Tag Archives: Chocolate

A Friday Worth Celebrating

Happy Friday, friends! This week brought an end to the online charity bake sale that I was a part of and I want to give a big shout out to my brother and to Nicole for donating to the cause and snagging themselves some delicious giant rainbow cookies. If you did not place the winning bid but would still like to donate to the charity, click here.

I wanted to share the recipe with you now that the auction is over so that you can make these beauties at home. You can make these in 2 sizes: GIANT (which is what I made for the bake sale) that are like, 4 pounds a piece, or mini which are a more “manageable” size, if you like that kind of thing. Personally I like the giant sized but if you’re making a batch for more than 12 people, I suggest the smaller size.


On the menu:

Giant rainbow cookies
Makes 12 or 36 (see above note)

2 cups plus 2 Tbsp flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 sticks butter, melted and cooled for 10 minutes
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup M&Ms (or mini M&Ms, or chocolate chips, or some other delicious small chocolate candy)
2 Tbsp rainbow sprinkles

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour and baking soda. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together butter and sugars until combined and still liquid*. Stir in the eggs and vanilla. Bit by bit add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until combined. Fold in M&Ms and sprinkles.

This step is a TINY bit tricky but don’t let it throw you:

To form the cookies: make a dough ball with your hands (1/4 cup of dough for giant cookies, 2 Tbsp for mini). Break the dough ball into 2 halves. Place one half, broken side down, on the cookie sheet and place the other half, round side down, on top. For a more detailed image see here from How Sweet It Is (also where I got this recipe). It should look like little hour glasses on your cookie sheet.

Bake giant cookies for 16 – 18 minutes, mini cookies for 11 – 13 minutes (careful not to over-bake, these are deeeelicious when they’re a little undercooked). Let cool on a cooling rack completely before eating.

*Note: if you let the butter cool TOO much, you’ll get a weird solid dough after you mix the butter with the sugars and it’ll be impossible to mix. You don’t want the butter so hot that it’ll cook the eggs, but you don’t want it chilly, either.

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The Late Night Chocolate Cake

The chocolate cake / It ain’t pretty but it sure tasted good.

Here’s a nice story for you. Last Saturday night, The BF and I had ourselves a nice little date night. One might think that a twenty-COUGH-year old and a thirty-COUGH-year old wouldn’t have to plan Saturday nights out, but when your nice squishy couch and a cheap bottle of wine and Mad Men reruns and old sweatpants are calling your name, you really have to push yourself to leave the house. But leave the house we did. We sat at a bar, we had some drinks, we laughed, we spent money neither of us has… but all the while I was distracted. Seriously distracted.

By cake.

I wanted some cake. Guys, when a cake craving takes over my body, I can’t help it. It’s all I think about. It’s all I can talk about. “Should I get some cake?” I said out loud, eying a perfectly frosted white cake on the counter of the bar. But something told me I didn’t want that cake. How old was it? Was it pure white cake in the middle? Would it cost $10 a slice? Would I be disappointed that I wasted the calories (and, more importantly, the craving) on something mediocre?

I turned away. I finished my drink. We went home.

And then I baked my own cake.

Who cares if it was 2AM and I was out of butter? I found a simple recipe for one bowl quick chocolate cake, I whipped that sucker up, cooled it over the AC unit, dumped the still-warm cakes on a plate, poured a cocoa-powder-powdered-sugar-water glaze over the top of the heap, and set it in front of The BF… with two forks. We turned on Mad Men reruns, I changed into old sweats, and it was heaven. Why we ever leave the house, I’ll never know.

On the menu:
One-Bowl Chocolate Cake
Serves 2 (just kidding… serves 12)

Cake:
2 cups white sugar
1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk*
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 2 9-inch round baking pans.

In a large bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients. Add remaining ingredients and mix with an electric mixer for 2 minutes. Split the batter between the 2 pans and bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Chocolate glaze:
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 Tbsp milk (you might need more depending on the consistency of the glaze that you like)

Mix together all ingredients in a bowl. Pour over the cake. Eat like it’s going out of style.

*In the interest of full disclosure… I ran out of milk. I mixed together half a cup of heavy cream and half a cup of water and called it milk. Blame the three G&T’s I had before I baked this.

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Chocolate Therapy


Ever have one of those days? You know what I mean. THOSE days. When anyone who crosses your path is gonna get an earful whether they asked for it or not? That was Saturday. I blame the phases of the moon.

In any case, here’s a recipe for one of those days. This recipe is surprisingly healthy, compared to store bought muffins. If you’re craving something sweet, these definitely fit the bill without completely desecrating your diet.

On the menu:
Chocolate muffins
Makes 24 muffins

2 2/3 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 eggs
1 cup sour cream (I used reduced fat)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup milk (I used 1%)
1 apple, shredded
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt. In a different bowl, beat together the eggs, sour cream, water, milk, apple, and vanilla. Combine the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients just until incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips.

Line each cup of the muffin tin with a paper liner. Fill each cup 2/3 of the way full with batter. Bake 20 – 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let sit in the tin for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool.

*Note: this recipe originally had vegetable oil instead of an apple, but I find most recipes use oil to make cakes moist. Apples will do the same thing with none of the fat! You can also use 1/2 cup apple sauce. The only downside to this substitution is that the cake might stick to the liner… but that’s what your teeth are for.

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Beer! In Cupcake Form

This weekend my amazingly talented friend Meagan of Trippin: A Travelogue hosted a super swank dinner party for her closest girl friends. It was one of those straight-out-of-Waiting-to-Exhale evenings where you drink too much wine and someone tells a TMI sex story they regret the next day. She let me bring dessert and I agonized over what it should be. I wanted to make something that went along with her French-themed dinner but let’s face it, guys… French desserts are difficult. And then I thought, What do girls love? Girls love cupcakes. Stereotypical? Yeah. True? Yeah.

However… my friends are not your typical hair-twirling girly girls. So what could be more perfect for girls who drank a lot of wine and wore heels but also had the football game on in the background? Beer cupcakes.

On the menu:
Guinness cupcakes with cream cheese frosting
Makes 16 cupcakes, recipe from Cupcake Friday Project

1 cup flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
3/4 cup Guinness

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
Mix together sour cream and sugar. Add egg. Whisk together Guinness and melted butter. Slowly pour Guinness/butter mixture into sour cream/sugar/egg mixture. Spoon dry ingredients into wet ingredients and blend with an electric mixture until combined.

Line cupcake tin with liners and fill each cup halfway. Bake for 20 minutes. Let cool in the tin for 15 minutes, then remove and let sit on a wire rack until completely cooled.

Frosting:
1 8 oz. package of cream cheese
1/2 cup butter, softened
3 cups confectioners sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Blend together cream cheese and butter. Slowly add in powdered sugar and vanilla and blend until combined. Pipe onto completely cooled cupcakes and store in a cool place until serving.

Note: I have a confession to make, and I never… EVER do this… but I used reduced fat sour cream in the cake and reduced fat cream cheese for the frosting. And I dare anyone who ate one to tell me they could tell the difference. 

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Search for the Best Brownies


In the past few years I’ve developed a real disdain for anything pre-packaged and sold in the store that I can cook or bake at home. If anyone tells you a story about me yelling out “LITTLE DEBBIE!” in a demonic voice in the grocery store as if Twinkies were my lifeblood… well… that’s a lie.

YOU CAN’T MAKE A TWINKIE AT HOME PEOPLE IT’S HARD.

Ahem.

As I was saying, if I can make it from scratch, I try. Cakes, mayonnaise, salad dressing, pie crust, tomato sauce. But some things just don’t taste the same as store bought. Like brownies. Few things taste as ooey-gooey delicious as brownies from the box. “You had brownie mix?!” the BF exclaimed Sunday night. “No… I made these from scratch.” Crestfallen. “Oh.”

But it’s true. They are not the same. And it is my eternal challenge to find a homemade brownie that tastes the same (or dare I say, better?) than a boxed brownie. The below recipe is as close as I’ve ever gotten. While not quite Duncan Hines, these babies are gooooo-ood, and they disappeared into happy bellies in a matter of minutes.

On the menu:
Lauren’s Almost-from-a-box-but-not-quite brownies

1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk together vegetable oil, white sugar, eggs and vanilla. Add cocoa powder, flour, baking powder, and salt, and mix well until incorporated. Pour batter into greased 8 x 8 baking dish.

Bake for 20 – 27 minutes. Let cool completely before cutting.

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Creamy Dreamy Cuppa Love

A few days ago I left my apartment en route to The Boyfriend’s and the Christmas mood struck me mid trip. I stopped at a deli for hot chocolate, and when I arrived at the apartment, BF’s roommate said, “What kind is it?!” And when I answered Swiss Miss he made a face. “Oh. I thought you’d be drinking something fancy.” I was embarrassed.

So to maintain my reputation, here is my own recipe for hot chocolate, which I promise I do actually make for myself. All the time. And if you should ever stop my apartment and find an empty Swiss Miss packet on the counter next to a Twinkie wrapper… well, those aren’t mine.

On the menu:
Homemade hot chocolate
Serves 2 (in big mugs, which is how it should be)

Disclaimer: this hot chocolate is not for everyone. It is VERY cocoa-y because I use a little less sugar than most recipes call for. But I like it that way. So… there.

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups milk
1/4 cup heavy cream

Pour the milk and cream in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let the milk simmer for 5 minutes. Add the cocoa, sugar, and salt. Mix well. Add the vanilla and stir again. Bring the mixture up to a boil and let cook at the high temperature for around 5 minutes (careful not to let it overflow… or you might have to clean up a big, fat, chocolatey mess on your stovetop. Not that that has ever happened to me…). Reduce to a simmer and let cook for another 5 minutes.

At this point you can taste it to make sure it’s not too sweet (or bitter) and add sugar/cocoa/milk as you please. This is also the important time where you add a small truckload of marshmallows. And then you drink. And then you’re instantly happy. Like magic.

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Hey Punkin!

Even though the temperatures in New York feel more like June than October, I can not help but crave everything pumpkin. I suddenly remembered a point last year when I went to the grocery store to get a can of pumpkin and they were sold out. I would not let that happen again. Thankfully, they were fully stocked and I am now the proud owner of six cans of pure, delicious pumpkin. Don’t judge.

On the menu:
Pumpkin chocolate chip cookies
Adapted from this recipe at AllRecipes.com

1 cup pure canned pumpkin
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp milk
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
2 cups milk chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix together pumpkin, sugar, vegetable oil, and egg. In a separate bowl, soft together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Dissolve the baking soda in the milk. Add to the flour mixture. Add flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture until completely blended. Add vanilla and chocolate chips.

Drop cookies by spoonful onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 – 12 minutes, or until the edges are brown*. Let cool for at least ten minutes, or until you literally can not take it anymore. Pour a glass of milk. Eat your cares away.

*Note: these cookies are like little pillows of heaven, soft and cakey and essentially perfection. They will still be soft when you pull them out of the oven. Also, they do not spread so you can put them close together on the tray.

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