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Posts tagged ‘chocolate’

Fiesta Friday #36, A Block Party Fiasco And An Apology

Triple Chocolate cake

Triple Chocolate cake

First of all the apology, I always cook or bake or prepare something specifically for Fiesta Friday, it is something I look forward to every week. This week however I have my hands full, really full. Work is crazy busy but more than that, my block association (I am president) is having our annual block party tomorrow. Everything has been planned, permits from the city, bouncy rides, music, food etc… People from the neighborhood look forward to this every year. Well, the weather forecast is saying there will be pouring rain tomorrow the day of the event. I am trying to re work all the plans, cancel the music etc… To make a long story short I am really busy. So I apologize for re cycling a recipe of mine for this virtual feast. Next week I will cook or bake something. I promise

As always the party is hosted by the lovely Angie@The Novice Gardener.  The co hosts this week are two of my favorite bloggers Selma@Selma’s Table and Elaine@Foodbod. Thanks Angie and here is my offering. A triple chocolate cake. It really say’s party, dark chocolate cake, white chocolate mousse for filling and milk chocolate ganache. Hope you all enjoy. Wish me luck with the block party.

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Triple Chocolate Cake

White Chocolate Mousse

2 tsp powdered gelatin
6 ounces white chocolate chopped
1 1/4 cup heavy cream

Dissolve gelatin in 2 tbs of cold water. Set aside for 5 minutes. Place chocolate in food processor and pulse until finely chopped.
Prepare an ice bath. Place 1/2 cup heavy cream in small saucepan, bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add the gelatin and stir to dissolve. Pour into food processor with chocolate while the motor is running, process until smooth.
Place in ice bath until mixture is thick and falls from a spoon in ribbons.
Whip remaining heavy cream and gently fold into cooled chocolate mixture. Place in airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use.

Milk Chocolate Ganache

8 oz good quality milk chocolate (I used Valhrona)
1 cup heavy cream

Chop chocolate into very small pieces and place in medium size mixing bowl, bring cream to a boil and pour over chocolate. Let sit for 3 minutes, stir until smooth and shiny. Cover and refrigerate until it’s spreadable (approximately 1 1/2-2 hours)

The cake

Makes: 2 9 inch round cakes or 24 regular size cupcakes

Recipe from Hersheys

1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cups cocoa (I use hershey’s) the recipe doesn’t specify whether or not to use dutch or natural cocoa since its a hersheys recipe I use what they say to use.
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup vegetable oil (If you want to substitute melted butter for the oil its fine)
1 cup whole milk at room temperature
2 large eggs at room temperature and lightly beaten
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water
2 teaspoons instant espresso coffee (Optional but recommended)
soft butter and flour to prep baking pans or you can use cooking spray
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare two 9″ round baking pans, butter the bottom add a parchment round then butter bottom and sides and flour the pan or you can use cocoa powder instead of flour. If you are making cupcakes place liners in two 12 cup muffin tins. In large mixing bowl add your dry ingredients, flour, cocoa, sugar, salt, baking soda and baking powder and whisk to combine. Now add the wet ingredients milk, oil,eggs and vanilla do not add the boiling water yet. With hand held mixer beat for 2 minutes. Now add the boiling water with optional espresso powder, beat just until combined. Pour into your prepared pans (the batter is quite thin) and bake for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Fiesta Friday

Fiesta Friday

 

A “Divine” Chocolate Giveaway And A DIVINE Triple Chocolate Cake

Divine Chocolate

Divine Chocolate

I planned on two posts this was going to be the second, the first is a recipe I am developing using Divine Chocolate, well this will be first because I have had some setbacks and the recipe didn’t turn out so it’s back to the drawing board. Stay tuned for another totally DIVINE recipe. The chocolate is fantastic and so is the company, owned and operated by the farmers it is truly a cooperative venture that is a recipe for success.  A Fair Trade product of outstanding quality you don’t get better than that.

Who doesn’t love chocolate, well I am sure there are a few that don’t and then there are those poor souls that are allergic. But for the rest of us and speaking for myself there is hardly a day that goes by that I don’t at least have a bite of chocolate. Since I discovered just how wonderful Divine Chocolate is, it’s always in my pantry and is now my go to chocolate for baking and eating,  I have partnered with the very lovely people at Divine for a fantastic giveaway, I know you will love this chocolate as much as I do and you will really love this Bakers collection.  Open to US residents only I am so sorry my friends abroad!! Just leave a comment here and I will use random.org to pick 3 lucky winners on October 14, see below for directions on how to enter. Good luck everyone!!

Divine Chocolate Giveaway 3 lucky winners!!
Divine Chocolate, the premium chocolate brand and Fair Trade social enterprise co-owned by cocoa farmers in Ghana, is giving away ***THREE*** Divine Bakers’ Collection Gift Sets so you can Make Something Divine. Each gift collection contains two 70% Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Bars, one 38% Milk Chocolate Baking Bar and a 4.5 tin of unsweetened Cocoa Powder.

To enter the giveaway, all you need to do is:

  • Follow @bklynpuggal on Twitter and Tweet:
    • I’d love to win a Divine Chocolate Gift Set #DivineInNYC
  • Like Divine Chocolate USA on Facebook (www.facebook.com/divinechocolateUSA) and leave the comment:
    • I’d love to win a Divine Chocolate Gift Set. Sent by apuginthekitchen #DivineInNYC
  • Follow @DivineChocUSA on Twitter and Tweet:
    • I’d love to win a Divine Chocolate Gift Set. Sent by bklynpuggal#DivineInNYC

Good Luck! Winners will be selected at random and notified by [Oct. 14, 2013]. Divine Chocolate is responsible for delivery of the Gift Sets. This giveaway is open to US residents only.

Triple Chocolate cake

Triple Chocolate cake

I couldn’t resist, since I am working  with all of this fabulous Divine Chocolate I had to resurrect my favorite chocolate cake. For this cake you are using 3 types of chocolate , Divine unsweetened cocoa powder in the cake, Divine white chocolate in the Mousse and Divine Milk Chocolate for the ganache, Irresistible!!

White Chocolate Mousse
  • 2 tsp powdered gelatin
  • 6 ounces Divine white chocolate chopped
  • 1 1/4 cup heavy cream
Dissolve gelatin in 2 tbs of cold water. Set aside for 5 minutes. Place chocolate in food processor and pulse until finely chopped.
Prepare an ice bath. Place 1/2 cup heavy cream in small saucepan, bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add the gelatin and stir to dissolve. Pour into food processor with chocolate while the motor is running, process until smooth.
Place in ice bath until mixture is thick and falls from a spoon in ribbons.
Whip remaining heavy cream and gently fold into cooled chocolate mixture. Place in airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use.
  • 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cups Divine unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (If you want to substitute melted butter for the oil its fine)
  • 1 cup whole milk at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature and lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 teaspoons instant espresso coffee (Optional but recommended)
  • soft butter and flour to prep baking pans or you can use cooking spray
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare two 9″ round baking pans, butter the bottom add a parchment round then butter bottom and sides and flour the pan or you can use cocoa powder instead of flour.
In large mixing bowl add your dry ingredients, flour, cocoa, sugar, salt, baking soda and baking powder and whisk to combine. Now add the wet ingredients milk, oil,eggs and vanilla do not add the boiling water yet. With hand held mixer beat for 2 minutes. Now add the boiling water with optional espresso powder, beat just until combined. Pour into your prepared pans (the batter is quite thin) and bake for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Let cakes sit in pans for 10 minutes then invert onto cake rack to cool.
Milk Chocolate Ganache
  • 8 oz Divine milk chocolate
  • 1 cup heavy cream
Chop chocolate into very small pieces and place in medium size mixing bowl, bring cream to a boil and pour over chocolate. Let sit for 3 minutes, stir until smooth and shiny. Cover and refrigerate until it’s spreadable (approximately 1 1/2-2 hours)
Assembling:
Place one cake layer on serving plate, spoon the mousse on and spread, you may not need to use all of the mousse it will be very thick I used about half, place other layer on top, pour and  spread the ganache on the cake. Refrigerate if not serving immediately. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving if it was refrigerated.

Brooklyn Blackout Semifreddo Cake

Brooklyn Blackout Semifreddo Cake

Brooklyn Blackout Semifreddo Cake

I entered this cake in a recipe contest at Food52, we had to create a frozen dessert. I am a real lover of chocolate so I satisfied my craving with this cake. I am honored that my recipe was tested and photographed by the editors at Food52 and the beautiful photograph below was taken by James Ransom. I received a Community Pick!!

Who doesn’t love a Brooklyn Blackout Cake, the iconic cake that became the official cake of Brooklyn, made famous by it’s creators at Ebingers Bakery. Three layers of chocolate cake filled with chocolate pudding, frosted with the pudding and cake crumbs pressed on the side of the cake. This is a frozen version of this famous cake, 3 layers of chocolate sponge cake, chocolate semifreddo,chocolate ganache and cake crumbs. I made a chocolate sponge but you can use whatever type of cake you want or even cookie crumbs, this particular cake recipe freezes really well. I used my new favorite brand of chocolate for this cake, Divine (fair trade) chocolate, both the cocoa powder and the bar chocolate. It’s wonderful and I can’t say enough about the quality. Love it!

Makes 1 large loaf cake

Cake and Semifreddo:

  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 8 large eggs at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Semifreddo
  • 7 ounces dark chocolate
  • 2 teaspoons espresso powder
  • 1 1/3 cup heavy cream (Optional)
  • 2 tablespoons softened cream cheese
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  1. Pre heat oven to 350 degrees. Place milk and butter in glass measuring cup and microwave for 45 seconds or until butter is melted. Using stand mixer with wire whisk or electric mixer whip the eggs and sugar on med/high for approximately 8 minutes or until the mixture is pale yellow, tripled in volume and thick, with the machine running slowly add the heated milk and butter. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Fold into the egg mixture, there should be no lumps. Fold in the vanilla. Grease a 1/2 sheet pan, lay parchment sheet and grease the parchment, and sprinkle with sugar. Pour batter into the pan, spread so that it is evenly distributed and bake for 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool for a couple of minutes in the pan run a knife around the edges to loosen then invert onto wire rack, remove parchment and let cool completely.
  2. In a bowl over a pot of simmering water (or in the microwave at high heat stirring every 30 seconds), melt chocolate and espresso powder and set aside. Keep pot of water simmering on the stove – you’ll use it again.  Whip cream and cream cheese to soft peaks and store in fridge until ready to use. Whisk together eggs, sugar, and vanilla in a metal or glass bowl. Place bowl over simmering water and whisk until it thickens and sugar is melted, remove from simmering water and whisk constantly until doubled in volume, and whisk leaves a ribbon when lifted from bowl. Whisk in melted chocolate and allow mixture to cool for about 10 minutes, you don’t want to melt the whipped cream. Meanwhile, line a loaf pan with plastic wrap. Fold whipped cream into chocolate mixture, in two additions, until evenly incorporated.

Ganache and assembling:

  • 4 ounces dark chocolate broken into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup +2 tbs heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup (optional)
  1. Heat milk until scalding, add chocolate and corn syrup to hot cream, let sit for approximately 5 minutes, stir until smooth. Let cool at room temperature.
  2. Line loaf pan with plastic wrap (I like to spray the bottom and sides with cooking spray before I lay the sheet of plastic. Take your cooled cake and cut 3 pieces that will fit in your loaf pan, lay one layer on the bottom pour half of the semifreddo on top, add another layer of cake, pour on the rest of the semifreddo, top with another layer of cake. Save the leftover cake you will need it for the crumb layer. Wrap well with plastic wrap and let freeze overnight.
  3. Crumble the leftover cake and set aside, I pulsed a couple of time in the processor. Remove cake from loaf pan, all you have to do is lift out the plastic if it won’t come out just quickly dip pan in some warm water. place on serving dish and remove plastic. Spread a thin layer of ganache on the sides of cake, press crumbs on sides, spread ganache on top of cake and freeze until ready to serve.

Here is the photo taken by James Ransom at food52. Looks so much better than mine.

Photo by James Ransom,Food52

Photo by James Ransom,Food52

Cooks Spotlight:Peanut Butter-Chocolate Kiss Cookies

Photo by Susan Pridmore

Photo by Susan-The Wimpy Vegetarian

I saw this recipe on one of my favorite blogs The Wimpy Vegetarian, I have known Susan for quite some time, we first met on Food52 and I admire her delicious recipes, sound nutritional advice and beautiful writing style. Most of her recipes are vegetarian, she uses healthful ingredients and manages to whip up dishes that make you swoon, and believe me they are loaded with flavor and are truly satisfying. These cookies had me drooling, I love peanut butter and chocolate and fully planned on making them for this post but held myself back, I have been on a diet and am making headway with my weight loss and I knew if I made them I would eat them all so I am reserving this recipe (along with a few others) as a treat for when I reach my goal weight, 9 lbs to go!!  Just because I am on a diet that wont stop me from sharing what I believe is an amazing recipe. Look at these : Roasted Tomato Grilled Cheese Sandwich With Harissa Mayonaise or Roasted Strawberries And Honey Ricotta On Crackers. Each recipe is delicious and nutritions and beautifully written, you will feel like you are sitting at the kitchen table chatting with a good friend. Please visit Susan’s beautiful blog, i know you will love it as much as I do, there is a wealth of great recipes, sound advice and wonderful stories.

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 ounces unsalted butter, room temp
  • 3 ounces peanut butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2.8 ounces confectioners sugar, sifted, plus some for sifting over the baked cookies at the end
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons coconut sugar
  • 1.5 ounces unsweetened cacao (chocolate) powder
  • 1 egg
  • 5 ounces all-purpose flour

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat. Fit a pastry bag with a tip for the shape you wish to pipe. Bigger is better here, as the cookie dough can be a little stiff. If you don’t plan to pipe the cookies, they can be spooned out onto the prepared baking sheet too.

Beat the softened butter and peanut butter with a paddle attachment until lighter in color and creamy (about 2 -3 minutes). The color changes due to the air being whipped into it, which translates into a fluffy base for the cookie.

Add the vanilla extract and salt. When fully incorporated, add the sugars and beat again until fully incorporated, starting on low speed.

Add the cocoa powder and egg and mix until fully incorporated.

Sift in the flour in thirds and mix in using a rubber spatula until flour is just incorporated before adding the next 1/3. Do not overmix as this will result in a tougher cookie.

If you’re piping the cookies, spoon ½ cookie dough into the pastry bag and pipe cookies onto the parchment paper or silpat, 1 1/2 to 2 inches apart from each other. I pipe mine about 1 1/2″ in diameter at their base. They will spread a bit in the oven from the butter, and the tops will sink a bit, but the overall shape should hold fine.

Bake for 8 minutes or until just starting to set up. Do not cook until they become hard or browned.

Cool on a cooling rack. For larger cookies, you may want to let them cool on the cookie sheet for 1 minute before removing to a cooking rack.

Sift with a little confectioners sugar just before serving.

VOTE For My(Healthy Flavor) Chocolate Hazelnut Raspberry Bars Please!!

Reblogging this please spread the word and vote for Brandi, her delicious Chocolate Hazelnut Raspberry Bars are vegan and totally delicious!! Click on the link, scroll down to desserts and vote for Healthy Flavor, thank you so much. Her recipes are AMAZING she totally deserves to win!!

DÉLICES FONDANTS AU NUTELLA // NUTELLA BITES

I want to introduce you to this wonderful blog, Weights And Measures, I fell in love with the beautiful photography and wonderful recipes. It is in French but if you need a translation Mrs. DeYarmond aka Sarah is more than happy to translate a recipe. I saw these wonderful Nutella Bites and felt I MUST share this with you. I know you will love her blog as much as I do, the recipes are impeccable and so delicious. I am a big fan of anything chocolate and when you throw Nutella in the mix I am in heaven.

DSC_0584Si vous n’aimez ni le chocolat, ni le Nutella, alors cet article ce blog n’est pas pour vous.
Cette recette de petits gâteaux au Nutella, je l’avais griffonné un jour rapidement et c’est dernièrement que j’ai voulu les réaliser {edit : j’ai pu retrouvé l’auteur initiale de cette recette, c’est la talentueuse Sandra Avital, vous trouverez son article ici}. En même temps, pas de grands risques à prendre (sauf peut être de devenir accros et d’en vouloir encore et encore !). J’ai donc trouvé la recette parfaite, sachant qu’à la maison, on est des grands amateurs de pâte à tartiner mangée à la cuillère !

DSC_0560Ces gâteaux au Nutella sont indécemment chocolatés ! Ils restent bien coulants à l’intérieur et gardent le goût intense de la pâte à tartiner. On a la sensation de croquer dans de la pâte à tartiner légèrement biscuitée. Un délice ! Les petits noisettes…

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Alice Medrich Cocoa Brownies- Food52 Genius Recipe

Brownies

Brownies

I talk about Food52 a lot, it’s a site I love, am active on and have met some really great people through. I previously posted the genius recipe for caramelized white chocolate, I really love that recipe. Today, Kristin Miglore one of the editors from Food52 posted a recipe for Cocoa Brownies by the great Alice Medrich. I immediately set out to make these brownies, you see I have been wanting to find a brownie recipe for quite a while that just uses cocoa powder, well here it is, and I am very excited.

The recipe is simple to make and yields a moist, rich brownie, I thought that a glaze would be nice, I  didn’t want a thick icing, just a hint is all thats needed, so I mixed some Kahlua with butter and confectioners sugar, chocolate and coffee are a very happy match in my opinion, Well these brownies are tremendous and if you are a fan of chocolate and brownies you will love this recipe and I wanted to share this you. I am including the headnote with the recipe. Enjoy!!

This recipe is one part of a master brownie recipe Medrich designed to use whatever chocolate you have in the house — but the best version happens to be the one that only requires cocoa powder. By taking out the chocolate, with its inevitable fat and almost-inevitable sugar, Medrich was able to control and fine-tune the proportions of both. When she added back in the fat (via butter), the middles stayed softer. When she added back in granulated sugar, the crusts were shinier and more candy-like. Any cocoa will work, but natural (not Dutch process) will taste more richly of chocolate. Recipe adapted slightly from <strong><a title=”Amazon: Bittersweet” href=”http://www.amazon.com/Bittersweet-Recipes-Tales-Life-Chocolate/dp/1579651607/?tag=food52-20“>Bittersweet</a></strong> (Artisan, 2003)

Makes 16 large or 25 smaller brownies

  • 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-process)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cold large eggs
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (unsifted, measured by stirring briefly, spooning into the measuring cup until it’s heaped above the rim, then leveling it with a straight-edged knife or spatula — it should weigh nearly 5 ounces)
  • 2/3 cups walnut or pecan pieces (optional)
  1. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F. Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or foil, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides.
  2. Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a medium heatproof bowl and set the bowl in a wide skillet of barely simmering water. Stir from time to time until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth and hot enough that you want to remove your finger fairly quickly after dipping it in to test. Remove the bowl from the skillet and set aside briefly until the mixture is only warm, not hot.
  3. Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one. When the batter looks thick, shiny, and well blended, add the flour and stir until you cannot see it any longer, then beat vigorously for 40 strokes with the wooden spoon or a rubber spatula. Stir in the nuts, if using. Spread evenly in the lined pan.
  4. Bake until a toothpick plunged into the center emerges slightly moist with batter, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool completely on a rack.
  5. Lift up the ends of the parchment or foil liner, and transfer the brownies to a cutting board. Cut into 16 or 25 squares.

Glaze:

1 tbs softened unsalted butter

1/2 cup confectioners sugar

1 tbs Kahlua

Mix the butter and sugar together, add the kahlua and mix to combine, spread on cooled brownies. You can add a little more Kahlua if you like, I did, just watch that the glaze doesn’t get too thin. You can play around with it, add a little less of one ingredient and more of another. It’s fun to play!

Caramelized White Chocolate-Food52 Genius Recipe

Caramelized White Chocolate

Caramelized White Chocolate

I am a frequent, well I guess daily visitor to the Food52 site. I have been active there for almost 2 years now. In case you don’t know about Food52 it the brainchild of Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs. Home cooks as well as professionals are all welcomed to the site and it is a treasure trove of recipes from the community as well as the founders. One of the features is Genius Recipes and last week they posted a recipe for caramelized white chocolate. I am a die hard dark or milk chocolate lover, I always keep white chocolate in my pantry but it sadly sits there waiting for the occasional recipe that I might dream up. I like it but honestly, I don’t love it. When I saw this post I was intrigued, it seemed as though a bland and lonely piece of the white stuff had been transformed into something complex and delicious, and I knew that I had to try it.

Last night, before Downton Abbey I took all the white chocolate that I had and started the process. It’s labor intensive, not in a wear you out sort of way, but you do have to watch and stir for about 45 minutes. You bake your chocolate in a low oven (266 degrees) stirring every 7-10 minutes until your white chocolate becomes a molten mass of amber colored goodness.

Here is the link to the post on Food52. After I finished I poured it into a small loaf pan to set and voila, a bar of caramelized white chocolate. It’s incredibly delicious and fair warning this could be addictive!

I already know what I am going to do with it, you’ll see on Valentines Day!

Triple Threat Chocolate Squares-Day 5 of 7 Days of Holiday Cookies And A Give Away!!

Triple Chocolate Threat

Triple Chocolate Threat

You will notice that so many of recipes contain chocolate, well, it’s because I am a shameless chocoholic.  I always try to include cookies in my gift boxes that do not have any chocolate in them but I always come back to my true love. The photo above is right from Abby’s book, I made these a while back, they were eaten before I could take a picture, I will be making them again next week when I start assembling my gift boxes,

I first saw this recipe when I received my copy of Abby Dodge’s new cookbook Mini Treats And Hand Held Sweets. In case you don’t know who Abby Dodge is, check out her website, she is a published cookbook author, brilliant founder of “Bake Together” and one of nicest people I have ever met. One look at the photo and I knew this was a recipe I needed to make immediately (and I did) These bite size squares contain some of my favorite ingredients, chocolate, cream cheese, coffee liquor (Kahlua), butter  and sugar. I was wowed with the results, they are moist and chocolatey, the filling has a slight tang from the cream cheese, I fell in love, instantly. Abby graciously gave me permission to post this recipe, thanks so much Abby!!

Because there is cream cheese in the filling I will not be able to send these through the mail to gift box recipients but everyone that I give to locally will have these luscious little bites in there boxes.

Now for the giveaway!!!  This is my first ever and I have a copy of Abby’s fantastic cookbook that I will send to one lucky person. All you have to do is comment on this post and a name will be randomly picked using random.org. Believe me when I say you will LOVE this cookbook.  I certainly do. I will announce the winner on December 14th.  Residents of USA only.  Shipping rates for a book were really expensive. I really wanted to include those outside the US.

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Triple Threat Chocolate Squares

For the filling:

8 oz cream cheese softened

4 oz bitersweet chocolate melted

1 yolk from a large egg at room temperature

2 tbs brewed coffee, coffee liquor or water at room temperature

1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

pinch of salt

Put cream cheese in medium bowl. Beat with electric mixer (hand held is fine for this job)until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the melted chocolate, yolk, coffee, vanilla and salt. Beat just until blended.

For the brownie layers:

1 1/2 cups (6 oz) unbleached all purpose flour

1/2 cup (1 1/2 oz) unsweetened natural cocoa powder, sifted if lumpy.

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp table salt

16 tbs (8 oz) unsalted butter, softened

1 3/4 cup (12 oz) granulated sugar

3 large eggs at room temperature

1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Position an oven rack in the center of the oven, and heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×13″  baking pan (I like the straight sided kind) with foil, leaving about a 1 inch overhang on two sides. Lightly grease the bottom and sides of the foil.

Whisk the flour,cocoa powder, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl until well blended and no lumps remain. Put the butter and sugar in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer with a paddle attachment on medium speed until well blended and smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one a time beating until just blended between additions. Add the vanilla with the last egg. Add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture and mix on low speed until a soft dough forms, about 1 minute. Divide the dough in half (each half weights 1 pound but eyeballing it is fine).

Scrape one half of the dough into the prepared pan and using an offset spatula spread evenly. Drop spoonfulls of the filling evenly over the batter and spread evenly. If the filling is still soft, pop the pan in the freezer for a few minutes until it’s firmer, this will make it easier to spread the top layer. Drop small chunks of the remaining dough evenly over the filling and carefully spread evenly. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out almost clean (a few crumbs sticking is good) 27-29 minutes. Move the pan to wire rack and let cool completely.

For the glaze:

5 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped

4 tbs (2 oz) unsalted butter, cut into 3 pieces

1/2 cup (2 1/2 oz) pistachios lightly toasted and chopped (Optional)

Melt the chocolate and butter in the microwave or in a small bowl over a pot of simmering water, stirring with a rubber spatula until smooth. Remove from the heat and set aside. Scrape the glaze on top of the brownie and using an offset spatula spread evenly. Sprinkle pistachios if using. Slide the baking pan into the refrigerator until the glaze is set, about 20 minutes.

Use the foil handles to lift the entire brownie from the pan onto a cutting board. Carefully peel or tear away the foil and toss it out. Using a ruler as a guide(or by eye) and a large knife, cut crosswise into 6 equal strips, then cut each strip into 9 peices. Cover and stow in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Serve slightly chilled.

NOTE: These bars can be prepared and baked  then covered and frozen for up to 1 month before glazing and serving. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before proceeding with the recipe.

Chocolate Brown Butter Hand Pies With Banana Hazelnut Filling

Chocolate Brown Butter Hand Pies

Every month I look forward to Bake Together, Abby always comes up with a delicious recipe to challenge and entice. Septembers Bake Together is a party, to celebrate the release of Abby’s new cookbook, Mini Treats & Handheld Sweets ~100 Delicious Desserts to Pick Up and Eat! The pie dough is amazing, it’s really adapted from a cookie dough in her book. There is brown butter and brown sugar and each pie is filled with a delicious fruit filling. I took Abby’s wonderful recipe for Brown Butter Apple Hand Pies and added my own touch, I thought it would be fun to make a chocolate crust filled with banana’s and hazelnuts with a hint of orange, a bit of a change from your traditional filling. Abby’s pie’s were rectangular I decided to go for round, using a fluted cutter. The banana mixed with the nuts, brown sugar and orange zest is delicious.

For the  chocolate brown butter dough
16 tablespoons (8 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup (7 ounces) firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon table salt
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 2/3 cup+ 1 tbs unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 cup natural cocoa powder
Filling
4-5 medium size ripe but firm banana’s chopped into small pieces
3/4 cup chopped hazelnuts
1/2 cup brown sugar not packed
1/2 tsp orange zest
Make the filling right before you are going to assemble the tarts, place chopped banana, hazelnuts, orange zest and brown sugar in a bowl and toss to combine, the brown sugar should coat each piece of banana.
 

Make the dough
Put the butter in a large saucepan. Cook, stirring, over medium heat until nutty brown and the milk solids are dark brown, 6 to 7 minutes. Slide the pan from the heat and add the brown sugar, and salt. Stir until the sugar is almost dissolved, then set aside for 5 minutes to cool slightly. Using your fingertip, check the temperature of the batter—it should be warm but not hot. If it’s hot, set the pan aside for a few more minutes before continuing with the recipe.

Add the eggs and vanilla and stir until well blended. Add the flour and cocoa and stir until a smooth, soft dough forms.

 Arrange two pieces of plastic wrap on the counter and scrape the dough onto the center of one. Divide the dough in half (about 14 3/4 ounces each) and put half on the second piece of plastic wrap. Using the plastic as a guide, shape both into 5-inch squares.Wrap in the plastic and set aside at room temperature until firm enough to roll, about 3 hours. (You can pop the dough into the refrigerator for a hour or so, but you don’t want the dough to be too chilled. It would be impossible to roll.)

Assemble and bake
Line two cookie sheets with parchment or nonstick liners. Put the egg and water in a small bowl and, using a fork, mix until well blended.

Working with one piece of dough at a time on a lightly floured piece of parchment (this dough is soft, so the parchment is a must for successful rolling), roll out to a rectangle slightly larger than 9×15 inches. Using a sharp paring knife or a fluted roller and a ruler, trim the edges to get a neat 9×15-inch rectangle, then cut into 3 x 2 1/2-inch rectangles (for a total of 18 rectangles).  Arrange the pastry rectangles about 2 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheets and cover with plastic. Roll out and cut the second piece of dough as you did the first one. NOTE: I made round pie’s so I did not make an even rectangle.

 Uncover the dough on one of the cookie sheets. Spoon a heaping tablespoon of the filling onto the center of each rectangle and spread down the center, leaving a 1/2-inch border at the edges. Using a small pastry brush, brush the edges of each rectangle with egg wash. Lay the remaining rectangles over the filling. Using the tines of a fork, press (or crimp) the pastry edges to seal. Lightly brush the top of each hand tart with egg wash. Using the tip of a small, sharp knife, cut 2 small slits in the top of each hand tart to let steam escape. Sprinkle the tops with some of the turbanado sugar and slide the cookie sheets into the fridge while the oven heats up. (NOTE: because I used fluted rounds I brushed the edge of each with the egg wash, laid the top on and gently pressed all the way around to seal)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Bake on center rack in oven for approximately 20 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes on pan then remove to wire cooling rack. Serve warm with a scoop of ice cream.