Tag Archives: chocolate

Salted Caramel & Chocolate Samoa Macaroons, Recipe

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I had big plans for today: up early, nice run around Fresh Pond, errands, lunching, some cooking… But then last night I decided that dancing was in order and ended up heading to TT the Bears for Heroes – their awesome 80s dance night. Needless to say I didn’t get out of bed at 7am as anticipated and instead snoozed until about noon. When I did finally get up the last thing I wanted to do was go for a run or be productive in any way. After a few hours of mind-numbing TV I scavenged through my cabinets and found the ingredients to make Salted Caramel and Chocolate Macaroons. Thank god as this is just what I needed to get through the day.

These are quick, easy, and delicious. They taste like Samoas / Caramel Delites without the shortbread cookie. As Depeche Mode said, I just can’t get enough.macaroon

Salted Caramel & Chocolate Samoa Macaroons

from The Craving Chronicles
Makes about 24 cookies

Egg whites vary in size, so if you find your cookie mixture too runny and your cookies are forming puddles around the bottom as they bake, don’t be afraid to add a little bit more coconut and/or flour to firm things up. Keeping the mix cool will help prevent that too. The coconut oil is optional but helps to thin the chocolate some for easier dipping and drizzling.

Ingredients

4 large egg whites
12 ounces sweetened flaked coconut, divided
7 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
2/3 cup granulated sugar
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 + 1/8 teaspoon salt

6 – 8 ounces dark (at least 60%) chocolate, chopped
1/2 tsp coconut oil (optional)

Directions

Whisk egg whites in a large bowl. Add half of coconut and flour, stir with a spatula or wooden spoon until combined. Set aside remaining coconut.

In a 4-quart or larger saucepan over medium-high heat, combine butter and sugar. Cook, stirring occasionally, until caramel reaches a rich coppery color. (Caramel may looks separated with a layer of butter on top. Don’t panic.) Remove from heat. Carefully add reserved coconut and salt (Caution: may spatter!), and stir to combine. Cool about 5 minutes.

Add about 1/4 cup of the caramel mixture to the egg white mixture at a time, stirring vigorously to combine and prevent cooking the eggs. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Mixture should be wet but not too loose or runny.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet or two with parchment or Silpats. Scoop cookies between 1 1/2 and 2 tablespoon size, and place about 1-inch apart on baking sheet. (Return any remaining mixture to the fridge until read to bake.) Bake at 350°F for 12-14 mins, or until bottoms are golden brown. Cool about 2 minutes on the pan, then move to wire racks to cool completely.

Place chocolate and (optional) coconut oil in a small, microwave-safe bowl and heat in 30 second intervals on High until chocolate starts to melt. Continue heating in 15 second intervals, stirring well between each, until melted and smooth. Dip cookie bottoms in chocolate and set on wax paper. Drizzle remaining chocolate over top. Allow chocolate to harden at room temperature, or pop cookies in the fridge to speed the process up.

Pistachio Chocolate Chip Cookies, Recipe

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A couple weeks ago I dragged my dad (well, technically he drove me) to Costco when he was in town as I wanted to buy some pistachios to make Pistachio French Macarons from a recipe my friend Louise has given me. I bought a ginormous bag of these pistachios and then, of course, never made the french macarons. Instead I was just making my way through the bag one handful at a time. Enough was enough, I had to make something with them. Not having the patience to make french macarons I decided some quick and easy cookies would have to do.

I found this recipe for Pistachio Chocolate Chip Cookies and since I had all the ingredients already decided to whip up a batch. The recipe promises to be quick and tasty, and they were both. The one warning I would give you if you are going to follow the original recipe is that it calls for a tablespoon of vanilla extract which is A LOT. I was going to comment on her post to ask if that was a typo but comments were closed (why? no idea) so I had to wing it. It had to be a mistake so I went with a teaspoon instead of a tablespoon, thank goodness. These cookies are plenty sweet as are that I bet they would be ruined with 3 times the vanilla. Yikes.

Anyways, I’m glad I finally got to use up some of my pistachios and this was a great way to do so. Now if I can only stop eating handfuls of cookies…

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Pistachio Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from Felicia Sullivan

INGREDIENTS:
2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup cane (white) sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup chopped pistachios (unsalted, not the red variety)

DIRECTIONS
Preheat the oven to 325°F (165°C). Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt and set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended.

Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk into the wet mixture until light and creamy. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just blended. With a wooden spoon, stir in the chocolate chips and pistachios. Drop a tablespoon of dough onto the prepared cookie sheets. Cookies should be about 3 inches apart.

Bake cookies for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted. As you may size your cookies differently, I would advise you to keep checking, as no one wants a crumbly mess of a cookie. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely. Try not to eat all the cookies before taking them into work to unload.

Praline Topped Brownies, Recipe

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I was making dinner for a friend this past Sunday and wanted, naturally, to include dessert but had a hell of a time trying to decide what to make. I didn’t want something too fussy that I would have to make during the evening as I wanted to enjoy being able to hang out. I didn’t want something common like a chocolate chip cookie as I wanted it to feel a little more special. I didn’t want something bulky or untransportable as I wanted to be able to get rid of the leftovers. Brownies! Yes. But not your everyday run of the mill brownies, they needed to have something special to them. Something to make them feel like dessert and not something you just add to your order at your local coffee shop. I think I got it… Praline Topped Brownies.

I made a note about the frosting below for you but, basically, the frosting will look very different whether or not you have patience. Either is totally fine and equally delicious, it’s just what you prefer esthetically. I think I prefer the cooled version myself although I have little patience when assembling desserts as I just want to eat them as quickly as possible.

The brownie recipe alone was actually really good (I ate three before I even made the frosting – not particularly proud of that). They were very chocolately and chewy and soft in the middle, just the way I like them. We enjoyed one after dinner and, turns out, they make a great mid-morning snack as well. They also transported well so that I could rid of my house of them as not to eat any more.

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Adapted from You Made That (modified from Delish.com)

Ingredients:
1 cup butter
4 (1-ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 cups sugar
1/4 cups light brown sugar
6 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

Praline Topping
5 tablespoons margarine or butter
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 T vanilla extract + 2 T water
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 13- by 9-inch metal bakingpan with foil; grease or spray foil with cooking spray.

In heavy 2 quart saucepan over low heat, melt margarine or butter and chocolates, stirring frequently. Remove saucepan from heat.

Transfer chocolate mixture to a large bowl and beat in sugars, then eggs, until well blended. Stir in vanilla, salt, then flour just until blended. Gently stir in chocolate chips until just blended. Spread batter evenly in pan.

Bake brownies 35 min. (toothpick inserted in brownies will not come out clean). Cool brownies in pan on wire rack. If not using brownies within 1 day, cover cooled brownies with foil and refrigerate or freeze for longer storage.

20120310-113814.jpgIn 2-quart saucepan over medium-low heat, heat butter and brown sugar, until mixture melts and bubbles, about 5 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat. With wire whisk, beat in vanilla and water, then confectioners’ sugar, until mixture is smooth.

*Side Note: You Have two options here, both equally delicious. Option 1) Glaze your brownies as the frosting is still warm and let it drip down the sides or Option 2) Wait, somewhat patiently, for your frosting to cool to room temperature and then frost your brownies creating more of a traditional cake look / feel. Personally, I did one (I impatiently wanted one stat) and the the other which I think is the way to go.

With metal spatula, spread frosting on cooled brownies; sprinkle with pecans. To cut brownies lift the foil out of pan and cut even squares.

Cheesecake Pops, Recipe

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Last year Cake Pops took the world by storm! This was a bandwagon I had to get on.

I had just made a cheesecake that barely had a dent in it when I was invited to a dinner party so thought this was the perfect opportunity to try these cute little pops out.They are easy to make and look really impressive (to make it even easier, just buy a pre-made cheesecake at your grocery store). You can serve them in little narrow short containers, like shot glasses, or upside down in pretty cupcake liners, which is a lot easier for transporting. You can also be your own chef here by dipping and rolling them into the toppings of your choice. White chocolate with chopped pistachios and dried cranberries, dark chocolate with candied ginger, milk chocolate with sprinkles – the possibilities are endless (and delicious)!

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Cheesecake Pops

I used leftover cheesecake from this recipe but you can use any recipe or even buy a pre-made cheesecake at your local grocer.

Instructions:
Scoop, avoiding the crust, out balls of cheesecake with an ice cream scoop. Roll out little balls using your hands, about 1 & 1/2 inches round. Insert a popsicle stick into each ball about 3/4 of an inch in (hallway). Freeze until frozen, about 2 hours.

Once cake pops are ready, melt 1 lb semi-sweet chocolate chips with 2 tbsp vegetable shorting in a double boiler over low heat. Remove pops from the freezer and dip them, holding the stick, in the chocolate to cover the entire pop. Gently tap the stick on the edge of the bowl to shake off excess chocolate. Immediately roll chocolate covered pop in crushed nuts (I used almonds and walnuts).

I used an upside down colander to dry my pops (put the sticks in the little holes) but you can dry them in an upright, short, narrow container or even laying down if you don’t have anything (not ideal as then they get a flat side).

These always go quickly at parties so make sure to make plenty!

Peanut Butter Pie, Recipe

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The first time I ever heard of Peanut Butter Pie was when I asked my ex what he wanted me to make him for his birthday the first year we were together. He insisted he disliked cakes, tarts, and sweets in general (shocking that didn’t work out) but when pressed he said he wanted his mom’s Peanut Butter Pie. I assumed this was some sort of secret family recipe that had been passed down through generations but when I called his mom she laughed saying she got the recipe off of a box or something like that. She promptly emailed it to me, copied below.

Ex’s mom had a recipe for a crust but said not to bother and just to buy a store bought graham cracker or chocolate crust. My expectations were fairly low as it just seemed a little too easy and simple but boy was I wrong. I have since made this pie numerous times for both casual potlucks to nicer dinners (single servings kick it up a notch). I used Ina Garten’s pie crust recipe for this round as I had some left over from a previous project but if you are making a single pie I would go with the store bought graham cracker crust. So quick, easy, and delicious. Yum.

Mom’s Peanut Butter Pie

½ cup peanut butter
½ cup 10X (confectioners) sugar
3 oz. Cream cheese
8 oz. Cool Whip
Hershey’s Syrup for drizzling

Blend well first 3 ingredients. Stir in Cool Whip. Pour in graham cracker crust. Layer with Hershey’s Syrup. Top with Cool Whip. Drizzle syrup over top.

Refrigerate.

Devour.

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Gulu Gulu Cafe, Salem

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Where: The Gulu Gulu Cafe – 247 Essex St, Salem MA, 01970
When: February, 2012

I know what you are all thinking… “Salem?! How did a carless city gal like you make it out to the burbs?”. Our friend Judd (aka Juddly) suggested to Libby and I that we head up to Salem for dinner as him and his lady friend, Jackie, always come to us here in Cambridge / Somerville. We couldn’t say no, especially as we had yet to get together to celebrate their engagement (!!). Getting out there was pretty painless; we jumped on the green line from Lechmere and quickly got on the commuter rail en route to Salem (I won’t get into detail on the communist era themed trains with everything down to the cabbage smell).

Juddly and Jackie were waiting for us at the train station, thank goodness as it was now pouring rain. We quickly found parking and headed to the Gulu Gulu Cafe which is casual, comfortable, and pug themed (which made me think of my friend Kelly – I am sure she already knows of it). We were seated quickly by the stage and put in our drink orders. Wine – yes, please.20120228-175533.jpg

There was some serious decisions going around the table – crepe or panini? I went with the Barcelona Panini which was smoked turkey, machego cheese, arugula, apple butter, and Dijon mustard grilled on fresh Italian Ciabatta bread. It came with a green salad and potato chips. The panini was really good with proportions of each ingredient well balanced. The Dijon mustard left a nice kick at the end (and for some reason always makes me feel like I am eating healthy). I wish the panini had come with fries instead of chips but overall it was great and I would definitely eat there again (the once a decade I am in Salem).

20120228-175539.jpgLibby and I decided to share a dessert as well and settled on the S’mores crepe with was milk chocolate, crushed graham crackers, and marshmallows. We couldn’t find the graham crackers until the last 1/4 of the crepe and then decided it would be better without it. Besides that, it was chocolatey deliciousness.

Service was a little slow but this ain’t no busy South End hot spot so what did we expect? People seemed to come for the music but if you were there for other reasons it wasn’t overbearing or too loud. The atmosphere was laid back and fun, I’d recommend it for a group, for lunch, or a place to grab a casual bite with friends.

The ride back to Boston wasn’t quite as smooth as our outbound trip. We sipped on coffees for about an hour at the cafe as there was just one train back – around 11:30. Side note: I shouldn’t have made it decaf as I was falling asleep the whole way back. Once we got on the train it seemed to put along at a snails pace getting us into North Station well after midnight. We waited about 25 minutes for the green line just to find that the next bus at Lechmere wasn’t for another 53 minutes. Seriously? We chased down cabs until we finally got a couple to stop. Nightmare.

How did the Gulu Gulu Cafe measure up? 3.75 Spoons!

Gulu Gulu Cafe on Urbanspoon

Chocolate Angel Food Cake, Recipe

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With all the eating out and indulgent 20120122-214108.jpgeating in I have been doing I found myself contemplating giving up dessert, at least the nights I am dining in. Then I remembered the few times I have done this before and how I end up eating twice as much when I do allow myself a sweet treat. This was not a good plan. Instead I needed to come up with a relatively healthy(ish) low cal treat to satisfy my sweet tooth and trick myself into thinking I have had the dessert of my dreams. Hello, Chocolate Angel Food Cake.

Chocolate Angel Food Cake
From Evil Shenanigans

1 1/2 cups egg whites at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
3/4 cup cake flour, sifted with
1/4 cup Dutch processed cocoa
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla

Heat your oven to 325 F and wash and dry a 9″ tube pan, making sure it is completely clean.

With a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat the egg whites on medium speed until they begin to forth. Gradually add 3/4 cup sugar, the salt and the cream of tartar. Increase the speed to high and beat until soft peaks form. Add the vanilla and blend well.

Sift the dry ingredients, making sure they are well blended. Fold the dry ingredients into the whipped egg whites in four additions, making sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl well while folding.

Pour into your tube pan and bake for 55 to 60 minutes. Cool inverted on a cooling rack for at least two hours, or overnight. Unmold, using a thin knife around the edges of the pan to help it release, slice, and serve.

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Personally, I like mine with a healthy dose of strawberries and whip cream!