Chocolate · Dessert · Recipes

Jaime’s delicious vegan chocolate chip cookies

Jaime brought these in to work yesterday.  Vegan chocolate chip cookies?  Vegan???  Seriously?  They shouldn’t be so good, but they are!  They’re delicious!!!   Jaime’s boyfriend is vegan and a junk food lover.  He always begs her to make these for him.  Now I know why.  She found the recipe on the Choose Veg website.

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 2 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup Earth Balance, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • egg replacer for 2 eggs, such as ENER-G
  • 12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 375°.  Combine dry ingredients in a small bowl.  Cream butter, sugars and vanilla in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, or mix by hand in a bowl with a wooden spoon.  Add egg replacer, beating well after each addition, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl to incorporate.  Add flour mixture and combine.  Stir in chocolate chips.

Drop by rounded tablespoon onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.  Let stand for 2 minutes, transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Thank you Jaime!

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Chocolate · Dessert · Recipes

Dried Cranberry and White Chocolate Biscotti

These are a great holiday treat.  I found this recipe on Epicurious years ago.  They are extra festive with the drizzle of white chocolate.  I bake them a little longer than the original recipe requires as I like the brown butter taste.

Dried Cranberry and White Chocolate Biscotti

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
  • 1 egg white
  • 6 ounces good quality white chocolate (I like Lindt)

Preheat oven to 350º.

Whisk dry ingredients in a medium bowl to combine.

In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, cream butter and sugar together.  Add 2 eggs and almond extract and mix until well blended.

Mix in flour and cranberries.

Divide dough in half.

Shape 2 logs, approximately 2 1/2″ wide x 9 1/2″ long on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Whisk egg whites until foamy.  Brush logs with egg whites.  Bake for 35 minutes.

Cool completely on a wire rack.    Discard parchment paper.

Using a serrated knife, cut logs into 1/2″ slices.

Arrange cut side down on the same baking sheet.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Turn biscotti over and bake for another 10 minutes.  Cool completely.

Melt white chocolate over very low heat and drizzle over biscotti.

I bet Vanessa would like these!  Isn’t she a doll?

Cakes and Cupcakes · Chocolate · Dessert · Recipes

s’mores peppermint and ganache ice cream cake

This is a Christmas Eve tradition.  Tommy and William are expecting it again this year, so who am I to dissapoint?  I made this for our party last night….yummy deliciousness.  Dreyer’s makes the peppermint ice cream as a seasonal treat, so get it while it’s hot!

S’mores Peppermint and Ganache Ice Cream Cake

  • 9 ounces chocolate wafer cookies
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 quarts peppermint ice cream
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1/2 cups light corn syrup
  • 9 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • 7 ounces jar marshmallow cream
  • 2 cups mini marshmallows

Make the crust: Crush wafer cookies in a food processor (or in a plastic bag with a rolling pin, or a wine bottle).    Add melted butter.

Dump the mixture into a spring form pan.  Press to the bottom and sides with the back of a large spoon.  Place in the freezer.

Remove ice cream from the freezer to soften.

Make the ganache:  Chop the chocolate into small pieces.  Bring the cream and corn syrup to a boil in a small sauce pan.

Pour hot cream mixture over chocolate and let stand for 1 minute. Mix to combine.

Add a third of the chocolate to the chocolate crust, swirl the pan to distrubute the ganache evenly.  Return the the freezer.

Add half of the ice cream to the spring form pan.  Return to the freezer to harden.  Add a third of the ganache, rotating the pan to spread evenly.  Return to the the freezr.  Add the last of the ice cream, and return to the freezer.

Add the last of the ganache, spread evenly with an offset spatula.  Cover with foil and freeze.

When ready to serve, remove from the freezer and spread the marshmallow cream evenly over the top to cover.   Add marshamallows.  Torch until lightly browned.

Blow, Tawny. Blow!!!!!!!!!

And there you have it.

Santa Molly, she’s a sweetheart.

Chocolate · Dessert

Veronica’s fabulous truffles

Veronica’s been busy in the kitchen.  Check out her fabulous truffles.  I asked her for the recipe and this is what she gave me:

Veronica’s fabulous chocolate truffles

The truffles are by eying..
I started with Scharffenberger dark chocolate…(big bar- 9.7 ounce) (It was too dark for my liking so I added a small scharffen berger semi-sweet (3 ounce)…  then I added 2 Tablespoons of butter….   swirled it about….  and added in about 1 cup of cream…  maybe a little more…  watching for the consistency I like and color…  I used a whisk..
Refrigerated that until firm enough to work with…  rolled into balls, refrigerated again…  then I dipped in Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate darker than their usual… with 3 Tablespoons of butter…  I do my own style of tempering the chocolate..

A lot of work and people here are eating them up!  (Joey, Mike, Michele, Grace and Papa Joe)  Mike dipped his in the caramel (I left some in a bowl)

Cakes and Cupcakes · Chocolate · Dessert · Recipes

Goodbye Corey!

Sadly our little Corey at work is leaving us and moving on to bigger and better things:)  As his last request before heading off to NYC he’s chosen a Mexican themed department breakfast.  We will miss you my shark obsessed friend!

I’m brought these mini boozy bundt cakes.  Not exactly breakfast fare, but who doesn’t love a boozy bundt cake anytime of the day?  I have yet to meet you, if you’re out there.

Mini Mexican Chocolate Bundt Cakes

  • 1 box Duncan Hines devils food cake mix
  • 1 box chocolate pudding mix
  • 8 ounces sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon (a little Mexican twist)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup corn oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 12 ounces chocolate chips
  • Kahlua
  • caramel sauce

Preheat oven to 350°.

Combine cake mix, dry pudding mix, sour cream, cinnamon, eggs, oil and water.  Add chocolate chips.

Spray mini bundt pan with Pam made especially for baking.  Add batter until 3/4 full.  Bake for approximately 15 minutes.  Turn out onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Pour a little bit of Kahlua in the center of each cake while still warm.  Cakes can be made a day ahead.  I cover the cakes with another layer of parchment and then cover the baking pan with foil.

Drizzle with caramel sauce and serve.

Greg says:  I’m going to be a bit indulgent with this pairing. I usually try to find pairings that don’t cost a fortune, but I just couldn’t help myself with this choice – Tommaso Bussola 2003 Recioto della Valpolicella Classico, Robert Parker scored it 95 Points and had this to say: “This is textbook high-class Recioto. This opulent, silky-textured wine possesses gorgeous aromatics and layers of raisin, mineral, licorice, chocolate, spice and dark cherry flavors that flow onto the palate with dazzling style, superb persistence and a long, finessed finish. It is not to be missed.” I agree!

Cakes and Cupcakes · Chocolate · Dessert · Main Dish · Pasta · Recipes

a ghoulish halloween feast

I’ve been under the weather lately.  When I plan a party, I usually PLAN at party.  This time I just didn’t feel up to the task.  So…Sunshine and I went to breakfast on the day of our party, armed with cookbooks for ideas and came up with a plan.  After breakfast I went shopping for everything I needed.  I got home just after 1:00pm, which didn’t leave me much time.  I was like that crazy guy that got kicked off of Top Chef Just Desserts,  racing around the kitchen and running through the house. I got everything done in time for the party.
I just screwed up the frosting for the cupcakes, so sorry Jon, Nicci, Sunshine, Veronica, Joey, Michael, Thom, Laura, Mackenzie and Steven.  I fixed them today, if anyone wants to give them a try.  Sunshine ate an improved cupcake and said “that’s more like it”.  Nicci made a delicious pumpkin trifle, and Veronica and Michael made their famous caramel popcorn, so we did not go without dessert!

Nicci and Jon came as us!  So hilarious.

Steven was scary!  He did an amazing job painting our faces too.

Nerd alert!  Mackenzie and Laura…

Thom, the rat catcher.  Day late and a dollar short, Thom.  You look fabulous though!  Why are you hiding behind Sunshine?  No wait, that’s Jon!

Veronica the pirate, and Joey as Mario!  All I can say is OMG.

Michael and his strap on banana suit.  Don’t ask.  Hey look!  There’s Santa!

I stuffed peppadew peppers as part of our antipasto.  I mixed goat cheese with a little cream to thin the cheese to a spreadable consistency, basil chiffonade, salt and pepper.

Laura had a good time making the balsamic “caviar”.  What a nerd.  Well, she dressed up as one anyway.  Thom said she looked more like a Natzi Helga.  Whatever.  She will always be a little caviar nerd to me.

Thom had a good time prepping the tomatoes and flinging the cheese onto the plate.

Here’s the final plate, tomatoes, basil oil, and burrata adorned with balsamic “caviar”.

I made a marinara sauce and meatballs to serve over rigatoni for dinner.  Here are the recipes:

Marinara Sauce

  • 6-28 ounce cans whole San Marzano tomatoes, crush by hand or quick pulse in a blender
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 6 ounces pancetta, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano, crushed by hand
  • 1 teaspoon dried pepper flakes
  • 1 bunch fresh basil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil to a large stock pot, add the pancetta and cook until browned and crisp.  Add the onion, and cook for about 5 minutes over medium heat, then add the garlic and spices and cook for 1 minute more.  Add the tomatoes, bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.  Cook for a couple of hours.  Add fresh basil and blend with an emersion blender.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Meatballs

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 pound ground veal
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1 cup freshly grated parmesan
  • 2 cups bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh flat leaf parsley, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups water
  • olive oil for frying

Combine ground meat, parmesan, bread crumbs, eggs, garlic, parsley, salt, pepper and water.  Shape into balls.  Heat oil in a 12″ skillet.  Add meatballs, be careful not to overcrowd the pan.  Cook thoroughly on each side, until deep golden brown.  Drain on paper bags lined with paper towels.

Candy Bar Cupcakes

These recipes are from Elizabeth Falkner’s Demolition Desserts cookbook.  This recipe makes 12 cupcakes.  I will make these again, and the next time I’ll follow the recipe!

Brown Sugar Cupcakes

  • 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 cup whole milk

Caramel Sauce

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Peanut Butter Frosting

  • 4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 cup (5 ounces) powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 4 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
  • 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons peanut butter

Garnish

  • 1/2 cup salted roasted peanuts
  • Fleur de sel

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

To make cupcakes: sift dry ingredients.  In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Add one egg at a time, beating well after each addition.  Scrape sides of bowl as needed.  Add vanilla.  On low speed, add the flour mixture in 3 additions, and the milk in 2 additions, alternating.  Combine for 15 seconds after each addition, or until just combined.  Divide evenly in among the paper lined muffin pan.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown and insert comes out clean.  Let cool for 10 minutes.  Remove from muffin pan and cool completely.

To make the caramel sauce:  Combine water, lemon juice, sugar, and corn syrup in a medium saucepan.  Place over high heat and cover.  Cook for 2 minutes, or until mixture comes to a boil.  Remove lid and continue to cook until the color changes to a dark amber, about 7-1o minutes.  Remove pan from heat.  Whisk in butter until incorporated.  Slowly whisk in cream.  Add salt and vanilla.  Once cool, fill a squeeze bottle with pointed tip.

Inject the cupcakes once cooled with caramel sauce by puncturing the center of the cakes with squeeze bottle tip.

To make the frosting: Add chocolate to a bowl.  Heat cream until bubbles form, pour over chocolate.    Stir until smooth.  Add peanut butter, stir until well incorporated.  Let mixture cool.  In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, cream butter for 1 minute, until light and fluffy.  Add powdered sugar, salt, whole milk, vanilla and lemon juice, and continue to beat on high speed for 5 minutes.  Add chocolate and peanut butter mixture to the buttercream frosting.  Place in a piping bag fitted with a large star tip, pipe onto cupcakes.  Sprinkle with peanuts and fleur de sel.

Crazy fire show.

Bacon · Chocolate · Dessert · Recipes

bacon for dessert

I’m usually pretty open to trying new flavor combinations, but when Silvia said she HAD to have the Maple-Pecan Sundaes with Candied Bacon for her birthday dessert from a recent issue of Bon Appetit, I was a bit skeptical.  Maple syrup, candied ginger, candied bacon…who comes up with this stuff?  Turns out it was actually another surprisingly delicious treat! We made the vanilla ice cream old school style, with the big ice cream maker you surround with ice and rock salt.  I have a super simple vanilla ice cream recipe that’s so good.   It’s just that my ice cream maker is electric, and very noisy, so we shut the door while it was churning and forgot about it.  My ice cream turned out a little too icy for my taste.  I have to make this again for Silvia, this time with the perfect ice cream.  Check out the recipes below, with a few tweaks of course.

So I got cocky, and decided to try another bacon-laden dessert.  This time I tried Dulce de Leche, Coconut and Chocolate Chip Magic Bars from the Food & Wine website.  This was a big hit with Sunshine.  It really tasted more like a candy bar, so decadent!!  You don’t need much!  The recipe called for browning the butter first to give the crust a nutty flavor, but it got lost when you put the whole dessert together.  I like the idea though, and will probably try in a dessert that would showcase the flavor of the brown butter.  Sunshine and I went to breakfast the day I planned to make this.  He ordered a side of pepper bacon that was so good we decided to take another order home with us for this recipe.  It saved our house from  smelling like bacon grease for hours, and saved me a little time in the kitchen too.   I used milk chocolate chips instead of the semi sweet chips called for, and used raw almonds instead of roasted almonds, all preferred by Sunshine.  Check out the recipe below.

Maple-Pecan Sundaes with Candied Bacon

  • 6 bacon slices
  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 12 ounces pure maple syrup, grade B
  • 2 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon crystallized ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 cup pecan halves, toasted

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line baking sheet with foil, and lay bacon slices on top.  Sprinkle half of the brown sugar on top.  Bake for 8 minutes, remove from oven and sprinkle with the rest of the sugar.  Continue backing until deep golden brown, about 12 minutes longer.  Cool.  Cut into 1/4″ dice.

Combine maple syrup and cinnamon sticks in a medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, reduce to simmer until sauce is reduce and thickened, about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat, remove cinnamon sticks, add lemon juice and ginger.  Let stand at room temperature.  Stir in pecans and bacon just before serving on top of ice cream.

Vanilla Ice Cream

  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups whipping cream

Scald milk.  Remove from heat and add sugar and salt, stir to dissolve.    Add vanilla and whipping cream and chill.  This recipe makes 2 quarts.  I double the recipe for my big ice cream maker.  Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the directions.

Dulce de Leche, Coconut and Chocolate Chip Magic Bars

  • 6 ounces butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 ounces bacon
  • 3 cups sweetened shredded coconut
  • 12 ounces milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup raw almonds, chopped
  • 16 ounce jar dulce de leche
  • 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 9″ x 13″ pan with parchment, coat with vegetable oil cooking spray.

Cream butter, sugar, vanilla and egg yolk together in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle.  Add flour and salt, mix until a wet crumb consistency is formed.  Press crumbs into the baking pan, and bake for 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook bacon until crisp.  Drain on paper towels.  Combine dulce de leche and condensed milk.  Pour over top of crust.  Combine bacon, coconut, chocolate chips and almonds, and press into the dolce de leche.  Bake for 35-40 minutes.  Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until firm, about an hour.  Remove from pan, peel off paper and cut into squares.

Warning.  This could happen to you too.  It must have been the candied bacon…. or was it the wine?  Hmm.