Tag Archives: Chocolate

S’mores Cookie Bars

S'mores Cookie Bars

S'mores Cookie Bars

We are in the throes of the lazy, hazy days of summer around these parts.  With all the sun, my basil and hot peppers are loving life, though we have been wilting a little under 90+ degree days.  However, this weekend is glorious.  Sunny and warm days with cool nights, it is perfect weather for sitting by the campfire under the stars and toasting marshmallows.

Beating the dough

Beating the dough

Unfortunately, with all the birthday parties and visitors this weekend, there is no time to go camping.  Luckily, we found this recipe for s’mores that you can make in your oven.  While it might be blasphemous, I dare say these s’more cookie bars are even better than the original.   Layers of chocolate bars and marshmallow sandwiched between two graham-cracker flavored dough sheets, all baked until melty and golden… well, it’s pretty darn close to campfire heaven.

The layers

The layers

So if you can’t get to the campground this weekend, don’t despair.  Eat these cookies while sitting in your backyard, looking at the stars, and you will feel like you are truly roughing it… and you don’t have to sleep on the ground. 

Fresh from the oven

Fresh from the oven

S’mores Cookie Bars

Adapted from Hershey’s

Ingredients:
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 6 squares)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

4-5 (1.55 oz. each) HERSHEY’S Milk Chocolate Bars

1 cup marshmallow creme

To Make:

Heat your oven to 350°F and grease an 8-inch square baking pan.

Beat butter and sugar in large bowl until light and fluffy.  Add egg and vanilla and beat until well blended.  In a small bowl, stir together flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder and salt.  Add to butter mixture and beat until blended.  Divide the dough in half and press half of it into the prepared pan.

Next, arrange the chocolate bars in a single layer over dough, breaking as needed to fit.  Spread the marshmallow creme evenly over the top of the chocolate.   Break off pieces of the remaining dough and gently press them over the marshmallow creme to form a solid layer.  If you feel like being a perfectionist, you can roll out the dough and place it carefully over the top of the marshmallow.  Either way, it tastes delicious.

Bake the bars until lightly browned, about 30 to 35 minutes.  Cool completely in pan on wire rack.

To Serve:

Cut into 16 bars.  Enjoy outside with a glass of milk, campfire optional.

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Filed under Baked goods, Bars and Brownies, Dessert, Recipes

Doughnut Bread Pudding

Doughnut Bread Pudding

This post has been brought to you by Fat Tuesday.  Eat on, New Orleans!

Alex, I’ll take oxymorons for $2000.

A:  The absolute best use of leftover doughnuts.

Q:  What is doughnut bread pudding?

Custard

The oxymoron in this case is, “leftover doughnuts”.  Really, how often do you come across leftover doughnuts?  Well, in the rare case that you do, you’ll now know what to do with them.

Doughnuts taking a bath

It’s important to realize that doughnuts come in two primary forms.  There are the yeast doughnuts which are super light, airy, and it’s easy to polish off a half dozen before realizing that you haven’t stopped to breath yet.  There are also cake doughnuts.  These are much denser, but equally tasty.  Both kinds result in a wonderful bread pudding, but in different ways.  The yeast doughnuts will puff up when baked while the cake doughnuts tend to be more dense.  Feel free to co-mingle or make two desserts-in-one as done below.  Either way, this is a rich and decadent dessert that is just right to help celebrate the debauchery of Fat Tuesday.

Fresh from the oven

Doughnut Bread Pudding

Ingredients:

3 glazed doughnuts (yeast)*

3 chocolate glazed doughnuts (cake)

4 eggs

3 cups whole milk

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

1/4 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla

mix of cinnamon and sugar to top (optional)

To Make:

Cut the doughnuts up into approximately 1/2 inch pieces.  Lay out the pieces on a cutting board in order to dry out a little bit (you can skip this step if your doughnuts are already a couple of days old).  Once they have sat for a few hours, make the custard mixture.

Beat the eggs.  Whisk in the milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar and vanilla.  Grease a 9″x13″ baking dish.  You can lay out the doughnut pieces in any fashion that you’d like.  Either mix and match the two (or more) types of doughnuts or keep them divided.  Evenly pour the egg mixture over the doughnuts.  Use the back side of a large spatula and press the doughnuts into the egg mixture.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 5 hours (or overnight), every once in a while pressing the doughnut pieces to be sure they are submerged in the egg mixture.

When ready to bake, preheat your oven to 325F.  Sprinkle the top of the bread pudding with cinnamon and sugar, if desired.  Bake for about 45 minutes or until the the center is just set.

To Serve:

Enjoy hot.  Now.  Right now.  This very instant.  Or cold, the next morning for breakfast, with a cup of good coffee or a glass of milk.

* If you are feeling a little crazy, go ahead and use any kind of doughnut you have hanging around… jelly, frosted, crullers, it is all fair game.

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Filed under Baked goods, Dessert, Recipes

Chocolate Chocolate-Chip Pancakes

Chocolate Chocolate-Chip Pancakes

In our house, weekday breakfasts are typically composed of utilitarian fare like cold cereal, yogurt, or the occasional oatmeal.  However, on weekends, we like to pull out all the stops and make things a little more interesting.  We often find ourselves trying out various pancake recipes; buttermilk, cornmeal, buckwheat, etc.  Then one day, we stumbled on this recipe for chocolate chocolate-chip pancakes and we were hooked.

Mixing in the chocolate chips

These pancakes are thin and light (which is how I like them best) and just barely crispy around the edges.  They are full of rich chocolately flavor courtesy of cocoa powder and chocolate chips but they aren’t too sweet.  They are delicious topped with fresh fruit, especially strawberries or blueberries, maple syrup, dusted with powdered sugar, or eaten warm off the griddle.

Fluffy egg whites

If you are looking for something to make a weekend breakfast a little more special, definitely whip up these pancakes.  With all of the chocolate, you really don’t need maple syrup, but if you want to pour it on we certainly won’t judge.

On the griddle

Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Adapted from The Joy of Cooking

Ingredients:

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup sugar

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1 1/4 cups milk

4 tbls (1/2 stick) butter, melted

2 eggs, separated

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

3/4 cup mini chocolate chips

To Make:

Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat the egg whites in a clean metal or glass bowl until they hold soft peaks.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, melted butter, egg yolks, and vanilla.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.  The batter will still be slightly lumpy and that is okay.  You don’t want to over mix.  Fold in the chocolate chips.  Gently fold in the whipped egg whites.

Drop batter by 1/4 cup fulls onto pre-heated and lightly buttered griddle.

To Serve:

Serve warm.  Makes about 18 4-inch pancakes

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Filed under Breakfast, Pancakes, Recipes

Bacon and Peanut Butter Chocolate Truffles

Bacon and Peanut Butter Chocolate Truffles

Yes, you read that right, bacon and peanut butter chocolate truffles.  Are you still with me?  Are you a little weirded out?  If so, let me help:

Peanut butter = delicious

Chocolate = delicious

Bacon = ridiculously delicious

That means that peanut butter + chocolate + bacon = one helluva awesome treat

Truffle center ingredients

Make these little gems for your New Year’s party and surprise your guests (or your hostess) with the unique taste.  They are salty, sweet, chocolatey, and yes, bacon-y.  They come together very quickly and easily and can be made ahead of time.

Chocolate and butter and bacon fat, oh my

The original recipe calls for salted peanuts as part of the truffle center.  We used salted peanuts and the finished truffle is tasty, but a little on the salty side.  Next time, I will use unsalted peanuts to see if that makes a difference.  If you make these and use unsalted peanuts, please let us know how they are.  Also, the original recipe calls for 4 tbls of butter to be melted with the chocolate.  We wanted to give the truffles an extra kick of bacon so we use 2 tbls butter and 2 tbls bacon fat.  The chocolate was a bit thin so we dipped the truffles twice.  If you want to tone down the bacon flavor (why??), then you can use all butter.  In that case, you may not have to dip them twice… though if you have as much chocolate left over as we did, you might as well!

Dipping the balls

Bacon and Peanut Butter Chocolate Truffles

Recipe adapted from The Bacon Cookbook

Ingredients:

6 slices lean streaky bacon

4 oz salted peanuts (about 1/2 cup)

1 tablespoon sugar

1/4 cup smooth peanut butter

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons bacon fat

six 1-oz squares semisweet chocolate

In a large skillet, fry the bacon over moderate heat until crisp, drain on paper towels, and let cool completely.  Reserve 2 tbls of the rendered bacon fat and let cool.

In a blender or food processor, combine the bacon, peanuts, and sugar and grind to a fine texture.  Transfer the mixture to a bowl, add the peanut butter, and stir until well blended and smooth.  Cover with plastic wrap and chill about 1 hour.

Roll the mixture into balls about 1 inch in diameter, place on a baking sheet lined with wax paper, cover with plastic wrap, and chill about 30 minutes longer.

Meanwhile, combine the butter, reserved bacon fat, and chocolate in a small sauce pan and stir over very low heat till melted and smooth.  Remove from the heat and let cool until slightly warm.

Using a fork, coat the balls completely in the melted chocolate.  Set them back on the baking sheet and refrigerate until firm (about 30 minutes more).  If there is melted chocolate left over, give the balls a second coating.  Store in the refrigerator till ready to serve.  Or eat them all now.  It’s your choice….don’t think it’ll be an easy one.

To Serve:

Serve chilled.  Makes 18 to 20 truffles.

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Filed under Candy, Dessert, Recipes

Chocolate Tarts with Peppermint Creme

Chocolate Tarts with Peppermint Creme

It is officially December and I am In. The. Spirit.  It feels a little early to be so excited for Christmas… but I am.  Maybe it is because my maternity leave is winding down and I am feeling the urge to play homemaker for as long as I can.  Or maybe it is because Thing 1 is old enough this year to really “get” what the Christmas season is all about.  Whatever it is, I am in the mood to make all kinds of Christmas goodies. 

Chocolate and cream, what's not to love?

I spent the last week looking for some new recipes to try.  In addition to the traditional stuff I always make, fudge, sugar cookies, etc., I wanted to find delicious things to add to my repertoire.  I came across fun treats like Bourbon Balls and Gingerbread Whoopie Pies with Lemon Cream, and then I found the recipe for these tarts on a pull-out flyer from McCormick in one of my magazines. 

Chocolate ganache

Peppermint whipped cream

Ho

Ho

Ho

Ho

Ho

These little tarts are perfect for the busy holiday season.  Not only are they delicious and pretty to look at, they are quick and easy to make.  The crispy phyllo tart shells contrasts nicely with the smooth chocolate ganache.  The mint creme on top adds a light finish.  Whip up a batch in less than half an hour and have an instant party treat or hostess gift.  To make storage easier, build and store the tarts in the plastic trays that the phyllo shells come in.  They keep for about a week in the refrigerator (though the shells lose some of their crispness over time) so you can make them when you have a few precious moments of free time. 

Mini phyllo shells

Chocolate Tarts with Peppermint Creme

Recipe from McCormick

Ingredients:

2 packages (15 shells each) frozen mini phyllo shells

1/3 cup plus 3/4 cup heavy cream, divided

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate

2 ounces cream cheese, softened

4 tbls sugar, divided

1/2 tsp peppermint extract

extra chocolate or crushed peppermint candies for garnish (if desired)

To Make:

Bake phyllo shells in a 350 degree oven for 3 to 5 minutes, until crisp.  Let cool completely.

Chop chocolate and place in a microwave safe bowl with 1/3 cup heavy cream.  Microwave on high for 1 minute, stirring briefly after 30 seconds.  After the minute in the microwave, stir until all the chocolate is melted and the cream and chocolate are thoroughly combined.  Cool until ganache is thickened slightly, about five minutes.  Spoon a scant teaspoon of ganache into each phyllo cup.  Allow to cool completely.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and 2 tbls of sugar until smooth.  In a medium bowl, use an electric mixer to whip 3/4 cup of heavy cream, remaining two tbls of sugar, and peppermint extract until the cream holds stiff peaks.  Stir half the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture until smooth.  Gently fold in remaining whipped cream.

Spoon about 1 tablespoon of creme onto each tart.  Alternatively, use a piping bag and wide tip to pipe the creme onto each tart.  I found that I had creme left over.

To Serve:

Garnish with shaved chocolate and/or crushed peppermint candies if desired.  Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

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Filed under Baked goods, Cookies, Dessert, Recipes