Showing posts with label cocoa. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cocoa. Show all posts

Monday, July 7, 2014

Mocha Muffins for #MuffinMonday

Dark cocoa and espresso powder combine to make the deepest, darkest mocha muffins you might ever enjoy. 

I don’t understand people who don’t like coffee. One of my best and earliest childhood memories is sitting in my grandmother’s kitchen while she prepared my coffee milk the old fashioned way, warming milk in a tiny pot on the stove and adding coffee and, of course, sugar. If I close my eyes on any given morning, while I am taking that first warming sip, I can smell her old wood framed house, the gas stove and the lingering aroma of sulfur and smoke from the match that lit it. I miss that and I miss her. But at least I still have coffee.

This week I am in coffee mode, after receiving the pdf of a cookbook called Passion for Coffee (<affiliate link) and spending many delicious hours reading through it and bookmarking recipes to try. This muffin is not from that book but the steak with wine-balsamic glaze I’ll share on Thursday surely is. I just can’t get coffee out of my head! Muffins help.

Where do you stand on coffee? Love, hate, indifferent?

2 cups or 250g flour
1/2 cup or 100g sugar
1/4 cup or 20g unsweetened baking cocoa (I used the Hershey’s Special Dark.)
1/8 cup or 8g espresso powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 eggs
1 cup or 240ml milk
1/2 cup or 120ml canola or other light oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Optional: 12 dark chocolate kisses for decorating before baking

Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C.  Butter your muffin pan or line it with paper liners.

Combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, espresso powder, salt and baking powder in a large mixing bowl.

In another smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, canola and vanilla.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ones and stir until just mixed through.

Divide the mixture between the muffin cups.

Press one kiss into each cup of batter, if using.

Bake in your preheated oven for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Allow the muffins to cool for a few minutes then remove them to a wire rack to cool completely.


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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Mexican Chocolate Wedding Cookies #CreativeCookieExchange

Mexican chocolate has cinnamon in it and so do these cookies, hence the name. Traditional Mexican wedding cookies don’t have either, but that doesn’t stop these from being light and delicious, if not authentic. 

I adapted this chocolate version from the traditional recipe at Mexico in My Kitchen.

The month our Creative Cookie Exchange group is planning ahead for Cinco de Mayo, a holiday that celebrates Mexican heritage and culture with food, drink and dancing, in short, with fiestas. I decided to take a favorite cookie for weddings in Mexico and mix it up a bit, adding chocolate and tossing it in powdered sugar and cocoa. Turns out chocolate wedding cookies weren’t my idea first but that’s okay. I felt creative for a little while till I found out.

Note to future self: When big, bright idea strikes, stop researching. 

Ingredients for 2-3 dozen cookies, depending on how big you roll them
For the cookie dough:
3/4 cup or 170g butter, softened
1/3 cup or 40g powdered or confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups or 220g all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cup 225g ground pecans
1/2 cup or 100g semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 pinch salt

For the coating:
1/2 cup or 65g powdered or confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup or 25g cocoa powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Blitz your chocolate chips in a food processor until they are ground into little bits.

With electric beaters or in a stand mixer, cream the butter and the powdered sugar together until the butter turns pale and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl and add in the vanilla and then beat again.

In another bowl, mix together the other (dry) dough ingredients.

Add the dry mixture to the fluffy butter one cup at a time, beating well in between, until it’s all mixed in and you have a nice stiff dough.

Wrap the dough in cling film and chill for an hour in the refrigerator or 30 minutes in the freezer.

It's lovely and speckled!

Meanwhile, combine your coating ingredients in a large mixing bowl and set aside.

I gave them a solid whisking to mix them together and break up any lumps. 

When you are ready to start baking, preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C.

Cut off small pieces of the dough and roll them into balls about an inch or 2 1/2cm wide.

Put them on a ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 15-18 minutes.

Cool for a couple of minutes and then, very carefully, transfer the cookies to a wire rack. If you squeeze too hard, the cookies might crumble, as you can see.

While the cookies are still warm, roll them in the coating.


If you would like to join the fun and bake with the Creative Cookie Exchange, just contact Laura at thespicedlife AT gmail DOT com and she will get you added to our Facebook group, where we discuss our cookies and share links.

You can also just use us as a great resource for cookie recipes. Be sure to check out our Facebook page, our Pinterest Board, and our monthly posts which are published the first Tuesday after the 15th of each month! 

If you are looking for Cinco de Mayo inspiration to get in the kitchen and start baking, check out what all of the hosting bloggers have made this month:

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Friday, September 6, 2013

Triple Chocolate Mini Bundts for #Bundtamonth

How does one celebrate the one-year birthday of the Bundt-a-Month challenge?  Well, by baking more Bundts, of course.  My daughter and I were discussing this month’s “fancy” theme for this first anniversary, and she suggested that I didn’t need a fancy Bundt at all, just stick a flowering plant in it!   After all, that was good enough for an engagement celebration on My Big Fat Greek Wedding

Anybody else LOVE that movie?  I could watch it over and over.  Just as funny each time.

While I acknowledged the truth in that, I wanted to make something pretty, something special.  So it had to be chocolate.  Dark chocolate.  And white chocolate.  And with silver balls.  Because those have always said PARTY to me, even if they do want to break your teeth.  They are like sprinkles for grownups.

When it came time for decorating, I couldn’t decide on a pattern so I just went a little crazy, drizzling on both chocolates and having a wild time.  I don't know when to stop, but more is more, right?  No two little Bundts are alike, but they sure looked pretty all together.  Like I imagine a dessert table set out with all the BundtaMonth Bundts would look, if we could ever get them all in one place.  Maybe for the second anniversary?   Make sure you scroll all the way to the bottom to see what my fellow bloggers have baked for you, along with our hosts, Anuradha from Baker Street and Lora from Cake Duchess.

The batter for these little cakes is slightly adapted from Molly Wizenburg’s recipe for Chocolate Cupcakes in her fabulous book, A Homemade Life.

For the cakes:
2 oz or 55g dark chocolate
1/2 cup or 120ml hot brewed coffee
1 cup or 225g sugar
3/4 cup flour plus 1 tablespoon for preparing pan
1/2 cup or about 40g unsweetened cocoa powder, plus 1 tablespoon for preparing pan
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/4 cup or 60ml canola oil
1/2 cup or 125g well stirred plain yogurt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

For decoration:
8 oz or 230g semi-sweet chocolate
4 oz or 115g white chocolate
1 tablespoon (or more!) dragees or little silver balls

Preheat oven to 325°F or °C.  Prepare your mini Bundt pan by spraying it liberally with non-stick spray or generously buttering it.  Put one tablespoon each of flour and cocoa powder in a sieve or sifter and sprinkle all over the pan, tipping it this way and that to make sure that all the insides of the little cups are covered.  Bang the pan gently on the cabinet and dump the excess out into your sink.  Set aside.

Chop the chocolate for the cake into small pieces and put it into the measuring cup with hot coffee.  Stir occasionally until the chocolate is completely melted.

Into a medium bowl, sift the cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Whisk in the sugar and flour.   Set aside.

For the best batter, electric beaters or a stand mixer with the K-beater in place is essential here.  In a large bowl, beat your egg on medium for a minute or two or until it becomes pale yellow.  Add in the oil, yogurt and vanilla, once again, beating well.

Gradually pour in the melted chocolate/coffee mixture and beat to thoroughly combine.

Add the dry ingredients all at once.  Beat on low speed until the batter is just combined.

Scrape down the sides and bottom to make sure all the flour is incorporated.

Divide your batter between the cups of your prepared mini Bundt pan, but don’t fill them more than two-thirds full.  If you have a little batter left over, it’s better to make a couple of extra cupcakes instead.  Your tasters will be happy.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Meanwhile, let your helper clean out the yogurt pot before recycling.

Cool your mini Bundts in the pan for about 10 minutes, then place a wire rack on top of the pan and carefully invert the pan and rack so that the little cakes can fall out.  If any don’t fall out, loosen them gently with a knife or toothpick and remove them one by one.

Allow the little cakes to cool completely before topping with melted chocolate.

For the decoration, break up your dark and white chocolate into smaller blocks (or chop if you need to) and put each kind in a separate microwave-proof bowl.  Zap them one at a time on high for 10-15 seconds, then stir and repeat until both of the chocolates are pourable.

You can drizzle these over the mini Bundts with a small spoon but I prefer to put the melted chocolate into cake decorating bags with small tips (Wilton no. 3, 4 or 5) for better control.

Have fun drizzling on the dark chocolate, followed by swirls of the white chocolate.  Sprinkle a few silver dragees in the middle to complete the festive party look.



Here’s how you can be a part of Bundt-a-Month:

Simple rule: Bake us a fancy Bundt.
Post it before September 30, 2013.
Use the #BundtaMonth hashtag in your title. (For ex: title could read – #BundtaMonth: Fancy Chocolate Bundt)
Add your entry to the Linky tool below.

Link back to our announcement posts–and be sure to check out everyone else’s Bundt cakes if you are looking for fancy inspiration:

Even more Bundt fun! Follow Bundt-a-Month on Facebook where we feature all our gorgeous Bundt cakes.  Or head over to our Pinterest board for inspiration and choose from hundreds of Bundt cake recipes.

Since these are fancy little triple chocolate Bundt cakes, I am also submitting them to this month's We Should Cocoa anniversary challenge to create a show stopper, hosted by Choclette of Chocolate Log Blog. 

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Sunday, April 21, 2013

Brigadeiros for #SundaySupper

This week, #SundaySupper is celebrating celebrating.  What I mean is, we are sharing recipes that are perfect for showers.  Baby showers, bridal showers or whatever lovely gathering you are planning this month.  Our host is Brandie from Home Cooking Memories, so I think she will appreciate that I reached back to one of my favorite times to share this party favorite. 

Brigadeiros are an easy sweet treat that make an essential appearance at every celebration in Brazil.  We lived there for almost six years when our daughters were little.  In fact, both of them started school (a couple of years apart, of course) at the Omega School, which was a few blocks from our house, in the small neighborhood of MacaĆ© called Vivendas da Lagoa.  It was a tiny operation with fewer than 30 students ranging from the three-year-olds to one sixth grader, with most children falling on the younger end of the chart.  Enrollment was so small most years that when one child celebrated a birthday, the whole crowd was invited. The best part was that they all played well together, regardless of age or grade level.  We missed that interaction later, in bigger schools. 

In those days, MacaĆ© was a small oilfield town, short on amenities.  (I’ve been told it has progressed greatly since then, although I haven’t been back.)  Grocery shopping was limited and it was a challenge to do it all in one day, especially with at least one small child in tow.  Chicken was only purchased at the chicken shop, beef, pork and sausages at the butcher. If you wanted fresh vegetables, the best place was Hortifruti, the covered market.  Fresh milk was in limited supply so we bought UHT (ultra high temperature) milk that came in Tetrapaks.  For cheese, there were a couple of places you might get lucky, just don’t expect anything fancy.  But one thing that every shop had, even the little corner store in our neighborhood, were cans of the sweet sticky paste used for making brigadeiros.  When we left Brazil (and the supply I had brought in our shipment was exhausted) we had to learn how to make them without it.  Because, as I am sure you will agree once you try one, life is too short to go without brigadeiros. Fortunately, it isn’t that hard since you start with sticky condensed milk, available everywhere. 

3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa 
1 tablespoon butter plus a little extra for buttering your hands when you are rolling the little balls 
1 (14 ounce or 397g) can sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk) 
10.5 oz or 298g packet chocolate rice or sprinkles (You may not use them all.)
60-70 tiny paper muffin liners

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, pour in the condensed milk, then sift in the cocoa and add in the butter.

Cook over a medium heat, stirring gently to make sure it is well combined.

Keep stirring and cooking until it is quite thick, about 10-15 minutes.

Remove from the heat and let rest until cool enough to handle.  It will stiffen up even more as it cools. 

Put your chocolate sprinkles in a small bowl or other deep container. 

Rub a little butter into both of your palms.  Using a small spoon, scoop up a little of the sweet paste and roll it into small balls between your palms.

Use one spoon to scrape it off into your buttered palm. 

Roll it between your buttered palms to get a smooth ball. 

Drop it gently into the small bowl of chocolate sprinkles and roll it around until coated. Place each covered ball in a paper muffin liner. Place on a serving tray.

Continue until all the paste is finished.  Keep in a cool, dry place until ready to serve.

Do not share these with your helper, not matter how much he begs.  Chokit, noooo!

These little balls of sticky chocolatey caramel awesomeness are perfect for any party!  Invite the whole crowd and see if they can play nice.


And while you are at it, why not make a couple of special dishes from the rest of the #SundaySupper line up of April Shower recipes? 

 Sunday Supper Movement

Starters, Appetizers & Snacks
Soups, Salads & Sandwiches
Main Dishes
Cookies, Brownies & Dessert Bars
Sweet Treats
Drink Recipes

Join our #SundaySupper Chat! One of the best parts of #SundaySupper is our weekly Twitter chat. If you love food, you definitely want to join us! Just follow the hashtag #SundaySupper on Twitter this Sunday, April 21st at 7pm EST, and we’ll be chatting about food and fun for baby showers, bridal showers, and parties!

Want even more #SundaySupper? Follow our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for recipes that are sure to impress!

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