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Posts Tagged ‘Chocolate’

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I love Christmas and all the baking and festivities that make the season so joyful. Every year I imagine all of the wonderful treats I’m going to whip up and regardless of the many baking books and clippings I already have stashed away, a new magazine of Christmas baking is always hard to resist.  This year wasn’t any different as I carried home a new, 100 Best Desserts, Special Edition of Best-Loved Recipes from Taste of Home for 2012.

The funny thing is, that after poring over every single page, the very first recipe I opted to make were these decadent Black Bottom Cupcakes that I actually discovered a couple of years ago and simply cannot resist.

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The first time I discovered them, I was looking for something that my youngest son could take to school.  The idea of cupcakes that didn’t require icing was appealing, given that he and not me, would be transporting them. They turned out to be so easy and delicious that I’ve been making them for the holidays ever since.

Chocolate and cream cheese are a delightful combination and these cupcakes are sure to fill any craving you may have during the holidays for a lush, moist, deep chocolate flavoured cupcake paired with a smooth, creamy cheesecake centre.

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The cupcake is made in two parts, first the creamy cheesecake centre followed by the chocolate cupcake batter. The liners are filled 1/3 full of chocolate batter followed by a generous dollop of cream cheese filling. Before adding the dollop of cream cheese filling, however, add a cup of mini chocolate chips to heighten the chocolate factor and add some extra dimension.

Still warm from the oven, the little bits of chocolate are silky and smooth against the rich cream cheese and the moist, almost gooey chocolate cake. I baked these up in some holiday liners I had on hand to give them a festive touch of Christmas holiday cheer. During the holidays, I’ve also been known to add an extra dollop of cherry pie filling on top of the cream cheese before baking, so that they’re almost like a piece of black forest cake when they come out of the oven.

Either way is equally delicious and always a hit with visitors and family alike.

Served up with a cold glass of milk, a mug of hot cocoa or packaged up with a bright red ribbon for a friend, these tasty cupcakes are a nice addition to the holidays or pretty much any day of the year.

Black Bottom Cupcakes

Cream Cheese Filling

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened

1 egg

1/3 cup sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips

Chocolate Cupcakes

1 cup water

1/3 cup canola oil

1 tablespoon white vinegar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup cocoa

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

Method

1. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, egg, sugar and salt until smooth.  Stir in chocolate chips; set aside.

2. For batter, in a large bowl, combine the water, oil, vinegar and vanilla.  Combine remaining ingredients; add to the liquid mixture and mix well (batter is on the thin side).

3. Fill liners 1/3  full with batter and top with a generous dollop of cream cheese filling.

4. Bake at 350 degree F for 16-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cupcake portion comes out clean.  Cool for 10 minutes before removing to  wire racks to cool completely.

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If you buy bananas, you’ll know that every once in awhile, some will start to start to grow spots and the next thing you know, you need to whip up a batch of something with banana in it.

A while back Jenn, from My Kitchen Addiction, posted a recipe for Chocolate Chip Toffee Banana Muffins. They looked delicious and I loved the idea of making them mini-snack-sized. They baked up fluffy and delicious, and just like she said, they made a lot. I stored most of them in a container in the freezer and took some out every so often as I needed them. It was perfect for those busy days when there wasn’t any time to bake, so I thought I’d share the recipe with you here.

I have to warn you though, they are addictive and pop ever-so easily into your mouth as you walk by.

I hope you enjoy them!

Chocolate Chip Toffee Banana Muffins

Makes about 3 1/2 dozen muffins

Adapted ever so slightly from My Kitchen Addiction

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups mashed banana
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup hot water
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1 cup toffee bits, (optional)

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line muffin pans with paper cups (or lightly grease), and set aside.

2. Combine the softened butter, sugar, and brown sugar in a large mixing bowl.  Beat on medium speed to cream the butter and sugars until the mixture is light and fluffy.  Gradually add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition until well incorporated.  Stir in the mashed banana.

3. Meanwhile, in a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the white whole wheat flour, whole wheat pastry flour, baking soda, and salt.  Gradually add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture alternately with the hot water, starting and ending with the dry mixture.  Stir just enough to moisten all of the dry ingredients.

4. Add the mini chocolate chips and toffee bits, and fold them into the batter.  Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin pans (approximately 1/4 cup of batter for each muffin).  Bake the muffins for approximately 20 – 22 minutes.  Let the muffins cool in the pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Notes:

If you can’t find whole wheat pastry flour, you can make it, by using regular whole wheat flour, removing 2 tablespoons per cup and replacing it with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch and whisking thoroughly.

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There’s a page in my cookbook that’s tattered and torn, grease stained and smeared with chocolate.  There are notes and exclamation marks in the margins, a few things crossed out here and there and some new additions penciled in.  It’s the most worn out page in my “Best Recipes This Side of Heaven” Home-Tested Recipes from Anglican Church Ladies, cookbook.  The cookbook itself is in poor condition.  The pages are dog-eared and stained, the back cover is ripped in half, the front cover is worn, creased and faded and little sticky tabs pop out on every side.  It was given to me by my husband’s aunt Mary in 1989, and reminds me fondly of her. For many years it was my most thumbed-through cookbook and as a new mom, helped me get a tasty, if not well-balanced meal on the table.  Never underestimate the culinary power of a home-tested church-lady recipe.  It can bring you fame, if only at your own kitchen table.

There must be a gazillion brownie recipes of various methods and ingredients and everyone seems to have their own personal favourite.  Brownies are like perfume or cologne ~ you have to find the one that suits you.  I’ve found one that suits me … perfectly. The surprising thing is, that it isn’t the one that’s all smeared and stained in my Anglican church ladies cookbook.  It’s new.

But these brownies, are officially my new:

sit-on-the-counter –

I-love-you –

I-have-to-have-chocolate –

let-me-comfort-you –

the-world-is-a-wonderful-place –

 brownies

Do you want to know a secret about this recipe?  It’s been directly above the one I’ve been using for the last 25 years.  Sitting there all the time.

The one I’d never tried and it took all these years to find. 

And do you know what my kids said when I asked them how they compared to the ones I had made them for the last quarter century.

“Oh, yeah, these are way better! 

There’s something about brownies that make everything better and these brownies are no exception.  Fudgy, moist and full of satisfying chocolate flavour, they rival my oldest tried and true go-to-brownie recipe.

Wonderful Brownies

2 cups sugar

1 cup vegetable oil

4 large eggs

 1-1/2 cups flour

10 tablespoons cocoa

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons vanilla

milk chocolate/semi-sweet chocolate chips or slivered almonds, optional, to sprinkle on top

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray a 9″ x 13″ pan with cooking spray and set aside.

2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla.  In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until incorporated.  Pour into your prepared pan and spread evenly.  Sprinkle with optional chocolate chips and/or nuts.  Bake for 25 minutes.  Remove pan to a rack to cool completely. Cut into squares and serve.

Source:  Best Recipes This Side of Heaven, St. Andrew’s church lady in Sidney, B.C.

 

 

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I stumbled upon these cookies, quite by accident.  I was all set to make Ooey,

Gooey, Chewy, S’more Bars until I discovered that I was out of graham cracker

crumbs.  All I had were oreo cookie crumbs.  Hhhm. After a second look at the

ingredient list, I couldn’t see any reason why they wouldn’t work

with oreo cookie crumbs instead of graham cracker crumbs.  Maybe they

would make chocolate S’mores. Sounded good to me and good they

were.  Everyone went crazy for them!  My family downed these magical treats

faster than you can say chocolate S’more bars. They are exactly like the name

implies … they’re ooey, they’re gooey, they’re chewy, they’re chocolate S’more

bars and they’re really delicious. 

With the snow starting to fly here in Ontario, we’re always looking for heart

warming foods to serve our friends and families. Served slightly warm and

gooey, with steaming cups of hot chocolate, these bars can really warm things

up after a game of sport.   Whether it’s hockey, tobogganing, ice skating or a

giant family snowball fight, take the mitts off this winter and serve up a batch

of these satisfying bars.  You’ll be amazed at just how fast they’ll disappear. 

Ooey, Gooey, Chocolate S’more Bars

Prep:  25 minutes

Oven:  350° F

Bake:  35 minutes

Ingredients

3/4 cup (175 ml) butter, softened

1/2 cup (125 ml) packed brown sugar

2 eggs

2 tsp. (10 ml) vanilla

 1 cup (250 ml) all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups (375 ml) quick cook rolled oats

1 cup (250 ml) oreo cookie crumbs

2 1/2 (625 ml) cups tiny marshmallows

1 /2 cup (125 ml) milk chocolate chunks for baking

1/2 cup (125 ml) good white chocolate chunks for baking

Method

Preheat oven to 350 ° F ( 180°C). 

Line a 13x9x2-inch baking pan with foil, extending foil over the pan edges.  If

you’re having trouble getting the aluminum foil to line a pan smoothly you can

try flipping the pan over and shaping the foil around the outside of the pan,

extending it about 1 inch past all the edges.  Remove the oil, flip the pan

upright, and pop the foil lining in the pan.

Grease foil well, paying careful attention to the corners and set aside. 

In a large bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 2 minutes. 

Beat in brown sugar until combined, scraping the bowl occasionally. 

Beat in eggs and vanilla until combined. 

Beat in flour. Stir in oats and oreo cookie crumbs.

Reserve 1 cup (250 ml) of the oat mixture.  Spread remaining oat mixture into

prepared pan.

TIP Use the back of a large spoon dipped in hot water to spread the oat

mixture in the pan.  It’s near impossible to spread any other way.

Bake in the preheated oven about 15 minutes or until lightly browned. 

Sprinkle marshmallows evenly over the warm crust.  Top with chocolate

chunks. 

Dot remaining oat mixture over chocolate and marshmallows. Bake bars

about 20 minutes more or until top is lightly browned. Cool completely in pan

on a wire rack.  Using the edges of the foil, lift the uncut bars out of the pan. 

Carefully peel back the foil while the cookies are still warm.  

Cut into bars.  We cut 12 supersized bars ~ but you can also get 24 regular

sized bars. Delicious!

Place bars in an airtight container; cover.  Store at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Magazine of Christmas Cookies December 2009.

Be sure to let me know if you give these a try. I’d love to hear from you.

This Sweet Wife

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