Posts Tagged ‘Chocolate’


Today is the reveal day for the Surprise Recipe Swap. Each month, Jutta from Hungry Little Girl, assigns a blog to each participant. We are to choose a recipe from their blog and then we all post on the same day! This month, I was given Carol, from No Reason Needed.

While Carol has a great deal of tempting recipes on her blog (like this one, this one, and this one), I decided on her Toffee Bits Triangles. However, I changed the name on mine to blondies, as I just cut mine into bars! These were very good and so quick to put together!

Toffee Blondies

Toffee Blondies
Recipe by No Reason Needed via The Orchard

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups flour
1 package Heath toffee bits, divided
1 package mini chocolate chips, divided

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 13 x 9 inch pan with aluminum foil and spray the foil with cooking spray. Set the pan aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar. Add in the vanilla extract and egg. Stir in the salt and flour. Add in 1/2 cup of the toffee bits and 1/2 cup of the mini chocolate chips into the batter and stir until just combined. Spoon the batter into the prepared baking pan, spreading evenly. Bake in a preheated oven for 24-28 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the pan from the oven and immediately sprinkle on the remaining chocolate chips. Let rest for 3 to 5 minutes, or until all the chips look shiny, then using a spoon or spatula, spread the chocolate evenly over the top. Sprinkle with the remaining toffee bits. Cool completely before cutting into bars. Enjoy!

Toffee Blondies
Made with love, not calories!
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Pretzels and caramel…what a great combination!

They are the ingredients for this months Behind the Curtain dessert challenge! As soon as I saw the ingredients, I knew what I wanted to make…homemade Take 5 candy bars! Layers of pretzels, peanut butter, caramel, and peanuts, all covered in chocolate. YUM!

I ended up making 2 batches of these, as I wasn’t completely happy with the first batch- the peanuts didn’t stick to the caramel. I knew what I did wrong right away (I let the caramel cool too much), so it was an easy fix. The funny thing is that the first batch was gone before I made the second batch (5 days later)! Yeah, they are that good (even without the peanuts!). I have a feeling the second batch won’t last much longer!

Homemade Take 5 Candy Bars

Homemade Take 5 Candy Bars

Mini pretzels (I needed 77 + a few broken pieces)

Peanut Butter Layer:
2 cups creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Caramel Layer:
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1 cup heavy cream (also called whipping cream)
5 oz (just shy of 2/3 cup) sweetened condensed milk
1 cup salted peanuts, finely chopped

Milk chocolate for dipping

Line an 10 x 15 inch cookie sheet with aluminum foil and spray lightly with cooking spray. Set aside.

To make the peanut butter layer:
In a microwave-safe bowl, mix together the peanut butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. Stir until all the powdered sugar has been incorporated. Microwave for 20 seconds on high, then stir. Repeat this again. Spread the mixture evenly on the aluminum foil of your prepared pan. Place your pretzels onto the peanut butter mixture, leaving a very small space between each one (enough for a knife to go through). Note: Mine was 7 pretzels across and 11 pretzels down. This left me with a space along the bottom that wasn’t wide enough for another row of pretzels, so I filled it with broken pretzels. Place the tray in the freezer while you are making the caramel layer.

To make the caramel layer:
In a large saucepan, combine all the ingredients except for the peanuts. Place this over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring continuously. Boil (continue stirring- the caramel will burn if you stop stirring) until the mixture reaches 236 degrees. Remove from the heat and stir until it stops bubbling. Add in the chopped peanuts. Set aside for a moment.
Remove the cookie sheet from the freezer. Carefully flip the peanut butter layer onto a cutting board (or another large cookie sheet). Peel off the aluminum foil and place it back onto the original cookie sheet. Your peanut butter layer should now be facing up. Transfer this onto the aluminum foil (if it breaks, that’s ok, just press it back together).* Pour the caramel layer over the peanut butter in an even layer. Note: I only used 3/4 of the caramel and poured the rest into a greased ramekin.** Set the cookie sheet aside to cool completely (about an hour).

After an hour, place the cookie sheet in the refrigerator for an hour.

To finish the candy bars:
Line a cookie sheet with wax paper. Set aside. Melt the milk chocolate according to your favorite melting method. Remove the candy from the refrigerator and flip it out onto a cutting board. Remove the aluminum foil. Cut the candy, following the spaces between the pretzels, making 11 rows. Then cut after every 2nd pretzel (see picture below). Flip the candy over (this is the last time, I promise!), and using a fork, dip each piece into the melted chocolate. Let the excess drip off for a second, then place it onto the wax paper lined cookie sheet. Repeat until all the candy has been dipped (or you run out of room on the cookie sheet). Refrigerate for 5-10 minutes, or until the chocolate has set. Peel the candy off the wax paper, and if needed, finish dipping the rest of the candy. Enjoy!

*The process I just described- I am having you invert the candy. I did this as the peanut butter mixture is a little too thick to spread it on top of the pretzels (and to keep the pretzels in nice, neat rows).
**I only used 3/4 of the caramel in order to keep all the layers even in thickness. If you like more caramel, go ahead and use all of it for your candy bars.

Homemade Take 5 Candy Bars

Homemade Take 5 Candy Bars

This is showing the peanut butter/pretzel layer inverted. Now it’s ready for the caramel.

Homemade Take 5 Candy Bars

Made with love, not calories!

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I’m linked at: Frugal Girls, Craftionary, The Busy B Hive, Semi Homemade Mom, Hungry Little Girl, Cornerstone Confessions, Dysfunction Junction, My Turn For Us.

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Ruth from Makey-Cakey was our March 2013 Daring Bakers’ challenge host. She encouraged us all to get experimental in the kitchen and sneak some hidden veggies into our baking, with surprising and delicious results!

For anyone who doesn’t know, I don’t like vegetables. Ok, so maybe a couple- but not very many. I can remember many nights when I was younger, still sitting at the dinner table while everyone else had finished, staring at my vegetables. Luckily we had a dog! Fluffy (our shih-tzu) would sit by my feet (she was no dummy!), and I would have a conversation with her while I fed her my vegetables. Yup, I talked to the dog. I had too- she was a noisy eater!

Nowadays, I am trying to make an effort to eat more vegetables. It’s a slow process though. So when I found out what the challenge was for this month, I was hesitant, but game. My first thought was to use beets, but my local store didn’t have any (I didn’t want to use the canned ones). However, they did have avocados. So that’s what I went with. I made 2 recipes. Chocolate avocado brownies (which I’m sharing with you today) and chocolate avocado cookies (grain-free), which I will share with you soon. I really liked the brownies. They are moist and right in the middle of fudgy and cakey. I couldn’t taste the avocado- which to be honest was my goal!

Chocolate Avocado Brownies

One Year Ago: Dutch Crunch Rolls and Corn Muffins

Chocolate Avocado Brownies

1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 avocado
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/3 cup flour
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line an 8×8 inch pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray. Set aside.

In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the chocolate chips and heavy cream. Microwave on high, for 30 second intervals, stirring after each one until the chocolate is melted and smooth.

In a food processor, add the avocado, egg, and egg yolk. Process until smooth (you may have to stop and scrape down the sides once). Add in the sugar, salt, baking soda, cocoa powder, and vanilla bean paste. Process until smooth. Add in the melted chocolate and process until incorporated. Add in the flour and pulse until combined. The batter will be thick, so spoon it evenly into the prepared pan. Smooth the top with the back of the spoon. Bake it in a preheated oven for 28-32 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center is clean. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Enjoy!

Chocolate Avocado Brownies

Made with love, not calories!

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Now that we can no longer get Hostess products, I decided to try and make my own. Well, it’s either that or buy the brand/recipes (and that’s a little out of my price-range!!).  Making my own was easy, and much cheaper! :)

I lightly adapted a cake recipe from King Arthur Flour, then made a filling and a chocolate glaze. I did cheat a little- I used the filling for the swirl that adorns the tops of the cupcakes (instead of making another glaze). The cupcakes have a nice chocolate flavor, while the filling has a hint of marshmallow, without being gooey. Of course you have to have a chocolate glaze, because more chocolate is a good thing!

While I know Valentine’s Day has come and gone already, I did decorate one cupcake differently, because every day should be Valentine’s Day! Ok, sorry- that’s pretty cheesy! Seriously! These were made for February’s Improv Challenge! Our “ingredients” were Hearts and Flour. Our recipe had to be heart shaped, or on a heart plate, and include any type of flour.

Homemade Hostess Cupcakes/Bake, Run, Live

One Year Ago: Coconut Filled Brownie Cookies

Homemade Hostess Cupcakes
Cupcake recipe lightly adapted from King Arthur Flour
Makes 24 cupcakes

2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
2  tablespoons cornstarch
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1 1/4 cups coffee, room temperature

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
3 1/2 oz. marshmallow fluff
1 /4 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1 cup powdered sugar

3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup heavy cream

To make the cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 muffins pans with 24 liners. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Add in the eggs, oil, and vanilla bean paste and stir to combine. Slowly add in the coffee, whisking until the mixture is smooth. Using a large ice  cream scoop, divide the batter evenly between the muffin liners. Bake in a preheated oven for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the muffins from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes remove the muffins from the pan and place onto cooling racks to cool completely.

To make the filling:
In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, cream together the butter and marshmallow fluff. Add in the vanilla bean paste then slowly add in the powdered sugar. Mix on medium speed for 1 minute. Stop the mixer and spoon the filling into a pastry bag that has been fitted with a round pastry tip (I used a #6 tip), and set aside.

To make the glaze:
In a microwave safe container, combine the chocolate chips and heavy cream. Microwave on high for 30 second intervals, stirring after each one until the mixture is smooth (you can use a whisk once the chocolate starts to melt).

To assemble the cupcakes:
Take the filling and place the pastry tip through the center of the cupcake, stopping halfway down. Squeeze the filling into the cupcake, slowly drawing upwards and out of the cupcake (I used a count of 5 to stay consistent with how much filling I was adding to each cupcake). Repeat with the remaining cupcakes.
Once all the cupcakes have been filled, it’s time for the glaze. Dip each cupcake (by holding the bottom) into the glaze. Rotate it around to make sure the glaze covers the entire top of the cupcake. Let the excess drip off for a couple of seconds, then place the cupcake onto a cookie sheet. Once all the cupcakes have been dipped, place the cookie sheet into the refrigerator for 10 minutes to let the glaze set.
After 10 minutes, remove the cupcakes from the refrigerator and using your pastry bag again, pipe on the swirls. This is done by making a cursive letter e, continuously across the cupcake. Of course, you can always pipe on your own design too!! Once the design has been added, the cupcakes are done! Enjoy!

Homemade Hostess Cupcakes/Bake, Run, Live

Made with love, not calories!

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I made these delicious German chocolate sandwich cookies for a guest post over at Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker!

German Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

About a month ago, Kristen sent a shout-out to fellow bloggers. She wanted to post chocolate recipes everyday for the month of February and she was looking for guest posters. Chocolate? Sign me up!!

For this cookie, I used a simple chocolate sugar cookie dough, then made a yummy coconut and pecan filling. I made them into sandwiches then drizzled semi-sweet chocolate over them. They are so good!

For the recipe, please join me over at Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker! Oh and make sure you check out all the posts on Kristen’s blog this month.

I’m linked at: Tumbleweed Contessa

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With today being Valentine’s Day, I wanted to show my love for all of you, so I baked! I made you a chocolate cherry quick bread.

Yup, that’s right- chocolate! Valentine’s Day just wouldn’t be complete without chocolate.

So many quick breads are made using bananas, but I wanted to try something different. I had a can of cherry pie filling in my pantry (still trying to clean it out!), and I wondered if I could use that in place of bananas. It worked really well. I pureed some of the pie filling, so you have the flavor throughout the bread. Then I added more of the pie filling into the finished batter for additional cherry goodness. This would be wonderful as a dessert or for breakfast! Hey, it’s Valentine’s Day. That means chocolate is allowed at every meal!!

Chocolate Cherry Quick Bread/Bake, Run Live

Chocolate Cherry Quick Bread

 1- 21 oz. can cherry pie filling, divided
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup cocoa, sifted
1 3/4 cup flour
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a loaf pan with aluminum foil, then spray with cooking spray. Set aside.

Place 1 cup of pie filling into a food processor and puree until you have small pieces (you don’t want it completely smooth). Pour into a large mixing bowl and add the vegetable oil and eggs. Whisk to combine. Whisk in the sugar, salt, and baking powder. Slowly whisk in the cocoa powder (I say carefully because the dust from the cocoa powder always bothers me. I love chocolate, but I don’t enjoy inhaling cocoa powder dust!). At this point, change to a spoon and stir in the flour. Add in the chocolate chips, then carefully stir in 1/2 cup cherry pie filling. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake in a preheated oven for 65-70 minutes, or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool for 20 minutes before removing it from the pan. Serve warm or cool completely. Enjoy!

Chocolate Cherry Quick Bread/Bake, Run Live

I’m linked at: Lady Behind the Curtain

Made with love, not calories!

Lady Behind the Curtain Dessert Challenge

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Chocolate Truffles

What kind of dessert do you think is romantic? Dark chocolate cake? Strawberry mousse? Banana’s Foster?

For me, I think chocolate truffles are romantic. A small bite of intense flavor that just melts in your mouth. They make me want to savor each little bite. I’m not sure why I feel that they are romantic. It’s not like I have ever received truffles as a gift, so there is no romantic memory associated with them. To me, there is just something special about them (and I would love to receive some as a gift- I just don’t think I could share!).

Chocolate Truffles/ Bake, Run, Live

One Year Ago: Apple Spice Whoopie Pies

Chocolate Truffles

3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (I use Nestle)
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 pound melting chocolate (I used milk chocolate- dark or white would work also)

In a medium-sized microwave-safe bowl, combine the chocolate chips and heavy cream. Microwave for 30 second intervals, stirring each time, until the chocolate is melted. Note: You might need to switch to a whisk in order to get the chocolate and cream to mix together. Once the mixture is smooth, let cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate till firm (this will take a few hours).

Once the truffle mixture is firm, remove it from the refrigerator. Using a small ice cream scoop, scoop out the truffles and place them on a cookie sheet that has been covered with wax paper. Roll each truffle until it is a ball (they don’t have to be perfect) and place back on the cookie sheet. Note: if the truffles get too soft, place them in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes.

Once all the truffles have been rolled, place the cookie sheet in the freezer while you melt the chocolate. Melt your chocolate according to your favorite method (I like using the microwave). Using a round dipping tool or a spoon, dip each truffle and place back onto the wax paper. Once all the truffles have been dipped, put them in the refrigerator just until the chocolate has set (usually 5 to 10 minutes). Remove them from the refrigerator and enjoy!

Note: I leave my finished truffles at room temperature because I like a softer interior.

Chocolate Truffles/ Bake, Run, Live

I’m linked at: Create with Joy, Cornerstone Confessions, Nutmeg Place, Craftionary, The Frugal Girls.

Made with love, not calories!

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Last month I made candied orange peels for the first time, and I used some of them in my Orange Chocolate Panettone. The rest of the orange peels, I dipped in dark chocolate (you know, because everything tastes better with chocolate!).

I mentioned the other day that I am trying to clean out my pantry by using up “left-over” ingredients. I knew I wasn’t going to eat the chocolate dipped candied orange peels any time soon, so I decided to chop them up and add them to cookies.

These cookies are delicious! I really liked the chewy texture of the candied orange peels, and it’s the right amount of chocolate! If you are feeling adventurous, I highly recommend making your own candied orange peel (the recipe can be found here). It is a little time-consuming, but it is well worth it (you can purchase it on-line also).

037 Oatmeal Chocolate Candied Orange Peel Cookies

Oatmeal Chocolate Candied Orange Peel Cookies

6 tablespoons butter, softened
4 tablespoons shortening
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cups quick oats
1 2/3 cup finely chopped, chocolate covered candied orange peel*

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, shortening, and the sugars. Stir in the egg and vanilla and mix well. Add in the baking soda, salt, and flour, then stir until combined. Add in the oats and chocolate candied orange peel.

Using a medium-sized ice cream scoop, scoop out the dough and place onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Leave 2 inches between each cookie. Bake in a preheated oven for 10-11 minutes, or until the cookies are a light golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, move the cookies onto cooling racks and cool completely. Enjoy!

*Note: If you purchase the candied orange peel and it isn’t dipped in chocolate, add 1 cup finely chopped candied orange peel and 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips.

Oatmeal Chocolate Candied Orange Peel Cookies

I’m linked at: Nutmeg Place, Cornerstone Confessions, Lady Behind the Curtain, Whimsy Wednesdays, Cheerios and Lattes.

Made with love, not calories!

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I would like to tell you that this is a “good for you” dessert, but as soon as you take a bite, you will never believe me!

Chocolate Cake!!

Not just any chocolate cake, though! This one contains no flour and is made with pure maple syrup instead of sugar. And of course it’s loaded with chocolate! While this cake is only about 1 inch high, don’t let that fool you. This is like eating a chocolate truffle- smooth, creamy, and oh, so rich. Small slices are advised! I served mine with a little salted caramel sauce and 2 small scoops of homemade vanilla ice cream. If you want to serve this for Valentine’s Day, a little strawberry or raspberry puree drizzled on the plate would be delicious (and festive)!

Flourless Chocolate Cake/ Bake, Run, Live

One Year Ago: Krave Puppy Chow

Flourless Chocolate Cake
Recipe lightly adapted from About.com

2 oz. unsweetened chocolate
4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
2/3 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
3 eggs
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8 inch springform pan with cooking spray. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper, then spray the paper with cooking spray. Set aside.

In a medium-sized saucepan, add the unsweetened chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate, and butter and melt over medium heat. Add in the maple syrup and sea salt and stir until well combined.  Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the eggs, one at a time. Continue to whisk until the eggs are completely incorporated and the mixture is smooth. Using a sieve, sift the cocoa into the batter. Whisk until all the cocoa has been well combined, then stir in the vanilla bean paste.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until the center of the cake is just firm to the touch (the top of the cake will still be shiny). Do not overbake. Remove the cake from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, run a knife along the edge of the pan, then after releasing the springform clasp remove the edge and invert the cake onto a serving plate. Remember to remove the parchment paper if it sticks to the cake. Let cool completely. Serve as desired. Enjoy!

Flourless Chocolate Cake/ Bake, Run, Live

I’m linked at: Nutmeg Place, Cornerstone Confessions, Addicted to Recipes, Food Done Light, Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free, Taste and Tell, and Buns In My Oven.

Made with love, not calories!

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The December 2012 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by the talented Marcellina of Marcellina in Cucina. Marcellina challenged us to create our own custom Panettone, a traditional Italian holiday bread!

Chocolate and Orange Panettone

“Panettone is a type of sweet bread loaf originally from Milan (in Milanese it is called “paneton” Milanese dialect (pronunciation IPA: /paneˈtuŋ/)),[2] usually prepared and enjoyed for Christmas and New Year in Italy,southeastern FranceBrazilPeruMaltaGermany and Switzerland, and is one of the symbols of the city of Milan. In South America, especially in BrazilArgentinaUruguayVenezuelaColombiaPeru and Chile, it is a Christmas dinner staple and in some places replaces roscón de reyes/bolo rei (King cake).” (Source)

What a fun challenge to end the year! Despite my best intentions to complete the challenge earlier in the month, I procrastinated and just finished making my panettone a few days ago (though I made the candied orange peel a few weeks ago- that counts for something, right?!).    However, I’m going to say that it ended up being perfect timing, as I was able to share some of it with Nick’s parents on Christmas Eve, and wth my parents on Christmas morning.

If you have a baking to-do list like I do (it’s currently 107 items long!), and panettone is on that list, I highly recommend the recipe that Marcellina gave us to use. I used the panettone recipe and the recipe for candied orange peel. Both recipes are easy to follow, however, I will say that both recipes take time. This just means that you need to plan a little more when making them! Marcellina let us choose our own “add-ins” for the panettone, so I went with candied orange peel (yup, already mentioned that!) and 70% dark chocolate. If you visit Daring Bakers‘, you will see what the rest of the participants used to flavor their panettone!

For the recipes, please visit the Daring Bakers’ link, as Marcellina has some really great detailed information (and pictures). For the panettone papers, I found mine on Amazon, as my local cake/candy store doesn’t carry them.

Chocolate and Orange Panettone

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