Monday, December 26, 2016

Merry Christmas





Merry Christmas! Have a fabulous day! 



Saturday, December 24, 2016

Decadent Spiced Bourbon Hot Chocolate


Tis' the season to be jolly...I don't know about you but with Christmas just a few days away I am feeling a little stressed. I cannot wait until until I have the last of my tasks finished and I can sit down and relax with a drink and a book and wait for Christmas. 




Cup vintage, similar here, similar napkins here).


With the winter chill roaring across the country hot chocolate is going to be my drink of choice for the coming week. I decided to combine a few of mine and my husbands favorite ingredients to make a decadent, spiced and spiked hot chocolate. Cinnamon and chocolate are a perfect combination, add a shot of two of bourbon and I think you have a drink that everyone can enjoy. Obviously if you are serving kids leave out the bourbon. 




Cup vintage, similar here, napkins old, similar here

Decadent Spiced Bourbon Hot Chocolate 


11/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons powdered sugar or to taste
8 oz. 72% chocolate chopped
2 ounces of Bourbon whiskey

Garnish with whipped cream

In a saucepan over medium heat add the cream, milk, cinnamon and powdered sugar, whisk to combine. When bubbles form around the edges turn the heat to low and whisk in the chopped chocolate until melted and incorporated. Add the bourbon and mix to combine. Pour into cups and garnish with whipped cream.






Note: If you are lucky enough to live in an area that Drizly covers you can order your achoo online and have it delivered to your door! They are still growing and have a limited delivery area. Check out their site for more details.





Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Magic Bars or Hello Dolly Bars or 7 Layer Bars


Bar cookies are a favorite of mine because you basically put everything in the pan, bake it and you are finished. This particular bar is known by several names, 7 layer bars, Hello Dolly Bars or even Magic bars. They also happen to be the most Pinned recipe on Pinterest from this blog even after all these years!





I make these Magic Bars or to some Hello Dolly Bars or even 7 Layer bars,all the time! They are my sisters favorite so every time I see her I make a huge batch for her. They are the perfect treat warm with ice cream or completely cooled and served at a Christmas party or in cookie trays. Frankly you could give and entire try of these and I think your recipients would love it!






The recipe I use is adapted from Eagle Brand Milk I am sure there are many others but this is the one I always use. 




Magic Bars


1/2 cup melted butter

11/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs



1 cup of butter scotch chips

11/2 cups of coconut



Heat oven to 350. Melt butter and pour into a 9x13 pan. Mix in graham cracker crumbs. Pour condensed milk over the crumbs and then layer the remaining ingredients evenly. Bake for 25 minutes. Cool and cut!








Variations: You can add walnuts, or a combination of peanut butter chips and chocolate chips, or perhaps a medley of chocolate chips, including white, milk and dark, or perhaps dried cherries or cranberries and white or dark chocolate.






I personally like them the way I made them but I am certainly open to trying new things.






I hope you enjoy your day! If you make these bars and have a great variation, please leave it in the comment section, I would love to try it.

Happy Holidays!


Saturday, December 10, 2016

The Best Chocolate Cheesecake





The holidays are a great time to try new things or to bring out your favorite recipes. I have been making this chocolate cheesecake for years and the reason is because it is the best recipe I have found. This cheesecake is rich and decadent and the perfect dessert to serve at the holidays! 






The Best Chocolate Cheesecake
18 Oreo cookies finely ground
2 tbsp. butter, melted
3 packages, 8oz. each. Philadelphia cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
8 oz semis-sweet chocolate. melted and cooled
3 eggs, room temperature

Preheat oven to 325. Place a 9 x 13 inch baking pan filled with water on the lower shelf. In a small bowl melt butter, then add the cookie crumbs and press into the bottom of a 9 inch spring form pan. Bake 10 minutes then remove from oven to cool. 

Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer until blended and smooth. Then add chocolate and mix well. Add the eggs one at a time, mix on low until just blended. Then pour over the crust. 

Place pan on the shelf above the pan of water. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until the center is almost done. Then turn off oven and open the door an inch. Let cheesecake cool for 1 house and then remove from oven and run a knife around the edge to loosen the cake. Cool completely before removing the rim. Refrigerate for 4 hours or over night. 






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Saturday, December 3, 2016

Dark Chocolate Fudge Frosting


I don't know about you but I have my "go to" cake recipe and my "go to frosting" and I LOVE them both but sometimes I feel like trying something new. So when I discovered this Dark Chocolate Fudge Frosting I couldn't wait to try it. 




This recipe is delicious, it is rich, creamy and tastes just like melted fudge. 

Dark Chocolate Fudge Frosting
Recipe from Go go go Gourmet

12 tablespoons of butter
4.5 ounces of unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped
11/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
11/2 teaspoons vanilla
11/2 lbs. powdered sugar
1/2 cup whole milk

In a microwave safe bowl microwave chocolates and butter together in 30 second increments, stirring after each 30 increment until the mixture is melted and smooth. Stir in vanilla.
Add powdered sugar to the bowl of a stand mixture fitted with a whisk attachment. Then slowly pour the chocolate mixture into the powdered sugar while the mixture is running. 
Add the milk a little at a time, add only as much as it needed to obtain a smooth and spreadable frosting. 




Enjoy!





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Saturday, November 26, 2016

Viennese Hot Chocolate

  • Good morning! The winds of change are swirling here, yesterday it was 74 and today it is 40! Time to settle and and get ready for winter. To me that means comfy blankets, piles of books and magazines and copious amours of hot chocolate. 



This morning I decided to try a little Viennese hot chocolate and I loved it, it takes me back to my time traveling in Vienna. It is rich and delicious and even better, it is so easy to make. 

  • Ingredients

  • 3 cups of low-fat milk
  • 7 oz premium dark chocolate, grated
  • 1 T granulated sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream, chilled
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 T confectioner's sugar

Directions
In a sauce pan, gently heat 1 C of milk with grated chocolate. Simmer over low heat until all chocolate has dissolved. Combine remaining milk and granulated sugar in another saucepan and gently heat, whisking until all sugar has dissolved. Add chocolate mix to sugared milk and continue simmering over low. In a bowl, whisk heavy cream and vanilla together on high slowly adding confectioner's sugar until peaks form. Remove hot chocolate from heat and divide into cups. Place a generous dollop of whipped cream on top of each. Garnish with a pinch of cocoa powder or sprinkle with chocolate shavings and serve.
  • Makes 4-6 servings, depending on mug size.

  • Enjoy!

Monday, October 31, 2016

Pumpkin Patch Chocolate Cupcakes







I love pumpkins and this week I found a pin on Pinterest of the cutest pumpkin cupcakes from Just a Taste so I decided to make my own version. 






My version uses a tried and true favorite chocolate cake from Hershey's and simple white buttercream frosting that I colored orange and then sprinkled with sugar. Add a tootsie roll stem and a curly cue of green frosting and you have the cutest cupcakes. 







Chocolate Cupcakes
Recipe from Hershey's Cocoa

Ingredients

2 cups sugar
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions


Heat oven to 350°F. Line baking pans with paper liners ad set aside. 

Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.





Basic Butter Cream Frosting



3 cups powdered sugar, sifted

1 cup of softened butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1-2 tablespoons heavy cream



Orange food coloring

Green food coloring

Orange sanding sugar

20 tootsie rolls



In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment mix the butter and powder sugar on low until blended, then mix on medium for 2 to 3 minutes until fluffy. Then add vanilla and heavy cream and blend one more minute. Add more cream to get to desired consistency.



Place a small amount of frosting into a small bowl and add green food coloring until the frosting is the color that you want. Spoon into a baggie and set aside. 



Add orange food coloring to the remaining frosting until you get the orange color that you want. If you are combining red and yellow go slow with the colors because otherwise you could end up with a color that you do not like by adding too much of one color. 



Once you have the decided color frost each cupcake with the orange frosting, then sprinkle with the orange sugar. Snip the corner of the baggie of green frosting and make vines on the cupcakes. Stick an unwrapped tootsie roll into the side of the cupcake where you drew the vines. 









Enjoy

Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies from Williams Sonoma

I love chocolate chip cookies, but I like them crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside with a lot of chocolate. These cookies from Williams Sonoma are perfect, exactly like the name of the recipe and exactly the way I like them!  They are slightly crunchy, soft and chocolatly. 





The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie

1 1/4 cups  unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup (1 stick ) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup  firmly packed light brown sugar
6 Tbs. granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350F Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or Silphat baking liner. 
In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt, set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, on medium speed, beat the butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and mix on low speed until blended. Then slowly add the flour mixture and mix just until incorporated. With a wooden spoon stir in the chocolate chips.
Using a small ice cream scoop drop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing the dough mounds 2 inches apart. 
Bake the cookies, 1 sheet at a time, at 350 F until the bottoms and edges are lightly browned about, 10-13 minutes. Cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool completely. 




I love these cookies! I love the raw dough, I love them warm from the oven and even two days later! These just might be the perfect chocolate chip cookie, if not they are pretty close!

I hope that you try them!


Monday, October 17, 2016

Fudgy Cocoa Brownies






If you have read this blog more than once than you know that I am continually on the hunt for the "best" chocolate chip cookies, the most moist, chocolate cake and of course the fudgiest brownies. I think I may have discovered the best brownies I have ever made. These brownies almost never made it into the oven because I ate so much of the batter. 

The brownies are perfect just the way the original recipe from Cafe Delites is made, I just decided to frost them because I had leftover frosting from another project. I love them plain and frosted. 




The Best Fudgy Cocoa Brownies


1/2 cup unsalted butter. melted
1 tablespoon cooking oil
11/8 cup superfine sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions

Preheat oven to 350. Lighly grease an 8in square pan and then line with parchment paper. Set aside. 

Combine melted butter, oil and sugar together in a medium bowl and whish for about a minute. This will give the brownies a nice crust. Then add the eggs, and vanilla and whisk for another minute. 

Add the flour, cocoa powder and salt, stirring just until the ingredients are combined. Do not over beat or you will end up with cake brownies. 

Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 20-25 minutes. If you test for doneness with a toothpick the pick will come out with thick fudge crumbs. The brownies will continue to bake while in the pan cooling. 

Cool to room temperature. 







Enjoy!


Thursday, September 29, 2016

Dulce de Leche Fluff Brownies




Do you like marshmallow fluff, how about dulce de leche? I love them both and when you add them to rich, fudge brownies you have the most delectable dessert that I have had in awhile. I think they would make a fabulous addition to your Fall parties. 






Dulce de Leche Fluff Brownies

1 cup unsalted butter
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chunks, bars or chips
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste
5 eggs
1/3 cup dark cocoa powder
2/3 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 130z can of dulce de leche
1 7 oz. jar of marshmallow fluff






Preheat oven to 350. Prepare a 9 x 13 pan with cooling spray or oil, then set aside. In a medium sauce pan place butter and let it melt a little then add the chocolate. Melt the butter and the chocolate, stirring until smooth. Set aside the chocolate and let is cool for a little bit. Then whisk in the sugar and the vanilla until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time making sure each is incorporated. 

In a medium bowl sift together the salt, cocoa and the flour. Whisk into the chocolate mixture until just combined. 

Bake the brownies for 25-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out almost clean. 

In a microwave safe bowl heat the dulce de leche for 1 minute or until softened. 

Remove brownies from oven and spoon marshmallow cream in dollops over the top then drop dollops of dulce de leche between the marshmallow. Let stand for a few minutes to soften and then swirl with a knife. Cool pan on wire rack.  





Linking to:
Savvy Southern Style

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Ultimate Brownie Muffins




I love muffins but it is so hard to find a good chocolate muffin, you know one that actually tastes like chocolate? While perusing Pinterest I discovered a recipe not only for chocolate muffins but one that is a combination of brownies and a muffin. Does it get any better than that?




Ultimate Brownie Muffins

4 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate coarsely chopped
1/2 cup buter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 tsp. salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar


Preheat oven to 350. Line muffin tin with liners. Set aside. 
In a medium bowl place the chocolate and the butter. Heat for 20 second increments in the microwave until the chocolate and butter are melted, whisk to combine. 
In a small bowl sift the flour, cocoa and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment combine eggs and sugar and beat on high speed until thick and pale, about 4 minutes. 
Reduce the speed to low and add the chocolate.
Stop the mixture and fold in the flour until just mixed, DO not over mix. 
Divide the batter between the lined muffin cups, fill 3/4 full.
Bake 13-16 minutes or until the a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs. Do not over bake or they will be dry.
Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then remove to a wire rack to cool.
Warning: Do not over bake, when in doubt under-bake these muffins.





These muffins are fabulous, they are rich, dense, chocolaty and they have a crunchy, crackly brownie top. To be truthful I had to make them twice because I baked the first ones too long and they were a bit dry. The second batch came out perfect. 

Monday, August 29, 2016

Devils Food Cake with Buttercream Icing

Cakes with lots of frosting are one of my favorite desserts, especially a good chocolate cake. I have several "go to" chocolate cake recipes but I have never made a devils food cake. When I was perusing my cookbooks I came across this recipe from Cooks Illustrated, after all I have never made anything from their books that has not been great. 





This classic cake  is rich, dense, almost like a cross between a brownie and a cake and delicious. 






Devils Food Cake 
Recipe from Cooks Illustrated

Ingredients

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate chopped
1/4 cup dutch processed cocoa powder
11/4 cups boiling water
3/4 cup unbleached flour
3/4 cup plain cake flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
11/2 cups packed dark brown sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350. Prepare 2 9" cake pans with cooking spray and line with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a bowl combine the cocoa powder and the unsweetened chocolate. Pour the boiling water over this mixture and whisk until smooth. Set aside to cool.
In another bowl, sift together the flours, baking soda and salt, set aside. 
Beat the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium until light and fluffy. Then add the brown sugar and beat in hight for 3 minutes until light and fluffy. Scrape the sides of the bowl then add the eggs one at a time on medium speed. Add the sour cream and the vanilla and mix 1 minute. Then add the 1/3 flour mixture, 1/3 chocolate mixture, repeat with 1/3 of each, then again ending with the flour mixture. Beat just to combine, do not over mix. Remove bowl from mixer and scrape the sides to be sure everything is combined. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake for 20-23 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. 
Remove to wire wrack let cool in pan for 15 minutes, then remove from pans and let cool completely. Once cooled frost with your favorite frosting. 


Frosting

4 cups powdered sugar
1 stick softened butter
3-4 tablespoons heavy cream
11/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. almond extract

In the bowl of your mixer, mix all of the ingredients on low until combined then mix on medium/high until light and fluffy. About 5 minutes. You can add more cream to get the spreading consistency that you like. 





Enjoy!


Friday, August 5, 2016

Bailey's Hot Fudge Sauce for the Perfect Sundae

Summer is all about ice cream and cool treats. They are the perfect things to make if you do not want to turn on the oven. When I was a child my favorite thing ever was hot fudge, I would eat it from the jar by the spoonful with or without a little ice-cream.




My grandmother always made us homemade hot fudge to go with the hand churned ice cream that we used to make. Do you remember the ice cream makers with the ice and the salt, the kind that seemed like it too all day to make and crank the handle? 




This Bailey's Hot Fudge sauce is the perfect accompaniment to any ice cream that you make or buy and frankly it tastes delicious right from the jar as well. It is very easy to make, you basically put everything in the sauce pan, stir and eat. Although I do recommend letting it sit for 20-30 minutes. Now, if you do not like alcohol or Bailey's than just omit it from the recipe and you have traditional hot fudge sauce. 





Bailey's Hot Fudge Sauce

2/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup dark cocoa powder
pinch of salt
8 oz. dark chocolate (I use 70-85% dark chocolate bars)
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
4 tablespoons Bailey's Irish Cream

Place heavy cream, corn syrup, brown sugar, cocoa, salt and half of the chocolate in a pan over medium-high heat. Bring mixture to a boil then let simmer for 5 minutes, stirring constantly otherwise the mixture will scotch and burn.

Remove pan from heat and add the rect of the chocolate, the butter, vanilla and the Bailey's. Mix well and then let rest for 20-30 minutes. Pour into jars to store or over ice cream to enjoy immediately. 


Enjoy!


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Fudgy Raspberry Brownies





I am always in search a my new "favorite" brownie, it has to be fudge, moist and most of all chocolaty. Usually I am a purist and like to eat them plain with no chips, chunks, or additions but this time I thought as it was summer and berries are everywhere that I would combine my new favorite brownie and raspberries which happen to be my favorite berry. The deep rich chocolate with the burst of juicy berries is scrumptious.




This recipe could not be easier as you basically make it in one pot and then pour it into the prepared pan. 

Fudgy Raspberry Brownies
Recipe from Belle of the Kitchen

1 cup unsalted butter
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chunks, bars or chips
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste
5 eggs
1/3 cup dark cocoa powder
2/3 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-2 cups fresh or frozen berries

Preheat oven to 350. Prepare a 9 x 13 pan with cooling spray or oil, then set aside. In a medium sauce pan place butter and let it melt a little then add the chocolate. Melt the butter and the chocolate, stirring until smooth. Set aside the chocolate and let is cool for a little bit. Then whish in the sugar and the vanilla until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time making sure each is incorporated. 

In a medium bowl sift together the salt, cocoa and the flour. Whisk into the chocolate mixture until just combined. Gently fold in some of the berries, then pour mixture into pan. Dot the top with the rest of the berries. NOTE, if you use frozen berries the brownies take longer to cook. 

Bake the brownies for 25-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out almost clean. Remove from oven and let cool. For a sharper cut place cooled brownies in the freezer for a few minutes and then cut with sharp knife.





Enjoy!



Wednesday, June 29, 2016

No Bake Turtle Tarts



Just because it's summer does't mean the end to sweet treats, I simply find ways to make things without the oven. I have been making this No bake turtle tart for about 10 years and everyone loves it, especially me because it is so easy and looks great. It is a great addition to the dessert table at any party or bbq.




No Bake Turtle Tart(s)

1/2 cups pecans toasted and chopped
1 chocolate crumb crust either purchased or made homemade
1 bag caramels (34 unwrapped)
1/2 cup evaporated milk
11/2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup heavy cream
3 Tablespoons butter
Garnish, chopped nuts, berries or whipped cream.

Place pecans on the purchase or crust that you made. Then heat the caramels and the evaporated milk over low heat, until melted and smooth. Pour over pecans. Heat cream, chocolate chips and butter in a pan over low heat until melted and smooth. Pour over caramel layer. Refrigerate 4 hours. Top with whipped cream and berries if you wish or just more chopped nuts.

NOTE: The original recipe is for 1 9inch pie. I made one pie and used a little of the ingredients to make these 3 little tarts.




Enjoy.