Tag Archives: dessert

Double Chocolate-Chip Cookies with Bourbon Ganache

This is a cookie that will whip all your other cookies’ asses.  There are cookies…and there are COOKIES.  This, my friends, is a bad-ass COOKIE.  As in it’s almost a meal and if you can eat more than one, then you are my hero.  I took these Double Chocolate-Chip Cookies with Bourbon Ganache to work and got a lot of rave reviews.  One co-worker even commented that he wanted to make a grown-up cookie for a party and could I send him the recipe?  That is a successful cookie in my book.

Semi-sweet chocolate and heavy cream are mixed together and chilled before being knocked out by a hit of some good old bourbon and chilled again until thickened.  The creamy mixture is then spread between two basic chocolate-chip cookies (i.e. if you really wanted to use store-bought cookie dough here, you could) where you now have the chocolateyest (not a word) and most decadent sandwich cookie.  Because of it’s richness, I would consider either using milk chocolate in the ganache (since semi-sweet chips are in the cookie dough) or making the cookies smaller.  I used a small ice cream scoop for my cookies and think they could have been half the size.  These cookies aren’t joking around, I’m just going to tell you.  They have an attitude and aren’t afraid to show you.  I nearly didn’t finish one and I swear I heard it laughing at me.  I dare you to take them on.

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The ingredients:

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Preheat oven to 350°F. Beat butter and sugars at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer until creamy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition. Add vanilla, beating until blended.

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Combine flour and next 2 ingredients in a small bowl; gradually add to butter mixture, beating at low speed just until blended. Stir in morsels just until combined. Drop dough by level spoonfuls onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets, using a small cookie scoop (about 1 1/8 inches).

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Bake at 350°F for 12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from baking sheets to wire racks, and cool completely (about 30 minutes).  To make ganache, microwave semisweet chocolate morsels and whipping cream in a 2-qt. microwave-safe bowl at MEDIUM (50% power) 2 1/2 minutes or until chocolate begins to melt, stirring at 30-second intervals.

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Whisk in bourbon, softened butter, and vanilla. Cover and chill, stirring occasionally, 1 hour and 30 minutes or until thickened to a spreadable consistency.

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Spread Bourbon Ganache on flat side of half of cookies (about 1 Tbsp. per cookie); top with remaining cookies.

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Cover and chill cookies 2 hours or until ganache is firm.

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Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:  None

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Southern Living magazine

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Almond-Lime Zesties

When I told my friend I was making these Almond-Lime Zesties, she cringed.  “I don’t like almonds and I don’t like lime,” she said.  Whaaaaaat?  I almost considered not making these because the last thing I want to make is a cookie someone doesn’t like.  But these looked easy to make and I already had the ingredients to make them so I gave it a try.  I have to say, I’m pretty happy with these.

With only five ingredients, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to make these and they come together rather quickly.  They are simple butter cookies jazzed up with ground almonds and a little lime zest.  The almonds really give these cookies a bold nutty flavor and the lime is just subtle enough to give them a citrus kick.  I added a little extra powdered sugar after they had cooled completely because when added to them warm, the cookies kind of soaked it up.  The extra powdered sugar makes these look like little snowballs which is perfect at Christmastime.

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The ingredients:

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Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Beat butter and 1 cup powdered sugar at low speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Beat in lime zest. Add flour and ground almonds gradually, beating until well blended. Chill 15 minutes.

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Shape dough into 1-inch balls; place 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake 10 minutes or until light golden brown on bottom. Let stand on baking sheet 2 minutes.

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Roll warm cookies in remaining 1 cup powdered sugar, coating well. Let cool completely.

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Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:  None

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Coastal Living magazine

Oregon Chocolate-Cherry Cookies

I try to change up the cookies I make every year because the only cookies I’m willing to repeat are my peanut butter cookies (thanks to my family and friends who always say “But you are making your peanut butter cookies, right?”).  If you aren’t careful, you can either end up with a bunch of beige/white cookies (i.e. peanut butter, sugar, chocolate chip, butter) or nothing but chocolate cookies.  I like to have a little bit of both.  These Oregon Chocolate-Cherry Cookies may not sound like holiday cookies but really, who’s to judge?  Any cookie is a holiday cookie in my opinion.  And what holiday isn’t made better by lots of chocolate?

These cookies have both cocoa and chocolate chips and are topped with a drizzle of even more melted chocolate.  Dried cherries added another layer of flavor which I have to say is what drew me to these cookies (which is I guess why they are called Oregon cookies).  Dried cherries are like candy to me and I will eat them in just about anything.  These cookies are chewy and very chocolatey – perfect for the chocolate lover in your family.  Leave a plate of these for Santa and he’ll be happy.  Just don’t forget the milk!

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The ingredients:

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Beat butter and sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer 2 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add egg, beating until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides as needed.  Stir together flour and next 3 ingredients. Gradually add to butter mixture, beating at low speed until blended.

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Stir in 1 cup semisweet chocolate morsels and dried sweetened cherries.

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Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart on lightly greased or parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Bake, in batches, at 350° for 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool completely on wire racks. Drizzle cookies with 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate morsels, melted, if desired.

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Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:  None

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Coastal Living magazine

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

I hope that putting vegetables in your baked goods doesn’t freak you out.  Some people are no stranger to zucchini bread, muffins or pancakes while others, who’ve never tried it, cringe at the very thought. These just might be the same people who can’t stand any fruit in their salad.  (Sorry, I just don’t get it.)  I know someone who would never go near a cake with zucchini in it like this Chocolate Zucchini Cake, but I’m all for it.  Would I ever sit down and make a chocolate cake for no reason if I couldn’t justify it?  Well…probably.  But regardless, somehow in my whacked out brain, zucchini justifies it.

Chocolate cake batter, flavored with cocoa, reduced-fat cream cheese and reduced-fat buttermilk, is made even more healthy with the addition of shredded zucchini.  An extra toss of chocolate chips in the batter along with the mocha-like chocolate drizzle on top only establishes this a decadent chocolate cake.  The zucchini not only adds a healthy component to this cake but it also helps it to stay moist so your aren’t left with a dry clunky dessert.  If you handed a piece of this cake to someone and didn’t tell them zucchini was in it, they’d never know unless they inspected the tiny green flakes in each piece. So why not give yourself a break and make yourself a chocolate cake? You really don’t need to justify it.

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The ingredients:

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Preheat oven to 350°F. To prepare cake, coat a 12-cup Bundt pan with cooking spray; dust pan with 1 tablespoon flour. Place sugars, cream cheese, and vegetable oil in a large bowl, and beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 5 minutes). Add eggs and egg whites, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.

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Lightly spoon 2 1/2 cups flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine 2 1/2 cups flour and next 5 ingredients (2 1/2 cups flour through cinnamon) in a medium bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture.

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Stir in zucchini, 2/3 cup chocolate chips, and nuts.

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Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake at 350°F for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in cake comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.

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To prepare glaze, combine 3/4 cup powdered sugar and 3 tablespoons cocoa in a small bowl; stir with a whisk.

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Combine milk, 2 tablespoons chocolate chips, coffee, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract in a 1-cup glass measure. Microwave at medium 45 seconds or until chocolate melts, stirring after 20 seconds. Combine powdered sugar mixture with chocolate mixture, stirring with a whisk.

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Drizzle glaze over cake.

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Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:  None

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Cooking Light magazine

Peanut Butter-Oatmeal Cookies

Whenever someone claims to have the “Best Ever” recipe for anything, that’s a mighty tall order.  I mean, who do they think they are with all that noise? Well, I can be a sucker for new products (especially when it comes to nut butters) so when I came across this dark chocolate peanut butter in my grocery store recently, I had to give it a try.  Alone it was more peanut buttery than chocolatey which was okay with me.  With an entire jar left, I found this recipe for the “Best Ever” Peanut Butter-Oatmeal Cookies so I put both the chocolate peanut butter and the recipe to the test.

The result was pretty much the best ever peanut butter-oatmeal cookies I’ve had.  No joke.  I mean, look at the pictures of the cookies I made.  Can they get any more perfect looking?  Since the dough was thick, I scooped equal sized amounts into my palm and rolled them in balls which made them perfectly circular when baked.  These cookies are soft and chewy, just the way you expect a cookie to be. I have to say though as far as the dark chocolate peanut butter goes, I didn’t really taste a difference in these cookies so use whatever your favorite peanut butter is. I love peanut butter cookies and I love oatmeal cookies so there’s no surprise that I loved this combination of both.  The recipe also calls for optional chocolate chips which I didn’t use but why not combine 3 kinds of cookies in one recipe if you want? No doubt, they’ll still be the best. Like, ever.

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The ingredients:

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Heat oven to 350 degrees F. In a small bowl combine oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, set aside.

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In a large bowl, beat peanut butter and butter with an electric mixture until smooth. Beat in sugars, eggs, and vanilla until blended.

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Beat in flour mixture just until blended. Stir in chocolate chips, if desired.

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Drop by rounded spoonfuls, 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350 for 13 minutes until golden brown.

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Additions:  None

Omissions:

  • Chocolate chips

Substitutions:

  • Dark chocolate peanut butter

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source: Skippy peanut butter website

Espresso-Walnut Cake

I’m kind of a sucker for coffee cake. Don’t get me wrong, I love eggs and other savory dishes for breakfast but why not have something desserty first thing in the morning with your coffee? Or better yet, why not have some coffee IN your Breakfast? This Espresso-Walnut Cake does just that.

Basic cake batter, made with fat-free yogurt to keep the calories down, is given a flavor boost with instant coffee and walnuts. The best part of coffee cake, the crumble topping, also has instant coffee mixed in to give you an even bigger caffeine jolt. I used instant coffee instead of instant espresso which gave this cake a mild coffee flavor without it being overbearing. The addition of the walnuts adds a crunchy bite to this dish but could easily be left out if you aren’t a nuts fan. If sweet breakfasts aren’t your thing, you could also have this as an after-dinner dessert (just use decaffeinated coffee instead). What a perfect way to kickstart your day.

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The ingredients:

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Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat an 8-inch square baking pan with cooking spray, and dust with 2 teaspoons flour. Combine brown sugar, walnuts, cinnamon, and 1 teaspoon espresso granules in a small bowl.

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Place the butter in a large microwave-safe bowl. Cover and microwave at HIGH for 1 minute or until butter melts. Add granulated sugar, stirring with a whisk. Add eggs; stir well. Stir in yogurt, vanilla, baking soda, and salt. Lightly spoon 1 1/3 cups flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Add flour and 2 teaspoons espresso powder, stirring just until blended (do not overstir).

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Spread half of the batter into the prepared pan, and sprinkle with half of the brown sugar mixture. Carefully spread remaining batter over brown sugar mixture, and sprinkle with remaining brown sugar mixture.

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Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack. Cut into squares.

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Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions:

  • Instant coffee

Overall Rating: Like It

Source: Cooking Light magazine

Banana Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

It really is a shame that when I have browning bananas, my first instinct is to make cupcakes with them instead of a healthy smoothie.  This, my friends, is why I struggle with my weight.  But then again, it’s not really about the final product so much as the process.  Making cupcakes and frosting is just more satisfying than blending a bunch of fruit together.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.  I’ve tried making banana cupcakes in the past but each time they ended up tasting more like banana muffins.  Then I came across these Banana Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting.  These cupcakes are light and cakey like a cupcake and not at all dense like a muffin.  Finally!

Because I didn’t expect these cupcakes to turn out as well as they did, I didn’t document anything but the final product.  I guess you’ll just have to take my word for it.  And I’m not going to sugar coat it – the only thing reduced-fat about these bad boys is the reduced-fat cream cheese I used in the frosting.  The rest is butter, sugar and white flour.  I’m not even going to kid you that these are good for you.  But look at it this way, since they are cupcakes, they are already portion controlled.  Just try to only eat one!

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Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:

  • 1/3-less fat cream cheese

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Baking Bites blog

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