Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Dark Chocolate Brownie Bites with Raspberry Jam

I thought about gussying up the title to say "Raspberry Sauce," but you know I don't like to lie to you. It's jam. 

My super tall friends Ricky and Julie are going to have a super tall baby soon! (Yes, I am excited for them. It's not my baby.) So a couple of us got together to throw them a shower. I quickly demanded that I handle the desserts. Julie has a particular affinity towards dark chocolate so when I found this recipe, I knew that it would be a winner.

Dark Chocolate Brownie Bites

  • 1/2c butter
  • 1 heaping c sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • a little less than 3/4c 100% dark cocoa (I used Hershey’s Special Dark), sifted
  • 1/2t salt
  • 1/2t baking powder
  • 1/2T vanilla extract
  • 3/4c flour 
  • 1c dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2c raspberry jam
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a mini-muffin pan.
  2. Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat (or in the microwave) then remove from heat. 
  3. Add the sugar and stir to combine. Return the butter mixture to the heat briefly, just until it’s hot, but not bubbling.
  4. In a smaller bowl, crack 2 eggs and beat them with the cocoa, salt, baking powder, and vanilla till smooth. 
  5. Stir the hot butter mixture into the egg mixture until smooth.
    Stir in the flour and chocolate chunks (or chips) until just combined. 
  6. Fill your 2t cookie scoop generously and distribute the batter into the mini-muffin pan (You should get one and half pans worth).
  7. Bake at 350°F for 15 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out mostly clean, with some moist crumbs but no loose batter. Cool completely on a rack before removing.
  8. Heat up the jam and drizzle it over the brownies and tell everyone it's a coulis. 
They were crunchy on the outside and dense and gooey on the inside. Had a bit of trouble getting them out of the tin as the tops wants to break, but managed to avoid that by scooping around the sides. The sweetness/tartness of the raspberry jam was a nice addition to the richness of the chocolate. I'm not big on dark chocolate, but I thought they were pretty okay. Julie definitely liked them. The batter was good, too! 

If you're reading this Grandma McKay, I totally discovered that by scooping out some batter with a clean spoon that I did not reuse. (Well, so much for not lying to you...)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Chocolate Covered Combos

This is the fist time that I've ever actually purchased a bag of Combos. I wouldn't otherwise eat these things. Although I do enjoy a good pretzel, I'm not big on cheese. However, I AM big on things covered in chocolate. 

So as you might have guessed, I went with the cheese-filled Combos: not as tame as peanut butter, yet not as crazy as pizza. (Although both might be attempted in the future). 

Again, it's pretty darn simple. The only thing that changes in any of these recipes is what is being coated. But let's go through the motions anyway (sounds a lot like last night...).

Chocolate-Covered Combos

  • a bag of combos (you have a variety to choose from)
  • chocolate baking bark
  1. Melt the bark.
  2. Coat the combos.
  3. Chill out!
These were well received. Chocolate covered pretzels are always a winner; the cheese just gave it a little extra je ne sais quoi.  (Yes, I looked up how to spell that.)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Twinkie and Rice Krispies Treat Sushi

I have a friend that takes that “Liq-uor? I don’t even know her” joke to the extreme.  So if I were to tell him that I was making Twinkie sushi, I would have heard “Sushi? I don’t even know she.” Amusing but, let’s not lie, lame. Aaaanyways…

When putting together this dessert, I wanted to be true to the spirit of sushi and use the freshest ingredients available. And by “freshest” I mean dope because there is nothing fresh about Twinkies, Rice Krispies Treats and Fruit by the Foot.

Fun fact: the shelf-life for a Twinkie is 25 days, not years, as some might think.

It’s been done before, but that doesn’t make it any less awesome to try on your own.  To check out the different varieties of sushi that I concocted, visit Foodbeast!

Speaking of Foodbeast (one of my favorite foodie sites), I am now a part of their Contributing Recipe Team. I'm super excited to be teaming up with the guys! If you head over there to see my full recipes, which I'll be submitting on a regular basis, be sure to check it out the rest of the site (their videos, in particular, are always entertaining).

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tim Tam Truffles

Have you ever seen that movie The Boyfriend School with Steve Guttenberg? He pretends to be Lobo from New Zealand to get this girl to like him. Anykiwi...

The Gutte, and this movie in particular, are on my mind because these truffles were inspired by Australian/New Zealand cookies: Tim Tams.  From Wikipedia, my ultimate source of the truth: A Tim Tam is composed of two layers of chocolate malted biscuit, separated by a light chocolate cream filling, and coated in a thin layer of textured chocolate.

Although the Pepperidge Farm version of Australia's favorite cookie may not be as fabulous as the real deal, they will do in a pinch. (Going to my local Target to pick up a bag is a lot less time consuming than flying Down Under.) FYI, Target is THE only place that will give you the hook up and good luck even finding them there.

Tim Tam Truffles
  • 2 packages Tim Tams (I used chocolate creme, but caramel is also an option)
  • 8oz cream cheese, softened
  • white baking bark
  1. Throw those cookies in the food processor and pulverize them into a fine crumb.
  2. Either by hand or continuing with the food processor, combine the cream cheese with the cookie crumbs.
  3. Scoop into balls using your handy-dandy 2t cookie scoop and stick them in the fridge to chill.
  4. Melt your baking bark, coat the truffles and stick them back in the fridge to harden.
Two packages of Tim Tams pretty much equaled 3 cups of crumbs (the amount called for in the original Oreo truffle recipe). So that worked out quite nicely.

While I thought the cream cheese was a little overpowering, everyone else REALLY enjoyed these truffles. According to my trusted taste-testers, they are right up there with the Irish Car Bomb Cake Balls. However, I think next time (when I try this out with the caramel-filled Tim Tams) I will work out a higher ratio of crumb to cream cheese.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Chocolate Covered Pork Rinds

Put away your oh-no-she-didn't face. Because, oh yes. I. Did.
What exactly are pork rinds? Deep-fried pig skins. Hold up though before your throw your kid's football into the deep fryer. You can snag a bag o' pork rinds (original or HOT'N'SPICY, like yours truly!) at your nearest grocery or convenient store. Shout out to Big Lots!

Before my obsession with covering things in chocolate, I never would have had a reason to research the difference between chitterlings and pork rinds. Hurray for branching out!

In case you were curious (and you'll realized you weren't THAT curious once I tell you), chitterlings, or chitlins, are bits of pig intestine. I stuck with the pork rinds...for now.

Again, the ingredients won't break the bank and the recipe won't blow your mind (but the results might).

Chocolate Covered Pork Rinds

  • pork rinds (I used Original flavor)
  • chocolate baking bark
  1. Melt that bark as per usual.
  2. Coat those pork rinds in that chocolate and let them chill.
I felt that some of the pork rinds were a bit large so I broke up the bigger pieces. Feel free to do the same or just keep them as big hunks'o'skin. 

Despite knowing that I am eating the deep-fried skin of Wilbur, these are good! They were significantly more palatable than the pepperoni and more flavorful than the Funyuns.

You can definitely still tell its a meat byproduct. It has a salty, bacon-y type quality to it that complements the chocolate well.

Bee tee dubs, I love that the labels to these posts are chocolate and meat.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Peanut Butter Fruity Pebbles Treats

You know I'm a sucker for PB&J. I had been mulling this idea around in my head for awhile, unsure of exactly how it should play out. So when I had the opportunity to take a chance, I went for it.

I put Craisins in these treats because I was concerned that the "jelly" part would be overpowered by the peanut butter. However, I don't think that's the case, so I consider the addition of Craisins to be optional.

Peanut Butter Fruity Pebbles Treats
  • 6 cups Fruity Pebbles
  • 4 cups mini marshmallows
  • 1T butter
  • 1/2c PB
  • 1/2 to 3/4c Craisins (optional; however, if you add them, decrease cereal amount accordingly)
  1. Grease 9x13 pan.
  2. Melt butter and mallows in pot on stove. Stir in PB.
  3. Meanwhile, measure out cereal and Craisins and mix together.
  4. Add cereal mix to mallow mix and stir until combined.
  5. Smash into prepped pan, let cool and then cut and serve.
I'd like to point out that whenever I say "mallow" instead of "marshmallow" I am reminded of Porter from The Sandlot telling Smalls about s'mores. I believe it goes a little something like this...

Ham Porter: Hey, Smalls, you wanna s'more?
Smalls: Some more of what?
Ham Porter: No, do you wanna s'more?
Smalls: I haven't had anything yet, so how can I have some more of nothing?
Ham Porter: You're killing me Smalls! These are s'more's stuff! Alright now pay attention. First you take the graham, you stick the chocolate on the graham. Then you roast the 'mallow. When the 'mallows flaming... you stick it on the chocolate. Then cover with the other end. Then you scarf. Kind of messy, but good!

And thank you IMDB! I'd also like to add that when I say, "You're killing me Smalls!" very few people get the reference.

Kyle really liked these. As I said, the Craisins could be removed and I still think you would get the "J" from the "PB&J" situation that I am trying to work out.  I again had trouble with these staying together. I think when I add other things to the mallows (e.g., PB), I should add more mallows for increased stickiness.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Chocolate Covered Pepperoni

Did you do a "Say whaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?" double take? Yup, you read correctly: chocolate covered pepperoni.

If you are thinking, "Um, ew," I can totally appreciate that. But don't knock it 'til you tried it. And then, feel free to knock it because it's...not for everyone.

Chocolate Covered Pepperoni
  • pepperoni
  • chocolate baking bark
  1. Prep by lining a cookie sheet with wax paper and separating the pepperoni. (You know how they are all stuck to each other in the bag. It just makes things easier if you do this before trying to add melted chocolate into the equation).
  2. Meanwhile, melt some baking bark (I used 4 to 5 chunks to cover approx. 3oz of pepperoni).
  3. Dip the pepperoni in the chocolate; lay it on the wax paper and stick it in the freezer until hardened.
  4. Enjoy???
Yea, the reviews were definitely mixed. It was something that most people, certainly not all, were willing to try at least one of. I walked out of trivia without leftovers though, so they couldn't have been that bad. But the feedback was decidedly, well, undecided. I don't think people knew how to feel about it. 

However, the ones I took to church were a different story. I KNEW a handful of people would love them and they did. So, different strokes for different folks. (Bee tee dubs, that's what Willis was talkin' 'bout.)

This was what I encountered when I tried one: It was chocolate-y at first and kind of chewy and then the spiciness of the pepperoni gets you at the end. 

Yes, I did try more than one. I tried two. The second I decided to top with some alcohol-infused whipped cream. I regret that decision.

Chocolate-covered pepperoni: Definitely something to try, but not necessarily try again.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Double Cookies and Cream Chocolate Cookies

I know, I know. Sounds similar to the Chocolate Oreo Cookies that I made a few weeks ago. But wait...there's more.

After the holidays candy sales are where it's at. I snagged four packages of bunny Peeps for $1. AND I bought two bags of Cookies'n'Creme eggs for a couple bucks, hence the cookies.  I started with a recipe from Baking Bites and substituted the chopped candy eggs for the chocolate chips.

Chocolate Cookies n’ Cream Cookies

  • 2c all purpose flour
  • 1/2c cocoa powder
  • 1/2t salt
  • 1t baking soda
  • 1/2t baking powder
  • 1c butter, room temperature
  • 3/4c sugar
  • 3/4c brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1t vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2c cookies'n'creme chocolate, chopped
  • 1 1/4c Oreos, chopped

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda and baking powder.
  3. In a larger bowl, cream together butter and sugars. Beat in eggs one at a time, followed by vanilla extract. With the mixer on low speed or by hand, stir in the flour mixture, mixing just until no streaks of dry ingredients remain. Stir in chocolate and crushed cookies until evenly distributed.
  4. Drop 1-inch balls of dough onto prepared baking sheet, allowing a little room for cookies to spread.
  5. Bake for 9-11 minutes, until cookies are set at the edges.
  6. Cool on baking sheet for 2-3 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

While these were good, my favorite chocolate cookie base so far has been from the Chocolate Oreo cookies. I have plans to try another chocolate cookie soon with yet another base dough, but with some sort of mint situation happening in them.  In the meantime, if you are looking for a chewy cookie to satisfy that chocolate craving, stick with these.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Masa Real

My fabulous neighbor gave me a fabulous recipe for a tasty Cuban pastry. AND she hooked me up with the main ingredient: guava paste.

So, I'm not going to lie to you; this is basically a butter sandwich: buttery pastry bottom, gooey guava middle and another buttery pastry layer to top it of. Which means it's got to be unbelievably good, right? Right.

Masa Real
  • 4c of flour
  • 1 1/2c sugar
  • 2T baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4lbs (3 sticks) of butter (I know, right!?!)
  • 2T shortening
  • 1pkg guava paste
  1. Slice the guava paste into 1/4inch thick slices.
  2. Melt butter and shortening together.
  3. Sift together dry ingredients and then add the eggs, blending with a fork.
  4. Slowly add the butter/shortening and continue to just use a fork to blend it up. (The key to making this dough a success is not to over mix. Using a fork allows you to combine the ingredients to create a crumbly texture.)
  5. In a 9x13 pan spread out half of the batter. Just kind of crumble it into the pan and let it cover the bottom. Don't smash it down much.
  6. Lay the slices of guava paste on the batter. (Try to cover it all).
  7. Crumble the rest of the dough evenly over top of the mixture. Again don't smash too much.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes and let cool completely (a couple of hours).
Oooooo so crumbly and buttery! I got the Hili seal of approval when I took some next door for a taste-test. This is great for breakfast with a glass of milk (so I hear)...or for lunch, dinner, or dessert. If you can't find guava paste, I'm sure any thick jelly-type substance would do.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Frito and Reese's Miniature Cups Cocoa Pebbles Treats

A mouthful to both expel and consume. Anyawesome (See? It's totally a word)...oooooooh my goodneeeeeeeeeeeess. These were so goooooooood. (I'm singing this by the way. I sing-talk often...no wonder 511 can never understand what I'm saying.) 

I need to adjust the ratio of everything so they actually stay together, but overall they were...well, see above.

Frito and Reese's Miniature Cups Cocoa Pebbles Treats

  • 4c mini marshmallows
  • 1T butter
  • 4 1/2 to 5c Cocoa Pebbles
  • 1 to 1 1/2c crushed Fritos
  • 1 bag Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Miniatures, chopped (not to be confused with minis!)
  1. Freeze the chopped PB cups if you have time. If not, meh.
  2. Melt butter and mallows in a pot over the stove.
  3. In the meantime, mix Pebbles, Fritos and Reese's in a biiiiiiig bowl. (Adjust Pebbles-to-Frito ratio to total 6 cups).
  4. Stir cereal mixture into mallows and then smash into a greased 9x13 pan.
  5. Cool, cut and consume.
I think I put in too much Frito without taking away enough cereal and the marshmallows couldn't hold it all together like my other batches of Pebbles treats. Regardless, they were tase-tee. Sweet and salty is always a winner. Chocolate and PB is always a winner. So as Charlie Sheen would say, and I think others would agree, this dessert was bi-winning.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Fruity Pebbles White Chocolate Bark

I told you I would be adding cereal to chocolate bark sometime soon. My favorite pancake mix-ins are white chocolate chips and Fruity Pebbles. So it only made sense to turn that into a portable option. I added in the Craisins because I really like the chewy element and the additional layer of fruitiness that they add to the bark.

Like all bark, the reward-to-effort level is high. Easy to make, and even easier to eat.

Fruity Pebbles Bark

  • 1pkg white chocolate chips
  • 1 to 1/2c Fruity Pebbles
  • 1/3 to 1/2c Craisins
  1. Melt chocolate in microwave.
  2. Stir in 1/2 to 3/4c Fruity Pebbles.
  3. Spread out on wax paper-covered cookie sheet.
  4. Distribute and smash down remaining Pebbles and Craisins (cater the final amount to your preference).
  5. Chill in freezer for 10 minutes.
  6. Break apart and open your eyes to a whole new world of awesomeness.
Can you believe I have had friends that were Fruity Pebbles virgins? Before they met me, that is. If you cut me, I bleed Fruity Pebbles, so we know that didn't last long. 

Anyawesome, this bark was GREAT! (By the way, spell check is trying to tell me that "anyawesome" is not a word. Whatever. It is now!) I really enjoyed the crunchy of the Pebbles against the chewy of the Craisins and the flavor combo the three ingredients created.

Next time: Cocoa Pebbles with something (I have a few ideas in mind, but don't want to commit quite yet).