Archive for the ‘Desserts’ Tag

Secret Ingredient Chocolate Chip Cookies

So…it feels like it’s been awhile.  Possibly because it has, but I’m just hypothesizing here. 

Basically, there are two main reasons why I’ve been absent for awhile.  1) I’ve been really busy since school started, and it’s all come as a complete shock to my system to get out of lazy summer mode and into busy-as-f**k fall mode.  Pardon my language, but that’s the best way to describe it.  2) I watched a life-changing documentary that has essentially ensured that my love affair with butter is over.  I thought I would be way sadder about this, but I’m really not.  I’m not going to get into all the details about it because you can check it out for yourself (here’s a trailer for film), or not.  All I know is that I am in the process of doing a complete overhaul on not only my kitchen and the foods I put in it, but my recipes, and my entire perspective on food as well.

So this is probably my last wholly unhealthy recipe that I’m going to blog about.

Sigh.

I guess I’m a little sad, maybe….but I’ll be okay.  There is a fair to middling (read: definite) chance that you’ll be seeing some vegetarian recipes soon.

Also, vampires aren’t real, but horses are.  My 4-year old nephew told me that the other day, and I feel duty-bound to share this knowledge.

Anyway.

Let’s talk about cookies.  Now, the person I got this recipe from might be a tad pissed that I’m blasting it all over the internets, but I don’t care.  I think it’s uncool to recipe hoard.  If you want to make the absolute best chocolate chip cookies in the whole wide freaking world, then there should be nothing stopping you, butyou HAVE to know about this top secret ingredient before you can do that.

DRUMROLL, PLEASE…….

Voilà.  Wal-Mart brand, smashed, old (?) instant vanilla pudding mix.

That’s it.  That’s the big secret.  Pretty crazy stuff, huh?  Throw a package of this in with the dough, and you’re golden.  Your husband will bow at your feet (not really, but almost), your kids will declare that you (or Phineas and Ferb, it’s still undecided) are their new hero, and anyone else who eats them will make sounds that should really be limited to the bedroom only.  It could get awkward.

I use the Tollhouse chocolate chip cookie recipe, and here’s how it goes:

Take two sticks of butter (wah!!!!), some brown sugar, and some white sugar, and mix it all up.

Then add two eggs and some vanilla, and mix that up too.

Now just add the dry stuff: flour, salt, baking soda, and the pudding mix.

Mix again.  All this mixing is getting really repetitive, isn’t it?  Fear not, though, relief is coming in the form of chocolate chips, which you get to STIR in.  Exciting, huh?

After you stir in the chocolate chips, if you need to take a break and eat some dough, I understand.

While you’re doing that, please take a moment to observe what was on my ceiling:

Ew.  Yes, there was panic and heart palpitations and sweaty palms when I realized that the stuff of my nightmares was directly over my head (and my cookie dough!), but I did have the presence of mind to take a photo so I could share the moment with you.

Then I fled the kitchen and made Trent deal with it, because that’s why I married him.

Anyway.

Drop the dough into rounded tablespoons, or use a fancy-schmancy cookie dough ball scooper thingamajig if you want them all uniform. 

The recipe says to bake these for 9 to 11 minutes, but I like soft cookies and my oven cooks slightly unevenly, so I put them in for 8, then turn the cookie sheet, and let them go for another 30 seconds or so.  It’s what works for me.

Well hello there.  And hello to you too, and you, and you, and you…….

Oh my.  I just love these cookies.  It’s not unheard of for the entire batch to be half gone within an hour.  Trent is SUCH a pig. I have nothing to do with it.

So there you have it.  Those are my not-so-secret-anymore ingredient chocolate chip cookies, and in my vast experience with cookies, these are definitely in the top three.  Prepare to stuff your face.

Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 sticks of butter, softened
3/4 c. packed brown sugar
3/4 c. granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 package instant vanilla pudding mix (3.4 oz.)
2 c. chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375.  In a large bowl, mix butter and both sugars; add eggs and vanilla and combine completely.  Add flour, salt, baking soda, and pudding mix; mix.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Drop dough in rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake for 9 to 11 minutes.

Pumpkin Bread with Chocolate Chips

These have been sitting in my house for the last week or so.

They’ve been speaking to me, telling me how wonderful they are, how happy they can make me, how just a few of them at a time aren’t bad for me. 

They want me.

And I want them.

Do chocolate chips talk to you all too?

Okay, so instead of just stuffing handfuls of them into my face (which, believe me, I am not above), I decided to bake with them.  Originally, I was going to keep it real simple and just do chocolate chip cookies, because I haven’t made those in awhile and I have a CLASSIFIED recipe that is super TOP SECRET and so CONFIDENTIAL that I can never, ever, ever post it on here.  Just kidding.  I’ll probably do that in the very near future.

I just didn’t have the secret ingredient handy for chocolate chip cookies.

But I did have a can of pumpkin available, and if I could name two of my favorite foods, it would probably be a superclose tie between chocolate chips and pumpkin, or mozzarella and crème brûlée.  (Do you know how long it just took me to 1) find out how to spell crème brûlée and 2) look up those f’ing symbols?  Please take a moment to appreciate my efforts in correctly spelling this divine French dessert.  Thank you for your cooperation.)

Anyway.

I had a can of pumpkin, and I am obsessed with pumpkin.  Pumpkin pie, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin bagels with pumpkin cream cheese, hell, I’ve eaten just straight up pumpkin out of the can before.  (I do not recommend that, by the way, because it is nasty.  I was pregnant, however, and having an in-freaking-tense pumpkin craving, so shoveling a spoonful of raw pumpkin into my yapper is excusable.)

So if chocolate chips and pumpkin were to bang and the pumpkin got knocked up, pumpkin bread with chocolate chips would be the love child of this blessed (and messy?) joining.

Also, just so you know, it’s been a long day and I’ve had one two three glasses of wine.

Soooooo……I got onto my most favoritest recipe website ever, and I found this recipe for the bread.  Take a stick of softened butter and some sugar and throw them in a bowl.

Then you mix it all around like you just don’t care.

Now add two eggs, cause that’s what it says to do.

Beat those in and then prepare yourself, because the pumpkin is coming next. 

Is anyone wondering why I’m holding a cup of pumpkin puree in my hand?  Well, do you remember how I said a moment ago that I  have an obsession with pumpkin?  I may not like the taste of raw pumpkin, but I LOVE THE SMELL.  I’m holding it because after I took that picture, I had to stick my schnoz in there and take like 12 big whiffs.

It was heaven.

So toss in the pumpkin, mix it, and set it aside.

Goodbye for now, my pumpkiny friend.

Now we need to get together the dry ingredients.  Grab another bowl and toss in some flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt.

Gradually add this dry mixture to the pumpkin mixture, folding it in and mixing until it’s all combined.

Add the chocolate chips and some walnuts if you want to, and then scrape the whole shebang into a greased 9x5x3 loaf pan.

Pop it in a 350 oven for about an hour, savoring the aroma that will fill your house for the last twenty minutes of cooking.  Seriously, people, SAVOR IT.  It’s so much better than any of the autumn scented Febreze products. 

Oh baby.  You had me at hello.

Make this next time your chocolate chips speak to you and you find a forgotten can of pumpkin in your pantry.  You’ll be so glad you did, PROMISE.

Pumpkin Bread with Chocolate Chips
1/2 c. butter, softened
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 c. canned pumpkin
1 3/4 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. cloves
1 c. chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 9x5x3 loaf pan.  In a large bowl, cream together butter, sugar, eggs, and pumpkin.  In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients except chocolate chips.  Gradually add dry mixture to pumpkin mixture, mixing until completely combined.  Add chocolate chips, and pour into loaf pan.  Bake for approximately 1 hour or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Thanks to Michele McFie for sharing this tasty recipe.

Quick ‘n Dirty Cobbler

So I made this cobbler last night.  I’ve been craving cobbler, and we were at RC’s the other day, and they had it as their featured dessert.  I thought, “Oh yes, I’ll be having some of that.”  And then Chase tragically (not magically) transformed from a 6-year old into a 2-year old, and I had to remove him from the restaurant and restrain myself from publicly beating him.

Anyway, I didn’t get my cobbler.

I was pissed.

So I decided to make some myself, but I was feeling lazy and took a bunch of shortcuts.  I googled “quick cobbler recipe” or something, made a couple of changes, and here’s what I came up with.  Take your chosen fruit (blueberries, peaches, whatev), and put a layer of it in a pie plate or casserole dish.

Mine were frozen, so I had to heat them up a bit.  You can use fresh fruit though, too.  I’ll allow it.

Now, grab an egg, some sugar, flour, cinnamon, and some coconut oil (or butter), and mix it all together.

Now just mix it all up and set it aside.  I added a little bit of milk to mine too, because it seemed too thick.

At this time, please redirect your attention to the blueberries.  They’ve been waiting patiently, and we don’t want to neglect them any longer.  And this is where it got a little weird for me personally.  I mean, it ended up being fine, but I’ve just never made cobbler like this before.  If you have, great.  If you haven’t, are you ready for some weirdness?  Cool, me too.  Grab a slice or two of bread, tear it into chunks, and layer it on top of the blueberries.

Weird, huh?  Now take your egg mixture and pour it all over the top. 

Please ignore the small slice of deli meat on the counter.  Sometimes SOME people at my house don’t clean up after themselves when they make a sandwich, do they TRENT???

Okay, now we’re just gonna pop this in a 350 degree oven for about 30-40 minutes, or until it looks like this:

Interesting outcome, no?  I thought so.  I was a little skeptical, but lucky for me, I usually just ignore any skepticism I might have when there’s food involved, and I immediately start stuffing my face.  I did take a picture first, but only because of you guys.  Normally, I wouldn’t even bother with a plate, I’d just eat it right out of the pie dish, but I try to make myself look at least somewhat civilized on here.  It’s a real challenge.

Quick ‘n Dirty Cobbler
1-2 cups of frozen (thawed) or fresh fruit
1-2 slices of bread
1 egg, beaten
1/2 – 3/4 c. sugar
1 tbsp. flour
1/2 tbsp. melted coconut oil or butter
dash of cinnamon
splash of milk

Note: I love recipes that have varying ingredient amounts, or ones that call for dashes and splashes.  They’re just more fun….and being precise is kind of boring.  Just in case you were wondering what my thoughts were on that topic.

Preheat the oven to 350.  Place fruit in a pie plate or casserole dish.  Tear bread into chunks and layer it on top of the fruit.  Mix the egg, sugar, flour, coconut oil, cinnamon, and milk until the consistency is somewhere between runny and gloopy.  Pour the egg mixture on top of the bread and fruit, and bake for 30-45 minutes.  Serve warm and top with whipped cream or ice cream.

Cake Balls!

Huh huh….I just said balls….huh huh.  Sorry, sometimes I can’t control my 7th grade sense of humor…..or my urges to talk like Beavis and Butthead.  Ooh! That reminds me!  Did you guys know that show is coming back to TV?  I’m kind of excited.

Anyway.  We have more important things to discuss.  Like Cake Balls.  Or Balls of Cake.  Or Spheres of Joy.  Or Baked Orbs of Awesomeness.  Whatever you want to call them, if you haven’t had one of these little delights, then I’m very sorry.  You need one.  Make it a priority.  All you need is this:

As you can see from the box cake mix, store bought frosting, and CandiQuik, this is a super easy recipe.  The cool part is that you can totally fancy it up and no one will ever know it came from a box.  Neat! Okay, so grab a box of cake mix (any flavor), frosting (any flavor), melting chocolate, and some coconut oil (or shortening, whatever ya got).  Make the cake according to the package directions, then let it completely cool.

Hi there, Gorgeous.  I’m about to do things to you that you may not like.  Sorry.

Cut the cake into a few large chunks, and put them in a big bowl.

Using two knives, criss cross them all over the cake until it’s crumbly.  If anyone can think of a better way to word that, let me know.  And if you can find a turd to help you, go for it:

Basically, you need to end up with very fine crumbs, like this:

Now grab your frosting and spoon about half the can right into the crumbs.  The first time I made this, I used a whole can, and the texture was just all wrong….for me.  My suggestion would be to start with half, taste test, then add more if you want a creamier texture.  Plus, this gives you an excuse to taste test.  Not that you really one.

Mix it well with a spoon until the frosting is evenly distributed.  Now would also be a good time to reward any helpful turds.

All right, friends, let’s get our hands dirty.  Pinch off about golf ball-sized amount (or a little smaller) of the cake/frosting mix, then roll it into a ball.  It will roll easily, thanks to all that yummy frosting.  Thank God for frosting.  Can you imagine a world without it?  I shudder to think.

Un.

Deux.

Trois. 

Now just pop that baby onto a large cookie sheet covered in parchment paper or foil, and complete that process with the rest of the mixture.

Mmmm….do you have any idea how hard it was to not eat one of those right then?  No?  Then let me fill you in….it was not easy.  I had to keep reminding myself that they were only going to get better, and I should wait until they were all finished.  Also, it looked so pretty and symmetrical having them all lined up, and there are rare moments when having things neat and organized is important to me.  This was one of those moments.

Once you’ve got the cake/frosting mix all balled up and placed on the cookie sheet, stick in the freezer for at least an hour, longer if you can stand it.  We want them to be nice and firm for the next part of the process, which involves this:

Okay, you’re going to need at least 2 of these.  A little bit does not go a long way here.  Put the chocolate in a large, microwaveable bowl and add a dab of the coconut oil or shortening.  This will thin it out a little and make it easier to dip in.  Double check the microwave time on the package, but I think about a minute or so will do the trick.

Perfect.  Now get your cake balls out of the freezer and use a toothpick to skewer them and dip them in the chocolate.

Holy mother of chocolate.  I want you.  I want you now. 

Dip all the cake balls, putting them right back where you found them.  When you’re done, stick them in the freezer again for a few minutes, just to make sure the chocolate is completely hard.  We’re almost done, guys, then you can eat one, I promise. 

Remove the toothpicks, being careful not to crack the chocolate.  Using your fingers, dip the tops of each cake ball into the chocolate, just to cover the toothpick hole and cover any spots you missed.

One more time in the freezer to set the chocolate, and these babies are done.  Now you can dress them up if you want by drizzling some melted white chocolate across the tops, or dabbing some of the chocolate on the tops and sprinkling on chopped nuts or sticking on an almond sliver.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have any time for that since I had guacamole waiting to be made, cheesecakes waiting to be dipped in that same chocolate, and 5 people milling around the kitchen asking for samples.  So, my balls were plain, but boy, were they good.  And that just sounded all wrong, huh?

Cake Balls
1 box cake mix, any flavor
1 can frosting, any flavor
Melting chocolate (2 packages)
2 tbsp. coconut oil or shortening

Make the cake according to package directions; cool completely.  Remove cake from pan and crumble in a large bowl.  Mix in half the can of frosting, stirring until evenly distributed.  Form mixture into 1-inch balls and place on cookie sheet.  Freeze for a minimum of 1 hour.  Melt 1 package of the chocolate with 1 tbsp. of coconut oil or shortening.  Remove cake balls from freezer, and use a toothpick to skewer and dip the balls into the melted chocolate.  Repeat until all cake balls are coated, then freeze again for 10 minutes.  Remove from freezer and take out the toothpicks.  Dip the tops of the cake balls into the chocolate so they are fully coated.  Freeze again for 5-10 minutes.  Now stuff your face.

Note: It’s fun to mix and match your cake and frosting….try chocolate cake and frosting with white dipping chocolate.  Or try red velvet cake, vanilla frosting, and white dipping chocolate.  Or swap out the red velvet mix and go for lemon.  The possibilities are endless (not really, but you get me) here, so have fun with it!

Chocolate Cake, a Teensy Bit Healthier

So my middle child turned eight last week.  EIGHT.  I’m still in shock.  In just 10 short years, she’ll be considered an adult, which is terrifying to me for a multitude of reasons.  I don’t even want to think about it, to be honest, so let’s just look at this picture instead:

She was two then.  TWO.  Wah!  I miss those days with the princess tiaras and cheap plastic necklaces.  Now it’s all “I want real earrings, Mom, not cheap baby ones” and “Can I get this Justin Bieber poster?” and “Can you record me singing this Taylor Swift song so I can post it on YouTube?”  Um…..no.  To all of it.  I need you to be my baby.  And if you want to argue, then this might happen:

By the way, I will get to the chocolate cake. I haven’t forgotten.   In fact, I’m leading up to it…this is all part of my master plan. 

But I’m not done reminiscing yet.  Sorry.

Look at this one.  I love this one.  That’s a wish flower, in case you didn’t know.  That’s what she told me, anyway, and don’t anyone try to tell her it’s a weed.  She ain’t havin’ it.  

Okay, this is the last one, I promise.  Behold:

How inappropriate.  What mother would take a photo of her young daughter touching a horse statue’s junk?  Geez.  Some people.

On that note, let’s move on to the cake.  So my 8-year old baby asked for a chocolate cake for her birthday.  Naturally, I can’t deny this request, nor do I want to.  Chocolate cake is one of the great loves of my life.  I found this recipe online for what I have come to believe is the world’s best chocolate cake.  It’s light yet dense (does that make sense?), incredibly moist, and really, really chocolatey.  Best of all, it’s super easy to make.  Now, as much as I hate to alter this recipe in any way, I can’t be eating something that is 4,200 calories per slice.  I just can’t be like that anymore.  So….sigh….substitutions were made. 

Here’s what you need:

Yes, that is a box mix.  I’m lazy.  Deal with it.  Okay, so we’ve got fat free sour cream, a box of chocolate cake mix, a package of chocolate pudding,  eggs, applesauce, vanilla, water, and chocolate chips.

Set your oven to 350, and grease and flour a Bundt pan.  Or a regular pan.  Whatever makes you happy.  Dump the cake mix into a large mixing bowl.

Then add the pudding.

Pour in the applesauce.  I promise this will not affect the flavor, other than to make it more moist and rich.

Oh, and I don’t know what was going on with my camera.  It was being weird, and these pictures kinda suck.  I think you’ll still get the idea, though. 

Add four eggs.

Pour some hot water into this mess of goodness.

Now we’re going to up the moistness level even more, because it’s the right thing to do.  Put in a cup of sour cream, and start preparing yourself for obscene deliciousness.

Just one more ingredient to complete this masterpiece….vanilla.  Dump it in.

Now, mix it all up.  Get in there and really beat the crap out of it.  Just kidding.  There’s no need to be violent.  Just mix it thoroughly, until it looks something like this:

Might as well make it even better by adding some chocolate chips, right?  That kind of summarizes my entire outlook on life, actually.  Just add chocolate, and things will be better.  We’re going with about half the bag here, friends.

Mix it up, then stick in a spoon and pull a big glob out.  Eat it.  Repeat.  Repeat again, but this time you gotta stop for real, because the threat of salmonella lurks. 

Pour the batter into your prepared Bundt pan, and stick it in the oven for 50-60 minutes.  If you’re using another kind of pan or making cupcakes, adjust your cooking time.  (Hint: it will be less.)

Warning: the aromas that fill your house will be heavenly.  They will make you hungry.  They will make you salivate.  They will fill your mind with images of happiness.  You may enter a zombie-like trance where you lose all control of your will power and eat the other half of the chocolate chips.

Just wanted to give you a heads up.

Oh my.  Fresh out of the oven.  If I hadn’t already consumed so much chocolate at this point, I have no doubt that I would’ve just grabbed a fork and had at it.  No doubt at all.

Okay, so let it cool, then carefully turn it out onto whatever dish you’re going to store it in.

Hello, gorgeous.  I want to eat you.  As Bill would tell Sookie, “You are mine.”  Sorry, I just got Season 3 of True Blood and I’ve been watching it obsessively.  And, in all honesty, the cake is not mine.  It’s my daughter’s.  Boo.

Now, grab a can of store-bought frosting and pop it in the microwave for 30ish seconds.  Please be sure to remove the foil covering on it.  Bad things happen if you don’t, and I speak from experience.  Give it a good stir, and pour it on the cake.  This is how lazy people such as myself frost a cake.

Now take whatever chocolate chips you didn’t eat, and sprinkle them on the top.

Mmmm….you guys, this cake is so yummy.  And yeah, so maybe it’s not totally healthy, but the fat free sour cream and the applesauce in place of the oil have to count for something, right?  No?  Fine.  Be that way.

This kid didn’t mind:

Chocolate Cake:
1 box chocolate cake mix
1 package chocolate pudding
1 cup applesauce, no sugar added
4 eggs
1/2 cup hot water
1 cup fat free sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips

Mix all ingredients except chocolate chips on low speed until thoroughly combined.  Fold in chocolate chips.  Pour into prepared pan and bake at 350 degrees.  Cooking times will vary depending on what pan you use.  Refer to the instructions on the cake mix box.  Use the toothpick test to determine doneness.