Posts tagged chocolate

Flourless Chocolate Fudge Cookies

Flourless chocolate cookie with bite pic

Holiday cookie time. Who’s ready to start baking? I wanted to make the richest, darkest cookies I could find. I aimed for a recipe like flourless cake that left all the flavor to the chocolate. This IS it. WARNING: These are dangerously chocolatey. You can roll the dough balls in powdered sugar for a hint of sweetness. For more of a truffle taste, roll the cookie balls in unsweetened cocoa–the darker, the better.

 

Recipe

Servings: 18 cookies

 

Ingredients:Stack of flourless chocolate cookies pic

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips + 1/2 cup

3 egg whites, room temperature

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp. espresso or black onyx powder (optional, but soooo good)

1 tbsp. cornstarch

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat baking pans with cooking spray.
  2. Melt 1 cup of the semi-sweet chocolate chips in the microwave until smooth; allow to cool. Stir in vanilla extract.
  3. Beat egg whites in a large bowl until they start to form soft peaks. Add in 1/2 cup powdered sugar and beat until it becomes thick and creamy.
  4. In a separate bowl whisk together 1 cup powdered sugar, cocoa powder, black onyx powder, cornstarch, and salt.
  5. Add dry ingredients into the egg white cream at low speed until combined. Stir the melted chocolate into the egg-white mixture.
  6. Stir in 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips. Batter will be stiff and thick.
  7. Roll batter into balls. Next, roll balls in either powdered sugar or cocoa powder.
  8. Bake cookies for 8-10 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets until cool.

Tweaked from a recipe from Culinary Couture.

 

Powdered sugar fudge cookie pic

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Ohio Ice Cream Wars: Jeni’s vs. Mitchell’s

 

Ohio inspires ice cream makers. The proof? Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams started serving scoops in 2002 in Columbus and blossomed into an ice cream dynasty. Jeni Britton Bauer’s book Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home has become New York Times Best-Selling cookbook teaching regular cooks to craft Jeni’s signature flavors like Brambleberry Crisp, Salty Caramel, and Wildberry Lavender (a personal fav). You can find 11 scoop shops here in Ohio along with several in Tennesse–plus a new local just opened in Chicago. Jeni’s ice creams have garnered national acclaim and awards (James Beard, check).

Close up of Jeni's Ice Cream

But Jeni’s isn’t the only ice cream shop in town. Mitchell’s started in 1999 when brothers Pete and Mike decided to shelve their degrees in psychology (that’d be Pete) and philosophy (Mike’s also the ice cream chef) for a pursuit of sweets. They have either stores dotting Ohio, with another coming soon in the burgeoning Ohio City area.

Mitchell's Ice Cream

Here’s what both shops are known for:

  • Taste all you want. Seriously. You can ask for little taster spoons of all the flavors available.
  • Locally sourced ingredients. Fresh-picked berries. Local ales. Mitchell’s even marks ice creams with a 100, meaning the ingredients came mostly from within 100 miles of where the ice cream is made.
  • Lines. Well, when you can get taster spoons of just about everything and the ice cream is fabulous, are you surprised?
  • Awesome customer service–shiny happy people all around

 

 

Mitchell's chocolate on the left, Jeni's on the right

Mitchell’s chocolate on the left, Jeni’s on the right

Now the differences:

Jeni’s

In Mr. Squid’s words, “Jeni’s is more of an experience than an ice cream.” Where else can you get Goat Cheese and Red Cherry Ice Cream or Bangkok Peanut (sadly this ice cream that heats up in your mouth hasn’t been available lately)?

  • Artisan spins on familiar flavors–Ndali estate vanilla bean not “Vanilla”
  • Hipster zibe abounds at the shop
  • $9.99 a pint

 

Mitchell’s

This is the place the team goes to after basketball tournaments, the place where you see you neighbors and people linger while savoring sweets. That’s not to say their ice creams are lacking in creativity–or quality–the newly introduced vegan line (I had salted caramel pecan last week) entices visitors to try something new.

  • Familiar favorites made better–hello, super-sized Belgian chocolate chunks in the Rocky Road and organic mint in the Chocolate Mint ice cream
  • Laid back feel and coloring paper for the kids
  • $5.99 a pint

 

The verdict around our house–when you want something a little different head to Jeni’s. But for the creamiest, richest dark chocolate Mitchell’s is our regular spot.

 

Your turn: Have you tried Jeni’s and Mitchell’s ice creams? Which one was your favorite?

 

 

 

 

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Guest Post: Homemade Mint Chocolate Chip Frozen Yogurt

Thanks Dr. Jessie Voigts of Wandering Educators for sharing your family’s favorite recipe for DIY froyo!

 

We love yogurt–and even make our own. One of the things I love to do with yogurt is to make frozen yogurt! It’s delicious, capable of so many flavor changes, healthy, and purely addictive. I’ve combined and adapted a few recipes from Downton Abbey Cooks and David Lebovitz to create this mint chocolate chip frozen yogurt recipe.  I have to say, we make frozen yogurt a few times a week, especially in the summer heat. Enjoy!

 

Who wants a scoop?

Who wants a scoop?

Recipe for Homemade Mint Chocolate Chip Frozen Yogurt

Ingredients:

1.5 cups milk

Huge handful of fresh mint, washed well (spiders aren’t as tasty as chocolate chips)

½ c sugar (or more, to taste)

3 T cornstarch

1 c yogurt (regular or Greek)

¼  to ½ c Chocolate chips – I love the dark chocolate chips (more on chocolate goodness to come)

 

Directions:

Mint steeping in milk

Mint steeping in milk

  1. Combine milk and mint in a medium saucepan, and heat over low until milk is barely at a simmer. Remove from heat and cover for 1-2 hours. You’re steeping the mint in the milk. Don’t worry – the green color is to be expected. When the milk has cooled and the mint has steeped, squeeze out the mint and throw it away. Pour the milk into a jar and refrigerate until you need it.
  2. Combine the minty milk, cornstarch, and sugar in a medium saucepan. Heat over low, stirring occasionally, until the mixture all of a sudden becomes very thick, like pudding. Remove from the heat, and then stir in the yogurt. Pour into a container and chill in the refrigerator for several hours (ideally, overnight).
  3. Get your ice cream maker going, and pour in the minty goodness. Freeze until your ice cream maker can’t freeze it any more. If yours is like mine, it will be sort of soft and runny, but still quite edible (especially if you are impatient). Now, you have chocolate choices. You can sprinkle in the chocolate chips in the last few minutes of the ice cream maker going.
    Layer of chocolate

    Layer of chocolate

    Small chocolate chips are so cute in this! Or, you can take out half the ice cream, put it in a freezer-safe dish, and work some magic. Melt some chocolate chips in the microwave, and decoratively pour half of it on top of the ice cream in the dish. Put the rest of the ice cream on top, and then artistically pour the rest of the chocolate on top of that. Freeze until firm, at least 1 hour (ideally, overnight, but seriously, who can wait that long?). Scoop up and enjoy!

 

Now, to the variations…

 

Rich chocolate frozen yogurt

Add in 3 T dark cocoa powder to the milk/sugar/cornstarch mixture. You can also add in an additional ½ c chocolate chips at the end, if you desire.

 

Peanut butter chocolate frozen yogurt

Add in 3 T cocoa powder and ¼ c peanut butter to the milk/sugar/cornstarch mixture. When the ice cream is almost ready, you can add peanut butter chips, or chocolate chips.

 

Cardamom frozen yogurt

Add in 1 T cardamom to the milk/sugar/cornstarch mixture.

 

Vanilla frozen yogurt

When you take the milk mixture off the heat, and stir in the yogurt, also add in 1-2 t vanilla.

 

What flavors will you come up with?

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Braces busting brownies

Someone waiting to eat her first caramel in 18 months.

Someone waiting to eat her first caramel in 18 months.

This week my tween got her braces off (round one at least). To celebrate we made brownies featuring her favorite ingredient that’s been on the no-no list for the past 18 months–caramel.

 

You can use either individual caramels, or I found these handy caramel “bits” at Target.

 

Recipe for Coconut Caramel Brownies

 

Ingredients

1 family size brownie mix or your favorite DIY 9×13″ brownie mix

2 cups individual caramels or caramel chips

1/2 cup chopped nuts (walnuts or almonds–or both!)

Handy way to use caramels--no unwrapping required

Handy way to use caramels–no unwrapping required

3/4 cup coconut (I toast mine before baking)

1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (opt. hey, we’re celebrating)

 

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix up the brownie according to package directions.
  3. Line a 9×13″ baking dish with aluminum foil and then coat generously with cooking spray.
  4. Pour half of the brownie batter into the pan and spread evenly to the corners.
  5. Bake the brownie bottom for about 15 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, in a glass measuring cup or bowl, melt the caramel until smooth. I put the caramel in the microwave at 30 intervals, stirring after each time. Usually, it takes around 90 seconds.
  7. Remove the brownie bottom from the oven and add caramel in glops followed by nuts, coconut, and chocolate chips.
  8. Top the caramel with the remaining chocolate. Don’t worry if the top isn’t even.
  9. Bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes or until cooked through and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  10. Cool completely before cutting.

Warning: Eat with braces at your own risk.

Layering coconut caramel brownies

 

 

 

 

 

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Fancify Friday–Add a smile

Smiling food

Do you see the smile?

My youngest likes it when her food smiles back at her. Apple slices, raisins, chocolate chips, they all make for ready smiles on a plate of food. Adding a smile to your food is easy.

 

Lately my youngest likes to make Greek yogurt sundaes for dessert. It’s a banana topped with Greek yogurt (strawberry this time), peanuts, and a chocolate chip smile.

 

 

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Lowfat, 2-ingredient brownies

Pumpkin browniesI wasn’t expecting much when I read about Yum Yum Brownies on Hungry Girl. Canned pumpkin plus chocolate cake mix. Sounded like Thanksgiving mixed with Ghirardelli. Eww. But, I had to give it a try–I mean, there’s chocolate in it. Add to that, I happen to love canned pumpkin–I never had it as a kid so now it seems like almost a delicacy (go ahead, laugh).

 

Looking online I discovered chocolate-pumpkin desserts have quite a following. I opted for Cookies & Cups version–one family-size box brownie mix and one can Libby’s Pumpkin. That’s it. Well, almost. I tweaked the recipe just a little bit.

 

A few notes:

  • The brownies end up with a fudge-like consistency. Nothing wrong with that! I cut them into squares and put them in the fridge. I think they’re better cold.
  • If you didn’t know there was pumpkin in the brownies, you’d wouldn’t guess it.
  • My tween loved these brownies–maybe because she convinced me to let her have them for breakfast, “They’re healthy mom, right?”

 

Recipe

Prep time: 5 minutes + baking

 

Ingredients

1 family-sized box brownies (my fav is Duncan Hines)

1 can pumpkin puree

 

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl blend together the brownie mix and the pumpkin puree with a hand-held blender. Now, here’s where I had to do a few tweaks–I also added in 1/3 cup chocolate chips and 1 teaspoon chocolate extract.
  3. Coat a 9″ baking dish with cooking spray.
  4. Spread the batter onto the baking dish and cook for 20 minutes or until cooked through.

 

Pumpking brownies with a bite

 

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Coconut dream frosting

Toasted coconutAlmost 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).

 

Recipe

Tweaked from 365 Great Chocolate Desserts

 

Ingredients:German chocolate cake

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

 

Directions:

  1. 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.
  2. Mix together the powdered sugar and cornstarch and then pour into a heavy-bottomed sauce pan.
  3. Whisk the heavy cream into the powder sugar mixture until blended; bring the cream to medium-high heat, whisking vigorously.
  4. When the mixture comes to a boil and thickens, remove from heat.
  5. Stir in the toasted coconut and pecans.
  6. 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.

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Mini chocolate raspberry cake cups

Chocolate cake shotsLately, 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.

 

Note: I found mini Irish coffee mugs at Bed, Bath & Beyond, $19.99 for a set of eight. (Use a $5 off coupon and they’re just $15.)

 

Recipe

Servings: 8

 

Ingredients:

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

Whipped cream

 

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:

  1. In a medium-sized sauce pan over low heat, melt the chocolate and butter then stir in the sugar.
  2. In another bowl, whisk the cornstarch into the milk.
  3. Stir the milk mixture into the melted chocolate and add in the cocoa, salt, and Espresso powder.
  4. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stir frequently until it thickens.
  5. 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.
  6. Cool the chocolate custard.

 

To assemble the mini chocolate raspberry cups:

  1. Press about a tablespoon of chocolate cake into the bottom of the cup.
  2. Pour about 1/2 tablespoon raspberry sauce over the cake.
  3. Spoon a tablespoon of chocolate custard in next.
  4. Repeat cake, sauce, custard and finish off with cake.
  5. Add a dollop of whipped cream on top.
  6. Dust with cocoa powder or an extra drizzle of raspberry sauce.
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Coconut milk chocolate cupcakes

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.

Recipe

Prep time: 30 minutes + baking

Servings: 28 cupcakes

Ingredients:

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

Frosting

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

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the oil, water, eggs, coconut milk, and vanilla.
  3. In another bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  4. Blend the wet ingredients into the dry until smooth.
  5. Fill cupcake holders 2/3 of the way full.
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until cooked through.

Frosting

  1. Microwave all of the frosting ingredients except the vanilla in a glass measuring cup for 1 minute on high.
  2. Stir and continue microwaving at 30-second intervals until the chocolate is smooth; stir in the vanilla.
  3. The frosting will be thin; cool it in the refrigerator until it gets thick enough to spread on the cupcakes.

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Nutella Yule Log

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.

Recipe

Prep time: 30 minutes + lots of time for assembly

Servings: 12

Ingredients:

Cake

The fun part: time to flip!

4 eggs (room temperature)

1/2 cup vegetable oil

3/4 sugar

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)

Filling

2 cups heavy cream (oh yeah!)

1/2 cup Nutella

touch of salt

Directions:

Adding Nutella spiked cream

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper and spray lightly with cooking oil.
  3. Beat together the eggs, oil, and sugar until its a pale yellow color.
  4. In a separate bowl, sift together the dry cake ingredients.
  5. Carefully fold the dry ingredients into the egg mixture just until combined.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 11 minutes or until the cake springs back from the edges of the pan.
  7. Let the cake cool in the pan for 2 minutes.
  8. Meanwhile liberally dust a clean kitchen cloth with powdered sugar and prepare for flipping.
  9. 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.
  10. Leave the cake rolled while you prepare the filling.
  11. Making the filling (and get ready for your kids to fight over who gets to lick the spatula)
  12. On high speed, whip the cream until it just begins to thicken.
  13. Add the Nutella and continue whipping just until stiff. (I add a pinch of salt).
  14. Assembling the yule log:
  15. 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.)
  16. 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.
  17. 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.)
  18. Wrap the roll in parchment and then aluminum foil.
  19. Freeze for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
  20. Slice and serve.

Inspired by the King Arthur Flour recipe for chocolate and peppermint yule log.

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