Darkly Chocolate Sheet Cake with Fudge Frosting

I had the end of a bag of powdered sugar and a little less than a cup of buttermilk. All I could think of to use them both was frosting but what to frost? I didn’t want to fuss with cake pans or layers so I went with a super easy chocolate sheet pan recipe.

The coffee makes it seem even more chocolately. By adding a full cup, the cake is super moist and tender.

The creme de cacao reduces the sweetness of the frosting. Be sure and add it after you’ve pulled the frosting from the heat as you don’t want to burn it all off.

An easy and delicious cake recipe. I definitely recommend it!

Darkly Chocolate Sheet Cake

2 sticks unsalted butter
½ cup Dutch process or natural unsweetened cocoa
1 cup hot coffee
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups granulated sugar
½ cup buttermilk, at room temperature
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 9″ x 13″ pan.

Melt the butter in a double boiler. Stir in the cocoa and hot coffee.

Sift together the flour, soda, and salt. Place in the bowl of stand mixer with the sugar.

Pour the cocoa butter mixture over the dry ingredients. Mix on low until combined. Beat in the buttermilk, eggs and vanilla. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake the cake for 30 minutes, or until it tests done with a toothpick. When done, the cake will begin to pull away from the edge of the pan. Remove the cake from the oven and cool it on a rack.

I use a tall sided pan for baking the cake so that when I pour over the warm frosting, it doesn’t make a mess.

Fudge Frosting

8 tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ cup Dutch process or natural unsweetened cocoa
6 tablespoons buttermilk, at room temperature
3 ¼ cups confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon creme de cacoa

Melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan. Stir in the cocoa and buttermilk.

Bring the mixture to a boil, then remove it from the heat and mix in the confectioners’ sugar and creme de cacoa, beating until smooth.

Pour the frosting over the cake while the frosting is still warm. Serve the cake right from the pan.

Chocolate Chip Snickers Cookies

I was really craving chocolate and was happily munching on a Fun-sized Snickers when my hind brain went, “Wait just a minute! Why don’t you put one of those in a chocolate chip cookie?”

I love my brain.

I cut each fun size I could rescue from the maw of my parents into 6 pieces. I ended up with a cup of Snickers pieces.

Definitely refrigerate the dough, as it will spread a bit more when it isn’t cold, making for thinner, less chewy cookies.

The cookies are really good – the caramel and nuts was a lovely addition.

Chocolate Chip Snickers Cookies

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 cup bittersweet chocolate morsels
1 cup fun-sized Snickers, each candy cut into 6 pieces

Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in small bowl. Set aside.

Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and Snickers.

Cover bowl with plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator for 1 hour. It can be stored for up to 3 days before use.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Drop rounded tablespoon of cookie dough onto ungreased baking sheets.

Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 1 minute; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

 

Reimagining Joy (With Pecans)

I’m not above scarfing down many of the candy bars that populate the displays near cash registers. Including Almond Joy. However, I’m a southern girl who prefers pecans over every other nut and so, when I made these at home, I used toasted pecans instead.

I looked up several recipes on the internet but went with the one my friend, Conan, sent to me. This one didn’t enrobed them in chocolate – just put everything together and let the morsels work their magic with the pecans, coconut and sweetened condenses milk.

A quick and easy recipe that is very addicting.

Pecan Joy

14 ounces shredded, sweetened coconut
14 ounce can of sweetened condensed milk
2 cups bittersweet chocolate morsels
1 cup toasted and salted pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, mix the coconut, sweetened condensed milk, chocolate chips and pecans. Stir until combined.

Using a small ice cream scoop, press together portions of the mix onto the parchment covered baking sheets. Use damp fingers to push everything together into a tidy round.

Bake for 17-20 minutes, rotating the baking sheets midway through baking. The pecan joys will be done when the edges and bottom turn golden brown.

Cool on a rack and store in an airtight container.

Triple Chocolate Fudge Brownies

I’m at that point in my cycle and isolation that I’m beyond a simple chocolate craving. Regular brownies wouldn’t touch this need. A chocolate baking bar, cocoa and some some chocolate morsels hit the spot, though.

So good. Deeply, darkly chocolate with a lovely chew. Pecans are optional, of course, but they add so much beyond flavor!

Triple Chocolate Fudge Brownies

1 ½ sticks unsalted butter
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa
2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup pecans, chopped
1 cup bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate morsels

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Generously butter a 9×13 pan. For thick brownies, use an 8×8 pan.

Melt butter and chocolate on low heat on the stovetop in a double boiler. Remove from heat and pour into a stand mixer. One at a time, whisk in cocoa, sugar, eggs, vanilla, flour and salt. Mix well. Stir in pecans and chocolate morsels. Pour into prepared pan. Smooth the top of the batter.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, until edges are set and center is a bit soft. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out with a little batter coating it.

Cool at room temperature. Remove from pan. Serve at room temperature.

Brownies can be refrigerated if you’re stuck in isolation alone and don’t want to eat the entire right away or frozen for up to a month.

 

Chocolate Pecan Truffle Cookies

I owed my friend Charlotte some cookies and her only request was chocolate and pecans. I browsed through my recipes and decided to go sinfully decadent with truffle cookies. These are soft cookies with such a rich flavor of chocolate from the melted to the added chips. I’ve got to say the addition of toasted, chopped pecans to them are a real treat.

I used Ghirardelli bittersweet and semi-sweet baking chips in this recipe. I love the taste and texture they add to the cookies.

I really like the flakes in Maldon Sea Salt, so that it what I used to sprinkle on top. A crisp bite of salt in each large flake, so you use a smaller amount than with a less coarse sea salt.

Darkly rich with a soft texture, these are definitely the cookie for chocolate lovers.

Chocolate Pecan Truffle Cookies

3 cups bittersweet morsels
4 tablespoon unsalted butter
½ cup all purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
1 cup semisweet morsels, for mixing into the prepared cookie dough
2 -3 tablespoons coarse sea salt

In a double boiler, melt chocolate and butter. Stir until smooth. Remove from heat and let chocolate cool slightly.

Sift together flour, baking powder and salt to combine. Set aside

In a mixing bowl, combine sugar and eggs. Slowly add the warm chocolate mixture, mixing to combine. Add vanilla extract and mix. Add in flour mixture. Cool for a few minutes (if batter is too warm, chocolate chips will melt). Stir in chocolate chips and pecans. Chill for 10-15 minutes.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Scoop rounded tablespoons of batter and place on baking tray. Sprinkle each cookie lightly with a pinch of flaked sea salt. Bake for approximately 7-8 minutes until the outside looks slightly cracked. Do not over bake cookies because they will continue to bake as they cool once removed from the oven. Cookies will be soft and gooey in the center.

Hot Fudge Sauce

How much do I love chocolate? To borrow from Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Sonnet Number 43: “Let me count the ways. I love it to the depth and breadth and height my soul can reach.”

No jar of hot fudge from the supermarket is enough to fill that space. That’s why I make the sauce for my ice cream sundaes about a quart at a time.

It is easy to warm and drizzle over ice cream or put into milkshakes or pour over bananas or just eat off the spoon. Yummy!

Hot Fudge Sauce

2 cups heavy cream
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon fine salt
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, broken in small pieces
1 cup sifted high-fat Dutch-process cocoa like Droste (sift, then measure)
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

In medium saucepan, combine cream, butter, sugar and salt. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Remove from heat. Add chocolate and let sit 1 minute. Whisk to completely incorporate. Add cocoa and whisk until no lumps remain.

Return pan to low heat and bring to a simmer, whisking constantly, about 20 seconds. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Serve warm.

Store in a mason jar in the refrigerator. To reheat sauce, microwave a small portion, about 30 seconds until warm.

Dulce de Leche Caramel Chocolate Pecan Pie

Michelle and I were feeling adventurous this holiday so we kicked up the traditional pecan pie a notch. I had seen an episode of Pati’s Mexican Table where she combined Mexican flavors with American classic foods and Dulce de Leche Chocolate Pecan Pie was one of her recipes. It looked good but a little sweeter than my tastes run, so we switched out the crust and made a couple other minor adjustments.

You lose a little of the top to the foil but leaving it off makes the pie darken too much. Here it is perfectly browned.

Decadently good with the caramel adding a lovely flavor with the toasted pecans. As my friend Charlotte learned, don’t go with too big of slices as it is so very rich it will be hard to finish in one sitting.

We served it with Bourbon Vanilla Ice Cream. Recipe HERE.

Dulce de Leche Caramel Chocolate Pecan Pie

Dark Chocolate Pie Crust

1 cup flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
¼ teaspoon salt
2 ½ tablespoons shortening
2 tablespoons cold butter
ice water and vodka

For the Dulce de Leche Caramel Chocolate Pecan Filling

3 eggs
1 can Dulce de Leche Caramel Sauce (we used Eagle Brand)
½ cup dark brown sugar
⅓ cup light corn syrup
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups pecan halves, toasted and coarsely chopped
⅓ cup chopped bittersweet chocolate

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

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. Open 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 – In a bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk until foamy. Add in the Dulce de Leche caramel sauce, brown sugar, corn syrup, melted butter and salt and whisk until it is well blended. Stir in the chopped pecans and chocolate and mix well.

Remove the crust from the refrigerator. Pour the filling into pie crust. Cover the pie loosely with aluminum foil and place in the oven. Bake for 50 minutes with the foil on. Then remove and continue to cook until the pie is set and the top is lightly browned, about 10 minutes more. Remove from the oven and let cool before serving.

Banana Chocolate Chip Pancakes

We came back from our weekend away to a very brown and spotted banana that had been left on the counter when we headed out of town. It looked especially forlorn next to the new bananas we had picked up on the way home.

One banana isn’t enough for making bread or pudding but it is a perfect amount for making a small batch of pancakes. The recipe below is perfect for 2 or three people as it makes 8 pancakes. You can easily double the recipe if you have more diners (and more over ripe bananas). Freeze any leftovers and rewarm in a toaster oven.

The riper the banana, the sweeter the pancakes will be. We hardly needed any maple syrup as our banana was so ripe!

Banana Chocolate Chip Pancakes

1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼  teaspoon salt
3/4 cups milk
1 egg
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large ripe banana, mashed
½ cup bittersweet or semisweet chocolate morsels

In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients and whisk together.

Place the milk in another bowl and add the egg, oil, vanilla extract and mashed banana. Whisk until well combined.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Whisk until just combined, then scrape down the sides to make sure all the flour is incorporated and whisk again. There will be some lumps, just no really large ones. Try to avoid overworking the batter.

Heat a griddle or skillet to medium hot and spread some butter on it. Using a 1/3 cup measure, pour a serving of batter over the buttered area of the griddle. Sprinkle a few chocolate chips over the pancake. Flip once the top bubbles start to pop and the edges look dry. Cook until the other side is golden brown. Repeat until all pancakes are made. Keep cooked pancakes warm in a 200 degree F oven while fixing the rest.

Serve with maple syrup.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies

Another weekend, another peanut butter and chocolate craving. This time, I’m going to try thumbprint cookies.

Now, the nice lady from whom I got the recipe made these teeny, tiny divots and used only the barest amount of filling per cookie. Not me. The first thing I did when making them was double the filling recipe. Even though my cookies crack a little more from the deeper indention, it is worth it to have the extra filling.

I’m out of corn syrup so I did a one for one substitution with cane syrup. Had I wanted a slightly more neutral flavor, I could have used agave nectar instead.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies

Peanut Butter Cookies:
1 ½ cup all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup crunchy peanut butter
1 large egg
1 teaspoon praline pecan liquor (or vanilla)

Chocolate Filling:
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate baking bars
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 ½ teaspoons cane syrup (or corn syrup)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Stir together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, beat butter with the sugars until light and fluffy. Add in the peanut butter, egg and liquor (or vanilla), mixing well after each addition. Gradually add in the flour mixture and mix until combined.

Pinch off pieces of dough and roll into 1 inch balls. Place at least 1 inch apart on two ungreased baking sheets.

Bake for 10 minutes. Use a pestle or the back of a spoon to make indentions in each of the cookies. Switch and rotate pans when returning to the oven. Bake for 6 minutes more. When you remove from the oven, you may need to remake the indentions. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

Melt together over a water bath the chocolate, butter, and syrup. Stir until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.

Use a spoon to fill each indention with the chocolate. Let the chocolate filling cool and harden completely – you can put the cookies in the fridge to speed that process up.

Store in an airtight container.

 

Spirited Puddin Pops

I’ve posted before about the chocolate pudding mix that Michelle makes for me and about how you can make delicious puddin pops with it. After a long Labor Day weekend acknowledging the contributions and achievements of American workers, it is time to celebrate with an adultifyied version.

I used RumChata in place of some of the milk. I love their blend of rum, cream, cinnamon and vanilla in drinks and baking and, now I’ve learned just how well it goes in puddin pops.

So good I chomped instead of licked!

So yummy and oh, so refreshing.

I’m thinking the next batch will be made with amaretto. Or maybe crème de menthe.

Spirited Puddin Pops

1 cup chocolate pudding mix (or 1 – 4 ounce box cook and serve chocolate pudding)
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup RumChata
1 cup Cool Whip whipped topping

Place the pudding mix and milk in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly. Once it begins to thicken, add in the RumChata and continue to cook until it comes to a boil

Scrape pudding into a metal mixing bowl and place over a large bowl of ice and water and stir to bring the temperature down. Once the bottom of the bowl containing the pudding is cool to the touch, mix in the Cool Whip. Stir until completely incorporated.

Pour into molds and place in the freezer. It will take at least five hours to freeze.