Tag Archive: chocolate

TGIF Chocolate Cake

TGIF!!!  I don’t know why, but I am really looking forward to this weekend.  I had a very short week last week and a wonderful long weekend in Austin with Krista and Eric.   I was so excited I baked a cake Thursday night to share with everyone at work.  It must have been very good.  I’ve been asked for the recipe a bunch of times.  It was so good that some people I told I baked a cake for today via email, didn’t get here fast enough to get a piece.  Sorry.  I’ll do it again.

I have adapted this recipe and frosting from several sources to fit what I had on hand and what I thought would work best.  Good chocolate cake is pretty basic:  flour, sugar, chocolate, etc.  You know.  Enjoy!  We did.

Chocolate Cake

New Orleans Bread Pudding with Chocolate Sauce

I love bread and I love bread pudding.  Not something to have every day, but a special treat for Valentine’s Day. You should have what you love on the day made for love right???  I got this one from the master of New Orleans cooking….Emeril Lagasse.  I made only a few minor changes for my style and scaled the recipe somewhat.  Sometimes things don’t need improving upon.  I love the recipes he shares.  They are in such good form and when followed correctly, almost always turn out as expected.  Not true with some other chefs.

Bread Pudding with Chocolate Sauce

Wonderland Bars

When I see a recipe that everyone is so excited about I go way back to “the olden days” as my children used to say and begin to remember something I made or had to eat.  That is where this came from.  Actually it came from my best friend in high school, Linda, who made these.  I don’t remember eating one, but I’m sure I must have.  I remember her making them. Not from a recipe though.  So I guess it was one of those that she had learned from her sister and could just throw together.  I was amazed.  We never used sweetened condensed milk or graham cracker crumbs from a box that I could remember.  My momma always made everything from “scratch.”  I’m sure that is because that is how she learned to do it from her mother.

As I began to see versions of this on other blogs I had to make some.  I have a group from my church who usually plan for me to make a dessert.  So I had to make this one for one of our potluck dinners before our study.  As it turned out, we did our study and then planned an entire series of soup lunches for Lent.  I don’t know how we got around to that from our study; however I think it turned out to be quite productive.  We are a small group.  I hope everybody does their part.

Anyway, back to the Wonderland Bars.  That’s what Linda called them in high school.  I’m sure you have an entirely different name for them and perhaps a little different version of the recipe.  Mine is pretty simple, high in calories and wonderfully rich.

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Cookies for Sandy Hook–Oscar the Grouch Peppermint Cookies

CookiesforSandyHook

I am happy to be participating in this event to support the victims of Sandy Hook. Baking and cooking is my way to show I care.  I think of those sweet, sweet children and it makes me think of Sesame Street.  If the world were more like that then we would never have had to face this tragedy.  So, from my kitchen via my heart as an offering of support here are some Oscar the Grouch Cookies.

We can all start to change the world today. We can have more empathy and humanity for each other to help build a kinder, gentler world where these things can’t happen.  I say this prayer for all of us.

Don’t forget to come and meet my new friend at New Friend Friday.  Grandma Loy from Grandma Loy’s kitchen.  I am a Grandmother too and us Grandma’s have lots of tips and tricks to share with the younger generation.

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Sweet 2 Eat Baking

Chocolate Covered Peppermints

Peppermint has taken over my kitchen.  I’ve never had so much fun with a flavor I thought was good in iced tea and ice cream.  This is not a recipe.  Rather it was an experiment that turned out great!  At least my taste testers at work said they did.

The most time consuming part of this experiment was opening 160 individually wrapped peppermint candies.  I couldn’t believe how long that took.  Once that was done  and the Almond Bark was melted in a double boiler, dipping them went pretty fast.  I tried to use a spoon and a fork, but my fingernails turned out to be the best dipping tool.  My nails are long.  I must have washed my hands 25 times.  I had paper towels to wipe my hands on, but that got messy too.  Water worked best.   I let them harden on waxed paper and then put them back in the container I originally bought them in.  These melt in your mouth and have a little chocolate taboot!  I think they will be nice to top off a bag of cookies for gifts.  I have checked, and I think these are gluten-free too.

Chocolate Cherry Chip Cookies

You may ask, why cherries in chocolate chip cookies?  It was a suggestion that sounded possible.  I like chocolate covered cherries, so why not?  I guess they were a hit.  I put them out on the counter at work and they were gone by lunch.  I had Cameron taste one and she called her Aunt Krista to ask her why cherries in the chocolate chip cookies.  I guess the answer was satisfactory.  She didn’t say anything else.  When I asked her how they tasted I got a “thumbs up.”

I am firmly convinced a lot of people don’t bake cookies.  I don’t understand that.  It is the perfect dessert you can eat with your hands.  It is totally satisfying.  I bake for therapeutic reasons not eating reasons though.  I am totally lost in the process of mixing, scooping, baking and arranging the baked cookies in a container to store.

These freeze well if they last that long.  Enjoy!

Its New Friend Friday!  You don’t want to miss the story of Jessi, the highly educated foodie ambassador.

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Pink Peppermint Christmas Chip Cookies

I had a friend, Debbie, who loved Christmas.  She spent the entire year picking up Christmas gifts for friends and she kept recorded in a notebook who she gave what to, which year.  I am never that organized, nor will I be.  She did come up with the most creative, meaningful things for each person.  She got on a program of giving me Lladro Christmas bells – one for each year.  I think I have 10 or 11.  So you can see how long we were friends.  The year she passed away was the end of a series.  I treasure them.

I was always looking for something special for her too.  I found a set of Santa’s reindeer dessert plates in a catalog one year. That was it!  I had found something she didn’t have that would be perfect.  Each year on Christmas evening she had her extended family and friends to dinner.  Dessert was cookies or pies.  So these plates would be the perfect addition to her collection of Christmas dishes.

Every year she borrowed my Christmas china to add to hers. (We put a dot of red nail polish on the back of mine so we could tell the difference.)  Combined there was enough for everyone.  So I gave her two sets of these plates and she called that afternoon to have me bring mine too.  They were a hit with everyone.

I think about Debbie every year at Christmas.  I still miss her and the fun times we had.  She loved to laugh.  Which reminds me of a story.

One year she gave my family tickets to go with them to a Christmas concert at the historic train station here.  I got there early and was trying to save seats for us all together.  When they arrived they were almost late and she came up the steps in a huff.  I told her we couldn’t sit together and she said, “I know.  It’s not my fault.”  I said it again. She looked at me and nearly fell over laughing.  Without ever knowing it we had bought the same sweaters for Christmas.  Our children saw us and walked totally away and wouldn’t come near us the entire concert.  We went to dinner after the concert and they wouldn’t sit at the same table as we did.  We thought it was funny.  We did a lot of things the same and liked the same things.  These cute little plates are just one of many such things.

Good friends make good memories.  I treasure mine with Debbie.  Christmas is a special time to recount those blessings and be warmed by those memories

These cookies have nothing to do with these plates.  I was trying to decide which plate to use to take a picture and this blog is a result of that.  Memories…that’s what it’s all about with me.

 

Pink Peppermint Christmas Chip Cookies 

  • 1 cup Crisco solid shortening (not butter flavored)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 18 drops red food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican vanilla
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon soda
  • 1 cup Andes Peppermint Crunch baking chips
  • 1 cup Nestle Toll House Holiday Semi-Sweet Morsels  (red and green)

Cream together Crisco, sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, food coloring and eggs until light and fluffy.  Sift together dry ingredients and add to creamed mixture.  Mix chips in by hand to avoid crushing the chips.

I used a small cookie scoop to measure equal size cookies on insulated cookie sheets.

Bake at 350° for 15 minutes on insulated cookie sheets (shorter time on dark or non-stick pans)

Cool on waxed paper and store in air-tight container.

These freeze well if they last that long.  Don’t forget to stop by and meet my new friend at New Friend Friday.  Melissa from Dancing for Food.  That is two Melissa’s in a row if you are counting.  This Melissa is a dancer and a foodie.  What a fascinating combination.

Chocolate Espresso Stars

I thought these would be good for all my coffee-drinking friends.  Little did I know the chocolate lovers liked them too.  I thought these said Christmas.  They aren’t  red and green, but gold dusted stars.  I’m sure they could be cute for other occasions too.  They were easy to make and I think the kids could get involved with everything but maybe the gold dusting.  I dusted mine lightly.  I had to order my gold luster from Wilton on line.

 Chocolate Espresso Luster Dusted Stars

  • 2‐1/4 cups all‐purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon instant espresso coffee powder
  • 2 ounces sweet baking chocolate, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons shortening
  • Edible gold luster dust (optional)

Combine flour, cocoa, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside. Beat butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar and beat about 2 minutes or until fluffy, scraping side of bowl occasionally. Beat in egg and espresso powder. Beat in as much of the flour mixture as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour mixture (dough will be crumbly). Use your hands to form the dough into a ball. Divide dough in half.

Preheat oven to 350°. Roll each half of the dough to 1/4‐inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Cut out shapes using a 2‐1/2‐inch star-shape cookie cutter. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are firm.

Transfer to wire racks and let cool.

Microwave the chopped chocolate and shortening in a small microwave‐safe bowl on 50 percent power about 2 minutes or until melted and smooth, stirring three times.  Dip one‐third of each cookie into melted chocolate mixture; let excess drip back into bowl. Place cookies on waxed paper; let stand about 1 hour or until set. If desired, brush luster dust on chocolate.

Makes 48 cookies.

Place cookies in layers separated by pieces of waxed paper in an airtight container; cover. Store at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw cookies, if frozen, before serving.

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Thursday Favorite Things

Citrus Bon Bons

I spent a week getting ready for a Christmas Cookie Swap one year.  I don’t remember what year now, but I had more problems than I have ever had getting ready for anything.  The vent fan over the stove fell down the morning of the party as I was scrubbing it.  The wind decided to blow and my entire front porch was covered with dust.  I engaged Andy and a friend of his to help me with the vent fan.  “Just put it up so it doesn’t look bad.  We can figure out what to do later!”   I had to try to clean sand in a wind storm.  Have you ever tried to sweep in a wind storm?  It doesn’t work.

This recipe came to me from Pat Wallen (Karen’s mother) a friend of my daughter, Amy.  The year I had this gigantic Christmas Exchange, I thought a few people would come and bring a few cookies because most of my friends claim not to bake.  Was I ever surprised?  I think everyone I invited came and brought wonderful cookies!  It was awesome.  A few even brought their recipes to share.  This happened to be one I fell in love with.  Thanks, Pat.

(I don’t think anyone noticed the dust on the front porch.  They live in West Texas too.)  We all stood in the kitchen or sat in the living room and talked and laughed and we all had a good time.  Good thing Andy got the vent fan in place!

The most surprising part of this cookie is you don’t bake anything.  It has some cocoa and fresh orange and lemon juice and orange zest for flavoring.  They have the most intense orange and chocolate flavor.  I love orange slices dipped in chocolate.  That is what these remind me of.

Citrus Bon Bons

Citrus Bon Bons

  • 3 cups finely crushed vanilla wafers
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 cup pecans, finely ground
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • Sugar for rolling the cookies in

 

Put the vanilla wafers in the food processor and blend until very fine crumbs are formed.

Finely chop the pecans.  Zest the orange and squeeze the lemon and oranges to equal ¼ cup each.

In a large bowl combine all the ingredients and mix well with a wooden spoon.  After I did this I thought I should have done it in the KitchenAid stand mixer, but it wasn’t a problem doing it by hand.

I did use a grinder to finely chop the pecans. There’s another story to go with this little gadget.  We’ll talk about it later.

Shape into ½” balls and roll in the granulated sugar.  Place on waxed paper and allow to dry for up to 1 hour.  Store in an air-tight container.  I put mine in the refrigerator.

Makes approximately 48 bonbons.

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Orange Icebox Cookies

These cookies are delicate.  I love them the best of all the ones my mom made, except a Christmas Cookie that I still cannot master. (We’ll talk more about that one later.)    These orange cookies smell delicious while baking and when I open the container they are stored in I can smell the orange.  Don’t slice them too thick or they are too soft. Make sure the dough stays cold while slicing. That has something to do with the crispness.  These were best when she made them at Christmas along with other goodies she included on a plate for friends and neighbors.  These are my choice for a cookie exchange.  They are good with a hot spiced tea.

Orange Ice Box Cookies with Semi-Sweet Chocolate Glaze

  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg (room temperature)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh, squeezed orange juice
  • 2-¾ cups all-purpose
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
  • ½ cup chopped pecans, optional
  • 1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips

Cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy.  Add the egg, orange juice, and orange zest.  Combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl with a whisk to lighten and add to the mix.  Finely chop the pecans and mix well. (optional)

Form into 2 logs and wrap in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for at least 3-4 hours or until you are ready to bake.  Slice about ¼” thick and bake at 400° for 8 minutes.  Remove to a rack to cool.

When cool, dip in the chocolate chips which you can melt in the microwave.  I use a spoon and cover just one end with the chocolate and put on a rack to harden.  (I put them in the frig or freezer to speed this up.)

Store in an air-tight container.

Enjoy!  Now share your cookie recipe with me at the Holiday Cookie Exchange.

Cookies 2012

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