Tag Archives: chocolate

Chocolate Crackle Cookies

1Chocolate crinkles/crackles were a huge part of my childhood. Whenever we stopped by the local bakery, I would either get chocolate crackles or peanut butter cookies, without fail. I’ve wanted to make these for quite some time, but I am literally one of the worst cookie bakers ever — maybe it’s the oven, but they never come out quite right — but I finally decided to give it a shot.

After trying this recipe, I am inclined to say it is foolproof. The cookies were the perfect consistency and didn’t fall flat in the oven — just make sure you chill the dough thoroughly! I also would recommend adding a little extra cocoa powder (about 1/4 cup) to the batter if you want more chocolatey cookies.

3Here’s the recipe, from Martha Stewart:

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup Dutch cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cups light-brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus more for rolling

4Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Chop bittersweet chocolate into small bits, and melt over medium heat in a heat-proof bowl or the top of a double boiler set over a pan of simmering water. Set aside to cool. Sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt.
  2. In the bowl of a heavy-duty electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and light-brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla, and beat until well combined. Add melted chocolate. With mixer on low speed, alternate adding dry ingredients and milk until just combined. Divide the dough into quarters, wrap with plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator until firm, about 2 hours.
  3. On a clean countertop, roll each portion of dough into a log approximately 16 inches long and 1 inch in diameter, using confectioners’ sugar to prevent sticking. Wrap logs in plastic wrap, and transfer to a baking sheet. Chill for 30 minutes. Cut each log into 1-inch pieces, and toss in confectioners’ sugar, a few at a time. Using your hands, roll the pieces into a ball shape. If any of the cocoa-colored dough is visible, roll dough in confectioners’ sugar again to coat completely. Place the cookies 2 inches apart on a Silpat-lined baking sheet. Bake until cookies have flattened and the sugar splits, 12 to15 minutes.
  4. Transfer from oven to a wire rack to let cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

2Enjoy!!

— Halie

Dark Chocolate Tart with Oranges and Almonds

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Oranges, almonds, and — obviously — chocolate are some of my favorite ingredients ever. Hands down. I drink orange juice by the gallon, keep tubs of raw almonds on my desk (Target sells yummy raw almonds by the bucketful, believe it or not), and enjoy chocolate — but that’s just a normal-person thing.

I came across this 2003 Bon Appétit recipe on Epicurious by accident whilst browsing for food for our annual Christmas dessert party and knew I had to add it to my menu. I’ve never been a huge tart person, and indeed I’ve never made a tart, but this recipe screamed delicious: fudgy chocolate, chewy candied oranges, slivered almonds — all in a perfect, crumbly chocolate tart shell infused with cinnamon. Although this recipe has a few components that must be made separately (read: tart shell and candied oranges), it is overall quite easy (the filling comes together in, like, 60 seconds) and well worth the time spent making it!

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Here is the recipe. [My notes are in brackets.]

Ingredients

Candied Orange Peel:

  • 1 orange
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water

Tart Crust: 

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour

Filling:

  • 1 cup slivered almonds, toasted, coarsely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 8 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur

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Directions

Candied Orange Peel:

  1. Using vegetable peeler, remove peel (orange part only) from orange in strips [note: you can also use the cutting method from this post]. Cut strips into matchstick-size pieces and place in small saucepan. Cover with cold water; bring to boil. Cook 30 seconds; drain. [Note: this is to blanch the bitterness from the peels. I did this twice when I made this tart, and I highly recommend doing this. It is well worth the extra five minutes!]
  2. Rinse saucepan; add 1/4 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons water, and peel. Stir over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves. Simmer until peel is translucent and syrup is thick, about 20 minutes. Using tines of fork, transfer peel to plate and cool.
  3. Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and store at room temperature. [Note: the peel doesn’t need to be made far in advance; it only takes 15 minutes to cool.]

Tart Crust:

  1. Using electric mixer, beat butter, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in large bowl until smooth. Beat in cocoa powder. Add flour and beat until dough comes together in moist clumps. Gather dough into ball; flatten into disk. Wrap in plastic and chill until firm, at least 1 hour and up to 1 day.
  2. Roll out dough between sheets of waxed paper to 11-inch round. Peel off top sheet of paper. Invert dough over 9-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom; peel off paper. Gently press dough into pan. Press dough overhang in to form double-thick sides. Pierce dough all over with fork. Refrigerate 30 minutes. [Note: For the best use of your time, this is the best time to make the candied orange peels — while the tart crust is refrigerating. This will give the peels plenty of time to candy and then cool — and you can also bake the tart during the candying process.]
  3. Preheat oven to 375°F. Bake crust until sides look dry and bottom looks bubbly, about 14 minutes. Transfer crust to rack. Using back of spoon, press up sides of dough if falling. Cool completely.

Filling & Tart Assembly:

  1. Toss almonds, sugar, and cinnamon in small bowl. Chop all but 2 strips of peel. Sprinkle chopped orange peel, then almond mixture over bottom of prepared crust. Place cream in heavy medium saucepan. Bring to simmer. Remove from heat. Add chocolate and whisk until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth; mix in Grand Marnier. Pour into crust. Refrigerate until filling is firm, at least 3 hours. Garnish with remaining 2 orange peel strips. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover loosely with foil and keep refrigerated.)
  2. Using sharp knife, gently loosen crust from pan sides. Remove pan sides. Cut tart into wedges; serve cold.

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That’s it! This is a super easy recipe and I highly recommend it. It’s also great to make ahead, as the tart only gets more delicious with a few days in the fridge. This was one of the hits of the night at my Christmas party (aside from the baklava, which really stole the show — recipe coming soon), and can be one at your next event too! (Or just make it for yourself — I won’t judge.)

— Halie

Peppermint Joy

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I wanted to bake for our family and friends for the holidays.  I went a little overboard with the peppermint theme and made candy cane cookies, peppermint brownies, and peppermint truffles.  Each of these recipes are great for the holidays.  I also made a trip to Michaels and found the perfect packaging.

Candy Cane Cookies:

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup margarine
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon red food coloring

Directions:

  1. Cream together margarine, white sugar, and powdered sugar.
  2. Beat in egg, vanilla, and peppermint extract.
  3. Combine with flour, and salt.
  4. Cover dough and chill for at least one hour.
  5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
  6. Grease cookie sheets
  7. Divide dough into half
  8. Color one half of the dough with the red food coloring.
  9. Using half white dough and half red dough make candy canes.

10. Bake for 10 minutes.

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These cookies are so simple and a great holiday recipe.

Peppermint Brownies:

photo-12

Ingredients:

  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate chopped
  • ¾ cup butter
  • 1 ½ cups white sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 (1.55 ounce) Milk chocolate bars, broken into chunks
  • 1 cup of chopped peppermint chocolate (found at whole foods)
  • ½ cup of crushed candy canes for garnish

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Grease and 8X12 baking pan.
  3. Using a double boiler melt unsweetened chocolate and margarine in bowl.
  4. Whisk until chocolate is melted and stir in sugar.
  5. Add eggs, extracts, and salt.
  6. Gradually add flour and stir until combined.
  7. Spread ½ the batter into the pan.
  8. Top batter with milk chocolate
  9. Add second half of batter.

10. Top with peppermint chocolate.

11. Bake for 35 minutes.

12. Top with crushed candy canes.

These were honestly one of the top brownies I have ever had.  I promise.  You need to give these a try!!!

Peppermint Truffles:

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Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces of good semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1 cup of heavy cream
  • ¼ cup of crushed candy canes
  • 1 teaspoon of peppermint extract

Directions:

  1. Melt chocolate using a double boiler.
  2. Whisk until smooth and mix in cream.
  3. Stir in peppermint extract and crushed candy canes.
  4. Refrigerate overnight.
  5. Roll chocolate into one-inch balls.
  6. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
  7. Enjoy!

This was my first time making truffles and I will say that it was not as easy as I expected.  There are very messy, but worth it!  Happy Holidays!

Enjoy!,

Lizzie

Candied Orange Peel in Dark Chocolate

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I’m obsessed with chocolate-covered orange peels. Then again, I’m also a huge fan of the orange-chocolate combination. If you’re anything like me, you’ll want to give this recipe a try!

These are surprisingly simple to make (you just have to be pretty exact about the process) and aren’t nearly as bad for you as regular chocolate. However, they’re just as delicious! Before you begin making these, here are a few tips:

  • Blanch the peels after you’ve cut them and before you begin the candying process. They tend to be very bitter, so blanching them helps draw out some of that bitterness.
  • High quality and/or organic oranges really do make a difference! It’s all about the flavor of the peels.
  • Make sure you don’t over-candy them. At a certain point, the orange peels in the saucepan will cease to become fragrant and will begin to taste funny.
  • Your peels won’t actually become “translucent,” as described in the recipe, so don’t let this lead to over-cooking. Because you’re candying at home, you’re not going to get the same effect as buying candied oranges in store.
  • You will have a lot of peels. 1 orange can yield 12-20+ strips alone. Given that removing the peels from the oranges can be rather time consuming, keep this in mind!

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To make these, I combined a bunch of recipes from around the internet, so here is what I ended up doing:

Ingredients:

  • 2 navel oranges
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • extra sugar for dusting

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Directions:

  1. Wash the oranges thoroughly and quarter them. You need to remove as much of the pith from the peel as possible (the pith is what gives the peels their bitterness), so what I did was slice out the flesh of the orange (you can use this later in salads). Then I sliced the quartered peels into the desired thickness and tried to cut off as much of the pith as possible from there. (It’s much easier to do this once you have made the slices.)
  2. At this point, you can blanch the peels 1-3 times, as desired.
  3. Place the peels, water, and sugar in a small saucepan (the smaller the better — mine was a little too big) and stir until the sugar dissolves. At this point, simmer the peels in the sugar/water mixture for 20-30 minutes, until the peels thicken and become more translucent.
  4. Remove peels from saucepan with a fork and let cool. After 10-15 minutes, you can coat them with extra sugar if desired.
  5. Melt the chocolate chips over a double boiler. Dip each peel into the chocolate as desired, and place on a plate to cool and harden.

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That’s it! You should have far more peels than are photographed here (my dad ate most of them before I got a chance to take pictures), and they are perfect for satisfying a sugar rush or for adding some festivity to a holiday party.

— Halie

 

 

Oreo Truffles


These are absolutely one of the easiest truffles to make and they only require 3 ingredients!  They are so decadent I highly encourage you to give this recipe a try!

Ingredients:

  • One package of Oreos
  • One 8 ounce package of cream cheese at room temperature
  • 2 cups of white chocolate

Directions:

  1. Place one half of the box of Oreos into a large ziplock bag and use a rolling-pin to crush them as fine as possible.  Do this with the second half of the Oreos.
  2. Mix Oreo crumbs and cream cheese extremely well.  I used my hands which made it a lot easier.
  3. Make one inch balls from the Oreo mixture and place on a baking sheet.
  4. Place the baking sheet in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes.
  5. Melt the white chocolate and let cool till it has reached room temperature.
  6. Cover the truffles in white chocolate and let set!
  7. Once the chocolate has hardened your truffles are ready!

I know its easy to be skeptical about this recipe considering its basically just Oreos and cream cheese but the result is amazing.  My brother was in the kitchen while I was making these and he thought the mixture of Oreos and cream cheese was disgusting.  However, I convinced him to try a truffle once they were done.  He couldn’t stop eating them.  Just like the rest of my family.  These truffles are definitely a crowd pleaser and would be an easy desert to bring to others.

Enjoy!,

Lizzie

Healthy Dark Chocolate Brownies (No, really. I’m serious.)

I came across this recipe on Pinterest (one of my newest addictions) and was immediately skeptical. The brownies in the photo looked absolutely delicious, but the vegan recipe (made without butter, oil, or eggs) called for black beans as it’s replacement ingredient. What? This wasn’t possible. You could not make a brownie with a can of black beans and have it taste good.

So I decided to test my theory. As good as the brownies might look, I figured they would taste disgusting. The recipe makes a lot of batter, so I end up spreading it out over two smaller pans and baking thinner brownies, which was fine.

And, here’s the crazy part. They tasted good. Not even decent, as in, “meh, okay, I guess I’ll eat them cause they’re there.” They were yummy and totally moist and delicious! They’re a bit more cake-like than the average brownie, and lighter, but that’s totally fine with me because they taste awesome and are way better for you than regular brownies. I totally recommend trying this recipe out! Believe me, it works.

Dark Chocolate Brownies (adapted from Farmgirl Gourmet)

Ingredients

  • 1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and filled with new water
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour or all purpose
  • 2 1/4 cups raw sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup dark cocoa powder
  • 4 tsp instant coffee powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup nuts or chocolate chips, optional

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Drain a can of black beans and rinse thoroughly until the water runs clear.  Return the black beans back to the can and fill with water.  Purée the beans and water.  Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, cocoa powder, coffee power, salt and baking powder.  Add the black bean puree, vanilla and water to the dry ingredients and stir just until incorporated.  Don’t over mix.
  4. Pour batter into a greased 9×13 pan.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, rotating the pan around halfway through. They should be almost firm in the center.
  5. Let brownies cool completely then cut into 24 squares.

Still don’t believe me? Try them. I dare you.

— Halie

Chocolate Mousse

This dessert totally sounds fancy (aka, French) and maybe a little intimidating….until you make it yourself. I’ve used this recipe three times already and I absolutely love it. Nothing could be simpler, and the results are delicious! You most likely have all the ingredients at home already — just make sure you’re using good quality chocolate because that’s what really makes the difference here.

Also, sorry for the terrible picture quality. They do not do this dessert justice. My lens spazzed out a little and wouldn’t focus, not even on manual. Ahh!

This recipe is from Cooking Up A Storm by Sam Stern. Awesome cookbook, by the way, with super easy/healthy recipes.

Ingredients

  • 4 large eggs
  • 6 oz. good quality chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons strong black coffee (you can dissolve a teaspoon instant coffee powder in half a mug of hot water)
  • 1 tablespoon butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons orange juice
  • pinch of salt

I thought this picture would help show the texture. It doesn’t really, because my camera is DUMB. You’re gonna have to trust me on this one.

Directions

  1. Separate the egg yolks: yolks in one large bowl, whites in another.
  2. Fill a saucepan, or the bottom pan of a double-boiler, one-third full of water. Bring to a very gentle simmer. Break the chocolate into the top pan of the double-boiler or a heatproof bowl big enough to fit into the saucepan without touching the water.
  3. Add the coffee and let the chocolate melt into the coffee slowly — too fast and hot and it will spoil. Stir twice with a wooden spoon to combine.
  4. Remove from heat. Working quickly, stir in the egg yolks.
  5. Add the butter and orange juice. Beat fast and furious until glossy.
  6. Using an electric mixer, whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until white and stiff but not dry.
  7. With a big metal spoon, fold the whites into the chocolate in figure-eight movements. Don’t overwork it; you want to keep the air in. The odd spot of white doesn’t matter.
  8. Spoon the mouse into dishes or cups. Chill for a couple of hours or longer.

Make this stuff now. Seriously. Go.

— Halie