Tag Archives: chocolate

TWD: still breathing….

Yup.  I am still around.  I have been lurking a bit but not baking much.  If I start relaying how crazy this summer was and how I never meant to take an extended break, I probably won’t stop for 37 pages and we still won’t have discussed TWD.  While lurking, it came to my attention that TWD will be finished by the end of the year.  I started baking along in April 2008.  That is a lifetime ago in some respects (and about two weeks ago in others).   The point is…it’s a long time to bake along and not finish.

so?

So, I am finishing.  I wish I could say that I had today’s flip over plum cake to report on but we ate all the plums in 2.6 seconds.   I will make it though, along with a few others I missed, and, if all goes according to plan (hollow laugh), I will even post about it.

For today, I can report that Colin (above – shiner courtesy of playground roughhousing) and Will enjoyed the classic brownies.  I tried a small bite but not enough to make a definitive conclusion about them.   They seemed dandy but Dorie has enough good brownie recipes that I probably won’t go back to these soon.

I also made the salt+pepper cocoa shortbreads.  Salt+pepper+sweet is exactly the kind of weird food I love.  I, therefore, could only make half a batch and immediately took all but one to work.  If they hadn’t been shortbread (eh), I probably would have devoured them in the car on the way.  What I tasted I did like and will probably crave until I breakdown and make a bowl of dough and eat it standing at the kitchen counter.

All pictures will be iphone photos now officially.  The incredible “hassle” of downloading photos has thwarted more than blog post in my past.  So, I officially give in to my laziness. 

I am really going to make an effort to be back next week and the week after that.  Get used to me folks.  I am sticking around for awhile.

TWD: Chocolate Oatmeal (??) Drops

A photo study of a Sunday night, chocolate oatmeal drops included.  Please note, I said NIGHT and it was January.  Draw your own conclusions about the quality.

Will playing basketball in the kitchen, trying to avoid the bags of clothes are giving away.  Notice that he is still in his uniform.  His game was at 2:00pm.  This was after dinner .

The rest of the pics were taken by Will.

Me mixing the dry ingredients.

The entire family (parents included) is banned from electronics until after dinner on Sundays.  Colin whips out the game controllers as soon as possible.

In case you were wondering what was on screen.

The finished chocolate oatmeal drops.  Hmmm…I didn’t “get” the addition of the oatmeal to these.   I wish I had left it out or substituted something else.  Colin, of course, was disappointed to discover the oats.  He wanted them removed from the next batch…

TWD: Chocolate Fluff Filled Mini Muffileines

What is a great snack after sledding?*  Mini muffileines.

What is a great ending to an otherwise super healthy meal of white bean stew?  Mini muffileines.

What will send your kids into a chocolate induced frenzy of gratitude?  Mini muffeilenes.

So, yeah, these were a big hit at our house. *best cupcakes ever, mom* .  We double dipped in the ganache because wasting?  It is soooo against our philosophy around here.  :)

Variations:  just the obvious.  I don’t own a madeleine pan.

Bottom Line:  fabulous.  and I am not even sure you need the fluff to enjoy the fabulousness.  Thanks to Margo of Effort to Deliciousness.  Full recipe there.

*these were taken at the first hint of snowfall.  Santa brought sleds for christmas and two young men were dying to try them out.  The real sledding came the next day…

TWD: Catch up Post

OK.  I am still here.  Life is moving at warp speed.  I have actually made the last three recipes but haven’t posted them.  I am not going to have time to mess with pictures today but I feel compelled to post my reviews of the last three before it turns into four.  So, here goes:

BRRROWNIES

I really wanted to make these with York pieces but I had a small window of time to make them on Sunday afternoon.  And there was a torrential downpour.  And I had Andes baking pieces in the cabinet.  You do the math.  I tried a small corner and declared them moist, chocolatey and minty.  Then I sent them to a friend who is serving overseas.  COMPLETELY forgot to take a picture.  I have made a similar recipe with whole york mini patties from Everyday Foods.  It has a row of patties in the middle of brownies.  Also very good.

Tarte Noire

I made this for my mom’s birthday and she declared it one of her favorite desserts.  This is one of those desserts that will fool your friends into thinking that you really know what you are doing.  AWESOME.

Rum Drenched Vanilla Cakes

I had no time and no rum.  I made one cake and used chocolate chips and coffee instead of rum.  Very nice simple cake.   I wish I had remembered to coat the chocolate chips with a little flour because they all sunk to the bottom.  Oh well.  I turned the cake over and it became a cake with a chocolate chip topping.  Probably not a repeat for me but that is mostly the result of my ambivalence towards poundcakes.

Whew.  Next week I hope to be back in the game.  with pictures even.

TWD: Dressy (for some) Chocolate Loaf Cake

So, even a lazy half-hearted blog can influence the way my family reacts to my baking.  I made the Dressy Loaf Cake on Saturday night (pre-father’s day since we were going to be gone on Father’s Day.  That is a disappointing story maybe best saved for another time).  I asked Will what he thought and this was his response, “I liked the cake but had some issues with the frosting.”  Issues?  Who says that?  More specifically, what 8 yr old boy says that?  I’ll tell you…an 8 yr old boy who can’t just eat his cake in peace because his mother must have reviews to report.  That’s who.

I do, however, have to agree with his “issues.”  The cake was good; loved the jam in middle (some Cherry, Pomegranate, Kiwi blend from Costco).  The frosting was a little too tangy for me.  I think I would substitute a fudgy frosting next time. 

PS  did you see the cake plate up top?  Sorry, even though I made this cake within about a hare’s breath of the longest day of the year, I still managed to finish it in the dark.  You’ll have to settle for the mangled version.  Anyhoo, the cake plate!  It is my fifth attempt at owning one.  My dear dad purchased it for me for $2 at a church garage sale.  Will it last long enough for me to get his money’s worth?  Jury is still out on that one.

Bottom Line:  good cake; meh frosting.  The full recipe is at Amy Ruth Bakes.

Next week:  rum drenched vanilla cakes.  We have a family reunion coming up this weekend.  Vanilla cakes are definitely in the wait and see how exhausted I am category.

TWD: Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Chunkers

I am the girl who cried wolf.  I wrote quite a dramatic post last week about how much I loved (love love love) the Chocolate Malted Whopper Drops.  The words crack and cocaine may have been thrown around.  Well, I am back again this week with a new lover, the Chocolate Chunkers.  If the Whopper Drops were like my own private crush on the quirky guy in study hall whose personality is particularly appealing to me than my love for the Chunkers is a crush on the captain of the football team or Brad Pitt.  If you don’t like these cookies, I am thinking we don’t bat for the same team (i.e. you are not a chocoholic).

We went with a semi-sweet/milk chocolate combo (white chocolate is not chocolate.  can we get a new word for that stuff?) and a mix of raisins and cranberries.  I would like to report that I used some amazing imported or artisanal chocolate to send these to new heights but I have a mortgage…and a car payment…and tuition and so on…so something has to give.  It was Ghirardelli from the grocery store for us. 

And it was just luscious and rich just the same.  Even the six year old was amazed at how little flour we were putting in.  He and the younger both came in for second helpings of the batter.  Man, oh man.  I could weigh three thousand pounds if the recipes keep coming like this.  I knew this one looked like trouble so I had to invoke my no fail over-eating insurance policy:

I did make a few without the peanuts so I could enjoy a couple warm from the oven (this is the real reason I bake after all) but others will be enjoying the rest.  I was already on a sugar high from the cake decorating class that Will and I took for kids at the Kansas City Culinary Institute (see below).

 

A big thank you to Claudia of Fool for Food for choosing this one.  The recipe is on her blog.  Next week:  Dimply Plum Cake.  I doubt this one will cause sweet tooth nirvana but I am looking forward to it nonetheless.  I love making breakfast cakes.  To see the other chocolate chunkers click here.

Triple Chocolate Zucchini Loaf

Every Friday at work we have “Breakfast Club.”  If you have worked in an office, you know the drill.  Basically, we take turns bringing breakfast for the floor.  Some people are strictly bagel and cream cheese bucket types.  Some forget and grab a box of granola bars and some even bring in a bag of McDonalds McMuffins.  For reasons I can’t fathom, this is a VERY popular option.  And there those few like me who make something when it is their turn.  My assistant, god love her, has been bringing the same egg and sausage casserole for years.  I, of course, am a nerd who likes to “shake it up” every month.

I was planning to make the Perfection Pound Cake out of Baking From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan.  It is one of the recipes I missed before joining Tuesdays with Dorie.  BUT I didn’t have enough eggs.  On to plan B.  I was flipping through a Maida Heatter collection of cakes when I came across a zucchini loaf.  It satisfied the most important criteria–I had all of the ingredients on hand.  And – bonus – easily transportable.  Following my usual theory in life that everything goes better chocolate, I altered the recipe significantly to make a Triple Chocolate Zucchini Loaf. 

Bottom Line:  Very chocolatey.  Very good.  I am sure it could be perfected but did you read the first paragraph?  I work, people.  Perfection will have to wait.  I was hoping my notoriously picky second son would eat it.  It has vegetables, right?  I don’t know why I get my hopes up.  He didn’t like it.  Ohe well, there is always the first born…

Triple Chocolate Zucchini Loaf
Adapted from Maida Heatter’s Zucchini Bread

Ingredients

  • 2 C. grated zucchini
  • 1.5 C all purpose flour
  • 1.25 C whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 C cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 C. vegetable oil
  • 1 C. granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 oz. unsweetened chocolate (melted)
  • 3/4 C semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350.  Prepare a ten cup loaf pan or two smaller pans.  I used a 9 by 5 by 3in. pan and a 6 in. cake pan.  Grate the zucchini so that you end up with two packed cups.  Set aside.  Sift together the flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, lightly beat the eggs.  Mix in the oil, sugar, and vanilla.  Pour in the melted chocolate and blend well.  Add the sifted ingredients and mix just to incorporate.  Fold in the zucchini and chocolate chips.  The batter is very thick but the zucchini thins it somewhat. 

Spoon into pans and bake.  I baked the 6in. pan for 45 minutes and the 9in loaf pan for about 1 hour 15 minutes.  Cool in the pans for 15 minutes and then unmold.

Enjoy!

TWD: MMMM…(Quintuple!) Chocolate

Our neighborhood garage sale was this weekend.  I made a deal with myself.  If I found a madeleine pan, I would embark on this week’s recipe for Traditional Madeleines chosen by Tara of Smells Like Home.  Well, no pan.  Had we needed boxes of unused Christmas cards, a belgian waffle maker circa 1978 or tables full of abandoned beanie babies, I would have been in luck.  I thought about trying the “spoon” method discussed in the comments but opted to go with a past recipe, an alternative approved by our fearless leader Laurie.

My schedule didn’t ease up this weekend so, once again, I was looking for something uncomplicated.   I also wanted to do something nice for mom who got somewhat neglected on mother’s day.  The perfect solution?  Brownies, specifically the Quintuple Chocolate Brownies.

My dear mother has what may be the ultimate sweet tooth.  Others may think they know from sweet but I know better.  Seriously…when Dorie created the serving size for the peanut butter torte a few weeks back (that was universally agreed to be for giants) she was speaking directly to mom.  This is the woman who will always take the corner piece of cake coated in sugary frosting, preferably with ice cream and hot fudge (whipped cream, too?  why, of course). 

With sous chef Colin at the ready, we chopped, melted and stirred our way to chocolate bliss.  Knowing mom has little to no use for white chocolate (amateurs, please), we used bittersweet in the batter and made a thick semi-sweet glaze (still quintuple!).  I don’t care for nuts really and especially not big hunks in baked goods.  So, I don’t have a personal review of the finished product.  The batter, however, (which Colin and I licked CLEAN) was very promising.  I will have to make these sans nuts at a later date.  AND mom did call to report that she ate an obscene number of brownies in one day…a true thumbs up!

To see the Madeleines in all their glory and the other past recipe substitutions check out the other blogs here.

Next week, Pecan Honey Sticky Buns but, alas, not for me.  We are going out of town AND I don’t have a stand mixer.  Dorie’s story of practically stirring her arm off for brioche dough just isn’t tempting me, especially for something with Pecan in the title.  I am sure, however, the others will NOT disappoint.

Quintuple Chocolate Brownies

Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

For the Brownies

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces

3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped

3 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used bittersweet)

2 tablespoons strong coffee

1 cup sugar

3 large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

6 ounces premium-quality milk chocolate, chopped into chips, or 1 cup store-bought milk chocolate chips

1 cup chopped nuts

For the Glaze

6 ounces premium-quality white chocolate, finely chopped, or 1 cup store-bought white chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet chocolate)

1/3 heavy cream (just a splash of milk)

Getting Ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with foil, butter the foil and place the pan on a baking sheet.

Sift together the flour, cocoa and salt.

To Make the Brownies: Set a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and add, in the following order, the butter, the two chocolates and the coffee. Keeping the pan over low heat, warm just until the butter and the chocolates are melted– you don’t want the ingredients to separate, so keep an eye on the bowl. Stir gently, and when the mixture is smooth, set it aside for 5 minutes.

Using a whisk or a rubber spatula, beat the sugar into the chocolate mixture. Don’t beat too vigorously– you don’t want to add air to the batter– and don’t be concerned about any graininess. Next, stir the eggs one at a time, followed by the vanilla. You should have a smooth, glossy batter. If your not already using a rubber spatula, switch to one now and gently stir in the dry ingredients, mixing only until they are incorporated. Finally, stir in the milk chocolate chips and nuts. Scrape the batter into the pan.

Bake for 35 minutes, or until a think knife inserted into the center comes out streaked but not thickly coated. Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and let the brownies rest undisturbed for at least 30 minutes. (You can wait longer if you’d like.)

Turn the brownies out onto a rack, peel away the foil and place it under another rack–it will be the drip catcher for the glaze. Invert the brownies onto the rack and let cool completely.

To Make the Glaze: Put the white chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Bring the heavy cream to a boil and pour it over the chocolate. Wait 30 seconds, then, using a rubber spatula, gently stir until the chocolate is melted.and the glaze is smooth.

Hold a long metal icing spatula in one hand the bowl of glaze in the other. Pour the glaze onto the center of the brownies and use the spatula to nudge it evenly over the surface. Don’t worry if it dribbles over the edges, you can trim the sides later (or not). Refrigerate the brownies for about 20 minutes to dry the glaze.

Cut into 16 squares, each roughly 2 1/4 inches on a side.