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Entries in Chocolate (11)


Peanut Butter Cup Brownies

PB Cup Brownies

Today is my brother’s 30th birthday. Of the two of us, I have the bigger sweet tooth. That being said, when he does eat sweets, he doesn’t mess around. Each year of our adult lives, I’ve been making dessert for his birthday dinner, and each year, he suggests the same “guidelines” and leaves me to choose the perfect recipe: chocolate with peanut butter, or Oreo. The boy certainly knows the best flavor combos! This year, I figured the suggestion was no different, so imagine my surprise when he said brownies! While I could have just used that as an excuse to go easy this year and reach for a box, I could never do no such thing for such a milestone birthday! I took it as the chance to merge his apparent simpler tastes of his 30’s with his favorite flavors of his 20’s. Not to mention, merge my favorite flavors together into one fudgy bite. These brownies were rich, but delicious. Definitely the right way to ring in a new decade. Happy birthday, Michael!

For the Brownies
10 tablespoons Butter
4 ounces Semisweet or Milk Chocolate Chips, divided
1 cup Sugar
2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
2 Eggs
1/2 cup Cocoa Powder
1/2 cup Flour
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/2 cup Creamy Peanut Butter
1 tablespoon Butter, softened
1 tablespoon Powdered Sugar
Peanut Butter Cups, chopped (about 15-20 miniature size)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line an 8x8-inch baking dish with parchment paper and spray lightly with non-stick cooking spray. To a large, microwave safe bowl, add the butter along with 2 ounces of the chocolate, and microwave for 30 second intervals, stirring after each interval, until the chocolate is smooth and melted. Whisk in the sugar until completely combined. Add the vanilla and eggs, whisking until smooth. Stir in the cocoa powder, flour, and salt until just combined. In a small bowl, mix together the peanut butter, powdered sugar, and 1 tablespoon of butter until smooth. Pour half of the brownie batter into the prepared baking dish. Drop the peanut butter mixture onto the brownie batter and sprinkle with the remaining 2 ounces of the chocolate. Top with the remaining brownie batter, gently spreading it toward the sides of the dish, if needed. Bake for 30 minutes (my oven took more like 45 minutes), until the brownies are set on top. Allow the brownies to cool completely before frosting. 

For the Frosting
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
5 1/2 ounces Semisweet Chocolate, chopped (I used chips)
1 tablespoon Creamy Peanut Butter
2 teaspoons Vanilla

In a small saucepan, bring the cream to just below a boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate and peanut butter until it is melted and smooth. Set the frosting aside to cool and thicken as the brownies are cooling. Once thickened and cooled, spread the frosting on the brownies and sprinkle with chopped peanut butter cups. Allow the frosting to set for about 30 minutes (I popped them in the fridge) before slicing into 16 squares. 

SOURCE: Half Baked Harvest


Dark and Stormy Chocolate Cake

Dark and Stormy Cake

Happy 2015! I’m ringing in the new year with a delicious cocktail-inspired dessert! Joel and I discovered Dark and Stormy cocktails on our trip to Newport, RI and haven’t been able to get enough of them since. While the drinks remind me of summer, they really are delicious all year round. We hosted Christmas dinner at our house, and since I chose the meal, Joel chose a dessert from a cookbook we have. I should have guessed that he would pick this cake. Perhaps he was nostalgic for the warm ocean breeze or maybe he just wanted an excuse to have rum in his dessert, but either way, it was the perfect way to end a Christmas meal!

For the Cake:
1/2 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Molasses
1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
1 1/4 cups Flour
4 1/2 teaspoons Fresh Ginger, peeled and grated
1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Ground Cloves 
1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper
1/2 cup Water
1/4 cup Dark Rum
2 Eggs
2 teaspoons Lime Zest
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
4 ounces Dark Chocolate, chopped

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the sugar, molasses, and oil. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and pepper. Slowly add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture and mix to combine. Add water, rum, eggs, lime zest, and baking soda. Fold in the chocolate. Pour the batter into a 9-inch round cake pan that has been buttered/sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Cool on a cooling rack, then remove the cake from the pan and let cool completely.  

For the Frosting:
8 ounces Dark Chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup (1 stick) Butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon Vanilla
2 cups Powdered Sugar
2 packages (8 ounces each) Cream Cheese

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler (or in the microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring between each). In a bowl, cream the butter and vanilla with the powdered sugar. Add the cream cheese and melted chocolate and combine until smooth. Pipe or spread on cake. Depending on how much frosting you like, you will have leftovers. Store in the fridge.

SOURCE: Mast Brothers Chocolate: A Family Cookbook 


Sour Cream Chocolate Bundt Cake

Sour Cream Chocolate Bundt

My college girlfriends and I like to get together every few months to catch up. While I am lucky enough to have a job where I work with one of them, we all don’t see each other as often as we would like. Life has a habit of getting in the way sometimes. But, we were able to carve out a little time last night to meet up at my friend Jessica’s house for dinner. She has 2 little kids and it was fun to see them running around and having a good time. Of course, my friend Jenelle brought her 4 month old baby too, who we enjoyed passing around between all of us. Jess made lasagna, and we all brought the rest of the food to make a full meal. I volunteered to bring dessert. Chocolate is a safe bet so I started searching for a cake to make. I found one on my friend Amy’s Pinterest board, which was perfect because I knew she’d be there craving something chocolatey. While this bundt cake had several steps to it, and took quite a while to bake (I killed the time by listening to the Serial podcast, which I am obsessed with), the results were outstanding! The cake took a little longer than planned to cook, so it came out of the oven just as I had to leave. I inverted the pan onto my travel carrier and the cake plopped right out. I whipped up the ganache, but waited to pour it until after I got to her house, so that it wouldn’t leak out of the carrier onto my car floor mats. After dinner, we cut into the cake, which was still slightly warm. We all loved it, especially Jessica’s husband, who said that most chocolate cakes he’s had have been dry and this one was the complete opposite. Must have been the sour cream! Anyway, next time I’m in need of a slightly fancier chocolate cake, I’ll turn to this recipe because it certainly is a winner!

For the Cake
1 cup Cocoa Powder, plus more for dusting the pan
7 1/2 ounces Semisweet Chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup Boiling Water
2 1/4 cups Flour
1 1/2 teaspoons Baking Soda
1 1/4 teaspoons Kosher Salt
20 tablespoons Butter, at room temperature (2 1/2 sticks)
2 1/2 cups Light Brown Sugar, firmly packed
5 Eggs
4 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
1 1/2 cups Sour Cream
1 1/2 cups Semisweet Chocolate Chips

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease a bundt cake pan and dust with cocoa powder, tapping out the excess. In a large bowl, combine the cocoa powder and the chopped chocolate. Add the boiling water and whisk until the chocolate melts and the mixture is smooth; set aside. In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside. Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the beater attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Reduce speed to low and add the brown sugar until blended. Increase the speed back to medium and continue beating until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 5 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl when necessary. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until incorporated, then add the vanilla. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture a little at a time, alternating with the sour cream, beginning and ending with the flour. When the mixture is well blended and no lumps remain, slowly pour in the chocolate mixture, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl when necessary. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the chocolate chips. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached, about 60-65 minutes (mine took almost 75). Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the cake cool before inverting it onto a serving tray and removing the pan. 

For the Ganache
6 ounces Semisweet Chocolate, finely chopped (I used chocolate chips)
2 tablespoons Butter
1/2 cup Heavy Cream

Place the chocolate and butter into a heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the cream to a boil. Immediately pour the cream over the chocolate and butter. Whisk until the mixture is melted and smooth. Pour the ganache over the top of the cake, allowing it to drip down he sides. Let the cake stand for about 15 minutes, until the ganache has set. *Ganache can be made ahead of time and reheated to regain a pourable consistency. I nuked it for about 20 seconds in the microwave. 

SOURCE: Lick The Bowl Good




Peanut Butter Pie

Peanut butter pie

I can’t believe that it is already the end of February. Somehow, I have the feeling that 2014 is going to fly. With the end of the month comes Secret Recipe Club Reveal Day! This past month, I was assigned to Nicole’s blog, I Am A Honey Bee. I absolutely enjoyed every second of searching through Nicole’s blog, reading about the food she cooks, her scrapbooking, her travels, and her family, including her super cute Boston Terrier and her sweet little baby daughter. Boston is one of my favorite cities, so I enjoyed her posts that explored the New England area. I also enjoyed her scrapbook posts, as I have scrapbooked for quite some time (though I’ve fallen away recently). Every recipe that Nicole posted sounded like something I’d make in my own kitchen. I couldn’t help but think as I read through her posts that if I lived in the Boston area, we’d be fast friends! After narrowing my choices down to about 2 dozen recipes, I finally settled on this peanut butter pie, thanks to a little help from my brother. His birthday was mid-month and my mom had us all over for dinner. As I do every year, I volunteered to bring dessert. I don’t know why I bother asking Michael what he wants me to make, because every year he responds by saying “anything with Oreo or peanut butter flavor”. Perfect! This recipe made more filling than needed for the pie, which would have been perfect to make individual pies, but I chose to eat it by spooning it onto the leftover Oreos from the crust. Thanks Nicole, for helping me to join my brother’s two favorite flavors into one delicious birthday pie. I had a great time getting to know you this month! 

8 ounces Oreos (about half a package)
4 tablespoons Butter, melted
4 ounces Chocolate Chips or Finely Chopped Chocolate (I used dark)
1/4 cup Peanuts, chopped
1 cup Heavy Cream
8 ounces Cream Cheese
1 cup Creamy Peanut Butter
1 cup Powdered Sugar
1 can (14 ounces) Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 teaspoon Lemon Juice 

Process the cookies in a food processor until crumbs are formed. Dump the cookie crumbs into a bowl and add the melted butter; mix well. Firmly press the cookie crumb mixture into a 9” pie plate. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or the microwave for 30-second intervals, stirring between each, until fully melted. Pour the melted chocolate over the cookie crust and spread into an even layer. Sprinkle the chopped peanuts over the chocolate and place the pie plate in the fridge to firm while preparing the filling. Pour the heavy cream into the bowl of a stand mixer and using the whisk attachment, whisk the cream until soft peaks form. Place the whipped cream into the fridge to chill. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and peanut butter until well combined. Add the condensed milk and beat until incorporated. Slowly add the powdered sugar and blend until fully incorporated. Add the vanilla extract and lemon juice and beat until smooth. Fold 1/3 of the whipped cream into the filling with a rubber spatula until blended. Then fold in the remaining whipped cream until no white streaks remain. Pour the filling into the pie plate and most the top with a spatula. Sprinkle with additional peanuts or chocolate, if desired. Refrigerate for until 3 hours before serving.

SOURCE: I Am A Honey Bee


Salted Caramel Cashew Bark 

Salted caramel cashew bark

We are big fans of dark chocolate. There is almost always some kind of dark chocolate bar in our pantry, just waiting to be shared as an after dinner treat. Sometimes it’s plain, sometimes it’s flavored with chili pepper, nuts, or sea salt, but no matter what, it is savored and enjoyed. Sure, we’ve had some bad flavor combinations in the past, and sometimes the flavors that the store has don’t sound appealing, but it has never crossed my mind to make my own until I saw this post! Life changing, I tell you! How can you go wrong with sea salt, caramel, cashews, and dark chocolate? The answer is, you can’t! This bark took no time at all to put together…and no time to disappear! I can’t wait to play around with this recipe and see how many other flavor combinations I can come up with!

12 ounces Dark Chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used dark chocolate chips)
1/2 cup Cashews
1/4 cup Caramel Sauce, at room temperature (I used caramel ice cream sauce)
1-2 teaspoons Flaky Salt 

Line an 8” or 9" pan or a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl. Melt the chocolate in the microwave or on the stovetop over a pan of simmering water. (I microwaved the chocolate for 30 seconds at a time, stirring until the chocolate was smooth and melted). Meanwhile, toast the cashews in a dry pan over medium heat until fragrant. When the chocolate is melted, pour it onto the prepared pan, using a rubber spatula to smooth it out. Drop spoonfuls of the caramel onto the chocolate and swirl with a skewer. Sprinkle the cashews over the chocolate and then top with the salt. Refrigerate until set, then cut or break the bark into pieces and serve. 

SOURCE: Cook Like a Champion, via A Southern Fairytale