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One-Bowl Chocolate Cake

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This is a very simple chocolate cake but I daresay it might be even better then my previous favorite. It is incredibly moist and so tender, with the perfect amount of chocolate flavor. It is a perfect cake to whip up when you don’t have time for a fussy recipe, and who needs fussy when simplicity brings such deliciousness? I hope you try it.

One-Bowl Chocolate Cake

Printable recipe

Printable recipe with picture

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar

1/2 cup baking cocoa

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup canola oil

1 cup buttermilk

1 cup hot water

Frosting of your choice

Colored sprinkles, optional

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 13×9-in. baking pan, or spray with cooking oil. In a large bowl, whisk the first six ingredients. Stir in eggs, oil and buttermilk. Add water; stir until combined.

Transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Frost cake. If desired, decorate with sprinkles.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting: In a large bowl, beat 1/2 cup softened butter until creamy. Beat in 2 cups confectioners’ sugar, 1/4 cup baking cocoa, 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract and 3-4 tablespoons 2% milk (I used heavy cream) to achieve desired consistency.

*Veronica’s notes: I sifted my dry ingredients since my cocoa powder was really lumpy. If you find yourself in the same boat, with big clumps of cocoa powder in the dry ingredients that won’t mix out, I would suggest sifting so you don’t have any clumps.

Recipe source: Taste of Home

Cake Batter Lovins

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Remember the “Cake Batter Everything” craze that swept over the food blog world in 2011? Yeah, I hopped on that and enjoyed it to the fullest.  I shared only one of my cake batter explorations with you, the Cake Batter Crispy Treats, which were my favorite cake batter flavored treat, but do you think I let the remainder of my bag of yellow cake mix go to waste? No way, Jose.

Here’s a few ideas if you need some ways to use up extra cake mix.

Cake Batter Oats. This is actually a pretty healthy recipe, considering there’s cake mix in it. And tasty too!

Cake Batter French Toast. What can I say, cake batter is such a great way to start the day. And sprinkles just make everything so happy.  This one would be fun for a birthday breakfast! I made a simple icing glaze by mixing like 1/4 cup powdered sugar with just enough milk to get it a drizzling consistency.

Cake Batter Candies. For these, I just melted some vanilla almond bark and added enough yellow cake mix to make it taste like cake batter, but not so much it got too thick.  I poured most of it in a chocolate bar mold (like the one I used for this Vegan White Chocolate), but I didn’t get a picture of that before I gave it to a friend as part of a thank you gift for turning a stain on my jeans into a work of art. The rest of it I poured into peanut butter cup molds and put sprinkles over the tops while it was still setting up.  Kids went crazy for these at a get together, even more so than my Cupcake Bites!

Have you made any cake batter flavored yums?

Tiger Butter


If you need an idea for last-minute Valentine’s Day treats for your loved ones, I gotcha covered!  I’ve made four batches of this Tiger Butter fudge since Christmas and everyone has been so impressed with it, I don’t know whether to be proud or ashamed of how easy it is to make!  Three ingredients, melt, stir, and swirl, and you’re done.

And if you’re wondering about the taste, it is oh so good.  The peanut butter layer is incredibly creamy and of course the chocolate is the perfect complement.  Need I say more?

Tiger Butter

Printable recipe
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1 (24 oz) package vanilla almond bark candy coating
1 (1 lb 2 oz) jar creamy peanut butter
1 1/4 cups milk chocolate chips

Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil; set aside.

In a microwave-safe bowl, microwave the chocolate chips for one minute and stir well. Microwave in 15-second intervals, stirring well in between, until completely melted. This takes 2 intervals for my microwave. Be careful not to overheat the chocolate and stir well after each interval, allowing the residual heat to melt the chips before microwaving again. If you overheat them, they will get too thick and you won’t be able to use the melted chocolate for swirling. Once melted, set aside.

Melt the almond bark according to package directions. Usually that would be to place them in a microwave safe bowl, microwave for 1-1 1/2 minutes, stir well, and microwave in 15 second intervals, stirring in between, until melted and smooth. Once melted, stir in the peanut butter until creamy and smooth. Spread into prepared baking sheet.

If the melted milk chocolate has become too firm with standing, microwave for ten seconds, stir, then pour it over the peanut butter mixture in long horizontal lines. Drag a spatula through the lines in a vertical pattern, going up on one line, then down on the next, repeating until the pan is swirled. Allow to set for several hours or overnight before cutting. You may refrigerate the fudge to set it up quickly.

Stores great at room temperature, and you don’t even have to cover it. Great shelf life. I’ve left some uncovered for up to two weeks with no spoiling.

Veronica’s notes: although I haven’t tried it, you should be able to substitute 1 1/2 lbs white baking chips for the candy coating if you can’t find it in your area, or even real white chocolate if you don’t mind the big price tag. I like to use milk chocolate with peanut butter, but semisweet chocolate is perfectly fine and would create a more dramatic stripe effect.

Recipe source: adapted from The Better Baker

Chocolatey Chocolate Zucchini Bread

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Back when I made the super-fantastic Double Chocolate Banana Bread, I also made a loaf of chocolate zucchini bread, hoping it would turn out as good as the banana bread.  It was a huge, miserable disappointment.  Dry, and hardly any chocolate flavor.  I didn’t mention this on that post, but out of the blue, reader Caren K. mentioned she had a chocolate zucchini bread recipe that was to die for.  Of course I had to ask her for it, and she thankfully obliged.

This bread totally met my expectations!  As you can see in the pictures, I barely had half a loaf to photograph the next day because we couldn’t help but dig in, and dig in some more, while it was cooling the night before.  It is so incredibly moist, to the point of being fudgy, and I love the hint of cinnamon – it really adds some warmth and mystery to the bread.  You don’t taste the instant coffee, and I suspect it is there to enhance the chocolate flavor.  If so, I think it does its job well, as this bread is perfectly chocolatey!

Chocolatey Chocolate Zucchini Bread

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2 cups grated zucchini, measured after draining
1 ¼ cups (5 ¼ oz) all-purpose flour
¼ cup (3/4 oz) unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¾ cup (5.25 oz) sugar
1 large egg
6 tablespoons melted butter
¼ heaping teaspoon instant coffee granules
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
Mini semisweet chocolate chips for top, if desired

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray the bottom of an 8×4 loaf pan with oil; set aside. (I have an excellent nonstick pan, so you might want to spray the sides too, or use Miracle Pan Release if your baked goods tend to stick to yours.)

Grate zucchini and place in a colander in the sink to drain while you continue with the recipe. After it has drained, squeeze it to get out the extra liquid before measuring. Don’t pack the cups too much or your bread might be a little soggy the second day.

Whisk together the flour, unsweetened cocoa, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Whisk until well combined. In a separate larger bowl, whisk together the sugar and egg until smooth. Add the melted butter, instant coffee granules, and vanilla extract and whisk until well combined. Add the shredded zucchini into the sugar mixture, then add the flour mixture in small sections, stirring to combine after each addition.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and let cool completely on a rack.  If desired, sprinkle some mini chocolate chips over the top while it cools. The heat from the loaf will make them soften and melt a little and stick well to it.

Recipe source: Caren K.

You may also be interested in…

Double Chocolate Banana Bread

Double Chocolate Banana Muffins (healthy!)

Double Chocolate Rum Amish Friendship Bread

 

Cream Cheese Chocolate Truffles


Here’s another easy-peasy recipe that you can add to your holiday spread, or package up for gifts!  And it makes a ton, so there really is plenty for a crowd.  And did I mention they’re delicious?  Because they are.

The original recipe instructs you to refrigerate the truffle mixture for an hour, but I take a shortcut and roll them into balls immediately.  This is particularly beneficial if you decide to roll them in nuts,* because they adhere much easier to the softer truffles than when they’re hard after refrigerating.

*I like to use ice cream nut topping because the nuts are chopped nice and fine, salted, and have a little sugar added.

As a last note, if you like the look of truffles rolled in cocoa powder but don’t like the bitter edge to them, you can add powdered sugar to your cocoa to sweeten it before rolling.  It’s been a while since I made these, but I’m 95% certain this is what I did, and that little white spot on one the truffle in the back on the right most likely confirms it.  (Might want to sift your powdered sugar so it blends perfectly!)  I think I remember remarking that they seemed more likely to be approved by the general public, but I do like the bitterness of pure cocoa to contrast the sweet truffle.  Whatever floats your boat!

Cream Cheese Chocolate Truffles

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1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
3 cups semisweet chocolate chips, melted
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar until well blended. Stir in melted chocolate and vanilla until no streaks remain.  Shape into 1 inch balls, then roll in cocoa powder, finely chopped nuts, or powdered sugar.  Store in an airtight container and serve at room temperature. You may refrigerate the truffles if you won’t be serving them for several days, but remove them at least ½ hour before serving.

Makes about 60 truffles.

Recipe source: Allrecipes

Chocolate Oblivion Truffle Torte

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“This cake is my favorite way to eat chocolate.  It is easy to make and contains only three essential ingredients: the very best chocolate, for a full, rich flavor and smooth, creamy texture; unsalted butter to soften the chocolate and release the flavor; and eggs to lighten it.  The result is like the creamiest truffle wedded to the purest chocolate mousse.  It is chocolate at its most intense flavor and perfect consistency.” -Rose Levy Beranbaum, creator of the Chocolate Oblivion Truffle Torte

That pretty much says it all!  I would like to add that although it seems there are many steps to the recipe, it is very simple to make.  Think of it this way: all you have to do is melt the butter and chocolate together, beat the eggs to death and fold them into the chocolate mixture and bake.  The reason the instructions are so long is that they are very detailed so you are sure to have success with this cake.  Enjoy!

Chocolate Oblivion Truffle Torte

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1 lb. semisweet chocolate
1 cup unsalted butter
6 large eggs

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Butter the bottom and sides of an 8″x2″ cake pan and place a circle of parchment or wax paper in the bottom, then butter the top of it.

In a large metal bowl set over a pan of hot, not simmering, water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water), combine the chocolate and butter and let stand, stirring occasionally until smooth and melted. (The mixture can be melted in the microwave on high power, stirring every 15 seconds. Remove when there are still a few lumps of chocolate and stir until fully melted.)

In a large bowl set over a pan of simmering water, heat the eggs, stirring constantly to prevent curdling, until just warm to the touch. Remove from the heat and beat with an electric mixer until tripled in volume and soft peaks form when the beater is raised, about 5 minutes.

Using a large wire whisk or rubber spatula, fold half the eggs into the chocolate mixture until almost incorporated. Fold in the remaining eggs until just blended and no streaks remaining. Finish by using a rubber spatula to ensure that the heavier mixture at the bottom is incorporated. Scrape into the prepared pan and smooth with the spatula. Set the pan in a larger pan and surround it with 1 inch of very hot water. Bake 5 minutes. Cover loosely with a piece of foil and bake 10 minutes. The cake will look soft, but this is as it should be.

Let the cake cool on a rack for 45 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until very firm, about three hours.

To unmold, have ready a serving plate and a flat plate at least 8 inches in diameter, covered with plastic wrap. Wipe the sides of the pan with a hot, damp towel, then run a thin metal knife around the sides of the cake. Submerge the bottom in hot water for 10-20 seconds, then invert onto the plastic wrap-lined plate. Remove the parchment from the bottom, then invert onto the serving plate and peel off the plastic wrap.

If desired, you can spread good-quality raspberry or strawberry jam over the top of the cake.  (I have an excellent recipe for raspberry jam here.)  Allow to come to room temperature before serving.  Serve with whipped cream, if desired.

Recipe source: The Cake Bible

***Reminder***

Today is the day to return to the Postcard Project spreadsheet and make sure you report how many pieces of mail you sent this week.  I will be drawing only from the names that have a number in the “completed” column for this week (not last week).  I’m SO thrilled that so many more have signed up and hope you will be able to return to report your goal completed before I draw for the cookies tonight at midnight. Good luck and thank you!

Homemade Butterfingers & Butterfinger Pops

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This super-easy recipe with only three ingredients is making it’s way around Pinterest, and since I’ve had pops on the brain lately (you can find all my pop creations here), I immediately thought this would be a great idea to turn into pops!  It’s much easier to make them into the traditional bars, but for the adventurous, I’ll include the instructions for the pops in the recipe.

*Update: this is TOO funny! I did not read the blog that I found the recipe on until I already made the pops, and I see she had a similar idea as me to turn this into suckers using molds.  Great minds! Except hers is greater because this would be MUCH easier to make using molds.

I was skeptical that the combination of melted candy corn and peanut butter would taste like a Butterfinger, but, amazingly, it really does.  It even has that same crispy crunch in your mouth, though the texture is softer and not as dry & flaky as a real Butterfinger–more moist.  One of my friends liked it more than a real Butterfinger for that reason, and I think I have to agree.  Very delicious and fun!

Homemade Butterfingers

Printable recipe
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Printable Pops recipe with picture

1 lb. candy corn
16 oz. peanut butter
16 oz. chocolate candy melts or chocolate candy coating/bark

Spray an 8×8 baking dish with oil, then line with wax or parchment paper.  Place the candy corn in a large glass bowl and microwave for one minute.  Stir, then continue to microwave in 15-second intervals, stirring in between, until melted and smooth.  Stir in the peanut butter.  My mixture was very chunky because the candy corn did not want to combine with the peanut butter so I nuked the mixture for another 15 seconds.  At that point it was grainy, and I wanted to leave it that way since it reminded me of Butterfingers since they don’t have a smooth texture.  If you want yours completely homogeneous, continue melting in 15-second intervals until you get the mixture perfectly smooth (disclaimer: it is only my assumption that eventually it would get smooth, since I have not tried it myself).  Spread into the prepared pan and allow to cool completely, 1-2 hours.  Remove from the pan by grasping the wax paper and lifting out.  Cut into small bars.  Melt the chocolate coating according to the package directions and dip each bar into it using a fork,tapping  off the excess before setting on wax paper to dry.

To make Butterfinger Pops, let the mixture cool completely, then use a cookie scoop to portion it out.  Roll each scoop into a ball and set on waxed paper.  Freeze until firm, about 15 minutes.  Take lollipop sticks and dip the tip of each one into melted candy coating and then stick into the balls.  After all the balls have sticks in them, put them back in the freezer to firm up again.   Place your styrofoam block in the refrigerator.  (Since the balls will be very cold when you dip them, the chocolate will be more prone to crack and placing the pops in the refrigerator after dipping will reduce the amount of cracked pops*.)  Once they are firm enough to dip, remove five at a time from the freezer, dip them one at a time in the chocolate coating, tapping off the excess, and push the sticks down into the styrofoam block to set.  Check on them each time you add another to see if they are cracking and if so, remove and apply extra melted chocolate onto the crack so that no oil leaks out.  If you want to add sprinkles, do it as soon as you tap off the excess chocolate, while it is still wet.  I put some peanuts and candy corn together in my food processor and chopped them up for my topping.  To get a better idea of the process involved for pops, refer to my Cake Pops tutorial.

Recipe source: Plain Chicken

*LOL, “cracked pops” for some reason reminded me of my husband’s favorite quote from a movie.  Can you name the movie this is from?

Father say, “Hurry is waste. Waste is cracked bowl which never know rice.”

My Eggland’s Best Birthday Brinner, Bacon Devilled Eggs & a Giveaway!

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Last month, Eggland’s Best contacted me to see if I would like to participate in the “Eggland’s Best Double Dozen” in honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness month, to help raise awareness and funding for the fight against breast cancer.  To participate, I would host a brunch or brinner party using their eggs and blog about it.  Well, Dennis’ Aunt Dorothy is a breast cancer survivor and so I would have agreed simply because they offered to make a $100 donation in my name to Susan G. Komen for the Cure, but they sweetened the deal even more by sending me a box of goodies, including free egg coupons, and a gift card to pay for all my ingredients!  It was an offer I couldn’t refuse. :)

I decided to host a brinner party for my birthday with the money and free eggs they supplied me.  I got enough coupons to give to all my guests, and to make all my egg-y dishes.  Since the weather has been so nice, I decided to have an outdoor dinner and though it rained the day before, the weather behaved itself in honor of my birthday and was quite nice the day of the celebration!

The only problem was that I started dinner too late, forgetting the sun sets earlier in fall, and we ended up eating most of the meal by moonlight!  Learn from my mistake, and be prepared with candles if your outdoor dinner party runs late.  I have to say, though, it was a relaxing and unique experience.  You will see from the photos that I had less and less daylight as they become more and more terrible. I apologize for that!

The first thing I made was poppy seed crescent rolls, which calls for four eggs.  It’s a recipe I’ve been holding onto for a few years which comes from the recipe box of none other than my heroine, Laura Ingalls Wilder.  Did you know she has a cookbook?

I’m sorry to report they were disappointing. Everyone said they were “good,” or “OK,” and I agreed.  If I hadn’t put a lemon glaze on them, they wouldn’t have been worth eating.  They weren’t bad, but they weren’t good enough to share the recipe.  But they did turn out pretty!

I got the hashbrown casserole and two spinach-ricotta quiches in the oven and while they were baking, I shot some pics of my birthday “cake,” a Chocolate Oblivion Truffle Torte, which I topped with good-quality raspberry preserves because I adore the combination of dark chocolate and raspberries.

I’ve made this once before for Dennis’ birthday long before I was blogging, and I’m happy I finally made it again so I could take pics and share the recipe. It is just outstanding.  Creamy, melt-in-your mouth rich chocolate, the texture lightened with whipped eggs (6 of them, which is why I chose this for my brinner–because I could use so many of the Eggland’s Best eggs in it!) and butter.  And those are the only ingredients!  This is for the serious chocolate lover.  It’s like eating a slice of chocolate truffle or mousse.

I did a fall tablescape because of the time of year, and I saw this cornucopia and had to have it in honor of my blog’s name. :)

After shooting this, we added two more chairs, just in case you counted the plates and were wondering why the chairs didn’t add up.  :)

And in honor of my blog’s Thankful Thursdays feature, I just had to have this pumpkin too!

I am thankful that breast cancer does not run in my family, and that my husband’s aunt survived it with flying colors!  She seems even healthier now than before the cancer and she is an inspiration.

While we were waiting on the food to finish baking, my nephew, Owen, and I posed for some silly photos with the plush egg that Eggland’s Best sent me.  Someone please warn me if those are gang signs he’s making!  lol It’s so funny because his mama used to do the same crazy things with her hands in photos that he does now.

By the time the quiche was done, the sun was nearly set so the following photos are awful!  Here is the spinach-ricotta quiche,which I wasn’t overly impressed with anyway so I don’t regret not having great photos to blog the recipe with.

The hashbrown casserole (à la Cracker Barrel) was another story!  This was my favorite dish of the evening.  It’s been a long time since I’ve had it at Cracker Barrel, so I’m not sure how close this was in taste but without comparing the two, I thought this was incredible.  So creamy and cheesy.  Oh, yums.  Thankfully there was a tiny bit leftover so I was able to snap a picture at home the next morning in better light for when I share the recipe!

I don’t know if I’ve ever shared a picture of Owen’s mama, my sister, Lacey, so here she is for the curious, digging into her food:

I didn’t bring the veggies out until later, so here is a picture of my plate before they were added.  You can see I also have meatballs on my plate, and they’re the same ones I bring to almost any party.  I have the recipe here.  The cups, though not filled yet, later housed iced coffee with sweet cream, which I made by combining a can of sweetened condensed milk with a cup of heavy cream. Yums.

I finally took off my apron so you can see my shirt.  I wore my hot pink tank top underneath an Aerosmith (who just happens to have a song called “Pink!”) net shirt in honor of breast cancer awareness month and the purpose of the party.

The crazy thing is that I wore this exact same shirt on my birthday last year for my 80s themed party!  This is me and my sisters at my party last year (Lacey is in the middle-she was a redhead last year-and Danielle on the right):

http://a8.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/65795_480086506479_541706479_7296860_3623895_n.jpg

Here is the only photo which hints that we ate vegetables!  I just nuked some Green Giant steamers and we poured them out onto our plates.  We couldn’t see anything anyway, and we were kind of like barbarians in the dark, as you can see from the devastation of the table. LOL!


After all these photo shenanigans, I realized I forgot to serve the bacon devilled eggs!  I ran in and brought them out and forced everyone to take them, despite their full stomachs.  Although I was sure these would be the winning dish of the evening, I guess devilled eggs are either a love ’em or hate ’em thing, even if they have bacon in them.  I love devilled eggs and along with the others present who did too, I loved these!  The bacon and cheese really made the filling good enough to eat with a spoon as a meal.  :)  I took this photo of the leftovers in better light:

Bacon Devilled Eggs

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Printable recipe with picture

10 eggs
1 cup mayonnaise (I used homemade Miracle Whip)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (I used regular)
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (I used 1)
8 slices bacon, fried crispy and crumbled into tiny pieces (um…I used a lot more :) )
1 cup cheddar cheese, finely shredded
Salt, pepper and Tabasco sauce to taste
Smoked paprika for topping

Hard boil the eggs and cool completely. Once cooled, peel them, then slice in half, placing the yolks in the bowl of a food processor. Plate the egg whites on a serving platter. Add the mayonnaise, mustard, and vinegar to the egg yolks, and process until smooth. Add the bacon and cheese and process until combined. Season to taste.

Transfer to a small Ziploc bag and snip off the corner to use as a piping bag. Squeeze filling into each egg white half. you will have a lot of filling so be generous with it. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Sprinkle with paprika just before serving.

Recipe source: Cairns Manor

OK, now the moment you’ve all been waiting for.  As the title of this post suggests, I have a giveaway for you!  Eggland’s Best is offering to award one of my readers with a prize pack which includes:

  • 2 Free EB Dozen coupons (Any variety- classic, cage-free, or organic)
  • 1 Free EB Hard Cooked and Peeled variety coupon
  • 4 EB ramekins
  • 1 EB apron
  • 1 EB whisk
  • 1 EB spatula
  • 1 EB egg timer
  • 1 EB eco bag
  • 1 EB plush egg

If you would like to enter to win, leave an inspiring comment below, or share how you contribute to raising awareness or funding for breast cancer.

For additional entries you can do one or all of the following, and be sure to leave a separate comment for each, letting me know you did (or already do) it.

Drawing will end Friday at 11:59 PM, and winner will be announced Saturday along with the winner for this week’s Postcard Project prize.  Good luck!

Update: This giveaway is now closed. Congrats to Britany!

Choco-Cherry Cheesecake Cookie Bars

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*Update 10/4/11: I won the editor’s choice award for these bars. Whee!

Editor's Choice: Choco-Cherry Cheesecake Cookie Bars

It’s Secret Recipe Club time again!  Members of the club are assigned a secret food blog each month and they can pick any recipe(s) they want to make from the blog.  On reveal day, nobody knows what other blogger was assigned their blog so I find it really fun.

This month I was super stoked to get assigned to Big Bear’s Wife, because Angie (who also happened to be my group’s host this month) has plenty of dessert recipes to choose from.  I think you all know by now that dessert is both my strength and my weakness!

I thought of Dennis when I saw these bars because he loves cherries and chocolate.  Chocolate-covered cherries (aka cherry cordials), black forest ice cream sundaes, cherry mudslides (layers of ice cream, cherry pie filling, and hot fudge), black forest cake.  He loves it all.  And I think I’ve mentioned my little cheesecake problem.  So yeah, I pretty much had to make these.  And then I pretty much had to get them out of the house as soon as possible so I didn’t eat the whole pan.  I managed to inhale two rows before he got them out the door to bring to work.  Doh!

I never buy packaged cookie dough (perhaps it’s hypocritical to be for cake mixes but against premade cookie dough-lol), so I adapted the recipe with homemade, but you can use a package of store-bought to save time.

Be sure to check out all the other secret recipe club blogs at the bottom of this post! ***Something is up with the linky thing so there may be no links at the bottom. While it is getting figured out, you can go to Big Bear’s Wife at the bottom of her post to see all the links.***

Choco-Cherry Cheesecake Cookie Bars

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Printable recipe with picture

Sugar Cookie layer:
½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened to cool room temperature
½ cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 large egg
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon almond extract
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt

Filling & topping:
1 egg, separated
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
2 eggs
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated)
¼ teaspoon almond extract
3 drops red food color
1 jar (10 oz) maraschino cherries, finely chopped, drained on paper towels
1 (12 oz) bag semisweet chocolate chips (2 cups)
½ cup butter or margarine
½ cup whipping cream

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars for 3-4 minutes, until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the egg and extracts and mix until blended. Add half the flour, baking powder and salt. Mix. Add remaining flour and mix just until flour is incorporated and the dough is smooth and soft. Spread and press dough into the bottom of a 9”x13” baking dish. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until light golden brown. Meanwhile, in small bowl, beat 1 egg white until frothy. Brush egg white over crust. Bake 3 minutes longer or until egg white is set.

Meanwhile, in large bowl, beat cream cheese with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add egg yolk, 2 eggs, the condensed milk, almond extract and food color; beat until well blended. Stir in chopped cherries. Pour cherry mixture evenly over crust. Bake 20-25 minutes longer or until set. Cool completely, about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, in medium saucepan, heat chocolate chips and butter over low heat, stirring frequently, until melted and smooth. Remove from heat. Cool 20 minutes. Stir whipping cream into chocolate mixture until well blended. Spread over cooled bars. Refrigerate about 30 minutes or until chocolate is set. For bars, cut into 8 rows by 6 rows. Store in refrigerator.

Recipe source: adapted from Big Bear’s Wife



Raw Double Chocolate Brownie Bites

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I joined The Secret Recipe Club at the end of May, which was too late to participate in June, so I was super eager to finally get my assignment for July.  In this club, each month the participating bloggers make a recipe from another participant’s blog.  The blog is assigned secretly and at random, so no one else knows who’s making something from their blog that month.  I found the whole idea really fun and exciting!  (Don’t judge me.)

I was assigned to make a recipe from Ginger Lemon Girl’s blog, and my first reaction was a mixture of both trepidation and anticipation.  Carrie follows a gluten-free diet, and since I don’t have any dietary restrictions, I wasn’t sure if the recipes would appeal to me, but I knew I could adapt them if necessary and was ready for the challenge.  Once I started browsing her archives, I quickly realized that her recipes were good, wholesome foods that anyone could enjoy, and some of them were naturally gluten-free because no flour was involved.  Like this one!

When I came across Carrie’s recipe for Raw Chocolate Brownie Bites, I immediately thought of my love for Fudge Babies, and knew it was the one I’d have to make.

I made the recipe as it was written the first time (pictured above) and really liked it (maybe that’s an understatement, seeing as how I ate half the batch the first day!), though adding as much agave nectar to sweeten them as I liked (2 T) made them too soft for me. I wanted them chewier and a little sweeter (i.e. more dates!). I also wanted more of the chocolate dough so that it would completely cover the bottom of a loaf pan. The first batch, spreading it to the thickness I wanted, filled only 2/3 of the bottom of the pan. So I took Carrie’s rockin’ recipe and tweaked it a bit, and couldn’t help adding some mini chocolate chips to make them doubly chocolatey!  The chocolate chips only add 16 calories per Brownie Bite and don’t change the points, so I really recommend you put them over the top to make these bites, well, over the top. :)

For those unfamiliar with raw desserts, they are a lot like Larabars, but better (at least I think these are).  If you’ve never had those either, now’s your chance to see what all the fuss is about.  This isn’t like eating a candy bar or any sort of processed sweet, because it’s all-natural, raw, and much healthier (not to mention allergy-friendly), but they are very good!  I bet even your kids will love them.  Give them a try and see if you don’t agree.

Raw Double Chocolate Brownie Bites

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

1 cup pitted dates
1 1/3 cups raw nuts (I used 2/3 cups each almonds & pecans)
¼ cup cocoa powder
½ teaspoon Fleur de Sel or kosher salt
~or ¼ teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips

Soak the dates in a bowl of hot tap water for five minutes; drain well. (Skip the soaking step if you are using Medjool dates.) In a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, grind the nuts until very fine. Add the drained dates, cocoa powder, and salt. Process for a minute or two, until nuts are very fine and the mixture sticks together quite easily, if it’s not already coming together in the bowl. With the food processor running, add the vanilla through the feed tube and continue processing until the mixture starts to form a ball. Just run it for another 10-30 seconds and if it doesn’t form a ball, check the consistency and see if it will stick together when pinched. If not, add a teaspoon of water and continue processing, adding more water if necessary (it shouldn’t be) until the mixture is sticky. Pat the chocolate dough into a loaf pan. It is OK if oil separates a little and forms a layer on top; it will soak back down into the brownie dough while it sits in the refrigerator.   Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top and pat them down into the surface so that they will stick. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2-3 hours. Cut into 18 squares (6 rows x 3 rows) and enjoy cold.

Makes 18 Brownie Bites

Per Brownie Bite: 107 calories; 7 g fat; 1.1 g saturated fat; 1.6 g polyunsaturated fat; 3.8 g monounsaturated fat; 0 g cholesterol;  33.2 mg sodium; 151 mg potassium; 12 g carbohydrates; 2.4 g fiber; 2.1 g protein; Vitamin B-6 2%; Vitamin E 8%; Calcium 2.2%; Copper 10%; Iron 4%; Magnesium 8.4%; Manganese 21.3%; Phosphorous 5.6%; Riboflavin 3.6%; Thiamin 3.3%; Zinc 3.6%      3 Points Plus

Recipe source: adapted from Ginger Lemon Girl



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