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White Chocolate Dipped Nutella Cookie Dough Bites

July 5, 2010

Originally I planned to post these on Friday in preparation for 4th of July. But then I made these brownies and got so excited about them that I lost my mind, got distracted, and in a sugar-induced haze I posted brownies instead. Not to worry, these White Chocolate Dipped Nutella Cookie Dough Bites (yes, you heard that right) taste good any time of the year.

If you’re at all like me, you probably don’t need to read the rest of this post to know you want to make them, so I will keep this short and sweet so you can head on over to your kitchen and get to making them. Joy’s post last week was what first got me thinking about chocolate dipped cookie dough, but me being me, I had to play around and make it mine.

So what could make chocolate dipped cookie dough better? Adding Nutella, of course! Boy oh boy are they delicious, and quick, because when a craving strikes, the last thing you want to do is wait. Rest assured, this cookie dough is egg-free and safe for all to eat, though I can’t safeguard you against the stomach ache that comes when you eat too many, too early in the morning.

White Chocolate Dipped Nutella Cookie Dough
(Printable Recipe)

*3/4 cup butter, softened
*3/4 cup sugar
*3/4 cup brown sugar
*1 tsp. vanilla extract
*1/2 tsp. salt
*1/2 cup Nutella or creamy peanut butter
*2 cups all-purpose flour
*1 (16-oz.) package white chocolate or almond bark
Wooden toothpicks 
Sprinkles or other toppings (if desired)

*With an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy. Add the sugars and beat for 2-3 minutes, until fluffy. Beat in the vanilla, salt, and Nutella. Add in the flour and beat until well combined.
*Drop dough by rounded tablespoons onto a waxed paper lined baking sheet. Stick a toothpick into the center of each dough ball. Freeze for 20 minutes.
*In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the chocolate or almond bark, microwaving in 15 second intervals and stirring between each interval until chocolate is just melted, about 2 minutes.
*Dip cookie dough balls into chocolate and return to waxed paper. Freeze for at least 20 minutes. Keep in the freezer until ready to eat.

Happy Baking!


Super Fudgy Brownies

July 1, 2010

Let’s talk about brownies, shall we? 

When I first made these brownies, I was doubting the recipe the entire time. “There isn’t enough flour!” I kept thinking. But since the recipe comes from the baking great, David Lebovitz, I figured it was worth seeing the recipe out as directed. I might have even audibly coaxed myself onward with a “It’s David-freaking-Lebovitz, Madison! He knows baking!”Call me crazy, but my pep talk worked, and I continued. 

The head notes of the recipe said the step about stirring by hand for a full minute is very important, and after seeing the change in texture after stirring, I can understand why. The batter goes from grainy and dull to smooth and glossy in that one important minute. Please don’t skip it.

After I removed the brownies from the oven I started to get nervous again. Butter had pooled in small places on the surface, which concerned me immediately. “This can’t be right!” I harped. But the recipe said to let the brownies cool completely in the pan before even thinking about cutting them or removing them. Since it was late, I went to bed and figured I would deal with this whole thing in the morning. But in the morning there was nothing to deal with. The brownies were beautiful, dense, and ready to be eaten.

I didn’t really trust myself with a whole pan of brownies in my apartment, much less dense and fudgy David Lebovitz brownies, so I cut them into squares and whisked them away to the office immediately. Thanks to chocolate-loving co-workers, they were gone by noon, but not before I took one for myself.

What I’ve learned? This whole process would have been much less stressful if I had just trusted the recipe and quit trying to make it wrong in my mind. Actually, the recipe is very simple and incredibly quick. Another major bonus is that it all comes together in a saucepan. For someone who loves baking and hates cleaning, this is a very good thing.

Super Fudgy Brownies
Adapted from David Lebovitz’s Time for Dessert 
(Printable Recipe)

*6 Tbsp. butter
*8 oz. bittersweet chocolate
*3/4 cup sugar
*1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
*2 large eggs
*1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

*Preheat oven to 350*F. Lightly butter a sheet of parchment paper, then use the parchment paper to line an 8×8-inch baking pan (the parchment should go up the sides of the pan, too). Set aside.
*In a saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter and chocolate, stirring frequently. Remove from heat when chocolate is just melted. Add in the sugar and vanilla extract and stir to combine. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Beat in the flour and stir vigorously by hand for 1 full minute. During this time the texture of the batter will go from grainy to smooth and glossy. The batter should also start to pull away from the sides of the pan.
*Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake for 30 minutes. Do not overbake. Remove from oven and cool completely in the pan before cutting into squares.

Happy Baking!


Chocolate Revel Bars

June 11, 2010

No time for extra words today because after I post these Chocolate Revel Bars, I’ll be heading to a church kitchen a few miles away to spend the day baking. Baking 300 cupcakes and a two tiered wedding cake to be exact. Sure I’ve done this before, it seems that every time wedding season comes around I commit to at least a few weddings, but it never gets any less stressful. 
I play it cool and collected every time. But inside, I’m always freaking out!
I’ll be posting photos of the preparations and the actual event once the craziness of this weekend has begun to subside, but until then these Chocolate Revel Bars will have to do. And boy are they something. Everyone who has ever been to a church potluck in my neck of the woods has most likely eaten their fair share of these bars. 
Maybe it’s because they’re easy, or because they are delicious, or because they go well with milk and mix creamy chocolate filling with the crunch of an oatmeal cookie. Whatever the reason, they are pretty darn irresistible.
Chocolate Revel Bars
Recipe courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens 
(Printable Recipe)
*1 cup butter, softened 
*2 cups packed brown sugar 
*1 teaspoon baking soda 
*2 eggs 
*2 teaspoons vanilla 
*2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 
*3 cups quick-cooking rolled oats 
*1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate pieces 
*1 14-ounce can (1 1/4 cups) sweetened condensed milk 
*1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans 
*2 teaspoons vanilla 
1. Preheat oven to 350*F. Set aside 2 tablespoons of the butter. In a large mixing bowl beat the remaining butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add the brown sugar and baking soda. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in eggs and 2 teaspoons vanilla until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour. Stir in the rolled oats.
2. For filling, in a medium saucepan combine the reserved 2 tablespoons butter, the chocolate pieces, and sweetened condensed milk. Cook over low heat until chocolate melts, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Stir in the nuts and 2 teaspoons vanilla.
3. Press two-thirds (about 3 1/3 cups) of the rolled oats mixture into the bottom of an ungreased 15x10x1-inch baking pan or a 13×9-inch baking pan. Spread filling evenly over the oats mixture. Dot remaining rolled oats mixture on filling (see photo, below).
4. Bake for about 25 minutes or until top is lightly browned (chocolate filling will still look moist). Cool pan on a wire rack. Cut into bars. 
Happy Baking!

Chocolate Covered Marshmallows

June 2, 2010

This recipe, if you can even call it a recipe, almost didn’t make it to the pages of Espresso and Cream. I got to dipping marshmallows in chocolate one night to satisfy a sweet tooth craving, never really thinking of sharing the idea with anyone else, but when J. arrived at my apartment last week his enthusiastic reaction made me do a double take. “You’re going to put these on the blog, right?” he asked.

And so in the name of ease, yumminess, and practicality, I am posting chocolate covered marshmallows. Not because they’re revolutionary, cutting edge, or will change your world, but because they will satisfy your sweet tooth in a majorly easy way. They also travel well and would be beautiful packed in a box and served as a gift like chocolate truffles. So here’s to Wednesdays and making life a little simpler. 

Chocolate Covered Marshmallows
(Printable Recipe)
24-30 large marshmallows
8 oz. white chocolate, chopped
2 tsp. vegetable or canola oil 
Chocolate Sprinkles

*Place chopped chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high in 20 second intervals until chocolate is melted. Stir in the oil until well combined.
*Drop marshmallows, one at a time, into the melted chocolate, using a spoon or a fork to be sure marshmallow are completely covered on all sides. Lift the chocolate covered marshmallows one at a time with a fork and place on waxed paper or parchment paper. Sprinkle with chocolate sprinkles while chocolate is still soft.
*Allow chocolate to harden, at least 2-3 hours. To speed up process, place in the fridge to harden. Store in the fridge until ready to eat.

Happy Cooking!


Homemade Oreos

May 25, 2010

Whew. Two days after graduation, three loads of laundry, four bags of groceries, one day of work, and two deliriously wonderful nights of sleep later I think I’ve finally recovered from a crazy-lovely graduation weekend up in Minneapolis. And yes, that guy I talk about quite a bit on Espresso and Cream graduated, with honors and a job! (excuse my bragging, I’m just a bit proud) And because I enjoy looking at other people’s photos on the blogs I follow, here is a little snippet from graduation. 
Part two of the sandwich cookie series comes back to the original, or at least the most famous, mass-produced sandwich cookie. I hardly think I need to go into detail about what makes an Oreo so beloved. It’s crispy on the outside, creamy inside, and brings together the very classic combination of vanilla and chocolate. 
My greatest complaint with purchased Oreos is the lack of filling. Even the double stuffed variety just isn’t quite enough. I want to sit down with a glass of milk, split apart my cookie, and see lots of white cream waiting to be dipped. And since they have yet to roll out a triple stuffed Oreo, I am making my own. 
Like the original, they are crispy, creamy, and make your teeth black with chocolaty goodness, but they taste a little bit more real and a whole lot more special. For everyday, store-bought Oreos will do just fine, but get a group together for a dinner party and serve them Oreos from the package for dessert and they may look at you a little funny. Serve them homemade Oreos and a scoop of vanilla ice cream and you have yourself a dessert that is familiar yet unexpected.

Homemade Oreos
Adapted from Retro Desserts from Wayne Brachman via Smitten Kitchen 
(Printable Recipe)
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup sugar
10 Tbsp. (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg
2 tsp. vanilla extract  

1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup shortening
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. milk

*Set two racks in the middle of the oven. Preheat to 350°F.
*In a food processor, or bowl of an electric mixer, thoroughly mix the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and powder, salt, and sugar. While pulsing, or on low speed, add the butter, and then the egg. Continue processing or mixing until dough comes together in a mass.
*Transfer dough to a lightly-floured surface. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough to a 1/2-inch thickness. Using a cookie cutter (I used a flower-shaped cutter) slice cookies and place on baking sheet. Bake for 7 minutes, until lightly golden around the edges. Cool 2 minutes on baking sheet, then transfer to cooling rack and cool completely.

*To make the cream, place butter and shortening in a mixing bowl, and at low speed, gradually beat in the sugar, vanilla, and milk. Turn the mixer on high and beat for 2 to 3 minutes until filling is light and fluffy.
*To assemble the cookies, in a pastry bag with a 1/2 inch, round tip, (I just used a zip lock bag with the end snipped off) pipe teaspoon-size blobs of cream into the center of one cookie. Place another cookie, equal in size to the first, on top of the cream. Lightly press, to work the filling evenly to the outsides of the cookie. Continue this process until all the cookies have been sandwiched with cream.

Happy Baking!


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