Category Archives: Chocolate

Peanut Butter One Bowl Brownies

A little art from the kitchen

I like to keep things simple, delicious but simple. A few years ago I became obsessed with high quality chocolate that doesn’t have milk (making it a useful ingredient if you have lactose sensitive family or friends). I also love peanut butter and while there are a lot of recipes for peanut butter brownies, I found most wanted you to make a peanut butter frosting and I couldn’t be bothered. 

  
Peanut Butter Brownies

1 1/2 stick of butter (sliced)

7 ounces of good chocolate (I generally chop up high quality chocolate but you could use chips as well)

2 cups sugar

3 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup flour

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

Chop chocolate and put in microwave safe bowl with the butter. Heat until the butter melts and stir until the chocolate is completely melted. 

Add sugar and mix well. Then add the eggs and vanilla. Lastly, add the flour and mix until combined. 

Pour into a 9×9 or brownie pan lined with foil and either greased or sprayed with non-stick spray. 

Heat the peanut butter for maybe 30 seconds in a glass measuring cup. Stir and then drizzle on top of the brownie batter (bring on your inner jackson pollack. Well don’t splatter) 

Bake at 350 for anywhere between 30 and 40 minutes. You don’t want the center to jiggle. 

Cool completely and cut into 1 inch or so squares – these little guys are super rich! 

Chocolate Covered Cherry Cupcakes

I have still not found or figured out a chocolate cake recipe that will be my final goto recipe but this one was delish, came together quickly and baked up nicely.

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Chocolate Covered Cherry Cupcakes
1 3/4 cups flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder (I use Scharffen Berger)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup hot water or coffee

Whisk together all the dry ingredients, including the sugar.
In a separate bowl combine buttermilk, oil, eggs and vanilla.
Slowly add dry to wet then add the hot liquid slowly just until combined.
This is a very liquid batter.

Makes 2 dozen cupcakes filled 2/3 full (I generally use a large cookie scoop to fill muffin tins).

Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes but follow your nose, when they start to smell like delicious chocolate cake test with a toothpick.

Cool completely and frost.

Cherry Buttercream
2 sticks softened butter
1 box powdered sugar (it’s about 2 1/2 cups)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
15 drained and patted dry maraschino cherries finely chopped (I use a small food processor for this and the liquid that happens in this process is fine and will be directly added to the frosting).

Beat the butter, sugar and vanilla for longer than you think. Maybe five minutes. Then stir in cherries.

Use your favorite frosting method.

Chocolate Ganache
6 ounces dark chocolate chips
8 ounches heavy cream

Heat cream pour over chocolate. It should be fairly thick. I usually just eyeball this so my measurements are best guesses. Let cool until room temp.

I used a squeeze bottle to pour ganache on the cupcakes but you could also use a spoon.

Top with whole maraschino cherry.

And eat! They were so tasty.

S’mores? Yes please!

It all started with an invitation to a July 6th BBQ. Never one to show up empty handed, I immediately set out to find something fun to bring. One of the hosts threw down a challenge when asked “cookies or cupcakes?” His response, “Cookie Cupcakes of course.” Say what? Lots of cupcakes with cookie dough filling or sandwich cookie decorations were easily found but I go to thinking about BBQ and summer and childhood favorites when I stumbled on a series of smores inspired recipes.

20130705-170631.jpgMini S’mores “Cookies”

1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Whisk together in a small bowl, set aside.

1/2 cup room temperature butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
Cream together. I prefer to do this by hand.
Add
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 cup chocolate chips

Combine well and then slowly add the flour mixture.

Use a greased mini muffin/brownie pan. Fill each space with about an inch ball of dough, flatten with your fingers.

Set your oven up so you have one rack close to the broiler and the other toward the middle of the oven.

Bake on middle rack at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

Take out and immediately top each cookie with 1/2 large marshmallow. Turn oven to broil and place cookies on top rack. Watch closely as they will broil quickly. If you have a gas oven woth a boiler drawer it might be a little harder to keep an eye on. If you have a gas oven with a gas broiler in the oven be careful not to place the cookies too close.

Once the marshmallows have a delish carmel color to them remove from the oven and top each cookie with one piece of chocolate (I used regular hershey bars).

Let them cool completely in the muffin tin and remove with the help of an offset spatula.

Acme Baking Company Chocolate Chip Muffin

20130609-194312.jpgIt seems to have become a thing around here, each week on Sunday afternoon I bake a batch of muffins to enjoy for breaky the next week. This week there were some mini chocolate chips screaming out to be used up so it became obvious that it was time to tackle the Chocolate Chip Muffin.

Micro Mini Chocolate Chip Muffins

1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup milk
Heaping handful of mini chocolate chips

Whisk together the dry ingredients in one bowl. Then lightly beat the egg, milk, oil and vanilla in another. Add wet to dry and mix just until incorporated. Fold in your chocolate chips.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Prepare 12 cupcakes (either with a liner or grease and flour). I made exactly 12 using a large cookie scoop about 3/4 full. So probably a heaping 1/3 cup in each cupcake.

Bake for 16 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

These are a fairly dense muffins and you could add a little rock sugar to the top before baking to kick up the sweetness a little.

Buckeye Cupcake

Who doesn’t love peanut butter and chocolate. This recipe could have been improved upon had I used marshmallow and homemade peanut butter but I am not going to lie, these cupcakes are delish!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

For the filling:  
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
¾ cup creamy peanut butter
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ tsp. vanilla extract

Blend together all ingredients then make 1 inch balls, it made 28 balls for me. I made them the night before and stored them in the fridge overnight.
For the cake:
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 cup sour cream
2 tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1½ cups sugar
2 large eggs

Put flour, soda, salt and cocoa in a bowl and whisk. Set aside,
In a measuring cup mix together the sour cream, milk and vanilla extract.
In the bowl of a mixer (with a beater blade) cream butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time.
Alternate additions of flour mixture and sour cream mixture. Start and end with the flour mixture. Mix just until combined. Line cupcake pans with paper, drop 2 tbsp of batter into the bottom of each cup (I used a cookie scoop for this, it was the smallest one I had, probably 1inch). Put 1 peanut butter ball in the middle of each and then top with 1 tbsp more of the batter. If you have batter left over divide it among the cupcakes.

Bake at 350 degrees for 18-22 minutes (I was done around 20 and I think I should have pulled them out at 19). Let cool completely.
For the frosting:
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
½ cup creamy peanut butter
3¼ cups confectioners’ sugar
1 cup frozen whipped topping, thawed

Combine butter, cream cheese and peanut butter in a mixer (with a beater blade). Add powdered sugar and then the whipped topping. (I think I would swap whipped topping for marshmallow cream but either way it ends up with that thick consistency)
Frost cupcakes as desired. I used a big star tip. I also made dark chocolate disks by melting quality chocolate (my choice is Scharfenberger) and then I used a squeeze bottle to create them on wax paper. It all went into the fridge while I created the frosting.

Enjoy!

Acme Baking Company Quick and easy – the cake, not me…

My mom used to make this cake all the time when we were kids. It’s really fast and easy and you almost always have the ingredients on hand. There is no greasing/flouring of pans, just make the batter and bake it off!

The base is a sour cream coffee cake batter with cinnamon added. The chocolate chips and sugar on top really make this a delicious treat.

Chocolate Chip Bit Cake

Cream together:
6 Tbsp soft butter
1 c. Sugar
2 Eggs
then add 1 c. sour cream

Whisk together:
1 1/3 c. Flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon

Add the dry ingredients to the cream mixture. Pour into 9×13 baking dish (no need to butter or flour the dish).

Top the batter with 6 oz of chocolate chips or chopped chocolate – typically I use semi-sweet but it is equally delish with a good dark chocolate. The sprinkle the top with a couple Tbsp of granulated sugar.

Bake 30-35 minute at 350. Cool completely and enjoy! Don’t overbake or it will be dry and who wants a dry cake?

The cake will rise just slightly so you can use the disposable 9×13 pans that are only a little over an inch in depth.

Everyone who has ever had this has loved it! It was my great uncle’s favorite cake – good thing we never told him there was sour cream in there, he HATED sour cream.

Happy Birthday to you…

Sometimes being able to bake something that impresses people can be the most wonderful thing in the world. Not everyone understands the love that goes into something or that it could easily take 5 hours to make a cake from scratch, there are skills and challenges in every attempt.

And most importantly, people don’t realize that you could put in all this effort and have a massive failure on your hands. I am so glad that wasn’t the result this week when I took on the challenge of making a birthday cake for a co-worker.

Let me preface this by saying, I have never made a multi-layer cake and had it turn out pretty. I almost never make layer cakes because of this but I was not going to let the stop me when I found a recipe for a Salted Caramel Chocolate Cake.

OMG! So f’in good!

Are you ready? I think you are. Now there was a tiny little warning at the bottom of the recipe that said “This cake is a lot of work”. I would like to go on record and say that was an understatement, but that all of that work was well worth it! The cake was a huge success and when the left overs made their way to the office kitchen they were gobbled up. When I went to collect my carrier there was a note..”This cake was delicious, can I please have the recipe.”

That is the best compliment!

Salted Caramel Chocolate Cake

Prep 3 8 or 9″ cake rounds -butter, then put in parchment rounds, butter again and then dust with flour.
Preheat oven to 325

3/4 c. cocoa powder
1 1/4 c. hot water
2/3 c. sour cream
Mix together in a bowl until completely blended, then set aside

2 2/3 c. flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
Sift together in a bowl and set aside

3/4 c. (1 1/2 sticks) softened unsalted butter
1/2 c. vegetable shortening
Blend together until creamy and smooth using your beater blade (mine never got perfectly smooth)
Add 1 1/2 c. sugar
1 c. firmly packed brown sugar
Cream together
Add 3 large eggs at room temperature one at a time
1 Tbsp vanilla
Mix together until smooth – remember to scrape down the sides to make sure everything get mixed together

Alternate additions of the flour mixture and the cocoa liquid mixture

Divide between the three pans, spread out in the pans then tap the pans a couple of times on the counter to get some bubbles out.

Place in the oven and bake about 30 minutes (until toothpicks come out clean)

While the cakes are baking you have a good amount of work to do.
Salted Caramel Sauce
1 c. sugar
1/4 c. water
2 Tbsp light corn syrup
put in 2 qt sauce pan, stir together without splashing. Then turn the burner on high and just let the mixture come to a boil and boil until it is a light amber color. Remove from heat and let it cool for a minute or so (it will darken)
While you are cooking that mixture – heat up 1/2 c. heavy cream and 1 tsp sea salt (I did this in a double boiler so I didn’t have to watch it like a hawk) stir to make sure the salt is dissolving
Once the caramel mixture has cooled for a minute add the warmed heavy cream mixture and 1/4 c. sour cream
Stir and pour into a heat proof container. Let it come to room temp and then cover and refrigerate.

Next!
Another caramel sauce
1 c. sugar
1/4 c. water
2 Tbsp light corn syrup
Stir and then put on high heat – cook until it is a light amber color. Remove from heat and let cool for a minute then add 1 1/2 c. warmed heavy cream

Put 1lb of dark chocolate pieces (chips or chopped chocolate) in a large heat proof bowl. Once you have the caramel sauce cooked and slightly cooled, pour it over the chocolate. Wait a minute or so and then start stirring the mixture so the chocolate melts.

Transfer the chocolate caramel mixture into your mixer bowl and turn the mixture on low to keep it moving. Do this until it is cool to the touch (this took over an hour for me) then add 2 c. of unsalted butter cut into cubes (using your beater blade).

Once the butter is incorporated and smooth, switch to the whisk blade and whip until the frosting is light and fluffy.

Construction of the cake
Put some frosting on the plate or container so the cake won’t move around then put 1 cake layer on, top with 1/4 c. of the first caramel sauce and then top that with a round of frosting. Repeat all the way to the top layer.

I put all the frosting in a really large zip lock bag and snipped a big bit of a corner off (I didn’t have any pastry bags that were really big so this was my easy cheat). This makes it really easy to frost this cake. I make a nice big swirl on each layer and then smooth over with an offset spatula (knife).

Oh yeah – because I am lazy I decided to melt some dark chocolate and just drizzle it on some parchment paper to make the decorative stuff on the top.

I didn’t put the cake in the fridge and it didn’t seem to need it (if it was warm outside I might have).

Good Luck and Enjoy!

Everyone has one.. here is mine – Chocolate Chip Cookies

No picture this time, because to be honest I was in a mad dash to make it happen. Everyone raves about them, they are very delish and they turn out a little different every time. My recipe is a slight variation of the Toll House brand cookie but then what recipe isn’t a slight variation on this classic concoction?

Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 2 sticks cold butter
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 3/4 c. brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 1/2 c flour
  • 6oz chocolate chips (or chopped high quality dark chocolate..my fave)
  • you decide if you want to be nutty or not but no more than a half cup chopped (I would pick pecans over walnuts any day)

Put the butter in your kitchen aid and let it blend with the paddle until soft (you can skip this and use soften butter but this does change the texture). Once soft, cream in the sugars. Once combined add the eggs (one at a time) and vanilla.

Sometimes I sift my dry ingredients together but most of the time I don’t. I just add the salt and baking soda to the mixture and then add the flour (don’t over mix once the flour is in or you will get tough cookies). Then I stir in the chocolate chips.

Almost always yields exactly 3 dozen cookies. I use a cookie scooper that I think is 2 tbsp.

Bake 350 for 11-14 minutes – depending on your oven.

I always line my pans, sometimes with parchment sometimes with aluminum foil. You will find you get a slightly different result from each material. Aluminum tends to let the edges get more crispy and oddly enough can sometimes take longer to cook on.

Enjoy!

A girl on a chocolate mission…

Baking to celebrate seems logical, right? A girl at my office recently was hired permanently after years on the books as a temp. I promised her that in celebration of her hiring I would make her cupcakes. Her request? Chocolate with cream cheese frosting, easy enough! Except, wait, hold up! I don’t have a good chocolate cake recipe, could it be? I had success with the Guinness (Luck O’the Irish) cupcakes and the Last Chocolate Standing cake recipe wouldn’t really make a good cupcake to frost.

It could be and it is! I spent my morning combing the web for a good recipe with the perfect balance of easy and tasty. I trust Ina Garten and tried her “chocolate syrup” cupcakes..they were a little disappointing. (Ina’s are the short cupcakes, they have an odd texture and a really sticky crown)

The recipe I ended up with was a mixture of a number of recipes, does that mean I can call it my own?

It’s pretty darn tasty (I haven’t even frosted them yet), the recipes yields exactly 1 dozen cupcakes.
It is so good it might be my new favorite recipe – plus it’s super easy!
Are you ready?

Chocolate Buttermilk Cupcakes
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1 c. buttermilk
1 t. vanilla
1 c. sugar
1 t. vinegar
1 1/2 c. flour
1 t. baking soda
1 t. salt

Mix the wet together with a beater and then add the dry ingredients, mix until blended. use cupcake liners and fill about half way. You should get exactly 12.
Bake 350 for 20-25 minutes (mine were done at 20) don’t over bake!
These are delicious and not dry at all.

Now all I need to do is frost.. maybe I’ll post frosted pictures but you’ve all seen a frosted cupcake before.

The downside! I started a new diet so while I tasted both cupcakes I need to leave it at that and stay away. Time to clean the kitchen!

Luck O’the Irish?

I’m not Irish, or at least I don’t think I am, but this year for St. Patty’s I’ve decided to embark on a new frontier…Baking with Beer! I love beer, I love brown beer, I love dark ales, I love stouts, so why not bake with them?

They won’t be frosted until tomorrow but the cake is delish! Very moist with a nice crumb. I am by no means a master cup cake baker, or cake baker for that matter. This batter proved no different. It was easy enough to throw together and it smelled heavenly in the oven. I knew I was going to be pleasantly surprised when I tasted the batter and found it scrumptious.

This is not a chocolaty cake, and I wouldn’t really say that it tastes like Guinness, I might try making it again without the cinnamon so that I can get more beer flavor. The plan is to frost with a simple cream cheese frosting (you know the one, 8oz cream cheese, 4tbsp butter, a tsp vanilla, 5 cups or so of powdered sugar..just beat the crap out of it until it is the right consistency).

 

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes
4 eggs
1 cup plain thick yogurt (greek style) or sour cream – they taste different in the batter but it’s a preference thing
12 oz guinness at room temp (or other dark stout)
4tsp vanilla
1 cup cocoa powder
2 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cinnamon (optional)
12 tbsp melted and cooled butter

Heat oven to 350
Prepare your vessels (I used cupcake liners this time but sometimes I use paper souffle, also called nut, cups) you don’t need to butter or flour these but if you want to make a cake with this batter, grease your pan then line with parchment paper and grease the top of the parchment then dust the pan with cocoa powder (since this is a chocolate cake)

Melt butter in the microwave (don’t go crazy here..just melt it)

Whisk together the eggs and yogurt (or sour cream), add guinness and vanilla.

Sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa, soda and cinnamon
Add dry to wet (1/3 at a time) either with a hand mixer or a stand mixer with the whisk attachment

Once all the dry is completely mixed into the wet slowly pour the melted butter in while still blending

I like to use a 1/4 cup scoop (cookie scoop, ice cream scoop whatever you call it, it has a sweeper to get all the batter out) to fill my cups, if I am using souffle cups they get a little more than this but this is the perfect size for cupcakes.

Bake 20-25 minutes – follow your nose, when you smell baked – fairly strongly they are probably done and ready to be checked. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out with some crumbs.
Cool on a wire rack and frost as desired.

If you are baking a cake I would say you probably should start with 30 minutes but again, follow your nose!

That was my fun little St. Patty’s day tribute for the year. I might still bust out some corned beef and cabbage.

It’s been a while since I have posted. I had a fun little adventure teaching a co-worker to make spice cake from scratch but blogging wasn’t part of the equation. Hopefully life will situate itself so that blogging becomes a little easier.

Eat up!

(update the next night.. frosted little beauties! One day I will learn how to frost and decorate..maybe…it takes more patience than I have)