Posts tagged chocolate
Almost German chocolate cake frosting, but not quite. That’s how I like to describe my coconut frosting.
Softer and creamier than your standard, sticky German chocolate, toasting the coconut and the pecans is the real secret (well, that and a generous helping of heavy cream).
Tweaked from 365 Great Chocolate Desserts
2 1/2 cups coconut
2 cups pecans, chopped
1 cup powdered sugar
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 cups heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla
Dash of salt
- Place the coconut and nuts onto a nonstick skillet (or if the skillet isn’t big enough work in batches). Bring the skillet to medium-high heat, stirring the mixture with a wooden spoon occasionally to avoid burning, about 3 minutes. As soon as the coconut begins to turn color on the ends, remove from heat. Allow the coconut to cool on the pan–it will continue to toast as it cools.
- Mix together the powdered sugar and cornstarch and then pour into a heavy-bottomed sauce pan.
- Whisk the heavy cream into the powder sugar mixture until blended; bring the cream to medium-high heat, whisking vigorously.
- When the mixture comes to a boil and thickens, remove from heat.
- Stir in the toasted coconut and pecans.
- Cool to room temperature before using to frost cakes, cupcakes, or for mini-parfaits.
Tomorrow, I’ll tell you how to use this yummy frosting to make mini German chocolate parfaits that are perfect for Mother’s Day.
Lately, I’ve noticed little cake desserts popping up from tavern-themed restaurants to Italian restaurants. I like it. They’re akin to a deconstructed cake–all the flavor, much less work.
This weekend I made my own version using cake leftover from my daughter’s birthday party cupcakes.
Cake: 2 cups cooked chocolate cake (it doesn’t need to be pretty you’ll be making it into chunks anyway)
Warmed Raspberry sauce or raspberry jam
Chocolate custard ingredients:
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 tbsp. butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 3/4 cups milk
3 tbsp. cornstarch
2 tbsp. cocoa
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. almond extract (opt.)
1 tsp. Black onyx or Espresso powder (opt.)
Chocolate custard directions:
- In a medium-sized sauce pan over low heat, melt the chocolate and butter then stir in the sugar.
- In another bowl, whisk the cornstarch into the milk.
- Stir the milk mixture into the melted chocolate and add in the cocoa, salt, and Espresso powder.
- Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stir frequently until it thickens.
- Take the pan off the hat and stir in the extracts. Spread the butter over the top of the thickened chocolate to avoid developing a skin.
- Cool the chocolate custard.
To assemble the mini chocolate raspberry cups:
- Press about a tablespoon of chocolate cake into the bottom of the cup.
- Pour about 1/2 tablespoon raspberry sauce over the cake.
- Spoon a tablespoon of chocolate custard in next.
- Repeat cake, sauce, custard and finish off with cake.
- Add a dollop of whipped cream on top.
- Dust with cocoa powder or an extra drizzle of raspberry sauce.
I needed some chocolate therapy this weekend so when a friend of mine passed along a recipe for chocolate cake with the subject line “OMG best cake ever” I had to give it a try. Thanks Jessie!
This recipe for Double-Deep-Chocolate Hanukkah Layer Cake from Gourmet makes for tasty cupcakes. The batter came together fast and filled 28+ cupcakes. (I did 20 then a small-sized loaf for a neighbor.) These are the moistest chocolate cupcakes you’ll ever eat! Even if you’re not a coconut fan, don’t worry, the flavor is slight.
I upped the flavor of the coconut in the frosting with coconut extract.
Prep time: 30 minutes + baking
Servings: 28 cupcakes
3/4 cup vegetable oil plus more for greasing pans
3/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-process) plus more for dusting pans + 2 tsps. dark cocoa powder (you can also use Espresso powder or my favorite, Black onyx powder)
1 cup water
3/4 cup well-stirred canned unsweetened coconut milk (I use the 14-oz. Light Coconut Milk can from Trader Joe’s)
3 large eggs, warmed in shell in warm water 5 minutes
1 1/2 tsps. pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 tsps. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
Remaining canned coconut milk (about 1 cup)
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate morsels
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. coconut extract (opt.)
4 tbsps. butter
Pinch of salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large bowl, whisk the oil, water, eggs, coconut milk, and vanilla.
- In another bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Blend the wet ingredients into the dry until smooth.
- Fill cupcake holders 2/3 of the way full.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes or until cooked through.
- Microwave all of the frosting ingredients except the vanilla in a glass measuring cup for 1 minute on high.
- Stir and continue microwaving at 30-second intervals until the chocolate is smooth; stir in the vanilla.
- The frosting will be thin; cool it in the refrigerator until it gets thick enough to spread on the cupcakes.
There’s nothing more heart-warming then joining my kids around the kitchen to make a holiday dessert. And then as you’re whipping Nutella into heavy cream discussing what you’d do in the event of a zombie apocalypse. At least that’s where the conversation turned as my teen was helping me put together this yule log (there’s a Norman Rockwell painting in there somewhere, I think). Meanwhile, I was doing extensive testing to make sure the whip cream tasted just right. It’s a tough job, but it’s not one that can be left for the undead.
Prep time: 30 minutes + lots of time for assembly
4 eggs (room temperature)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup flour
1/4 cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. dark cocoa powder (opt. I use black onyx powder, you can use Espresso)
2 cups heavy cream (oh yeah!)
1/2 cup Nutella
touch of salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper and spray lightly with cooking oil.
- Beat together the eggs, oil, and sugar until its a pale yellow color.
- In a separate bowl, sift together the dry cake ingredients.
- Carefully fold the dry ingredients into the egg mixture just until combined.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 11 minutes or until the cake springs back from the edges of the pan.
- Let the cake cool in the pan for 2 minutes.
- Meanwhile liberally dust a clean kitchen cloth with powdered sugar and prepare for flipping.
- In my experience, this is a two person job: Flip the cake batter onto the powdered sugar cloth. Roll the cake in the cloth short end to short end.
- Leave the cake rolled while you prepare the filling.
- Making the filling (and get ready for your kids to fight over who gets to lick the spatula)
- On high speed, whip the cream until it just begins to thicken.
- Add the Nutella and continue whipping just until stiff. (I add a pinch of salt).
- Assembling the yule log:
- Slowly unfold the cake in the cloth and gently remove the parchment paper. (I couldn’t find anything in the original recipe about when to take off the parchment paper so I just kept it on.)
- Use the spatula to smear the whipped Nutella cream on the unrolled cake being careful not to go all the way to one of the short ends.
- Start rolling the cake from short end to short end working toward the non-filled end. The cream will squish toward the non-filled end. (I also find this is a two person job.)
- Wrap the roll in parchment and then aluminum foil.
- Freeze for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
- Slice and serve.
Inspired by the King Arthur Flour recipe for chocolate and peppermint yule log.
I tried to solve a couple problems with our family’s version of banana pops: first, cutting a banana in half and then dipping the whole thing in chocolate means that once you bite into the iced pop all the chocolate starts to crack. Gone goes the chocolate and your last few bites of banana are chocolate-less. Not cool. But if you cut up the bananas into pieces it’s easier for kiddos to help with the dipping and (equally importantly, really) you get plenty of chocolate in each bite. Second problem, as much as I like the combo of bananas and chocolate, there’s no crunch. Crush a few peanuts, problem solved.
Note: I’d recommend using popsicle sticks, not plastic knives and toothpicks (pictured). My middle daughter fessed up that my 500-count wooden popsicle stick stash had disappeared. Not to worry, they’re now houses for her Littlest Pet Shop family.
Servings: about 30 pops
Prep time: 15 minutes + 20 minutes freezing (twice)
3 large bananas
1 cup chocolate chips
3/4 cups chopped peanuts
Wooden popsicle sticks
- Cut each banana into 8-10 slices, then insert a popsicle stick into each slice.
- Place the slices onto a baking pan covered with waxed paper and freeze for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in the microwave until smooth. (With my microwave I set it at half power then cook the chips for 2 minutes; stir.)
- Dip each banana slice into the melted chocolate and then into the chopped peanuts. Return to the pan and freeze again for 20 minutes.
They loved these mini banana pops that were drenched in chocolate and peanuts. My middle child–who normally avoids all things peanuts–even had one peanut-coated pop. She did prefer those that were peanutless, she said. What I liked about these easy treats is that my kids could do every part of this recipe on their own.
Sometimes my kids won’t eat bananas around our house just waiting for them to get ripe enough so that I’ll make these muffins. I’ve been meaning to pass along this recipe for awhile, but I do the batter just a little bit differently each time–sometimes I mix up the kinds of sugar I use, other times it’s the flours that get tweaked.
But I made a batch this week that was so good I had to pass this recipe along. So if you have some bananas that are getting ripe and you love the combination of chocolate and bananas, these muffins are for you!
3 cups whole wheat pastry flour (or 1 1/2 cups all-purpose, 1 1/2 cups wheat flour)
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons dark cocoa powder (if available, or regular cocoa)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup coconut flakes (unsweetened preferred)
1 1/2 cups Greek yogurt
3 ripe bananas
8 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1/2 teaspoon almond or coconut extract
2/3 cup mini chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Mix the dry ingredients together in a small bowl.
- In another bowl, beat the bananas until smooth and then add the yogurt, eggs, and extract.
- Melt the butter and chocolate chips together in a glass measuring cup in the microwave (I usually set it for half power for a minute, then stir.)
- Stir the dry ingredients into the yogurt mixture just until blended.
- Gently blend the chocolate-butter into the yogurt mixture, then stir in the mini chocolate chips.
- Fill 24 muffin cups 2/3 full.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes.
*Tweaked from The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook recipe for Big Beautiful Muffins.
My kids couldn’t join me on my trip to Raleigh and Fayetteville, North Carolina, for the Midwest Travel Writers Association conference. But, I’m trying to get as many ideas from my travels–and tastes–as I can to bring back and try with them.
Here are just a few from my stop at Iris, the North Carolina Museum of Art‘s restaurant where I had lunch. The seasonal menu had plenty of tempting dishes, but I always try to choose something I can’t do at home, so I went for the risotto. From the menu: farro piccolo risotto, lemon, thyme, dijon parmigiano-reggiano cheese garlic sauteed broccolini crispy fried leeks.
Whew, what does that translate to on your plate? A whole grain cooked like risotto, generously doused with Parmesan cheese, fresh lemon and hints of thyme and mellow dijon mustard. To the side, the tender broccolini, slightly cooked in butter and garlic, all topped off with thinly sliced, fried leeks (think gourmet French’s fried onions).
At home: I’m going to try using whole wheat berries more in savory dishes. My kids grind wheat berries for flour, but I’ve been meaning to try them
toasted then tossed into salads. Maybe one of these days I’ll even try making them into risotto…
For dessert at the NCMA (you didn’t think I was going to skip it, did you?) I had the apple tarte
tatin with roasted cinnamon ice cream. Presented in deep white bowl with a web of spun sugar, the combination of warm apples and cool cinnamon paired perfectly. Now, if I were to try spun sugar at home, I’d like set off all the fire alarms with the smoke I’d create trying to get the cooked sugar to that just-right temperature where it was melted, but not burned.
At home: For all the flavor of this dish, without all the work, you could peel then saute apple slices in butter and sprinkle them with a little fresh lemon and cinnamon before serving. Instead of making cinnamon ice cream from scratch, soften vanilla bean ice cream until you can stir in ground cinnamon (I’d throw in a little nutmeg and a hit of cayenne too). Then you can either re-freeze the ice cream or serve it just after you mixed in the spices. Place the ice cream atop the sauteed apples and in lieu of the more dramatic spun sugar, my thought is to dress up each individual portion with a cinnamon stick.
Your turn: do you have a family favorite dish (or dessert) inspired by one of your travels?
Did you know chocolate is a vegetable? That’s right. Explaining her recent study results, which showed that people who get a daily dose of chocolate are slimmer than those who don’t, Beatrice Golomb, an associate professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of California, San Diego said, “It’s my favorite vegetable.” Dr. Golomb cited chocolate’s antioxidant prowess when comparing it to other vegetables. She also relayed that chocoholics those in the study who ate chocolate each day had a lower Body Mass Index (BMI) than those who didn’t.
Well, of course, I want to make sure that we’re all getting enough vegetables in our diet so here’s a week’s worth of recipes so you can get your fill.
Keep 100% whole wheat bread moist by adding in plenty of Greek yogurt and chocolate, of course!
These brownies have a boost of extra nutrition from a blueberry-spinach puree that you mix in the batter. My teen loves these brownies even though they do turn out a bit softer than your straight-chocolate recipe.
Easy peanut butter cups (no bake!)
These homemade peanut butter cups are easy to put together. Thanks for the idea Martha and Me.
From Garlic Girl, add cocoa to your chocolate chip cookies for a extra boost of the good stuff.
My signature dessert that I try to make infrequently because it’s soo tempting. (I should point out that technically you should be sticking to around an ounce of daily chocolate so you’d need to be nibbling your cheesecake slice.)
Chocolate and lemon make such a surprisingly perfect combo–add a toasty marshmallow topping to make this updated kid classic from Good.Food.Stories.
End your week with these simple treats that have both cocoa powder and mini-chocolate chips (although feel free to add the regular size if you feel like you haven’t been getting enough chocolate in your diet).
*Special thanks to the National Institutes of Health for funding this study and others like it. Dr. Golomb mentioned she needed to do additional studies. The big question: WHERE CAN I SIGN UP?
It’s a Pocky stick invasion. That’s right it used to be you could only find these Japanese treats at an Asian market. But now I’m seeing them pop up at my neighborhood grocers too (hint: look in the Asian food section or they’re sometimes stashed with the candy).
For Pocky newbies, here are the basics:
- Pronounce it pock-e, not how I sometimes say it to rhyme with hockey
- These are biscuit-like sticks that are coated in with a variety of flavorings, like chocolate and strawberry
- In a well-stocked Asian grocery store, you might be able to find Pocky sticks coated with crazier flavors like green tea, sweet milk, cookies ‘n cream and more
- Don’t buy just one box of Pocky sticks, get a couple since you’re likely to go through them quickly
- These make for great on-the-go treats as long as they don’t sit in the bottom of the bag–they crush easily
Ready to try Pocky sticks? Or are you already a Pocky fan?
Reading the description of chocolate yogurt loaf in Debbie Koenig’s Parents Need to Eat Too cookbook I was struck by two ideas: the recipe was inspired by New York City delis (as a former New Yorker I was intrigued) and it’s chocolatey goodness is hypnotic while still being dietlicious.
I’m all for chocolate treats that taste decadent but don’t pack too many calories or fat (think: brownie craving satisfier right here). But I wondered if I could boost the nutrition just a bit. That way I wouldn’t feel too bad adding in some chocolate chips too (hey, we all need more anti-oxidants in our diet and dark chocolate happens to have them, which is why I try to get a little dark chocolate in each day–it’s tough, but I somehow manage).
I figured this recipe with a hefty dose of yogurt would be perfect paired with whole wheat instead of all-purpose flour. I also added a tablespoon of ground flax, 1/4 cup chopped almonds, orange zest, and mini Ghirardelli chocolate chips.
Kid reactions: Well, it’s chocolate, of course they loved it! My teen who has quite the discerning taste buds didn’t like the added orange zest. In her words, “the orange zest brings out the flavor of the whole wheat instead of the chocolate so I’d skip it next time.” If your kids are begging for brownies but you want to try something that might be just a little healthier than your standard recipe, you might consider making this loaf.
Prep time: 15 minutes + baking
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup Dutch process cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt (I used Greek)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Grease a loaf pan. (I thought two mini pans would work nicely here too).
- In a small bowl, mix together the dry ingredients, except for the chocolate chips.
- Beat the butter and sugar together on high speed. Then add in the egg and vanilla.
- Add half of the dry ingredients into the butter mixture; blend.
- Add half of the yogurt into the batter; blend.
- Repeat with the remaining dry ingredients and yogurt. (The batter will be stiff.)
- Mix in the chocolate chips and chopped nuts, if using.
- Spread the batter into the pan and cook for 35-40 minutes or until cooked through.