Tag Archives: white chocolate

Day 6 of Baker’s Dozen: Candy Cane Bark.

Candy cane bark is everywhere these days, but, amazingly, I just had it for the first time last year. And of course, I love it. I love chocolate and I love candy canes. And this treat just screams “Happy Holidays!” don’t you think?

I know I’ve posted a lot of stuff that I’ve said is easy, and I promise all are, but this is one of the easier ones amongst the easy treats. You don’t even really need a recipe. Just melt some chocolate, add peppermint, add crushed candy canes and you are done! See, easy!

I accidentally made mine thinner than I had planned. Got a little carried away spreading out the chocolate. But, turns out, I like it better that way! It’s more delicate and more pleasant to eat than a thick chunk. I planned it that way…right…

This makes a pretty small amount, but is easy to double. Adjust the candy cane and peppermint extract to your liking.

 

Candy Cane Bark

Adapted loosely from King Arthur Flour

Yield: A couple of cups, depending on how thin your chocolate is

Difficulty: Easy!

Ingredients

  • 6 ounces chocolate, semi-sweet or dark (not chips)
  • 4 ounces white chocolate (not chips, preferably)
  • 2 to 3 candy canes, broken into pieces
  • 1/2 tsp peppermint extract

1. Chop both chocolates separately. Bring a pan of water to a simmer. Set up a double boiler: set a heat proof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Make sure the bowl does not touch the water. Line a half sheet pan with parchment or silpat and set aside.

2. Melt the semi-sweet or dark chocolate first. Spread onto sheet pan making chocolate as thin or thick as you desire. Set into refrigerator for about 5 minutes to help set. Don’t leave the chocolate in the refrigerator or it will make your chocolate spotty.

3. Meanwhile, melt your white chocolate. Add peppermint extract to white chocolate. Once chocolate is mostly set, spread white chocolate over the chocolate. If it isn’t set yet, you may have swirls, but it looks pretty, I think.

4. Spread candy cane over white chocolate before it sets and gently press candy into chocolate.

5. Let set at room temperature until firm. It was rainy when I made this, so it took awhile to set up. Don’t be surprised if it has to sit overnight. Once set, break into pieces and enjoy!

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Cinnamon Hazelnut Biscotti

Biscotti is one of those words you just love to say…and it is one of those treats you love to eat! What could be better than a crunchy cookie dipped in coffee for an afternoon pick-me-up? Yum. I’ll take two, please.

Making biscotti is pretty basic. You make dough, shape the dough into logs, bake the logs, cut the logs, bake again. Easy! This is by far my favorite biscotti. I’ve made and had others, but I just keep coming back to this. Something about cinnamon and hazelnuts that seem to go well together.  And when the weather is cooperating (i.e. not so freakin’ humid) I also like to dip and/or drizzle with white chocolate. You know I have to throw chocolate in there somehow!

But today I just did biscotti without chocolate. I tried, but the chocolate just wasn’t cooperating. And the chocolate always wins. Temperamental stuff! I originally got this recipe from a friend (who originally suggested adding the white chocolate, which obviously makes her a genius!) and I lost that recipe. Thankfully, Bon Appetit saves the day again (going to have to change the name of the blog to Bon Appetit & Chocolate considering how many posts revolve around the two!) and had a “Hazelnut Cinnamon” biscotti recipe in their Desserts book, which is pretty darned close to the one I had before.

I adjusted the method and added more cinnamon. Their recipe only calls for 1/4 tsp, in which case it should just be called Hazelnut Biscotti. I love cinnamon and I want to taste it, so I added 2 tsp. Adjust according to your taste.

Cinnamon Hazelnut Biscotti

adapted from Bon Appetit Desserts

  • 3 cups unbleached AP Flour
  • 1 TB baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt (I prefer sea salt)
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup hazelnuts, toasted and husked*
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, somewhere in between room temperature and cold.
  • 1 TB orange zest
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs, room temp

*To husk the hazelnuts: spread in a single layer on a sheet pan and bake in oven at 350F for about 10 minutes. Let cool slightly, then take a tea towel and rub.  The skins will come off fairly easily. If not, bake a few minutes longer. Don’t fret if you don’t get all the skins. A little won’t hurt.

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare two baking sheets with either silpat or parchment. Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.

2. Chop hazelnuts in food processor until slightly chunky. How chunky depends on your preference.

3. Place butter, sugar, vanilla, and zest in stand mixer and mix until light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time and mix until combined. Scrape the bowl after each addition. Add flour mixture. When flour is almost completely mixed, add the chopped hazelnuts. Mix just until combined.

4. Divide the dough in half and place on prepared sheet pans. Flatten dough into an even rectangle. If you want to cut them diagnol, keep it narrow and long. If you want to cut just straight, make it wider. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden on the edges. Remove from oven,  let cool slightly and move to a cutting board (very carefully!). Slice into biscotti shapes. Place on sheet pan. Bake 10 minutes. Flip pieces, bake 10 minutes more, or until desired crispiness. Careful that they don’t burn. Make coffee, and enjoy!

5. If you are dipping in chocolate, melt about 8 oz chocolate, dip biscotti, let set, and then make coffee.  Sharing is optional.

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Homemade Oreos. Yep, just like the real thing. Only better.

My dear friend challenged us to make homemade oreos. I was worried it couldn’t be done. It couldn’t just taste like an oreo, it had to have the same texture as well. Crunchy cookie, sweet center.

So I set about searching that big internet for oreo recipes.  I found there are two that are most common. This one from Smitten Kitchen and one that is apparently from Thomas Keller. I knew the one from Smitten would be delish, her blog never fails me, but the cookie was chewy. That wasn’t what I was looking for. And the filling had shortening. I despise shortening! So, I went with the Thomas Keller recipe. I was a bit unsure of the filling, since it was basically a white chocolate ganache. That didn’t sound too oreo-y to me, but hey, it might be good, right?

It was good, but it was no oreo. This is the recipe that you will find all over right now claiming to be just like the real thing. It sort of is, but the filling is very obviously not an oreo.  If you don’t like white chocolate, you won’t like this.

The reject cookie. Notice the off-white center? But, we couldn’t let them go to waste and had to eat them.

The cookie part is dead on. If you have the secret ingredient that is: Black Cocoa. That wasn’t in the original recipe but I happened to have some since I like to try new ingredients from KAF.  If you are curious about the differences in all these cocoas, check out this link from David Lebovitz. If you can’t get KAF’s Black Cocoa, try Hershey’s Special Dark.

Back to the cookies. The cookie part is perfect. The filing was not. So I ventured back to Smitten’s filling, still cringing at the thought of using shortening, but at the same time realizing butter would leave me with melting cookies (insert very large sigh here). I headed to Earth Fare and saw they sold Organic Shortening, with just one ingredient, Palm Oil. Ok, still not the greatest ingredient, but in the name of Oreos, sacrifices must be made! And it worked. The filling tasted just like an Oreo.

The “sort of” healthier shortening. 

Now for the semi-bad news: the cookies aren’t exactly quick and easy to make. Ok, the dough is easy, but you will work up a bit of a sweat rolling these thin. But again, in the name of Oreos, sacrifices. Enjoy making this special treat, and don’t forget the milk.

Chocolate Wafer Cookie (Adapted from here)

  • 1 1/2 cups + 3 TB AP Flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar + 1 TB
  • 1/2 cup Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup + 1 TB Black cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 15 TB unsalted butter, cubed, and chilled

Preheat oven to 350F.

Combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powders, baking soda, and salt in a mixer. On low, add the butter a few pieces at a time. Mix until dough comes together. This will take a long time, around 10 minutes. You will think you did something wrong, but just wait, it will happen!

Form dough into a ball and divide in half. Chill. Once chilled, take half out at a time and roll to 1/8″ if you can, I had trouble with that thin and did 1/4″. It made my life easier and the cookie still turned out great.

Using a cookie cutter that is under 2″ (or bigger, it’s up to you), cut out cookies and place on baking sheet. Bake until done, about 8 to 10 minutes depending on your oven and the size of your cookie.

Let cool completely before filling.

Filling from Smitten

  • 1/2 stick room temp butter
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 2 cups sifted confectioners sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla

Beat until light and fluffy, which will take some effort. It will be very dry and you will again think you’ve done something wrong. Fear not, it will happen and you will soon be eating cookies that taste like oreos, but are so much better.

Take the filling and put into a piping bag (or a plastic baggie) and pipe a small amount of filling onto half the cookies. The filling is stiff, so prepare to use those muscles again. The press another cookie on top and there you have it. Oreos.


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Granola Bars

I’ve been making granola for a couple of years now. It’s great to sprinkle on yogurt or just have as a snack. However, this was my first time making granola bars. I was browsing through an old Food & Wine Magazine and found a delicious  recipe for granola bars. However, I didn’t have everything in the ingredient list, nor did I want everything in the ingredient list. So I modified it and came out with a very addicting granola bar. It’s not perfect, in fact, they are a bit gooey, but for a first time making these, I’m in love!

Here’s a link to the original recipe, Sticky Oat and Pine Nut Bars

I like pine nuts, but they aren’t my favorite. And I love pepper, but just not in my sweets. I can’t seem to get into the pepper and sweet thing (though I love chocolate and chilis…). So I took both of those out and substituted almonds and cinnamon. Ah, that’s more like it! Oh, and instead of dipping the bars in white chocolate, I put the chocolate in the batter.

These are super easy to make, the hardest part is waiting for them to cool!

Almond & Cinnamon Granola bars

Modified slightly from Food & Wine Sticky Oat and Pine Nut Bars

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, plus more for greasing pan
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped almonds
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 oz white chocolate

1. Preheat the oven to 325F. Butter an 8 inch square baking pan. Line the bottom and sides with parchment paper.

2. In a large saucepan, melt the butter with the honey and sugar and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly until an amber caramel forms, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the oats, almonds, cinnamon, and salt and cook, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the white chocolate. It will melt. Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the surface.

Bake for about 20 minutes, or until bubbling and brown on the edges.

It will smell absolutely intoxicating at this point, but you must resist the urge to remove the bars from the pan! They need to cool completely in order to have any hope of staying together. Mine were gooey, so I probably should have let them cool longer, but it was just about impossible! They smelled  so yummy! After they are cooled, lift parchment from pan and move bars to cutting board. Cut into whatever size you desire. I did pretty small squares since they are sweet.

I found these to be a great pre-running snack, but I think they’d be great just about anywhere. Just wrap a bar in parchment and away you go!

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Triple Chocolate Brownies

The other day I was browsing a magazine and came across a recipe for Chocolate tart. It looked amazing and immediately had me craving chocolate (big surprise, I know!). But I honestly was in no mood for the work a tart would require. However, I still needed to satisfy my chocolate craving. So I turned to my favorite brownie recipe, Martha Stewarts Double Chocolate Brownies. Yes, my title says Triple Chocolate. Well, I’ve made a few changes in the several times I’ve made these brownies. But the base is solid – always delicious and easy. So feel free to make your own changes as they suit you. After all, brownies can be a very personal thing!

Now what makes these triple chocolate? The three forms of chocolate in the brownies: semisweet chocolate, Dutch-process cocoa powder, and my addition, white chocolate. I know white chocolate isn’t technically a chocolate, but for all intensive purposes, we are counting it towards the “Triple” in the title. Here’s a summary of white chocolate, courtesy of Wikipedia. Basically, it is cocoa butter but no cocoa. And I personally still think it is delicious and makes a wonderful addition to these brownies. Add them if you like, or maybe add nuts if you like nuts in your brownies.

The other changes I made were adding 2 TB of coffee (a must in just about any chocolate recipe, in my opinion. Really enhances the chocolate), and for the first time, I sprinkled sea salt on the top, which I will be doing every time now. As Martha says, these bars are solid enough to take on a picnic, or to serve at the end of a dinner party. I’ve done that a couple times and they are always a hit.

The best way to eat this is with a scoop of ice cream – I prefer blackberry. It pairs perfectly with the chocolate. If you can’t find blackberry, then vanilla or coffee will work wonderfully! And of course, they are great all by themselves, no ice cream necessary.

One of the biggest reasons I love this recipe is because it is so easy to make. No need for a box mix when you have this recipe!

Triple Chocolate Brownies

Modified slightly from Martha Stewart Double Chocolate Brownies

  • 6 TB unsalted butter, plus more for pan
  • 6 oz semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used Guittard – remember to use good chocolate!)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 TB strong coffee, cooled
  • 3 oz white chocolate chips
  • Sea salt, as needed

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a buttered 8 inch square baking pan with parchment, allowing a 2 in overhang.

2. Put butter, chocolate, and cocoa powder in a heat proof bowl set over a pan of simmering (not boiling!) water. Stir until butter and chocolate have melted. (Since you are melting the cocoa powder, there is no reason to sift. But normally, sift your cocoa powder!) Let cool slightly.

3.  Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Put sugar, eggs, vanilla, and coffee in mixer bowl and beat with paddle attachment (original recipe says whisk, I prefer the paddle for a denser brownie. If you’d like yours airier, then use the whisk) and mix until pale, about 4 minutes. Add chocolate mixture and mix until combined. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture. Mix until well combined, making sure to scrape the sides. Add white chocolate and mix just until combined.

4. Pour batter into prepared pan; spread evenly with a spatula.

Bake about 10 minutes, then lightly sprinkle some sea salt on the brownies. Put back into oven. Bake until cake tester inserted into brownies (not in the center or edges, but somewhere in between) comes out with a few crumbs but not wet, about 35 minutes. However, a little wet will just make for gooier brownies, so if that’s what you like, then by all means take take them out early!

Let cool as long as you can, and satisfy that chocolate craving. Yummy!

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Cranberry Pumpkin Cookies. Ah, the holidays!

Oh, pumpkins and cranberries, how I love thee! Every year I look forward to baking with cranberries and pumpkin. They just scream fall (even though where I live the temperatures are anything but fall!) and get me in the holiday spirit.

I was originally going to make pumpkin whoopie pies (that is still on the agenda, but pushed back), but needed something that was going to take less time. I came across this recipe from Allrecipes.com. It has about a million reviews and most were positive, so I decided to give it a shot. I only tweaked it a bit.

And I’m so glad I did. These were awesome. Still are, since I have some left in my freezer.

Once again, I used part turbinado sugar. I really think that adds the perfect touch. And, fresh, not dried, cranberries are essential here. They add a beautifully vibrant color and a tangy bite. I don’t think dried cranberries would have the same effect, but feel free to try. Cranberries freeze very well, so I stock up this time of year since they are impossible to find other times.

I also wanted some white chocolate in the mix. I love cranberries and white chocolate. I did a few cookies with white chocolate chips and the rest with a white chocolate glaze. Overall, the glazed ones got better reviews. My only issue was the glaze was pretty sticky, but hey, that’s a minor sacrifice for a yummy cookie, right? Also, I used Guittard white chocolate. I love Guittard!

These cookies turned out very moist, and very cake-like, so if that’s not your thing in a cookie, you may not like these. But I doubt it. You will love them.

Cranberry Pumpkin Cookies with White Chocolate Glaze

modified from AllRecipes

  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulate sugar
  • 1/2 cup turbinado sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 TB orange zest
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 1/4 cups AP flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries, pulsed in the food processor. Don’t puree!

1. Preheat the oven to 375F.

2. Cream the butter, sugars, orange zest, and vanilla until light and fluffy, about five minutes.

3. Add the egg. Mix completely.

4. Add the pumpkin puree and mix completely. Remember to scrape the sides of the bowl.

5. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in a separate bowl.

6. Slowly add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture. Mix until just combined. Don’t overmix!

7. Gently fold in the cranberries.

8. Scoop the cookies onto a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silpat. These won’t spread much at all.

9. Bake for about 10 to 12 minutes, or until slightly golden.

Meanwhile, make the glaze.

Melt 2 ounces of white chocolate with about 3 TB of milk (you may need to add more or less, depending on how you want your glaze). Add enough powered sugar until you get the consistency you want. Again, this will be a personal preference. I wanted my glaze pretty thin, you may want yours thicker.

Dip each cookie into the glaze. Let dry, and devour. These cookies go especially well with a cup of coffee on a cool, fall morning!

 

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