Category Archives: Chocolate

Dark Chocolate Banana Bread

Dark+Chocolate+Chocolate+Chip+Banana+Bread

This bread is not for the faint of heart.  It is rich, dense, and velvety to the extreme.  I had a few ripe bananas sitting on my counter and since I’m not one to waste good food, an immediate baking need was obviously in order.   It just so happened that I also had a chocolate craving (when do I not) so after a little plinking around my Pinterest board, I found a recipe from Joy the Baker that satisfied both needs.  Never one to leave well enough alone, a little modifying was performed and the resulting bread is just short of chocolate heaven.

I’m going on record to say this recipe is healthy as well.  It has a few of the major food groups (fruit, grain, dairy) and is made with dark chocolate.  Antioxidants people!!  I’m fairly sure it cancels out the calories.


Dark Chocolate Banana Bread
adapted from Joy the Baker

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened Dark Cocoa Powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 stick (8 Tbs) unsalted butter, at room temp
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
2 large or 3 small ripe bananas, mashed (approximately 1 cup)
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup dark chocolate chips

1.  Preheat oven to 350 deg.

2.  Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan and place it on an insulated baking sheet or stack two regular sheets together.

3.  Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt and baking soda.

4.  Beat the butter at medium speed until soft, about a minute.  Add the sugars and beat for 2 minutes.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating for a minute after each.

5.  Reduce the mixer to low speed and mix in the bananas.  Add the dry ingredients in three batches, only mixing long enough to incorporate it into the batter.  Add the heavy cream and mix until incorporated.  Stir in the chocolate chips and scrap batter into prepared pan.

6.  Bake for 30 minutes. Cover the bread loosely with foil and continue to bake for another 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Transfer the pan to a rack for 20 minutes before running a knife around the edges of the bread and unmolding it onto a second rack.  Let cool to room temp before slicing.

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Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chip Banana Bars

Peanut+Butter+amp+Chocolate+Chip+Banana+Bars


One of the best things I have found that has come about in the age of the Internet is the ability to reconnect with people from your past.  As a person who is a few *ahem* years past school age, I had grown out of touch with a number of high school friends.  Not that long ago, most people would only see those that they went to school with every 10 to 15 years at their high school reunion.  Now I’m wondering just what I’m going to talk to people about at my next reunion as we have all been Facebook stalking each other for years.

This recipe came from one of those reconnections to the past.  Erin posted this herself a while back and I knew that I had to try it.  I did make an addition of peanut butter chips simply because peanut butter and banana is a marriage made in heaven.  That mixed with the milk chocolate chips……  

I don’t know which is better, the soft slightly gooey center section or the lightly caramelized edges.

I dare you to eat just one.

Banana Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars
slightly adapted from The Flaming Toaster

3/4 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2-3 medium)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup peanut butter chips

1.  Heat oven to 350 degrees.

2.  Grease a 15x10x1-inch baking pan (jelly roll pan); set aside.

3.  In a medium mixing bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add the granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt; beat till combined. Beat in the egg, bananas, and vanilla till combined. Beat in flour till combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

4.  Spread in the prepared baking pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into bars.



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Marshmallow & Dark Chocolate Cheesecake Ice Cream

Chocolate+Marshmallow+Ice+Cream

I love homemade ice cream but don’t always have the time and patience to do the egg separating, egg tempering, whisking, blending, cooking that many of the recipes require.  I made a batch of kick butt tin roof the other weekend but it took about an hour to get everything done and that didn’t include the chill time.  Between juggling the baby and the 3 year old, and finding time to do something/anything on the property that hour just isn’t always available. 

This recipe however is wonderfully quick and easy.  It uses chocolate milk as a base which is great for ease of use and it means you have a few extra cups of chocolate milk in the fridge that might just have to be shared between you the toddler that will give you cute puppy eyes as soon as she sees it.  You won’t want it to go to waste.

Those chunks of marshmallow and chocolate you see in the picture are simply chopped Mallowmars (I used the cheaper ValuTime brand and it worked great) which gave me marshmallow, chocolate and graham crackers all in one.  Can’t go wrong there.  Plus, as with the chocolate milk, there is extra.  Bonus!

Don’t worry about getting the cream cheese completely mixed in.  Mine has little pebbles floating throughout (you can see them in the picture above) and I found that it gave a rich cheesecake flavor.  You can use regular cocoa powder as well I liked the depth of flavor the dark chocolate gave the it.

Sure the weather is getting a little cold to think of ice cream but I say so what, just eat it inside by the heater.  Trust me, it’s worth it.


Marshmallow & Dark Chocolate Cheesecake Ice Cream

Adapted from Raleys.com
Ingredients

8-oz. cream cheese, softened2 cups 1% chocolate milk
1 cup heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened dark chocolate cocoa powder
2 tsp. vanilla extract
8 Fudge Marshmallow Cookies, coarsely chopped (Both Mallowmars and ValuTime work great)

Directions

1. Place cream cheese in a large bowl; slowly whisk in milk until smooth. Whisk in remaining ingredients except cookies; cover and chill until very cold.

2. Whisk mixture again. Pour into the bowl of an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. Remove paddle and stir in cookies. May be served immediately or cover and freeze until ready to serve. Best if left at room temperature for 10 minutes to soften before serving.

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Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate+chocolate+chip+cookie

So yaaaah, I looked back at when I last posted a recipe on this blog and it was approximately 9 weeks ago, right when I found out I was pregnant and immediately began the morning sickness cycle which has prevented me from wanting to cook or bake anything.  However, things are a little better, and in a moment of feeling good, I signed up for a blogging cookie exchange.  I’m glad I did as it forced me to bake again, which I love, and I have gotten two packages of the yummiest cookies.  I can’t wait to get the recipes!

I got Festive Itailian Cookies from Carol.  These are sweet and crumbly and oh so very good.  Perfect with a cup of tea.  Or coffee.  Or milk.  Or by themselves.

Italian+Cookies

I also received some of the best and softest gingerbread men I have ever had.  When I took this picture there were already half missing.  These are from Elena.

Gingerbread+Man



I also just received some Spiced Cookies filled with cranberry jam from Erin.  I haven’t had time to photograph them yet but let me tell you, they are as beautiful as they are delicious.  Take a look at the link to see them in all the beauty.  They put my misshapen cookies to shame.  🙂

For my cookies, I baked my Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies.  These are the cookies that I fall back on every time when I have a huge chocolate craving.  These are  soft and oh so chocolaty.  They take a little bit of effort but are soooo worth it.

And I learned something about myself when making them.  While I am an engineer, a hands on perfectionist I am not.  While the dough logs I made looked nice and symmetrical, the cookies came out all sizes.  I never claimed to be Martha Stuart!

The picture above was the original batch of cookies I made for the cookie exchange.  Somehow, either the way I weighted the packages or how the terrible printer at home printed the labels, it looks like the packages are floating around the post office system somewhere.  I just made another batch and sent them out, this time going right up to the post office window and having them figure out the postage.  Lesson learned!  I am so sorry to all my cookie recipients out there.  I hope you get your cookies soon!


I did change up the recipe a little for the next batch and decided to make them a little more Christmas like.  I thinned out the log to about 1.5 inches, lowered the cook time to 11 minutes and plopped a candy cane Hershey Kiss on top once they were out of the oven. Yum!

Triple Chocolate Cookies
adapted from Ghirardelli

1 bag 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate chips
6 Tbsp unsalted butter
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp espresso powder
1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup white chocolate chips


1.  In a double boiler (or a bowl sitting on a sauce pan of simmering water), melt the bittersweet chocolate chips and butter.


2.  With an electric mixer, beat eggs and sugar until thick.  Stir in the chocolate mixture.


3.  In a small bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and espresso powder.  Stir into chocolate mixture.


4.  Gently mix in semi-sweet and white chocolate chips.


5.  Using a sheet of plastic wrap, form dough into two logs, each 2 inches in diameter and about 8 inches long.  The dough will be very soft so use the plastic wrap to aid in making the logs.  Wrap tightly and refrigerate for at least an hour.   It also freezes well at this stage.


6.  Preheat oven to 375F.  Unwrap dough and with a sharp knife, cut into 3/4 inch slices.  Place 1-2 inches apart on a parchment lined cookie sheet.


7.  Bake 12 to 14 minutes or until a crust forms on top of the insides still look gooey.  


8.  Let cool on the cookie sheet.  Enjoy with a big glass of milk.

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Smore Bars

You know smores, the ones where you need to build a fire, burn it down to coals, stick a marshmallow on a stick, put the marshmallow over the coals while turning your face left and right in an effort to provide some kind of relief to the burning heat, blow out your marshmallow that just caught on fire, create a sandwich with the now burnt marshmallow with graham cracker and chocolate, then make a huge mess trying to eat the thing as the chocolate is hard, the graham cracker is crumbly and the marshmallow is gooey.  But oh do they taste good!

Want in on a secret?  You can make smores at home without the mess and burned face.

Smore+Bar+1

Blend up two packages of graham crackers into a powder.  If you don’t have a food processor you can do this in a blender or put it in a large ziplock and whack at it with a rolling pin.
Smore+Bar+2

Mix in salt, sugar and melted butter.
Smore+Bar+3
Press the moistened graham cracker, withholding 1/2 a cup, into a pan lined with tin foil and sprayed with cooking spray then bake until lightly golden.Smore+Bar+4

Melt 3 cups of milk chocolate chips and spread them over the graham cracker layer.

Smore+Bar+5
Press 3 1/2 cups of mini marshmallows into the chocolate and sprinkle the withheld graham crackers over any visible chocolate.  Put the whole thing under the broiler for 20-30 seconds until the marshmallows are light to medium brown.  Seriously, watch those marshmallows closely.  My last batch of these literally caught on fire in under a minute.  🙂
Smore+5

Put the bars into the fridge for at least 2 hours to cool the chocolate.  Then lift out and cut into bars.

Patriotic Smores!
Smore+4

 

Smore Bars
adapted from Anne Thornton

Ingredients

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
  • 18 plain graham crackers
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups milk chocolate chips
  • 3 1/2 cups mini-marshmallows

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom and sides of a 9 by 13-inch baking pan with foil. You want to leave about 4 inches of overhang on the 2 opposite sides. Grease the foil with cooking spray.

In your food processor, grind the graham crackers into a fine meal. In a large bowl, combine your crumbs with the sugar, salt and melted butter. Set aside a heaping 1/2 cup of the crumb mixture for the topping. Evenly press the remaining crumb mixture into the bottom the foil-lined pan. Put the crust into the oven and bake until it is golden brown,12 to 15 minutes. Let cool while you prepare the chocolate.

Melt the milk chocolate in a saucepan over low heat, stirring continuously until fully melted. Or, you can microwave the chocolate on low power, stirring after 2 minutes.

Pour the melted chocolate over the cooled graham cracker crust. Spread the chocolate evenly over the crust. Sprinkle the marshmallows over the chocolate and press them lightly into the chocolate. Sprinkle the reserved crumb mixture over and in between the marshmallows so that you cannot see the chocolate peaking through the marshmallows. Broil the bars 6 inches from the broiler until the marshmallows are golden brown, 20-30 seconds.

Refrigerate the bars until the chocolate is hard about 2 hours. Lift out of the pan and cut into 24 squares.

Enjoy!

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Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies

Chocolate+covered+cherry+cookies
How cute are these?!  Yes, yes I know it’s past the Christmas season but with the crazy of the holidays I never got around posting them.  I just love the colors in these cookies with the deep brown of the chocolate to the stark white of frosting with that lovely deep red of the cherry.  It doesn’t hurt that they taste fabulous.
Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies
from Pillsbury.com
Cookies
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
Filling
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 tbs brandy
1 cup powdered sugar
Topping
36 maraschino cherries with stems, drained
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 tsp oil
1.  Heat oven to 375 degrees F.  In large bowl, beat sugar, butter, vanilla and egg yolk until light and fluffy.  Add flour and cocoa, beat until well combined.
2.  Shape dough into 1 inch balls and place on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  With index finger, make indentation in center of each cookie.
3.  Bake 7 to 9 minutes or until set.  Immediately remove from cookie sheets.  Cool completely.
4.  Meanwhile, in medium bowl, beat the filling ingredients until smooth.  Spoon 1/2 tsp of filling into center of each cookie.  Press cherry into filling.
5.  In a small saucepan, melt the chocolate chips with oil over low heat, stirring constantly.  Spoon or drizzle melted chocolate over the cherry on each cookie.  Let stand until the chocolate is set.

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S’more Pie

Smore+Pie
You are just going to have to trust me that this pie is like “sitting by the campfire, roasting marshmallows to golden brown, placing them between two graham crackers with a rich slice of chocolate, and eating them without making a mess” in a pie.  This recipe for s’more pie takes all the mess out of the yummy.
 
The recipe calls for a graham cracker crust.  Since having a 15 month old means that I have an unlimited supply of graham crackers around I made my own.  However, you can also just use a premade from the grocery store. 
 
The recipe calls for letting the marshmallow layer chill for at least 3 hours.  Time got away from me when I made this and it was only in the fridge for about 2.  You can see how gooey the marshmallow is in the picture.  Totally ok as the flavor was fabulous but it was easier to serve the next day after it had chilled longer (although very little was left).
 

Serving suggestion: Slice this pie thinly as it is R.I.C.H.

S’more Pie
adapted from Gourmet Magazine

Chocolate Cream Filling
7 oz milk chocolate, chopped (or chips)
1 cup heavy cream 
1 large egg, at room temperature for 30 mins 

Marshmallow Filling
1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin 
1/2 cup cold water 
3/4 cup sugar 
1/4 cup light corn syrup 
1/2 teaspoon vanilla 
Vegtable oil for greasing 

Making the Chocolate Cream Filling:
1. Make graham cracker crumb crust and reserve.

2. Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350ºF. Put chocolate in a large bowl. Bring cream just to a boil in a 1- to 1 1/2-quart heavy saucepan, then pour hot cream over chocolate. Let stand 1 minute, then gently whisk until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Gently whisk in egg and a pinch of salt until combined and pour into graham cracker crumb crust (crust will be about half full).

3. Cover edge of pie with a pie shield or foil and bake until filling is softly set and trembles slightly in center when gently shaken, about 25 minutes. Cool pie to room temperature on a rack (filling will firm as it cools), about 1 hour.

Making the Marshmallow Topping:
1. Sprinkle gelatin over 1/4 cup cold water in a large deep heatproof bowl and let stand until softened, about 1 minute.

2. Stir together sugar, corn syrup, a pinch of salt, and remaining 1/4 cup water in cleaned 1- to 1 1/4-quart heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil over moderate heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved, then boil until thermometer registers 260ºF, about 6 minutes.

3. Begin beating water and gelatin mixture with an electric mixer at medium speed, then carefully pour in hot syrup in a slow stream, beating (avoid beaters and side of bowl). When all of syrup is added, increase speed to high and continue beating until mixture is tripled in volume and very thick, about 5 minutes. Add vanilla and beat until combined, then immediately spoon topping onto center of pie filling; it will slowly spread to cover top of pie. Chill, uncovered, 1 hour, then cover loosely with lightly oiled plastic wrap (oiled side down) and chill 3 hours more.

Brown the Topping:
1. Preheat broiler.

2. Transfer pie to a baking sheet. Cover edge of pie with pie shield or foil and broil 3 to 4 inches from heat, rotating pie as necessary, until marshmallow topping is golden brown, about 3 minutes. Be careful as this process can smoke a bit.

3. Cool pie on a rack 10 minutes. Slice pie with a large heavy knife dipped in hot water and then dried with a towel before cutting each slice.

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Oreo Truffles

Oreo+Truffle
Bottom line, these are creamy, chocolaty balls of yummyness.  End of story.
ps  Don’t do what I did and dry the chocolate on a cooling rack so that the truffle welds itself to the rack thus causing the bottom to stay behind when you attempt to pick one up.
Oreo Truffles
1 package Oreo Cookies
8 oz cream cheese (softened)
Melting chocolate
1.  Finely crush cookies in a food processor.  Mix in cream cheese with a rubber spatula.
2.  Roll the mixture into 1 inch balls and place on a wax paper covered cookie sheet.
3.  Melt chocolate in a double boiler.  Dip each ball in the chocolate and place back on the wax paper.  Sprinkle with toppings if desired.
4.  Let chocolate cool and store in refrigerator.

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Almond Butter and Chocolate Crispy Bars

These bars take a little time to make.  Not because of complexity but just in the make, wait, make, wait, make, wait steps.  The steps themselves go fairly quickly and in the end, they are sooooo worth it.  Browned butter and rice crispies and almond butter and milk chocolate and dark chocolate.  How can you go wrong?

ps  You can make these with peanut butter in place of the almond butter.  In fact, the original recipe used it and it was quite good.  That being said, I love the nutty flavor of the almonds.  Hmmm, writing the word nutty reminds me of Nutella.  I bet this would be wonderful with Nutella.

pps  This is not a recipe to take to a hot family picnic, or a warmer than normal open house or really anywhere that is going to over 80 degrees.  The nut layer starts getting gooey and very messy.  It still tastes sublime, even licked off your fingers.

ppps You can use regular sized marshmallows instead of the miniature, it just takes longer to get them melted.

Rice+Crispy+Bars1
Almond Butter and Chocolate Crispy Bars
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
 
For the rice crispy layer
4 tbs salted butter
1/2 a bag miniature marshmallows
3 cups rice cereal
Lightly spray a 8-inch square baking pan.
Melt the butter in a medium size saucepan over medium/low heat.  Continue cooking the butter until it has foamed and takes on a medium brown color with lots of lovely browned bits floating around.
Take the pan off the heat and mix in the marshmallows, stirring until they are all melted.  Mix in the cereal until it is fully coated.  Poor the mixture into the prepared pan and use a greased spatula or your hands to press it into the bottom of the pan.  Let cool for 20 minutes.
For the almond butter/milk chocolate layer
6 oz milk chocolate chips (1/2 a bag)
1 cup almond butter
In a medium bowl, mix the chocolate and almond butter together.  Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and stir with a rubber spatula until the chocolate melts and the mixture is smooth.
Pour the mixture over the cereal layer, using a spatula to make sure it spreads over the entire surface.  Place in the refrigerator for 1 hour to harden.
For the dark chocolate layer
6 oz dark chocolate chips (or a coarsely chopped bar)
1/2 tsp light corn syrup
4 tbs salted butter
In a medium bowl, combine chocolate, corn syrup, and the butter.  Place bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and stir with a rubber spatula until the chocolate and butter melt and the mixture is smooth.
Let cool slightly and then pour the mixture over the almond butter layer, using a spatula to very carefully spread the chocolate evenly.  Place in the refrigerator for at least an hour until the chocolate layer hardens.
Enjoy with a large glass of milk or cup of tea.

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THE Chocolate Cake… Oh Yah…

IMG_1585
You know how sometimes you come across some recipes where you say “This is the one”? I found one of those with a chocolate cake recipe I found on the Scharffenberger website. This cake was amazingly good. Decently good and sinfully rich.

I would advise to not do as I did while waiting for the cake to cool. Don’t go outside to do a few chores. Don’t mow around the well and find (with the blades of the mower) the hidden faucet you didn’t know was buried in the tall grass. This would create a tall fountain of water. Then you will have to run up to turn off the well, wait for the water to run out of the line until you realize this is the line down from the house not up to the house and thus you are quickly draining the entire house. You will then have to put the peddle to the medal on the mower (at least 2 miles an hour) up the driveway and shut off the line down from the house. Then call hubby to let him know he needs to bring home pipe fixing supplies. Sigh….

Cake

* Unsalted butter and flour for pans
* 2 cups granulated sugar
* 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
* ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Scharffenberger and it was fabulous)
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
* 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
* 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
* ½ cup canola oil
* 1 cup whole milk
* 1 cup boiling water

Frosting

* 1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
* 1 cup heavy cream
* 5 ounces Scharffen Berger 99% Cacao Unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
* 8 tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
* 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter the bottom of two 9-inch round cake pans. Line the bottom with parchment paper, then butter and flour the parchment and the sides of the pans.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the sugar, flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder, and baking soda, mixing on low speed. Mix in the eggs, oil, and milk.

Increase the speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and mix in the water. The batter will be soupy.

Divide the batter evenly between the cake pans.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and cool on a cooling rack for 5 minutes, then turn the layers out onto the rack and cool completely.


The Frosting:

In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and cream and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat and simmer for 6 minutes. Add the chocolate and butter and stir until melted. Pour into a bowl and stir in the vanilla. Let cool to the consistency of mayonnaise.

To Frost the Cake:

Place one cake layer on a serving plate. Spread the frosting with a hot palette knife or icing spatula to give the frosting a beautiful shine. Run the knife under hot tap water and dry with a towel. Spread about ¾ cup of the frosting over the top of the first layer. Top with the second layer. Spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake, heating the knife again as necessary.

Cut the cake. Beware this is RICH so large slices may cause cardiac arrest.

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