits, what do you really want to eat: cracked wheat porridge or chocolate?

Before moving last year, I did not think about the effects that a month of sitting in the back of a moving truck in June/July, would have on my precious bucket of chocolate chips. So instead of a bucket full of chocolate chips, I had a bucket full of chocolate bricks. I have finally made it through the last bag!

The struggle is real.

This is certainly a lemonade from lemons kind of first-world dilemma. We ended up with some fun chocolate dipped pretzels to share at a recent Fall Fest.

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Don’t want to bother remelting the chocolate block? It also makes a good paperweight.

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A Birthday Experiment

Chocolate Raspberry Mousse Cake

Just wanted to give a little teaser of a recipe in progress. Next month I am making a couple of cakes for a church young women event. I wanted to try out a new recipe I hope to bring that night, and since Monday was my birthday, I figured that was as good of an excuse as any to try it out. Monday was also a holiday from school, so I enlisted Little J to help me. She was thrilled to help; she had been worried that with her two older sisters now gone at college, she would be on her own to come up with a birthday dessert for me.

This is not a traditional cake –in fact,  there is  no actual cake in it at all. It has a brownie base that is topped by chocolate, raspberry and vanilla mousses. It is not an especially hard cake to make, but is extremely time consuming, as there are long waiting periods throughout the assembly process.

We were pretty pleased with the result, although there are some additional changes I want to make to the recipe before I post it here. So you will have to wait until next month for the full revised recipe.

For anyone who lives close who would like to test it out for me, come on by! Since Little A won’t touch chocolate, there are only three of us left here to eat this enormous cake! (Don’t feel too sorry for him though- I am a sucker-mom and made him his own parfait out of the raspberry and vanilla mousses.)

It has been 4 days now, and we still haven’t made it halfway through. Help!!

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Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies:Buckeye Brownie Cookies

Buckeye Brownie Cookies

DAY 9: Buckeye Brownie Cookies

These cookies start with a simple cookie made from a brownie mix (and cream cheese to make them soft and gooey). Then they are topped with a mound of peanut butter fluffiness and drenched in dark chocolate.The topping is similar to the traditional Buckeye Candy, but not quite as sweet and dense (again, thanks to the addition of cream cheese). I think cream cheese is probably the most versatile of ingredients. It is perfectly at home in just about any recipe!

RECIPE:

Buckeye Brownie Cookies

Buckeye Brownie Cookies

Cookies:
2 boxes brownie mix
½ cup butter, melted
8 oz cream cheese, softened
2 eggs

Topping:
1 cup creamy peanut butter
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup powdered sugar
8 oz dark/bittersweet chocolate (about 1 ½ cups chips)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.

Topping (Prepare topping before baking cookies):
In a mixing bowl, combine peanut butter, 8 oz cream cheese, vanilla and powdered sugar. Beat with an electric mixer until smooth and fluffy. Set aside.

Cookies:
In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat together the brownie mixes, melted butter, 8 oz cream cheese and eggs.

Use a medium cookie scoop, or tablespoon, to drop batter onto baking sheets. Bake for 12-15 minutes.

Use a small cookie scoop, or teaspoon, to spoon a ball of peanut butter topping onto each HOT cookie. Flatten topping just slightly with the palm of your hand. Allow cookies to cool for 5-7 minutes on the baking pan. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.

Melt chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave (in 30 second increments). Spoon melted chocolate over the top of each cookie. Allow chocolate to set before serving or storing.

If cookies are not going to be eaten the same day, store them in the refrigerator.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

(Adapted from Inspired by Charm)

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Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies: Texas Sheet Cake Cookies

Texas Sheet Cake Cookies 2

DAY 6: Texas Sheet Cake Cookies

A cookie for fans of the crowd-feeding chocolate cake with pour-on frosting known as Texas Sheet Cake. Now you don’t need a crowd to feed to have an excuse to indulge in a rich, chocolaty, nutty treat.

Also available without nuts. In fact, a great alternative is to make the icing without nuts, and stir in ¼ tsp peppermint extract for a fudgy, mint brownie-like cookie.

Texas Sheet Cake Cookies 1

These cookies are super rich and fudgy: serve with a tall glass of ice-cold MILK!

Texas Sheet Cake Cookies 3

RECIPE:

Texas Sheet Cake Cookies

Texas Sheet Cake Cookies 2

Cookies:
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 2/3 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup chocolate chips

Icing:
½ cup butter
2 Tbs cocoa powder
3 Tbs milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar
¼ cup finely chopped pecans

Cookies:

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper or use silicone mats.

Combine butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Beat until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Mix in flour, baking powder and salt.

In a microwave safe bowl heat chocolate chips on high for 30 seconds. Stir. If chunks still remain, add another 20 seconds and stir again. Mix warm melted chocolate into cookie dough until evenly mixed.

Use a medium cookie scoop (or Tablespoon sized measure) to drop dough onto baking sheets. Bake for 7-8 minutes until cookies just appear set. Do not overbake. Cool for 2 minutes on baking sheet and then cool completely on a wire rack.

Icing:

**DO NOT MAKE ICING UNTIL COOKIES ARE COOL AND READY TO ICE

In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in cocoa powder and cook for 30 seconds, stirring with a whisk. Stir milk and vanilla into pan. Remove from heat and whisk in powdered sugar. Stir in pecans.

Spoon 1-2 tsp of frosting over each cooled cookie. Stir icing if it begins to harden on top. If icing becomes too hard to easily spoon, place pan over low heat and stir until smooth.

Allow icing to set on cookies completely before serving or storing.

Makes about 4 dozen

**NOTES: These can also be made without nuts. For a mint chocolate icing, stir ¼ tsp peppermint extract into icing with the vanilla (do not use nuts).

(Adapted from Cookies & Cups)

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Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies: Easy One-Bowl Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars 2

DAY 4: Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

These should be called “Super-Easy-One-Bowl-No-Mixer-I-Forgot-To-Make-Cookies-For-The-Bake-Sale-Tomorrow-Don’t-Even-Have-To-Soften-The-Butter-Chocolate-Chip-Cookie-Bars”

They are that easy.

These cookies will stay nice and chewy (without burnt edges and soggy middle) if you bake them in two 8×8” pans instead of one 9×13” pan.

Since we have one non-chocolate eater, I usually prepare the batter without the chocolate chips, put half of the batter in one pan and sprinkle the top with cinnamon/sugar. Then stir some chocolate chips into the remaining batter and put the chocolate chip version in the other pan.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars 1

RECIPE:

Easy One-Bowl Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars 2

1 cup butter
¾ cup white sugar
¾ cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 ½ cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 ½ cups chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease two 8” square baking pans (or spray with Baking Pam).

Melt butter in a large bowl in the microwave. Stir sugar and brown sugar into melted butter until incorporated. Mix in the eggs and vanilla. Stir in the  flour, baking powder and salt. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts. Spread the batter into the prepared baking pans.

Bake at 350°F for 28-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely and then cut into squares.

Makes 32 bars

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Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies: Homemade Thin Mint Cookies

Thin Mints 2

DAY 3: Homemade Thin Mint Cookies

Sometimes you just can’t wait a whole year for those cute little Girl Scouts to knock on your door selling contentment in a box. If you absolutely must have Thin Mints before cookie selling season comes around again, this recipe is for you.

You could also dress them up for Christmas by adding some crushed candy canes.

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RECIPE:

Homemade Thin Mint Cookies

Thin Mints 2
2 cups flour
1 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
10 Tbs butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 1/2 tsp pure peppermint extract
about 2 pounds dark chocolate, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.

Whisk flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. In another bowl, beat butter and sugar with a mixer on medium-high speed for 1 minute. Reduce speed to medium-low, and add eggs and peppermint extract. Slowly add flour mixture, and beat until just incorporated.

Divide dough in half and place on two large pieces of plastic wrap. Using plastic wrap, shape dough into 2 logs about 2″ in diameter. Wrap logs securely in the plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 1-2 hours, or several days.

When ready to bake, unroll plastic wrap from dough logs. Use a sharp knife to cut dough into 1/4” disks. Gently reshape edges into circles, if necessary. Place cookies on lined baking sheet, keeping unused dough in the refrigerator until ready to slice. Bake cookies for 10 minutes, or until dry to the touch. Cool 2 minutes on baking sheet before transferring cookies to wire racks to cool.

Melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl in the microwave or in a double boiler (melt chocolate slowly). Dunk cookies into melted chocolate. Use a fork to turn the cookie over in the chocolate. Pick up the cookie with the fork, let excess chocolate drip off, and gently scrape bottom against edge of bowl. Place on parchment (or waxed paper)-lined baking sheets. Let chocolate harden before storing.

TIME SAVING NOTE: You can also just use your fingers to hold the cookie and only dunk the top and sides of the cookie, gently scraping the excess chocolate off of the top of the cookie before placing it on the parchment paper

Makes 4-6 dozen, depending on the size of your cookies

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie 2

I have been a less-than-faithful blogger the last several months. Being a single mom during the week for the last eight months (since my husband accepted and started working at a job 250 miles out of town) has really taken a toll on blogging. Plus trying to get a house ready to sell and move. It is scary how much junk you can accumulate when you stay in one house for 14 years. And how many little repair jobs you can ignore. And how you once thought wall paper was a really good idea.

But I hope to get in a few more posts before I am swamped with last minute moving details and the craziness of unpacking in a new house. I am excited to start cooking in this new kitchen in about 6 weeks! This photo is the sole reason that I agreed to purchase a house that I have not seen yet. In a neighborhood I have never been to. If I get this room to play in, who really cares what the rest of the house looks like?!

New Kitchen

Last weekend was our annual church youth camp fundraiser. Along with some Rocky Road Cookies and Snickerdoodle Bars,  I made a couple of these Chocolate Peanut Butter Pies to auction off. And there just may have been enough “extra” filling that couldn’t possibly have fit into the pie crusts and had to be saved in a small bowl at the back of the fridge where no one could see it.

RECIPE:

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie 2

Crust:
6oz chocolate wafer cookies (about 2/3 of a Nabisco 9oz package)
5 Tbs salted butter, melted

Filling:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup smooth peanut butter
1 can (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream

Chocolate ganache:
¼ cup heavy cream
2 oz (about 1/3 cup)  semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
¼ tsp vanilla extract

Whipped Cream Topping:
1 cup heavy cream
2 Tbs cream cheese, softened
2 Tbs powdered sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract

Candied Peanuts:
½ cup salted dry roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
2 Tbs sugar

Crust:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Crush chocolate wafer cookies in a food processor or blender until finely ground. You should get about 1 ½ cups of crumbs. Melt butter in a medium bowl in the microwave. Stir in chocolate wafer crumbs. Press into 9” pie plate. Bake for 5 minutes (not longer or it will taste burnt). Cool completely before filling.

Filling:
With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese, peanut butter, sweetened condensed milk and vanilla.  In a separate bowl, beat 1 cup heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Stir in half the whipped cream to lighten the batter, and then fold in the remaining whipped cream. Pour into cooled crust. Refrigerate, uncovered, for at least one hour.

Chocolate Ganache:
Place ¼ cup cream in microwave safe measuring cup or bowl. Heat for 45 seconds. Stir in chocolate chips. Let sit for one minute, then stir again until smooth. Let  cool until slightly thickened. Spoon the ganache over the chilled peanut butter filling, spreading almost to the edge of the filling. Return pie to refrigerator. Chill until ganache has completely set.

Whipped topping:
Combine 1 cup heavy cream and softened cream cheese (must be very soft, or your topping will be chunky!) in a large bowl. Beat until soft peaks form. Add powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until stiff. Spread over top of cooled ganache, spreading almost to the edge of the ganache. Chill pie until firm, about 1 additional hour. (The cream cheese in this topping will stabilize your whipped cream and help it keep its shape even over several days.)

Candied Peanuts:
In a medium skillet (I like to use my cast iron skillet), stir together the chopped peanuts and sugar.  Cook over medium-low heat until the sugar begins to melt. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring constantly, until the sugar is completely melted and begins to caramelize, about 2 minutes. Pour the nuts onto a piece of foil or parchment paper  to cool. Sprinkle top of pie with candied peanuts just before serving.

(Inspired by Zoe Bakes)

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Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies: Chocolate Andes Cookies

Chocolate Andes Cookies

DAY 7: Chocolate Andes Chip Cookies

Andes mints now also come in packages of Andes Baking Chips. They make a great addition to a basic chocolate cookie. Can’t find the packaged baking bits? Just chop up a package of regular Andes. I prefer the kind that have one chocolate layer sandwiched between two green mint layers.

RECIPE:

Chocolate Andes Chip Cookies

Chocolate Andes Cookies

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
¼ cup butter
2 ½ cups flour
¼ cup cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
¼ cup butter
1 cup sugar
¾ cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 Tbs milk or cream
1 Tbs vanilla extract
1 bag (10 oz) Andes baking chips or 1 ½ cups coarsely chopped Andes mints

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.

Combine chocolate chips and ¼ cup butter in a small saucepan. Heat over low heat until just barely melted. Or melt in microwave in a Pyrex bowl.

Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk until well mixed. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, beat ¼ cup butter with the white and brown sugars. Mix in eggs, milk and vanilla. Beat in melted chocolate. Add dry ingredients to the mixing bowl and beat until just barely combined. Stir in chopped Andes mints.

Drop by tablespoonsful onto baking sheets. Bake at 375°F for 8-10 minutes. Cool 5 minutes on pan and then remove to wire rack to cool.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies

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Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies: Chocolate Peppermint M&M Cookies

Chocolate Peppermint M&M Cookies 1

DAY 4: Chocolate Peppermint M&M Cookies

We have finally found an m&m that our chocolate-adverse Little A will eat:

Chocolate Peppermint M&M Cookies 3

Although I think there must be something wrong with me as a parent that I am looking for candy that my child will eat.

He isn’t happy, however, when I put them in a chocolate cookie. So does this make me a better parent for making sugar-laden treats that he has no desire to eat? Or an even worse mother for tempting him with something he likes, and then pulling the rug out from under him by enveloping it in the one thing he hates?

RECIPE:

Chocolate Peppermint M&M Cookies

Chocolate Peppermint M&M Cookies 1

2 ¾ cups flour
¾ cup Dutch processed cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2  eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 ½ bags (9.9 oz each) M&M’s White Chocolate Peppermint candies, divided

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

With a mixer, cream butter and sugars together until smooth. Add in eggs, one at a time. Mix in vanilla extract until blended.

Slowly add flour mixture to sugar mixture and mix until dough is smooth. Gently mix in one bag of M&M’s. Drop by scant tablespoons onto baking sheets. Press 2 or 3 M&M’s into the top of each cookie.

Bake at 350°F for 10-11 minutes, or until the cookies are set around the edges, but still soft in the center. Don’t over bake. Remove from oven and let sit on baking sheet for 2 minutes. Move to a cooling rack and cool completely.

Makes about 4-5 dozen cookies

**You can also use chocolate mint M&M’s or regular chocolate M&M’s

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Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies: Rocky Road Cookies

Rocky Road Cookies 1

DAY 2: Rocky Road Cookies

A soft chocolate cookie, baked and then topped with mini-marshmallows and toasted almonds; all held together by a chocolate ganache glaze. A rockier road never tasted so delicious!

This recipe comes from Glorious Treats, with a few alterations.

RECIPE:

Rocky Road Cookies

Rocky Road Cookies 1

Cookie Dough
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate (about 2 cups chips)
1 ½ cups flour
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cups brown sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup coarsely chopped almonds
2 cups mini marshmallows (about half of a 10 oz bag)

Glaze
1 1/2 cups bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips
3 Tbs corn syrup
2 Tbs heavy cream

Preheat oven to 325°F. Coarsely chop the almonds, then spread onto a baking sheet and bake for 5-7 minutes. Set aside to cool.

In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter and chocolate, stirring frequently. Set aside to cool slightly.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the sugar, eggs and vanilla on low speed until well combined. Add the cooled chocolate mixture and blend until just combined. Add the flour mixture slowly and blend until just combined.
Refrigerate dough for about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 325°F. Line  baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mat liner. Roll about 2 Tbs of dough in your hands to create balls. Arrange about 2 inches apart on baking sheets, then flatten slightly with the palm of your hand. Bake cookies about 10 minutes.

Remove baking sheet from oven and immediately top each cookie with 5-6 mini marshmallows. Return the cookies to the oven and bake another 2 minutes. Cool cookies on pan for 2-3 minutes, then transfer cookies to cooling rack.

Prepare cookie glaze by placing chocolate chips in a small bowl. Heat corn syrup and cream in a Pyrex measuring cup in the microwave for 30-40 seconds, until hot. Pour over chocolate chips in bowl and stir until melted.

Place wire cooling rack (with cookies on it) over a sheet of aluminum foil or waxed paper (to catch any excess glaze). Use a spoon to drizzle a small amount of chocolate glaze over the marshmallows, then place a few chopped almonds on top. Then drizzle a second layer of icing over the nuts.

Allow glaze to set before serving. Refrigerate cookies for 15 minutes to set glaze faster.

Makes 3-4 dozen cookies

(Adapted from Glorious Treats)

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