Tag Archives: chocolate

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Brownies

Forbidden Rice Blog | Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Brownies

I am not a huge sucker for sweets. Generally, treats for me center around saltiness, crunchiness, and perhaps bourbon or a good beer. Some days, though, a wild hair tickles my fancy and dark chocolate dessert concoctions say please make me. However, I live with three dudes who are in ever constant request of something sweet. My unstated rule of making desserts no more than once a week sort of got thrown out the window over the last few months. One of my go-to dessert options are homemade brownies. They’re easy, quick to mix up, and especially simple if you have the basic ingredients on hand (butter, sugar, cocoa, eggs).

The last time I decided to make brownies was for a little dinner party we hosted. I decided to do a little hunting for something more elaborate. I vaguely remembered a peanut butter swirled brownie that failed miserably… Then I remembered a peanut butter swirled brownie I’ve been wanted to try for years, one topped with pretzel sticks. Yes. A smash-bang-concoction of chocolate, peanut butter, and pretzels. How can a girl go wrong?

These brownies are delectable! They’re quite a bit more cake-y than fudge-y, but just go with it. The peanut butter swirl is rich and delicious, atop a not-overly-sweet brownie, and the added salty crunch of the pretzels is perfect. You can also half this recipe and make it in an 8″ square pan.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Brownies

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Brownies

Make a large 11 x 17-inch pan of brownies.

adapted from Joy the Baker

Ingerdients:
For the Brownie Batter:
2 sticks unsalted butter
4 ounces extra dark chocolate (75-85% cacao), coarsely chopped
8 ounces dark chocolate (60-70% cacao), coarsely chopped
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
6 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

For the Peanut Butter Filling:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

a large handful of pretzel sticks

Forbidden Rice Blog | Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Brownies

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 11 x 17-inch baking pan. Line with parchment paper so that it overhangs on two sides, then grease the parchment paper.

Boil two inches of water in a medium saucepan. Combine the butter and two types of chocolate in a heat proof bowl. Place over the simmering water, making sure no water gets into the chocolate mixture. Stir until chocolate and butter are melted together. Remove the bowl from the double boiler and let mixture cool slightly. Stir in the vanilla extract.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.

Whisk granulated sugar into the chocolate and butter mixture. Make sure the chocolate mixture isn’t too hot, then whisk the eggs in one at a time.

Fold in the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture and pour into your prepared pan.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Brownies

Make the peanut butter mixture: whisk together peanut butter, melted butter, powdered sugar, salt and vanilla extract until smooth.

Pour the peanut butter mixture on top of the brownie batter and use a butter knife to swirl the two together. Arrange pretzel sticks on top of the brownie batter however you’d like. Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes our mostly clean (a few crumbs are alright).

Let the brownies cool for about 30 minutes before slicing.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Brownies

Forbidden Rice Blog | Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Brownies

Forbidden Rice Blog | Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Brownies

Chocolate Banana Pudding

Forbidden Rice Blog | Chocolate Banana Pudding

I think chocolate pudding was amongst one of the first things I learned how to cook. And by that, I definitely don’t mean the method below. I mean the Jell-O instant pudding stuff… like this. What I didn’t know then was how easy it is to make pudding from scratch. Pudding that is made up of ingredients I recognize, not stuff like tetrasodium pyrophosphate, artificial flavoring, and weird food colorings (who needs to food-color a brown-colored pudding?!). The taste of homemade pudding versus the stuff from a box is reason alone to make this dessert! It’s decadent, rich, not overly sweet but perfectly chocolatey.

The other day I was craving banana pudding (my mother-in-law is the queen of banana pudding making, by the way)… but I was also craving chocolate. So I thought, why not just smash-bang the two into one dessert?

Forbidden Rice Blog | Chocolate Banana Pudding

Chocolate Banana Pudding

Serves roughly 6-8 folks.

Ingredients:

2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
4 teaspoons cornstarch
2 egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
15-18 chocolate wafer cookies *
3 medium sized ripe bananas, peeled, then halved and cut into thin layers
optional sweetened whipped cream

*I used these, but if you want to make homemade wafers, please feel free…

Forbidden Rice Blog | Chocolate Banana Pudding

Forbidden Rice Blog | Chocolate Banana Pudding
Directions:

Prepare the pudding: In a medium sized pot, whisk together the sugar, cocoa powder and cornstarch until well combined. Pour in the milk. Bring to a simmer, whisking over medium heat. Continue cooking over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the pudding thickens, about 5 to 10 minutes.

Add a couple tablespoons of the hot pudding mixture to your egg yolks, stirring constantly so you don’t end up with scrambled eggs… Pour the tempered egg yolks into the pudding. Whisk the pudding over low heat, also adding in the vanilla and salt until completely combined. Remove from the heat.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Chocolate Banana Pudding

Prepare the final dessert by layering five chocolate wafers in a 2-quart glass casserole bowl.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Chocolate Banana Pudding

Next, add 1/3 of the chocolate pudding, smoothing out the top. Add banana slices in a single layer, to cover the pudding, followed by an additional layer of chocolate wafers. Add another 1/3 of the pudding, followed by a layer of bananas, then cookies.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Chocolate Banana Pudding

Finally add the last 1/3 of pudding. Cover the bowl tightly and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (this will soften the cookies between layers). When you’re ready to serve the pudding, you can add a layer of whipped cream and crumbled chocolate wafers. Or you can serve as is, or topped simply with crumbled wafers.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Chocolate Banana Pudding

Forbidden Rice Blog | Chocolate Banana Pudding

Rich Frosted Chocolate Sheet Cake

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Every year as my husband’s birthday approaches, I start to think about what his celebratory dinner and cake will consist of. By “approaches” I mean my crazy-brain begins thinking around early October, for his late November birthday. Usually I wait until the second week of November or so, before the craziness of Thanksgiving begins to creep in (which happens to typically fall within the same weekend of Craig’s birthday), to ask him what he’d like.

Often the request isn’t too crazy. Likely something involving dark chocolate, possibly peanut butter, and most always a “warm chocolatey sauce” to be served with the cake. As someone who isn’t a huge dessert fiend, sometimes the amount of chocolate involved can begin to feel a little overwhelming. But I guess birthday cakes are made to be an overindulgent once-a-year debacle.

This year’s request was the simplest yet. “A plain chocolate cake with hot fudge sauce. Please.” We discussed options — a layer cake? Some other flavored filling in a layered cake? A one-pan sheet cake thing? “Yes! A sheet cake! I don’t like a layered cake anyway because there’s always too much frosting…” This chocolate sheet cake is fluffy, moist, not overwhelmingly sweet (the frosting adds a nice balance of sweetness to the not overly sweet cake). The frosting on the top of the cake slightly hardens as it cools, making this cake a breeze to cut when serving. It isn’t overly thick or overwhelming.

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Rich Frosted Chocolate Sheet Cake

Makes one 9×13-inch cake

Ingredients:
For the cake
1 cup water
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
1/2 cup good quality unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon baking soda

For the frosting
1/4 cup butter
2 tablespoons whole milk
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups powdered (confectioner’s) sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Optional
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

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Directions:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan, then lightly dust with flour, dumping out any excess.

In a large pot, combine the water and butter, cooking over medium-high heat until the butter completely melts. Stir in the half-cup of unsweetened cocoa powder. Continue stirring until completely combined and the cocoa powder has dissolved. Stir in the flour, sugar, and salt into the butter mixture and bring up to boiling for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat.

In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the eggs, sour cream, and baking soda. Stir this mixture into the chocolate/flour mixture until everything is well combined. Pour the batter into your prepared pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, or with just minimal crumbs on it.

In the last 15 minutes while the cake is baking, prepare the frosting. Combine the 1/4-cup of butter, milk, cocoa powder and powdered sugar in a small sauce pan. Bring up to just under boiling. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.

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Once the cake has finished baking, let the whole pan sit on a wire cooling rack for about 5 minutes, then pour the chocolate frosting mixture over the still-warm cake. Let the cake cool for about 20 minutes. If you want to sprinkle the mini chocolate chips on top for added decoration/texture/CHOCOLATE! you can do so. Serve while warm or at room temperature.

Keep the cake covered for up to 3 days, although for best quality eat the day it’s made.

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Chocolate Bark : Two For One

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I have wanted to tell you about this candy for two months now. I made both of these chocolate barks around Christmas to gift to other folks. The friends and family who received the chocolate seemed to enjoy the gifts. The thing about chocolate bark that always kept me from making some was this thought: you’re just melting chocolate, putting stuff in it, then allowing it reshape into chocolate like it started off as… Really?! It felt too simple. Then the holidays rolled around and I thought about the food gifts I’ve made in the past, wanting to do something different. I came back to the idea of chocolate bark. It wouldn’t be overly time consuming and really the result is beautiful, so long as you top it with some color contrast.

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day and if you’re looking for an easy, impressive looking treat, either of these recipes will suffice. For the first version, you can substitute dried cranberries or cherries to offer a little deep red hue (or add them along with the blueberries for a happy berry overload). The limitations depend solely on your imagination.

Another thing though… The second recipe features maple rosemary bourbon pecans and they are DELICIOUS on their own, nevermind any chocolate at all… In fact, after I made these candies, I had to go grocery shopping for more pecans just to make a triple batch of the nuts for us to snack on. Eating just one is not even a possibility. So, prepare yourself…

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White and Dark Chocolate Bark with Pistachios, Dried Blueberries and Toasted Coconut

Ingredients:
1 pound white chocolate
1 pound dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa)
½ cup shelled pistachios, chopped roughly
½ cup dried blueberries
½ cup large coconut flakes

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Directions:

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Spread the coconut flakes on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake the coconut, occasionally stirring until the flakes begin to turn golden brown (typically, this will take somewhere between 5 and 10 minutes). Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set it aside. Fill a medium saucepan with 1 inch of water. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Set a large heatproof bowl over the saucepan, making sure water doesn’t touch bottom of bowl at all. Break the dark chocolate into pieces, into the bowl. Cook, stirring, until smooth. Remove bowl from saucepan. Pour the melted chocolate onto the parchment lined baking sheet, using a spatula to spread it to about 1/4-inch thick. Refrigerate until the chocolate sets (30 minutes or so).

Once the dark chocolate has set, refill the medium saucepan you used with 1 inch of water (if there’s still enough water in the pan from the first melting, it’s okay to use that!). Set a clean, large heatproof bowl over the water, making sure there is zero moisture in it. Break up the white chocolate into the bowl. Stir until the chocolate melts smoothly. Remove from the heat and let the melted chocolate sit for a few minutes to cool slightly, stirring occasionally.

Remove the dark chocolate from your refrigerator. Gently pour the white chocolate over the dark chocolate, using a spatula to spread it over the dark chocolate completely. Working quickly, sprinkle on the pistachios, dried blueberries, and toasted coconut. Gently press down with your hands, to make sure the toppings sit into the chocolate. If you have any melted white chocolate remaining, use a spoon to drizzle it over the toppings. (If you don’t have any leftovers, don’t worry.) Refrigerate for at least 45 minutes, until completely set. Once both layers of chocolate are completely set, use a sharp knife to cut the bark into pieces (as big or little as you’d like!). Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

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Dark Chocolate Bark with Maple-Rosemary-Bourbon Pecans, Dried Cherries and Coconut

Ingredients:
1 cup unsalted, raw pecan halves
1 tablespoon good quality bourbon
2 tablespoon maple syrup
3 ½ tablespoons water
¼ teaspoon sea salt
2 medium rosemary sprigs
1 pound dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa)
½ cup dried tart cherries
2 tablespoons finely shredded coconut

Directions:

Prepare the pecans: Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. In a small saucepan, combine the bourbon, maple syrup, water, salt, and one of the rosemary sprigs in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, until the salt dissolves. Stir in the pecans. Allow them to sit in the mixture for 15 minutes. Spread the pecans in a single layer on your prepared baking sheet. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until dry, fragrant, and toasty smelling. Allow the pecans to cool completely.

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Line another baking sheet with parchment paper and set it aside. Fill a medium saucepan with 1 inch of water. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Set a large heatproof bowl over the saucepan, making sure water doesn’t touch bottom of bowl at all. Break the dark chocolate into pieces, into the bowl. Cook, stirring, until smooth. Remove bowl from saucepan. Pour the melted chocolate onto the parchment lined baking sheet, using a spatula to spread it to about 1/4-inch thick. Working quickly, arrange the pecans across the chocolate. Also evenly distribute the dried cherries. Chop up the remaining rosemary sprig roughly. Sprinkle it over the chocolate, along with the coconut flakes. Refrigerate the chocolate for 40-50 minutes, until completely set.

When the chocolate has completely set, use a sharp knife to cut the bark into pieces (also as big or little as you’d like!). Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

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The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz: Chocolate Ice Cream

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Last week I shared a recipe from David Lebovitz’s book, The Perfect Scoop, for vanilla ice cream. This week, I’m bringing you another recipe from the same book – chocolate ice cream. Since these two recipes were my first attempt at homemade ice cream, I decided to keep things pretty un-fancy as far as elaborate ingredient lists are concerned. I figure if I can get basics like chocolate and vanilla ice cream down, then adding things into them later will be an easy way to dress things up.

Much like the vanilla ice cream, this chocolate ice cream is straightforward. I suggest using high quality chocolate, as the flavor will shine through handsomely. The ice cream itself is decadently rich and a good quality chocolate simply steps up the intensity of the chocolate flavor in the final ice cream. I’ve started joking that my KitchenAid ice cream attachment was a bad decision gift request, because with its ease, throwing together homemade ice cream is simple and not at all time-consuming. I  suppose there are worse things that I could be making – or consuming…

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Chocolate Ice Cream
Recipe from David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop

Yields approximately one quart of ice cream.

Ingredients:
2 cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (this is what I used)
5 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped (I used this dark chocolate)
2/3 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 cup whole milk
5 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:
Warm half of the cream and cocoa powder over medium heat, whisking until the cocoa blends into the cream. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to low, simmering for 30 seconds, constantly whisking. Remove from the heat and add your chopped chocolate, stirring until the mixture is smooth. Stir in the remaining cream, then pour the mixture into a large bowl (I prefer steel), being sure to scrape down the sides. Set a mesh strainer over the top of the bowl.Warm up the whole milk, sugar, and salt in the same pot you just used, over medium heat. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks until creamy. Slowly pour the warmed milk into the egg yolks, stirring constantly. Scrape the egg/milk mixture back into the pot. Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat, scraping the bottom of the pot as you go. Continue cooking the custard until the the mixture has thickened enough to coat the back of your spoon or spatula.Pour the custard through the mesh strainer, into the chocolate cream mixture. Stir in the vanilla extract. Continue stirring the custard over an ice bath, until the custard cools. Place the custard into your refrigerator until it’s thoroughly chilled.When you are ready to churn the ice cream, remove the vanilla bean from the custard. Freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker, according to the manufacturer’s instructions. The ice cream will not freeze hard in the machine, but reach a soft-serve consistency. You can serve it like this if you wish (it’s delicious) or scoop the mixture into a lidded container and allow it to harden in the freeze for 2 to 4 hours, for it to reach a scoop-able consistency.

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