Category: Chocolate


I haven’t posted any sweets recipes lately. What is wrong with me?? Ha! Actually, I’m not baking as much as I used to. Instead, I’m trying new dinner recipes, which has been fun, but I still love my sugar!

Cream Cheese Brownie Cookies

The sugar-free cookie (right) is slightly thicker than the regular version.

I recently made these for a friend’s birthday and they disappeared off the platter in no time. Everyone LOVED them so I have to share!

I made a nearly-sugar-free batch too, and my friend asked if I was sure they were sugar-free. I assured him they were, but don’t mistake them for a “diet” cookie. They are full fat!

The batch I made was “nearly” sugar-free because I used regular peanut butter chips in them. You can make them sugar-free by using nuts instead of chips. It really depends on what you like and how much or little sugar you want.

The original recipe used white chocolate chips in them, but use whichever chips or nuts you prefer. I love nuts in brownies, so I would add walnuts or pecans if I make a batch for me. And peanut butter chips? Always great with chocolate, right?

I noticed the sugar-free batch didn’t spread as much as the regular batch; neither made a flat cookie. Both were chewy fudgy gooey fantastic! How could anything with cream cheese and butter be anything but??

Enough said. Make these and eat the whole batch at once. Why wouldn’t you?  😉

 

Cream Cheese Brownie Cookies

Slightly adapted from Cookies & Cups

 

Stuff you need [Sugar-free option in brackets]:

1 (19.5 ounces) Brownie Mix (for 9×13 pan) [I used a sugar-free mix for an 8×8 pan so I halved the amount of the remaining ingredients.]

4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature [2 ounces cream cheese, room temperature]

1/2 cup butter, room temperature [4 Tablespoons butter, room temperature]

1 egg [1 egg]

2 cups total chocolate, white chocolate or peanut butter chips, chopped walnuts or pecans [1 cup total]

 

Now what?

Preheat oven to 350°

Line baking sheet with parchment paper or baking liner and set aside.

Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add in egg and continue mixing until incorporated.

Turn mixer to low and add in brownie mix until dough comes together. It will be very thick.

Stir in chips and/or nuts.

Using large cookie scoop, scoop dough onto lined pan and bake for 10-12 minutes until edges are set.

Let cool a couple minutes on the pan and then transfer to wire rack to cool.

We have 3 July birthdays in karate, and they’re all within 10 days. That means 3 different birthday treats. Yikes!!Karate Flowers

The middle birthday is mine, and this year I got ice cream treats and flowers. Ice cream after karate? Fantastic!! And I’m still enjoying the flowers!

I made desserts for the other two birthdays: strawberry cheesecake for Alex, and these Oreo Fluff Brownies for John. John loves brownies, and last week he was saying how much he loves Oreos. So after a little poking around on the internet and looking at various ideas, I settled on the idea of Oreo Brownies.

Oreo Fluff BrowniesI found a recipe for Oreo Truffle Brownies, which is the delicious combination of Oreos and cream cheese atop a brownie base, and thought those sounded good. But I was really sugared-out from Birthday Week and all the treats I was given for my birthday, and it just sounded too rich and too chocolatey – if you can believe that!

I was thinking about how to lighten them up a bit and decided to use one of my favorite frosting additions – marshmallow fluff. It’s something I use to “customize” a can of pre-made frosting, or to combine with a block of cream cheese to make a lighter cream cheese frosting. It adds a little “something” that can really make a difference!

I used a boxed brownie mix because I was having a challenging week at work and made the “cake” version. If you want to make brownies from scratch, try the Craggy-Topped Fudge Brownies on the Mix it Up! page. After they cooled, I mixed up the topping, smeared it over the brownies, drizzled on some quick-setting chocolate ice cream topping, and popped them in the frig to set up.Oreo Fluff Brownies

I think the marshmallow addition was just right! It kept the topping from setting too hard, and provided a lightness that was really nice. The birthday boy was happy, too!

Oreo Fluff Brownies

Stuff you need:

1 9×13” pan of brownies, baked according to directions and cooled.

2 8-oz. blocks of cream cheese, softened

1 jar marshmallow fluff (7 oz, I think)

Magic Shell chocolate ice cream topping

1 14-ounce package of Oreos, crushed in a large zip-lock bag with a rolling pin. [I left some chunks of Oreos for a little texture but you can crush yours more finely if that’s your preference. This isn’t an exact science, so if you eat a few, it won’t ruin the brownies. 😉]

Now what?

Beat the softened cream cheese in a mixer until smooth.

Set aside ½ cup crushed Oreos and add the rest to the cream cheese and mix well.

Now stir in marshmallow fluff and mix until there are no streaks.

Spread the Oreo mixture on the brownies.

Drizzle with the Magic Shell chocolate topping and quickly sprinkle the remaining Oreo crumbs on top.

Place in frig to let the topping set up.

Store in frig. The topping will still be somewhat soft, but it will set up some.

Kyoshi's Chocolate Pistachio Cake

Congratulations, Kyoshi Colahan! Banzai!!

A couple of months ago our karate instructor was promoted to 6th Degree Black Belt and awarded the title of Kyoshi.

This is a big deal in our system! It takes 3 1/2 or more years to earn your first degree black belt, and even longer to earn higher ranks. Kyoshi’s been studying karate for over 20 years.

Our club was at the belt test to celebrate with Kyoshi, and when we returned to class the following week decided an additional celebration was in order. Celebrations for us include food, of course! We love our Banzai Treats!

One of Kyoshi’s favorite cakes is a Chocolate Pistachio Cake. This is also a favorite of several friends at work. I’ve made this several times and in many forms – as a bundt cake, layer cake, regular and jumbo muffins, and as a sheet cake. This time, in celebration of Kyoshi’s promotion, I wanted to make a cake that represented his new rank / belt, so I went with a sheet cake.

This is a super moist cake, thanks to the pistachio pudding and it’ll hold for several days, assuming it lasts that long. If you want the cake a little bit greener, add a couple of drops of food coloring. I did to this batch and you can see the color in the picture below, but normally I don’t add any extra green.

Chocolate Pistachio Kyoshi CakeThe cake is just sweet enough that it doesn’t need a rich frosting. I frosted this with the butter cream frosting typically used to decorate cakes. If I wasn’t decorating it, I probably would have either dusted it with powdered sugar or just used a light chocolate glaze.

The Kyoshi belt in our system is red and white, so I used fondant to create the belt for the cake. I haven’t used fondant much, and could probably have done a better job, but it turned out OK. The more I use it, the more skilled I’ll become. At least that’s the hope!

Don’t wait for a big karate promotion to try this cake. 😉 It’ll quickly become one of your favorites!

Chocolate Pistachio Cake

Adapted from Ann Byrn’s The Cake Doctor

Stuff you need:

1 (18.25 ounce) package white or yellow cake mix
1 (3.4 ounce) package INSTANT pistachio pudding mix
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup water
1/2 cup canola oil
4 eggs
1/3 cup chocolate syrup* [I reduced this from 1/2 c. It was sticky with too much syrup.]
A few drops of green food coloring (optional)
Powdered sugar or light chocolate glaze, if desired

Now what?

Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
Grease and flour a 10 inch Bundt pan.
In a large bowl, mix together the cake mix, pudding mix and sugar.
Add water, oil and eggs and mix well.
Reserve 1 cup batter and pour the rest of it into the prepared pan.
Stir the chocolate syrup into the 1 cup reserved batter.
Pour the chocolate batter over the pistachio batter and use a butter knife to swirl them. Don’t overmix or you will lose the swirly effect.
Bake in the preheated oven for 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool.

NOTE: If you choose a different pan size / shape, follow the baking directions on the cake mix box. This will make a 9 X 13″, about 2 dozen normal sized muffins, 2 9″ cake layers…basically, whatever the cake mix would make.

I love cream cheese brownies! That’s because I love cream cheese and I love chocolate. Mix them together, and the taste is divine!Blackberry Cream Cheese Brownies

I honestly didn’t think that combination could get any better…until I tried these Blackberry Cream Cheese Brownies TL posted on our Chocolate Madness! board.

Oh my. Oh my, my, my!!!

I’ve never put berries in my brownies, but these I had to try. I love blackberries, and almost always have some in the house.

I was poking around in my frig and realized I had 4 packages of cream cheese, a full container of blackberries, and some stir fry veggie mix. Passing over the veggies, I was wondering what to bake this weekend, and was browsing our board. These jumped out at me – they looked like something I might like, and I had the time to make the multiple steps.

Blackberry Cream Cheese BrowniesTurns out they weren’t as difficult as I thought they might be! There are only 2 steps, not the 3+ I expected. The hardest part about these is stirring in the blackberries – and not eating them all. 🙂

They can be made with a boxed brownie mix (follow the cake-style notes on the package) and can be made gluten-free if needed. I made them with my Craggy Topped Fudge Brownies. The recipe calls for frozen blackberries. I had fresh, so I popped them in the freezer (in a single layer) for about an hour. Poof – perfectly frozen and ready to stir in!

These were delish just a few minutes out of the oven – with the berries still warm. Mmmm!! I keep trying them as they cool, just to make sure they still taste OK, and they do. But I’ll try them again in the morning just to make sure. Quality control, you know??

If you’re looking for an interesting brownie give these a try. They’re fantastic, I promise!

Blackberry Cream Cheese Brownies

Adapted from Bless Her Heart
350F, 9×13″ greased pan

Stuff you need:

For brownie layer:
1 brownie mix for a 9×13″ pan plus ingredients for the cake-style method or your favorite brownie recipe that makes a 9×13″ pan
[I used my Craggy Topped Fudge Brownies:  https://munchiesmind.com/2012/07/11/chocolate-madness-craggy-topped-fudge-brownies/  Check the Mix It Up! page for the recipe.]
1 1/4 cups frozen blackberries
1/3 cup chocolate chips

For cream cheese swirl:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 egg
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Now what?
Beat all cream cheese swirl ingredients and set aside while you mix up the brownie batter.

Make the brownies according to the cake-style method on the package directions or make your preferred recipe.
Gently fold in 1/3 cup of chocolate chips and 1 1/4 cups of frozen blackberries.

Pour the brownie batter into the pre-greased baking dish.

Using a large spoon, drop the cream cheese mixture into the brownie batter. Drag a butter knife through the cream cheese and brownie mix to create the cream cheese swirls.

Bake at 350F until a toothpick poked into the center of the brownie pan comes out clean, 25-35 minutes. This is kind of hard to tell, since you might be poking a juicy blackberry! [Mine took about 35 minutes.] 

Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms out there!Hot Chocolate Krispie Treats

After making steak and a healthy vegetable slaw for dinner, I told The Pretty One I was going to make an unhealthy dessert. But these really aren’t all that bad, I don’t think. At least they’re not as bad as what I would have made if I had a ton of time and energy this weekend!

They sound like something you should eat in the winter (who wants hot chocolate when it’s 70 degrees outside?) but trust me – they make a great treat for spring days too!

These mix up in just a few minutes, and if you’re in a hurry to eat them (like me, believe it or not!) you can put them in the frig and they’ll set up even faster.

The chocolate flavor is “there” but not overwhelming. The mini chocolate chips on top add a little more chocolate goodness. The Pretty One declared these “delicious” and I have to agree. I’m having a hard time not eating the whole pan!

Quick, easy, and addicting. What more could you want??

Hot Chocolate Krispie Treats

from Crazy for Crust

Stuff you need:

3 Tablespoons butter
10 ounces marshmallows
2 packets powdered hot chocolate mix
6 cups Rice Krispie cereal
1/2 cup Mallow Bits (optional)
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Now what?

Spray a 9×13” pan with cooking spray. Keep the cooking spray close by. Measure out cereal into a large bowl and set aside.
Place butter and marshmallows in a large, microwave safe bowl. Melt for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes on HIGH power, stirring every 30 seconds until they are melted.
Stir in the hot chocolate packets, then immediately stir in the cereal and pour into prepared pan.
Working quickly, spray your hands with cooking spray so they won’t stick to the mixture, and carefully press the treats into the pan. (Be careful – the mixture will be hot.) Sprinkle immediately with Mallow Bits and mini chocolate chips and press lightly to secure them to the top of the krispie treats.
Let cool completely before cutting into squares. If you are impatient and want to speed cooking so you can eat them sooner, put pan in frig for a few minutes.  🙂

We were getting ready for another big storm to hit KC. Like most people, I’m sick of the snow but what are you gonna do, right?

Well, with nasty weather coming in, I did what most normal women would do to get ready. First, I got a pedi. Everything’s better with fresh nails, right? And then, I baked cookies!Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

With fresh nails, warm cookies, books on my Kindle and plenty of movies, I don’t mind being snowed in!

We “lucked out” and this last round wasn’t as bad as it might have been. Still, I’m home waiting for the snowplow. We live on a cul-de-sac and are the last ones to be plowed out. It’s usually a combination of a bobcat and a snowplow. So far I haven’t seen either, but that’s OK with me. I’ve got cookies!

This recipe is simple and tasty. It doesn’t use any weird ingredients, so if you’re snowed in you might have everything in your pantry to make these now. I used peanut butter chips and no nuts, but you could use any combo of chips and nuts you like.

Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

Slightly adapted from She Makes and Bakes

Stuff you need:

1 cup butter, softened

1 cup brown sugar, packed

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

3 cups oats (quick or regular – both work)

1/2 cup chopped walnuts [use any combination of chips and nuts that equals 1 cup]

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips [use any combination of chips and nuts that equals 1 cup]

Now what?

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or using a hand mixer), cream together the butter and sugars until soft and mixed.

Add in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Add in the vanilla, baking soda, and salt, and mix on low until combined.

Mix the cocoa powder and flour together and add gradually with mixer at low speed.

Once combined, add in the oats and mix.

Stir in the nuts and chips and mix until just incorporated.

Form the dough into one-inch balls or use a cookie scoop and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet about 1-2 inches apart. Bake for 11-12 minutes until set, but don’t overbake.

Let them cool for one minute on the sheet and then remove to a cooling rack.

Store in an airtight container or bag.

Fridays at the office start with bagels and donuts, provided by the company. Next, we had a team lunch at a local Chinese restaurant to enjoy the company of a writer in town from Cebu for training. And then, not even two hours after we finished lunch, it was time for Treats-A-Palooza!

Chocolate Mint Brownies

The Birthday Twins!

Treats-A-Palooza is our team’s monthly birthday celebration, and our celebrations include – you guessed it – FOOD! Annie and I were in charge of bringing treats for the two birthday girls. One likes rich, sweet desserts with combinations of flavors; the other prefers salty goodness. With a little investigation and planning, Annie and I decided on a “tacky tray of chips” for Christy that included vinegar and salt Pringles, chips and salsa, and jalapeno cheddar Cheetos, and a plate of Chocolate Mint Brownies for Stacy. Click for recipe.

Now I know it sounds like a weird combination, and it tasted much better than it sounds. Salty chips and sweet brownies; spicy snacks and cool mint. Somehow it worked!

I wasn’t so sure about the idea of mint brownies, but one taste convinced me they were a great idea! The layers complement each other nicely – chewy brownie, fluffy mint cream, and a smooth, buttery ganache topping that I could have eaten all by itself.

Chocolate Mint BrowniesI made tweaks to the original recipe based on pan size used. The original recipe called for a 9” square pan but used a brownie mix for a 9 x 13” pan. I used the same size brownie mix but baked them in the 9 x 13” pan. But in doing so, I had to double the filling and topping to make sure there was adequate coverage. You can use the 9” square pan if you want a smaller batch, and if you do so, make sure to use the smaller brownie mix and halve the filling and topping ingredients.

People have mixed reactions about the combination of mint and chocolate, so my advice is to not overdo the mint! It’s such a strong flavor that if you add too much extract, the mint will overpower the flavor of the dessert. Start with the smaller amount of extract and taste the filling. If it’s not strong enough, add more in 1/8 teaspoon increments. I think I used about 1/2 teaspoon extract for the 9 x 13″ pan, and I think it was just right.

Make sure to plan ahead and leave yourself enough time to make these – each layer needs to cool before the next is added. I made the brownies a day ahead, then added the filling and topping the next evening. If you’re not serving them immediately, store them in the frig. Take them out about an hour before you want to serve them, and cut them while they’re really cold for straight lines.

Chocolate Mint Brownies - RFP Team

It takes lots of food to keep an RFP Team going!

Here’s a picture of my team enjoying our treats at the end of another crazy week. Finding time for so many of us to sit and chat at the same time is rare – even in this picture we’re missing 5 people for various reasons. Team lunches and treats afternoons are fun for the food, but even more fun because of the conversations! I’ve learned over the years that having great co-workers is one of the best parts of a job, and this group is no exception. Who wouldn’t want to work with smart, funny, hard-working people?!

Serve these delish brownies to your co-workers at your next Treats-A-Palooza or take them to a holiday party. Once you taste them you’ll want more. In fact, I might have one for breakfast tomorrow – if the rest of my group doesn’t get to them first!

Oatmeal Whole Wheat CookiesHere’s a quickie cookie recipe for you to try. I adapted them from a healthy blogger and added chocolate chips so they wouldn’t be so shocking to my system!  🙂

As far as chocolate chip cookies go, there aren’t too many ingredients. They mix up quickly and make a somewhat small batch. I used a regular sized ice cream scoop to portion the cookies and got 11 big, soft cookies. You’ll get about that many — more or less — depending on how much fun stuff you add to the batter, such as chocolate chips, nuts, craisins, etc.

Like most oatmeal cookies, you can choose whichever add-ins and spices you enjoy to customize the flavor of the cookie. Oatmeal, raisins and cinnamon are a natural combination. Craisins, orange zest and extract plus dark or white chocolate chips is another good combination. Use what you like and try different combinations for variety. Click for recipe.

For this batch, I used craisins, orange zest, a splash of orange extract and another of vanilla extract, and semi-sweet chocolate chips. Orange and cranberry are a great combo, and the chips add an extra flavor layer. I think dark chocolate chunks would be great in these. White chocolate would be tasty too, if you like white chocolate (it’s not my favorite, but I’d eat it in this combo).

And if you’re reading all the whole wheat recipes on my blog and worrying that my sugar addiction is waning and I’m eating too many healthy things, don’t worry. I’m still here and planning more indulgent desserts.  I have to admit, though, that I’m enjoying finding recipes that are a bit healthier but in a stealthy way. I feel just a pinch less guilty eating them. And if you don’t tell there is whole wheat flour in these, nobody will ever guess!

Renshi’s birthday was coming up and I was trying to get him to say what he wanted for his treats. He didn’t like any of my suggestions (chocolate cake roll with fruit and fresh cream, fruit trifle, cheesecake) and asked, “Why do you keep trying to put fruit in my dessert?”  Banzai Birthday Treats: Twix Brownies

I know he’s normally a chocolate guy, but hey- I was just trying to be supportive of his healthy eating of late. Obviously that wasn’t appreciated, and to be honest, I’d forgotten the rule that desserts on one’s birthday contain no calories.

Since Renshi couldn’t think of what he wanted, he spent some time on Pinterest (not kidding here) and sent me a couple of links. One was for these Twix Brownies from Jasey’s Crazy Daisy, which had been on my radar for a few weeks, and I was happy to have an excuse to make them. (Like I need an excuse to make something with chocolate and caramel in it, right? ) Click for recipe.

Banzai Birthday Treats: Renshi's Twix Brownies

Karate Chips guards Renshi’s Twix Brownies from all the hungry ninjas!

Anyhoo — these brownies are a 4-layer delight! Crunchy shortbread crust, fudgy brownie, sweet caramel, and a final layer of chocolate ganache sweetness. Oh yummy!

Easy to make? Well, yeah…sorta. There is nothing complicated about any of the layers, but there are four of them. Fast to make? No. You have to plan ahead with these because of the cooling time between a couple of the layers. Just something to keep in mind. But worth the time these take? Absolutely!

They’re delicious just the way they are (I actually followed the recipe – no tweaks!), but can’t help wondering what they’d be like with the addition of nuts. But then they wouldn’t be a Twix Brownie anymore because the nuts would turn them into Turtle Brownies. Not that I have a problem with that, because I think that’s one of the best flavor combos around. Hmm…I might give that a try next time.

If you like your desserts rich, rich, rich — this might become one of your favorite recipes! It’s one of the few times I don’t remember anyone going back for seconds. Which is good (or bad) for Renshi and his family, because our rule is the birthday ninja is responsible for consuming the leftovers – either by sharing with family or co-workers. I don’t care who eats them, as long as they don’t go home with me, the baker who has no willpower. OK, truth be told, I did take one home to eat later, for “testing” purposes of course, and it was still good 2 days later. And now it’s gone and I wish I had a couple more…

Happy Birthday to us!

Chocolate Banana Cupcake with PB Chocolate Cream FrostingYesterday at Colahan’s Martial Arts we celebrated two birthdays – John’s and mine. It was an extra-special celebration because Susana brought her ukulele and accompanied the infamous Colahan’s Martial Arts Choir for the birthday song. I loved it!!

I baked for John and Susana baked for me, and without coordinating desserts, we both made a variation of chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting. As the saying goes, Great minds think alike! We had Chocolate Banana Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Cream Frosting for John, and Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes with peanut butter cups and Peanut Butter Frosting for me!!

We had lots and lots of cupcakes – and they were DELISH! Even with one of the guys eating FIVE cupcakes (an impressive feat!) and most everyone else eating two, we still had plenty of leftovers. So many, in fact, that the birthday boy was sent home with quite a few, and the rest were left on my desk for my co-workers. Neither Susana nor I trusted ourselves with a tray of cupcakes within easy reach; we know better…

Chocolate Banana Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Chocolate Banana Cupcakes (front) and Chocolate PB Cupcakes!

I don’t know exactly how Susana made hers, but I can give you the idea. Chocolate cupcakes had a small peanut butter cup dropped into the batter before baking. Then they were topped with peanut butter frosting and chopped peanut butter cups. Yum!!

I made Chocolate Banana Cupcakes from Chocolate from The Cake Mix Doctor… I’d never made cupcakes with chocolate and banana in them, and was curious to find out how strong the banana presence would be. I used very dark bananas that I had tossed in the freezer – those that had hit the point of bad for eating but good for baking. I was pleased with the texture and the subtle banana flavor of the cupcake, and waited to choose a frosting flavor after I tasted them. Click for recipe.

I considered making a marshmallow-based frosting, but opted for the lazy way because it was getting late. I wish I could tell you what I put in the frosting, but I really don’t know! I had a container of chocolate cream cheese frosting in the freezer from a recent cake, so I whipped it up with a can of cream cheese frosting and some peanut butter. The result was a creamy chocolate peanut butter frosting that worked nicely with the cupcakes! Banzai Birthday Treats!

Today, I wish I had a couple of those cupcakes. But then again, I’m really glad I worked at home today so I couldn’t get to them. The temptation would just be too much!