Friday, January 25, 2008

Not Chocolate: Snickerdoodles

Otherwise known as the "Get Fat Cookie" :)

Even hard-core chocoholics like to try new things every once in a while. I have been wanting to make homemade Snickerdoodles for a very long time, and a coworker of my husband passed this simple recipe on to me.

3/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. Crisco vegetable shortening
1 egg
1 3/8 c. self-rising flour*
cinnamon sugar

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Cream the sugar, shortening, and egg with a hand mixer on medium speed. Gradually add flour, mixing after each batch.

Once it is well combined, roll into walnut-size balls. In a deep, narrow bowl, sprinkle some cinnamon sugar (the Domino brand makes a great pre-mixed version). One at a time, take a dough ball and swirl it around the bowl until it is loosely covered with cinnamon sugar.

Place dough balls on an ungreased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake at 300 for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the edges are very slightly brown.

*If you don't have self-rising flour on hand, you can easily make it. 1 3/8 c. self-rising flour is roughly equivalent to 1 3/8 c. regular all-purpose flour, plus 2 t. baking powder, plus about 1/2 t. salt. (For future reference, 4 c. of self-rising flour equals 4 c. of all-purpose flour, plus 2 T. baking powder, plus 2 t. salt.)

I will make you fat and happy... nyum nyum nyum nyum

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Sara's Port Brownies

My best friend Sara is a self-proclaimed NON-cook. However, like me, she is a lush when it comes to chocolate, ice cream, and alcohol. Sara came up with the idea to replace the water in a brownie mix with alcohol!! Genius.

Sara recommends the Ghirardelli Double Chocolate brownie mix. ("It's the best one!") My only caveat with this particular brand is to take it out of the oven early if you use the 11x17 pan (it calls for the same cooking time for 8x8, 9x9, and 11x17 pans, which is odd to me)... otherwise you'll have a lot of cleanup afterward. :-/ However, it was a fabulous, chunky brownie mix!

Sara's Port Brownies
one box brownie mix
egg, oil, etc. per the instructions on the box, but omit the water
port wine*

Mix brownie ingredients per the back of the box, but be sure to omit the water that it calls for. Instead of the water, mix in an equal part of port wine, or as Sara says, 1.5 times the port wine so that they're super moist. Bake per the instructions on the box.

*After the port brownies were a big hit, Sara then tried it with butterscotch schnapps... "You can taste the alcohol SO much more." Oh, sweet Sara... :)

I may look like a normal brownie, but I'm even better!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

1789 Restaurant's Bourbon Walnut Pie

We have only been to DC's historic Old Ebbitt Grill two times, but we have stopped for dessert on both occasions. And this is why: bourbon walnut pie.

So I went online, and couldn't believe that they actually had the exact recipe on sister restaurant 1789's home page! (which I can no longer find; so glad I printed it!)

Really the best way I can describe it is this: chocolate chip cookie pie. With nuts. And hooch.

1789 Restaurant's Bourbon Walnut Pie
2/3 c. sugar
1 stick salted butter
1/3 c. flour
2 eggs
1 c. chocolate chips
1 c. walnut pieces
1 T. Jack Daniels, or equivalent

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in a medium saucepan, making sure butter is very hot. Turn off heat. Add sugar and flour, whisking well. In separate bowl, beat eggs slightly with a fork. Add a small amount of hot butter mixture into eggs, stirring rapidly. Pour egg mixture into saucepan. Add chocolate chips, walnuts, and Jack Daniels.

Meanwhile, prepare a 10-inch pie crust. (I use Pillsbury pre-made pie dough!) Pour pie filling into unbaked pie shell. Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes, then cover edges of pie crust with foil so it doesn't burn. Return to oven for remaining 30 minutes, until filling is set and baked through. (45 minutes total)

(Best served, in my opinion, with vanilla ice cream.)

So freaking easy and so freaking good

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Aunt Louise's Famous Chocolate Mousse

Every Christmas Eve since I can remember, my parents and I would drive to my aunt and uncle's house in rural Maryland for dinner, dessert, and P's. (presents!) We'd drive home around midnight, listening to Swedish Christmas carols, and I'd stare up at the stars until we got too close to civilization to do so anymore!

My favorite part, and what I always associate with Christmas, is my aunt's chocolate mousse. After the wine has been drunk, the presents opened, the coffee poured, and the elastic-waist (thank goodness!) pajamas put on, we cousins (now in our late 20s and 30s, with husbands) start saying, "Moooooousse!" We can hardly fit any more food in our stomachs, but it's so worth it for this once-a-year treat.

My aunt and uncle retired to New Hampshire this past year, and while I'll never have another Maryland family Christmas Eve, I can still have Aunt Louise's mousse!

Sorry, but this is another recipe that isn't really for beginners, but I just had to make it. For the sentiment.

Aunt Louise's Famous Chocolate Mousse
(originally from Woman's Day Famous French Cookery)

1 pkg (2 t.) unflavored gelatin
1/4 c. + 1/2 c. cold water
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
3 squares Baker's unsweetened chocolate
3 eggs, separated
1 t. vanilla extract
2 T. cognac or brandy
(whipped cream, optional)

Soften gelatin in 1/4 c. cold water.

In top of double boiler (or stand there and stir over low heat!), combine sweetened condensed milk and chocolate. Cook until chocolate melts. Continue cooking, stirring, until chocolate mixture is smooth and very thick (about 5 minutes). Gradually stir in 1/2 cup water, keeping mixture smooth.

Beat egg yolks slightly with a fork. Stir a small amount of the hot mixture into the egg yolks (this is so you don't get scrambled eggs!). Return egg mixture to pot. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth and thick (about 5 minutes).

Remove from heat and stir in softened gelatin, vanilla, and cognac/brandy. Stir until gelatin is dissolved. Cool to room temperature.

Beat egg whites with a hand-held mixer until they stand in stiff peaks. When room temperature chocolate mixture mounds slightly when dropped from a spoon, fold in egg whites.

Pour mixture into a 5-cup mold that has been slightly oiled with non-stick spray.

Refrigerate 3 hours or until firm.

Unmold onto serving plate and serve with whipped cream, if desired. (I place mold upright in warm water to loosen.)

Merry Christmas

Chocolate Caramel Peanut Truffles

It should be obvious by now that I adore chocolate, but my favorite pairing with chocolate is salt. These truffles are creamy, rich, salty, and crunchy on top. My husband doesn't like nuts in his chocolate though, so when I made a batch for us, I made a few with sea salt lightly dusted on top instead of the peanuts so he could still get the salty/sweet combination that makes me swoooooon.

The original recipe, from Sara Moulton, can be found here. Not for novices!!* (but the results are so worth it)

Chocolate Caramel Peanut Truffles
1 c. sugar
2/3 c. heavy cream
9 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 T. creamy peanut butter
1/4 t. table salt
1 t. vanilla extract
1/2 c. finely chopped peanuts, for coating

Place the sugar in a heavy non-stick saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly and just until the sugar has melted. Continue cooking, swirling the pan often, until the sugar is a dark golden caramel. Remove the pan from the heat and carefully pour in the cream. Return the pan to the heat and simmer, stirring, until the caramel has dissolved.

Remove the pan from the heat and, while hot, stir in the chocolate, peanut butter, salt, and vanilla. Let stand for about 5 minutes or until the chocolate and peanut butter have dissolved. Transfer to a bowl and cool to room temperature. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill until firm, about 2 hours.

Use a small spoon to scoop out the truffles and form into 1-inch balls with your hands. Roll the truffles in the peanuts and transfer to a tray covered with waxed paper. Chill until firm, about 1 hour. Store in airtight container for up to two weeks. (I actually store in the refrigerator. These guys get really melty!)

*Why is it not for novices, you ask? Because even experienced bakers can accidentally drop a blob of molten, sticky caramel on their finger, leaving a niiiice scar. :(

Super Easy Chocolate Bark

For Christmas this year I made some chocolate treats and made them with each friend's tastes in mind.

This recipe for chocolate bark can even be adapted for someone who doesn't like real chocolate, as you can easily make the recipe for white chocolate.

Super Easy Chocolate Bark
8 oz. chocolate, broken into small pieces (I used either dark, semisweet morsels, or white)
handfuls of your favorite toppings! (I used peanuts, Reese's Pieces, Heath bar chunks, etc.)

Line 8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil.

In a non-stick pan, melt the chocolate over low heat, stirring constantly. Once melted, toss in about half of your toppings. Pour mixture into prepared baking pan. Sprinkle with remaining toppings. Refrigerate for about one hour or until firm. Break into pieces.

White chocolate, Heath, and Reese's Pieces

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Simple Chocolate Ice Cream

My best friend bought us a crazy cool ice cream maker/dispenser for our wedding. I have always wanted to make homemade ice cream, so although there are lower fat alternatives to this recipe, we decided to make it as bad for you as possible the first time around! :)

The original recipe came from the Cuisinart instruction booklet.

Simple Chocolate Ice Cream
2/3 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 c. sugar
1/3 c. firmly packed brown sugar
1 c. whole milk*
2 c. heavy cream*
1 t. vanilla extract

Stir cocoa, sugar, and brown sugar in a medium bowl with a whisk to remove lumps. Add the whole milk and use a hand mixer on low speed to combine until the sugars are dissolved. Stir (don't beat!) in the heavy cream and vanilla extract.

Pour mixture into your ice cream freezer bowl. Follow your ice cream maker's directions.

* For a lower fat variation, replace the whole milk and the heavy cream with 2% milk and half and half, respectively.


Monday, January 7, 2008

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

I made this awesome bread for Thanksgiving. Then I made it for no reason. Then for my husband's office party. Then for Christmas. It's the bread that keeps on giving!

I love pumpkin bread (and all things pumpkin) but the chocolate chips and walnuts add this delicious depth to it. The chocolate chips help keep everything moist and you can even sprinkle a few on top for added yum. Omit the nuts if you don't like them. This is adapted from a recipe I found on

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread
3/4 c. pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
2 eggs
1/2 c. salted butter, softened
1 c. sugar
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. nutmeg
1/4 t. ginger *
1/4 t. cloves *
1/2 t. salt
1 t. baking soda
1 1/3 c. flour
1 c. semisweet chocolate morsels
1 c. chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Using a hand-held or stand mixer, beat together pumpkin, eggs, and butter (save the butter wrapper to grease your pan). Add sugar. Mix in spices, salt, and baking soda. Add flour gradually, mixing well after each batch. Using a spatula, stir in chocolate chips and chopped walnuts. Pour into greased 8 1/2 x 4 inch pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour, up to 1 hour 15 minutes. A toothpick inserted in the middle will come out clean when done (unless you hit a chocolate chip!).

* I personally don't like the taste of either ginger or cloves, although they're traditional spices in pumpkin pie and other pumpkin desserts. Instead of these two, I add a bit more nutmeg, since it's the "spiciest" of the seasonings here.


Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Chocolate Birthday Cake Frosting

Yippee! My first post on my first-ever blog!

I have been thinking about starting a chocolate blog for quite some time now, so many of these recipes are out of date. Pretend it's November for this one!

While I generally make chocolate concoctions much more crazy than this, my in-laws and husband always have a traditional layered chocolate cake for their birthdays. My father-in-law was out of town, so we surprised mom with a cake on her birthday!

They always use Duncan Hines Devil's Food Chocolate Cake mix for the cake part. My husband came up with a quick way to make white icing for piping letters onto the cake (also below).

Mom2's Chocolate Frosting:
1 stick unsalted butter
1/3–1/2 c. milk
2 2/3 c. powdered sugar
1 t. vanilla extract
1/2–3/4 c. cocoa powder

Cream butter well. Add cocoa and powdered sugar alternately with milk. Add vanilla. Beat to desired consistency and add more milk a little at a time if needed. Taste often! Frost room temperature cake, preferably with an offset icing spatula.

My Hubby's Quick White Icing:
powdered sugar
splash of vanilla extract

Put a few teaspoons of powdered sugar into a cup. Add milk and splash of vanilla extract, stirring often and rapidly, until desired consistency (and sickening sweetness!) is attained. Scoop into plastic bag, snip off tip, and pipe letters or designs onto frosted cake.

Raging success! Happy birthday, mom!
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