December 7, 2016

7. Coconut Macaroons

The Best Coconut Macaroons

These are the macaroons that remind me of home!  During the holidays this is a perfect treat to eat while watching Christmas cartoons and spending time with friends and family.

Unlike some meringues, these cookies are extremely delicate. The thin, crispy shell gives way to a soft, chewy coconut center.  These are best when they are made small enough to pop the entire cookie in your mouth.  The explosion of coconut and sugar is delicious!

Coconut Macaroons
2/3 cup sugar
2 egg whites, beat stiff
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
salt, dash
1 1/3 cups sweetened coconut flakes (shredded coconut)

In a bowl beat the egg whites until firm.  Add the vanilla and salt and continue to beat while adding the sugar one spoonful at a time.  Stir in the coconut.

Using a tiny spoon drop balls of the dough onto a parchment lined cookie sheet.  Leave at least 2 inches in between each cookie.

Bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes.  The cookies are done when the sugar has set and the outside of the cookie looks dry.  The cookies should remain white.  If they start to brown before 20 minutes then the oven is too hot.


December 6, 2016

6. Sipping Chocolate

A candy bar in a cup - that is how sipping chocolate was described when I recently visited a chocolate cafe. The secret for making it at home is to use your favorite high quality chocolate and serve it warm (not hot) to enhance the flavor.

It is a delicious treat and the perfect excuse to slow down and enjoy everything fabulous about this time of year.  Let the mug warm your hands and then before your very first sip take a deep breath and smell the amazing aroma of melted chocolate.

For extra fun try adding some peppermint oil or cinnamon and chili for a bit of a kick.

This recipe serves one.  Enjoy!

Sipping Chocolate

3 Tablespoons milk
1/4 cup chopped chocolate (or 4-10g. squares, broken into pieces)

In a microwave cup bring the milk to a boil.  Watch very closely so it does not scald.

Remove the cup from the microwave and add the chocolate pieces.  Allow them to sit for a couple of minutes to melt.

Stir until the chocolate mixes into the milk.  Pour the melted chocolate drink into a tiny serving cup.  I use a 1-1/2" tall espresso cup.  It is the perfect size for this recipe.

NOTE:  If you are using individually wrapped chocolate squares (like Ghiradelli Intense Dark Chocolate Squares) it is fun to experiment with different intensities of chocolate.  For dark chocolate lovers try 3 squares of 86% chocolate and 1 square of 60% chocolate.  Experiment with different chocolates to find your perfect combination.

This is so good!

December 5, 2016

5. Chocolate Truffles with Candy Canes

Chocolate Truffles with Candy Canes from Bake Chocolate Cake
This is a quick and easy recipe for chocolate truffles.  For a fun holiday treat stick a mini candy cane in the center of each truffle.  

The plain truffles can be plopped into the top of a mug of hot chocolate. The combination of the melting chocolate truffle, whipping cream and hot chocolate are delicious! 

Chocolate Truffles with Candy Canes
-makes about 10

1/2 cup heavy cream
4 ounces chopped semi-sweet chocolate
1 Tablespoon sugar

Heat the cream and 1 Tablespoon of sugar in a pan over medium heat.  When the cream is hot, stir to dissolve the sugar.  Pour the cream over the chopped chocolate and allow to sit for about 4 minutes or until the chocolate has melted.

Whisk the chocolate until smooth.  Pour the ganache onto a dinner plate and place in the refrigerator to cool for about thirty minutes.

Prepare the toppings for the ganache by placing them on small plates.  Possible toppings include chopped nuts, unsweetened cocoa, crushed candy canes, shredded coconut and powdered sugar.

Remove the ganache from the refrigerator and spoon about 2 tablespoons into the palm of your hand. Roll the ganache lightly until it forms a ball.  Drop the ball into the desired topping and roll lightly to coat.

If desired poke a small candy cane into the center of the ganache ball.

Place the finished balls on a plate, cover with plastic wrap and return to the refrigerator until ready to eat.

December 4, 2016

4. Christmas Caramel

Caramel from Bake Chocolate Cake Blog
Caramel is a perfect candy to make during the holidays.  It packs well and it can be made several days in advance. Caramel, plain or with nuts, is delicious!

Anise oil added to plain caramel reminds me of the licorice caramels I used to get from England.  It is one of my favorite holiday treats.

The following recipe is very similar to the caramel I make for caramel corn but instead of pouring it over popcorn, it is cooled, shaped and wrapped in parchment or wax paper.

Roll the caramel in chopped walnuts, pecans or pistachios for an incredibly satisfying treat.

Christmas Caramel 

1 cup butter
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
*(optional) add 1 teaspoon anise oil

Melt the butter in a pot over low heat.  Stir in the brown sugar, corn syrup and salt.  Bring to a gentle boil and cook for 5 minutes.

Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the baking soda and the anise oil.

Pour the melted caramel onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Cool.

When the caramel is cool enough to touch, pull off about 1 Tablespoon of caramel.  Shape the caramel into a rectangle log.  Roll in chopped nuts if desired.

Place the caramel on top of a small rectangle of parchment or wax paper.  Roll the paper around the caramel and twist the ends to seal.

Continue to wrap all of the pieces.

Store the caramel for several days in an air tight container.

(*For a licorice flavor add 1 teaspoon natural anise oil.  Anise oil can be found on various sites online including King Arthur Flour and Amazon)

December 3, 2016

3. Mini Candy Cane Hearts

Candy Cane Hearts from Bake Chocolate Cake Blog
This is a super easy recipe that includes only two ingredients: candy canes and chocolate!  

The hearts can be made with white chocolate, milk chocolate or dark chocolate.  These hearts are easy for kids to make and once the chocolate sets the hearts are especially good to eat with hot chocolate.
Mini Candy Cane Hearts
(makes 14 mini hearts)

32 mini candy canes
1 1/4 cups chocolate chips (or other chocolate)

Candy Cane Hearts from Bake Chocolate Cake Blog
Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper.  Arrange the candy canes on the tray to create mini hearts.

In a sealable sandwich bag place the other 4 candy canes.  Using a mallet or rolling pin, crush the candy canes into small pieces.

Sprinkle some of the crushed candy canes into the hearts.
Candy Cane Hearts from Bake Chocolate Cake Blog
Melt the chocolate in the microwave or in a bowl resting over boiling water.  

The best way to fill the hearts with the melted chocolate is to use a plastic bag.  Clip one corner off from a sandwich bag and then place the bag in an empty glass.  The glass holds the bag steady and makes it easier to fill with the melted chocolate.

Pipe the melted chocolate into the heart.  If desired you can spread the chocolate with the back of a tiny spoon.  

Lightly tap the baking sheet on the table to help settle the chocolate into the candy canes.  After tapping the baking sheet, check the hearts to make sure the candy canes have not moved out of place and they are still in the shape of hearts.  

I added additional chocolate to the middle of my hearts to create a slight mound. My theory is that there is never too much chocolate!  If you want to see more of the candy cane design in the middle of the hearts, then use less chocolate.

If there is any leftover chocolate then pipe small mounds of melted chocolate onto the parchment paper.

Sprinkle crushed candy canes over the top of the hearts (and any extra mounds of chocolate)

Place the baking sheet in the refrigerator for about five minutes to set.

Once set, the hearts are easy to remove from the parchment paper.  


December 2, 2016

2. Holiday Snow Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

Snow Capped Chocolate Crinkle Cookies from Bake Chocolate Cake blog

 This is one of my favorite chocolate cookies!  It is chewy and it has a rich chocolate flavor.

Since this cookie is very delicate, it is best to share with close friends or leave a couple on a plate for Santa!

Holiday Snow Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

8 ounces Bittersweet Chocolate
1 1/4 cups Flour
1/2 cup unsweetened Cocoa Powder
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/2 cup Butter
1 cup Brown Sugar, packed
1/3 cup Granulated Sugar
2 Large Eggs
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1/3 cup Milk
3/4 cup Powdered Sugar

This cookie has a very rich chocolate flavor so make sure you are using a good chocolate.  If you do not have bars, then chocolate chips (like Ghirardelli) can be substituted.

Melt the chocolate and then set it aside to cool.

In a small bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt.

In a separate bowl beat the butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs and vanilla.  Stir in the melted chocolate.  Continue mixing by alternating the dry ingredients with the milk.  Mix until well combined.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 2 1/2 hours.

Pour the powdered sugar into a large flat bowl.

Spoon about a 1-inch ball of cookie dough into the tips of your fingers.  Lightly shape the dough into a ball.

The dough needs to stay cold so do not handle it more than necessary.     Roll the balls in the powdered sugar to coat.

Place the cookies 2-inches apart on a parchment lined baking sheet.

Bake 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until the cookies have flattened and the sugar splits.  Dust with additional powdered sugar if desired.

The cookies can be stored in an air tight container for up to 1 week.

December 1, 2016

1. Mini Gingersnap Christmas Cookies

Mini Gingersnap Christmas Cookies from Bake Chocolate

The Christmas holidays are such a wonderful time of the year!  Baking adds to the magic as the kitchen fills with delicious cookies, cakes, pies and pastries!

Whenever I smell gingerbread baking it reminds me of Christmas and the tradition of making gingerbread houses.

These mini gingerbread cookies are packed with ginger and in one small bite they seem to incorporate all of the magic of Christmas!  These cookies travel well and they make delicious gift packs for friends and family.

December 1st officially begins the countdown to Christmas.  I love to celebrate the month by opening doors of an advent calendar.  Now, we can countdown the holiday together with Christmas recipes that will be featured on this blog for the next several weeks.

Happy holidays!

Mini Gingersnap Christmas Cookies

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves

3/4 cup butter (may substitute shortening or margarine)
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup molasses

1/3 cup sugar (for rolling)

Stir flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon and cloves together.  Set aside.  In a large mixing bowl beat butter and sugar until well blended.  Beat in egg and molasses.  Add the flour mixture in two parts, blending well.  Shape the dough into a ball and then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight (or at least 2 hours).

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Shape the dough into 1-inch balls.  Roll the balls in sugar and place the cookies 2 inches apart on a parchment lined cookie sheet.  Bake 15 minutes.  Cool for a minute and then move the cookies to a rack.  Store the cookies in an airtight container for crispy cookies, or in a regular cookie jar for chewy cookies.


April 4, 2016

Chocolate Nutella Brownies

Chocolate Nutella Brownies on Bake Chocolate

The secret to this recipe is being able to wait a day before eating!

Of course the brownies can be eaten the same day, but I promise they are even better if you wait.  The brownie becomes super moist and the flavors intensify even more the next day.

Chocolate Nutella Brownies

1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa (for extra chocolate flavor add an additional 2 Tablespoons of cocoa)
small pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup Nutella plus 2 Tablespoons for swirling
1/4 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine melted butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla.  Add two eggs and beat for 2 minutes.

In a separate bowl mix flour, cocoa, salt and baking powder.  Blend dry ingredients into batter.  Add Nutella and stir in chocolate chips.

Spread batter into a parchment lined 8x8 or 9x9 inch square pan.

In a small bowl put 2 heaping tablespoons of Nutella.  Place in the microwave for a few seconds to soften.  Remove and stir.

Drop Nutella by spoonfuls into several places throughout the batter.  Take a spoon and lightly swirl the batter.

Bake 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.  The edges should just be set.  This is a moist, gooey dessert.  If you wait until a toothpick comes out clean, it has been in the oven too long.  Do not overbake!

Allow the pan to cool.  Remove the brownies and cut into 9 squares.  Wrap each square individually in plastic wrap and allow to set overnight.


April 10, 2015

Ice-Cream Brownie Pops

Several days ago I wanted to make Fat Witch Brownies but I did not have bittersweet chocolate so I substituted unsweetened cocoa.

The result was an intense chocolate brownie that crumbled easily.  It was perfect for making ice-cream brownie pops!

Choose a high quality vanilla ice cream.  (I like Trader Joe's vanilla.) Scoop small spoonfuls of ice cream into balls and arrange on a small tray.

In a separate bowl, crumble the brownies to create fine crumbs. Roll each ball of ice cream in the crumbs to coat.

Place the tray of ice cream balls into the freezer for 1 hour. Serve immediately or move the balls into a large plastic bag and store them in the freezer for future desserts.

Brownie Bites

The brownie crumbs are also perfect for making brownie bites.  I had some extra chocolate frosting left over from decorating a birthday cake.  I mixed the frosting with the brownie crumbs and then formed bite-size balls. I rolled some of the balls in shredded coconut.  Yummy!

April 3, 2015

Oatmeal, Chocolate Chunk, Pecan Cookies

Crunchy on the edges, chewy in the middle with the wonderful combination of oats, toasted pecans and large chunks of chocolate.

I can't really say much more except you have to taste these cookies!

Oatmeal, Chocolate Chunk, Pecan Cookies

1 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs
1 3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups instant oats
3/4 cups chopped chocolate
1/2 cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped

In a large bowl beat butter, sugars and vanilla.  Add eggs.

In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt. Add to the butter mixture. Stir in the oats, chocolate and pecans.

Spoon the dough onto a parchment lined cookie sheet.

Bake cookies at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until edges are slightly brown.