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

Sourdough Chocolate Cupcakes

In my never ending quest to keep up with my sourdough starter, I found this recipe on the King Arthur Flour site. They made a cake with a frosting and a drizzle. I made cupcakes and used my quick, fudge frosting to ice them.

lets-go-streaking-with-cupcakes

Wearing a “Let’s Go Streaking” cupcake t-shirt!

Sourdough Chocolate Cupcakes

1 cup “fed” sourdough starter
1 cup milk
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa (not Dutch process)
1 teaspoon espresso powder
2 large eggs

Feed your starter and remove one cup. Combine the fed starter, milk and flour in a large mixing bowl. Cover and let rest at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours. It will expand a little bit.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Fill 2 muffin tins with cupcake liners.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the sugar, oil, vanilla, salt, baking soda, cocoa and espresso powder.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gently combine the chocolate mixture with the starter-flour-milk mixture and beat gently until smooth.  Pour the batter into the prepared liners.

Bake the cupcakes for 30 minutes, rotating pan midway through baking. Bake until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and set it on a rack to cool for 5 minutes before removing from the pan. Once entirely cool, frost generously.

Makes 18 cupcakes.

Fudge Frosting

1 stick butter
1/4 cup cocoa
1/3 cup milk
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

In a saucepan, combine butter, cocoa, and milk; bring to a boil. Add sugar and vanilla; beat well until smooth. Place in the refrigerator to cool before using. If frosting becomes too stiff, add 1 drop of milk at a time until it reaches the desired frosting consistency.

Darkly Chocolate Brownies

I woke up craving chocolate, so I started these brownies. They are mixed in a large double boiler, so there isn’t a lot of cleanup. Oh, and they get better as they sit (they are very gooey when first taken out of the oven but firm up with time) as the chocolate gets even more intense the next day.

brownies

Darkly Chocolate Brownies

1 cup (2 sticks) butter
5 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
3 large eggs
1-1/4 cup flour
3/4 cups bittersweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup roasted cacoa nibs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large double boiler or in a large bowl over a saucepan with some water in it, melt the butter with the unsweetened chocolate over low heat, stirring occasionally. When smooth and melted, sprinkle on cocoa powder and whisk to combine. Remove the pan from heat and allow to cool slightly.

Using a hand mixer, mix in sugar and vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time. Reducing mixer speed to low, mix in the flour. Add the chocolate chips and cacoa nibs and stir just until combined.

Pour the very thick batter into a buttered 8 x 8 or 9 x 13 baking pan (a square pan will result in thicker brownies). Smooth the top and place in the oven.

Bake for 40 minutes, then check the brownies with a toothpick. If it is overly gooey/messy, return to the oven for 5 to 10 more minutes. Don’t leave them in there until the toothpick comes out clean, though, as that would be too long.

Allow to cool completely before cutting into small squares. The brownies are very rich!

Very Chocolate Cupcakes

It is that time of the month and I’m craving chocolate and cake. But mainly chocolate. These cupcakes have the chocolate kicked up – first, by making a slurry of cocoa powder, bittersweet chocolate and coffee you get an intense taste of chocolate. The recipe also calls for bread flour as its added gluten development means more chocolate can be added than in a cupcake with all-purpose or cake flour (hat tip to America’s Test Kitchen for that trick). For even more flavor, I added cacao nibs to the cupcake batter and used Creme de Cacao instead of vanilla in the frosting.

cupcakes

Very Chocolate Cupcakes

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (I used Ghiradelli)
1/3 cup high quality Dutch processed cocoa (I used Droste)
1 cup brewed coffee, hot
3/4 cup bread flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup sugar
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup cacao nibs (optional)

Place cocoa and chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Pour coffee over and let stand 5 minutes before whisking. Mix until smooth and set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners.

Sift together the flour, salt and baking soda. Stir in sugar.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine cooled chocolate, vegetable oil and eggs over medium low speed. Add in vinegar and vanilla and mix well. Add in the flour sugar mixture and beat until smooth. Stir in cacao nibs, if using.

Divide batter evenly among the prepared cupcake liners. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Allow to cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely before frosting, about one hour.

 

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

1 8 ounce package of cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup good quality cocoa powder
2 2/3 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon Creme de Cacao (or vanilla extract)

Sift together cocoa powder and powdered sugar – this step is important as it gets rid of any lumps in the sugar. Combine the butter and cream cheese in a stand mixer and mix until smooth. Reduce the speed to low and add in the cocoa and powdered sugar. Add Creme de Cacao and mix well.

Frost cupcakes. This recipe can easily frost 18 cupcakes, so you can be very generous with the 12 of the above recipe.

Bailey’s Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Pecan Cream Cheese Frosting

I saw this recipe in my Facebook timeline feed and figured that, with a few tweeks, that it would fill my deep and abiding, end of year chocolate needs. We used Bailey’s Irish Cream instead of vanilla extract. The 1 cup of boiling water made the batter super thin – it resulted in light cupcakes but, I don’t know about you but I want density with my dark chocolate. We also used my favorite frosting for a nutty, creamy finish.

cupcakes

Bailey's Dark Chocolate Cupcakes

2 cups sugar
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup very best quality cocoa (I used Droste)
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon Bailey’s Irish Cream or 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
1/2 cup boiling water

Heat oven to 350°F. Line 28 to 30 muffin cups (2-1/2 inches in diameter) with paper bake cups.

Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will thin out considerably). Pour batter into cups about 2/3 full.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes for round pans or 22 to 25 minutes for cupcakes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost with Chocolate Pecan Cream Cheese Frosting.

 

Chocolate Pecan Cream Cheese Frosting

1 8oz package cream cheese
2 3/4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup good quality cocoa
1/2 stick butter, softened
1 cup chopped pecans
2 teaspoons Praline liquor or vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt

Mix all together. Frost cupcakes. Lick spoon. Dab a little bit behind your ears and celebrate the start of a new year!

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Bars

I turned on the television to watch English Premier League soccer on the Spanish language channel, Telemundo. First thing that comes up is a commercial for Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. I’m not strong enough to resist temptation in two languages so I headed to the kitchen to make something with chocolate and peanut butter.

I went with a recipe from Maida Heatter. She’s an awesome baker and I go back to her cookie books regularly. In this cookie bar recipe, she added jelly – while it is a cool concept (peanut butter and jelly), I found it distracting so eliminated it. I also nixed the additional peanuts, as the chunky peanut butter gives it plenty of peanutty flavor and crunch. I like the deeper chocolateness of semi-sweet morsels and switched them for the milk chocolate chips in the original recipe.

These are sort of like blondies but more cake-like and with a delicious peanut butter flavor and plenty of chocolate chips.

img_20161211_133117

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Bars

Adapted from Maida Heatter’s Brand New Book of Great Cookies

1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 stick butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup chunky peanut butter
¾ cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 cups semi-sweet morsels

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter a 9X13 baking pan.

Sift together dry ingredients and set aside. In the bowl of a mixer, add the butter and vanilla. Beat until creamed. Add the peanut butter and beat until smooth. Beat in the brown sugar. Add the eggs one at a time. Reduce speed to low and mix in the sifted dry ingredients. Stir in the morsels.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth out the top.

Bake for 35 minutes, rotating the pan in the middle of cooking. Insert a toothpick in the middle to check for doneness. It should come out clean.

Remove from oven and let stand on a rack until cool. Chill until firm and then cut into bars.