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Posts Tagged ‘chocolate’

I was away last week on a yoga retreat in the beautiful Berkshires.  That meant eating vegetarian and super healthy the whole time.  For meals and snacks, thats fine with me on the overall.  But no dessert.  No butter, no fat, no chocolate.  I finally escaped at one point and found myself a buttery, nut-filled, chocolate chip cookie.  Maybe I’m not the best yogi, but I’m realistic about my need for a tasty dessert every once in a while.  Come on, honesty, what is life of peace and centeredness without chocolate and butter?

These bars are pure indulgence.  Just the name alone – Chocolate Chip Cookie Cheesecake Bars.  It’s a combination of two amazing desserts – cheesecake and chocolate chip cookie dough.  A special thank you to Bake or Break for this over-the-top recipe.  It begins with a graham cracker crust, a layer of cheesecake topped with dollops of chocolate chip cookie dough and completed with drizzles of melted chocolate.  I had an embarassing semi-homemade moment in making these bars and used store-bought refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough.  If you don’t want to dirty another bowl, just buy the log of chocolate chip cookie dough and go for it.  I had enough dough leftover for a dozen big cookies that I dunked in the remaining melted chocolate.

You need to cool these bars completely before digging in.  I made mine the night before having people over and stashed them in the back of the fridge so I couldn’t pull them out as a late night snack.  After cooled for at least an hour in the fridge, I recommend cutting the squares small, these are rich and sweet.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars

from Bake or Break

Crust

  • 1 & 1/2 cups grahamcracker crumbs
  • 5 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2/3 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
 

1.  Preheat oven to 325°. Butter a 9″-square baking pan. Line pan with parchment paper, leaving enough to extend over the sides. Butter the parchment paper.

2.  Combine graham cracker crumbs and butter until crumbs are moistened. Stir in chocolate chips.

3.  Press crust mixture into bottom of pan and 1 inch up sides. Bake for 6 minutes. Set pan on wire rack to cool

Cookie Dough (if you’re not using the store-bought dough)

  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chip
1.  Using an electric mixer , mix butter, brown sugar, sugar, salt, and vanilla extract at medium speed until smooth. Decrease mixer speed to low and add flour. Mix just until incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips. Set aside.
Cheesecake Filling
  • 10 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1.  Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar just until smooth. Add egg and vanilla extract, beating just until blended.

2.  Pour batter into baked crust. Drop cookie dough by teaspoonfuls over the top of the filling.

3.  Bake about 30 minutes, or until set. Transfer to wire rack.

**For chocolate topping, melt 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips in a double boiler or in the microwave. Add about 1/2 tablespoon of butter if necessary to make chocolate smooth. Drizzle over top of bars. Cool bars in pan completely, about an hour.

Using the edges of the parchment paper, remove bars from pan. Cut into bars and serve.

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The Best Blondies Ever


I have a sweet tooth.  Big time.  Some might say it’s a problem or possibly even an addiction.  But I just think that I’m passionate about sweets, especially good sweets (I don’t want to be wasting those calories on just any sugar-filled baked good!)  So when I get a sugar/chocolate craving, I need something that I can make quickly and easily that will be rich, delicious, and full of flavor.  And these blondies do the trick. 

They are really moist (just don’t over-bake them) and you can vary the recipe according to what’s in the pantry or what your mood dictates.  My favorite combination is chock full of milk chocolate chips, dark chocolate chips, toasted pecans, coconut, and toffee chips.  Ridiculous overload? I think not.  But if it is for you, instead try white chocolate and cashews, dried cranberries with dark chocolate, milk chocolate and walnuts or any number of possibilities!  This is a great go-to recipe for satisfying a sweet tooth or as a quick dessert for last minute guests.  Once cooked, cooled, and sliced, they even travel well. I brought a bunch with me last weekend to Richmond to give to a bunch of newly graduated college kids! 

 Blondies (the best ever)

  • ½ cup of butter, melted
  • 1 cup of tightly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon of baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup of flour
  • ½ cup to 1 cup of chocolate chips, butterscotch chips or any other combination

The possibilities are endless…

  • ½ cup to 1 cup of milk chocolate, white chocolate, or dark chocolate chips
  • ½ cup to 1 cup of toasted walnuts, pecans, almonds, or any other nut toasted
  • ½ cup of dried fruit (cranberries, cherries, etc)
  • ½ teaspoon of mint extract or almond extract
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Farenheit.  Butter and flour an  8×8 pan.  Mix the melted butter with the brown sugar – beat until smooth.  Beat in egg and then vanilla.
  2. Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl.  Add the flour mixture into the butter/sugar mixture and mix until all the flour is incorporated.  Mix in any additional ingredients (choco chips, nuts, etc). 
  3. Pour into pan and spread evenly.  Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until set in the middle.  Cool on a rack and then cut into squares and serve.

 

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Matzo Crack

So this stuff is called matzo crack for two reasons: 

1.  You bake it in big sheets and then crack it into small pieces. 

2.  It’s highly addictive.

Number 2 is where the problem comes in.  I love sugar.  It is my crack.  I would consume it all the time if I’m not careful (I’m still not that careful) and consciously force myself to make things that contain protein and nutrients.  This candy is especially good because it’s dark chocolate toffee and you can add whatever toppings you are in the mood for.  I tried a bunch – toasted almonds, coconut, walnuts, pecans, sea salt, and Mexican chocolate.  I wish I had some candied ginger because I bet that would be good too.  I also liked the sea salt more than I thought I would. 

 

This recipe comes right in time for Passover so you should be able to find Matzo at your local grocery store.  If you make it a different time of year, you can use saltines.  But honestly, this recipe might force me to keep a stash of matzo year round because I loved how the dry, plain matzo matched with the sweetness of the caramel and chocolate.

 I made this candy to bring to a friend’s house who was hosting a small cocktail party.  It didn’t take long to make at all but I did shove the baking sheets in the freezer to expedite the cooling process.  Everyone loved it!

 

Chocolate Caramel Matzo Crunch aka Matzo Crack

Adapted from The Kitchn

 

4 to 5 pieces of matzo (or whatever it takes to cover your baking sheet)


1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar


1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter


1 cup chopped bittersweet chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate chips, or dark chocolate chips

Toppings, as desired – nuts of any kind, coconut, candied ginger, sea salt, etc

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and/or parchment paper. Place the matzo in one layer on the baking sheet, breaking it when necessary to fill the pan completely. Set aside.
  2. In a large sauce pan, melt the butter and brown sugar over medium heat, stirring constantly. Once the mixture reaches a boil, continue to cook for an additional three minutes, still stirring, until thickened and just starting to pull away from the sides of the pan. Remove from heat and pour over the matzo, spreading an even layer with a heat-proof spatula. *Be careful not to touch the  caramel, it’s extremely hot and can burn you very easily
  3. Put the pan in the oven, then immediately turn the heat down to 350 degrees. Bake for 15 minutes, watching to make sure it doesn’t burn. If it looks like it is starting to burn, turn heat down to 325.
  4. After 15 minutes, the toffee should have bubbled up and turned a rich golden brown. Remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle the chocolate over the pan. Let sit for five minutes, then spread the now-melted chocolate evenly with a spatula.
  5. You can leave it just as is, enjoying the simplicity. Or add your favorite toppings while the chocolate is still melted.
  6. Let cool completely, then break into smaller pieces and store in an airtight container. Rumor has it that this will last a week stored properly, but well, we’ve never had it last long enough to test out the theory.

 

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