Tag Archives: chocolate

Triple Chocolate Biscotti from Crazy About Chocolate and a Giveaway!

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9781402798849_p0_v2_s260x420The giveaway is now closed! But enjoy the recipe! 🙂

I’m sure a lot of you are just as crazy about chocolate as I am! I especially like dark chocolate. And I love all kinds of chocolate treats. So when I heard about the new book Crazy About Chocolate by Krystina Castella, I was definitely interested in reviewing it! Not only did I get a review copy, Sterling Publishing is also providing a giveaway copy for one of you! See details on how to win at the end of this post.

This softcover book has more than 200 sweet and savory chocolate recipes, with lots of full-color photos. You’ll find recipes for cupcakes and many other desserts, candies, and holiday sweets, along with some unique savory items (like Hamburger Sliders with Chocolate Rolls!). It’s a great cookbook for any chocolate-lover, and would make a great holiday gift!

The first chapter of the book, Chocolate in the Know, has some helpful tips and information on cookware, measuring tools, important accessories, and other things that are essential for a well-equipped chocolate-lovers’ kitchen! This chapter also gives good how-to’s on techniques for melting, tempering, sweetening, storing, and decorating with chocolate. Other chapters include Everyday Chocolate, Chocolate for Special Occasions, Party Chocolate, Holiday Chocolate, and Crusts, Sauces, and Toppings.

Here’s a sampling of the variety of recipes you’ll find throughout these chapters…

  • Chocolate Blueberry Toffee Muffins
  • Chocolate Pound Cake with Strawberry Rhubarb Topping
  • Chocolate Rice Cereal Pops
  • Chocolate Croissants
  • Chocolate Raspberry Turnovers
  • Brownie Waffle Sundae
  • Chocolate Pear Raisin Bread Pudding
  • Mocha Cappuccino Mousse
  • Chocolate Chip Brownie Cookies
  • Chocolate Covered Pretzels
  • Dark Chocolate Soft Pretzels
  • Raised Chocolate Donuts
  • Almond Chocolate Chip Scones
  • Chocolate Chip Corn Muffins
  • Special occasion cakes

I decided to try the recipe for Triple Chocolate Biscotti, because I love dunking biscotti in coffee and hot cocoa in the chilly weather months. And biscotti makes a great homemade food gift. Besides that, I hadn’t ever made my own biscotti, and I decided it was definitely time!

This biscotti is very yummy and chocolatey–it has a chocolate dough with chocolate chips and, after baking, is topped with a drizzle of even more chocolate. I knew I would love it! It has a rich chocolate taste and is the perfect treat when you’re taking a little coffee break.

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TRIPLE CHOCOLATE BISCOTTI from Crazy About Chocolate

Makes about 24 cookies

These low-fat chocolate biscotti contain no butter and are drizzled with chocolate.

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 6 ounces milk chocolate, chopped (I used a little more–about 9 ounces)

Preheat oven to 300˚F. Butter two cookie sheets.

Combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl, and set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, beat the eggs and vanilla. Stir in the chocolate chips. Add the flour mixture and mix until blended (the dough is very thick; I finished working in all the ingredients with my hands).

Divide the dough in half and shape into two logs that are 3/4 inch thick, 1 1/2 inches wide, and 6 inches long (mine were more like 3″ wide–but I recommend making your logs longer instead of wider if you have extra dough, because they’ll be easier to slice and you’ll get more cookies!). Place on the cookie sheets at least 2 inches apart.

Bake for 50 minutes, remove from oven, and let cool for 5 minutes (this biscotti gets pretty crispy, and was a little hard to slice because of that, so you may want to try just baking for 40 to 45 minutes). Using a serrated knife, slice into 1/2-inch-thick cookies. Lay the cookies flat on the baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes.

Flip cookies over and then bake for 10 more minutes. Transfer to a rack to cook completely.

Melt the milk chocolate in the top of a double boiler set over simmering water. Dip the bottom of each cookie into the chocolate. Set on a rack with the chocolate side facing up to dry. Once all the cookies are dry, place them with their tops facing up and drizzle melted chocolate on top.

Let the chocolate set before serving, then grab a cup of coffee and enjoy your biscotti!

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THE GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED!

Now for the Giveaway…if you’d like to enter to win a copy of Crazy About Chocolate, leave a comment on this blog post between now and Monday, December 2, 2013 at 10 p.m. (CST)–the random drawing will be made from the comments on this post only! The winner will be chosen randomly via Random.org and announced on Tuesday, December 3. Winner will be notified via email (if winner does not respond in 3 days, I’ll do another drawing). Giveaway is limited to readers in the Continental U.S. and Canada.

First entry: Leave a comment on this post–it would be great to hear what your favorite chocolate treat is!

Bonus entry: If you are a new or existing follower or subscriber, you can leave one extra comment telling me the way (or ways) you are following.

Note: If your comment doesn’t show up right away, don’t worry–I have to approve all comments because of spam, so it may take a little while to show up!

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Double Chocolate Pumpkin Swirl Brownies

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I tried making pumpkin swirl brownies last fall, and just wasn’t happy with the results, even after tweaking a recipe several times. Now that it’s fall again, I thought I’d give them another try with my own version.

These brownies have a thick chocolate batter and a light creamy pumpkin swirl filling. I also added some mini semi-sweet chocolate chips to the chocolate batter for good measure. Yum! The brownies have a rich chocolate taste with a touch of pumpkin-spice flavor from the swirl filling. If you love the combination of pumpkin and chocolate, you’ll need to try these!

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE PUMPKIN SWIRL BROWNIES by NancyCreative

Makes an 8 x 8″ or 9 x 9″ pan

Chocolate Batter:

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unbleached flour
  • 1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Pumpkin Swirl Filling:

  • 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or substitute 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/8 tsp. cloves, 1/4 tsp. ginger, and 1/8 tsp. nutmeg)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease or spray an 8 x 8″ or 9 x 9″ baking pan, or line with parchment paper.

For the Chocolate Batter: In medium bowl, beat eggs with vanilla; then add the melted butter, blending well. To this mixture, stir in the cocoa powder, sugar, and salt, blending everything well. Stir in the flour, half the amount at a time, and blend well (your batter may be a little lumpy–that’s okay!). Fold in the semi-sweet chocolate chips, stirring until they are incorporated evenly into the batter. Spoon and spread 2/3 of the batter into your prepared baking pan.

For the Pumpkin Swirl Filling: In medium bowl, blend softened cream cheese, pumpkin puree,  pumpkin pie spice, sugar, and egg, mixing until smooth. Pour this pumpkin mixture evenly over the chocolate brownie batter in the pan. Then spoon remaining chocolate brownie batter in tablespoon-size dollops evenly over the pumpkin filling. Using a knife, cut through the batter slowly and swirl with the pumpkin filling for a marbled effect.

Bake at 350˚F for 33 to 43 minutes (my baking time was 42 minutes in an 8 x 8″ pan; if you make these in a 9 x 9″ pan, your time should be a little less, about 33 to 37 minutes, and your bars will be a little thinner than my bars pictured here). Cool completely, then cut into squares. Serve, or store covered in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

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These brownies are great for fall! Do you have a favorite fall brownie recipe?

Owl Cupcakes

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Here’s a fun fall cupcake decorating idea–Owl Cupcakes! There are several different ways you can make owl cupcakes, and you may have already seen other ideas for these on different sites. I thought this idea from Recipe Snobs was one of the cutest and easiest–all you need are cupcakes, Oreos, and M&M’s!

Make sure you generously frost your cupcakes, because the frosting is what holds your Oreo “eyes” and “ears” in place, as you press the cookie halves into the top of the cupcake. Hope you have fun making these!

OWL CUPCAKES adapted from Recipe Snobs

Makes 12 cupcakes

  • 12 chocolate cupcakes generously frosted with chocolate frosting (make your favorite recipe or try these yummy Chocolate Cupcakes with Fudgy Frosting–that’s what I used!)
  • 24 Oreo cookies (regular or Double-Stuff Oreos–I’ve used both; since I really like the cream filling, I prefer the Double-Stuff)
  • 36 M&M candies (I like using blue, green, brown, or red for the eyes, and orange for the nose)

Split the Oreo cookies in half crosswise, so the cream is all on one half and the other half is plain (the directions on Recipe Snobs say you can microwave 5 cookies at a time for 3-5 seconds to help keep the cream side solid; I didn’t try this, but it’s something to keep in mind if you’re having problems splitting the Oreos. Also, you can use a frosting spatula or knife to help split the cookies. And you may need to use a small knife to scrape off small crumbs from the cream filling side or to smooth down the filling after splitting the cookies).

For the eyes: Press two of the cream filling cookie halves, with sides almost touching, gently into the middle of a frosted cupcake (part of the cookie halves will extend beyond the cupcake). Press the M&M’s, with the M side down, into the cream filling on each cookie half (refer to my photos for where to place the M&M’s).

For the ears: Use the plain Oreo halves for the ears above the eyes (they kind of look like eyebrows, too!). Score the flat smooth cookie sides with a small sharp knife down the center so you get a clean break for your two ears. OR, if you want thinner ears like I made on these cupcakes, score the cookie half on each side not quite to the center; this will leave you with an extra center strip of cookie (which you can eat or discard–I ate mine! 🙂 ). Score and break all your plain cookie halves.

Take two of the “ears” that you’ve made from the plain cookie halves and press them into the frosting right above the “eyes,” slightly slanted downward and almost meeting at the upper center of the cupcake (the bumpy side of the cookie should be showing from the front).

For the “beak,” press an orange M&M (on its side) in the lower center, right below where the cookie “eyes” meet on the cupcake.

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There you have it! Enjoy eating these fun cupcakes!

What’s your favorite way of decorating cupcakes for fall?

S’mores Popcorn from The S’mores Cookbook and a Giveaway!

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bildeWhen I think of summer treats, I think of S’mores around a campfire. But when I looked through my review copy of The S’mores Cookbook  by Susan Whetzel, I realized that you can enjoy the great taste of S’mores all year round in lots of different ways! This hardcover book is filled with lots of wonderful full-color photos of the many recipes you can make. And the publisher, Adams Media, has offered to send a giveaway copy directly to the winning commentor on this post! See the end of the post for details.

So S’mores are not just for summer anymore…you can make a great S’mores dessert whenever you crave it! And actually, S’mores are not just for dessert anymore, because this book also includes breakfast recipes, too! Some treats from this book that I’d like to try out are:

  • S’mores Stuffed French Toast
  • S’mores Popovers
  • Mini Dark Chocolate S’mores Muffins
  • S’mores Coffee Cake
  • Dark Chocolate S’mores Pie
  • S’mores Mousse Cups
  • S’mores Dip
  • S’mores Cupcakes
  • S’mores Chocolate Chunksters

I decided to make the S’mores Popcorn first because it’s been really hot and humid lately, and I wanted to do a no-bake recipe. Plus, this is a great recipe to give as a food gift, packaged in a cellophane bag–and with Christmas just 4 months away, I’m on the lookout for some tasty and easy food gift ideas! 🙂 It’s really kind of addicting, so you’ll want to either have lots of people help you eat it up or share with your friends! The two kinds of chocolate mixed with the caramel corn and marshmallows make a really rich and yummy treat! It’s also a great snack to make in the fall if you’re having a tailgate party or watching the games at home. Store-bought caramel corn works great in this, or you can use homemade if you like.

When I melted the chocolate, I added just a little bit of coconut oil, about 1 teaspoon per cup, to make the chocolate a  little smoother for drizzling. If you do this, the chocolate will take a little longer to dry or set, and it may not package as well since the chocolate will be a little gooier, so it’s definitely an optional thing. If you decide to add some oil when melting the chocolate and if you’ve used an extra large sheet pan to spread your popcorn mix on,* you can put your pan of S’mores popcorn in the fridge, after everything is mixed together, for at least a half hour or until chocolate is set.

Here’s the recipe…

S’MORES POPCORN BAGS from The S’mores Cookbook

Yields: 10 gift bags

Feel free to make your own caramel popcorn for this amazing treat, but store-bought works amazingly well and tends to hold up and look nicer in the gift bags. Either way, it’s a win-win situation!–Susan Whetzel

  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted (Note: I used an extra 1/4 cup later in the recipe)
  • 1/2 cup crushed graham cracker crumbs
  • 8 cups caramel popcorn
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips, melted
  • 2 cups mini marshmallows
  • 10 cellophane gift bags
  • Ribbon, to tie bags, as needed

Cover the counter with parchment paper (*I lined an extra large sheet pan with parchment paper instead). Drizzle the parchment with melted semisweet chocolate and immediately sprinkle with graham cracker crumbs and popcorn, making as even a layer as possible.

Drizzle the white chocolate over the popcorn; allow to dry. (NOTE: I melted an additional 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips and drizzled this over the popcorn, too, for an extra chocolatey taste). Once chocolate is dry, pour the popcorn from the parchment into a large bowl; add marshmallows.

Divide evenly into cellophane bags, and tie with decorative ribbon.

This makes a great game snack or food gift and it’s so easy to make, so keep it in mind for football season and gift- giving at the holidays!

bildeThe Giveaway is Now Closed. Congratulations to commentor #8, Linda G., for winning the book!

Now for the Giveaway….if you’d like to enter to win a copy of The S’mores Cookbook, leave a comment on this blog post between now and Sunday, September 1, at midnight (CST)–the random drawing will be made from the comments on this post only! Winner will be chosen ramdomly via Random.org and announced on Monday, September 2. Winner will be notified via email (if winner does not respond in 3 days, I’ll do another drawing). Giveaway is limited to readers in the Continental U.S. and Canada.

First entry: Leave a comment on this post telling me if you make S’mores often or if you’ve made any S’mores-inspired recipes this summer.

Bonus entry: If you are a new or existing follower or subscriber, you can leave one extra comment telling me the way (or ways) you are following!

Don’t worry if your comment doesn’t show up right away–because of spam, I need to approve all the comments before they show up! Hope you all have time to enter, and enjoy your Labor Day Weekend!

 

Healthy Chocolate Shake

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Who wouldn’t want to have a chocolate shake that’s yummy and healthy, too? I’ve seen lots of variations on this idea, but I wanted to try my own version. I don’t have calorie info on this, but it’s definitely healthy, made with almond milk, unsweetened cocoa powder, and a frozen banana. This has a rich, almost dark chocolate flavor to it, with just a little hint of banana taste–the banana is mainly in there to add creaminess.

It helps if you have a blender that is good at crushing ice, since this recipe also has 10 to 15 ice cubes in it to thicken the shake. I also like to chill my glass in the freezer for a few minutes before pouring the shake in it–it helps keep the shake nice and cool. I had just found this vintage glass I put my shake in few days ago at a flea market–I just love vintage glassware!

Next time you’re craving chocolate, try this out–it sure is nice to enjoy a chocolate shake without feeling guilty!

HEALTHY CHOCOLATE SHAKE by NancyCreative, adapted from SparkRecipes.com

Makes 1 serving

  • 1 medium frozen banana
  • 10 to 15 ice cubes (the more ice cubes, the thicker it will be)
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup almond milk (use 1/3 cup for a thicker shake–you can also substitute soy milk or low fat milk)
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2  to 3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 Tablespoon honey

Break banana into 3 or 4 chunks and put in blender. Add the ice cubes and then the rest of the ingredients and blend everything well. Pour into a tall glass and serve immediately.

Do you have any “healthy” chocolate recipes you like to make?