Category Archives: Chocolate

White Chocolate Raspberry Pancakes

Since Valentine’s Day falls on a weekend this year, why not start off your day with these delectable White Chocolate Raspberry Pancakes?


White Chocolate Raspberry Pancakes

My husband is out of town for work right now so I’m spending Valentine’s Day with my littler love, my toddler son, who is a huge pancake fan. For awhile IHOP was one of his favorite restaurants, so I had the opportunity to check out their menu on many occasions. The last time we ate there I tried the white chocolate raspberry pancakes. They were tasty but super sweet and a bit artificial. I knew I could do it better!

I made a raspberry puree using frozen raspberries, not in any kind of sugar or syrup, since I knew the white chocolate would make the pancakes sweet enough for breakfast. To add to the festivities, I made the pancakes heart-shaped. To do this, I placed a metal heart-shaped cookie cutter, about 5 inches in diameter on my griddle. I poured about 1/4 cup of batter into the cookie cutter and spread it around evenly. When it was time to flip the pancakes, I left the cookie cutter in place to ensure the batter did not spread outside the boundaries of the heart. After flipping I gently pushed down the pancake to ensure it was in contact with the griddle. Toward the end of cooking each pancake I carefully removed the cookie cutter. My son was so delighted by the heart shaped pancakes. He told his daddy on Skype “I’m eating heart shaped pancakes for breakfast!” Aw! If you don’t have heart shaped cookie cutters, though, the round pancakes were just as yummy!

White Chocolate Raspberry Pancakes

Happy Valentine’s Day to you and your loved ones! I hope you enjoy these beautiful and delicious White Chocolate Raspberry Pancakes as much as we did!

White Chocolate Raspberry Pancakes

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White Chocolate Raspberry Pancakes

Yield: 10 pancakes

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cups milk (any kind is fine)

1 egg

3 tablespoons melted butter (unsalted)

1/2 cup white chocolate chips

1 cup frozen raspberries

fresh raspberries for garnish (optional)

Directions:

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add in the milk, egg, and butter and whisk together until fully combined. The batter may remain a little lumpy. Stir in the white chocolate chips.
  2. Heat your pancake griddle on high (I have the Cuisinart Griddler and heated mine to 425F).
  3. For heart-shaped pancakes, place a metal cookie cutter onto the griddle and fill with about 1/4 cup of batter. Let cook until bubbly and golden brown on the bottom, then flip, keeping the cookie cutter in place. Gently push down the pancake to ensure it remains in contact with the griddle. When nearly done, carefully remove the cookie cutter.
  4. For round pancakes, drop 1/4 cupfuls of batter onto the griddle. Let cook until bubbly and golden brown on the bottom, the flip and continue cooking until golden on both sides.
  5. Meanwhile, for the raspberry sauce, place the frozen raspberries into a small saucepan on the stove on medium. Cook until warm and slightly reduced, so the fruit becomes more of a sauce.
  6. Top the pancakes with raspberry sauce, garnish with fresh raspberries if desired, and serve right away.

Note: if you like a lot of sauce on your pancakes, you may want to increase the frozen raspberries to 2 cups.

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Gingerbread Blossom Cookies

I know, I know. It’s very last minute to share this holiday cookie recipe with you. After all we’ve already lit the last Hanukkah candle, and Christmas Eve is upon us. But just in case you’re still looking for a delicious treat to enjoy this holiday season, I figured I’d still share these tasty Gingerbread Blossom Cookies. I’ve been meaning to post this recipe for a while, but somehow 6 Hanukkah events plus 3 traditional holiday parties plus seemingly hundreds of potato latkes, a toddler, and a job got in between me and my blog. But anyhow, gingerbread is so good you can enjoy it well after the holiday season passes.

gingerbread blossom 1

I was lucky enough to receive a bag of Hershey’s Kisses from Influenster and I knew I wanted to bake something with them, though I have to say, I was tempted to unwrap one of those shiny little Kisses and dig in as soon as I opened my box from Influenster. I spent some time researching Hershey’s Kiss recipes. And believe me, there are tons out there on the internet. I know the Peanut Butter Blossom cookies are somewhat traditional this time of year, and even showed up in my Hershey’s cookbook, but since I really love the flavors in gingerbread, I figured I’d veer slightly off the peanut butter path (though chocolate and peanut butter in combination are pretty darn delicious too) to the gingerbread world.

gingerbread blossom 2

The final product is amazing. Crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside ginger cookies, complete with a smooth chocolate-y Kisses perched on top. I hope you enjoy a wonderful and sweet holiday season with your friends and family and I’m looking forward to sharing more recipes on The Dinner Pages in the coming year.

gingerbread blossom 3(I’ll make sure to come back and share my yummy Pistachio Blossom cookie recipe one day soon!)

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Gingerbread Blossom Cookies (adapted from Cinnamon-Spice & Everything Nice)

Yield: 4-5 dozen cookies

Ingredients:

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup molasses

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup turbinado (or granulated)

48-60 Hershey’s Kisses, unwrapped

Directions:

  1. In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and brown sugar together until light and fluffy. Add molasses, egg, and vanilla and mix until combined.
  3. Gradually add in the dry ingredients on low speed until fully mixed. Remove from the bowl, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350F. Shape dough into 1-inch balls, coat all over in turbinado sugar, and place 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper or silpats.
  5. Bake 8 to 10 minutes. The edges of cookies will just begin to brown. Remove from the oven and immediately press an unwrapped Hershey’s Kiss into the center of each cookie.
  6. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

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Here’s another yummy ginger cookie recipe from The Dinner Pages!

 

What's Baking Badge

 

I received Hershey’s Kisses complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes but all opinions are my own.

Perfect Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

I know, I know, everything is pumpkin this time of year. But fall really is my favorite season and pumpkin plays a big role in that. Unfortunately we don’t have much of a New England style fall here in the southern US, and I greatly miss the gorgeous foliage and crisp fall air, but I can infuse some autumn atmosphere into my life with pumpkin goodness. And this Perfect Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread sure does bring goodness!

Perfect Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

This is my first chance to join in with the “What’s Baking” group and the theme for the month was pumpkin. Can you tell I was disappointed? Ha. I was super excited because I absolutely love baking with pumpkin. I buy cans and cans of pumpkin puree each fall and try to test out a few new recipes each year. My first for this year was this pumpkin bread. I’ve made different pumpkin breads before but this one just takes the cake. This recipe is adapted from the Cook’s Illustrated Baking Book so I was pretty sure it was going to be a winner and it did not disappoint. The streusel topping to the bread lends a surprising and delightful texture and crunch. The cream cheese and buttermilk make this cake moist and counteract the sometimes metallic taste you can get from pumpkin baked goods after using canned pumpkin puree. Perfection!

Perfect Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

This recipe made two glorious loaves of pumpkin bread. I brought one to work and it was devoured rather quickly. Comments included “other worldly” and “two enthusiastic thumbs up.” Yes folks, I’m not making these reviews up. So you have got to try this recipe this pumpkin season. And I sure do hope to share some more pumpkin treats with you…if my colleagues don’t eat them all before I get photos!

Perfect Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

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Perfect Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread (adapted from Cook’s Illustrated Baking Book)

Yield: 2 loaves

For the topping:

5 tablespoons packed light brown sugar

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon salt

For the bread:

Nonstick cooking spray

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

1 15 ounce can unsweetened pumpkin puree

1 teaspoon salt

1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1/8 teaspoon ground allspice

4 ounces cream cheese (low-fat works fine), cut into 12 pieces

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup packed light brown sugar

½ cup vegetable oil

4 large eggs

¼ cup buttermilk

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Combine all the ingredients for the topping in a small bowl. Work together with your fingers until the consistency is like coarse sand. Set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350F. Prepare 2 loaf pans (9×5-inch) with nonstick spray.
  3. Combine flour, baking powder, and baking soda in bowl and set aside.
  4. In a large saucepan, combine the pumpkin puree, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture has thickened and reduced, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the cream cheese, sugars, and oil. Stir slightly to start the cream cheese melting, then let sit for 5 minutes.
  5. Beat the eggs and buttermilk together in a bowl, then stir into the pumpkin mixture. Fold the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture and whisk until all the ingredients are combined and the consistency is homogenous.
  6. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  7. Divide the batter between the 2 prepared loaf pans. Sprinkle the topping over each loaf.
  8. Bake until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean (may have some melted chocolate), about 45-50 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 20 minutes, then remove from the pan and let cool for another hour.

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If you love pumpkin like I do, find more pumpkin recipes on the Dinner Pages! Happy fall!

 

What's Baking Badge

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies with Mini M&Ms

When thinking about cookies, there’s nothing like the classic chocolate chip cookie. And you’re in luck because today, May 15, is National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day, so I am going to share a delicious chocolate chip cookie recipe with you. Today is also my little brother’s birthday…so have a cookie on me, Scotty!

M+M chocolate chip cookies

These cookies bring you all the flavors you’d expect from a standard chocolate chip cookie–with a twist, teeny tiny little mini M&M’s. While these cookies are as chewy as a chocolate chip cookie should be, with the wonderful flavors of cookie dough ice cream thanks to a bonus of vanilla pudding in the batter, the mini M&M’s add just a touch of crunch. Delish!

M+M chocolate chip cookies

Just to highlight how yummy these cookies are, I was approached by one of my son’s daycare teachers who, after I gave her a batch as part of her holiday gift in December, asked me if she could pay me to bake her more of these cookies. Of course I was more than happy to oblige (and no, of course I couldn’t accept payment from one of my son’s favorite teachers). It made me happy though, because I’m not a professional chef/baker so I was thrilled that someone loved my baking that much that they would pay to eat these cookies!

M+M chocolate chip cookies

So give yourself and your loved ones a treat today, with Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies with Mini M&Ms!

M+M chocolate chip cookies

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Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies with Mini M&M’s (adapted from Mommy on Demand)

Yield: 6 dozen cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1.7 ounce box vanilla pudding (I used sugar free)
1 cup mini chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups mini M&M’s (the entire 12 ounce bag)

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350F.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugars until fluffy. Add in vanilla extract, then the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.

3. Add the baking soda, salt, flour, and vanilla pudding and beat until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips and M&M’s.

4. Drop tablespoonfuls of dough onto cookie sheets lined with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Let cool on the cookie sheet for a few minutes then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
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Chocolate-Almond Souffle Cake

homebaker1

It has been a little while since I participated in The Home Bakers group. Unfortunately as work and family commitments have ramped up, the blogging has taken a bit of a nosedive, so I missed the last coffee cake bake along. I thought I was set to miss this one too because it fell right in the midst of Passover and really, how was I supposed to make coffee cake from a regular cookbook during Passover?! But the chocolate and almond combo intrigued me since both chocolate and almonds are just fine during Passover, as were most of the ingredients in this delicious cake, so I just had to come up with a few modifications to make it kosher for Passover.

Chocolate Almond Souffle Cake

Fortunately, my changes did not alter the moist and flavorful composition of this light cake and it’s definitely a keeper for years to come. And don’t get me wrong, no need to be celebrating Passover to enjoy this cake. It’s a winner year round! The almonds add an interesting texture to an otherwise airy cake, which I think would be fantastic topped with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream!

Chocolate Almond Souffle Cake

I started off by coating an 8-inch square pan with nonstick spray and a light coating of matzah cake meal. I toasted raw whole almonds at 325F for about 8 minutes, until fragrant then let cool slightly. Be careful not to let the almonds burn so you don’t end up with a bitter cake. Once cooled, I finely ground the almonds in a food processor and combined with finely chopped bittersweet chocolate and set aside.

Then I beat egg whites until foamy and added in salt and lemon juice (in lieu of the cream of tartar in the original recipe) and beat them until soft peaks formed. I added in brown sugar then beat the mixture until stiff peaks formed.

In a separate mixing bowl I beat the egg yolks until thick and pale then added in more brown sugar, vanilla extract, and almond extract. I stirred matzah cake meal into the almond/chocolate mixture, then folded it into the yolk mixture, then folded in the egg whites.

I spread the batter into the 8-inch pan and baked it at 325F for 35 minutes until it was cooked through and the top sprung back when lightly touched. I let it cool completely before cutting into pieces to serve. It was a welcomed addition at our seder and for the week to come! It lasted throughout Passover kept wrapped at room temperature.

Chocolate Almond Souffle Cake

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Chocolate-Almond Souffle Cake (adapted from Coffee Cakes)

Yield: 1 8-inch square cake or 1 9-inch round cake

nonstick cooking spray

1 1/3 cups (5 1/2 ounces) slivered or raw whole almonds

4 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate

6 large eggs, separated

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon lemon juice (instead of the 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar in the original recipe)

2 tablespoons plus 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

1/3 cup matzah cake meal (instead of 1/2 cup all-purpose flour called for in the original recipe)

Directions:

Please see Life Can Be Simple  for the full directions for this recipe. Other than the pan size and ingredient modifications noted above I followed the recipe as written.

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Check out The Home Bakers and see other interpretations of Chocolate-Almond Souffle Cake and other coffee cakes featured on The Dinner Pages

Ebony and Ivory: Passover Cookies Two Ways

Whether you celebrate Passover or not, try these Mexican Chocolate Passover Cookies and Passover Chocolate Chip Blondies!

DSC_0590

I was really excited about this month’s Improv Cooking Challenge and creating a recipe on the Ebony and Ivory theme. But, life happened, and I’ve got a lot going on right now so my writing has taken a bit of a back burner even though I’ve still been cooking up a storm and building up my repertoire of recipes to share later on. So I was going to bow out of the challenge. However when doing my Passover baking I realized the desserts I was already planning to make would be perfect. Alone, they both qualify as ebony and ivory. The Mexican Chocolate Cookies are lovely dark treats with a crispy outside and chewy interior, lightened in color by a coat of powdered sugar. In contrast, my Passover Blondies are, well, blonde in color (we’ll call it ivory) and studded with yummy ebony chocolate chips. So they’re both black and white and together, as you can see, they exemplify light and dark, ebony and ivory.

Passover Cookies Two Ways

Now as some of you may know, Passover can be challenging to bake for since a lot of my typical ingredients for baking are out of the question. No flour is a big one. So creativity is essential to come up with substitutions that don’t taste like cardboard. I’m proud to say that my Passover guests agreed that these desserts would be delicious year round. One other great thing about both of these recipes is that they’re both gluten free and dairy free too.

Mexican Chocolate Passover Cookies

Just as a heads up, both recipes take a little bit of planning ahead, the Mexican Chocolate Cookies because the dough needs to be refrigerated for several hours or overnight before shaping and baking, and the blondies because you need vanilla sugar. Now if you already have vanilla sugar you’re golden, but if not it takes 24 hours to make. But overall they are both easy without excessive hands on time.

Passover Chocolate Chip Blondies

These desserts are lovely to serve as a seder dessert (so pin for next year, I know I’m a little late for this year but I couldn’t get the cleaning, prepping, baking, AND blogging done in advance) but they are truly fantastic anytime during Passover or otherwise. Despite my Ebony and Ivory theme, no need to be strictly black and white and only enjoy these treats during Passover!

Passover Cookies Two Ways

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Mexican Chocolate Passover Cookies (adapted from The Holiday Kosher Baker)

Yield: 2 1/2 dozen cookies

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup potato starch

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar

Directions:

1. In a mixing bowl combine the oil, sugar, cocoa, eggs, and vanilla. Then add in the potato starch, salt, and cinnamon and mix until fully combined. Refrigerate overnight (I refrigerated mine for 7 hours which was enough).

2. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Roll walnut sized pieces of cookie dough in confectioners’ sugar then place on the cookie sheet at least 1 1/2 inches apart.

3. Bake for 14 minutes. The cookies will still be somewhat soft, but not raw. Let cool slightly then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

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Passover Chocolate Chip Blondies (adapted from The Holiday Kosher Baker)

Yield: 24 bars

nonstick cooking spray

2 cups granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 cup vegetable oil

2 tablespoons vanilla sugar (see below)

3 1/4 cups ground almonds or almond meal

1/4 cup potato starch

1 cup chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet)

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Coat a 9×13-inch baking pan with nonstick spray then fit in a piece of parchment paper to coat the bottom and sides of the pan. Coat the parchment with cooking spray as well.

2. Beat together the sugar, eggs, oil, and vanilla sugar in a mixing bowl with an electric mixer until combined. Add in the ground almonds and potato starch and mix fully. Stir in the chocolate chips, then add the batter to the prepared pan.

3. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the edges are brown and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool then remove the parchment paper from the pan and cut into bars.

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Vanilla Sugar

Yield: 1 cup

Slice a vanilla bean down its entire length. Add to a container of granulated sugar. Cover and let sit overnight.

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Check out other bloggers’ takes on the Ebony and Ivory Improv Cooking Challenge theme here:

Milk Chocolate-Walnut Coffee Cake

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Let yourself be transported to a bakery in the comfort of your own kitchen with this divine Milk Chocolate-Walnut Coffee Cake!

Milk Chocolate-Walnut Coffee Cake

I discovered The Home Bakers group a few months back before I even started blogging but when I was in the “research” (also known as spending lots of time reading blogs) phase. This group is baking its way through an entire cookbook, currently Coffee Cakes by Lou Seibert Pappas. That’s right up my alley of course, as I really learned my way around a kitchen (baking-wise) by baking my way through Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook a few years back (I never finished, for what it’s worth)! Anyway, even though The Home Bakers have already baked halfway through this book, there are still another 30 recipes to go and if I can make my way through even some of them I figure it will be worth it to really delve into a cookbook again (unlike a good fraction of the 150 cookbooks I already own…oops…but that’s the point of this blog, right?). So I finally bit the bullet and added the book to my Amazon cart one sleep deprived night when I somehow decided I had enough time for yet another project and 2 days later, I was happy to find it in my mailbox.

Milk Chocolate-Walnut Coffee Cake

I am joining in mid-bake for this first one, but I had a bit of downtime while making dinner for my family so decided to prep this cake for a dessert treat. Good move on my part. The cake was very easy to make. The crumb is moist, thanks to yogurt or buttermilk in the batter. I used nonfat vanilla yogurt though the original recipe recommended lowfat plain yogurt or buttermilk. I think the vanilla was fine, I really didn’t notice it while eating the cake. To break up the moist cake, there is a layer of tasty chopped walnuts, chocolate (I used chocolate chips), and cinnamon-sugar. Similarly, the cake is topped with more of the same which adds a lovely crusty layer on top. The cake will seem really flat when you pour the batter into a springform pan to bake it. Don’t worry. It’s not a hugely tall cake but it will definitely rise when you bake it and there will be more than enough cake for everyone to enjoy. This cake is wonderful anytime, but it is really perfect for a brunch or baby shower. It just feels like the right kind of cake for those settings. My husband said it smelled like a bakery while it was baking. I initially couldn’t place the aroma but ultimately, I think it smelled like rugelach, those fruit and nut filled Jewish pastries, while it was baking. I’ve made rugelach a few times (from that Martha Stewart book, in fact) and the scent is very comparable. And delicious!

Milk Chocolate-Walnut Coffee Cake

Anyway, get ready to hear about more coffee cakes from me over the next few months. I may not have the time to participate in every bake but I’m going to try because this book has some amazing sounding recipes that I’m excited to test out and share with you!

Milk Chocolate-Walnut Coffee Cake

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Milk Chocolate-Walnut Coffee Cake (adapted from Coffee Cakes)

Yield: one 9-inch round cake (serves 12)

nonstick cooking spray with flour

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup buttermilk or lowfat plain yogurt (I used nonfat vanilla yogurt)

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

6 ounces milk chocolate, finely chopped (I used milk chocolate chips…no chopping needed)

1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (I used walnuts)

Directions:

Please see Hundred Eighty Degrees for the full directions for this recipe.

My additional notes:

  • The recipe recommends baking for 25-30 minutes; it took about 40 minutes for my cake to turn golden brown and have a knife come out clean when tested but it was really cold in my kitchen when I baked so maybe that’s why. My oven is usually pretty accurate.
  • I used nonstick cooking spray with flour to grease the springform pan; you could also use butter and use a small amount of all-purpose flour to get the same effect.

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Check out The Home Bakers and see other interpretations of Milk Chocolate-Walnut Coffee Cake!

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