Archive for the 'chocolate' Category

White Chocolate Brownie Hearts

February 9, 2012

I really wanted to post something super chocolatey this week.  It’s just the lay of the land around Valentine’s Day.  Chocolate this and chocolate that, and the more indulgent the better.  Not that I have anything against indulgence, let’s not kid ourselves.  But I’m about to tell you something about myself that I never thought I would admit here.

I don’t really like chocolate.

Ah!  Stop!  I don’t mean it!  Well, I don’t mean it completely.  Of course I like chocolate.  But…sparingly.  You know, in different types of cookies, or flavored with other things.  But a deep, dark, totally chocolate dessert?  I would likely pass for something else.  You know, for something fruity!  Or nutty!  Or honey-y!  Don’t hate me.

But if not completely chocolatey, at least make heart-shaped desserts, I say!  Because that’s still festive.  And these lovely brownies are still studded with chocolate.  And flavored with white chocolate, which isn’t chocolate at all, but I’ll throw it out there anyway.  They have balance.  And, hello, they’re hearts.  You’ll love them!

White Chocolate Brownie Hearts (adapted from Bakers One Bowl Brownies)

4 oz. good quality white chocolate

3/4 cup butter

1 cup sugar

3 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

1 cup flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

1/4 tsp. flaky sea salt (to sprinkle on top)

Preheat oven to 350.  Line a 9×13 pan with aluminum foil.  Spray the foil with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, in the microwave, melt together the white chocolate and butter in 30 second intervals, stirring each time, until completely melted.  Let cool slightly.  Whisk in eggs and vanilla.  Fold in the flour and 1/2 tsp. salt and mix well until fully incorporated.  Stir in the mini chocolate chips.

Pour batter into the prepared pan.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the edges are turning golden brown and a tester comes out clean.  Cool completely in the pan, on a wire rack.  Lift the aluminum foil out of the pan and using a heart shaped cookie cutter, cut out the desired shapes.

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Chocolate Chip Cookies with Granola

January 26, 2012

My mom does not bake.  Oh sure, she is an excellent cook, and she can whip out those delicious Indian desserts like the best of them.  But a baker, she is not.  So what did she do when her child needed homemade cookies for a bake sale for her tiny school where it would be more than evident when something was clearly store-bought?  She looked on the back of her cereal box.  (This was decades ago.  There was no internet, people.)

Yup.  I’m posting cereal box chocolate chip cookies today.  Because it’s my mom’s recipe!  Well, my mom’s recipe in that she copied it directly from the back of the box.  She followed the directions exactly, wrote the precise recipe in her notebook and whipped it out whenever we ever needed cookies.  But this cookie recipe is far from standard.  I mean, along with the butter, flour, chocolate chip combo in any cookie recipe, you’ve got the oats, nuts and raisins.*  This is a pretty amped up chocolate chip cookie.

And it’s the cookie recipe that I turn to whenever I’m feeling nostalgic.  My mom always left out the vanilla and salt, because she didn’t think they added flavor (wrong.).   But besides that slight switch in the recipe, I left it exactly how she made them.  No portioning out of the dough into perfect balls so they bake evenly.  No refrigerating the batter to ensure that the flavors have melded.  No weighing of the ingredients to get the perfect balance.  Nope, I made them just like she always used to.**

Rustic.  Homey.  You know, mom-ish.  Delicious.

*I don’t like raisins.  Never did, never will.  In these cookies, I just think of them as squishy chocolate chips.

**This is mostly because my mom has given up baking even this one cookie recipe.  She refused when I asked her to make them for me.  Apparently, no more bake sales = no more cookies.

Chocolate Chip Cookies with Granola (from the Quaker 100% Natural Granola Box)

1 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

2 eggs

2 cups flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt (optional – no, really, the exact recipe said this.  I think you should add it)

1 tsp. vanilla (optional, according to Mom.  Again, you’re better off adding it, methinks)

1 1/2 cups cereal (Quaker 100% Natural Oats, Honey and Raisins Granola)

12 oz. pack of chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Beat the butter and sugars until fluffy.  Add eggs (and vanilla) and beat until combined.  In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients.  Mix it into the wet ingredients.  Add the cereal and chocolate chips and stir to combine.  Drop tablespoon-fulls of dough onto ungreased baking sheets and bake for 12-15 minutes, until a golden brown.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Chocolate Pudding

January 12, 2012

To me, January screams pudding.  I know, I know, just last week, I went on about how this is a resolution-filled time of year and that you should be healthy.  And I know that so many of you are so tempted to break something that you have kept up for 12 whole days, but are determined not to.  And then here I come, luring you with my chocolate pudding, telling you to have it just because I think that it embodies a month?!  It’s just soooo good.

No, really.  It’s so good that I dare say that you should forget about those resolutions.  It’s creamy, extremely satisfying, and warming,  especially during this time of year when you would rather sit in the car because of the seat heaters than make the frigid 3 minute walk to the apartment.  It is so very cozy and delicious.

And the real best part, it’s not even that bad for you!  Well, relatively.  I’m no calorie expert, but I think when you swap out 2% milk for whole, and dark chocolate for the milk variety, we’re doing our hearts a real favor.  Maybe even adding years!  And, a little goes a long way with this pudding.  Oh and, you can eat it with fruit!  This is practically health food.

This pudding – it will make you feel taller.  Which is good because my resolution is to have better posture.

Chocolate Pudding (adapted from Scharffen Berger)

1/4 cup cornstarch

scant 1/2 cup sugar

1/8 tsp. salt

3 cups milk (I used 2%)

6.5 oz. dark chocolate

Mix cornstarch, sugar and salt in the top of a double boiler.  Slowly whisk in milk.  Stir constantly until slightly thickened, coating a spoon, about 30 minutes.   Mix in chocolate until incorporated and keep on top of double boiler for an additional 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Pour into ramekins or bowl and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour.

Chocolate Cream Pie

December 29, 2011

I had these big plans to try to convince you why chocolate cream pie is the perfect dessert for the new year.  I was going to tell you about how it represents new things; how it’s a good dessert to bring to a new year party; I was even going to try to say that you should have this one last indulgence before new year resolutions begin.  Are you convinced?  Sigh, neither am I.

Make this pie because it’s delicious!  It’s chocolate and whipped cream piled into a sweet crust!  It’s this totally old school, comforting dessert, but all fancied up with high quality chocolate that is barely sweet and so grown-up tasting.  People!  You don’t need another reason.

But if you do need another reason, I say pretend.  Pretend that it represents the new year, pretend that you have a party to take this to, have this one last indulgence before resolutions begin, and just make it this weekend.  And then try to think of why you would ever need a reason to make this.  Really.  Try.

Chocolate Cream Pie (recipe from Flour)

This recipe is actually relatively simple to put together, but does use several plates and bowls to get to the finished product.  So prepare yourselves.  But have I mentioned that it’s worth it?  Which you really shouldn’t be surprised about because, let’s be honest, this cookbook never fails.

For crust:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into pieces

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

1 cup all purpose flour

1 egg yolk

Cream together the butter, sugar and salt on medium speed until well combined, about 2-3 minutes.  Add the flour and beat on low for 30 seconds.  Add the egg yolk and continue to beat for an additional 30 seconds, or until dough comes together.  Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.

Remove dough from the fridge and let soften for 30 minutes.  Sprinkle flour on the dough, and using a rolling pin, roll out the dough until it’s about 1/4 inch thick.  It should be about 10 to 11 inches in diameter.  Carefully lift and place the dough in a pie plate.  Cut off any excess pieces.

Place the prepared pie shell in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.  Preheat the oven to 350.  Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown.  As soon as it comes out of the oven, place 1 ounce of bittersweet chocolate (ingredients listed below) onto the crust.  Place the pie shell back in the oven for about 1 minute, until the chocolate has melted.  Spread the chocolate all over the crust to form an even layer of chocolate.  Let cool completely.

For pie filling:

6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped, divided

3/4 cup half and half

2 1/2 cups heavy cream, divided

4 egg yolks

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 tsp. salt

3 tablespoons powdered sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

slab of milk chocolate, for decorating

In a pot, combine half and half and 1 cup of the cream and heat over medium high heat until bubbles form on the side.  Make sure that the liquid does not boil.  Meanwhile, melt the remaining 5 oz. chocolate in a double boiler until it has melted.  Take off the heat.  Pour the cream mixture over the melted chocolate and whisk to incorporate.

In another bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar.  Slowly incorporate the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture, a little at a time, making sure that eggs will not cook.  Return the entire mixture to the pot and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, for about 6-7 minutes, until the mixture thickens.  Strain through a sieve.  Stir in vanilla and salt.  Pour the filling into the shell and refrigerate, uncovered, until set, about 8 hours or overnight.

When ready to serve, beat the remaining 1 1/2 cups of cream with powdered sugar and cornstarch.  Whip until stiff peaks form.  Pour onto the chocolate pie and spread to the edges of the pie.  Using a vegetable peeler, shave chocolate on top of the whipped cream.

Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies

December 8, 2011

I was such a tease last year.  I kept promising cookie recipes for holiday parties and cookie exchanges, but I never did.  Oh sure, I got around to the pastries and candies and this spectacular centerpiece.  But never actually posted anything about the dessert that screams this time of year.

This year, my friends, things are going to change.  Starting from today.  And here we have it, starting with the basic chocolate chip cookie.  The foundation of any cookie tray, the mecca of cookie lovers everywhere.  Ah, but it has a twist!

Like oh so many people, I’m a chewy chocolate chip cookie kind of girl, but sometimes all I want is a bit of crunch.  Those big bakery-like crispy cookies are always so intriguing and surprisingly look so satisfying!  But I always have thought that the lack of chew would mean lack of flavor.

Turns out (as anyone but me would suspect) that chewiness and tastiness have nothing to do with each other!  You can really taste the butter and the oats, and it does not at all lack in chocolate.  This is basically the perfect dunking cookie.  It’s the ideal cookie for transport.  And will look lovely on your cookie tray.  Chewy chocolate chip cookie lovers, watch out.  This cookie may bring you over to the other side.

Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies (recipe from Serious Eats)

  • 1 1/3 cups (6 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup (1.5 ounces) quick rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup (3.5 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (1.75 ounces) packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon (2 ounces) light corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 7 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped into chunks, or 1 generous cup chocolate chips or chunks

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven.  Combine the flour and baking soda in a small bowl and mix together thoroughly with a whisk or fork.

In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter, oats, sugars, corn syrup, milk, and salt.  Mix in the flour mixture. Stir in the chocolate chunks into the cooled batter.

Divide the dough into 15 equal pieces.  Line baking sheets with aluminum foil or parchment paper.  Arrange 5 pieces of dough, remembering that the cookies will spread.  Flatten each piece of dough until it is about 4 inches across.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the cookies are thin and very brown.  Rotate the pans from top to bottom and front to back halfway through the baking time.  Slide the foil with cookies onto racks to cool completely before removing the cookies from the foil.  Repeat with the third batch.   Cool the cookies completely before stacking or storing.

Chocolate Coconut Candy Bars

November 3, 2011

I always do this.  I always post recipes just a little bit after they are most relevant.  I posted cookie recipes immediately after the holidays last year, I wrote about a great football-watching snack exactly one week after the Superbowl, and now, here I am, posting a candy recipe just days after Halloween.  I can’t stop.

In my defense, though, no one ever gives out homemade candy to young trick-o-treaters.  In fact, if I remember correctly, kids are taught to never open those homemade treats (isn’t there some kind of rhyme for that?).  And you are probably so sick of the store-bought orange and black wrapped generic candies anyway that you’re probably ready to turn to something homemade.

Well, these are homemade and delicious, I must say.  This is unlike any candy I’ve ever made: nothing to boil, no candy thermometers, no risk of burning sugar…or burning yourself.  This is more like an amped up blondie that tastes, well, just like candy when it’s all said and done.  Spectacular, homemade candy.  Actually, spectacular, homemade candy that takes less than 30 minutes to make.  I would even go so far as to say that these are even time appropriate, maybe even a bit early – everyone makes candy during the holiday season!  I knew I’d come through eventually.

Chocolate Coconut Candy Bars (recipe from Saveur)

If you are like me, you will take one look at these ingredients and think that these bars are going to turn out way too sweet.  But then, if you think about it, candy bars usually don’t have much salt in them; they are 100% sweet and that works out just fine.  So, going again my instinct of adding just a 1/2 tsp of salt, I followed this recipe exactly.  And these were wonderful.

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1⁄2 cup melted butter
1⁄2 cup sugar
2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
1  14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 tbsp. creamy peanut butter
1 tbsp. shortening

1. Heat oven to 350°.   Stir together graham cracker crumbs, butter, and sugar in a medium bowl. Transfer crumb mixture to a 9″ × 13″ baking pan and press down with your fingers to form an even layer. Bake until just golden around the edges, 10–12 minutes. Set aside.

2. Put coconut and condensed milk into a bowl and stir well. Transfer the coconut mixture to the baking pan with the prepared crust and spread it out evenly over the hot crust. Return pan to oven and bake until golden brown around the edges, 15–17 minutes more. Set the pan aside to let cool completely.

3. Put chocolate chips, peanut butter, and shortening into a medium pot and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until completely smooth, 3–4 minutes. Pour chocolate mixture over coconut layer in the pan and use a rubber spatula to spread out to the edges to form a thin layer. Set aside in a cool spot to let cool completely.

4. After the candy has come to room temperature, stick the pan in the freezer for about 10-15 minutes.  This will make cutting the bars easier.  Cut the bars unto 48 squares.

Homemade Oreos

October 20, 2011

I love nostalgic foods.  I love cookies that can be dunked in milk.  In the Venn diagram of these two finite sets, the only intersection that shows the logical relation between the two are oreos.  I also love Venn diagrams.

Let me explain: oreos are so nostalgic.  I don’t know of anyone that does not immediately think of their childhood when eating an oreo.  But it’s also such a unique cookie.  Contrary to what you may believe, all cookies were not created equal.  You may think that you can dunk just any cookie into milk for tasty satisfaction, but that just isn’t the case.  For a cookie to be fully absorbed by the milk and become soft, as the milk was intended to do, the cookie must be dry.  Sure, there are a lot of dry cookies out there, but the beauty of an oreo is that it also has the creamy, white filling.  It’s not affected by the milk, but it adds to the consistency of the dunked cookie that leads to, well, perfection.

These cookies have the exact properties of that nostalgic oreo: the crumbly, dry, chocolatey wafer-like outside, with the creamy, vanilla-esque center.  I will say, though, that this is a much more grown-up version than the one you’re used to.  The chocolate flavor is much more intense, and the filling much creamier.  Rather than not being able to stop at one, with these, you are quite satisfied with half.

But live with the times, I say!  You are not a child anymore anyway.  So go ahead.  Make these.  Eat these matured oreos.  And dunk away!

Homemade Oreos (from Flour)

This recipe, as with every other recipe that I found, called for Dutch processed cocoa.  I thought that this would be pretty simple to find, but not so much the case.  I looked at five different grocery stores without any luck.  Then I read that a dark chocolate cocoa has a mix of natural and Dutch processed.  I used that and it was fine.  So if you can’t find Dutch processed, go with this.  Don’t take a grocery store tour of your town.

1 cup butter, melted and slightly cooled

3/4 cup sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

1 cup chocolate chips, melted and slightly cooled

1 egg

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

3/4 cup Dutch processed cocoa (see note above)

1 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 tsp. baking soda

Mix together butter and sugar in a bowl, until well-blended.  Mix in the vanilla and melted chocolate.  Last, add the egg and whisk until everything is well combined.

In another bowl, stir together the dry ingredients.  Mix the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until everything is well incorporated.  Let the dough sit at room temperature for an hour so it has time to get firm.

Place the cooled dough on a large sheet of parchment paper or waxed paper.  Guiding the dough with your hands, roll the dough into a log, about 10 inches long, and 2 inches in diameter.  Wrap the excess paper around the dough and twist the ends.  When the dough is covered with the paper, roll into a smoother log and place into the refrigerator until firm – about 1.5 hours.  Every 15 minutes of those 1.5 hours, reroll the log to make sure that the dough doesn’t settle and have a flat side.

Preheat the oven to 325 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Slice the dough into 1/4 inch thick slices and place them on the baking sheet, about 1 inch apart.  Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the center is firm to the touch.  Let cool on the baking sheet.

Filling (from Retro Desserts)

1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

1/4 cup vegetable shortening

2 cups powdered sugar

2 tsp. vanilla extract

Beat the butter and shortening until soft and smooth.  Add the sugar and vanilla and beat until the mixture is perfectly smooth.

To assemble: Place a tablespoon-full of the filling in the center of one of the cookies.  Press down with another cookie until the filling has spread to the edges.  Repeat with the remaining cookies.

Chocolate Orange Macaron Layer Cake

September 26, 2011

This is, by far, the tallest thing that has ever come out of my kitchen.  It was tall, people.  Like over a foot tall.  But that’s enough about the height of the cake.  It was also delicious!  Two layers of chocolate orange cake, with chocolate chip french macaron layers to fill in.  Pretty amazing.  The taste was as good as the cake was high.  Yep, tall.

This cake was actually another product of my sister’s birthday.  Sure, her birthday used to be a an occassion where she just got to pick her own dessert.  But it’s turned into a challenge for me to outdo whatever I created the year before.  And if last year’s was a monster, then this year’s was a beast.  If you consider beasts to be bigger than monsters, that is.

But there is much more to this story than this: we had a party for my sister’s birthday.  A Michael Jackson themed party.  Alas, there was no time to take beautiful photos to show just how scrumptious this cake was between the karaoke and the moonwalking!  So you don’t even get to see the true tallness of this cake!  I know, such a tease.  But you will see the Thriller glove sugar cookies that I made.  And I certainly hope that makes up for it.

Chocolate Orange Macaron Layer Cake

Considering how impressive this cake looks, it was surprisingly easy to put together.  It was frosted, and ready to be eaten all in a morning’s time.  I love the chocolate orange combo, and so does my sister (and so does Michael Jackson, we’d like to believe), but the fruit/chocolate combo is obviously endless.  Or you can make it pure chocolate.  I have to say that the chocolate was a bit too much for me (but I’m a cinnamon and fruit flavored dessert girl, after all), so next time I would probably omit the chocolate chips from the macaron layers.  The aforementioned tall thing is pretty important considering serving sizes – with this four layer cake, we were able to feed about 40 people with satisfying slices.

Chocolate Orange Macaron Layer Cake (all components adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

Chocolate Layers

2 cups cake flour

2 cups sugar

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

2 sticks butter, room temperature

3/4 cup buttermilk

2 eggs, room temperature

3/4 cup freshly brewed coffee or freshly made instant coffee, cooled to room temperature

2 tsp. vanilla

1 orange, zested

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter two 9 inch round cake pans.  Line with parchment paper and butter the parchment paper.

In a bowl of a standing mixer, combine all dry ingredients, through the salt.  Mix on low speed for about 30 seconds until everything is well combined.  Add butter and buttermilk and blend, starting on low speed, increasing as it starts to become well combined.  Beat for 2-3 minutes.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, coffee, vanilla and orange zest.  With the mixer running, blend in the coffee mixture in 3 additions.  When well blended, take a spatula and stir, scraping the bottom, ensuring that all of the dry ingredients have been thoroughly mixed in.

Divide the batter evenly between the two pans.  Bake for 40 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.  Let cool on a wire rack, in their pans until cool enough to handle, then turn out of pans and let the layers cool completely on the wire rack.

Macaron Layers

2.5 cups, or 10.5 oz. ground almonds

1 cup sugar

2 large pinches salt

2  tsp. vanilla (or 2 tsp. vanilla bean paste, or 1 vanilla bean)

6 large egg whites

Set the oven racks in the top third and bottom third of oven.  Preheat the oven to 325.  Spray two 9 inch cake pans with cooking spray.  Line with parchment paper, and spray again.  Set aside.

In a bowl, mix together the almonds, sugar and salt.  With a mixer, whip egg whites until soft peaks form.  With the mixer running, slowly add in the vanilla and remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar.  Beat until the egg whites are stiff but not dry.  Gently fold in the egg white mixture into the almond mixture until well combined.  Add mini chocolate chips and stir.  Divide evenly among the two pans, spreading to make sure that it covers all sides.

Bake macaron layers until golden and almost firm to the touch, rotating the pans half way through the baking.  Bake for 40 minutes.  Take out of oven and let cool, in the pan, on a wire rack until cool enough to handle.  Carefully take the layers out of the pans and let cool completely on a wire rack.

Fudge Frosting

6 oz. unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled

4 cups powdered sugar

3 sticks butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup half and half

1 tablespoon vanilla

Place everything in a blender and blend until well combined.  Add more half and half if needed for a better consistency.

To Assemble

1 jar good orange marmalade

On a plate, place a chocolate cake layer upside down.  Spread with about 2 tablespoons of orange marmalade, or enough to cover the surface of the cake.  Place a macaron layer on top of the marmalade.  Spread a layer of the chocolate frosting on top.  Place another layer of the chocolate cake layer on top of the frosting.  Spread more orange marmalade on the cake layer.  Repeat with macaron layer.  Place the remainder of the frosting on top, covering the top and sides.  Place in the refrigerator until ready to eat.

No Bake Chocolate Nut Cookies

September 8, 2011

I entered a no-bake cookie contest.  At a state fair.  Not even my own state’s state fair!  Just a random no bake cookie contest at a random state fair.  And, people, I was positive that I was going to win.  Not only that, I just knew that I was going to get first place.  There wasn’t a doubt in my mind.

Well, I didn’t get first place.  Or second, or third.  In fact, I spotted my cookies on the fair secretary’s lunch plate while judging was still going on.

So, no, I’m not going to post the losing cookie recipe.  Even though it sure was tasty and should have been a winner.  What I didn’t enter (but should have) was this cookie right here.  A recipe that comes up about 4 million times (exaggeration) when you google “no bake cookie”.  It’s apparently very much the ultimate no bake cookie.  I tried this recipe before the contest to test it out, and thought it tasted way too gooey and sweet – more like candy instead of cookie.  Also, because it was so well known, I decided that there is no way that this recipe would win.  I needed something more cookie-like and unique.

Well, lo and behold, when I dropped off the cookies to the judging table, there were about 17 cookies that looked just like these.  Not too surprising.  But then, I find out that these won first place.  What?!  How does this even work?  How do cookies that show up 4 million times through google, and 17 times at one competition and don’t even taste like cookies win first place at a cookie contest?!  No answers.  None at all.  But at least I can say that I’m posting a winning recipe!

No Bake Chocolate Nut Cookies (adapted from many recipes found on the internet)

I sound bitter.  So here I am saying that these are quite tasty!  But like I said, these don’t really taste like cookies.  In fact, I was contemplating calling them “oatmeal chocolate nut fudge drops”, but that didn’t roll off the tongue as easily.  I did change the recipe a bit to add a crunch factor that is more reminiscent of cookies.  I also added salt, which was not in any of the recipes that I saw.  And let’s be honest, these are ridiculously easy, which ups their appeal factor.  These are best out of the refrigerator.

1/2 stick butter, salted

2/3 cup sugar

1/4 cup milk

2 tbsp. cocoa powder

1/4 cup Nutella (or peanut butter, or any nut butter)

1 tsp. vanilla

2 cups quick cooking oats, toasted in a pan, over low heat, and cooled

1/2 cup roasted hazelnuts, chopped (or peanuts, or any complimenting nut)

1/2 tsp. salt

In a saucepan, over medium heat, stir together the butter, cocoa, milk and sugar.  Bring to a boil and let it boil for 1 minute.  Take it off the heat and add Nutella, and vanilla.  After it is all well mixed together, stir in oats, salt, and nuts.  Drop by tablespoon-fulls on baking sheets, lined with waxed paper.  Let it set and form into cookie like shapes.  Store in the refrigerator.

Eggless Nutella Swirl Cake

July 7, 2011

One of my cousins from India always requests certain American-found food items whenever I visit.  Double-stuffed Oreos usually make the list, she has a thing for Cool(er) Ranch Doritos, and she always sends an entire list of chocolates for me to bring.  But without fail, every single time, I must bring her Nutella (the quintessential American treat?).

This is a pretty understandable request – Nutella tastes amazing on just about everything: graham crackers, apples, cookies.  But my cousin does not spread this on anything.  She instead mixes it into her milk, kind of like chocolate syrup, but much more difficult to mix in.  I’ve tried – I stirred for a long time without getting anywhere.  She ends up with mildly flavored chocolate hazelnut flavored milk with globs of Nutella at the bottom.  This, she says, is her favorite part.  She tips her cup all the way back for the milky Nutella to slide down, and when that usually does not happen, she takes a seat with the mug and spoon in hand.  This is all pretty gross, you may think.  But  I think that it’s brilliant!

Globs of nutella, at a bottom of a mug or otherwise, are probably the most delicious globs you can find.  I do not know of one person that would not enjoy a glob of Nutella deliciousness.  So when I was going to India around her birthday, I knew exactly what to bake for her to incorporate her favorite type of glob.  I swirled in Nutella into my favorite eggless cake recipe.

It sank a bit – Nutella is a bit heavy, I realize now.  But that just made the globs all the more apparent and delicious.  This cake was very yummy, it traveled well, and though everyone else loved this pound cakey-cake, my cousin picked out all of the Nutella from the cake and ate just that.  I was only slightly offended.

Eggless Nutella Swirl Cake

I don’t quite remember where I first found this dessert, but if you type in “eggless condensed milk cake” into Google, there are like thousands of results that pop up.  Swirl in Nutella or swirl in jam, or make the whole thing chocolate or peanut butter, there are recipes for all.

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 (400gm) can sweetened condensed milk

1 cup orange juice

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3/4 cup melted butter

1/2 cup Nutella

Preheat oven to 350.  Spray two loaf pans with cooking spray.  Sift together the all purpose flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda into a large bowl.  In another bowl, whisk together the condensed milk, orange juice, melted butter and vanilla until well blended.

Make a well in the centre of the flour and pour the blended wet ingredients.  Using a wooden spoon, mix until well incorporated.  Pour into prepared pans.  Using a tablespoon, evenly glob the Nutella on top of the cakes.  Using a butter knife, cut into globs and swirl the Nutella into the batter.

Bake for about 30 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan for about 15 minutes, remove from the pan and cool on a rack.