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Tag Archives: chocolate

Stabilized Whipped Cream

7 Jun

Whipped cream is arguably the best dessert accompaniment ever.  In fact, I had plans to write a different post tonight, but that game plan was derailed by the realization that my favorite whipped cream still doesn’t have its own post.  It’s finally time to set things right.  Stabilized whipped cream is awesome stuff, and it couldn’t be easier to make or more adaptable to use.

Stabilized Whipped Cream 4

If you make your own whipped cream, you know there is absolutely no equal in store-bought tubs or cans.  No packaged whipped cream holds a candle to the real deal.

Since it only takes a few ingredients and a few minutes to whip together, there’s no reason not to whip out that whisk.  I always “stabilize” my whipped cream, which creates whipped cream that is more resilient and won’t get runny as it sits.   Stabilized whipped cream holds together beautifully and keeps its shape for many days.  I love using stabilized whipped cream in lieu of heavy  frostings whenever possible.

Stabilized Whipped Cream 5

When you’re in the mood for a light, fluffy frosting, use stabilized whipped cream to frost cakes or pipe long-lasting swirls onto almost any dessert.  You’ll love the fact that you can make stabilized whipped cream ahead of time, keep it in the fridge without worries of it melting away, and use it when you’re ready to go.  You can frost or pipe onto desserts and safely keep it in the fridge until ready to serve.

Stabilized Whipped Cream 2

Just whip together the heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla (or other flavored extract) until those pretty soft peaks show up.

Stabilized Whipped Cream

Steadily pour in the gelatin/water mixture, while continuing to whip all the way to stiff peaks.

Stabilized Whipped Cream 3

Viola!  The whipped cream takes on a sturdier texture, while remaining light and airy when you taste it.  I’ve done various flavors, with Kahlua whipped cream being my fave.  I used Kahlua whipped cream for this unbelievable Double Chocolate Cake, which was seriously over-the-top-of-the-entire-moon.  Deeelicious.

Stabilized Whipped Cream 6

Such a long post for such an easy little recipe.  It was long overdue, so I’m overcompensating 🙂

Happy whisking!

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STABILIZED WHIPPED CREAM (about 4 cups)

INGREDIENTS

2 cups heavy whipping cream, very cold
4 TB powdered sugar
2 TB vanilla extract (or Kahlua or other flavored extract)
2 tsp unflavored gelatin powder (Knox)
2 TB water

DIRECTIONS

Pour cold heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract in a large metal bowl.  Place bowl and whisks of electric mixer in fridge for 5-10 minutes to make everything cold.

Meanwhile, combine gelatin powder and 2 TB water in a small glass bowl.  Once water has been fully soaked up by the gelatin, microwave the mixture for 15-20 seconds.  It should become a thick, hot liquid.  Stir well and let sit at room temp.

Remove the bowl from fridge.  Beat on medium-high until soft peaks just start to form.  Set whipped cream aside and check the gelatin mixture.  (If it has re-coagulated, microwave a few seconds at a time until it turns liquid again.)  If it’s hot, stir until it cools down to lukewarm.  It should be a slightly warm liquid, but not hot.  Resume beating whipped cream, while steadily pouring liquid gelatin right where the whisks are beating, to ensure it is being fully incorporated.

Beat whipped cream to stiff peaks.  Try to stop beating right at stiff peaks, but if you accidentally over-beat it a little bit, don’t worry.  It will still frost and pipe fine.

Source:  Chew Out Loud

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Hot Chocolate Fudge Sauce

6 Apr

If  the “Hot Chocolate Fudge Sauce” label wasn’t tempting enough, perhaps a little illustration will help…

Hot Chocolate Fudge Sauce 5

I’m not typically a sauce-and-sprinkles kind of gal; I’m more of a plain-jane when it comes to ice cream.  One of my favorite indulgences is purely a great vanilla bean ice cream.  I like it simple .   But it’s my sweet boy’s 9th birthday this weekend, and I wanted to make an extra special ice-cream cake in honor of his precious 9 years in our lives. (More to come on how that cake turned out.)  For now, we’ll focus on this decadent hot chocolate fudge sauce.

Hot Chocolate Fudge Sauce

In search of the “best” hot fudge sauce, we padded around the kitchen and tinkered with variations of popular recipes, culminating in the gruesome task of taste-testing each chocolatey creation.  Many recipes for hot fudge sauce include corn syrup, but the hands-down favorite ended up being a recipe with no added corn syrup.

Hot Chocolate Fudge Sauce 2

This super chocolatey hot fudge sauce is well balanced with just the right amount of sweetness, buttery-ness, and fudge-y goodness.  It’s smooth and rich, and thickens nicely as it cools.  Lukewarm sauce is perfect for drizzling over ice cream, allowing the fudge to gain that soft chewy texture – the sure sign of a successful hot fudge sauce.

Hot Chocolate Fudge Sauce 4

This hot chocolate fudge sauce keeps well and reheats beautifully.  It is delish over fresh fruit, over pancakes or waffles, over cake… let those creative juices flow.  You can’t go wrong with this.

Hot Chocolate Fudge Sauce 3

My boys will probably beg to make their own chocolate milk with this.  Let the fun begin!

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RECIPE: HOT CHOCOLATE FUDGE SAUCE (approx. 1 cup)

INGREDIENTS

3 oz semi sweet chocolate
1/2 cup heavy cream
6 TB brown sugar
2 TB unsweetened cocoa powder
1 TB regular salted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
small pinch kosher salt

DIRECTIONS

Combine all ingredients in small, heavy saucepan set over medium heat.  Bring to a boil, whisking constantly.  Once it reaches a boil, immediately reduce to simmer.  Simmer and whisk for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool to warm or lukewarm before serving.  Keeps well in sealed container in fridge.

Source:  Chew Out Loud, adapted from iowagirleats

Chewy Mint Chocolate Brownies

10 Mar

We’re getting into that silly time of year.  Did anyone else miss that all-important hour of lost sleep for daylight savings like I did?  March equals rain and slush around here, with some days stuck in winter and other days hinting at the upcoming spring.  Warmer, cooler, sunshine, snowstorm… March cannot make up its mind, and it’s all wishy-washy this time of season.

Thank goodness we can depend on the yumminess of brownies when we need something consistently satisfying!

Chewy Mint Chocolate Brownies 3

These sweeties aren’t just any brownies, either.  They are Mint Chocolate Brownies, adapted from my all time favorite chewy brownie recipe.

Chewy Mint Chocolate Brownies

St. Patty’s Day is March 17, which is only a week away.  These deliciously chewy, rich Mint Chocolate Brownies are perfect if you’re looking for something with a little bit of green.

Chewy Mint Chocolate Brownies 2

These mint chocolate brownies are chewy, fudgy, and refreshingly minty.  I used a bit of peppermint extract to enhance the minty flavor, and it turned out nicely subtle, which I like.  If you want to up your minty-ness, just add more peppermint extract to your batter.

Enjoy!

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RECIPE (one 9×13 pan)

INGREDIENTS

1/3 cup (1 oz) Dutch processed cocoa, unsweetened
1/2 cup + 2 TB boiling water
2 oz unsweetened, good quality solid chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup + 2 TB olive oil
4 TB regular butter, melted
2 large eggs + 2 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
2 1/2 cups white sugar
1 3/4 cups all purpose, sifted flour
3/4 tsp table salt
1 1o-oz bag mint-chocolate morsels, or dark chocolate/mint chocolate combo

DIRECTIONS

Bring kettle of water to boil.  Adjust oven rack to second-to-lowest position and preheat to 350F.

Insert 2 long sheets of foil perpendicular to one another in baking pan, long enough to hang over edges.  Push foil into corners and up sides of pan, smoothing foil against pan.  Grease foil sling and set aside.

Whisk cocoa and boiling water (measure out correct amount from kettle of boiling water) together in large bowl until smooth.  Add unsweetened chocolate and whisk until chocolate is melted.  Whisk in oil and melted butter.  Whisk in eggs, egg yolks, vanilla, and peppermint extracts.  Continue to whisk until smooth.  Whisk in sugar until fully incorporated.  Sprinkle salt and sifted flour into batter and mix with rubber spatula until just combined.  Fold in 1 cup of the mint/chocolate morsels.

Transfer batter into prepared pan, spreading into corners and smoothing the surface.  Sprinkle with remaining chocolate/mint morsels.  Bake about 30-33 minutes, rotating halfway through baking.  It’s done when toothpick comes out with moist crumbs attached; should not come out completely clean.  It may seem underdone, but it will set upon cooling.  Do not over bake, or brownies will be dry.

Transfer pan to wire rack and cool for 1 1/2 hours.  Remove brownies from pan using foil sling.  Return brownies to wire rack and let cool completely.  Cut brownies into squares and serve.  Can be stored in airtight container at room temp for a couple of days.

By:  Chew Out Loud, inspired by Cooks Illustrated

Chewy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

27 Jan

We’re in the final days of Back-to-Healthy month (aka January), and we are still quite oatmeal-happy here in our kitchen.

Chewy Oatmeal Chocolate Cookies 4

My new year’s non-resolution (no official resolutions here) was to eat a lot more oatmeal, a lot more often this year.  I haven’t exactly kept up with my one-bowl-a-day ambition, but healthful oats are finding their way into my everyday baking.

Chewy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies 3

True, true… these are cookies.  Cookies with chocolate, at that.  But, hey… they are also laden with robust old-fashioned oats.  Not the quick-cooking oats, but the good ol’ old-fashioned oats.  Heartier, chewier, and bigger oat-y taste senstation is the result.

Chewy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies 2

These are unbelievably scrumptious oatmeal cookies!  For one, they taste like chocolate.  Like a rich chocolate chip cookie with texture…soft in the center and lightly crisp at the edges.  For another, the use of old-fashioned oats give these cookies a satisfying chewiness that you can sink your happy sweet tooth into.

Chewy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chewy Oatmeal Chocolate Cookies boast a perfect balance of sweetness with a bit of saltiness, loads of semi-sweet chocolate, and chock-full of natural oats.  Can this combo be any better?!  Oh, yes, they can – because these fab cookies naturally bake up nice and full, without spreading too much.  You can count on a perfectly thick, dense cookie that stays soft and chewy.  Just the way you like ’em. 🙂

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RECIPE (40-50 medium sized cookies)

INGREDIENTS

1 cup regular butter, softened just to room temp (not too soft)
3/4 cup white sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temp
1 TB vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3 tsp ground cinnamon
3 cups rolled old-fashioned oats (not quick-cooking)
1 (12oz) bag semi-sweet chocolate morsels

DIRECTIONS

In the large bowl of stand mixer, cream together room-temp butter with the white and brown sugars, until fluffy.  Several minutes on medium-high should do it.  Beat in eggs one at a time.  Stir in vanilla.

In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.  Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.  Mix in the oats.  Gently work in the chocolate morsels until incorporated.  Dough may be thick and heavy.

Preheat oven to 350F, adjusting rack to lower-middle.  Keep cookie dough in fridge while waiting for oven.  Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.  Drop rounded balls of cookie dough, about the size of a walnut, 2 inches apart on cookie sheet.  Flatten each rounded ball to a 1/2 inch thick cookie.

Bake 8 minutes in preheated oven.  Cookies will seem underdone, but remove them from oven.  If you’re making much larger cookies, remove at 9 minutes.  The key is not to overbake.  They will set upon cooling.  Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet 5 minutes and transfer to wire rack to finish cooling.  Enjoy!

Source:  Chew Out Loud, adapted from allrecipes

Note:  If you want less salt, reduce to 1/2 tsp salt.  Cookies stay soft and chewy for a couple of days in airtight container.  They are best on the day they’re baked, but nobody complains about leftovers!  Cookie dough can be wrapped up tightly and kept in fridge for up to a week.

Orange Chocolate Lace Cookies

18 Dec

‘Tis the season for cookies.   Cookie exchanges, cookies on the dessert table, cookies for gift-giving… and cookies in our own cookie jar.  We’ve already been giving away many of our favorite cookies this season.  What to bake up next?

Orange Chocolate Lace Cookies

Orange Chocolate Lace Cookies!  I’ve always admired pretty lace cookies, but they look like they’d be way more work than the usual drop cookies.  In a sudden spirit of adventure, I talked my preschooler out of Word World so we could create  crunchy cookies together.

Orange Chocolate Lace Cookies 2

Surprisingly, these orange lace cookies are unbelievably easy to pull off.   So easy and deliciously tasty.  These cookies boast a fabulous crispiness and depth of flavor that reminds me of toffee.  Only better, because they’re infused with lively orange and then drizzled with chocolate.

orange chocolate lace cookies

Because these orange chocolate lace cookies are super crisp, they keep extremely well.  No worries about the cookies drying out or getting stale.  These little pretties are probably one of the easiest treats for mailing or gifting because of how well they keep.

The kiddos will enjoy watching the bubbling lace pattern develop in the oven.  Science project-slash-dessert?   Yeah, maybe just dessert.  Enjoy!

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RECIPE (about 25-30 cookies)

INGREDIENTS

1/4 cup tightly packed light-brown sugar
1/4 cup regular butter
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 TB Cointreau
1/2 tsp orange extract
1/2 cup + 2 TB all-purpose flour
1 TB orange zest, finely chopped
4-6 oz semi sweet chocolate morsels, for drizzling

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350F and place rack on lower middle position.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Combine sugar, butter, corn syrup, Cointreau, and orange extract in a small but heavy saucepan.  Stir over low heat, until butter melts.  Remove from heat and add flour and orange zest.  Stir to combine.

Drop heaping teaspoons of batter onto parchment lined baking sheet, 2 1/2 inches apart.  Wet hands for easy dough handling.  Place baking sheet in oven and bake until cookies are spread out, bubble up, and golden brown.  About 11-13 minutes.  Remove from oven and cool several minutes before transferring to wire rack.  Finish cooling on wire rack.  Continue baking batches, stirring batter occasionally.

When cookies are completely cool, it’s drizzle time.  Melt chocolate morsels in microwave safe bowl (20 second intervals, stirring in between.)  Scrape melted chocolate into ziploc bag.  Cut a tiny hole in corner of bag, and drizzle on as much warm chocolate as you want.  Cool completely.  Enjoy!

Source:  Chew Out Loud, adapted from Martha Stewart Living

Notes:  You can also dip the cookies halfway in melted chocolate in lieu of drizzling.  If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can make cookie-curls.  Cool cookies just 1-2 minutes, or until they are warm and pliable.  Curl around handle of wooden spoon.  When firm, slide cookie off.

Turtles: Chocolate, Caramel, ‘n Pretzels

12 Dec

I don’t know where these little guys have been all my life.  I’ve seen variations around, but I finally got the chance to throw a turtle-making party of my own.  Chocolate?  Yes.  Caramel?  Got it.  Salty, sweet, and crispy?  Check, check, and check.  The most dangerous part:  they are way too easy to make.  Way.

Pretzel Turtles

I mean, really.  It takes but minutes to assemble these delicious morsels.  I wrote assemble on purpose, because that’s all you’re really doing with these awesome treats.  The kiddos actually gave up play time so they could make their own pretzel turtles (not pictured, on purpose.)

Pretzel Turtles 3

These turtle treats are made up of salty pretzels, Rolos, and pecans.  If you can’t do nuts, use a candy like M&M’s for the topping.  I’ve made nut-free turtles using colored sprinkles on top, which are super cute too.  They are fantastic for a quick snack.  You can technically make just one or two, very technically speaking.  If you put a bunch of these out at a party, they’ll be a huge hit on that snack or dessert table.  Don’t expect leftovers.

Pretzel Turtles 4

A drizzle of white chocolate makes these pretzel turtles pretty and ready for gift-giving.  These goodies are the perfect no-fuss treat to give to all those peeps you appreciate so much.  You know…teachers, friends, volunteers, neighbors, bus driver, mail carrier…

Pretzel Turtles 5

Y-U-M.  Yum.  Want…need.  Grab a bag of pretzels, some Rolos, and toppings next time you’re at the store.  Keep it in your pantry for all those little emergencies in life. 🙂  Happy turtle eating!

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RECIPE (40 candies)

INGREDIENTS
40 salted butter pretzels, round
40 Rolo candies, regular (not mini)
2-3 oz chopped unsalted pecans, toasted
4-5 oz good quality white chocolate morsels

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 300F.

Line baking sheets with parchment paper.  Arrange pretzels evenly on baking sheets in a single layer.  Place a Rolo on center of each pretzel (if not centered well, it can melt off the pretzel)

Bake 3 minutes on center rack.  Remove baking sheet from oven and immediately press on the toasted pecans. Cool.

Place white chocolate in a small bowl and microwave in 20 second increments, mixing in between, until smooth and melted.  Scrape melted white chocolate into a ziploc bag, cut a very tiny hole at bottom corner, and drizzle immediately onto pretzel turtles.  If chocolate hardens, just microwave for a few seconds and resume.

Source: Chew Out Loud, adapted from allrecipes

Note:  To toast pecans, I use my toaster oven and toast the nuts for 2-3 minutes.  If using your oven, you can lay chopped pecans in single layer on baking sheet at 325F.  Brush with a little melted butter, if desired.  Toast about 5 minutes, depending on oven.  Just until aromatic and browned, but watch that they don’t burn.

Double Chocolate Biscotti Cookies

10 Dec

Is anyone else in the heartland feeling the sudden freeze?  The frost has definitely found us in MN.

To all my beautiful Californian family & friends:  I love you dearly and miss you more than you know…but I just can’t read any more Facebook posts about your “weather” out there.   Because it makes me want to cry and go stare longingly at my collection of flip flops.

I need cookies.  Double Chocolate Biscotti cookies to the rescue.

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I know many people in our current Midwestern stomping ground who are enjoying the sudden blanket of heavy snow today.  True, I do enjoy how pristine and beautiful fresh snow can be.  To say the kids were excited is an understatement.  They immediately donned their rugged snow gear and threw themselves into the thick white powder, and “helped” Daddy shovel.

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But some snow days (today) are semi-crazy.  When huge snow plows can’t keep up, when too many cars are stuck on the side of roads, and when people (Hubby) spend all of Sunday clearing the driveway… well, that’s not such great fun.  Semi-crazy days like today are good for staying in.  Ok, we didn’t really stay in…not at all.  But it would have been a good day for it.

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For those mornings or afternoons when you can stay in and sip on a hot mug of coffee or tea… bring in these double chocolate Biscotti cookies.  They are the perfect dunking cookie.  I used to think Biscotti would be tricky to make from scratch, but I started making these a few years ago and fell in love with homemade Biscotti.  They are pretty straighforward, extremely flexible (any fave add-ins would be yummy), and best of all?  They keep so, so well.  Biscotti is classically crisp in texture (dunking perfection) and they stay nicely crunchy at room temp for days.  Or frozen for much longer.

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This recipe will make enough Biscotti to give away as yummy Christmas treats, or you can keep some in the freezer for a quick morning or afternoon treat when you need it.   In fact, I just made a batch to give to my girlfriend’s lovely family.  There was enough leftover to go with Hubby’s coffee at breakfast.  And kids’ afternoon snack.  And my breakfast + snack.

To make it Christmas-y, I added dried cranberries.  They are a perfect addition for a holiday breakfast/brunch or cookie exchange.  Enjoy these cookies, stay warm, and romp a little in the snow.  If you’re lucky enough to get snow 🙂

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RECIPE (approx. 40-50 cookies)

INGREDIENTS

3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp fine salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup canola or light olive oil
1 1/2 cup sugar
4 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
4 large eggs
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup white chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 300F.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine flour, salt, and baking powder in a large bowl.  Set aside.

In another large bowl, mix oil and sugar until well blended.  Add vanilla extract, almond extract, and eggs.  Beat until well incorporated.  Gradually stir egg mixture in with the flour mixture.  Mix in cranberries and semi sweet chocolate chips by hand.  Dough may be sticky; place in fridge for 30 minutes to help with stickiness.

Divide dough into equal thirds (using wet hands here will help with sticky fingers.)  Form each third into logs, about 12×3 each, on the parchment lined cookie sheet.

Bake 35-40 minutes on middle rack, until lightly brown and mostly firm to the touch.  Place light cloth over logs and cool for at least 30 minutes or until they are almost room temp.  Turn oven down to 275F.

Carefully cut cooled logs on diagonal, into slices that are a little less than 1 inch thick.  Depending on your knife, you might either press down very gently to get clean cuts, or you might use a gentle sawing motion.  I use my sharp bread knife.  Lay Biscotti onto their sides, on parchment covered baking sheets.  Bake 10 minutes.  Flip and bake 10 minutes more.  Biscotti is done when they feel dry.  Cool on cooling racks.

Melt white chocolate in small bowl in microwave, in approx. 30 second increments, until smooth and melted.  Transfer melted white chocolate into a plastic baggie, cut a very tiny hole in bottom corner, and drizzle over Biscotti.  Happy dunking!

By: Chewoutloud

Note:  If desired, you can do an egg wash over the dough logs before baking.  Just beat 1 egg with 1 TB water and brush onto logs.

Chewy Triple Chocolate Brownies – Goodbye, Box.

2 Nov Chewy Triple chocolate Brownies

Chocoholics, be forewarned.  Reading any further could  be dangerous if you’re on a mission to sidestep the chocolate food group.  Otherwise, read on.  You’ll be treated to the absolute BEST homemade brownies you can sink your teeth into.  They easily blow all boxed competition out of the water.

Chewy Triple chocolate Brownies

We’re a family of brownie lovers.  Hubby has been making them from scratch since he was 13, to satisfy his and his siblings’ Friday night munchies.  Our sweet-toothed children would inhale brownies by the buckets if allowed.  It’s a party in their lunchbox if a little brownie square is found hidden behind the sandwich.  Me?  I’m with the chocoholics, so it’s a given that brownies are considered highly dangerous territory for me.

Chewy Triple chocolate Brownies

A little bit of danger can be good 🙂  Only if it involves chocolate that’s truly worth the eating.  Admittedly, I fully embraced boxed brownie mixes before meeting these Chewy Triple Chocolate Brownies.  Every past attempt at homemade-from-scratch brownies just could never quite parallel the chewy moistness of their boxed counterparts.  Until this game changer came along.

Chewy Triple chocolate Brownies

In truth, these Chewy Triple Chocolate Brownies do not simply parallel the boxed stuff.  These homemade brownies completely outshine our favorite box mixes.   To prove it, I did a side by side comparison brownie bake-off.  For our neighborhood party, I made three different batches of brownies.  The Chewy Triple Chocolate Brownies went up against two other brownies, including Ghirardelli’s popular brownie mix.

Chewy Triple chocolate Brownies

We were amazed by how clearly these homemade brownies stood out.  They have such a rich, complex, chocolate flavor.  A perfectly thin crisp top.  A chewy, dense moistness that can’t be beat.  It honestly wasn’t even a contest.  Next to these homemade ones, the boxed brownies tasted surprisingly artificial.  The Chewy Triple Chocolate Brownies were snatched up in a wink.   Once you taste these, you simply won’t go back to the box.

Ready for some dangerous chocolate territory?

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RECIPE (one 9×13 pan)

INGREDIENTS

1/3 cup (1 oz) Dutch processed cocoa (unsweetened)
1 1/2 tsp instant espresso powder, optional
1/2 cup + 2 TB boiling water
2 ounces unsweetened good-quality chocolate, chopped fine
1/2 cup + 2 TB vegetable oil
4 TB regular butter, melted
2 large eggs + 2 large egg yolks
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups (17.5 oz) white sugar
1 3/4 cups (8.75 oz) all purpose, sifted flour
3/4 tsp fine salt
6 oz good quality bittersweet/semisweet chocolate, cut into 1/2 inch chunks

DIRECTIONS

Bring a kettle of water to boil.  Adjust oven rack to second-to-lowest position and preheat to 350F.  Make foil sling:  Insert 2 long sheets of foil perpendicular to one another in baking pan, so that there will be enough foil that hangs over edges of pan.  Push foil into corners and up sides of pan, smoothing foil against pan.  Grease foil and set aside.

Whisk cocoa, espresso powder, and boiling water (measure out correct amount from your kettle of boiling water) together in large bowl until smooth.  Add unsweetened chocolate and whisk until chocolate is melted.  Whisk in oil and melted butter.  Add eggs, egg yolks, and vanilla.  Continue to whisk until smooth and incorporated.  Whisk in sugar until thoroughly incorporated.  Sprinkle salt and sifted flour into batter and mix with rubber spatula until just combined.  Fold in bittersweet/semisweet chocolate pieces.

Transfer batter into prepared pan, spreading it into corners and smoothing the surface.  Bake for about 30-33 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking.  It’s done when toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs attached; should not come out clean.  Do not overbake, or brownies may be dry.

Transfer pan to wire rack and cool for 1 1/2 hours.  Remove brownies from pan using foil sling.  Return brownies to wire rack and let cool completely.  Cut brownies into squares and serve.  Can be stored in airtight container at room temp for a couple of days.

Notes:
* If you have a kitchen scale, use it to get the most accurate measurements.
* Let brownies cool thoroughly before cutting into them, for chewiest texture.
* If your baking dish is glass, cool brownies in pan for just 10-20 minutes, and then use foil sling to transfer to wire rack to finish cooling.

By Chewoutloud, adapted from Baking Illustrated

Bring It! Crazy Good Chocolate Chip Cookies

3 Oct Bring It Chocolate Chip Cookies

Awhile back, I mentioned that I’d one day step into the densely populated chocolate chip cookie party, right?  That day has come.  Freshly baked, homemade chocolate chip cookies are one of those treats I rarely say no to when someone kindly offers me one.  There is just something special about a still-warm, super chocolatey, chewy cookie – with just the right balance of sweetness and a little bit of saltiness.

Bring It Chocolate Chip Cookies

Delicious Chocolate Chip Cookies

I can’t count how many various chocolate chip cookie recipes I’ve baked up in my life thus far.  Despite my full collection of keeper cookie recipes, I occasionally get compulsive about searching for new recipes to try… just for the fun of it, ya know?

I happily stumbled upon this chocolate chip cookie version from Alice Currah’s Savory Sweet Life.  I named this chocolate chip cookie after Alice’s hilarious cookie war story.  A must-read.

Bring It Chocolate Chip Cookies

So chocolatey, chewy, rich

My kiddos are little cookie monsters.  My main method of portion control is to bake up a small batch and freeze the rest of the raw cookie dough for later.  Another thing I do is morph into that crazy mama who wraps up goodies for anyone who is willing to help prevent my cookie monsters (and me) from over indulging.

Bring It Chocolate Chip Cookies

Perfect balance of a bit of salt ‘n sweet

What makes this chocolate chip cookie outstanding is the delicious addition of coarse sea salt, which gives us that wonderful salty/sweet balance.  I sprinkled a tiny pinch on top of each cookie, which is super yummy, if you love a bit of saltiness cutting through the sweet.  The brown sugar gives it a rich molasses touch.  I decreased the white sugar just so I could heap on some extra chocolate chunks into all that goodness 🙂

Bring It Chocolate Chip Cookies

Bring It Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yeah, go ahead.  Taste it for yourself.  Does this chocolate chip cookie bring it, or what?!

RECIPE (about 48 cookies, depending on size)

INGREDIENTS

1 cup salted butter, just softened
1/4 cup white sugar
1 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temp
1 TB vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups (12 oz) all-purpose flour (use scale if you have one)
3/4 tsp coarse sea salt (not table salt)
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3 cups good quality semi-sweet chocolate chunks
bit of sea salt for sprinkling, if desired

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350.  Be sure butter is just softened enough that it dents a bit when pressed.  Don’t let it get too warm or border on melting, or it will not cream to fluffy.  Cream butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until it is light/airy and fluffy, about 5-7 minutes using electric mixer.  Add vanilla and eggs 1 at a time, beating until incorporated.  In separate bowl, mix baking soda, baking powder, salt, and flour together.  Mix wet and dry ingredients until cookie batter is fully combined.  If it’s easier, mix batter with hands.  Finally, add chocolate chips evenly into dough.

Drop about 2 TB of dough at a time onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (important to use parchment.)  If desired, sprinkle a tiny pinch of coarse sea salt on top of cookies.  Bake for about 12 minutes, or just until the edges are turning golden brown.  Do not over bake!  The center may appear a bit underdone, but that’s fine.  Remove immediately, keeping cookies on cookie sheet for a minute.  Transfer parchment paper with cookies still on top to a cool surface.  Let cool a few minutes on parchment paper before removing cookies.  Still-warm cookies are the best!

by chewoutloud, adapted from Savory Sweet Life

Double Chocolate Cake with Kahlua Whipped Cream and Strawberries

7 Aug double chocolate layer cake with strawberries

Could it be?  Another chocolate cake?  Well, first off, my hubby truly enjoys really good chocolate cake.  Secondly, it’s his birthday (happy birthday to my guy!)  Lastly, this is most definitely not just another chocolate cake.  Despite how stand-out-good this chocolate cake is, I honestly hesitated in writing this post about… chocolate cake.   My hesitation was short lived, because this cake truly needs to be shared.  I only paused on this because it’s similar to writing about chocolate chip cookies (which I’ll do soon – wink).  Anyone and everyone seems to have a “best recipe” for chocolate cake.   Yes, it’s a highly saturated place to be, but there is no way I can keep this chocolate dream to myself.  The family agrees that this was really the best chocolate cake we’ve eaten…possibly ever…or at least as far as our tummies can remember!

Layered Chocolate Cake with Strawberries

Double Chocolate Cake – perfect for someone’s birthday!

One might be surprised at what awaits underneath the white frosting… but alas, there are those telltale dark chocolate shavings that give away our delicious secret.

double chocolate layer cake

Double Chocolate Cake – a moist, tender cake with just the right amount of sweetness and rich chocolate flavor

I did exchange the typical butter cream or ganache frosting for a lighter whipped cream frosting.  We love our sweet treats, but just not overly sweet.  Since the cake itself is super rich, moist, and chocolate-dense, I opted for whipped cream frosting to balance it all out.  The whipped cream here is deliciously infused with Kahlua for that special flavor.  It’s also “stabilized” with gelatin so it keeps its shape well, without fear of getting runny.

double chocolate layer cake with strawberries

Double Chocolate Cake, layered with fresh, sweet strawberries

The fresh strawberries truly make this chocolate cake special.   The rich, deep chocolate is perfectly paired with light whipped cream, and then given a refreshing bite with ripe strawberries.  I cannot explain in mere words how yummy this thing is.  I gained a few pounds just making it.  I wish I were kidding.  I did the taste-bake-keep tasting thing, as usual.  Sigh.

Oh, and this probably goes without saying – but, a good quality chocolate will make a difference on the turnout of your dessert.

I almost forgot to mention that this batter makes killer cupcakes, too!  I had a bit of leftover batter and made amazing cupcakes with it.  That could have been a whole other post.  Enjoy!  I know you will.

RECIPE (serves 10-12)

INGREDIENTS

For the Cake:
3 oz good quality semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped (I love Guittard)
1 1/2 cups fresh, hot coffee (decaf is fine)
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3 cups white sugar
2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 tsp salt
3 large eggs, room temp
3/4 cups vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups buttermilk (you can make your own by using 1 1/2 cups whole milk mixed with 1 1/2 T vinegar, and let that sit at room temp for at least 15 min, allowing it to curdle.  Mix well before incorporating.)

For Stabilized Whipped Cream Frosting:
16 tsp water
4 tsp Knox plain gelatin
4 cups very cold heavy whipping cream
4 tsp vanilla extract
8 TB powder sugar
2 T Kahlua (optional)

Filling:
Fresh strawberries, chopped (about 1/2 cup, give or take)
Sliced strawberries for garnish

DIRECTIONS:

For the cake (can be made 1 day ahead):
Preheat oven to 300F.  Grease two 10×2 round cake pans.  Line bottoms of pans with rounds of wax paper, and grease the paper.

Combine finely chopped chocolate with hot coffee, and stir occasionally until chocolate is completely melted.  Set aside at room temp.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

In a second large bowl, beat eggs until thickened and lemony yellow – about 3 min with standing mixer or 5 min with hand-held mixer.  Gradually add in oil, buttermilk, vanilla, and melted chocolate mixture.  Continue beating until well combined.  Add flour mixture and beat on medium until just combined well.  Divide batter evenly between the cake pans.  Bake in middle rack until toothpick comes out clean or almost-clean.  About 60-70 minutes.

Cool cake completely in pans on racks.  Can cool overnight at room temp, wrapped well.  When cool, slowly run a thin knife around edges and invert layers.  Carefully remove wax paper.

For the frosting:
In large mixing bowl, stir in heavy whipping cream, vanilla extract, powder sugar, and Kahlua.  Put this bowl, along with  beaters, in fridge to keep cold.

Mix Knox gelatin with water in a microwave safe bowl.  Let sit for about 10 min, for gelatin to soak up the water.  Microwave for about 15-20 seconds, to melt the gelatin.  Stir well, and let cool to lukewarm.

Take out the bowl with whipped cream ingredients.  Beat on medium until ribbons form (not to soft peaks yet.)  Stop beating and quickly check that your gelatin mixture is still liquid and almost cool.  If it has coagulated, reheat in microwave for 5 seconds.  Resume beating whipped cream mixture, while slowly pouring in liquid gelatin into the mixture as it is beating.  Beat to stiff peaks.  Keep in fridge until ready to use.

Mix desired amount of chopped strawberries with about 3/4 cup of the whipped cream to make the filling.

Spread filling in between layers of chocolate cake.  Frost cake with whipped cream.  Garnish with strawberry slices and shaved chocolate, if desired.  Cake keeps very well in fridge as long as it is covered.

Source:  Chew Out Loud, inspired by Gourmet

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