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Posts Tagged ‘Cocoa’


Chocolate Peppermint Cookies - Meatballs&Milkshakes

These crunchy chocolate mint cookies are a riff on Thin Mints, and I suppose if you dipped them in chocolate instead of drizzling, they would be exactly alike. I’ve always been a big fan of Thin Mints, and I will definitely be making these again. They’re a great addition to your holiday cookies, but they’ll be good all year long as well.

Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

1 1/2 cups flour

3/4 cups unsweetened cocoa

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 sticks butter

3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup sugar

1 egg

6 ounces dark chocolate

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon cream

Combine the flour, salt, and cocoa in a bowl. Beat the eggs and sugar together in a mixer until light and fluffy. Add the extracts. Add the egg and beat until combined. Add the dry ingredients in two halves, and beat until just combined.

Remove to two pieces of plastic wrap, and create 2 inch logs out of the two halves of dough. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to a couple days.

Slice the logs into 1/4 inch slices and adjust into rounds. Place and inch apart on parchment or silpats on cookie sheets and bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes. Let cool on the cookie sheets.

Melt the chocolate, butter, and cream together until smooth. Drizzle over the cooled cookies and allow to harden by placing cookie sheets in the refrigerator.

Chocolate Peppermint Cookies - Meatballs&Milkshakes

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 These are quite the decadent treat, combining chewy brownies with gooey s’mores. It’s definitely a little bit of a sugar overload, but fresh from the oven they are amazing and rich. The brownie batter is one of the easiest to make, and would be great by itself– just bake a little less to keep them nice and moist.

S’mores Brownies

2 sticks butter

10 ounces chopped bittersweet chocolate

1 cup sugar

3/4 cups light brown sugar

4 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon salt

1 3/4 cups flour

3 tablespoons cocoa powder (unsweetened)

2 cups mini marshmallows

6 graham crackers, broken up

1 12-ounce milk chocolate bar, broken into pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a 9 x 13 pan with parchment paper.

In a saucepan over low heat, melt the bittersweet chocolate and butter, stirring regularly. Remove from the heat and add in the sugars. Whisk in the eggs one at a time, combining well. Add the vanilla and the salt.

Add the flour and cocoa and stir until just combined. Pour into the pan and level the top. Bake for 25 minutes and then sprinkle the marshmallows, chocolate pieces, and graham cracker pieces over the top. Bake for an additional 5 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

Let cool completely and then remove from pan with parchment paper. Cut into squares with a knife dipped into hot water (to make cleaner cuts).

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Caponata is an Italian eggplant dip that I love for parties. It’s more healthy than most of my party appetizers and it’s vegetarian, so everyone likes it. This version has some Sicilian flavors (where the cuisine is highly influenced by its proximity to Africa), including some cinnamon, pine nuts, and currants. Red pepper flakes give it a little kick, as well. I recently made it when we had people over after a concert, and it was a big hit.

Eggplant Caponata

1 onion, chopped into 1″ dice

1 eggplant, chopped into 1″ dice

3 tablespoons pine nuts

3 tablespoons currants

1 tablespoon chili flakes

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa

2 teaspoons thyme

1/4 cup tomato sauce (your own or your favorite bottled)

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons tomato paste

Saute the onion in a couple tablespoons olive oil until they soften. Add the pine nuts and currants. Continue to cook for a minute. Add the eggplant, sugar, cinnamon, cocoa, and thyme. Continue to cook for another 5 minutes, until the eggplant is softened. Add the tomato sauce, tomato paste, and balsamic vinegar. Stir to combine and allow to simmer for another 10 minutes, until all the flavors combine and cook down.

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The key to succulent, juicy pork like you get at restaurants is not to overcook it. Most people do. They recently lowered the FDA accepted temperature for pork to 145 degrees, which means it stays juicy and slightly pink. This makes the meat so unctuous and tender, you won’t miss red meat. Invest in a meat thermometer if you don’t have one; they’re cheap and take the guesswork out of cooking meat.

Add a wonderful spice rub and some sort of fruit, and I’ll be really happy. A delicious, cheesy smear of polenta under the medallions completes it and makes it the best pork you’ve ever had. My dad always made pork tenderloin stuffed with dried apricots and prunes. Definitely one of my favorites, and a great way to do it in the fall.

Seared Pork Tenderloin with Grapes

1 pork tenderloin

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon cloves

1 teaspoon pepper

1 tablespoon salt

1 cup grapes, red or green

1 cup white, red or white

Combine the cocoa and spices together and rub all over the pork. You can let it rest for 20 minutes or go ahead and start searing. Sear all sides in an oven-safe pan in a couple tablespoons of olive oil, making sure to brown all sides. Add the grapes and deglaze the pan with the wine.

Move to a 375 degree oven for about 10-15 minutes, or until it’s about 145-155 degrees in the fattest part. It will continue to cook as it rests. Slice medallions against the grain and serve with the sauce.

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Tiramisu has been one of my favorite desserts for…well…about as long as I can remember. My favorite is at a restaurant on the upper west side called Celeste. This is more of a traditional tiramisu, but I’m still working on their secret….I think some chocolate chips is part of it, but I’m not sure what else….stay tuned…For now, here’s a really yummy, traditional version.

Tiramisu

3 eggs, separated and at room temperature

1 pinch salt

3/4 cup sugar

8 ounces mascarpone

1/2 cup cold heavy cream

1 1/2 cups strong freshly brewed coffee

3 tablespoons marsala

22 savoiardi (Italian ladyfingers)

1 teaspoon cocoa powder or 1 tablespoon shaved semisweet chocolate

Combine the coffee and marsala in a dish. Beat the egg whites and salt to stiff peaks. Beat the heavy cream to soft peaks with cleaned beaters. Beat egg yolks and sugar together until thick. Add in mascarpone and combine. Slowly fold in the whipped cream and then the egg whites until just combined.

Dip the savoiardi one at a time in the coffee mixture for 1 second on each side. They soak up liquid quickly and you don’t want them to fall apart or make the tiramisu too soggy. Fill the bottom of a dish with half the savoiardi. Spread half the cream mixture over the savoiardi. Add another layer of the savoiardi and the rest of the cream mixture. Dust the cocoa powder on top and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

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When I first made this cake a year ago, I decided there was no reason to ever make a different chocolate cake– it’s THAT good. The recipe is Ina Garten’s Beatty’s Chocolate Cake and I generally make it in one pan and slice it in half because I don’t have two of the same pan.

Because we were going to be in Delaware for the party, I decided to bake the cake at home and make the frosting there. I wasn’t able to sift the powdered sugar for the frosting, so there were some lumps in the frosting but it still tasted great. However, at home I would definitely sift it to get a nice smooth texture. As usual with this cake, it was a huge hit for the big birthday and one of our friends was inspired to make it for her boyfriend’s birthday next week!

Ina Garten’s Beatty’s Chocolate Cake

butter or oil for greasing the pan

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 extra large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup hot coffee

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 10″ round pan. Line the bottom with a parchment paper round the size of the pan and butter and flour the pan.

Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and powder, and salt into a large bowl. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients while mixing with a hand mixer or stand mixer. Add the coffee and stir to combine, making sure everything is incorporated.

Pour into the pan and bake for 30-40 minutes, until a knife or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan and then turn out onto cooling rack.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate

2 sticks butter, room temperature

1 egg yolk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/4 cup sifted powdered sugar

1 tablespoon instant coffee powder

Melt the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl over a pan of boiling water. Make sure the water isn’t touching the bowl. Stir and watch it closely because it can burn easily. Cool to room temperature.

Beat the butter until light and fluffy with a mixer. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and continue to mix for another 3 minutes. Turn the mixer to low and add the confectioners sugar slowly. Dissolve the coffee powder in 2 tablespoons of hot tap water and add to the frosting along with the chocolate.

To assemble the cake, slice the cake in half carefully (horizontally). Put one half on the cake plate and scoop 1/3 of the frosting on top and spread. Put the second half on top and scoop the remaining frosting on top. Slowly spread out the frosting evenly down along the slides and turn the cake as you work it down the sides.

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I’ve been looking for the perfect brownie recipe, one that is nice and fudgey and dense. I think this may be it. I found it on Smitten Kitchen, where Deb adapted the recipe from Alice Medrich’s Bittersweet. I used a combo of brown and white sugar because the brown gives it a deeper flavor. Either way, once you make these you won’t make any other brownies.

Fudgey Cocoa Brownies

10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups sugar, or 3/4 cup brown sugar and 1/2 cup white sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-process)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, cold
1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Put the rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 325°F. Line the bottom and sides of an 8×8-inch square baking pan (or whatever you have handy that has similar dimensions) with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides.

Combine the butter, sugars, cocoa, and salt in a heatproof bowl and set the bowl on top of a pan of barely simmering water. Stir until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove the bowl and allow to cool a bit.

Stir in the vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one. When the batter looks well blended, add the flour and stir until incorporated, then beat vigorously for 40 strokes with a wooden spoon or a rubber spatula. Spread evenly in the lined pan.

Bake until a toothpick in the center comes out slightly moist with batter, 20 to 25 minutes is Medrich’s suggestion but it took me 40 minutes. Let cool, remove with parchment, and cut into brownies.

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