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Posts Tagged ‘Chocolate’

Oh heeeyyy!  Where do I even begin?!?!  Clearly it’s been forever since my last post, and even longer since my last food post.  Life has been CRAZY!!  But in all the best ways.  These boys are definitely keeping me busy and I am loving every minute of being a mom.  More on those precious babies later though…..in the mean time here’s a peak at how big they are getting!

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I’ve only baked like 4 times since January!  4 times people!!!!  Oy vey!  Needless to say, my creative juices weren’t flowing so I turned to one of my favorite baking blogs.  Jamie, over at My Baking Addiction, always has amazing recipes.  Her blog is one of my go-to’s and I can always count on the recipe to be a hit!

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These cookies are AMAZING!!!  They are chocolaty, peanut buttery, soft with a slightly crisp edge, and all around delightful!  I was a little worried about the stuffed Reese’s Cup because I’ve had bad luck before with stuffing cookies but no problems at all this time.  Make sure to let the dough balls freeze for 15-20 minutes before baking to insure they don’t flatten out and become a runny mess.  I may or may not have eaten 3 of them within a matter of like 20 minutes. So.Good!

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Reese’s Cup Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

Recipe from My Baking Addiction

(Printable Recipe)

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 3 3/4 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips (I used Ghiradelli 60% Cacao Chocolate Chips)
  • 30 Reese’s Miniature Peanut Butter Cups, frozen for atleast 2 hours

Directions

1.  In a large bowl, beat butter, sugars, eggs, and vanilla on medium speed until light and fluffy, approx. 2-3 minutes.  Mix in flour, baking soda and salt.  Stir in chocolate chips.

2.  Measure dough using a medium cookie scoop (about 2 tbsp).  Roll dough into a ball and then flatten in the palm of your hand.

3.  Place a frozen Reese’s Cup in the center of flattened dough and then roll back into a ball.

4.  Place dough balls in freezer for about 15-20 minutes.  After first batch is in the freezer, preheat oven to 350 degrees.

5.  Place frozen dough balls on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, about 3 inches apart.  I got 6 dough balls on each sheet.

6.  Bake 15-18 minutes or until edges start to turn golden brown, centers of the cookie will be soft.  Cool on pan for atleast 3-5 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack.

Notes:

  • Cookies store in an airtight container will be good for 2-3 days.  
  • I baked my cookies for 15 minutes and allowed to cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet before transferring.  Keep an eye on the cookies, each oven bakes differently and you don’t want them to get overdone.

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This year I participated in a little something called The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap hosted by the very talented Lindsay and Julie. Not sure if you heard of it or not, but it was pretty epic! There were some 22,000 cookies floating around the U.S. the past week just from this swap. I wonder how many cookies take flight or go on road trips this time of year?!? We were sent 3 fellow participants to send our cookies to and in return you received 3 dozen from various other people. The first dozen I received was Gingersnap Cookies with Chai drizzle and Candied Ginger from Stephanie of Life Tastes Like Food. Over the years I’ve developed a wonderful friendship with Ginger cookies. Back in the day we didn’t really see eye to eye, but as I matured so did my tastes buds. The first night I ate 3 of them, in like 10 minutes! Swoon!! They were delicious with my morning coffee. A few days later the next 2 dozen came. It was like Christmas!! Kimberly of Rhubarb & Honey sent Cranberry Orange Pecan Cookies that screamed of holiday scents. I loved the specs of orange zest…so festive!! Emily of A Gilt Nutmeg shared her Cookies and Cream Cookies that had big chunks of Oreo’s scattered throughout the cookie. Delish! I can’t wait to get the recipes from everyone and recreate them at home.

The cookie I shared with my matches was a spin off my favorite holiday pick-me-up….the one and only Peppermint Mocha Latte from Starbucks. I have now become one of those crazies in line that you always here people make fun of when ordering. Allow me to enlighten you…..”I’ll have a Grande Decaf Non-Fat No Whip 1/2 Pump Extra Hot Peppermint Mocha.” How many times do you think that’s actually the drink I end up with?? haha!!

Since I didn’t test the recipe before the exchange, I knew the base had to be one that I’ve used before. So I turned to my favorite chocolate cookie that appeared here and here. It’s part brownie, part cookie – kind of amazing! Added in some Andes Peppermint discs, mini chocolate chips, and crossed my fingers that it wasn’t too minty. I doubled the first batch and it made just enough to cover the 3 dozen that I needed. Which meant that I had to whip up some more to photograph, hate when that happens. 3 of them may have disappeared during the photo session….they just threw the picture way off balance. ;) I really hope everyone enjoyed these as much as I did! Are Peppermint Mocha Lattes one of your favorite holiday indulgences as well, try it in cookie form. I see nothing wrong with having them both in the same day either. Tis the season!

(Printable Recipe)

Peppermint Mocha Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients

  • 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 tbsp instant coffee
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tbsp Bailey’s
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup chopped Andes Peppermint discs

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silpats. Set aside.

2. In a small glass bowl, combine the chocolate and butter. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water and stirring frequently until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the instant coffee, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

4. In large bowl, beat the sugar, eggs, water, and vanilla extract until combined, about 2-3 minutes. Slowly add in flour mixture until batter is thick and smooth. Be careful not to over mix. Fold in the melted chocolate. Stir in the chocolate chips and Andes Peppermint discs. Using a medium scoop (about 1 1/2 tbsp) place dough onto prepared baking sheets. Bake until slightly puffed and the tops begin to crack, 12 to 14 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool completely on the baking sheets and serve.

Notes

  • Cookies are best the day of or next day. Store in an air tight container for up to 3 days.
  • Any type of peppermint candy will do, I just really like Andes Mints.
  • Recipe adapted from Giada de Laurentiis

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This time of year bakers are turning out all sorts of holiday cookies.  Fancy frosted cut-outs and seasonal spiced circles are donning the plates at many holiday parties.  But the basic chocolate chip cookie often gets left behind this month.  I love all the different combinations and flavors as much as the next jolly gal, but let’s think of Santa here.  The poor guy can’t be flying from house to house downing a dangerous concoction of holiday cheer.  So for his sake, let’s go back to basics, shall we??

The New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookie has been floating around the internet and numerous blogs for years.  I took one glance at the recipe and realized that it not only called for 2 different types of flours (neither of them being all-purpose) and you had to refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours.  Did it look delicious?  Well of course they did, but they seemed a bit high maintenance to me back then or maybe I was just too impatient to wait so long for something that I’ve had countless times before.  Trust me when I tell you guys, that these are well worth the extra flour and the extra chill time.

They are so good in fact, Old St. Nick might circle by your place for seconds.  In which of course he would want to leave another gift for the very talented baker that warmed his heart with this chewy, slightly salty but wonderfully sweet cookie.  Wink, wink Santa!  If you know of anyone that is a I’m-happy-with-a-basic-cookie type, make these to share!  You will have smiling faces all around!

Which stack would you choose??  ;)

(Printable Recipe)

New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookie

Recipe from New York Times

Ingredients

  • 2 cups minus 2 tablespoons (8 1/2 ounces) cake flour
  • 1 2/3 cups (8 1/2 ounces) bread flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp coarse salt
  • 2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar
  • 1 cup plus 2 tbsp (8 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 2/3 cup (16 ounces) bittersweet chocolate chips (I used 60% Cocoa Ghirardelli chips)

Directions

1.  In a medium bowl, sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.

2.  Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes.  (Don’t rush the 5 minutes).  Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Add vanilla.

3.  Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix just until combined (count between 5 and 10 after all dry ingredients have been added and then turn off mixer).  Stir in chocolate chips.  Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours.  Dough may be made in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.

4.  Once ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Cookies can be made into 2 sizes: (a) Scoop 3 1/2 once mounds of dough (the size of generous golf balls) onto baking sheets.  Sprinkle lightly with sea salt (if desired) and bake until golden brown but still soft, about 18 to 20 minutes.  (b) Using a medium scoop, place rounded tablespoonful of dough onto prepared baking sheets.  Sprinkle lightly with sea salt (if desired) and bake until golden brown but still soft, about 11-13 minutes.  Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for about 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Notes:

  • Things not to skimp on:  Allow the butter and sugars to cream together for 5 minutes.  Be sure to refrigerate for at least 24 hours.  Let all those flavors combine, you won’t be disappointed.
  • Nestle also makes Dark Chocolate Morsels that would work great if you don’t have Ghirardelli on hand.  

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Holiday season is in full swing and I couldn’t be happier!  I wish there was more time between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Life is just way too busy to sit down and enjoy this time of the year as often as I would like sometimes.  Although one of the nice things about being pregnant (among soo many others) is that it has forced me to slow down.  I mean, sometimes, it’s really slow.  I can’t imagine my snail pace when I’m 30 weeks. haha!

One of the unfortunate things about the holiday craziness is that most of us don’t get to spend nearly enough quality time baking up all the goodies we long for each year.  Yes, we might find a day or two to make a few batches of cookies, but I am talking good, quality, christmas music on, dancing and twirling to the sounds of the season, and the oven door opening and closing with batches of delicious treats.  And since this is our ideal situation, how about we call a maid to come clean up all the dishes while we sit down with a cup of coffee and enjoy all that “hard” work.  Sigh….wouldn’t that be the life.

It’s a good thing this bark is quick and easy and allows you some time back in your day to get that last-minute shopping down.  One thing I usually don’t like about chocolate barks is that it’s usually all chocolate except for the toppings.  I know that’s what it’s mainly supposed to be, but I really liked the addition of chocolate wafers in this recipe.  It gave a nice crunch to each bite to break up the layers.  If you are a big mint fan, you would flavor one of the melted chocolates with a little peppermint extract, but I preferred just the Andes Mint chips on top.  It had a nice balance of both chocolate and mint.  A perfect after dinner dessert while you are trimming the tree or wrapping gifts.

(Printable Recipe)

Mint Chocolate Chip Bark

Recipe adapted from Baker’s Royale

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Andes Mint Chips
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chip morsels
  • 3/4 – 1 cup crushed chocolate wafers
  • 6 oz white chocolate baking squares
  • 1-2 drops green food color (add slowly)

Directions

1.  Line a small baking sheet with wax paper.  Place crushed chocolate wafers in a small bowl and set aside.

2.  Place dark chocolate in a heat proof bowl over a simmering water (not boiling) and stir frequently until melted.  Pour  melted chocolate onto baking sheet and using an offset spatula, smooth chocolate until even and desired thickness is achieved.  Immediately sprinkle crushed chocolate wafers over melted chocolate and press down slightly.  Place pan in refrigerator for 5-10 minutes or until chocolate becomes slightly hard.

3.  Place white chocolate in a small heat proof safe bowl over simmering (not boiling) water and stir frequently until melted.  Remove from heat.  Add 1 drop of green food color at a time until desired “mint” color is achieved.  (I didn’t add slowly and was a little heavy-handed on my green).

4.  Remove pan from refrigerator and pour melted white chocolate on top.  Smooth chocolate with an offset spatula until an even layer is formed on top.  Sprinkle Andes Mint chips over white chocolate.  Return pan to refrigerator for another 10-15 minutes or until bark is full set.

Notes:

  • For the chocolate wafers I used Oreo’s.  I scraped off the filling and just used the chocolate wafer.  They worked great if you don’t have chocolate wafers on hand or want to save some money.

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There is something magical about the combination of chocolate and coffee.  Coffee can be used to draw out a deep chocolate flavor, the two combined make a delicious latte (especially when peppermint is added – thank you Starbucks) and there is something so grown up about it.  I’m not sure what it is.  Drinking coffee with my dessert always takes me back to the holidays.  The kitchen would be all cleaned up and the pot of coffee would go on before desserts were served.  I never understood the connection.  Why would anyone want to drink coffee at 9pm especially with a sugary dessert?!?

Oh my, how things can change.  I know find myself patiently waiting in line to grab a cup of ‘jo, my yummy dessert, and cozy up on the couch to savor the delightful flavor combos.

Allow me to clarify, I’ve only done the whole coffee and dessert thing for the holidays.  Perhaps if I had endless pecan pies and chocolaty cheesecakes I would make it more of a weekly occurrence.  But if that were the case, I’m guessing this blog would be all sorts of healthy because I would be on an endless diet.

Let’s chat about these cupcakes, shall we??  Um…make them!  Make them now!  If not now, soon!  If you make nothing else, make the buttercream.  It’s amazing!!  Pretty sure the reason I couldn’t frost them all wasn’t because of cupcake/frosting ratio.  No, no….it was most definitely because I couldn’t keep my spoon out of it.  I went through about 10 spoons, each one being the “last one.”  The cupcake is light and fluffy and makes a great base to the rich buttercream.  Once again, chocolate and coffee rise to the challenge and crush it with it’s usual style and grace!

(Printable Recipe)

Chocolate Cupcakes with Coffee Buttercream

Chocolate Cupcake Ingredients

Recipe from My Baking Addiction

  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk, shaken
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee

Directions

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line two standard muffin tins with paper liners, set aside.

2.  In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Whisk together or mix on low-speed.  This is the bowl you will combine the batter, I used my stand mixer but just make sure the bowl is big enough.

3.  In a medium bowl, combine buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla.  With the mixer on low-speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry.  Once fully combined, slowly add the coffee and mix together.  Make sure to use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl a few times so it’s all mixed together.

4.  Using a large scoop (if using a medium scoop, you will need 2 scoops per paper liner), fill each muffin well 2/3 full with batter.  Bake for 18 to 22 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow cupcakes to cool in pan for about 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Coffee Buttercream Ingredients

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 3 tbsp coffee, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

1.  In a large mixing bowl, beat butter on high-speed until light and fluffy.  About 4-5 minutes.

2.  Slowly add confectioner’s sugar in stages.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Continue mixing until well combined.

3.  Add coffee and vanilla extract.  Continue to beat on high-speed until desired consistency is reached.

Notes:

  • For a more prominent coffee buttercream, simply up the coffee.  You may need to add more confectioner’s sugar to keep a good balance.
  • Cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container for 3-4 days.

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Are you tired of toffee posts yet??  I’ve been on a major toffee kick the last few months.  Lucky for you guys, my last bag is about half way gone and then I’ll call it quits for a bit.  Promise.

Similar to the Andes Cookies, I turned to the back of one of my favorite add-ins for a new recipe to try out.  I was a little timid to make the brownies.  You see, I found this other recipe a while ago and it’s been my go-to ever since.  I’ve made it time and time again and it’s never failed me.  I was also didn’t want to waste 1 1/3 cups of buttery, toffee bits in a dud recipe.  Wasted they were not!  The brownie itself was dense and fudgy.  Top it with a nice layer of toffee bits and I brought home an empty pan.  Trust me when I tell you, no brownie square will go undressed.  There is plenty to cover each and every one.  Did the recipe beat out my go-to?  Not sure about that, but this one is pretty good as well.

(Printable Recipe)

All American Heath Brownies

Recipe from the  back of Heath Bits bag

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 oz Unsweetened Chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/3 cup (8 oz pkg) Heath Toffee Bits

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease an 8×8 inch baking pan.  Set aside.

2.  In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt.

3.  Melt butter and chocolate in a medium size saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally.  Be careful not to let chocolate burn.  Once melted, remove from heat and stir in sugar until a coarse sand forms.

4.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.  Stir in vanilla.

5.  Add flour to chocolate mixture, stirring until well blended.  Pour into prepared pan and spread evenly.

6.  Bake for 18-20 minutes or until brownie begins to pull away from the edge of pan.  Remove from oven, sprinkle with toffee bits, and cover tightly with foil.  Place on a wire rack to cool completely.  Remove foil, cut into squares.

Notes

  • Brownies are best the day they are baked.  I thought the toffee got a little soft the next day.
  • Mini chocolate chips would be good mixed into the brownie batter.

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The last few weeks breakfast has been whatever I can grab while running out the door.  At this point, I’m already about 10 min late, sometimes my outfit goes together (most of the time not, then realize what I actually look like the first time I walk into the bathroom and see myself in a full length mirror – YIKES), and everyday I walk out the door, pause, turn around, back inside, up the stairs and have to double-check the iron and flatiron to make sure I turned them off.  I think I need to start doing some word puzzles, Sudoku, or mind exercises before too long.  The post-it note thing just isn’t working anymore.

In an attempt to make sure I had something somewhat healthy leaving the house I made these granola bars.  Brent has been making some killer fruit bowls in the morning, which is perfect because I really think these bars would be best as a mid afternoon snack.  They have a nice combination of sweet and salty to curb those 4pm cravings.  Although you don’t NEED the chocolate drizzle, it sure is tasty with it.


(Printable Recipe)

Apricot Pistachio Granola Bars

Adapted from allrecipes.com

Ingredients

  • 2 cups old-fashion oats
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup dried apricots, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup pistachios, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup agave
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line an 8/10 inch baking pan with parchment paper.

2.  In a large bowl, mix together oats, brown sugar, wheat germ, cinnamon, flour, apricots, and salt.  Make a well in the center, add agave, egg, oil and vanilla.  Stir together until fully combined.  Add in pistachios and sunflower seeds.  Pour mixture into pan and spread evenly.

3.  Bake for 20-25 minutes until the bars are golden brown on the edges.  Middle will look slightly undone, that is ok.  Cool in pan for 5-8 minutes.  Using parchment paper, remove from pan and cut into bars while still warm.  Bars become crumbly when cut after completely cooled.

4.  Drizzle dark chocolate over top of bars if desired. (optional)

Notes:

  • Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.  

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