Monday, March 28, 2011

Double-Chocolate Dream Cookies

Rich chocolate dough scattered with chunks of even more chocolate - a total classic. So simple, yet so yummy. I love these cookies - with their soft centers and crisp edges. So good!

These are incredibly easy to whip up - just the ticket when you're in the mood for a chocolaty treat.

Double-Chocolate Dream Cookies
Adapted from
Makes about 4 dozen cookies

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (or 10 oz Soft White wheat flour)
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar (or honey sucanat)
3/4 cup granulated sugar (or honey sucanat)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups (12-oz pkg) semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 375º.

In a bowl stir together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl beat butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and vanilla until creamy. Beat in eggs until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Slowly beat in flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chips. Place rounded tablespoons of dough on ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake until cookies are puffed, about 8-10 minutes. Allow to cool for 2 minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Peanut Butter Cup Bars

Wow, are these ever good! They taste just like eating a giant peanut butter cup! Scrumptious, and very very rich. In fact they're so rich, you could even cut the squares in half if you want, and get 32 delectable, peanut-buttery rectangles out of one batch. Score!

These bars only take a few minutes to throw together, and not much longer to disappear. Make these for the peanut-butter-lover in your life. Delicious!

Peanut Butter Cup Bars
Adapted from this recipe
Makes 16 bars

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 3/4 cups confectioner's sugar
1 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Line an 8 x 8 baking dish with tin foil. Set aside.

Melt 1/2 cup butter over low heat. Once melted, remove from heat and stir in the confectioner's sugar. Stir in peanut butter and graham cracker crumbs until smooth and creamy. Spread into prepared pan, and pat down evenly.

In a small pan melt 1/4 cup butter. Add chocolate chips and stir until almost fully melted. Remove from heat and stir until shiny and smooth. Spread chocolate over peanut butter layer. Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Slice into bars and store in the refrigerator. Enjoy!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Yogurt Lemon Loaf

Ahhh, what a delightful treat! This cake is very moist from the yogurt, and the use of fresh lemons gives it great flavor. Delish!

The texture is unique - not really like a pound cake, but rather its almost like a moist sponge cake. Very yummy!

This recipe also has room for customization - you could make it into mini loaves, or make it lime flavored. Use your imagination and enjoy!

Yogurt Lemon Loaf
Adapted from Ina Garten
Makes 1 loaf

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour (or 7.5 oz Soft White wheat flour)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt (or kefir)
1 cup sugar (or honey sucanat)
3 extra-large eggs
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup oil
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

For lemon syrup:
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup sugar (or honey sucanat)

For the glaze:
1 cup confectioner's sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Preheat your oven to 350º. Grease a 9 x 5 or 8 1/2 x 4 1/4 inch loaf pan. Line bottom with parchment, and grease/flour loaf pan.

In a bowl sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl whisk together yogurt, 1 cup of sugar, eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla. Whisk dry ingredients into wet ingredients. Fold in oil. Stir until batter is smooth. Pour into pan. Bake until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean, about 50 minutes.

While loaf is baking, make syrup. Cook lemon juice and sugar until sugar is dissolved and mixture is clear. Set aside

When the cake is finished baking, allow to cool for 10 minutes in the pan. Then place loaf on a cooling rack over a cookie sheet. Pour lemon syrup over warm loaf, allowing cake to absorb the sauce. (I poured the syrup over the loaf while it was still in the pan and allowed it to soak for a few minutes before moving the loaf to the cooling rack where I then poured the excess syrup over the top and sides of the loaf). Allow to fully cool.

Once the loaf is cool, combine glaze ingredients. Cover cake with glaze. Slice and enjoy!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Chocolate Cupcakes with Rich Chocolate Frosting

How is it, I ask you, that a recipe this easy would be THIS GOOD? These cupcakes are a breeze to throw together, yet they are moist and delicious. And the frosting... don't even get me started on the frosting...pure chocolaty yumminess!

The original recipe for the cupcakes makes 3 dozen, so I've scaled it back to make just 2 dozen. However, I sometimes make this recipe into a chocolate layer cake, and when I do that I usually just make the larger-sized batch. Either way though, this recipe is a keeper!

Chocolate Cupcakes with Rich Chocolate Frosting
Cupcake recipe adapted from Zoe Bakes
Frosting recipe adapted from
Makes 24 cupcakes

For the cupcakes:

2 cups sugar (or honey sucanat)
2 cups all purpose flour (or 10 oz Soft White wheat flour)
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup hot coffee

Preheat your oven to 350º. Line tins with cupcake papers.

In a large bowl combine dry ingredients. Whisk until thoroughly mixed. Set aside.

In a separate bowl whisk together the eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla until well mixed. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Whisk until batter is smooth. Slowly pour in hot coffee. Whisk until fully blended and smooth, about 2 minutes. (The batter will be runny).

Evenly distribute batter between the 24 muffin cups, (filling them 2/3 - 3/4 of the way full). Bake until toothpick comes out clean, about 18-20 minutes. Allow to fully cool before frosting them.

For the frosting:

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
2 2/3 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted
1/3 cup half and half (or milk)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted

In the bowl of an electric mixer cream the butter. Sift in confectioner's sugar and cocoa powder. Add vanilla and half and half. Beat until frosting is smooth and creamy. (If you find the frosting is a little thick, add a small amount of additional half and half). Spread a generous amount onto each cupcake. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Congo Bars

These are quick, easy, and oh so satisfying! They taste like chocolate chip cookie brownies. Yummers!

Just a note on bake time: Whereas you don't want to overbake these, you don't want them to be overly gooey either. Just check them out after 30 minutes and use your judgement - if you think they should go a little bit longer than just add a few minutes : )

By the way, these are particularly amazing fresh out of the oven with vanilla ice cream on top - OH YEAH!

Congo Bars
Adapted from Bakerella
Makes 24 bars

2 3/4 cups all purpose flour (or 17 oz. Soft White wheat flour)
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup butter, softened
1 lb. light brown sugar (or 2 cups honey sucanat)
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
11.5 oz. bag milk chocolate chips (or about 2 cups)
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)

In a large bowl stir together flour, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl mix butter and brown sugar until butter disappears. Add eggs, stirring after each addition. Stir in vanilla, chocolate chips, and nuts (if using). Add dry ingredients and stir until incorporated. (Batter will be thick).

Grease a 9 x 13 baking dish. Bake at 350º for 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Do not overbake. (I had to bake mine a bit longer than 30 minutes - a toothpick should come out mostly clean). Enjoy!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Orange Creamsicle Cookies

Sometimes you come across a recipe idea that is just so good, you wonder why you haven't heard of it before. I mean really, creamsicle cookies? Brilliant! I think this recipe may just become an instant classic in our house. SO GOOD!

These cookies taste unique and delicious - so flavorful too! If you are currently in a cookie rut, these will snap you out of it quicker than you can say "tropical paradise in my mouth", (though I'm pretty sure no one will be able to understand what you're saying, because your mouth will be full of cookies, haha!). Oh, and here's a fun idea - make yourself an "ice cream sandwich" by filling two creamsicle cookie bookends with orange-sherbet...yum yum yum...

Orange Creamsicle Cookies
Adapted from The Cooking Photographer
Makes 2-3 dozen cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar (or honey sucanat)
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar (or honey sucanat)
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon (organic) orange extract
2 tablespoons fresh orange zest, grated
3/4 teaspoons baking soda
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (or 12 oz. Soft White wheat flour)
10-12 oz. bag white chocolate chips (about 2 cups)

Preheat your oven to 375º. Cover cookie sheets with parchment paper (I didn't find it necessary).

Cream butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add egg, salt, vanilla extract, orange extract, and zest. Stir until combined. Stir together baking soda and flour. Add and mix until just incorporated. Stir in white chocolate chips.

Drop by rounded tablespoons onto cookie sheet, or use mini scoop for smaller cookies. Bake until very lightly browned, about 7 minutes for mini's or 8-10 minutes for regular sized cookies. Allow to rest a few minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely. Enjoy!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

White Chocolate Walnut Blondies with Maple Butter Sauce

Wow! If you're looking for an over-the-top, rich, decadent, and scrumptious dessert, you should try this recipe. Totally easy to make, yet it looks and tastes amazing. My kind of recipe : )

These are delicious with just the blondies and sauce, but if you want to take it to the next level...

Top with some vanilla ice cream - absolutely YUMMY!

White Chocolate Walnut Blondies with Maple Butter Sauce
Adapted from Tasty Kitchen
Makes 12-16 servings (depending on the size)

For the blondies:
3 cups all-purpose flour (or 15 oz Soft White wheat flour)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
10 tablespoons butter, melted
2 cups light brown sugar (or honey sucanat)
3 whole eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (or nuts of choice)
1 cup white chocolate chips

For the sauce:
2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup maple syrup
Optional garnish: vanilla ice cream and chopped walnuts

Preheat your oven to 350º.

Sift together flour, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together melted butter and brown sugar. Stir until well blended. Add eggs and vanilla. Stir well.

Gradually add flour mixture to butter/sugar mixture. Stir until just combined - do not overmix. Fold in nuts and chocolate chips. (Batter will be thick).

Grease a 9 x 13 baking dish. Pour batter into dish and spread evenly. Bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes.

To make sauce:
In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat (being careful not to burn the butter). Add heavy cream and maple syrup. Simmer mixture over medium for about 20-30 minutes, allowing sauce to thicken and reduce. Don't boil the sauce, just simmer. Stir sauce occasionally. Once is has reduced by about 1/3, it should be ready.

To serve: Heat blondie on a cast iron skillet, the microwave, or use while still warm from baking, and top with vanilla ice cream. Drizzle with the warm maple butter sauce, and sprinkle with chopped walnuts.

Tasty Kitchen note: If using glass pan, you might want to reduce oven temperature to 325º, (and bake a little bit longer). You can also double the sauce, if desired. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Lemon Squares

I've said it before, and I'll say it again - I love citrus desserts! Especially when they are as quick and easy to make as these lemon squares. Feel free to make them into lime squares, by subbing the lemon juice/zest for lime. Either way though, you've got yourself some yummy treats. (Just a note - the sucanat gives these a darker color, but they still taste great, so don't let that deter you!)

Lemon Squares
Adapted from Bakerella
Makes about 24 squares

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, chilled and cubed
1 1/2 cups flour (or 7.5 oz Soft White wheat flour)
2/3 cup confectioner's sugar (plus more for dusting)
Pinch of salt

1 1/2 cup sugar (or honey sucanat)
1/4 cup flour (or 2 tablespoons cornstarch)
1 tsp baking powder
4 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2-2/3 cup (fresh) lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest (optional)

Preheat your oven to 350º. Grease and flour a 13 x 9 baking dish.

To make the crust:

Whisk flour, confectioner's sugar and salt together in a small bowl. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Press into bottom of prepared pan. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

To make the topping:

Prepare topping while crust bakes. Stir together sugar, flour (or cornstarch), and baking powder in a medium bowl. Add eggs, lemon juice, and zest (if using). Mix well and pour over warm baked crust. Bake for an additional 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool completely. Dust the top with confectioner's sugar, and place in the refrigerator. Cut into squares and serve cold, or room temperature. Enjoy!