Browsing Tag

chocolate

Black Bean Brownies

January 6, 2012

Three months ago I took a trip to the Wednesday Farmer’s Market in downtown Des Moines over our lunch hour. The day was beautiful and I was impressed with the selection of tasty lunch items the small farmer’s market had to offer. But what really drew me in was a small whole foods stand selling, among other things, black bean brownies. As you can probably imagine, I couldn’t resist trying a sample and hearing about what this black bean brownie thing was all about.

Turns out, the nutrition stats on the brownie were really impressive and I couldn’t even tell there were black beans in the brownie. It was just incredibly moist and gooey. Totally my kind of brownie.

Although it took me a while to get in my kitchen and replicate the black bean brownie in my own kitchen, I can report back to you that they are as easy and tasty as ever. Made with whole wheat flour, just a bit of sugar and black beans for protein, these are brownies that you can feel good about eating! In fact, each brownie contains just around 120 calories and 3 grams of protein. If you want to make them even healthier, I think you could probably cut back on the sugar even more, and perhaps sub some apple sauce for some of the oil.

Oh, and as a trial, when Joey got home I offered him a brownie and asked what he thought. He couldn’t even tell there was anything healthy about these brownies. When I asked him what he thought the secret ingredient was, he said whole wheat flour. And although that’s true, it wasn’t exactly the answer I was looking for. He couldn’t even tell there were black beans involved. I would call that a success!

Black Bean Brownies
Adapted from FoodNetwork.com

Ingredients
*3/4 cup black beans, rinsed and drained (canned is fine)
*1/2 cup light flavored olive oil or canola oil
*2 eggs or 1/2 cup Egg Beaters liquid egg replacement
*1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
*1/2 cup granulated sugar (could probably reduce to 1/3 cup if desired)
*1 tsp. instant coffee granules
*1 tsp. vanilla extract
*1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
*1/3 cup whole wheat flour
*1/2 tsp. baking powder
*1/4 tsp. salt
*Additional chocolate chips (optional)

Instructions
*Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8×8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil. Set aside.
*In the bowl of a food processor or blender, combine the black beans, olive oil, eggs, cocoa powder and sugar. Blend until well combined and mixture is smooth, about 1 minute. Add in the coffee, vanilla, melted chocolate, flour, baking powder and salt. Blend until smooth, about 30 seconds.
*Pour batter into prepared baking dish and spread to distribute evenly. Top with additional chocolate chips, if desired. Bake in the middle rack of the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Transfer to wire rack to cool. Makes 16 brownies

Happy Baking!
Madison

Everyday Chocolate Loaf Cake

October 7, 2011
Thank you all for the happy birthday wishes and for your support as I balance a whole host of things that are piling onto my platter. I can promise you that I’ll have more information for you about unspoken happenings by the end of the month.
Now, let’s talk about cake. Although Joey and I celebrated my birthday with an ice cream cake this year, I made these little individual chocolate loaf cakes a few weeks back after spotting them on Smitten Kitchen for a little early birthday celebrating. 
Although I’m famous for not loving chocolate like most people seem to (including my hubby), something about this simple recipe called out to me. You see, when it comes to baking, there are few things I love more than a simple cake recipe. I guess I still believe deep down inside that cakes are supposed to be simple, Little House on the Prairie style. It makes absolutely no sense, I know. 
This recipe made enough cake to feed a small crowd, or a few hungry chocolate lovers for days on end. I found that dividing the batter among individual loaves as opposed to one giant loaf made it easier to freeze some of the cake and save it for later. Which, of course, comes in handy when the craving for chocolate strikes. 
Everyday Chocolate Loaf Cake 
Recipe just slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Ingredients
*1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
*1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
*1/2 cup sugar
*1 large egg
*1 cup buttermilk
*1 teaspoon vanilla extract
*3/4 cup whole wheat flour
*3/4 cup all-purpose flour
*3/4 cup Dutch cocoa powder
*1/4 teaspoon baking soda
*1/2 teaspoon baking powder
*1/4 teaspoon salt
Instructions 
*Preheat oven to 325°F. Butter three mini loaf pans (you can also just use one standard-sized loaf pan and bake for 60 to 70 minutes). Line the bottom of the baking pans with parchment paper. Set aside. 
*In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugars until smooth and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add in the eggs. Beat until just combined, followed by the buttermilk and vanilla. 
*In a large bowl, beat together the flours, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add to the mixture in the bowl, beating until just combined. Do not overmix. Scrape down the batter from the sides of the bowl and transfer batter into the prepared pans. 
*Bake for 25 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. 
Happy Baking!
Madison

Homemade Almond Joy Candy Bars

August 29, 2011
 
Hey, friends! I hope you had a great weekend. My mom spent the weekend with us, which meant Joey and I spent the weekend trying to keep up with her. We played tennis, grilled out and went on an 8-mile run this morning. Exactly how I like to spend my weekend. 
For as long as I remember, I’ve been intrigued by the idea of making my own candy bars. I don’t really have a clue why, since I can’t remember the last time I ate a full-sized candy bar or purchased one at the store, but it’s intrigued me none the less. 
Of course making homemade Snickers intimidates the heck out of me, and don’t ask me how to recreate that filling inside a Milky Way. So to begin my candy bar making adventures, I stuck with something approachable: an Almond Joy. 
I suppose it’s only fitting that the recipe I found when I Googled ‘Homemade Almond Joy’ was from Joy the Baker. Trust me, her recipe does not disappoint. We’ve been keeping these babies in our fridge for the last week or so and I can only imagine they would make a great treat wrapped up in waxed paper and tied with a ribbon.  
 
Homemade Almond Joy Candy Bars
Recipe Courtesy of Joy the Baker 
Ingredients
*7 ounces sweetened condensed milk
*1 cup powdered sugar
*1 tablespoon vanilla extract
*Pinch of salt
*2 1/2 cups unsweetened flake coconut 
*30 almonds
*20 ounces good quality milk chocolate chips 
Instructions
*In a large bowl, combine the sweetened condensed milk, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, salt and coconut. Stir until well combined. Refrigerate mixture until ready to use. 
*Meanwhile, line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside. Melt the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl in the microwave, melting in 30-second intervals until it is completely smooth. 
*Form the coconut mixture into 30 oval-shaped clusters. Press an almond into the center of each cluster. 
*Place one coconut cluster on a fork. Use a spoon to scoop a bit of chocolate over the almond.  This will help the almond stick to the candy and not fall off during dipping.  Lower fork into chocolate and spoon chocolate over candy to coat.  Lift fork and gently shake to release some of the chocolate.  Scrape the bottom of the fork along the side of the bowl and place on the lined baking sheet.
*Allow chocolate clusters to harden, at least an hour. 
Happy Baking!
Madison

Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheesecake Ice Cream

August 22, 2011
  

This weekend, something so amazing came out of my ice cream maker that I can hardly believe it was me who made it. Chocolate and peanut butter are a killer combination in every form, but chocolate and peanut butter together in cheesecake ice cream form? Absolutely killer.

I could keep rambling about how the subtle chocolate flavor compliments the creamy peanut butter perfectly. Or comment on how the cream cheese adds a perfect bit of tang and makes for the creamiest ice cream I’ve ever eaten.

Or I could just encourage you to make some for yourself and actually taste what I’m talking about.

Yeah, that sounds about right. Go forth and make ice cream! What are you waiting for?

Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheesecake Ice Cream
Inspired by Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams At Home

Ingredients
*2 cups 2% chocolate milk
*1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon corn starch
*2/3 cups granulated sugar
*1 teaspoon vanilla extract
*1 1/4 cups heavy cream
*4 oz. cream cheese, softened
*1/2 cup creamy or crunchy peanut butter (not natural peanut butter)

Instructions
*In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of the chocolate milk and the corn starch until smooth. Set aside.
*In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the remaining chocolate milk, sugar and vanilla extract. Bring to a boil and continue to cook for four minutes, stirring frequently. (I had issues with the mixture boiling over a bit, so watch carefully and remove from the heat for a second or two, if necessary)
*After four minutes, remove from the heat and whisk in the corn starch mixture. Return to heat, bring to a boil and continue to boil for one to two minutes or until mixture is thickened slightly. (A good test: it’s ready when it thinly coats the back of a wooden spoon.)
*Remove from heat and whisk in the cream cheese and peanut butter. Whisk until smooth and well combined. Whisk in the heavy cream. Pour mixture through a mesh sieve and into a bowl.
*Place mixture in the refrigerator and refrigerate for 8 to 12 hours or until mixture is completely chilled.
*Transfer chilled mixture to the bowl of an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. Store mixture in an airtight container in the freezer.

Happy Cooking!

Madison

The Only Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe You’ll Ever Need

August 19, 2011

I don’t like to over-promise on a recipe, and I’m not fond of people who exaggerate. This post title claims that this is the only chocolate chip cookie recipe you will ever need. And it’s neither an over-promise nor an exaggeration. This is the real-deal, the most amazing cookie I’ve ever made, and a big hit in our house.

I’ve owned a copy of Desserts By The Yard by Sherry Yard for almost a year now. It’s a beautiful book filled with tantalizing recipes. Unfortunately, I have an endless stack of cookbooks that I have yet to dig into, this being one of them. That is, until last week. I was in a major baking mood last week, so when the hankering for a chocolate chip cookie hit me I went ruffling through my cookbooks in search of a new recipe.

Desserts By The Yard did not disappoint, my friends. Sherry is a seasoned and acclaimed pastry chef, and after trying her recipe for chocolate chip cookies I do not doubt why. They were perfect. Like seriously divine. The perfect mix of soft, chewy and dense, chock-full of chocolate and ever so slightly crispy around the edges.

I know that I’ve shared recipes for chocolate chip cookies on this site before, all of them delicious in their own right, but I think I’m done searching for that perfect recipe. Because, you see, these cookies are it.

Quintessential Chocolate Chip Cookies
From Desserts By The Yard by Sherry Yard
Ingredients
*1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I used whole wheat flour and had equally wonderful results) 
*1/2 teaspoon baking soda
*4 ounces unsalted butter, softened
*1/2 cup sugar
*1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
*1/4 teaspoon salt
*1 large egg
*1 teaspoon vanilla extract
*12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips or dark chocolate chips
Instructions
*Place racks in the middle and lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. 
*Sift together the flour and baking soda and set aside. 
*In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, cream the butter on medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. 
*Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the sugar, brown sugar and salt. Continue creaming the mixture on medium speed until it is smooth and lump-free, about 1 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle. 
*Add the egg and vanilla and beat on low speed for 15 seconds, or until the egg is fully incorporated. Do not overbeat. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
*On low speed, add the sifted flour mixture. Beat slowly until all of the flour is incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the chocolate and mix in. 
*Drop dough by rounded tablespoons onto prepared baking sheets, 2-inches apart. Bake, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and from front to back halfway through the baking, for 12 to 14 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and slide the parchment off the baking sheets onto a work surface. Cool the baking sheets between batches. Allow the cookies to cool for at least five minutes before serving. 
Have a great weekend!
Madison
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