Category: Chocolate

These brownies are for Tom, one of my Cohorts in Chocolate, because neither he nor I care for the fudgy goop “brownies” that are all the rage these days. Craggy-Topped Fudge Brownies

Tom is the artist who drew my “brain” that’s on the “A peek inside…” page of my blog. He and I were talking about food. We talk about food a lot. We both love good quality chocolate, and sometimes share our discoveries. Somehow we got on the subject of brownies, and Tom mentioned he thought the boxed brownie mixes had become “fudgier” than they used to be. I thought so too, and I haven’t made them lately because I’ve been disappointed by them. (Yes, I use boxed brownie mixes. Why reinvent the wheel? I usually add nuts or chips or something to the mix, but lately I don’t think they’re as good as they used to be.)

Tom and I both prefer a more cake-like brownie, something that has more of a “chew” to it that you can sink your teeth into. I like brownies when they get a bit stale, and used to attempt to let some sit in the pan and dry out a bit before I gobbled them up. I say “attempt” because most of the time I wasn’t successful!

Craggy-Topped Fudge BrowniesI’m still on a quest to find a brownie I can portion-control and freeze for craving times, and these came to mind. I liked the Chocolate Quinoa Brownies I made earlier this week, but they don’t have the texture I usually crave. It had been quite awhile since I made this recipe, but I remember them being really good. What I couldn’t remember was how fudgy or cake-like they were. That could easily be solved by whipping up a batch.

These were every bit as good as I remembered! They’ve got the perfect texture to them – a little bit of chew, without being too soft or too dry. They obviously take a little more effort than a boxed mix, but not much – and the result is definitely worth it!

Butter and sugar are melted on the stove, chocolate chips are stirred in, then a few more ingredients are added. Pour them into a pan, sprinkle on some nuts, and bake until a toothpick comes out clean. Craggy-Topped Fudge Brownies

Try these by themselves or topped with praline ice cream, warm caramel sauce and toasted pecans. Doesn’t that sound good? I think you’ll find the extra effort these require produce a much better brownie than a boxed mix, and you won’t mind mixing these up when the brownie craving hits!

Craggy-Topped Fudge Brownies

Craggy-Topped Fudge Brownies

Stuff you need:
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
3 eggs
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup chopped walnuts

Now what?
Heat sugar and butter in medium saucepan over low heat, stirring until butter is melted.
Remove from heat.
Add 1 1/4 cups chocolate chips and stir until melted.
Stir in eggs.
Stir in flour, vanilla and baking soda until combined.
Spread into greased 9×13 inch baking pan.
Sprinkle 1/4 cup chocolate chips and 1/3 cup chopped walnuts on top. Press down lightly.
Bake in preheated 350F oven for 18-22 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out slightly sticky.
Cool and cut into bars.

Chocolate Quinoa Brownies!I have no idea how I came across this recipe, but I guess it doesn’t really matter! I bookmarked this recipe a while ago, and ran across it yesterday when I was looking for something to bake today. Who wouldn’t want to bake on the 4th of July? It’s only 99 degrees here, and cooler than it’s supposed to be the rest of the week. Perfect time to turn on the oven, right? My concession to the heat was to bake this morning, before it was too hot outside.

I cook with quinoa frequently and like its versatility. I can use it for sweet or savory dishes, and it goes with most anything. In this case, quinoa replaces flour to give substance to the brownies. I wasn’t sure how these would turn out, but the reviews were good so I thought they were worth the try. I’m glad I made them – they’re really quite good!! Click for recipe.

These are very moist, more similar to the texture of a flourless chocolate torte than a brownie. The rich, chocolate goodness satisfied my chocolate craving, and so far I’ve managed not to eat the whole pan. (I’m so proud!) With proper blending, the quinoa isn’t noticeable, so if you’re looking for a healthy sneak or need something flourless, this is a good choice. The only change I made to the recipe was to add ¼ cup of walnuts to the top before baking. I think nuts accent the chocolate flavor and I like the crunch factor. If you don’t like nuts, leave them off and sprinkle powdered sugar on top after they cool.Mixing up Chocolate Quinoa Brownies

If these were cut into squares, I think they’d be OK to handle and transport, but they’re very soft and will need some support. For some weird reason I don’t own square pans, so I used a 9” round pan. (My birthday’s coming up, so there’s a gift idea for someone!) Anyway, the wedges would be great for plating up with some fresh whipped cream and berries!

Chocolate Quinoa Brownies are really easy to make – you put everything in a food processor and turn it on until your mixture is smooth, then bake! But I think I burned out the motor in my processor making Nutter Butter Truffles awhile back, and even if I didn’t, it’s boxed up in the garage and I was too lazy to get it out. Instead, I tried to use my stick blender. That didn’t work well; I think the mixture might have been too thick/dry. So it was on to my blender, which is quite sturdy and has a “Puree” function. That worked splendidly, and after a couple of minutes of whirling blades, the brownies were ready to go into the oven.

I wrapped a brownie and threw it into the freezer to see how they hold up. Hopefully, they’ll freeze well and I’ll have a stash ready for one of those times when I “need” a brownie!

 Chocolate Quinoa Brownies - Out of the blender, into the oven!Note: The quinoa used in this recipe is cooked with more water than normal for a smoother texture. If you’re making a larger batch of quinoa and measuring out some to make the brownies, mine measured about 2 1/3 cups of cooked quinoa, but you might want to use a little less. If you’re using quinoa cooked with the normal amount of water, yours may be a bit crunchier. That’s probably OK – just something to be aware of!

Chocolate Madness! That’s the name of the Pinterest board I share with TL. She started it and invited me to participate, and with a name like Chocolate Madness! I had to play along. TL finds most of the desserts on our board and it’s difficult to decide which one to make. I hope to make them all, so let’s get started!

I met TL freshman year at Drake University. We were neighbors on Hooker Heights, one of the women’s floors, and roomies later on. I remember more than once sharing a dessert with the Hooker Heights girls. We’d put the treat in the middle of the group and everyone would dig in with their spoon or fork — no bowls needed, thank you very much! Unfortunately, TL lives in Albuquerque and I live in KC, so it’s tough to share treats these days. Regardless, I’m going to blog my way through our shared board. I’ll take responsibility for tasting the goodies for both of us; she’ll have to enjoy them vicariously, the poor dear!

TL’s twice posted a picture of Knock You Naked Brownies, so I was getting the idea that she thought they sounded good. Knock You REALLY Naked BrowniesThe second time she posted it was the magic time for me. I was looking for a gooey, peanut buttery, chocolate dessert for our Karate Club and this looked a good candidate.

Even though we don’t have any May Banzai Birthdays to celebrate, one of the other students and I decided we needed treats anyway, and we were due for something chocolate! The only thing it was missing was peanut butter. Well, as it turned out, I found a version that used a peanut butter caramel, so I was able to include that yumminess and dubbed them Knock you REALLY Naked Brownies!

Boy, are these good!! They may be one of the most delicious brownies I’ve ever baked!! I don’t know what else you’d need in a gooey, chocolate recipe – chocolate, pecans, chocolate chips, peanut butter and caramel. My, my, MY!! It took all my willpower not to eat the entire pan myself, although I thought about it.

Other than the addition of peanut butter to the caramel, the only other tweak I made to the recipe was to use a 9 x 13″ pan instead of the square used in the recipe. The recipe mentioned it had been cut down from a 9 x 13″, and I needed a full pan of brownies to feed a bunch of hungry karate students. It worked! The brownies baked up perfectly and had enough crust, both bottom and top. Click for recipe.

Don’t be scared off by having to unwrap and melt down the caramels and create layers. It’s easier than it looks, and the reward is definitely worth the effort! If you need some help eating them so you don’t eat the entire pan, give me a call. I’ll make the sacrifice and help you out. That’s what friends are for, right?

I like muffins but I rarely crave them, so I have no idea why I needed to make these.

I’ve made them before and while they were good, I didn’t like them as much as my daughter and the Cutie Patooties did. Must have been my mood, because they’ve stuck in my mind all this time. For whatever reason, I needed to make them again. Click for recipe.

I eagerly mixed them up, baked them, and waited for them to cool. Actually, I only let them cool enough so I wouldn’t burn my mouth. I couldn’t wait to eat them…and they were everything I’d hoped for! They’re moist, dense, and studded with peanut butter chips – just what I like in a muffin. Triple-Chocolate To-Live-For Muffins

The recipe makes 2 dozen regular-sized muffins, which is just a couple more than I need to eat on my own. Luckily, a friend was turning “The Big 40” so I dropped off a birthday tray at his house on my way to work. Just doing my part to make sure his birthday was full of calories! If you don’t want to share, you don’t have to — these freeze well.

This recipe is from Ann Byrn’s Chocolate from the Cake Mix Doctor book, and I think I actually followed the recipe for once! She suggests varying the recipe by combining different types of chocolate chips.

I chose to mix peanut butter chips and semi-sweet chocolate chips. In my mind, it’s hard to go wrong with peanut butter and chocolate! Give these a try, and see if you don’t crave them too!


Triple-Chocolate To-Live-For Muffins

From Ann Byrn’s Chocolate from the Cake Mix Doctor

Stuff you need:

1 package (18.25 ounces) plain devil’s food cake mix [If you can’t find the plain mix, you can use the kind with the pudding in it. Your muffins will be denser and not rise as high, but the taste will still be fab!]
1 package (3.9 ounces) chocolate instant pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil [I use canola oil.]
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips [I used 1 c. peanut butter chips + 1/2 cup semi-sweet. Use any combination of chips you prefer – semisweet, milk chocolate, white, peanut butter, toffee, cherry…]
Confectioner’s sugar for dusting (optional)

Now what?

Place rack in center of oven and preheat to 350F. Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners. Set pans aside.

Place cake mix, pudding mix, sour cream, water, oil, and eggs in large mixing bowl. Blend with electric mixer on low speed for 1 minute. Stop machine and scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat 2 minutes more, scraping sides down again if needed. Batter should look thick and well combined.

Fold in chips, making sure they are well distributed throughout the batter. Spoon batter into muffin cups, filling each liner three quarters of the way full. [I use an ice cream scoop. Each muffin will be 1 scoop + maybe 1-2 teaspoons more.]

Bake until the muffins spring back when lightly pressed with your finger and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 23 – 27 minutes. Remove from oven and place on cooling rack for 5 minutes. Remove muffins from pan and cool 15 minutes before serving. Dust with confectioners’ sugar, if desired.

Note: Store muffins wrapped in foil, plastic wrap or a cake server at room temperature for up to 1 week. Freeze wrapped in foil or sealed in freezer bags for up to 6 months. Thaw muffins overnight on the counter before serving.

Wow – it’s been too long since I posted any recipes! It’s not that I haven’t been baking, because I have. In fact, I’ve got my third cake for the week in the oven as I write this. I’ll get those recipes posted later. Raspberry Magic Bars & Peanut Butter Brownies

For now, since I’ve been such a slacker, here are two recipes I made recently to take to the dojo. I’m always hungry after a workout, especially after those two hour pre-black belt test workouts. And because I think every event needs treats (you know I do!), I made some goodies to help everyone replace the calories we’d just burned off. Both recipes are simple, and both travel well. Click for recipes.

Raspberry Magic BarsThe Raspberry Magic Bars are adapted from the classic Magic Bar recipe. Instead of using chocolate chips, these use jam or preserves for a fruity twist. I chose seedless raspberry preserves with almonds for the filling. The result was a very simple, but delicious treat which truly is magical! They are a very sweet bar, so if you prefer things a little less sweet, you can make some adjustments.

For me, the next time I make them, I’ll use a little less jam, substitute a stronger nut such as pecans or walnuts, and add some dark chocolate chunks or chips. I think the dark chocolate and raspberry will nicely complement each other. Mmmm… I can’t wait to try that combination! If you have a favorite preserve flavor or jam, use that instead of the raspberry.

 Peanut Butter BrowniesThe Peanut Butter Brownies were OK. I can’t say they were my favorite brownie recipe, but I’ll probably give them another try. They start with a brownie mix, so they’re fairly simple. Keep an eye on the baking time so they don’t dry out. While the recipe calls for creamy peanut butter, I think they’d be good with chunky peanut butter or with the addition of chopped peanuts or peanut butter chips.

There you go. Two sweets to help you get your sugar fix! 

Look what I’ve got!!!

Our karate club celebrates birthdays with awful singing and low-calorie (haha!) treats. When it’s my birthday, one of the guys makes my treats, which is fun for me. I’m all about the chocolate, and luckily that’s what they make. One year Will made French Silk pies, and one time Sean made Oreo Truffles for my birthday. I’d seen a post from Sean over the weekend that he and his daughter were making truffles, but had no idea they were for me! When I asked for the recipe, Sean also sent along a recipe for a chocolate mint version and these Nutter Butter Truffles. Click for recipe.

I love these!

I was amazed to find there were so few ingredients in them! How could that be? Surely something that tastes so good must have a long list of ingredients. The secret? Starting with Nutter Butter cookies.

Peterbilt anticipating the singing…

Last week we celebrated Peterbilt’s birthday after our karate workout. Peterbilt’s choice was these peanut butter treats. As much as I hate dipping things in chocolate, these are SO worth it! It’s been awhile since I made them, and  I forgot how much I like them. The creamy peanut butter filling is SO good! Sean said he’s even used the peanut butter mixture as cake filling or topping, which is something I will keep in mind.

I made these in the food processor. Actually, I think I killed my food processor with these, but that was only because it’s time for a new one. I’ve done these a couple of other times in my food processor without trouble, so don’t let that scare you off. In retrospect, I can’t remember when I bought it, so that tells me it was a long time ago. Now I’m in the market for a new one, so any future batches will be on hold until then.

Check out this simple, but delish recipe and see what you think!

The Pretty One wants an ice cream cake for his birthday and I don’t have any room in the freezer. So…it’s time to clean it out. The choice was bananas or blueberries – I have way too much of both in there.

I toss aging bananas in the freezer. I simply can’t throw them away. I have no idea how many are in there; I just know that I must keep them for later use! In fact, right now there’s a banana on my desk that should be perfect for freezing when I get back to the office. I can’t wait.   

Yesterday I ran across a recipe for Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies. Click for recipe. I’ve made banana bars, banana bread, banana muffins and banana cheesecake but I’ve never made or eaten banana cookies, so that swayed my decision to clean some bananas out of the freezer.  

These cookies are addictive! Trust me, I’ve had several – but all in the interests of taste testing, of course.  The banana flavor is present but not overpowering. The cookies are very moist, and the texture is soft, light and pillowy. They’d make as good a breakfast as dessert  — think oatmeal, bananas and nuts, but easier to eat while driving.

I took most of the batch to the dojo this morning because I was afraid I’d eat them all myself! Someone described them as “like little banana muffins” and someone else told me to put them away so he wouldn’t eat any more. All who tasted them had good things to say, so I’m calling them a success!

My freezer is still too full. I’ve got more bananas hiding in there, but maybe tomorrow I’ll clean out some of those blueberries.

Every once in a while I try to be a nice mom and send The Pretty One back to college with food. I’d hate to see the kid starve, ya know? Besides, it gives me a chance to make a batch of something I wouldn’t want to eat all by myself, like chili or pot roast.

When I found this recipe for Oreo-Cocoa Krispies Treats on,  I thought, “Oreos and cocoa krispies stuck together with marshmallowy goodness? Yes please!” (Click for recipe.)

I prefer Golden Original Oreos, but The Pretty One likes the traditional Oreo sandwich cookie, so I set out to buy the original cookies. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find the Double Stuf Heads or Tails cookies — half traditional, half Golden Original — and decided to use those. I thought they might lighten up the chocolate-ness of the recipe, since chocolate flavored crisped rice is used instead of regular crisped cereal. Wow. I can’t believe I thought the chocolate factor needed to be reduced in something. I must have had a fever at the time.

Anyway, other than substituting the Heads or Tails cookies for the traditional cookies, I actually followed the recipe, which is unusual for me. Since it was a new recipe, I had to taste-test them before they left the house. How would I know if they were any good or not if I didn’t? Turns out the hardest part of making this recipe was not eating them all myself. They’re really good! I managed to eat only one strip of the treats before they headed off to college, but I’m looking for an excuse to try them again!