Posts Tagged ‘chocolate’

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Grover’s velvet moon suede shoes (or, things which are blue)

March 30, 2011

When my friend V turned 40 last spring, she decided to throw a party for a few close friends.  A girls’ night, if you will, composed of a half-dozen women from the different parts of her life.  We had a great time catching up with some old friends, and making a few new ones.  We played games, drank a lot of wine, and everybody brought a dish to share.  I volunteered for the cake (well, these cupcakes, to be exact).  The recipe name sounds intimidating, but they were rather straightforward to make.  The cakes themselves were moist, chocolatey, and delicious.  I was more worried about the frosting.  Seven minute frosting?  What the heck is that?  I was nervous, but it was simply a matter of reading the recipe through, having the ingredients all measured out and lined up before I started, and then following one step at a time.   Read the rest of this entry ?

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fudge, two ways

December 23, 2010

white chocolate peppermint, dark chocolate walnut

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yeah baby I’m done, I’m so done with you

June 13, 2010

I want to clarify that the previously mentioned problems with the chocolate pound cake weren’t with the recipe itself, rather, it seems that I’m allergic to bundt pans.  I got a silicone pan last winter, and have been excited to try it out.  An attempt in March to make a cookies-and-cream pound cake failed miserably when I tried to un-pan the cake, resulting in a quick “oh look, let’s make trifle!” moment.  So this time, when I decided to make chocolate pound cake, I took every precaution I could think of.  Pan greased and floured?  Check.  Put it on a baking sheet so the cake doesn’t buckle when moving it in and out of the oven?  Check.  Waiting for the cake to cool completely before trying to release it from the pan?  Check.

Nope, it still disintegrated into a crumbly mess.  Ok, I’m thinking, maybe it’s the silicone that’s the problem.  I borrowed a regular metal (non-stick!) bundt, and tried again.  Greased, floured, cooled?  Check, check, check.  Beautiful cake sliding effortlessly out of the pain?  No, no, no.  Only the first layer came off.  Not awful, I think, I can just carve it flush with the lip of the pan, and no one will know the difference.

That didn’t work so well, either.  The only way I was able to get the cake to release from the pan was to cut it into quarters and finagle each piece out individually.  Not attractive, to say the least.  I think I’m going to give bundts a rest for a while, before I just pick them both up and hurl them out the window.

The good news is that this recipe is tasty – it’s a great dense, chocolately cake.  I just can’t make it in a bundt.  I’d totally make again, but will opt for loaf pans next time.  For the record, credit for everything but the collapse (because that’s my issue, not hers) goes to C. Roberts, contributor to the Bristol (CT) Little League cookbook, circa dunnowhen.  Mrs. Waters also included two glazes to drizzle over.  Even though I never got to that point (who wants to drizzle glaze over a pile of crumbs?), I’ve included them as well. Read the rest of this entry ?

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serious cookies for serious people, seriously

April 21, 2010

The other day we were hit with a serious chocolate craving.  I’m talking capital “S” Serious.  Chew-your-own-face-off serious.  So serious that serious recipe consideration would be needed.  This wouldn’t be satisfied by any half-assed wannabe somewhat thinking about chocolate recipe.  We needed something overwhelmingly chocolate.  The chocolatelyest chocolate cookie that could be found, no holds barred.

I think the results were successful.  These cookies are deeply, darkly chocolate.  They’re a little crisp around the edges, but have a fudgy, chewy interior.  I used one of my new favorite ingredients, Bensdorp Dutch-Process Cocoa.  Between the Dutch-processing  and the full-fat, it gives it a darker, more chocolate flavor, with a beautiful mouthfeel (you can use regular non-Dutched cocoa, but you’ll lose some of the extreme chocolate flavor). Next, chocolate chunks were added.  If you stole a cookie moments after they came out of the oven (not that we would ever do that), then the chunks were hot pockets of molten chocolate goo.  If you waited until they were fully cooled (of course we did), then you’d chomp into a big nugget of pure chocolate.  I also added toffee pieces to give a little more depth of flavor, and the ones on the bottom of the cookies were a little caramelized and crunchy.  Yum.

Altogether, an exquisite cookie, and just what was needed to chase away the chocolate fiend that had taken up temporary residence.  Another benefit is that since the recipe made so many (5 dozen) we were able to send samples to both workplaces, avoiding potential rioting.  I knew I had a good thing when one of my coworkers, who normally doesn’t praise beyond ‘good cookies, thanks,’ stopped at my desk, and tried to tell me how much she liked them, but wasn’t able to finish her sentences due to the groaning and twitching and eye rolling (all in a good way) that accompanied each bite.  Seriously.  You’ve been warned.   Read the rest of this entry ?

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seasonally incorrect, and I’m okay with that

April 11, 2010

These cookies were born a couple of years back, when I was trying to figure out what to do with the boatload of pumpkin I had put up.  After spending an entire day processing and freezing beautiful Long Island Cheese pumpkins, I wanted to make sure I used every last morsel.  These pumpkins are phenomenal.  I had never heard of them until they were part of our CSA distribution one week, so I asked the farmer what his recommendation was for using them.  He told us that these pumpkins were a heritage variety that were just starting to make a comeback.  Apparently they’re one of the best pumpkins out there for baking.  Yay!  We took our share, and headed home.

Several weeks later, on the day we were planning on processing these pumpkins, in fact, we dropped by our favorite local orchard.  In addition to their amazingly delicious heirloom apples, they also offer local honey, homemade fudge and baked goods, and several varieties of pumpkins (mostly for decoration).  On this particular day, I noticed a wheelbarrow filled with pumpkins, gourds, and squash sitting near the back of the barn.  Some of the pumpkins looked familiar, so I asked if they were Long Island Cheese.  Yes indeed, they were, and did we want them?  They each had one or two tiny soft spots, so they had been heading towards the compost heap.  We could have them for free if we wanted them!  There was no way I could resist that opportunity, so we went from having two pumpkins to six pumpkins in the space of about five minutes.

After all the processing was done, I wanted to make something that would be easy to take back to the orchard, to thank them for their generosity.  Something sweet, but not bread or pie.  An internet search for pumpkin cookies delivered a wide range of recipes, and I pieced together a few of them to make my own.  Something about the combination of the pumpkin and the chocolate chips just sounded very appealing.  And it was, oh yes it was.  These two different kinds of sweet seem to have been made for each other.  Not overly cloying, simply a gorgeous blend of flavors.  The cookies are very moist, kind of puffy fluffy, with a cake-like texture.  The moistness makes them sticky, so I’d suggest separating the layers with parchment paper when you store them.

These cookies have become a bit of a tradition – now every fall they save the unsold pumpkins for us, and a week or so later we bring cookies.  Both households look forward to it, and everyone involved thinks that they are getting the best end of the deal, so it seems to be a win/win situation.  I know for a fact that I enjoy it, as I get a year’s worth of delicious organic pumpkin, in exchange for cookies that I’d have been happy to share anyway. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Worth the wait!

March 1, 2010


Back in December I made cream cheese brownies for a coworker’s birthday, which everyone seemed to enjoy.  Some people liked them even more than others.  The Pregnant Girl ate more than one (I’m not allowed to say exactly how many), and has been hinting that she’d like some more ever since.  When she found out that the February theme was brownies and bars, you can just guess what she asked for.  I knew I wanted to make them again, but I kept putting it off, until suddenly it was the end of the month, and I only had one workday left.  So Thursday night, I went to pull out the recipe that I had used previously………and came up totally empty.  No idea where it went.  Disappeared into thin air.  And of course the fact that I’m amazingly disorganized had absolutely nothing to do with it!

So back to the drawing board.  I needed a good, reliable recipe, since I wouldn’t have time to make a trial version first.  Aha!  Cook’s Illustrated (home of the magazine by the same name, and the America’s Test Kitchen TV show) does all the work for you!  They’ll pick a recipe, research the heck out of it, make a zillion versions while tracking the differences in each, and then come up with one final recipe that is the end-all and be-all for that particular item.  That said, because of this sometimes their recipes can be a bit labor intensive, or take forever, and you just want to make something fast and easy.  But I’ve found time and again that if you’ve got a little bit of extra time, it’s totally worth it.  So I pulled out my Baking Illustrated, turned to page 488, and got to work.

The brownies, they were HEAVENLY.  Rich and fudgy and oh-my-lord-SO-chocolatey.  Slight crackle on the top.  The cream cheese swirl was substantial without being overwhelming, and it tasted like little bites of cheesecake melting in your mouth.  With other marbled desserts, I’ve often found that the swirl will separate from the main item, causing unsightly ravines.  Not so with this brownie – other than one or two isolated spots, the two textures melded perfectly together.  Just amazing.  This is now officially my go-to recipe for cream cheese brownies. No need to look any further, I’m more than happy to take the extra steps (which are easier and faster than reading the recipe may lead you to believe, and totally worth it.).  And The Pregnant Girl?  Well, after she got over being mad at us (because we were as mature as schoolchildren, and hid them from her before she got to taste one – don’t ever do that to a pregnant person, trust me), she loved them too.  And she ate more than one. Read the rest of this entry ?

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World class chocolate

February 20, 2010

I know that traditionally Wednesday night is Prince spaghetti night, but this week in our house, it was Cranky Night.  Yes, the capitalization is needed.  It was that bad.  We were arguing over absolutely nothing at all, and it was getting old fast (Yes moms, everything is fine.  The Olympics have thrown off our sleep schedule, is all).  I decided to see if I brownies would help.  If it worked, excellent.  If not, well then we’d still be Cranky, but we’d also have chocolate.  Win-win!

It was actually a challenge to find a recipe that I had all the ingredients for.  I was running low on lots of things, and there was no way I was leaving the house.  As usual, King Arthur Flour came through for me, with their recipe for Fudge Brownies. They looked delicious and fairly easy, and are rated 4.5 stars.

Don’t be intimidated by the stove top portion of the recipe – the whole thing was actually quite simple and fast.  The hardest part is at the end, waiting for them to cool before cutting and devouring.  I didn’t have quite enough semisweet chips, so I used some dark chocolate chips, as well.  I also noticed that I needed an additional seven minute of cooking time before i was at the ‘moist crumb’ stage in the center.  Other than these two things, I made the recipe exactly as written.

How were they, you ask?  I have discovered my go-to recipe for basic chocolate brownies.  Somewhere between cakey and fudgy, with a shiny crackled top and a deep chocolate flavor, these hit the spot.  We each had a generous sample, reverted back to normal human beings, and then the remainder were devoured by my coworkers the next morning.