Dark Chocolate Caramel Walnut Bars

Not surprisingly, I don’t have a lot of processed food in the house. I generally make things from scratch. And this week I was really craving something sweet and there was not a cookie or candy bar in sight.  Luckily, I keep a LOT of ingredients in the house. There are always chocolate chips, nuts and raw coconut flakes in the cupboard/refrigerator.

I didn’t have the time to make cookies, so these bars were born.

Dark Chocolate-Caramel-Walnut Bars

  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp dash of salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 8 oz 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chips
  • 1/2 cups walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 4 oz of caramel chips
  • shredded or flaked coconut (I use raw, unsweetened)

8×8 baking dish, bowl Continue reading

Cookie Pr0n

20170125_143211-1600x1200Mrs J was puttering about looking like she needed something to do this afternoon.  Always helpful, I called for cookies.  We went with epicurious’s oatmeal chocolate chip recipe.  We added a cup of shredded coconut, and gave the oatmeal a whirl in the food processor – three or four pulses to break them up some.  We also threw in about 2/3 cup of pecan pieces we had left in an opened bag.  They came out great!

Bread Machine Banana Bread

DSC_0923 (1600x1060)Mrs J and I had shopping to do today and as we stirred about in preparation to leave I noticed two over ripe bananas.  I’ve never used our bread machine for banana bread but thought it would be nice to return to a great smelling house.  I found a recipe geared towards our machine but it should adapt easily to other models.  We subbed pecans for the walnuts in the recipe and added raisins and chocolate chips.  Worked great!

Holiday Gift Ideas: Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Cookies

I’m busy baking for my annual gift boxes. These won’t be in them, because I”m working on two new cookie recipes I’ve never tried my hand at before. More on that later…

Chocolate Chocolate Cookie

These are pretty and very tasty.  They’re easy and just a touch above regular chocolate chip cookies.

Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • dash of salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup nuts (walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds or peanuts), chopped

mixing bowl and cookie sheet

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Cream together butter and sugars.  Add eggs and vanilla, mixing well.  Sift together salt, soda, flour and cocoa, then add to butter mixture, blending well.  Add nuts and chocolate chips.  Spoon onto cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.  Cool on cooling rack.

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Originally posted Nov 2011

Friday Recipe Exchange: Christmas Eve Party

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Once again I am hosting Christmas Eve dinner. I try and keep the menu simple because I have a small kitchen and I like to spend time with my guests. I’m actually doing much of what I did last year, because it worked so well.  The menu will serve as tonight’s recipe exchange.  Thanks to JeffreyW for making lasagna this week so that I had an awesome photo to use tonight.

Christmas Eve Menu:

Appetizers –  Herbed Tomato Crostini (recipe here), vegetable tray

Main Event – Spinach Lasagna (recipe here), Salad, Cheesy Garlic Bread

Dessert – Truffles (featured recipe below), Peanut Butter Cookies (recipe here) and everyone’s favorite, a Sundae Bar

With the exception of the garlic bread, because I’m using gluten free noodles, the entire evening is gluten free and vegetarian. Everyone should be happy.

Dinner is at 6 pm, bring the wine.

That takes care of Christmas Eve, but what about Christmas day? How does this sound:

German Pancakes with Walnut Syrup (both recipes here) for breakfast and a Roast, Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Glazed Carrots for dinner (all those recipes are here and tips for perfect mashed potatoes are here).

How are your holiday plans coming along? Do you have a crowd coming? Share your favorite holiday recipes in the comments, I’d love to see what you prepare.

Now about those truffles. This was the first time I’d made them, though I’d thought about it for a while. How hard could it be? It’s basically ganache, right? That was very simple to make. The pain was making the actual truffles, a bit of work and very messy. But I think it was worth it and I’m sure the guests will enjoy them.

Truffles

Here’s the basic recipe, I then added pieces of walnut to the center of some, hazelnut to others and rolled them in either crushed walnut or hazelnut. The rest are rolled in either dark cocoa and powdered sugar. The powdered sugar kind of melted into them, so I’ll probably dust them quickly right before I serve them.

Chocolate Truffles

  • 1/2 pound good bittersweet chocolate (I use 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate)
  • 1/2 pound good semisweet chocolate
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp Grand Marnier, (optional)
  • 1 tbsp prepared coffee
  • 1/2 tsp good vanilla extract
  • Powdered sugar
  • Cocoa powder (I used dark)
  • Nuts, whole and finely chopped (optional)

baking sheet, parchment paper

Heat the cream in a double boiler until it’s hot, not boiling, and then add chocolate chips. Whisk together until fully melted, then remove from heat.  Whisk in the optional Grand Marnier, coffee, and vanilla. Set aside at room temperature for 1 hour.

Spoon a dollop of the chocolate mixture onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, until firm. Roll each dollop of chocolate in your hands to roughly make a round ball. Roll in powdered’ sugar, cocoa powder, or both.

Makes about 48.

These will keep refrigerated for weeks, but serve at room temperature.

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Mmm… Awesome Cookies

That’s the first thought I had when I bit into a cookie, just barely cool enough to sample, from the first batch out of the oven.  These started out the same way most of my cookies adventures do, with a Google ingredient search.  I was organizing a cupboard and had stuff strewn about on the counters – bags of nuts and sugars, dried fruit and chocolate blocks and chips along with the odd box of baking soda and instant pudding.  I spotted a half used bag of shredded coconut and remembered that the last time I made cookies with the stuff I liked the result.  Hoping to find that recipe I entered “coconut + cookies” into the search box, hoping to see a recipe that looked familiar.  Nope…  Nope…  Eh?  Oatmeal coconut cookies?  Lets see what that looks like.

A quick scan of the ingredient list and I was sold.  I had everything, or close enough.  The recipe mentions that it makes large cookies, and that’s a fact.  I ended up with 19 by actual count.  My cookie trays were just large enough for 8 at a time so I did a couple of batches rather than load 2 trays and go through the mid cycle swap and rotate business.  Plenty of time, the big game was on.  I used semi sweet chocolate chips in mine, and chopped pecans.  I betcha raisins would be good in these…

Highly recommended.  Enjoy!

 

Mmm… cookies

This is just a generic chocolate chip cookie recipe that Mrs J had on – *gasp* – a sheet of paper!  I have no idea where it came from, may be straight off of a chocolate chip package.  Here are the ingredients:

3/4 cup sugar, 1 cup brown sugar, 1 cup softened butter, 1 T vanilla, 2 slightly beaten eggs, 3 cups flour, 3/4 t baking soda, 3/4 t salt, 3 cups semi sweet chips, and 1 cup chopped nuts.

Cream together the sugars and the butter, add the eggs and vanilla, mix.  In another bowl, sift together the dry ingredients, add to the wet and mix well, dough will be stiff, add the chips and the nuts.

Using a cookie scoop drop the dough onto baking trays lined with baking mats or parchment paper and bake for 12-13 minutes at 350.  Remove when they look brown enough to suit you and cool on a rack.

Mmm…chocolate filled cannolis

We made up a bunch of cannoli shells for the picnic last week but Mrs J came down sick and we never got around to filling them till today.  They’ve been in the freezer and seem none the worse for the wait.

Last filling she made up was the basic vanilla filling of sweetened riccota and cream cheeses.  They were pretty good but I prevailed upon her to do something chocolaty with these.  I found a filling recipe and printed it out but she went her own way on this batch.

We made a smallish batch using the following recipe:

1 c riccota

1/2 c cream cheese

1/3 c cocoa powder

1/2 c Splenda

1/2 c semi sweet chocolate chips-whirled for a bit in a processor

3/4 c chopped hazelnuts

Mix in a bowl and then pipe the mixture into both ends of the cannoli tubes.