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Archive for the ‘Chocolate’ Category

68 Days of Gourmet: Day 35

Hot fudge sauce is the perfect desperation dessert. I always have the ingredients in my pantry and it just really takes ice cream to the next level. Brandon was wanting dessert and we really didn’t have anything but ice cream. I whipped this up in about 10 minutes and it totally hit the spot! So chocolately and delicious!

This has been a pretty solid week on the health and fitness front. Here’s a quick fitness overview:
Monday: taught BodyPump AM, 60 minute power mixed yoga class PM
Tuesday: 75 minute hot vinyasa yoga (this class was SERIOUSLY hard!)
Wednesday: 75 minute power mixed yoga class
Thursday: taught BodyPump (launched the new release!!!)
Tomorrow (Friday): 60 minute hot vinyasa

Now…I know you’re wondering where the cardio is. I totally admit that I’ve been on hiatus. And the funny thing is that I feel really good. The yoga has been exactly what I need. I’m looking forward to starting a new half marathon training program on February 1 rested and restored. I’m running the Charlotte RaceFest Half Marathon on April 10. I’m following a 10 week training program from Runners World that will hopefully help me improve my time. The training plan is pretty aggressive but I’m excited about it and looking forward to some hard work. Can’t wait to run on some beautiful spring days and for the days to get a little longer!

It’s been a good nutrition week too. For whatever reason, I just haven’t had my normal appetite. This is bad considering the amount of exercise I’ve been doing. I don’t know if it’s the lack of running or something about the yoga but my eating habits are definitely a little off. Also, I’ve been craving healthy food (which I’m not complaining about). I’ve just been all about the fruits, whole grains and veggies this week.

We have a pretty indulgent weekend coming up. It all starts with a pizza party at work tomorrow for lunch. I’m planning on having one slice of veggie and bringing other healthy snacks. Then tomorrow night my in law’s are taking us to BLT Steak for Charlotte Restaurant Week. So excited to try it. It’s the new hot spot in Charlotte. And then Saturday we have reservations as another steak house. I’m planning on hitting up the fish selections and steering clear of the beef!

So go get your workout in and then have a hot fudge sundae! :)

Hot Fudge Sauce
(Recipe source Gourmet, February 2004)

Ingredients:

2/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), finely chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

Bring cream, corn syrup, sugar, cocoa, salt and half of chocolate to a boil in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly until chocolate is melted. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add butter, vanilla and remaining chocolate. Stir until melted and smooth.

Sauce can be made and stored for one week. Just scoop out what you need and heat!

Yield: 2 cups

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68 Days of Gourmet: Day 24

This biscotti was the second item in my Operation Baking Gals holiday package. I blogged about Operation Baking Gals and the Pecan Sables I made in my last post. I thought that biscotti would be the perfect thing to make since it’s pretty sturdy and has a longer shelf life than a drop cookie. I decided on the Double Chocolate Walnut Biscotti after seeing it in The Gourmet Cookbook. I looked the recipe up online and saw that it was originally printed in 1994 and had received around 250 positive reviews. That sealed the deal on making this recipe.

Despite the double baking, biscotti is pretty simple to make. I love the thick dough and the process of the initial bake and then slicing and baking again. It’s fun to see the actual biscotti take shape!

I didn’t sample the biscotti but Brandon and my grandmother did (I sent her a package of extras). I know I’ve mentioned this before but super chocolaty desserts just aren’t my thing.  They both ate it for breakfast and said it was great – the chocolate flavor is definitely the star here. This would also be a nice snack or dessert anytime of the day!

Double Chocolate Walnut Biscotti
(Recipe source The Gourmet Cookbook, originally printed in Gourmet December 1994)
Printable Recipe: Double Chocolate Biscotti

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup walnuts, chopped (I have subbed white chocolate chips for walnuts)
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon powdered sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a large baking sheet.

In a bowl whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment or in a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat together butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time and beat until well combined. Stir in flour mixture until a stiff dough. Stir in walnuts and chocolate chips.

With floured hands form dough into two slightly flattened logs on the prepared baking sheet. Each log should be about 12 inches long and 2 inches wide. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Bake 35 minutes or until slightly firm to the touch. Cool on baking sheet 5 minutes, leaving oven on.

On a cutting board, cut logs diagonally into 3/4-inch slices to form biscotti. Arrange cut sides down on baking sheet and bake until crisp, about 10 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Biscotti keep in airtight containers 1 week and frozen, 1 month.

Yield: About 30 biscotti

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68 Days of Gourmet: Day 20

The beautiful thing about 68 Days of Gourmet is that my options are wide open. When a food magazine is in publication for 68 years you can be sure that they probably have a recipe for most anything you’re craving.

We picked up a Christmas tree on Sunday. We planned on decorating it Monday and I thought I’d bake some cookies to be festive and go with our eggnog (and because I love any excuse to bake cookies). One of our favorite cookie combinations is Oatmeal Chocolate Chip. I’ve tried several different recipes in the past and decided to try Gourmet’s recipe since I’m in the middle of 68 Days of Gourmet.

This recipe was super simple. The dough was made and ready to go in the oven in less than 10 minutes. The cookies smelled great cooking and were the perfect treat for holiday decorating! These are great and we’ve enjoyed having them around the house this week.

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
(Recipe source Gourmet, March 1994)
Printable Recipe: Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and oats in a medium bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl using a hand-held mixer) cream butter and sugar on medium-high speed until fluffy and lightened in color, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and then slowly beat in flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chips after flour has been incorporated.

Drop dough in rounded tablespoons onto baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches between cookies. Bake for 12-15 minutes (I only baked mind for 9 minutes because we prefer soft and not crisp cookies), or until golden. Cool completely on wire racks.

Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Yield: 5-6 dozen (Recipe can easily be cut in half)

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68 Days of Gourmet: Day 14

Saturday was my one year blogiversary! On November 28, 2008 I made my blogging debut with my Dad’s chili recipe. To celebrate reaching the one year mark I decided to make the Flourless Chocolate Cake from The Gourmet Cookbook. I thought it would be a nice departure from Thanksgiving desserts and I can’t get over how easy it is to make this cake. It’s a perfect option for an impressive dinner party dessert when you don’t want to spend all day in the kitchen.

I am not the biggest chocolate dessert fan (I know, I’m crazy) but Brandon gave this cake two thumbs up and I consider him a chocolate dessert aficionado. He is known for always ordering the most chocolaty and rich dessert on the menu at restaurants! The texture is almost brownie-like (fudgy) but the taste is similar to a very dark chocolate cake. Brandon requested his with a scoop of ice cream but it’s also nice served with fresh whipped cream, a dusting of powdered sugar or cocoa powder and fresh berries.

If you’re having a chocolate craving or looking for an easy dessert to impress guests give this Flourless Chocolate Cake a try!

Flourless Chocolate Cake
(Recipe source The Gourmet Cookbook)

Ingredients:

8 ounces good quality bittersweet (not semi-sweet) chocolate, roughly chopped
2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 1/2 cups sugar
6 eggs
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease a 9 or 10 inch springform pan and line the bottom with wax or parchment paper (cut into a circle to fit bottom of pan). Make sure to grease the liner as well.

In a double broiler or in a large bowl over a pan of simmering water, add chocolate and butter. Stir constantly until melted. Remove bowl from heat and whisk in sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Last, sift cocoa powder into mixture and whisk until just combined.

Pour batter into prepared springform pan and bake for 35-40 minutes. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out with moist crumbs and top should have a thin crust. Cool cake in pan on a rack for 10 minutes and then remove sides of pan. Invert cake on a plate and then back onto the rack to fully cool before serving.

Yield: 10-12 servings

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rockyroadbrownies

I can’t think of a better way to kick-off 68 Days of Gourmet than with these Rocky Road Brownies. Last week I was really craving a sweet treat for dessert and more specifically, something that would taste great topped with ice cream. I thought brownies would meet my requirements perfectly. I was going to make a basic fudge brownie recipe but then I spotted these Rocky Road Brownies and abandoned my plans for simplicity.

The base layer really is similar to your basic fudge brownie but the topping is what really packs a punch. I personally love marshmallows so these were fabulous to me. Very chocolately and indulgent – especially topped with a scoop of ice cream!

rockyroadbrownie250(2)

Rocky Road Brownies
(Recipe source Gourmet, December 1996)

Ingredients:

3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
4 ounces fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), chopped and divided
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
1 cup miniature marshmallows

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9-inch square baking pan.

In a heavy 1 1/2-quart saucepan over low heat, melt butter, unsweetened chocolate and 2 ounces of bittersweet chocolate. Stir constantly until smooth. Remove pan from heat and cool mixture for about 10 minutes. Stir in sugar and then add eggs 1 at a time, beating well with a wooden spoon after each addition. The mixture should look glossy and smooth. Add in flour and salt and stir until just combined.

Reserve 1/2 cup of the batter in a separate bowl. Spread remaining batter evenly in pan and bake on middle rack of oven for 20 minutes.

While bottom layer is baking, stir walnuts, marshmallows and remaining 2 ounces of bittersweet chocolate into reserved batter. Remove pan from oven and spoon walnut-marshmallow mixture evenly over partially baked layer. Bake for an additional 7-10 minutes, or until marshmallows are golden. Cool completely in pan on a rack before cutting.

Layer brownies between sheets of wax paper in Tupperware and store at room temperature. They will stay fresh for several days.

Yield: 16 brownies

rockyroadbrownies250

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choccakeandslice

I had a three week break between my temporary job with the American Cancer Society and my new full-time job that I started Monday. I’m not going to lie…I must admit that I enjoyed my brief stint as a housewife. The best perks were having plenty of time to work out (daily run and yoga classes!) and having time to cook and bake to my heart’s content!

Last week I was really craving a chocolate cake. I had a block of cream cheese in the fridge and so I decided a chocolate cake with chocolate cream cheese frosting would be perfect. I used my all-time favorite chocolate cake recipe, the Hershey’s “Perfectly Chocolate” Chocolate Cake, and a based the frosting off of a recipe that I found on The Cupcake Project.

It was a delicious combination. The Hershey’s cake is so moist and the chocolate cream cheese was to die for. It was kind of reminiscent of chocolate cheesecake for me. Brandon and I both enjoyed this cake for dessert multiple nights last week and also shared a few slices with family. I will most definitely be using this flavor combination again!

choccake

Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
(Recipe sources Hershey’s and The Cupcake Project)

Ingredients:

FOR THE CAKE
2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup Hershey’s Cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

FOR THE FROSTING
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese at room temperature
1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick) at room temperature
3 cups sifted powdered sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder

Directions:

FOR THE CAKE
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 8-inch or 9-inch round baking pans.

In the bowl of a stand mixer stir together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla and beat on medium speed for about two minutes. Pour in boiling water and continue to mix until incorporated, batter will be thin. Evenly distribute batter between the two prepared pans.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Start checking the cakes around 25 minutes as oven temperatures may vary (and no one likes an overdone cake)!

Cool in pans for about 10 minutes then run a knife around the edges and gently remove from pans and place on wire racks to cool completely.

FOR THE FROSTING
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat all ingredients on medium high speed until light and fluffy.

To frost cake, place first layer down and frost top, leaving about a 1/2 inch border. Place second layer on top and frost top and then sides.

Yield: 8-12 servings

choccakeslice

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pbccbananamuffins

I know, I know…it’s been all about the baking posts lately. I promise I’ll get back to real food soon but I’ve just been in the mood to bake lately. Also, I recognize that I have a slight addiction to baking muffins that involve banana. I’ve shared the story before but I am a total peanut butter addict and peanut butter and banana sandwiches are one of my favorite lunches. But sometimes I just don’t use my bananas for the week and find myself making muffins with the overripe bananas. I’m a little strange because I cannot eat a banana plain. It literally makes me sick to my stomach but I love them in things…like PB&B sandwiches and banana pudding!

So I decided I was ready for a change from my standby banana muffin recipe and wanted to try to incorporate my favorite sandwich in a muffin. I found this recipe on Baking Bites. It was simple and so delicious…especially with a glass of milk! I will definitely be making these often!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins
(Recipe adapted from Baking Bites)

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup mashed banana (about 2)
6 tablespoons peanut butter (I used all natural crunchy but you can use anything you have on hand)
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 12-muffin tin or prepare with liners.

Whisk together flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, mix together vegetable oil, brown sugar, eggs, mashed banana, peanut butter and buttermilk until smooth. Stir in flour mixture flour mixture mix well.

Divide batter evenly into prepared muffin pans, filling about 3/4 full.

Bake for 16-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the top springs back when lightly pressed.

Remove muffins frompan and cool on a wire rack.

Yield: 12 muffins

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