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Posts Tagged ‘dessert’

These brownies…

…are, without a doubt, the best brownies I have ever eaten. A good friend (who also happens to be my sister-in-law) gave me one of David Lebovitz’s cookbooks a while back and I could not resist baking one last thing before my final semester of school starts. In the introductory paragraph, David says “I’ve made a lot of brownies in my life, and these really are the best.” I could not agree more.

For “Robert’s Absolute Best Brownies”, you need:

  • 6 tbsp butter (salted or unsalted)
  • 8 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, or pecans, toasted and chopped (I used pecans)

Heat the oven to 350 and line a 9-inch square pan with parchment or foil, leaving about an inch of overhang. Grease the parchment with cooking spray and set aside.

Melt the butter over low heat, then stir in the chocolate until it is melted and smooth. Take it off the heat and stir in the sugar and vanilla until smooth again.

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Then, beat in the eggs one at a time. Last, add the flour and beat “energetically for one full minute.” David really emphasizes beating the batter vigorously for a full minute, as this is what Robert advises. Apparently, excellent brownies will not result unless you enthusiastically beat the batter for this specified amount of time. I didn’t risk not following the instructions, and it was well worth it. Anyway, beat the batter until it is glossy and smooth, then stir in your nuts of choice. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

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Bake until the center feels almost (key word, almost) set, which will take about 30 minutes. As David directly says, “don’t overbake.” Let the brownies cool completely in the pan, then lift the parchment or foil out of the pan to remove the brownies. Prepare for your field trip to heaven.

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I really don’t know what else to say other than MAKE THESE RIGHT NOW. I am practically at a total loss for words, as these brownies are amazing, fudgy, rich, wonderful gooiness that I want to eat all the time. I might not ever buy a box mix again as, after eating these, that would be disappointing and might even feel sacrilegious, since these are practically as easy to make and are way more delicious.  In fact, it’s lunchtime. I’m going to go eat a brownie and love every minute of it.

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…were in order again, as we got a FANTASTIC new toy for Christmas–a Kitchen Aid stand mixer!  This has been an item on Schatzi’s and my wish list for quite some time, and his family was so kind to give us one this year.  Of course, new toys are nothing but a wonderful excuse to make a batch of cookies, so we made Food Network’s Chip Chubbies, which are fantastic.

For this chocolate chip cookie you need:

  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups chocolate chunks

Beat the butter  and sugars until fluffy, then add in the egg yolks and vanilla.

Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt, and add it to the butter mixture.  Fold in the chocolate chunks.

Roll the dough into one-inch balls and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Bake the cookies for about 15 minutes in a 350-degree oven, until golden brown.

I have to admit, while these are indeed delicious cookies, I was a bit more keen on the original chocolate chip cookie recipe we made a few weeks ago.  Nonetheless, these are excellent and are a wonderful combination of sweet and salty.  They do come highly recommended, particularly when dunked in a glass of milk!

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Gingerbread…

…is super-fun to make, especially for the holidays!  Food Network Magazine featured a recipe for perfect gingerbread men, and I couldn’t wait to make them!

For perfect gingerbread you need:

  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. allspice (we just added extra cinnamon)
  • 6 tbsp. melted butter
  • 1 tbsp. melted shortening
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup molasses
  • 1 egg

Sift the flour, baking soda, and spices together in a large bowl.  In a separate bowl, combine the butter, shortening, brown sugar, and molasses.  Beat the egg in with a mixer.

Mix the flour mixture into the wet ingredients in two additions.  The dough will become crumbly and seems like it will never incorporate, but keep working with it!

Divide the dough in half,  wrap each portion in Saran wrap and pat/roll it to 1/2 inch thick.  Pop the dough in the fridge for a couple of hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 and lightly flour the counter.  Roll each each of dough to 1/4 inch thick, dusting with more flour if you need it.  Cut the dough into gingerbread men or whatever shapes you desire.  If you can believe it, we actually don’t have a gingerbread man cookie cutter, so we used our Star Wars set with other random shapes.  And, as you can see, Schatzi attempted his own gingerbread man.

And, the Star Wars gang was all there!  We added chocolate chips  and sprinkles to some of the cookies, and it made them taste all the better!  When cookies have been cut, place them on parchment-lined cookie sheets and place back in the fridge for 15 minutes.  Then, bake the cookies for 9-11 minutes and let them cool on a rack.

 

I highly recommend mixing chocolate chips and sprinkles to your batter-it is delicious!  The Food Network chefs weren’t kidding when they deemed this perfect gingerbread–it’s soft, sweet, spicy, and just plain wonderful.  Whip up a batch for the office in the last couple of weeks before Christmas!

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…are so quick and easy and are absolutely perfect to make for the holidays!  We made a batch last weekend, and have been enjoying these little indulgences all week.

For chocolate-covered marshmallows you need:

  • 1 lb. dark chocolate
  • A bag of marshmallows
  • Sprinkles
  • Skewers

Simply melt the chocolate in a double boiler, then roll the tips of your skewered marshmallows in it.  Then, roll the freshly coated marshmallow in your favorite holiday sprinkles.  Set on some wax paper to harden, and you are done!

My mom gave us the great idea of enjoying these marshmallows in a cup of hot chocolate…delicious!!!!

When you dip the marshmallows in your cocoa, the chocolate and marshmallow begin to melt and just become heavenly!  And, the sprinkles make your plain old hot chocolate look quite festive.  What a way to start (or end!) the day!

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Pumpkin pie…

…is delicious, but can get boring if you don’t mix it up the recipe a bit year after year.  With the help of Paula Deen, for this year’s pumpkin pie, we added the twist of rum and candied pecans–brilliant!

For Paula’s Pumpkin Rum Pie you need:

  • 1 (9-inch) premade pie shell
  • 1 (15-ounce) can unsweetened pumpkin puree
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 1/2 cups heavy cream, divided
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • Pinch ground cloves
  • Pinch ground nutmeg
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 tablespoons dark rum (we actually used white)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 cup Praline Pecans (You can actually buy these to save a bit of time! Ask your grocer.)

Heat the oven to 375 and partially bake the pie shell according to the package instructions.  Meanwhile, whisk together the pumpkin, eggs, brown sugar, butter, 1 1/2 cups cream, sour cream, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, rum, and vanilla.  Pour the batter into the shell and bake for 10 minutes.  Reduce the oven temperature to 300 and keep baking the pie for 30-45 minutes.

Allow the pie to cool while you make some whipped cream.

Simply beat the remaining cup of cream until it starts to froth.  Then,  slowly add the confectioners’ sugar until the cream starts to hold peaks.  Garnish a piece of pie with the cream and pecans.

This pumpkin pie is delicious and so easy–especially is you buy the pecans and whipped cream!  The rum adds a subtle hint of flavor that really complements the rest of the ingredients.  Put a spin on your typical pumpkin pie recipe and give it a try for the holidays.

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…was a dish created by Cracker Barrel that my mom absolutely adored when it was available at the restaurant.  I don’t believe it is still on the menu, but I found a recipe for it and we were excited to make it for her.  I’m not sure if it was up to Cracker Barrel’ standards (as I never tried the real recipe), but Mom loved it and it is indeed a delicious cake, regardless!

For Coca-cola cake you need:

  • 1 cup Coca-cola
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 stick butter
  • 3 tbsp. cocoa
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Start by bring the Coke, oil, butter, and cocoa to a boil.  Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, combine the sugar, flour, and salt.  Pour in the boiling liquids and mix in the rest of the ingredients.

Pour the batter into a greased and floured 9×13.  Bake the cake at 350 for 20-30 minutes.

While the cake is baking, make some rich chocolate icing:

  • 1 stick butter
  • 3 tbsp. cocoa
  • 6 tbsp. half-and-half
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 lb. powdered sugar

Combine butter, cocoa, and cream and stir over heat until the butter is melted.  Then, add the rest of the ingredients, adding the sugar slowly so it becomes well-incorporated.

When the cake is done, smooth the icing on top and serve warm or at room-temperature with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

This is one of the richest cakes I have ever eaten, much less made!  It is probably a cavity waiting to happen, but it is absolutely divine.  If you are looking for a new version of chocolate cake, I recommend trying this–it is ooey, gooey, chocolate goodness that is pretty tough to beat!

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…is simply extraordinary.  As a kid, I thought I hated anything that dealt with cream cheese until I tasted my Aunt Mary’s glorious chocolate cheesecake.  I’ve been a convert (only in regards to cheesecake!) ever since.  As you (hopefully) well know, yesterday was Mother’s Day.  Schatzi and I headed up the road for a visit with my family with this wonderful double chocolate cheesecake in tow.

For this scrumptious dessert you need:

  • 24 Oreo cookies, crushed
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 32 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp. flour
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 8 squares semi-sweet baker’s chocolate
  • 4 eggs
  • blueberries

Start by melting your chocolate.  This process is a snap if you have a double broiler!  Simply bring some water to a simmer (not a rolling boil).  While that’s heating, chop up your chocolate squares so they will melt more evenly.  Then, add them to the top pan of your double broiler and knock the heat back to a simmer.  Stir the chocolate constantly until it is melted, then take it off the heat and let it cool for a bit (you don’t want it to cook the eggs later!)

Heat the oven to a cool 325.  While it’s warming, mix the cookie crumbs and butter.  Then, make the crust by pressing the moistened crumbs into a 9×13 that has been lined with aluminum foil.  Bake the crust for 10 minutes.

While the crust is baking, beat the cream cheese, sugar, flour, and vanilla until blended and creamy.

Add in the chocolate, and mix it well. PS: is there anything more beautiful than rich, freshly melted chocolate?!

Beat in your eggs, one at a time, with the mixer on low.

Pour this delicious mixture over the crust and bake it for 45 minutes, until the center is almost set.  Let it cool for a few minutes, then pop it in the fridge for at least 4 hours to finish setting.

To serve, simply cut the cake into your desired slice size and top it with some blueberries. Divine.

This cheesecake was a hit, and it is so easy to make!  You don’t even need a spring-form pan!  We certainly aren’t sad we have leftovers.  I’m sure it is excellent by itself, but I highly recommend that you don’t skimp out on the blueberries–the combination of fresh, sweet berries with the rich, creamy chocolate is absolutely heavenly!

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