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Posts Tagged ‘chocolate’

Last weekend, the Husband and I went to Boston for a short trip to visit our foodie friends/newlyweds, Jon and Ali.  Given that they love food as much as we do, most of the weekend’s itinerary revolved around eating!  We had brunch at The Friendly Toast, tasted beers at Harpoon Brewery, dinner at B&G Oysters,  and another brunch at Buttery.  Our friends treated us well!  Last but not least, we were able to pick up lunch for the bus ride home at Flour.

I’ve been hearing about Flour throughout the blog world forever.  The bakery was made famous nationally by the wonderful pastry chef, Joanne Chang(Sidenote: I didn’t know until just now that Joanne was an Applied/Math and Econ major at Harvard.  Incredible!) Anyway, I’m so glad we got a chance to check it out.  Matt picked up a sandwich and jelly-filled donut that looked delicious.  You could see the high quality of jelly when he bit into it.  I got a salad that was really only a way for me to justify dessert;-) cupcake 6

There were so many delicious looking desserts to choose from, especially the cookies and brownies.  However, when I spotted the giant Low Fat Vegan Chocolate Cupcake, I was really curious.  I was no longer on my Vegan Challenge, but I figured if they were selling a vegan cupcake, it had to be good.  The cupcake wasn’t good.  It was delicious.  It was moist and chocolaty and it was all I could do not devour it in 3 seconds flat.  I’m not saying it was good for a vegan cupcake, it was good for any cupcake.  Moist chocolate cupcakes are hard to come by and this one had me at first bite.

Okay, so in my excitement over the cupcake, I forgot to take a picture.  Luckily, I had fallen so in love with it that I immediately went on a hunt to find the recipe.  Much to my delight it exists here.  As soon as I got a chance to pick up all of the necessary ingredients, the cupcakes were in the oven.  That is barely an exaggeration because this is one of the easiest recipes I’ve made in a while!  No fancy equipment needed.

key ingredients

I was excited for my first time using the VALRHONA cocoa my parents brought back from Belgium.   The good quality cocoa powder has a richness to it that you can’t get from your average cocoa.  Additionally, I picked up molasses, which I’ve actually never used before.  It smelled a little funny (I expected a syrup aroma) but it seemed to work out okay! Espresso powder is also often used in chocolate baked goods to add a richness to the flavor.  I picked up some of that as well.

To get started, pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees and line 18 regular sized muffin tins with cupcake liners.  How cute are these Valentine’s Day liners?

cupcake holders

Whisk together your dry ingredients: flour, granulated sugar, cocoa, espresso powder, baking soda and salt

dry ingred 1

Add the chocolate chips and whisk them into the mixture

dry ingred 2

Set aside

dry ingred 3

Whisk together all wet ingredients: water, oil, molasses, and vanilla

wet ingred 1

The mix will look a little like balsamic vinaigrette, don’t be alarmed

wet ingred 2

Then stir the wet ingredients into the dry, do not overmix

scooping batter

Use an ice cream scoop to fill cupcake liners about halfway (about 1/3 cup of batter per cup)

batter in cups

Bake cupcakes for 8-12 minutes or until a knife comes out clean; allow to cool on a cooling rack

baked

Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar before serving

cupcake 7

Low Fat Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes

Recipe from V02, created by Joanne Chang

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup cocoa powder (I used about a tablespoon less since the VALRHONA is so rich)

2 teaspoons instant espresso powder (finely ground espresso beans)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips (dairy-free for vegan)

1 cup cold water

1/4 cup oil canola

2 tablespoons molasses

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Confectioners’ sugar (optional)

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and line 18 regular sized muffin tins with cupcake liners

Whisk together dry ingredients: flour, granulated sugar, cocoa, espresso powder, baking soda and salt

Add the chocolate chips and whisk them into the mixture; set aside

Whisk together all wet ingredients: water, oil, molasses, and vanilla

Stir the wet ingredients into the dry, do not overmix

Use an ice cream scoop to fill cupcake liners about halfway (about 1/3 cup of batter per cup)

Bake cupcakes for 8-12 minutes or until a knife comes out clean (do not overbake); allow to cool on a cooling rack

Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar before serving

Notes:

Do not leave out the chocolate chips, they add a lot in terms of texture and flavor

While these weren’t quite as delicious as the bakery’s cupcakes, they were still very tasty.  I overbaked mine probably by a minute or two (12 minutes total) and I think that made a big difference

Each cupcake comes out to 4 Weight Watchers Points+

cupcake 2

Have you eaten your way through a city lately?

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*Check out the ask me anything post, good questions coming in so far

**Check out the discussion on my Vegan Challenge in the Comments section

After the successful Lemon Pound Cake, I figured I should try a few other desserts with different flavor profiles.  Don’t worry, I’ll always come back to my true love peanut butter and chocolate, but in the mean time, I’ll entertain the idea that other combinations can taste good too!

Recently I was in search for something that would be easy enough to make on a weeknight and freeze well so that I wouldn’t eat waste all of the leftovers.  I found a recipe in this cookbook and adapted it to make Chocolate Cherry Maple Cookies.  I used semi-sweet chocolate chunks to get a big blast of flavor, but not too much chocolate because I didn’t want to overpower the cookie.  The dried cherries add a slightly tart contrast to the cookie as well.

cookies done 4

The cookie dough isn’t overly sweet but it has a nice hint of maple flavor.  Their texture is in-between shortbread and butter cookies and they are a little bit addicting as a result.  These cookies would make a great addition any dessert platter.

To begin, combine butter, sugar and syrup in a mixer

butter sugar syrup

Beat on high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes

butter sugar syrup mixed

Then, add the egg and vanilla; beat well

add egg and vanilla

Once well-combined, slowly add the flour while mixer is on low speed

adding flour

Then stir in chocolate and cherries

adding chocolate and cherries

cookie dough

Once dough is mixed, split dough into two sections and roll each up in saran wrap

dough rolled up

Refrigerate for several hours or overnight

log in half 2

Slice logs of dough into cookies about 1/4 inch thick log sliced 3

Bake on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper for 10-12 minutescookies on sheet

Cookies will be just slightly darker and firm to the touch when done

cookies done 8

Chocolate Cherry Maple Cookies

Makes ~30 cookies

Adapted from the Lindt Chocolate Passion Recipe Book

Ingredients:

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

2/3 cup granulated sugar

2 heaping tablespoons maple syrup

1 large egg at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chunks

1/3 cup dried cherries

Directions:

Combine butter, sugar and syrup in a mixer; beat on high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes

Add the egg and vanilla; beat well

Once well-combined, slowly add the flour while mixer is on low speed

Stir in chocolate and cherries

Once dough is mixed, split it into two sections and form logs with diameters of about 2 1/2 inches; wrap each tightly with saran wrap

Refrigerate for several hours or overnight

Once ready to bake, pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

Slice logs of dough into cookies about 1/4 inch thick

Bake on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper for 10-12 minutes

Cookies will be just slightly darker than dough and firm to the touch when done

Notes:

I made the dough one night and baked the cookies the next.  You could easily freeze the dough for several weeks prior to baking if needed.

You may want to consider chopping the cherries into smaller pieces to get them more spread-out through the dough. That would work well if you want cherry in every bite.

cookies done 3

What new flavors have you tried lately?

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Every time I visit my parents, my mom and I email constantly the week before about what we will bake.  There are always too many things for us to try, so it’s usually a pretty fattening special looking recipe that makes the cut.  Last weekend we made Picky Palate’s Chocolate Chip Oreo Cookie Sandwiches and Candy Bar Chocolate Chip Cookie Sandwiches.  They were amazing.

oreo cookie 1

This weekend I couldn’t help but be inspired by those delicious cookies.  As if a chocolate chip cookie stuffed with a Snickers Bar or Oreo Cookie wasn’t enough, I had to take it a step further for all of the chocoholics out there.  Why not take one of my favorite chocolate cookie recipes and stuff it with chocolate candy?  I made Stuffed Triple Chocolate Cookies.

hershey cookie 2

I’ll be honest, I haven’t tasted them yet.  I am on my 6th day of a week-long deprivation vegan challenge and baking these was an extreme form of torture.  Luckily, I have the Husband to do my taste testing for me in a time like this.  If the number of Hershey Kiss stuffed cookies he ate is any reflection of the verdict, I’d say these are a winner.  Trust me, though, when vegan week is over, I’ll be inhaling a dozen cookies doing my own “quality control”.  (More on Vegan week in an upcoming post!)

The Triple Chocolate Cookie dough is adapted from Jill O’Connor’s Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey.  I’ve made the cookies using her exact recipe as a standalone cookie and they never disappoint.  You may remember my Gooey Caramel Butter Bars were also from that cookbook.

To begin, you take semi-sweet and unsweetened chocolate along with a stick of butter and place them in a microwave-safe bowl

chocolate & butter

Microwave the ingredients for a minute and stir; microwave again for 30-second increments until everything is almost melted; stir the remaining lumps until smooth and do not overheat.  Set aside

chocolate & butter melted

Whisk together dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, and salt) and set aside

dry ingred

In your mixer, combine eggs, sugars and vanilla

sugars, egg, vanilla

Beat on high speed for about 5 minutes or until mixture is light and fluffyegg sugar mixture

Reduce the speed of your mixer and add in melted chocolate and butter

chocolate mixture added

When that is well-combined, stir in flour mixture but do not over-mix

dry ingred added

Stir in chocolate chips

add chocolate chips

Refrigerate cookie dough for an hour or more prior to making the cookies

batter

Choose any chocolate candies of your preference.  Smaller candies will yield more cookies.  I selected these chocolate meltaway Kisses  because, well, why not make these as intensely chocolate as possible?

hershey kisses

Other candy included dark chocolate Peanut Butter cups and Peppermint Patties.  Once dough is chilled, pre-heat oven and unwrap your chocolates

candy

Use a cookie dough scoop to form balls of dough; place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Place candy on top of dough mound and then push down

making cookie 1

Gently form cookie dough around the candy until it is completely covered; it might be easier if you freeze your Peppermint Patties first because they can break if you push too hard with the cookie dough

making cookie 2

Repeat process

making cookie 3 making cookie 4

Use just enough cookie dough to cover the candy; size will be about 50% larger than candy alone

making cookie 5

Make sure your candy is completely covered with dough or you may end up with some oozing like my Peppermint Patty cookies experienced

peppermint patty baked

Bake the cookies for about 9 minutes and set aside on a cooling rack to cool

This is the deliciousness you will experience when you bite into the different cookies:

hershey cookie 4 peanut butter 2 mint 1

Stuffed Triple Chocolate Cookies

Inspired by Picky Palate and adapted from Jill O’Connor

Makes ~50 cookies (more cookies with small candy, but less with large)

Ingredients:

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate

7 ounces unsweetened chocolate

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 large eggs at room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup packed brown sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Place semi-sweet and unsweetened chocolate with butter in a microwave-safe bowl

Microwave the ingredients for a minute and stir; microwave again for 30-second increments until everything is almost melted; stir the remaining lumps until smooth.  Set aside

Whisk together dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, and salt) and set aside

In your mixer, combine eggs, sugars and vanilla; beat on high speed for about 5 minutes or until mixture is light and fluffy

Reduce the speed of your mixer and add in melted chocolate and butter

When that is well-combined, stir in flour mixture but do not over-mix

Stir in chocolate chips

Refrigerate cookie dough for an hour or more prior to making the cookies

Once dough is chilled, pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and unwrap your chocolates

Use a cookie dough scoop to form balls of dough; place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Place candy on top of dough mound and then push down

Gently form cookie dough around the candy until it is completely covered; repeat (make sure your candy is completely covered with dough)

Bake the cookies for 9-10 minutes and set aside on a cooling rack to cool

[Edited to add] Note:  The Peppermint Patty and Hershey Kiss versions were the most popular.  I think the larger Reeses Cups would be better so that the candy is in every bite.

What candy would you put in your cookies?

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