Thursday, December 18, 2014

Guitard Double Dark Chocolate Cookies



Brownies, cakes and cookies are the staples of my holiday baking. I love to eat them as well as give them for gifts. Ordinarily I use recipes from my cookbooks, or Pinterest but lately I have been finding great recipes on the back of chocolate chip bags and these Guitard Double Dark Chocolate Cookies are one of them. 

Dark, decadent and bittersweet with a lightly crunchy top these cookies are perfect for gifts, a cookie exchange or keeping them all for yourself to enjoy sitting in front of a toasty fire.





Double Dark Chocolate Cookies

2 cups Guittard 63% extra dark chocolate chips, divided
2 tablespoons water
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
11/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Directions

Preheat oven to 375. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Melt 11/2 cups of chips and 2 tablespoons of water until smooth. Cream the butter and sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl and beat until light. Beat in eggs and vanilla until smooth. Add melted chocolate, stopping to scrape the bowl as needed. Mix in flour and baking soda until just incorporated. Stir in the remaining 1/2 cup of chips. Drop rounded teaspoons onto baking sheets. Bake 10 minutes or until tops are cracked and crusty. Centers shouls still be sorft and appear slightly underdone. Let stand 5 minutes before removing to cooling racks. Store in an airtight container. 





Enjoy!



Friday, December 5, 2014

Guittard Truffle Brownies



December 1st can you even  believe it? Christmas preparations are well under way at my house, decorating, buying and wrapping gifts and of course baking. Although I always make truffles this year I thought I would make Truffle brownies using a recipe I found on the back of a bag of Guittard extra dark chocolate chips.



These brownies are FABULOUS! They are dense, moist, extra chocolaty, and simply delicious.More like a truffle candy than a brownie.  If you are a "fudgie" brownie lover than you are going to enjoy these.






Truffle Brownies

12/3 cups Guittard 63% extra dark chocolate chips
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons water
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1/4 cup all-purpose flour

Position a rack in the center of the oven and pre-heat to 325. Line an 8 inch square pan with aluminum foil leaving the edges long enough to use as handles to life out the brownies after they bake.
In a medium pan, melt the chocolate, butter and water and stir until smooth. With a wooden spoon beat in the sugar, salt and vanilla. Beat in the eggs, one at a time until smooth and glossy. Stir in the flour until just combines. Spread the batter into the pan and bake 35-40 minutes or until a crust forms on the tip. The center of the brownies with be moist when tested with a toothpick.
Do NOT OVER BAKE.
Place pan on a rack and cool for 3 hours or overnight. remove brownies from pan and cut into 16 squares. Enjoy!








Enjoy the season!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Lily's Dark Chocolate, Cranberries and White Chocolate Drizzle



Good morning! The holidays are fast approaching and I am trying to narrow down my menu. Honestly, I can do without the turkey, just give me the mashed potatoes, gravy, yeast rolls and some sort of pumpkin dessert.

Of course I LOVE pumpkin pie but I also love to try new recipes at the holidays and when Lily's Sweets offered to let me try their new Stevia sweetened chocolate I though it might be an interesting accompaniment to my pumpkin bread pudding.





Lily's Sweets is the maker of no sugar added, fair trade chocolate bars and baking chips, which are both sweetened with all natural plant based, stevia.   In addition to the baking chips they sent me two of their delicious candy bars. I have to be honest, I was a little skeptical that I was going to like chocolate sweetened with stevia, but  all of the products are delicious!

They  taste exactly like the other chocolate chips and bars that I frequently buy and they melt just like chocolate too! If you are watching your sugar or are looking for  products to use in addition to other chocolate they are a wonderful alternative to traditional bars and chips. I also think they are a great way to shave a few calories off your baked treats this holiday season.




Pumpkin Bread Pudding

1 9 inch loaf of prepared pumpkin bread
Recipe HERE


Custard:
Recipe from Bobby Flay Food Network
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk
2 Tablespoons vanilla bean paste
6 large eggs
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons Bourbon
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Dried Cranberries and Baking Chips for Garnish
store bought or homemade caramel for garnish
1 cup white chocolate chips melted for garnish


Heat oven to 325. Cut loaf of pumpkin bread into cubes and place on baking sheet. Bake until toasted, about 15-20 minutes. Set aside. Prepare a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with butter, and scatter toasted pumpkin bread cubes across bottom.

In a medium saucepan, combine heavy cream, milk and vanilla bean paste. Bring to a simmer and set aside. In a large bowl combine eggs, maple syrup, pumpkin and whisk together.
Slowly whisk the cream mixture into the egg mixture, then add the Bourbon.
Add the Lily's Dark Chocolate Chips and the dried cranberries, mix well.
Pour the custard mixture over the pumpkin cubes and let sit for 15 minutes to soak in. Press down on the cubes to submerge.

Place the pan into a larger roasting pan and then pour hot tap water into the large roaster until it comes half-way up the sades of the pan containing the custard mixture.

Bake in the water bath until the sides are slightly puffy and the center jiggles, about 1 hour.

Remove pan from water bath and let cool for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Slice bread pudding and drizzle with melted white chocolate, and caramel then garnish with cranberries and dark chocolate chips






This pumpkin bread pudding is fabulous! It has great pumpkin flavor and the custard is almost like a thin layer of pumpkin pie filling over the top of the pumpkin bread. The addition of the dark chocolate and tart cranberries bring in an added layer of goodness and the flavors of the holidays. This dessert is going to be a staple at my table this holiday season.




I hope that you have a fabulous holiday, filled with tasty treats and lots of time with family and friends!




NOTE: I was not compensated in any way for this post. I was given complimentary products to sample but all opinions are my own. 

If you would like additional information about Lily's Sweets  chocolates visit their link or if you would like to purchase them they are sold at Whole Foods Market.

Also, if you are looking for other scrumptious baked goods made with Lily's chips, click HERE.



Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Haagen-Dazs Midnight Cookies & Cream Ice Cream

Recently I was invited to try a few gelato and ice cream selections by Haagen-Dazs and I have to tell you I was in love.  Each one was better than the next, but the Midnight Cookies and Cream was my favorite!





Unlike most cookies and cream ice creams, which feature a vanilla ice cream base, this limited edition flavor is made with dark chocolate ice cream. 




The ice cream has soft cookie chunks that are more like brownies and creamy "ribbons"of fudge evenly dispersed throughout.  The combination is rich, velvety smooth and very chocolaty. 




If you love cookies and cream ice cream and are a chocolate lover to boot than this may be something you want to try. If so you have until December as this is a limited edition flavor. For more information on Haagen-Dazs ice creams click the link.




Full disclosure: I was given a complimentary pint of this ice cream to try but all opinions are my own. 





Monday, October 13, 2014

White Cake!

Good morning! Life has been keeping me busy and this blog, which is my secondary blog has suffered. I hope to do better here soon here and thank you for your patience. 





In the meantime, if you would like to try something that is not chocolate, let me recommend, White Almond Cake filled with raspberries and frosted with Vanilla bean buttercream a scrumptious cake which I made last week twice for my husbands birthday! You can find the details on my other blog, Pine Cones and Acorns.

Have a great day!!







Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Chocolate Fudge No-Bake Cheesecake




Is there anything better than Oreo cheesecake? I didn't think so either until I made a no-bake version of my favorite Oreo cheesecake with fudge topping. It does not get any easier than this cake and I promise that it will become one of your "go-to" desserts for any occasion.






Honestly, since I have made this version I have made several others. In fact I now make a double batch of the cheesecake filling to keep in the refrigerator  to come up will all sorts of creations, like s'more cheesecake, double fudge raspberry cheesecake with white chocolate  drizzle and the list goes on, at a moments notice. Or whenever my sweet tooth kicks in.





Chocolate Fudge No-Bake Oreo Cheesecake


Crust Ingredients

21/2 cups of Oreo cookie crumbs
6 tablespoon melted butter

Combine butter and crumbs and press into the bottom of a 9 inch spring form pan. Place pan in freezer until ready to add filling

Filling

21/2 cups of heavy whipping cream, whipped
2 packages cream cheese at room temperature (16 oz.)
2/3 cups sugar
pinch of salt
juice from one small lemon
2 tablespoons vanilla bean paste
2 cups of crushed Oreo cookies

3/4 cup Fudge Topping

Crushed Oreo cookies for Garnish

Filling Directions:

Beat heavy whipping cream in a large bowl with electric mixer until just past soft peaks, set aside
In another bowl beat cream cheese, lemon juice, salt, vanilla extract and sugar until smooth and creamy. Do not over beat.
Fold the whipped heavy cream into the cream cheese mixture with a rubber spatula until just mixed. Then add the crushed Oreo cookies, gently fold into mixture.
Pour filling into Oreo cookie crust.
Then pour 1/2 cup fudge topping over the top and place into refrigerator overnight.

Remove from refrigerator, garnish with more crushed Oreo cookies and drizzle with fudge topping!




NOTE: Instead of fudge topping for the version pictured here I used leftover Hershey's chocolate frosting that I thinned down with a tablespoon of light Karo syrup which I then heated in the microwave. It was better than hot fudge sauce!

Also, I made mini-cheese cakes for these photos, the original recipe is for 9 in spring form pan.





Are you a cheesecake fan? Do you like the no-bake version better than the baked? Honestly, I love them both, this is just easier especially during the hectic holidays.

If you have a cheesecake recipe that you would like to share please do, I am always open to trying new things!

Enjoy!



If you would like to try my Chocolate Chocolate Cheesecake Bars, click HERE