Caramel Cookie Bars should be classified as a sin…but a very delicious one! Daughter, Megan, made these to take to friends that recently had a baby and she shared a piece with me. Oh my gosh! They are decadent and perfect for a special occasion.
Caramel Cookie Bars
1 cup salted butter softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups chocolate chips/chopped chocolate use your favorite (I like a combination of milk and semi sweet)
Chocolate Crinkles were a favorite cookie of my childhood. Through the years I made them for my kids as well. Now the grandkids can enjoy them and help, especially rolling the dough in the two sugars. We made our cookies bite size and they were perfect. Little bites of chocolate perfection and…bonus…dairy free!
Chocolate Crinkles (Dairy Free)
1 cups all-purpose flour (130 grams)
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (65 grams)
1/2 cups brown sugar, packed (165 grams)
¼ cup white sugar (50 grams)
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup oil (60 milliliters)
2 teaspoon vanilla sugar or 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/2 cup white sugar (100 grams)
1/2 cup powdered sugar (65 grams)
Whisk together flour, cocoa, brown sugar, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a mixing bowl.
Add eggs, vegetable oil, and vanilla. Mix using your hands. At first it will seem like there isn’t enough liquids and like the mixture is dry and grainy. This is fine. Keep mixing until you see the mixture develop into dough.
Roll the dough into about 1 inch or 2.5 centimeters size balls.
Roll each ball first in the granulated sugar. Then roll each ball generously in powdered sugar.
Place the balls on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Add more powdered sugar on top of the balls.
Preheat the oven to 325°F or 160°C . Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before moving them to a cooling rack.
Megan is the dessert queen of our family. She whipped up this decadent dessert and served it in an antique compote dish of my Mother’s. It was rich, velvety and so wonderful. Perfect for your Valentine’s Day dinner…or anytime you want to spoil your family and friends.
6 ounces (170 g) semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
6 tablespoons (89 g) unsalted butter, cubed
4 large egg yolks
1/4 cup (50 g) granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup (240 ml) heavy cream
Sweetened whipped cream, chocolate shavings, and fresh strawberries for garnish, optional
In a small heatproof bow, combine the chocolate and butter. Set the bowl over a pot of barely simmering water. Stir constantly until chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove from heat but leave the pot of simmering water on the burner.
In a medium heatproof bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until well combined. Set the bowl over the pot of barely simmering water and whisk for about 5 minutes, until the mixture turns pale and becomes slightly stiff. Remove from heat.
Stir in the vanilla followed by the chocolate mixture. Stir for a few more minutes to allow the mixture to cool then set aside until it cools to room temperature.
In a large bowl, whip the cream to soft peaks. Whisk 1/4 of the whipped cream into the cooled chocolate mixture. Use a silicone spatula to gently fold in the remaining whipped cream until fully mixed in.
Divide the mousse among four 6-ounce ramekins and refrigerate until set, about 1 hours.
Garnish with whipped cream, chocolate shavings, raspberries, or strawberries if desired.
HOMEMADE WHIPPED CREAM
1 cup (240 ml) heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
In a medium bowl, whip cream with an electric mixer on medium-low speed just until soft peaks form.
Add vanilla extract and sugar. Continue to whip until the cream forms stiff peaks. Make sure not to over beat, the cream will become lumpy and butter-like.
S’mores conjure up childhood memories of campfires with friends and family, biting into that creamy marshmallow with melted chocolate. Yum! Sometimes you don’t have a campfire and you still want s’mores. This recipe does that and takes it up a notch with peanut butter and chocolate hazelnut spread.
Make these delicious s’mores in advance and store in the fridge. Decorate for the occasion or holiday, in this case, Labor Day. It is a real crowd pleaser!
Chocolate Dipped Peanut Butter S’mores
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
16 graham cracker square (8 whole rectangular pieces, halved)
1/2 cup chocolate-hazelnut spread
8 large marshmallows
1 package white almond bark
1 package chocolate chips or other melting chocolate
Spread a generous dollop of peanut butter onto one side of 8 of the cracker squares, and then spread the chocolate hazelnut spread onto one side of the other 8 squares.
Thread the marshmallows onto 2 metal skewers and carefully toast over a flame on the stove top or grill. Place 1 toasted marshmallow onto each of the peanut butter-covered graham crackers. Top with the chocolate-covered crackers and sandwich together gently.
Melt the white almond bark and milk chocolate in separate glass bowls set over simmering water. Set aside to cool, stirring occasionally to keep the chocolate melted.
When the toppings are at room temperature, one by one dip half of the sandwiches in the white chocolate, allowing any excess to drip off. Work quickly, and then add on whatever sprinkles or toppings you’d like to use. (NOTE: We chose to drizzle melted chocolate over the s’mores and then apply sprinkles.)
Place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Then you can store the s’mores at room temperature or in the fridge until you’re ready to serve! (NOTE: I would recommend storing in the refrigerator so the chocolate doesn’t melt. They keep very well without getting soft).
Recipe slightly adapted from Food Network/Ree Drummond
Who doesn’t like chocolate cake? I wanted to make a chocolate cake for a gathering of friends, two of which are Vegan. We all love to share salads, fruits, pastas, but dessert is always a bit tricky.
This cake was moist, delicious and almost healthy! I would make it again and again whether my guests were Vegan or not. Even one of my Grand Dogs thought it was worthy of his attention!
Chocolate Cake…Vegan &Delicious
3/4 cup plain flour/GF flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup unrefined cane sugar/brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
This makes a small amount of frosting as the cake doesn’t need much, but for a full batch
1 1/2 tbsp. lite Nuttelex or other dairy free butter/margarine alternative
1 1/2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup sifted icing sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
Preheat oven to 180°C/355°F.
Grease and line a small cake tin (or cupcake tins)
In a large mixing bowl combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a separate medium mixing bowl combine applesauce, sugar and vanilla and pour into dry ingredients.
Mix until just combined and pour into cake tin.
Bake for 20-35 minutes or until cooked through and a skewer inserted removes clean. If making cupcakes, cook for ~10-15 minutes or until cooked through.
For the frosting, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy in a mixer, adding in the cocoa and vanilla and mixing until combined. If needed, add a couple of drops of milk/non dairy milk until your desired consistency is reached
Fresh, sweet pears have always been a favorite of mine. Rarely have I baked with pears but this recipe sounded too delicious to resist. It has a wonderful texture and so very moist!
YOGURT CAKE WITH PEAR AND DARK CHOCOLATE
1 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup plain yogurt (I used vanilla Greek yogurt)
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup canola oil
1 large pear, ripe but still firm, cored and cut into small pieces (leave the skin on)
1/2 cup bittersweet (dark) chocolate chunks.
Preheat your oven to 350F and grease an 8 inch loaf pan with butter (I found the recipe made too much for one loaf pan–I made an 8 inch loaf and a small loaf pan).
In a small bowl combine all the dry ingredients (flour through salt). In medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, yogurt, eggs and vanilla until smooth. Then, stir in the dry ingredients, a bit at a time, until well blended. Finally, use a rubber scraper to fold the oil into the batter until it is fully incorporated.
Pour about one-third of the batter into the greased loaf pan. Sprinkle 2/3s of the pear pieces and the chocolate chunks all over the batter. Then, scrape the rest of the batter on top of this and gently spread it smooth. Sprinkle the rest of the pear and chocolate over the top of the loaf and gently press all the pieces down into the batter to partially submerge them.
Bake in the middle of the oven until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean – 55-60 minutes or so. Then, take the cake out of the oven and let it sit for about 5 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the cake. Carefully turn the cake out of the pan, and then put it upright on a cooling rack to cool the rest of the way. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. The cake will keep for several days (refrigerate if it’s more than 2 days), and slices are delicious lightly toasted before eating. Serve with sweetened whipped cream.
Zucchini has been plentiful this year and I was craving a chocolate fix. I found this recipe and LOVED the cake. The glaze turned into chocolate globs which I did try to spread on top of the cake. Next time I’d either just skip the glaze, or make my own.
The cake is moist and delicious…a keeper!
CHOCOLATE ZUCCHINI CAKE
Unsalted butter, for the pan
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan
1/2 cup plus 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg or allspice
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 medium zucchini, grated and squeezed dry
1 teaspoon honey
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch-square cake pan. Dust the pan with flour, tapping out the excess.
Toss 1/2 cup chocolate chips with 1 tablespoon flour in a small bowl. Whisk the remaining flour, the cocoa powder, salt, baking soda and nutmeg in a medium bowl; set aside.
Beat the sugar, 1/2 cup olive oil, the eggs and vanilla in a large bowl with a mixer on medium speed until smooth and pale, about 3 minutes. Add the flour-cocoa mixture; beat on low speed until combined, about 2 minutes (the batter will be thick). Add the zucchini and beat until combined, about 2 more minutes. Fold in the flour-coated chocolate chips with a wooden spoon.
Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool completely.
Make the glaze: Combine the remaining 1/3 cup chocolate chips, 1 teaspoon olive oil and the honey in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on medium-high power in 30-second intervals, stirring, until the chocolate is melted. Spread over the cake, then cut into pieces.
Christmas morning without Kolaches is like the 4th of July without fireworks. Cherry Kolaches have always been my favorite and, until a few years ago, the only kind I ever made. What to do when your new son-in-law doesn’t like cooked fruit? You can never go wrong with Chocolate.
The first year I was a bit doubtful about the results but I was pleasantly surprised. I took a piece of dough, as I would for the cherry kolaches, but flatten in slightly, pressing 1-2 chocolate kisses in the dough, then pinching the dough closed around the chocolate.
Update January 2021: I have made these every year but have graduated to a higher grade of chocolate, using Ghirardelli chocolate chips or squares.
Allow the dough to rise, per the recipe, and bake. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar when removing from the oven (optional).
There is something decadent about chocolate with something salty. Chocolate dipped pretzels are a favorite of mine and last Christmas I made Chocolate Dipped Pretzels Rods in white chocolate and with dark chocolate to give as gifts. Ahem…except for those that didn’t make it past my mouth!
CHOCOLATE DIPPED PRETZEL RODS
White Chocolate Chips
Dark Chocolate Chips
Sugars and Sprinkles
Spread waxed paper on cookie sheets.
Melt chocolate per instructions in microwave and pour melted chocolate into cup for dipping (makes about the right depth on the pretzel rods).
Over a separate plate or bowl, sprinkle the pretzel rods with sugar or sprinkles and place on waxed paper to harden.
Place pretzel rods in pretty tin or cello bag to give as gifts.
A few days ago I was watching the Rachael Ray show with Emeril Lagasse as her guest. He shared a recipe for a slow cooker/crockpot brownie. With a busy day coming up and the need for a birthday dessert, I decided to give it a shot.
I followed the instructions, shown below, to a ‘T’ and anxiously awaited the yummy results, enjoying the smell of chocolate in my home all afternoon.
After the allotted baking time of 3 1/2 hours, the brownies were still liquid in the middle. I have a fairly large crockpot so the brownies were probably thinner than in many smaller crockpots. Time was running out, so what to do? I tried baking a little while longer on low with no improvement. Finally I resorted to turning the crockpot on ‘high’ and you can imagine the burned edges and still uncooked center.
I was NOT a happy camper and kicked myself for not making the recipe shown below but baking, old-style, in the oven. I think this modification for traditionally baked brownies topped warm, with the chocolate hazelnut spread would be amazing. Skip the slow cooker method.
NOTE TO SELF: Never try to ‘bake’ a cake or brownie in the crockpot EVER!
SLOW COOKER BROWNIES (NOT!)
1 box of brownie mix
1 cup chocolate chunks, a mix of milk and dark (and I used some white chocolate)
1/2 cup chocolate hazelnut spread
Line the bottom of the slow cooker with some aluminum foil and spray it with a little non-stick spray.
Prepare brownie mix according to package directions and add chocolate chunks.
Pour the batter into the slow cooker, set at a low temperature and cook for 3 hours.
Remove lid and cook for an extra 30 minutes to create a crunchy top. When cool, spread hazelnut spread on top and enjoy!