Chocolate Coconut Pecan Joy

After I had bought Halloween candy, my sweetie mentioned how her favorite treat is Almond Joy (of course, not one of the ones I purchased). So we decided to make a homemade version. I used a chocolate macaroon recipe I had in my files (I think it came from Martha Stewart Living) and we made the chocolate bittersweet, the coconut sweetened, switched creme de cacao with the vanilla and added pecan pieces (plus a single semi-sweet morsel for whimsy).

Chocolate Coconut Pecan Joy

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, broken into small pieces
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups shredded sweetened coconut
3 large egg whites
1 teaspoon creme de cacao
Pinch of salt
20 whole pecans

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a double boiler, stir until chocolate is melted, and set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, combine cooled chocolate, cocoa, sugar, coconut, egg whites, vanilla, and salt. Use your hands to mix well, completely combining ingredients.

Dampen hands with very cold water. Form 1 1/2 tablespoons of mixture into a ball and place on prepared baking sheet with a whole pecan on top. Repeat with remaining mixture, placing macaroons 1 inch apart.

Bake until just firm to the touch but still soft in the middle, about 20 minutes. Remove baking sheet from oven to a wire rack, and let cool on baking sheet.

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Middle Cake from Miryam Levy

Here is another delicious recipe from Miryam Levy. It was missing a few amounts but I had a recipe in my files for a chocolate, date and walnut cake from which I was able to crib. As I’m actually allergic to walnuts, I used pecans but I kept walnuts in the recipe list for authenticity. Also, if you don’t have self rising flour (and what good Southern biscuit maker doesn’t lol), sift together 1 cup flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

Victoria tells me the name “Middle Cake” comes because her family would sit around the table with spoons, eating the middle first, leaving the delicious crusty edges for last. For best results let the cake cool in fridge, but she told me “good luck with that. The smell filling the house is so intoxicating, you can’t stop the lurking kids from eating it hot. Mom threatened to put a lock on the fridge, but it never helped…”

Middle Cake from Miryam Levy

2 tablespoons cognac
1/2 cup raisins
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup water
1 stick butter, softened
4 eggs
1 cup self rising flour
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9×13 pan and, instead of flouring the pan, dust with a little bit of cocoa and shake to coat the entire interior. Knock out excess cocoa.
Place cognac in a bowl with the raisins and let soak.
Melt chocolate, cocoa, sugar and water over stove, stirring regularly until it becomes creamy. Allow to cool slightly.
In a large bowl, cream the butter. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Alternately add the flour and chocolate mixture, starting with 1/2 cup flour. Mix just until combined, scraping down the bowl at least once. Stir in raisins and all the cognac and the nuts.
Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for 30-35 minutes, rotating the pan midway through cooking. Bake until a crust has formed on top and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
For best results let the cake cool in fridge, but I admit I took a spoon to it while it was cooling and it is quite yummy hot.
I sprinkled the top of the pieces I did allow to cool with confectioners sugar.

 

Chocolate Chip Brownie Cookies

It is that time of the month and I’m craving chocolate. I just had to make these dense and rich cookies. They totally hit the spot!

Chocolate Chip Brownie Cookies


2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cups brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
3 tablespoons milk
1 cup pecans, chopped
1 1/2 cup semi-sweet or bittersweet morsels

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt.

Cream butter and sugars. Add eggs, one at a time. Pour in vanilla. Slowly combine flour mixture alternately with milk. Stir in pecans and morsels.

Drop by rounded tablespoons onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 9 minutes, rotating cookie sheet midway through baking. Cookies will still look soft. Cool for 2 minutes on pan before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.

Black Bottom Bourbon Pecan Pie

I might damage my Southern cred with this confession but I find the pecan pie recipe on the back of the Karo Syrup bottle a little too sweet. However, earlier this year, we had a delicious black bottom bourbon pecan pie at High Hat Cafe that wasn’t so sweet and had a deep flavor from the bourbon. So we took to the drawing board and started by altering the pecan filling. We switched the corn syrup with cane syrup and reduced the sugar. In the past, I have used a ganache with bittersweet chocolate and cream to coat the bottom of the pie crust before adding the filling but, after using all the cream in the Bourbon Vanilla ice cream, we had to stick with just morsels.  The idea for using cocoa in the pie crust came from Saving Room for Dessert. We also followed the America’s Test Kitchen tip and added vodka and water to the crust to make for a very tender crust that is also easier to roll out.

Look out, Thanksgiving! There is a new pie in town!

Black Bottom Bourbon Pecan Pie

Dark Chocolate Pie Crust

1 cup flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 tablespoons shortening
2 tablespoons cold butter
ice water and vodka

Bourbon Pecan Pie

1/4 cup bourbon
1/4 cup cornstarch
3 eggs
1/2 cup cane syrup
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 cup chopped pecans
a heaping cup of bittersweet chocolate chips
a handful of pecan halves

Preheat oven to 350F

First make the crust. Put the flour, sugar, cocoa and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times to combine. Break up the shortening and butter into smaller pieces and drop into the processor bowl. Pulse maybe 10 times more until the mixture is crumbly and the butter and shortening are well distributed.

While the machine is running, drizzle in the 1 1/2 tablespoons ice water and 1 1/2 tablespoon vodka (don’t worry, the alcohol cooks off), and stop just when the dough comes together. Stop the machine and feel the dough, if it comes together when pressed between your fingers, it’s ready. Turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface and bring together with your hands into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Roll the dough out on a cocoa’d surface (instead of flour). Fit the dough into a 9″ pie pan that you have coated in shortening. Prettify the edges. Put the crust back in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.

For the filling, whisk together the bourbon and the cornstarch in a mixing bowl. Whisk in the eggs, and then the corn syrup and sugar. Stir in the melted butter and the chopped pecans.

Take the pie crust out of the fridge and cover the bottom with the chocolate chips. Pour the filling over the chips. Arrange the remaining pecan halves over the entire top of the pie. Cover with aluminum foil so the pecans on top don’t get too dark.

Bake for about an hour until bubbling and puffed on top. Let the pie cool on a rack before cutting.

Peanutty Chocolate Cheerio Clusters

“Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop.”

Ovid

In honor of taking it easy on Labor Day, I’m making these no bake dessert clusters. I recommend using bar chocolate here as morsels have a stabilizer that means the finished candy will have a bit of a waxy texture. I used 3 oz unsweetened and 4 oz semi-sweet chocolate to come up with a cup of chopped but you can use any combination of chocolate (including milk and white) to come up with the level of chocolate intensity that you prefer.

Peanutty Chocolate Cheerios Clusters

1 cup chocolate, chopped
½ cup chunky peanut butter
3 cups Cheerios cereal
flake sea salt, optional

Line a baking sheet with waxed paper or parchment paper. Alternately, set out paper candy cups on a baking sheet for more contained servings.

In a double boiler, melt the chocolate and the peanut butter, stirring regularly until melted together and smooth.

Place the Cheerios in a large mixing bowl and pour the melted chocolate and peanut butter over them. Stir gently with a spatula, until the cereal is well-coated in chocolate and no dry spots remain.

Drop small spoonfuls of the candy onto the prepared baking sheet. While the chocolate is still wet, lightly sprinkle with flake salt, if desired.

After all of the candies are formed, refrigerate until the chocolate is completely set. Store the candies in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a month but they aren’t going to last that long!

Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

I think I may have figured out a way to improve chocolate chip cookies. Just add bacon! Salty, fatty bacon combines with dark chocolate morsels to make for a cookie that is decadently addictive. This recipe makes half the usual recipe of cookies, mainly because I was making smaller batches for my experiments but also because you need to eat these all up faster than non-baconated cookies.

Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 strips bacon, cooked and chopped fine
1 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt.

In the bowl of a mixer, cream the butter and sugars. Add egg and vanilla extract, and beat until just blended. Add the dry ingredients; beat until everything is incorporated. Stir in the bacon, chocolate chips and pecans.

Drop by large tablespoons the cookie dough onto the baking sheet. They will spread, so put them 2 to 3 inches apart. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden brown. They will still be soft in the center. Transfer to a rack and cool for 15 minutes.

Keep refrigerated in an airtight container.

Chocolate Mint Syrup

At the Spring plant sale of the New Orleans Herb Society, I picked up a small plant of chocolate mint. It has really taken off and I needed a perfect recipe in which to use some of it.

The chocolate mint is growing out of the pot!

I made the sauce to gild the lily of my Chocolate Oblivion Torte, which I made again this year for Michelle’s birthday. It can also be poured into warm milk for a great hot chocolate or heated back up and drizzled over ice cream.

Chocolate Mint Syrup

1/2 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup cold water
3/4 cup sugar
30 chocolate mint leaves, rinsed, patted dry, and torn into pieces

In a small saucepan, combine the cocoa powder and cold water, and whisk together until smooth. Add the sugar and torn mint leaves and place the saucepan over medium heat.

Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly to melt the sugar. As soon as the syrup begins to boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. It will thicken and turn glossy.

Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

When the syrup has cooled to near room temperature, strain it through a fine mesh sieve into a clean jar. Cover and store in the refrigerator. Enjoy!

A gravy boat of chocolate mint sauce is what dreams are made of!