Archive for August, 2010

There are a few ways I decide what recipes to make.  Usually, I can assess the ingredients and ratios of things like butter to sugar or oil to flour and figure out if it will taste good.  In brownies, for example, if the recipe has you melting butter and chocolate together and then mixing in sugar, you can be certain that you are on the right track.

A commenter reminded me the other day of my favorite brownie recipe, the basic one-bowl Bakers recipe. This is an easy recipe that requires very few kitchen tools but always produces rich, fudgey, brownies with that thin crispy layer on top that gives you the presence of 2 textures in one bite.  For readers that have a small kitchen with limited kitchen supplies, I highly recommend you try this recipe (the original or my twist).
Normally I make these brownies (sans nuts) and sprinkle powdered sugar on top (just like my mom of course).  This time, I thought an extra chocolate punch would be good.  Sometimes, you just need all the chocolate you can get. What could be better than individual brownie bites with Hershey kisses tucked inside?

Chocolate Lover’s Bites

All You Need Is:

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate

3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 sticks)

2 cups sugar

3 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup all purpose flour

36 Hershey Kisses (maybe a couple extras to snack on while you wait)


Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease or line 36 mini-muffin holders.

I couldn’t decide which I preferred so I tried both ways.

Melt butter and chocolate in large sauce pan over low to medium heat.  You don’t want the heat to be higher than this because burnt chocolate = start over!

You can also melt chocolate and butter in the microwave. I recommend heating for 30 seconds at a time and stirring to prevent burning the chocolate.

Stir in sugar.

Stir in eggs and vanilla.

Whisk in flour until smooth.

You could use a spoon to stir, but I like a whisk because it is easier for getting rid of flour clumps.

When batter is smooth, pour into muffin tins. Don’t worry if your batter is almost at the top of the holders.  Brownies don’t grow much like cupcakes which have baking powder in them.

Bake for 14-18 minutes, or until tops are puffed up slightly and knife comes out clean.

While brownies are baking, unwrap your Hershey kisses.

You will need about 3/4 of a bag which leaves plenty to eat while you are being tortured by the amazing smell of brownies baking.

As soon as brownies are out of oven, push kisses into each.  Push them far enough so that only the tip of the kiss is above the top of the brownie.

Allow to cool for just a few minutes, and then remove brownies from pan.  Let them finish on a cooling rack.

If this isn’t heaven for chocolate lovers, I don’t know what is.

Ok, maybe just taste one when the kiss in the middle is still warm and melty.  That might put you over the edge.

What is your favorite chocolate dessert?

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Cookies for a Bachelorette

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Why eat cookies with raisins in them if you could eat cookies with chocolate in them instead???  I actually have an issue with raisins in baked goods and grew up picking raisins OUT of the oatmeal raisin cookies and bran muffins (it runs in the family, my dad is the same way!).  Eventually my mom caught on and started making oatmeal chocolate chip cookies instead of oatmeal raisin cookies.

Well tonight I spiced it up a bit and made Toffee Studded Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Cookies, quite the mouthful, but their deliciousness justifies the long name.

I bet you didn’t know the best recipe for oatmeal cookies comes from the Quaker oatmeal container!

Well, if you like chewy, melt-in your mouth cookies with a hint of cinnamon, you will agree.  After looking through a ton of different cookie recipes, I decided to stick with what I know works since this is a batch I’ll be sharing for the high holidays.  Ok, I mostly stuck with what works.  There is a little bit of whole wheat flour substituted in so that you start to think these are health food;-)

Before baking, I had a big decision to make:  Which chocolate chunks should I use?  Normally I stick with the brands I know (kind of like the way I refuse to use anything but Colgate toothpaste and the Husband will only eat Heinz ketchup), but when I went to re-stock the chocolate, there was only one brand choice (the woes of NYC supermarkets)!  As a result, I came home with these saco chocolate chunks instead of the Nestle I have grown up with.  Of course this called for a taste test!

There was no “official” blind study, but after a few bites of each, I decided that I actually preferred the saco chocolate!  The Nestle chunks are good, but just a little bit too sweet versus the saco chips which tasted more like quality dark chocolate.  The Taster did a blind study after the fact and knew right away which was Nestle.  He agreed with my summary, though.

Want to test out my judgement in cookie recipes?  Try out the below recipe, very lightly adapted from Quaker’s.

You will need:

1/2 lb (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 tsp baking soda (not baking flour!!)

1 tsp cinnamon

a pinch of salt

3 cups of quick or old-fashioned dry oatmeal

1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chunks

1/2 cup toffee bits


Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix together flours, cinnamon and baking soda.  Set aside.

In large bowl, beat together butter and sugars until creamy.

Beat in eggs and vanilla.  I recommend cracking eggs into separate bowl first.

Make sure to scrape sides of bowl and mix some more.

With mixer on low, carefully add in flour mixture.  You want to do this slowly or the flour will fly all over your kitchen!

Once all ingredients are well-combined, stir in oats.

Stir in chocolate chunks and toffee bits until well-mixed.

Taste the batter. Ok, not mandatory but if you do this, be extra certain that your eggs aren’t on this list!

Now, refrigerate your cookie dough for 2 hours or overnight.  This is necessary to avoid flat cookies.

Once you are ready to bake, pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. You could use wax paper if necessary, but parchment paper works so much better for baking cookies!

Drop heaping tablespoons of dough about 2 inches apart on baking sheets.

My favorite tool made a reappearance!

Bake in oven for 8-10 minutes or until centers of cookies appear cooked and edges are light golden brown.

Try to let cookies cool on cooling rack…

and then enjoy!


Although I used the saco chocolate chunks, any brand you like will work.

If you like your cookies to have chocolate in every bite, consider increasing chocolate amount to 1 1/2 cups.

Cookies freeze very well.  These are great to make ahead and snack on or defrost in batches for unexpected guests.

I don’t dislike raisins.  In fact, I enjoy stale raisins (yes, weird, I know).  Plump moist raisins just don’t work for me.


What are some products and brands that you won’t deviate from?

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