29 October 2007

better late than never -- especially when chocolate is involved

Somehow, I missed out on National Chocolate Day yesterday. But let's not let love of chocolate be limited by the calendar. If you know me at all you know I'm a total chocoholic (I've written a little about it before) so I don't really need much of an excuse to talk about chocolate. Slashfood had a few more articles on chocolate yesterday in honor of the occasion (including a recipe for these brownies that I'm dying to try -- maybe I'll make these for myself instead of a birthday cake this year), and I thought I'd post a few of my own favorite chocolate recipes as well.

Because I am so savvy, I learned how to make expandable posts, courtesy of Hackosphere. So you'll find some recipes after the jump -- just click on Read More.

Disclaimer: None of my recipes are my own. I steal them from all kinds of places and rarely write down where I got them, so please don't think I'm inventive enough to have created these. I just can't remember who to credit.

Swirled Peanut Butter Brownies

(One of my all-time favorites.)

Peanut Butter Layer:
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
2 Tablespoons milk
1 cup melted butter
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 eggs
3/4 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup chocolate chips

1. Combine all ingredients for the peanut butter layer; beat until smooth. Set aside.
2. Combine butter, sugar and eggs; mix well.
3. In a separate bowl combine cocoa, flour, baking powder and salt.
4. Combine mixtures from steps 2 and 3. Stir in chocolate chips. Scoop out 1 cup of batter and set aside.
5. Spread remaining batter into a greased 9x13" baking pan.
6. Spread peanut butter batter over brownie batter.
7. Drop spoonfuls of reserved brownie batter from step 4 over the peanut butter layer. Use a knife to swirl through the layers for a marbled effect.
8. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 35-40 minutes.

Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes

(You can pretend this one's healthy because it has a vegetable in it. You can't really taste the zucchini -- you might notice it texturally, but it also keeps the cupcakes nice and moist.)

2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted
3 eggs
1 3/4 cups brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups flour
2 cups grated zucchini
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Beat eggs and brown sugar together with a mixer for 10 minutes or until thick and pale. (Note: I almost never beat them this long -- in fact, I've been known to casually mix them with a wooden spoon instead -- and the cupcakes still turn out fine.)
2. Add oil and melted chocolate; stir well.
3. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
4. Combine flour mixture and chocolate mixture; stir. Stir in zucchini.
5. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tins, filling each cup 2/3 full.
6. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 20 minutes. Cool 10 minutes before removing from pan.

The original recipe suggests frosting these with chocolate frosting, but I've never bothered. They're good as is.

Mexican Chocolate Crinkles

(I hesitate to post a recipe using corn syrup -- I'm really anti-corn syrup -- but these cookies are so good. SO good. I guess that makes me a hypocrite.)

3/4 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, melted
1 3/4 cups flour
2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
additional sugar

1. Cream shortening, sugar and egg. Add corn syrup and melted chocolate; mix well.
2. In a separate bowl combine flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon; add to chocolate mixture and combine.
3. Roll dough into walnut-sized balls and roll in the additional sugar.
4. Place cookies 3 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets (they will spread).
5. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 10-12 minutes. Cookies will be soft when done. Cool 2-3 minutes before removing from pan.

I've also added a bit of cayenne pepper to these cookies -- a nice addition, but be conservative. Unless you really like spice; then knock yourself out.

Creamy Hot Cocoa

(Okay, this one I can credit -- I found it at AllRecipes. I made this over the weekend and it knocked my socks off -- homemade hot cocoa is immeasurably superior to the packaged store-bought stuff. It's amazing.)

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup white sugar
1 pinch salt
1/3 cup boiling water
3 1/2 cups milk
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup half-and-half cream

1. Combine the cocoa, sugar and pinch of salt in a saucepan.
2. Blend in the boiling water.
3. Bring this mixture to an easy boil while you stir. Simmer and stir for about 2 minutes. Watch that it doesn't scorch.
4. Stir in 3 1/2 cups of milk and heat until very hot, but do not boil!
5. Remove from heat and add vanilla.
6. Divide between 4 mugs. Add the cream to the mugs of cocoa to cool it to drinking temperature.

I made this with less sugar (about 1/2 cup -- based on reviews at AllRecipes) and replaced some of the milk with more half-and-half and it was delicious.

Okay, I could go on and on about chocolate, but I'll stop at 4 recipes. Got any favorite chocolate recipes you'd like to share?


karen said...

Mmmmm - chocolate. I cannot believe I have been in the dark about National Chocolate Day! I am so glad I have you to enlighten me, Heidi! =0)

Hm. My best chocolate recipe is for my dark chocolate cake and chocolate fudge icing...but I don't really have a recipe - I just mix things together. But I'll see if I can't come up with a close approximation to share, cause it is SO rich 'n tasty.

As far as corn syrup goes, have you tried using a corn-syrup substitute in the cookie recipe?

Miss you guys - talk to you later!

Julie said...

HA! loved the recipes!

s.j.simon said...

lol. did you know that chocolate was banned in switzerland for many years. read this