Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A Month of Chocolate: Caramel Brownies

These brownies are not for the faint of heart. Much discipline and delayed gratification is required in order to resist the siren call, the candy wrapper crackle, the sheer exhaustion that comes from unwrapping all those caramels! But unwrap we must in our relentless pursuit of, what used to be, the pinnacle of brownie perfection. Yes children, gather round while I tell you of a time when caramels weren't automatically included in boxed brownie mixes... Back in the day when we had to unwrap them all ourselves. Uphill. In the snow.

Caramel Brownies
14 oz. pkg of caramels, unwrapped
1/3 c. evaporated milk
1 pkg. German chocolate cake mix
1 c. chopped nuts
1 T. water
1/2 c. butter
1 c. chocolate chips

Combine candy and milk in glass dish and microwave until melted. Keep warm. Combine cake mix, nuts, water, and butter in large bowl until crumbly. Press 1/2 of dough in greased 9 x 13 pan. Bake at 350 for 6 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with chocolate chips. Spread caramel mixture over all. Crumble remaining dough over the top. Bake 15 minutes and cool.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Month of Chocolate: Crazy for Cupcakes

When I was in college I had the pleasure of working as a kitchen helper for a cooking school in Tucson. I don’t think The Tasting Spoon is still around, but I still use and love many of the recipes I collected from my time there. This one is pretty unusual. More like giant chewy chocolate chip cookies than cupcakes, they are still a delicious treat with your morning coffee or an after-school glass of milk.
Chocolate Chip Cupcakes
1/2 c. soft butter
6 T. white sugar
6 T. brown sugar
1/2 t. vanilla
1 egg
1 c. + 2 T. flour
1/2 t. soda
1/2 t. salt
Combine butter, sugars, and vanilla and beat until creamy. Add egg and mix well. Stir in flour, soda, and salt. Spoon mixture into cupcake papers until 1/2 full. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and spoon the following mixture, about 1 T., over the top of each. Return to oven and bake 12 more minutes.
Combine and beat until thick:
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 egg
dash salt
1 c. chocolate chips
1 c. chopped nuts
1/2 t. vanilla

Monday, February 22, 2010

A Month of Chocolate: Hooray for Humus

Note that this is humus with one M; we’re not making a spread for pitas here. Half of me wants to apologize “Stop if you’ve made this one before” but, well, perhaps someone hasn’t made this yet, and it is what’s going on in my kitchen at this very moment. So welcome new followers and friends who may not have discovered the fun-food that is Dirt Cake.
Why dirt cake? Let one of my favorite authors explain it to you:
”But for the tree people different fare was provided. When Lucy …realized that the trees were going to eat earth it gave her rather a shudder. But when she saw the earths that were actually brought to them she felt quite different. They began with a rich brown loam that looked exactly like chocolate…”  --C.S. Lewis  Prince Caspian
Dirt Cake
1 pkg Oreos, pulverized in food processor
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 stick butter, softened
1/2 c. powdered sugar
2 pkgs. instant chocolate pudding
3 c. milk
2 tubs cool whip, thawed
Gummi worms for garnishing (What would dirt be without a few worms?)
In a mixer, mix the cream cheese, butter and sugar. Add the milk and mix until well blended. Add the pudding mix and mix for 2 minutes. Fold in cool whip. In a 9 x 13 pan, make layers of crumbs, pudding,  and crumbs. Refrigerate.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

A Month of Chocolate: Nuts for Nutella

Recent travel (3 states in 3 weeks) has put me in a temporary recipe posting bind. I’m happy to feature one of my young readers and friends who was kind enough to share her cooking adventure with me.  I think these would make a wonderful winter treat! Thank you CoolCat!
Chocolate Hazelnut Pots 2 eggs
2 egg yolks
1 tbsp superfine sugar (we used regular sugar; it worked fine)
1 tsp cornstarch
2 1/2 cups milk
3 oz semisweet chocolate
4 tbsp chocolate hazelnut spread (Nutella is great, right by the peanut butter in Kroger)
lightly whipped cream and chocolate curls, to decorate
Preheat the oven to 325 deg F.
Beat together the eggs, egg yolks, superfine sugar, and cornstarch until well combined. Heat the milk until it is almost boiling. Gradually pour the milk onto the eggs, whisking as you do so. Melt the semisweet chocolate and chocolate hazelnut spread in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water, then whisk the melted chocolate mixture into the egg mixture.
Pour into 4 small ovenproof dishes and cover the dishes with foil. Place them in a roasting pan. Fill the pan with boiling water until halfway up the sides of the dishes. Bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, until just set.
Remove from the pan and let cool, then chill until required. Serve decorated with whipped cream and chocolate curls.
Enjoy! It will turn out with a solid chocolate layer on top, then a hazelnutty pudding below. It looks like you've made a mistake when you see the pudding, but it tastes delicious!
choc pots