Tag Archives: chocolate

Brownie Chocolate Chip Cheesecake

Let’s start the first week of the new year in style!  Despite all the healthy eating that is about to ensue, it’s important to have a classy, spectacular dessert on the ready.  This is that dessert.  I don’t do a lot of “dinner party” desserts like cakes or pies or full cheesecakes because they can be difficult to serve and are not very portable.

Also, they are a lot of work and not always worth the effort.  This cheesecake is simple, stunning, and totally worth the effort.  Trust me on this one – a show-stopping dessert in three easy steps!

First we start with my favorite brownie recipe as a base.  It’s rich, full of chocolate flavor, and ease when made in a saucepan on the stove.  Next, the no-bake cheesecake portion whips up in a flash in the stand mixer and is smooth and creamy.  Mini chocolate chips add a bit of crunch.  Obviously the cheesecake needs a topping and it’s ganache to the rescue; a soft and decadent treat on top.

This brownie cheesecake was shared with college friends at our annual holiday gathering and was a hit!  A little slice goes a long way.  I personally enjoyed the cheesecake cold, for breakfast, throughout the week.  But who doesn’t enjoy cheesecake for breakfast, lol!

One Year Ago – What I Learned This Week #13

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Brownie Chocolate Chip Cheesecake

adapted from Bake or Break

Yield – 12-16 servings

Brownie Base

1/2 cup sugar

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons water

1 teaspoon instant coffee

1 1/2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips

2 eggs

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

2/3 cup flour

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

Cheesecake Layer

3/4 cup heavy whipping cream

16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup mini chocolate chips

Ganache

1/2 cup heavy cream

3/4 cup chocolate chips

pinch of salt

  1. Brownie Base – Preheat the oven to 325 ˚F.  Grease a 9 or 10” circular pan a removable bottom.
  2. In a medium saucepan melt the butter, 1/2 cup sugar, water, and instant coffee.  When melted add in 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips and stir until combined and melted.
  3. Add in the eggs and vanilla one at a time and stir to combine.  Add in the flour, soda, and salt mixing until just combined.
  4. Pour the brownie batter into the prepared pan and bake for 18-20 minutes until the top is shiny    and a toothpick comes out almost clean.  DO NOT OVER BAKE!
  5. Let cool completely.
  6. Cheesecake Layer – In the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, beat the heavy cream until you reach stiff peaks.  Transfer to another bowl.
  7. Add the cream cheese and 1 cup sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, no need to clean the whipped cream out of the bowl.  Beat together until light and fluffy.  Beat in the vanilla.
  8. Fold in the whipped cream and the chocolate chips.
  9. Spread evenly over the brownie base.
  10. Ganache – Bring 1/2 cup cream to scalding and then pour over the 3/4 cup chocolate chips.  Let sit 5 minutes.
  11. Stir until the chocolate chips are completely melted and then spread evenly over the cheesecake layer.
  12. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight before cutting and serving.
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Chocolate Covered Cherry Mini Cupcakes

Chocolate Covered Cherry Mini Cupcakes | Pale Yellow This summer I spent almost three solid weeks with my family and despite the sad circumstances, it was lovely to spend so much time with my mom, aunts, cousins, and the rest of the crew.  Maybe that is why I needed to go back to Michigan for Thanksgiving, I was craving all the family time.  My first week in Michigan for Christmas has been filled with a ton of family togetherness and I’ve adored every minute of it!

Chocolate Covered Cherry Mini Cupcakes | Pale YellowLast Saturday started with my mom and I sharing a bit of wine, Sunday was the birthday party for my cousin’s and grandpa, Monday was cookie baking & a MSU basketball game, Wednesday/Thursday consisted of Christmas shenanigans, and Friday was a family fun day at the Henry Ford Museum and Slows BBQ.  And the rest of the weekend was filled with friend time.  Needless to say, it has been busy and a blast!

Chocolate Covered Cherry Mini Cupcakes | Pale YellowDespite the busy, there has been plenty of time for baking; there is always time for baking!  My cousin requested something with chocolate and fruit and this is what I came up with at the last minute.  I’m not personally a fan of cherry, but the rest of the family really enjoyed these little cupcakes.  The chocolate cupcake base is a perfection of soft, moist, rich crumbs that is super moist and flavorful; a truly light chocolate cupcake.  The frosting is not too sweet, but is creamy and full of cherry flavor.  The chocolate-covered maraschino cherry is a bit messy (and would be much cuter with a stem), but a delightful garnish!  It’s cupcake time for all your cherry-loving cupcake friends!Chocolate Covered Cherry Mini Cupcakes | Pale YellowPrint the Recipe!

Chocolate Covered Cherry Mini Cupcakes

Inspired by Confections of a Foodie Bride

Adapted from Chocolate Cupcakes with Peppermint Swirl Frosting and Tie Dye Cupcakes

Yield – 30 mini cupcakes

 

Chocolate Cupcakes

3/4 cup flour

1/3 cup cocoa

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 + 1/8 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 egg

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla

3/8 cup buttermilk

1/3 cup hot coffee

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 ˚F.
  2. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, soda, powder, and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer.  Mix together on low with the paddle attachment.
  3. Beat together the eggs, oil, vanilla, and buttermilk in a small bowl and add to the dry ingredients.  Mix until just combined and then scrape down the sides.
  4. Turn on the mixer and add the hot coffee slowly until well combined.
  5. Fill cupcakes liners with 1 1/2 tablespoons of batter and bake for 10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean.
  6. Turn out of the cupcake tin and allow to cool completely before frosting.

Chocolate Covered Cherries

1 jar maraschino cherries (about 30)

5 ounces bittersweet chocolate

  1. Drain the cherries and save the juice.
  2. Melt the chocolate in double boiler.
  3. Dip each cherry halfway in the chocolate and place on wax paper to cool.  Refrigerate to harden completely.

Whipped Cherry Frosting

1 1/2 cups whole milk

7 1/2 tablespoons flour

juice from 1 jar of maraschino cherries

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the milk and flour.  Keep whisking until the mixture becomes smooth and thick resembling pancake batter.  Pour in the cherry juice little, by little while mixing to keep the mixture thick.
  2. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely.
  3. Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy – the mixture will stay grainy, it’ll be ok.
  4. Add in the cooled flour/milk mixture and beat until the entire frosting is light and fluffy and no longer gritty.  If the frosting is runny, refrigerate for about 15 minutes and then rewhip.
  5. Add to a piping bag with a large round tip and pipe a dollop.
  6. Place a chocolate covered cherry on top.Chocolate Covered Cherry Mini Cupcakes | Pale Yellow

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Chocolate Peppermint Blossoms

Chocolate Peppermint Blossoms | Pale YellowCan we do one more holiday cookie?  Let’s do another holiday cookie!  I’m sure there are plenty of you out there with more holiday parties to attend this weekend and I want to make sure you have fresh cookies for your tray.  If you can snag a bag of these kisses, they may be 50% off, double bonus – easy Christmas Cookies with on-sale ingredients!

Chocolate Peppermint Blossoms | Pale YellowThese cookies were made for the annual cookie exchange and caroling event with my church group.  The weird thing about this event is that in the past I would be embarrassed about singing out in the open and openly celebrating the season, yet something has changed.  Without irony and without embarrassment I can celebrate and rejoice in my faith!  And it was fun and filled me with the holiday spirit (and Spirit).  A great night!

Chocolate Peppermint Blossoms | Pale YellowAn easy cookie with a brownie-ish base and a  kiss on top, nothing can go wrong.  The cookies are a little bit crispy and a little bit chewy.  A minty chocolate kiss on top is the perfect compliment.  Either whip up a batch  this weekend or save them for next year, no matter what, this a wonderful cookie! Chocolate Peppermint Blossoms | Pale Yellow

Two Years Ago – Sugar Cookie Trees and Wreaths

Print the Recipe!

Chocolate Peppermint Blossoms

Adapted from Buckeye Cookies

Yield – 36 cookies

 

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

2 eggs

1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup flour

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

36 Hershey Mint Chocolate Truffle Kisses, unwrapped

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 ˚F and line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a double boiler, melt the the chocolate and butter until smooth.  Meanwhile, whisk together the eggs, vanilla, and sugar in a medium bowl.
  3. Slowly add the melted chocolate to the eggs, stirring the whole time until well incorporated.
  4. Sift in the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Stir until completely mixed in.
  5. Use a 1-tablespoon scoop to portion the dough on the parchment-lined cookie sheet.  The cookies do not spread much, so the dough can be fairly close together.
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until just set.  Let sit on the cookie sheet for 2 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.
  7. Place a kiss in the center of each cookie.  Allow to cool completely, the kisses will melt and re-harden.Chocolate Peppermint Blossoms | Pale Yellow

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Salted Caramel Fudge

Salted Caramel Fudge | Pale YellowIt’s been a busy weekend.  Friday I ran around and did important things like oil changes and gift giving and packing.  Saturday was spent driving back to Michigan and listening to Serial.  I listened to the whole series in a day and I believe that is the best way to do it; it made the drive much, much easier.  I’m satisfied that Sarah gave her opinion and I agree with her, but look forward to what the future can hold.  Saturday night was filled with family silliness and Sunday was my cousins’ and grandpa’s birthday party.  Needless to say, it has been a non-stop start to Christmas break!

Salted Caramel Fudge | Pale YellowWhenever I arrive in Michigan, one of the first things I do is load up on wine.  Every trip has lots of get-togethers and parties and wine is essential.  So I went Trader Joes and was a little bit judged.  “Are you hosting this holiday or is it just for you?”  Totally just for me!  I laugh it off as a “home for the holidays” type of situations, but really Trader Joes?  You know we go there for your cheap and delicious wine!

Salted Caramel Fudge | Pale YellowI don’t think I bought enough wine PS, it’s going to be a long two weeks!  At least there is plenty of fudge to eat.  I wanted to make homemade fudge from scratch without any sweetened condensed milk.  I cheated a bit and used caramel squares, but I think that is okay since my candy thermometer was already engaged elsewhere!  The fudge is rich, creamy and sweet.  The caramel topping is perfectly salty and lovingly sticky.  Despite the number of steps involved, you get a lot of fudge for your efforts.  Holidays = fudge, make it happen!Salted Caramel Fudge | Pale Yellow

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Salted Caramel Fudge

Adapted from Joy the Baker

Inspired by Amy’s Cooking Adventure

Yield – 96 pieces

 

1/2 cup  (1 stick) unsalted butter

2 cups packed dark brown sugar

2 cups sugar

1/2 cup light corn syrup

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

10 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips

1/2 cups mini marshmallows

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

10 ounce bag caramels, unwrapped

2 tablespoons heavy cream

fancy sea salt for sprinkling

  1. Spray a 9×13” pan with baking spray and then line with parchment paper leaving 2 wings.  Spray the parchment paper as well.
  2. In a medium saucepan melt together the butter, brown sugar, sugar, corn syrup, heavy cream, and salt over medium heat.  Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat so the mixture simmers for about three minutes.  Stir occasionally.  Stir in the chocolate chips until melted.
  3. Use a candy thermometer to monitor the heat of the mixture.  Cook until it reaches 234 ˚F.  Remove from the heat and let rest for about 10 minutes.
  4. While the fudge is cooling, melt the caramels with the heavy cream.  Stir and heat until the caramels are melted and smooth.
  5. Back to the chocolate fudge; stir in the marshmallows and vanilla.   Stir for at least five minutes until the mixture is lighter and fluffy.
  6. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and spread evenly.  Pour the caramel over the top and swirl with a knife.
  7. Sprinkle generously with fancy sea salt.
  8. Let cool for about 20 minutes before refrigerating to cool completely.  Cut into squares and enjoy!Salted Caramel Fudge | Pale Yellow

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Candy Cane Brownie Bites

candy cane brownie bites | pale yellowI almost didn’t share this recipe, it seemed too easy.  But then I remembered that people like easy, simple recipes that can be whipped up in a few minutes.  The first time I made these brownies, it was after work to bring to a church group meeting I had to leave for in about an hour and a half.  In less than 90 minutes I had homemade, from scratch brownies cut and ready to go!

candy cane brownie bites | pale yellowThis brownie recipe is my absolute favorite and is so versatile.  It’s dressed up for Christmas with a little peppermint extract and crushed candy canes on top.  Cut into small pieces it makes a for a delightful hostess gift of shared treat.  The holidays feature so many desserts, it’s best to provide everyone with small bites!

candy cane brownie bites | pale yellowI brought these to Andrea’s lovely holiday party and a guest asked me if they were soft.  Two questions – where does one find non-soft brownies? Who would bring hard brownies to a party?  Clearly my sarcasm could not be contained!  These brownies are deliciously soft, moist, fudgy, peppermint-y, and easy.  Whip up a batch now, anyone can do it!

candy cane brownie bites | pale yellowTwo Years Ago – Eggnog Cookies

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Candy Cane Brownie Bites

Adapted from MMMMM Brownies

Yield – 8” x 8” pan, 36 bites

 

1/2 cup sugar

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons water

1 teaspoon instant coffee

10 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips

2 eggs

1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

2/3 cup flour

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 mini candy canes crushed

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 ˚F.  Grease an 8” x 8” square pan and line with parchment paper leaving an overhang.  Grease that too.
  2. In a medium saucepan melt the butter, sugar, water, and instant coffee.  When melted add in the chocolate chips and stir until combined and melted.  Add in the eggs one at a time and then the peppermint extract, stir to combine.  Add in the flour, soda, and salt mixing until just combined.
  3. Pour the brownie batter in the prepared pan and sprinkle with the crushed candy canes, press them in slightly.
  4. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the top is shiny and crusty and a toothpick comes out almost clean.  DO NOT OVER BAKE!
  5. Let cool slightly and then slice and serve.  For bites, I remove the whole brownie from the pan and cut into 9 large pieces.  Then, I cut each ninth into 4, placing in a mini cupcake wrapper for maximum cuteness.candy cane brownie bites | pale yellow

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Filed under Brownies & Blondies, Brownies/Bars

Buckeye Cookies

Buckeye Cookies | Pale Yellow for the FB Cookie Swap 2014So many cookie swaps, so little time!  Today it’s the FB Cookie Swap from the lovely Julie of The Little Kitchen and Lindsey of Love and Olive Oil.  After last year’s fun, I could resist doing it again!  Instead of peppermint + chocolate, I went with another one of my favorite pairings chocolate + peanut butter.

Buckeye Cookies | Pale Yellow for the FB Cookie Swap 2014I sent out some great cookies, no bragging intended.  But they were really, really tasty!  I had to make a double batch so I would have plenty to mail out plus enough to save for photographing when I was able to get some weekend sunlight.  This time of year is brutally limited for natural light.  I ate at least one of these cookies everyday for breakfast without fail, I couldn’t resist.  These cookies have everything a traditional buckeye has plus a brownie base.  To be fair, I know they sort of look like turds, but the inside is beautiful!  I’m just going to call it like I see it…Buckeye Cookies | Pale Yellow for the FB Cookie Swap 2014A crispy, fudgy bottom with a sweet, creamy peanut butter filling is hard to resist; add chocolate on top and I’m swooning!  I’m glad I had so many cookies leftover for eating and sharing with local friends!  I hope Ruthy of Omeletta, Susan of That Susan Williams, and Stephanie of Steph’s Bite by Bite enjoyed them as much as I did!

Buckeye Cookies | Pale Yellow for the FB Cookie Swap 2014When you’re receiving a dozen cookies from three different bloggers PLUS eating leftover cookies in your own kitchen, it is best to share the bounty with coworkers.  Surprisingly, not everyone was okay with eating cookies from strangers.  The weird thing is, even though I don’t know anyone in the swap IRL, it does not seem strange and the bloggers seem familiar.  Everyone is in their kitchen doing their thing and blogging about it just like me.  I love that we are able to share are goodies with others.  It’s the best we have until smells and tastes can be transmitted through the interwebs!fbcookieswap2014_woodLGI was super fortunate to receive an amazing selection of cookies!  Mieke of Mieke Z Mackay sent lovely oatmeal cookies with chocolate chips and nuts; salty sweet deliciousness!  Amy of Club Narwhal sent delightfully dunk-able biscotti; chocolate and vanilla with cranberries and pistachios!  Last, but not least, Tux of Brooklyn Homemaker sent some divine gingerbread linzer cookies with a white chocolate-orange ganache filling; I can’t wait until he posts the recipe so I can make another batch!  A successful cookie swap for 2014, I can’t wait for 2015.  As Lynn said, “I must be doing something right!”Buckeye Cookies | Pale Yellow for the FB Cookie Swap 2014

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Buckeye Cookies

Adapted from OMG Chocolate Desserts

Yield – 56 cookies

 

16 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

4 eggs

1 1/4 cups sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups creamy peanut butter

2 cups powdered sugar

10 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

1 tablespoon shortening

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 ˚F and line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a double boiler, melt the the chocolate and butter until smooth.  Meanwhile, whisk together the eggs, vanilla, and sugar in a medium bowl.
  3. Slowly add the melted chocolate to the eggs, stirring the whole time until well incorporated.
  4. Sift in the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Stir until completely mixed in.
  5. Use a 1-tablespoon scoop to portion the dough on the parchment-lined cookie sheet.  The cookies do not spread much, so the dough can be fairly close together.
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until just set.  Let sit on the cookie sheet for 2 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.
  7. While the cookies are baking, mix together the peanut butter and powdered sugar until well combined.  Roll into small balls.
  8. As soon as the cookies come out of the oven, while they are resting on the cookie sheet, smush a ball of peanut butter in the center of each cookie.
  9. Once cookies are cooled completely, melt the semisweet chocolate chips and shortening together in a double boiler until smooth.
  10. Dip the top of each cookie in the chocolate and let harden on a rack before packaging.Buckeye Cookies | Pale Yellow for the FB Cookie Swap 2014

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Filed under Chocolate, Christmas, Cookies

Chocolate Dipped Pistachio Shortbread

chocolate dipped pistachio shortbread | pale yellowThe last week has reeked havoc on my kitchen.  Every night has a sink full of dishes and flour on the floor.  But it’s all worth it because I can now bring you seven straight days of holiday cookies and treats.  Holiday baking is my favorite time of year!

chocolate dipped pistachio shortbread | pale yellowIt’s always a struggle between old favorites and new recipes.  My only limitations are the hours in the evening and Tupperware. Here is one new recipe inspired by the SRC Cookie Carnival.

chocolate dipped pistachio shortbread | pale yellowA Cookie Carnival?  How could I resist?  The Secret Recipe Club did a holiday cookie post and I could not resist.  I was assigned Karen from Karen’s Kitchen Stories.  Her blog is lovely and features recipes she makes for her family.  We have similar styles in that we both love to share recipes, slightly adapted, from cookbooks, blogs, and magazines.  Blogging is fun hobby that allows us to share treats with others.

scr club christmasThese cookies are gorgeous, easy, and super tasty!  Their light green color is perfect for a Christmas cookie tray and I love the saltiness from the pistachios on the outside.  The cookies have everything you want – crispy, crunchy, salty, sweet, and chocolate!  The flavor is a subtle pistachio taste that is delightful!

chocolate dipped pistachio shortbread | pale yellowTwo Years Ago – Candy Cane Truffles

Print the Recipe!

Chocolate Dipped Pistachio Shortbread

Adapted from Karen’s Kitchen Stories

Yield – 24-32 cookies

 

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature

1/4 cup sugar

1 box (3.4 oz) instant pistachio pudding mix

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

8.2 ounces flour

10 ounces bittersweet chocolate

1 tablespoon shortening

1/2 cup pistachios, chopped finely

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 ˚F and grease a 9×13” pan with shortening.  Cut a sheet of parchment paper to fit the bottom of the pan and grease that as well.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment until light and fluffy.  Add in the pudding, salt, and vanilla.  Mix until well combined and scrape the bowl as needed.
  3. Add the flour and mix on low until just combined.
  4. Press the mixture as evenly as possible in the prepared pan.  If your hands get warm and sticky (mine always do), wet them with cold water and dry.
  5. Bake for 35-45 minutes until the edges just begin to brown.  Remove from the oven and immediately use a bench scraper or knife to cut the shortbread into pieces.
  6. Let cool completely in the pan.
  7. Melt the chocolate and shortening in the bowl of a double boiler until smooth.  Chop the pistachios while the chocolate is melting.
  8. Dip a third of each cookie in the chocolate and then press into the chopped pistachios.  Let dry on a cooling rack with parchment paper underneath to catch drips.
  9. Allow the chocolate to harden before packaging.chocolate dipped pistachio shortbread | pale yellow

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Filed under Chocolate, Christmas, Cookies