chocolate

All posts tagged chocolate

Chocolate Brownies with Salted Caramel Buttercream

Published January 24, 2015 by jenmatteson

Chocolate. Caramel. Need I say more.

Chocolate Brownies with Salted Caramel Buttercream

There are so many wonderful dessert combinations, but personally, I believe that chocolate and caramel take the cake (get it, cake!?). Salted caramel can be very difficult to master. Which is why I bought salted caramel topping instead of making my own. Yes, you read that correctly – I used store bought and did not make it from scratch. Oops.

Chocolate Brownies with Salted Caramel Buttercream

I cut these out in squares and used a piping bag to frost because they look pretty, but you can certainly keep them in the pan and spread the frosting on with a spatula. Or a dump truck. That’s what you’ll want to use anyway, because this frosting is GOO-OOD! Seriously, I would have piped this directly into my mouth had I not been making these for Thanksgiving (which means other people besides the hubs and myself).

Chocolate Brownies with Salted Caramel Buttercream

The brownies themselves are no joke either. The dark chocolate is rich, fudgy and velvety, and also keeps them from being too sweet. Paired with the caramel buttercream, it’s the perfect salty and sweet treat!

Chocolate Brownies with Salted Buttercream

Source: Adapted from Lund’s/Byerly’s
Servings: Makes 24

Ingredients:

Brownies:
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cubed
6 1/2 ounces dark chocolate, broken into pieces
3 large eggs
1 1/3 cups sugar
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Frosting:
1 1/2 sticks salted butter, softened
1 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
3 tbps salted caramel topping (usually found with ice cream toppings)
1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of a shallow 8-inch baking pan with parchment paper (Note: only do this if you plan to take them out of the pan to serve as I did. If you want to frost and cut right in the pan, just spray with a little cooking spray.) Set aside.

2. Melt butter and chocolate pieces in a double boiler (or over a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water) until both have melted, stirring occasionally until mixed and smooth. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat eggs and sugar together on high speed for about 5 minutes, until the mixture is thick and creamy and has doubled in volume. Pour the cooled chocolate mixture over the egg and sugar mixture, and gently fold together with a spatula. Sift in flour and cocoa powder and gently combine until the mixture has a sticky fudgelike consistency. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and spread into the corners with a spatula. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the top is shiny and the sides are just beginning to come away from the pan. Let the brownies cool completely.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter and sugar together in a bowl for at least 5 minutes, then gradually add the salted caramel topping and vanilla extract while continuing to mix. Cut and frost brownies as desired once completely cooled.

A twist on an old favorite: Swirl Banana Bread

Published November 12, 2014 by jenmatteson

My hubs loves bananas, and he’ll buy them any time he goes shopping on his own (so almost never). The problem is, he won’t eat them all before they start becoming a bit…questionable. Of course, my initial go-to is banana bread, but I thought this time I’d change it up slightly. After taking a look at the ingredients in this bread, I’m not sure you could call it bread, it is basically a cake. Oh well – it’s delicious!

Banana Swirl Bread

I ended up using a combination of unsweetened, bittersweet and semi-sweet chocolate. I thought I had more bittersweet in the cupboard, but I guess it’s now on my shopping list. But the unsweetened and semi-sweet chocolate seemed to balance each other out nicely. The bread wasn’t too sweet, which I liked. I also subbed skim milk for whole. I’m not a huge fan of spending $4 on a half-gallon of milk that I’ll only use 1 cup of, so I thought I’d give it a whirl. If you choose to use whole milk, I’m guessing the texture may be slightly more rich, but I’m not sure it’s really needed. While measuring the milk, I was slightly distracted and poured an entire cup. I ended up adding about 3/4 cup, instead of just a 1/2 cup, so the batter was runnier than it probably should have been. This is what I blame my poor “swirl” on 🙂

Banana Swirl Bread

This is an excellent way to use up some old bananas, and also spice up your same old boring banana bread!

Banana Swirl Bread

Banana Swirl Bread

Source: Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker
Servings: 1 loaf

Ingredients:

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1½ ripe bananas, peeled
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
zest of ½ a lemon
1 tablespoon dark rum
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 stick plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ cup skim milk

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter or non-stick spray loaf pan, dust the inside with flour and tap out the excess. Place the pan on an insulated baking sheet or on two regular baking sheets stacked on top of the other.

2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg.

3. In a small bowl, mash the bananas with the lemon juice, zest, and rum.

4. Melt the chocolate and 2 tablespoons of the butter together in a microwave oven or in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of gently simmering water.

5. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the remaining stick of butter at medium speed until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the sugars and beat for another 2 to 3 minutes, until light and smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in the vanilla. The batter will look curdled, and it will continue to look curdled as you add ingredients. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add half the flour mixture, mixing only until it is just incorporated. With the mixer running, pour in the milk; once blended, add the remaining dry ingredients. Scrape down the bowl and mix in the mashed bananas.

6. Pour a little less than half the batter into the bowl with the melted chocolate and stir to blend. Drop alternating spoonfuls of both batters into the prepared pan. Using a table knife, swirl the batters together, taking care not to overdo it.

7. Bake for 1 hour and 20 to 30 minutes, or until a knife inserted deep into the center of the cake comes out clean. Check after 30 minutes and if the cake starts to brown too much, cover it loosely with a foil tent. Transfer the cake to a cooling rack and let it rest for about 15 minutes before unmolding, then cool the cake to room temperature right side up on the rack.

Chocolate Lava Cake with Macerated Berries

Published January 13, 2014 by jenmatteson

The final piece to the cooking-dinner party I led a few weeks ago – dessert!   You know I’m a chocolate girl, so this was absolutely a fantastic ending to a wonderful dinner.  To recap, we started with zucchini fritters, had an arugula and apple salad with Serrano ham and Manchego cheese, had a wonderful time making homemade pasta and swiss chard ravioli in a smoked onion tomato sauce, and ended with this fabulous lava cake.  Here are a few quick pics from their party.

Getting dessert ready

Jessica and Janell working on dessert.

Melting chocolate for dessert

Liz melting the chocolate for dessert.

Rolling out and filling pasta

Amanda paved the road for rolling out the pasta and moved on to filling raviolis.

Ladies Night

All the ladies, sitting down to their well deserved meal!

But back to what you probably came here for, dessert.  Mmmmmmm 😛

Chocolate Lava Cake with Macerated Berries

The cake would be wonderful with ice cream or even confectioners’ sugar, but I thought the berries were perfect.  The cake itself isn’t very sweet, so the berries add not only a fresh, bright flavor, but a light sweetness.  You can really use any mix of berries, and frozen would be great and inexpensive, too!  The cake batter itself is the easy part, baking it to a point where it’s runny in the middle and cake on the outside is the art.  My husby is so precious – he didn’t realize the ‘lava’ part of the cake was just undercooked batter, and thought I injected the cake with something to make it runny.  Isn’t that cute?

Brandy Macerated Berries

You just have to keep your eye on the cakes while they cook – every oven is different, and times will vary based on the shape and depth of your ramekins.  The best time to take them out is when the sides are completely cooked, and the middle of the top (which will become the bottom) still looks uncooked, but is in fact somewhat firm to the light touch.  Not that it doesn’t taste good if you cook it all the way, but what’s a lava cake without the lava?

Chocolate Lava Cake with Macerated Berries

Chocolate Lava Cake with Macerated Berries

Source: Adapted from St. Francis/Chef David Bush
Servings: 6

Ingredients:

5 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
5 ounces (1¼ sticks) unsalted butter
3 tablespoons cornstarch
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
4 eggs
4 egg yolks
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon brandy
oil or butter for coating ramekins
1 pint mixed berries (such as raspberries and blackberries)

Directions:

1.  Pour about ¾-inch water in the bottom of a double boiler, making certain top pan will not touch water.  Bring the water to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer.  Chop bittersweet and unsweetened chocolate into small pieces and place in the top of double boiler with butter and place over boiling water.  Stir occasionally with a rubber spatula until chocolate and butter are completely melted and smooth. Remove from heat.

2. Sift cornstarch and sugar into a large bowl. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and 1 tbsp brandy, then whisk egg mixture into the cornstarch-sugar mixture all at once.  Whisk in the chocolate-butter mixture. Cover and chill batter at least 2 hours, or overnight, before using.

3. In a small bowl, combine berries with ¼ cup brandy and sprinkle with sugar.  Gently mash the berries with the back of a fork and set aside.

4. Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly oil (or butter and flour) six 6-ounce ramekins or small soufflé dishes. Place ½ cup batter in each ramekin until barely risen and cracked on top, 10 to 14 minutes. Cool about 8 minutes before serving. Unmold onto plates and spoon berries on top of each.  You could also serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, with, or instead of berries.

Chocolate Dipped Brazilian Truffles

Published November 30, 2013 by jenmatteson

The Oreo truffles have pretty much jumped the shark by now, although still delicious and I don’t know a soul that doesn’t love them.  If you haven’t had one or known someone who makes them, you must be living under a rock 😉  I have made them several times myself, but wanted to try something new and exciting.  Plus, the one thing that I don’t really like about the Oreo truffles is that they should be kept refrigerated because of the cream cheese, and that doesn’t lend itself well to grazing during the holiday season.

Chocolate Dipped Brazilian Truffles

In search of something new, I came across these Brazilian truffles in Food and Wine.  I whipped up a batch and was pretty satisfied, though I expected them to be slightly more chocolaty.  Instead, it was more like a decadent caramel.  Nate loved them and asked for another as he was still picking the first one out of his teeth!  I thought they’d make a lovely filling for a truffle, so why not just cover them in a hard chocolate shell?  Brilliant!

Chocolate Dipped Brazilian TrufflesChocolate Dipped Brazilian Truffles

I am in heaven.  Good thing I planned to bring them all to Thanksgiving dinner so we didn’t have a bunch lying around our house.  Also good thing it’s winter coat season 😉  The outside has a firm chocolaty shell, while the inside is rich, creamy, chewy and caramely.  Even better, top them with whatever you want.  I used bittersweet chocolate shavings, coconut and walnuts.  Use whatever you like, I’m sure your family will hardly notice while scarfing them down this holiday season.

Chocolate Dipped Brazilian Truffles

Chocolate Dipped Brazilian Truffles

Source: Adapted from Food and Wine
Servings: Makes 12-15 truffles

Ingredients:

1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
1-oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 tsp salted butter
24 oz semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:

1. In a medium non-stick pan, combine sweetened condensed milk, bittersweet chocolate and butter.  Cook over moderately low heat, stirring constantly, until shiny and very thick, about 15-18 minutes.  Pour and spread mixture into a shallow dish and let cool, about 20 minutes.

2. Rub a small amount of oil or butter between your hands.  Begin to scoop out teaspoons of chocolate mixture and roll between hands into balls.  Set on wax paper lined baking sheet and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.

3. Melt chocolate chips in double boiler.  If you don’t have one, place a heat-proof bowl over a simmering pot of water, being sure the bowl does not touch the water.  Pour chips into bowl and stir continuously until melted.

4. Roll refrigerated balls in melted chocolate until well coated.  Top with desired toppings (sprinkles, chocolate shavings, coconut, nuts, etc.).  Refrigerate until outer chocolate hardens.  Serve slightly cool or room temperature.  Store in airtight container.

Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies – Gluten Free!

Published October 13, 2013 by jenmatteson

This weekend we helped one of our good friend’s parents rebuild their deck.  Well, Nate helped.  I helped the ladies supervise and delegate (and drink wine) 😉  Knowing that it was going to be an all day event, I wanted to bring something to share.  We were told food and beer would be provided, but I couldn’t bring myself to show up empty-handed, so I brought these insanely indulgent GF brownies, as well as Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps (substituting Tamari – a GF product – for soy sauce).

Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Brownies

My girlfriend has recently been eating gluten-free, which has made me much more conscious of what I make for her.  It’s really surprising how many substitutes and alternatives there are out there for products that contain gluten, and you don’t even need to spend a fortune or visit your closest Whole Foods!

Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Brownies

My Food and Wine magazine arrived just In time!  There was a small section dedicated to Tu-Lu’s Bakery, which specializes on gluten-free and vegan products.  This recipe was tried over and over again to get them exactly perfect, densely chocolaty but not too fudgy.  I must say that I agree.  These brownies were amazing, and I especially love the peanut butter chips!  While this is gluten-free recipe, it is by no means healthy.  No wonder they are so delicious!  A quick tip – use the biggest mixing bowl you have to mix the batter – mine was filled to the rim and I could barely mix all the ingredients without spilling on the counter.  More batter for me, I guess 😛

Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Brownies

Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Brownies

Source: Adapted from Food and Wine
Servings: Makes 24 brownies

Ingredients:

3 sticks unsalted butter
3/4 lb dark chocolate, finely chopped
3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp white rice flour
3/4 tapioca flour
1/2 tsp kosher salt
6 large eggs
3 cups sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 cup peanut butter chips
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan.

2. Place butter in top of double boiler filled with water, simmer over medium-low heat.  Melt butter, stirring occasionally.  Add dark chocolate and stir until melted.  Remove from heat.

3. In a small bowl, whisk the rice flour, tapioca flour and salt.  In a large bowl (your very largest mixing bowl – trust me), whisk the eggs with the sugar and vanilla until blended.  Fold in the dry ingredients until incorporated, then fold in the peanut butter and semisweet chocolate chips.  Fold in the melted chocolate until all ingredients are well combined.  Pour mixture into prepared baking dish.

4. Bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, until the brownies are slightly puffed and a tester comes out clean.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Mint Chocolate Chip Frosting

Published June 12, 2013 by jenmatteson

I just made chocolate cupcakes, I know.  But they went over so well, I thought I’d make them again.  Plus, I had this recipe waiting on my list, calling my name.  Also, we spent another evening with my parents, a fire, cocktails and puppies.  Yep.  You heard right. Puppies!  Their dog, Molly, had puppies on Memorial Day, so they were almost two weeks old when we saw them on Friday.  They’re tri-color pure bread English springer spaniels; gorgeous dogs!

Chocolate Cupcakes with Mint Chocolate Chip Frosting

I saw this recipe on Eva Bakes and saved it right away.  I’m not a mint lover, but I do like it.  And you know I love me some chocolate, so I was ready to get down on these cupcakes.  Eva said the cupcake part was a little drier than she had hoped, so I decided to go with a base I’d used before and absolutely loved.  But the frosting is definitely from her site.

The frosting was perfect!  My only gripe is that I couldn’t pipe it on because the chocolate chips clogged up the tip.  Oh well, they’re not beautiful, but they are certainly delicious!

Chocolate Cupcakes with Mint Chocolate Chip Frosting

Chocolate Cupcakes with Mint Chocolate Chip Frosting

Source: Adapted from Eva Bakes
Servings: Makes about 20 cupcakes

Ingredients:

For the cupcakes:
1 cup plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract

For the frosting:
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
3-4 cups powdered sugar
2 tbsp heavy cream
1/4 tsp peppermint extract
2-3 drops green food coloring
2/3 cups mini chocolate chips

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 18 muffin cups with paper liners.  In a medium bowl, whisk flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Combine buttermilk and water in a measuring cup.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter with both sugars until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Beat in egg and vanilla.  With the mixer on low-speed, beat in flour mixture in 3 additions, altering with the buttermilk.

3. Spoon batter into paper liners, filling them 3/4 full.  Bake for about 20 minutes, until a tester inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean  Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

3. To make frosting, beat butter on medium speed in the bowl of a stand mixer for 30-60 seconds, until smooth and creamy.  Reduce mixer speed to low and add 3 cups powdered sugar, heavy cream, peppermint extract and food coloring.  Once the sugar is combined, turn the mixer to high and beat for 3 minutes.  Adjust to desired taste and consistency.  If its runny, add powdered sugar.  If its thick, add more cream.  If it’s too sweet, add a pinch of salt.  Mix in chocolate chips by hand and frost cooled cupcakes.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Caramel Ganache and Coconut (or not)

Published May 23, 2013 by jenmatteson

Last Friday, my family celebrated Mother’s Day (late) and my dad’s birthday.  They are always so close, and it’s hard to get my family together with work and the little ones, that it’s easiest for us to celebrate these two events together.  We certainly cannot celebrate birthdays without a cake, and Mother’s Day without dessert?  Well that just doesn’t seem right!  Lucky for me, I had just seen this recipe in the latest Food and Wine, which I was dying to make.  Perfect!  Well, sort of.  My mom doesn’t like coconut (unless it’s in the rum in her Panty Ripper).  So I garnished half the cupcakes with the toasted coconut and the other half with shaved bittersweet chocolate.  Both were a hit!

Chocolate Cupcakes with Caramel Ganache

My honey is so precious when it comes to his food.  I think I’ve mentioned before he can be quite protective of his leftovers.  When we were heading to my parents house this weekend to pick up some plants, I grabbed some of the leftover cupcakes to give to them.  We still had 8 leftover from Friday, and while we certainly could eat that many cupcakes, we really don’t need to.  While I was putting the container in the backseat of the car, Nate asks adorably, “What are you doing with those?”  I tell him, ” I’m bringing them for my parents,” and he said like a stubborn child, “Well, how many?”  At this point, he was just too cute to take seriously.  I told him we didn’t need a dozen cupcakes (exaggerating slightly).  When he later went to get a cupcake, he asked where the rest were because I had told him we had a dozen.  So precious.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Caramel Ganache

He was certainly in his right mind questioning giving away these suckers.  They were so delicious.  The cake was moist and fluffy, and the ganache (basically a chocolate frosting – but look it up for a more distinct description) was so creamy and rich, with just a hint of the caramel.  I loved the coconut topping, but if you aren’t fan, skip it, or add shaved chocolate like I did.  I’m assuming my mom really enjoyed them, seeing as how when I brought them over, she got herself a plate and ate one right then and there.  Love love love sharing my food, especially when people really like it!

Chocolate Cupcakes with Caramel Ganache

Chocolate Cupcakes with Caramel Ganache

Chocolate Cupcakes with Caramel Ganache and Coconut

Source: Adapted from Food and Wine
Servings: Makes 18 cupcakes

Ingredients:

For the frosting:
12 oz milk chocolate, finely chopped
2 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 cup heavy cream

For the cupcakes:
1 cup plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
12 oz unsweetened large-flaked coconut (spend the money to get the large flake stuff, not that other shredded crap)

Directions:

1. Make the Frosting.  In a large mixing bowl, combine both chocolates.  In a medium saucepan, combine sugar and water and cook over moderate heat until sugar is dissolved.  Boil without stirring, scraping down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush occasionally, until a deep-amber color forms, about 8 to 10 minutes (mine only took 6 minutes before it started to get too dark, so keep a very close eye on it).  Reduce heat to low and carefully add the cream; it will bubble vigorously.  Whisk until smooth, then pour caramel over chocolate.  Let stand for 2 minutes, then whisk until frosting is smooth.  Refrigerate until cool but spreadable, about 2 hours.

2. Meanwhile, make the cupcakes.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 18 muffin cups with paper liners.  In a medium bowl, whisk flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Combine buttermilk and water in a measuring cup.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter with both sugars until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Beat in egg and vanilla.  With the mixer on low-speed, beat in flour mixture in 3 additions, altering with the buttermilk.

 

Toasted Flaked Coconut

3. Spoon batter into paper liners, filling them 3/4 full.  Bake for about 20 minutes, until a tester inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean  Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

4. Meanwhile, spread coconut out on rimmed baking sheet and toast for 2 to 3 minutes, until lightly golden.  Let cool.

5. Frost the cupcakes and top with toasted coconut.  Or don’t.  I don’t care.

 

 

 

 

 

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