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!

Ultimate Chocolate Pancakes

I was watching a cooking show with Anna Olson and she did chocolate pancakes as a dessert (with cinnamon peaches). With a little improvement, the recipe seemed like the perfect recipe to fix for a breakfast-in-bed meal for the birthday girl. With three kinds of chocolate (cocoa powder, bittersweet chips and cacao liquor), they are the ultimate in deliciousness.

Chocolate Pancakes

1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup cocoa powder
3 tablespoons sugar
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ⅔ cup buttermilk at room temperature
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs at room temperature
1 teaspoon Creme de Cacao liquor
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips

Sift together flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl whisk buttermilk, melted butter, eggs and Creme de Cacao.

Add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture and stir just until combined. It should still have some lumps. Stir in chocolate chips.

Preheat a griddle over medium heat and butter generously. Test drip a small spoonful of batter into the pan. If it bubbles furiously, the pan is too hot. If it doesn’t appear to be cooking at all, the pan is not up to temperature yet.

Once you’ve achieved desired heat, ladle batter onto griddle and cook about 3 minutes. It is ready to flip when air bubbles rise to the surface and a peek under the edge shows it to be dry on the underside. Flip the pancake and cook for another 2 minutes.

Remove pancakes to a plate, cover and keep warm until ready to serve.

These go really well with bacon, as the salty bacon compliments the darkly rich pancake.

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

I woke up this morning dreaming about stirring melted chocolate. It was very vivid and while that is better than waking up having the refrain from “Momma Tried” running through your head, it is still something that stays with you for a while after you get up.

I decided to go where my subconscious led me and made these chocolate, chocolate chip cookies. Basically, you melt 4 tablespoons of the butter with 4 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate. More chocolate is more better! They are crisp on the edges and chewy in the center – yummy!

My metal beastie stands guard over the cookies.

Chocolate, Chocolate Chip Cookies

4 ounces semi sweet chocolate
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter (two sticks), divided
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1 (12 ounce) package semisweet chocolate morsels
1 cup toasted, chopped nuts, optional
flake salt for sprinkling, optional

Melt 4 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate with 4 tablespoons of the butter in a double boiler. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.

Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl.

Beat remaining 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. Pour in melted chocolate. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts, if using.

Refrigerate the dough for at least an hour to give the flour proteins and starches a chance to rest. While Jacques Torres would have you rest the dough 24 to 72 hours, I’m not wired to be able resist that kind of temptation. An hour is my max and it is still an effort to not to sneak out all the cookie dough during that time.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Remove dough from the refrigerator and drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets. Sprinkle lightly with flake salt, if desired.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until they are slightly firm in the center. Remove from the oven and cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Pudding Filled Yellow Cake

My very good friend, Charlotte, had a birthday earlier this month and requested a yellow cake with chocolate frosting. I picked up at a rummage sale a two part cake pan to make filled cakes (most of the pictures were fruit based fillings but I immediately thought chocolate).

To start with, I used a recipe from America’s Test Kitchen that combines the technique of a chiffon cake to a butter cake in order to get a moist, tender and fluffy cake. Of course, that requires that you actually read the recipe and only put in 6 yolks and 3 whites. I put in 3 whole eggs, 3 yolks and 3 whites and the cake was a little dry – this was entirely mitigated by the pudding filling but, the fact remains that I messed things up a bit by not being careful with my reading of the recipe.

In any event, Charlotte was happy with her birthday cake and I was happy with the leftovers!

Pudding Filled Yellow Cake

2 ½ cups cake flour, plus extra for dusting pans
1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon table salt
1 ¾ cups sugar, divided
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 large egg yolks
3 large egg whites

Bring all ingredients to room temperature before beginning.

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease your cake pans, dust pans with flour and knock out excess. I used my Mrs. Fields Fill N Flip Cake pans but you can use two 9-inch-wide by 2-inch-high round cake pans.

Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and 1 1/2 cups sugar together in large bowl. In a medium bowl, whisk together melted butter, buttermilk, oil, vanilla, and yolks.

In clean bowl of stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat egg whites at medium-high speed until foamy, about 30 seconds. With machine running, gradually add remaining 1/4 cup sugar; continue to beat until stiff peaks just form, 30 to 60 seconds (whites should hold peak but mixture should appear moist). Transfer to bowl and set aside.

Add flour mixture to now-empty mixing bowl fitted with whisk attachment. With mixer running at low speed, gradually pour in butter mixture and mix until almost incorporated (a few streaks of dry flour will remain), about 15 seconds. Stop mixer and scrape whisk and sides of bowl. Return mixer to medium-low speed and beat until smooth and fully incorporated, 10 to 15 seconds.

Using a rubber spatula, stir 1/3 of whites into batter to lighten, then add remaining whites and gently fold into batter until no white streaks remain. Divide batter evenly between prepared cake pans. Lightly tap pans against counter 2 or 3 times to dislodge any large air bubbles.

Bake until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 20 to 22 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on wire rack for 10 minutes. Loosen cakes from sides of pans with small knife, then invert onto wire rack. Cool completely on rack, about 1 1/2 hours before filling and frosting.

You don’t want your filling in a Fill and Flip cake to be too dense. You can lighten pudding to almost mousse like consistency with a little extra work. To make a mock mouse: add cream instead of milk to a small box of instant pudding and, using a hand mixer or a whisk and some elbow grease, whip until it is almost mousse like.

For the frosting, I used a chocolate buttercream that I typically use on Doberge cake:

Rich Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

1 ounce square semi-sweet chocolate
1/4 cup milk or cream
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2 sticks butter, softened
1 cup good quality unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt chocolate with milk and whisk to combine. Cream sugar and butter, then add cocoa, then the melted chocolate milk and vanilla.

Easy Rocky Road Candy

I was licking the knife I had used to spread peanut butter on my sandwich when my gaze fell on an opened bag of marshmallows. It took me back to an easy recipe one of my Girl Scout troops once made. I don’t remember if any badges were involved but combining melted chocolate, marshmallows and peanut butter is a sure fire way to make the world a better place.*

Rocky Road Candy

1 cup peanut butter (I prefer Skippy Super Crunch Peanut Butter)
2 cups chocolate morsels (I prefer Ghiradelli Bittersweet Chocolate Chips)
1 tablespoon butter
2 cups small marshmallows

In a large double boiler, melt peanut butter, chocolate and butter. Stir to combine. Remove from heat and stir in the little marshmallows.

Pour into a buttered 8×8 pan and refrigerate for two hours (if you’re desperate, place it in freezer for 45 minutes). Cut into squares and serve.

* Girl Scout Law

I will do my best to be
honest and fair,
friendly and helpful,
considerate and caring,
courageous and strong, and
responsible for what I say and do,
and to 
respect myself and others,
respect authority,
use resources wisely,
make the world a better place, and
be a sister to every Girl Scout.

Chocolate Fondue

choc fondue set upMy family gathered to enjoy an evening of fondue yesterday. We started with cheese fondue, served with Granny Smith Apples and a crusty baguette. Then the meat course where we set forks of venison roast into boiling oil and served the meat with a variety of sauces, including Kräuterbutter (a German herby compound butter – we use a mix to make it from Herrmann called Kräuterbutter-Gewürz).

We ended the meal with my favorite part – chocolate fondue. Our dippers for that included strawberries, pound cake, marshmallows and bananas. Yummerific!

Oh, and that Better Homes and Gardens Fondue book has been in continuous use in our family since the 1970’s!

Chocolate Fondue

6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup light cream
1/2 cup butter
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons creme de cacao

In a saucepan melt chocolate over low heat. Add the sugar, cream, butter and salt. Cook, stirring constantly until thickened. Stir in liqueur.

Pour into fondue pot and serve with a choice of dippers.

supping with long forks