Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

There are certain kinds of cookies that I associate with Christmas; for me those are Anginetti Cookies, Spritz Cookies and Chocolate Crinkle Cookies.  I don’t know why I reserve making them for the holidays, they really should be made all year.  Each cookie is like the perfect bite sized soft, gooey center of a brownie.

 

 

 

Ingredients (Makes 24 cookies):
¾ cup cocoa powder
1 ½ cup white sugar
⅓ cup canola oil
3 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
160 grams (1 ½ cups) flour
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
½ cup confectioners’ sugar

In a large bowl, mix together cocoa powder, white sugar and canola oil.  Beat in eggs, one at a time, then add vanilla.  In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking powder and salt.  Fold into the sugar mixture and stir until well combined.  The batter should resemble a thick brownie batter.  Put into refrigerator for 2-4 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Form batter into 1” balls and roll into confectioners’ sugar.  Bake on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and let sit on cookie sheet for 2 minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool.

Enjoy!

Chocolate Swirl Banana Walnut Bread

Chocolate Swirl Banana Walnut BreadBanana bread is one of those foods that can be eaten any time of the day. Dessert… sure! Breakfast… why not?  This classic recipe gets a sweet upgrade with the addition of a rich, velvety, chocolate swirl.  A good banana bread recipe really lets the bananas shine; there is only ¼ cup of sugar added, so most of the sweetness comes from the over-ripe bananas.  The key to making banana bread is to use bananas that are more brown on the outside than not, they are much sweeter and more mash-able than less ripe bananas. I like walnuts in my banana bread, but that can be easily substituted for any kind of chopped nuts, raisins, chocolate or even peanut butter chips.

Chocolate Swirl Banana Walnut Bread 2Ingredients:
3 over-ripe bananas
3 tbsp. melted butter
1 tsp. baking soda
Pinch of salt
¼ cup brown sugar
1½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 egg, beaten
200 grams all-purpose flour (approximately 1½ cups)
½ cup chopped walnuts
½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a 4×8 loaf pan with parchment paper. In a large bowl, mash over-ripe bananas with a fork until smooth. Stir in melted butter, baking soda, salt, sugar, vanilla and beaten egg until well combined. Fold in flour and walnuts with a stiff spatula, until walnuts are evenly distributed.

Chocolate Swirl Banana Walnut Bread 3In a microwave safe bowl, melt chocolate chips for 20 second increments, stirring in between, until fully melted.  Add 1 cup of banana batter to the bowl of melted chocolate, mixing thoroughly. Add half of the plain batter to the prepared loaf pan, then half of the chocolate batter, running a fork through the pan to lightly swirl the two together. Repeat with the second half of plain and chocolate batter, and bake for 45-55 minutes at 350 degrees, until toothpick tested in center comes out clean. Transfer from pan to cooling rack and let cool completely before slicing.
Enjoy!

Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Truffles

Dark Chocolate Hazelnut TrufflesIf you are receiving a gift from me, there is a good chance it will be edible.   These truffles are chocolate-y, Nutella-y and perfect with a cup of coffee or a glass of red wine.  That’s my kind of treat!  I learned how to make these at a bakeshop in Austin called Make it Sweet.  They have all kinds of dessert classes, and they are so much fun.  Once you have the concept down, the ideas are really endless.  All you need for ganache is 2 parts of chocolate to 1 part cream.  Feel free to change it up!   Like peanut butter instead of Nutella?  Use that.  Think the chopped hazelnuts would be good mixed into the ganache?  I do too.  Pick your favorites and make a sweet surprise for a friend’s birthday or Valentine’s Day.

Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Truffles 2Ingredients (makes approximately 35 tablespoon sized truffles):
For the ganache:
1 lb. dark chocolate, small pieces or chopped
1 cup Nutella
1 cup cream

For coating:
¼ lb. hazelnuts, chopped into small pieces

Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Truffles 3Place chocolate and Nutella in heatproof bowl.  In a small saucepan, bring cream barely to a boil, then pour over chocolate and Nutella.  Let stand 2 minutes before mixing (this is important!), then mix to fully incorporate with a small spatula, making sure all chocolate pieces are melted and ganache is smooth.  Letting the mixture sit a few minutes will help melt the chocolate more evenly.  Put ganache in refrigerator for approximately 3 hours, until firm enough to roll.  Using your hands, roll truffles into rounds and dip in chopped hazelnuts to coat.

Enjoy!

Quick and Easy Homemade Fudge

Fudge 2I recently made a combo of these two recipes with my Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge, but I made them on a larger scale for a holiday party, and was getting tons of questions about the recipes individually. So, without further ado, here are the recipes for Dark Chocolate Fudge and Peanut Butter Fudge. These are the basic recipes, but make them with your favorites and add chopped nuts, sprinkles, marshmallows, coconut, or swirl them together for my favorite combo!

 

 

Making fudge traditionally can be a bit of a daunting task, involving precise temperatures, candy thermometers, and a bit of culinary finesse. These recipes are only a few ingredients and can be prepped in less than 5 minutes (plus time to set). It’s no wonder why these easy recipes are my go-to for quick and easy desserts and holiday gifts!

Dark Chocolate Fudge

Ingredients:
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
14 oz. can condensed milk
Pinch sea salt
1 tsp. vanilla

Peanut Butter Fudge

Ingredients:
12 oz. white chocolate chips
14 oz. can condensed milk
⅔ cup peanut butter
Pinch sea salt
1 tsp. vanilla

Fudge 1For both recipes, place ingredients except for vanilla in microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 20 second increments, until chips are melted and no lumps remain, stirring in between each heating. Stir in vanilla and spread into cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Add toppings and let set in refrigerator, about one hour for dark chocolate fudge, a bit longer for fudge made with white chocolate. Once set, cut into squares and store at room temperature in an airtight container.

Enjoy!

Peppermint Bark

Peppermint Bark 4There are fewer treats that taste more like Christmas than peppermint bark! Dark chocolate is layered with peppermint-spiked white chocolate and topped with crunchy candy canes. The best holiday gifts are made of chocolate and this is no exception. The best part – it’s so easy! The chocolate can be melted using a double boiler on the stove top, but I like to pop it right in the microwave. The key to melting chocolate in the microwave is to use medium power for 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between to make sure it doesn’t get overheated.

 

Peppermint Bark 3This recipe takes all of 10 minutes (plus time for the chocolate to set) and is a majorly impressive holiday dessert. Williams-Sonoma sells this stuff for $28.95/lb., but you don’t have to tell anyone you didn’t spend that much!

Ingredients:
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tsp. canola oil
12 oz. good white chocolate
1 tsp. peppermint extract
4 candy canes, crushed

Peppermint Bark 1Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. In a microwave safe bowl, melt semi-sweet chocolate chips and canola oil for 30 second intervals until smooth. Using a spatula, spread melted chocolate in an even layer on lined cookie sheet. Place in refrigerator for 5 minutes to partially set while prepping the white chocolate. Melt white chocolate in microwave, also stirring every 30 seconds. When smooth, stir in peppermint extract and pour in an even layer, carefully smoothing white chocolate to edges of dark layer. Top with crushed candy cane pieces and let set in refrigerator until completely hardened, approximately 1-2 hours.

Peppermint Bark 5Break into pieces and enjoy!

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter FudgeIs there a better combination than chocolate and peanut butter? I don’t think so. One of my favorite treats to make during the holidays is fudge. This recipe is extremely easy, takes less than 5 minutes to prepare, but tastes like you’ve been slaving away for hours. Your friends and family will be impressed!

Ingredients:
14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk, divided equally
6 oz. dark chocolate chips
6 oz. white chocolate chips
⅓ cup peanut butter
Pinch salt
1 tsp. vanilla (divided ½ tsp. in each)

In microwave safe bowls, put half condensed milk and dark chocolate in one bowl and the other half condensed milk, white chocolate and peanut butter in a second bowl. Put a pinch of salt in each bowl. Microwave for 20 second increments, until chips are melted and no lumps remain, stirring each time. Stir 1/2 tsp. vanilla in each bowl and spread into 9×9 container lined with parchment paper, using a toothpick to make swirls in top.  Let set in the refrigerator for 3 hours, then cut into pieces and store at room temperature.

It doesn’t get any easier than that. This recipe can easily be changed to make all chocolate or all peanut butter fudge. Play around with different ingredients like walnuts, pecans, marshmallows, sprinkles… The options are endless!

Enjoy!

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes

Dark Chocolate CupcakeI think desserts should be indulgent, with the perfect balance of rich and sweetness coming together.  I love making these cupcakes, because it’s a rich, dark chocolate cupcake with a light, fluffy, sweet Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting. The balance of the two together work perfectly.

Dry Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 ¾ cups granulated sugar
1 ¼ cups cocoa
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt

Wet Ingredients:
1 cup milk
½ cup brewed coffee
½ cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 ½ tsp. vanilla
½ cup boiling water
Find the recipe for the Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting here.

dark chocolate cupcakes 2Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Add dry ingredients to bowl of stand mixer.  Add wet ingredients, except for boiling water and mix on medium speed to combine thoroughly.  Reduce speed to low and add the boiling water.  Turn mixer up to medium-high for 2 minutes.  You want it to whip thoroughly but not splash out of the bowl!  Adding boiling water to chocolate cake recipes allows the flavor of the cocoa to blend out of the cocoa powder and reach its full flavor.   Place cupcake liners in cupcake tin.  Distribute batter evenly, there will be enough for 24 cupcakes with each liner about ¾ full.

Bake on center rack of oven for 15-18 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.  Top with Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting or other frosting that you love.

Enjoy!