Posts Tagged ‘desserts’

My Quest for Nutella Brownies

March 5, 2017

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Everyone who knows me, knows my love of Nutella Brownies. I have posted recipes before but I was not 100% satisfied with the results. The last one I posted had too much sugar and too much cocoa as well as chocolate chips – which were unnecessary. First of all, Nutella contains sugar and cocoa, so I wanted that to be the ingredient that provided those. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t discriminate when it comes to brownies and I happily eat any result, but the last batch was too rich for me.

So I tried another recipe on my quest. I think this is a valiant and noble quest for a woman of my generation. On my journey I looked for a recipe with less sugar, less or no cocoa, and mainly Nutella to satisfy the chocolate/sugar ingredient. I am thinking maybe in the future I will just experiment and make up my own. But for now, I made the following recipe for a pizza night for friends about a month ago. I was very pleased with the results, the brownies were moist and Nutella-rific, not too much sugar or chocolate tasting and the salt was an extra treat. I think that having less flour made them like a rich piece of fudge. I also liked the salt, as I did in my chocolate chip blondie recipe, it adds a nice mix f sweet and salty. So if you are a Nutella junky like me, check out this recipe for a special treat!

Nutella Brownies

Ingredients:

1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 and 1/4 cups Nutella, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
optional: sea salt
Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch or 9-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil or parchment, leaving an overhang on all sides to easily lift the brownies out of the pan when cool. (If using a 9-inch pan, the bake time will be a few minutes less.) Set aside.
With a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed in a large bowl until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Add the brown sugar and beat on high speed for 1-2 minutes until creamed. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl as needed. With the mixer running on low speed, add the eggs and vanilla extract. Beat on medium-high speed until combined, then beat in 1 cup Nutella and salt. Mix until smooth and fluffy. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl as needed. With the mixer running on low speed, add the flour, mixing just until combined. Do not over mix.
Pour the batter into prepared baking pan. Drop teaspoonfuls of the remaining 1/4 cup Nutella on top. Using a knife, swirl the Nutella into the batter. Top with a sprinkle of sea salt.
Bake the brownies for 30-36 minutes. Keep your eye on them and test with a toothpick to determine doneness. If the toothpick comes out with only a couple moist crumbs, the brownies are done. The brownies may take a few minutes longer; all ovens vary. Mine took 28-30 minutes, I always cook brownies less because I like them a bit less done, plus I used a 9-inch pan.
Allow the brownies to cool completely in the pan set on a wire rack. Once cool, lift the foil out of the pan using the overhang on the sides and cut into squares.

The best dessert I ever made

January 29, 2017

 

img_0300I have had this blog for a while so I should comb back through my posts to see if this title is worthy. But I really don’t think I need to, as I think it was the best dessert I have ever made. It was simple to make and it combined my two favorite things, chocolate and marshmallows. My mom and I try to make each other amazing desserts on our birthdays. So yesterday I made her this wonderful treat in honor of her birthday. I started off with one word in mind – chocolate, as this is my mom’s favorite type of treat. I looked for decadent chocolate desserts, but did not come up with anything that seemed just right. So I went to my favorite website for desserts – King Arthur Flour, and I hit a home run when I typed in “chocolate desserts” and found triple treat hot chocolate cake. I know my mom likes chocolate and marshmallow just as much as me, so I knew this would hit the spot.

Triple treat hot chocolate cake was incredibly easy to make, which is rare for a decadent chocolate dessert, and it had ingredients I had in my kitchen. The bottom layer is a melted chocolate sauce – I used 60% cacao Ghirardelli chocolate chips (the only ones I like to buy), which you melt in the microwave with half and half. The middle layer seems to be a very liquid cake batter, but trust me it sets and makes the perfect fluffy cake. The top is made of big marshmallows you add on for the last few minutes, just to soften, and it is the perfect topping. If you like hot chocolate with marshmallows, this dessert embodies that in a bowl. The rich chocolate sauce, moist cake and melted marshmallows sang a happy song in my mouth and my belly. My daughter and husband said it was too rich but for me it had all the elements of a perfect dessert. I think my mom was pretty pleased too as I saw her sneak a few more spoonfuls when she went back through the kitchen. Please excuse the messy picture but I didn’t snap one before we all dug in. It says with the leftovers to nuke them a bit before enjoying, to warm up all the melty layers. So if you have liked the sweat treats I have posted before you have to try this!

Triple Treat Hot Chocolate Cake

Ingredients
BOTTOM
2/3 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup half & half or cream
MIDDLE
1 cup King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup Double-Dutch Dark Cocoa or other Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 teaspoons espresso powder (I used instant coffee powder)
2 1/4 cups water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) butter, melted
TOP
24 full-size marshmallows (I might not have counted these, lol)
Instructions
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9″ round or 8″ square pan (I used a 9.5 inch pie dish). Make sure whichever you use is full-sized — at least 2″ deep.
To make the bottom: Combine the chocolate chips and half & half or cream in a microwave-safe bowl, and heat until the chips are soft and the cream is very hot.
Remove from the microwave, and stir until you’ve made a smooth, dark sauce; just keep stirring, you’ll get there. If any unmelted chips remain, reheat briefly.
Spread the sauce in the bottom of the prepared pan.
To make the middle: In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cocoa, sugar, and espresso powder. If the mixture is lumpy, sift it.
Stir in the water, vanilla, and melted butter.
Gently stir until everything is just combined.
Pour the batter over the sauce in the pan.
Bake the cake for 40 minutes, until the top appears set and the bottom is bubbling (and making the top jiggle).
Remove the cake from the oven, arrange the marshmallows evenly over the surface, and return to the oven for 3 minutes, just to soften the marshmallows.
Remove from the oven, wait 2 minutes, and serve immediately.
This cake is best enjoyed within 30 minutes of baking. For any leftovers, reheat briefly in the microwave.

Pumpkin is all the rage

October 29, 2014

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Since anything with #pumpkin is super cool right now I decided to continue on my fall coffeecake bender. I love when company visits and I have a reason to bake up a special treat. The recipe I found this time intrigued me because it was an accidental success. The blogger messed up on another recipe and ended up with this delicious cinnamon swirl pumpkin coffeecake. It was easy to make and insanely delicious. I would have to say it tasted like a pumpkin pie to me, with a glaze on it. I would probably make this again but for a fall potluck or as a dessert for thanksgiving dinner. It was a fun twist on typical pumpkin pie and did not register as coffeecake to me. Regardless, it was scrumptious and it fulfilled that constant pumpkin time of year craving.

Cinnamon Swirl Pumpkin Coffee Cake
Ingredients
  • 1¾ cups of all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 6 ounces pumpkin puree (about ½ a can)
  • ½ cup milk
Cinnamon Swirl
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter (1/2 a stick of butter), melted
Glaze
  • 1-1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven at 350 degrees F.
  2. With a whisk, mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and pumpkin spice.
  3. In a separate bowl mix the pumpkin, vegetable oil, sugar, egg, milk, and vanilla.
  4. Combine all ingredients and mix together until just combined.
  5. Pour batter into an 8×8 cake pan.
  6. Meanwhile in a small bowl, add melted butter, cinnamon, and sugar for the cinnamon swirl.
  7. Drop spoonfuls of the cinnamon sugar mixture on top of the batter. With a knife, swirl the cinnamon sugar mixture throughout the pumpkin batter.
  8. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for about 25 to 30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  9. Meanwhile, to make the glaze, mix together powdered sugar and a little milk. You may have to add a little more milk to get the right consistency.
  10. When the pumpkin cake has cooled some, drizzle the glaze over the top of the cake.
Prep time:  10 mins
Cook time:  25 mins
Total time:  35 mins
Serves: 12

Making whoopee under the moon

February 8, 2014

moon

Eastern versus western is always an ongoing battle in our world. Whether it is BBQ or burger places, each coast always thinks theirs is the best. I have been lucky enough to live on both coasts which has given me the chance to sample many culinary delights. I am a yankee by birth and proud of it. On the east coast my favorite sweet treat is called a black moon or a moon pie. After living out west for the last few years I have found they are called whoopee pies out here. I always get a strange look when I say I am bringing a black moon to a party in CA. But I know if I was home in New Hampshah and said I had whoopee pies for dessert, I might get a funny look.

However you like to say it, moon pies are a real treat. The moist chocolate cake made into a sandwich with fluff (another thing west coast people usually do not know about) frosting to glue it together; can you think of a better marriage? When I have seen these heavenly little pies at bakeries, they are upwards of $5! You can make them very cheaply and then you don’t have to eat just one. Another fun thing is to make mini “slider” versions or just go for it and make a few large ones, with the same batch of batter and frosting.  This is my mom’s recipe (thanks Mahgee), not sure where she got it, but this is the only time my friends and family get excited for me to break out my moons.

Black Moons (aka whoopie pies, aka moon pies, aka heaven)

Cake Ingredients:

1/2 cup crisco

1 cup sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract

2 cups of all purpose flour (king arthur’s is best)

1 and 1/2 teaspoons of baking soda

1/2 cup dutch cocoa powder

1 cup of milk

1. Beat crisco, egg, sugar and vanilla.

2. Mix dry ingredients and then add to wet alternatively with milk.

3. Drop from cookie or muffin scoop (depending on size you want, can use a spoon) onto ungreased baking pan, can make  around 24 halves

4. Bake at 425 degrees for 9-10 mins, check oven temp and watch those suckers, they burn fast. Mine were done in 8! A few got a bit dark on the underside edge, I used a zester to remove the darker spots, a very handy tool to keep you from throwing away stuff that baked a bit too long in spots.

Cream Filling Ingredients:

1/2 cup crisco

1 cup confectionary sugar

1/2 teaspoon of vanilla

1 cup of marshmallow fluff

Dilute with tiny bit of milk

1. mix crisco, confectionary sugar, vanilla, and fluff in stand mixer. Dilute with teaspoon or more of milk if needed, to get to nice thick spreadable frosting consistency.

Frost one half of moon and stick second half on top. Dust with confectionary sugar from sifter to make a pretty treat.

Makes around 1 dozen whoopie pies, depending on size. I know I am all about natural and I rarely use crisco in my recipes, but I have tried this recipe with butter and it is not the same, so it is ok to break out the crisco once and a while.

The Bunny made me do it!

March 31, 2013

cake

Today the girls have me making this Easter Bunny cake we saw on food network. I decided to make my bunny chocolate so I had to find the perfect chocolate cake recipe (posted below). I have caught a few episodes of the Pioneer Woman and I thought I’d give her cake a go since her recipes look simple and delicious. I will post a pic of the bunny later, but for now, here is the chocolate cake. I halved the recipe since I only need 2 round cakes and it came out perfect!

Ingredients
Cake:
4 sticks butter, plus more for greasing
8 heaping tablespoons cocoa, plus more for dusting
4 cups all-purpose flour
4 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups boiling water
1 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 whole eggs, beaten

Directions
For the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Heavily grease and dust with cocoa four 9-inch round cake pans.

In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar and salt.

In a saucepan, melt the butter. Add the cocoa. Stir together. Add the boiling water, allow the mixture to boil for 30 seconds and then turn off the heat. Pour over the flour mixture and stir lightly to cool.

Combine the buttermilk, baking soda, vanilla and beaten eggs. Stir the buttermilk mixture into the butter/chocolate mixture.

Divide the batter among the prepared cake pans and bake for 20 minutes.

Cool completely before icing. Refrigerate the layers after cooling for best results.