Chocolate Pumpkin Swirled Cupcakes

So a couple of my coworkers were lamenting the fact that almost all of the treats I bring into work are sweets. One is diabetic and the other is on a no-sugar diet. So I took that as a challenge and found this recipe, which is diabetic friendly and has no sugar. I did modify it slightly, as is my want, by adding a little brown sugar bourbon. Enjoy!

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Chocolate Pumpkin Swirled Cupcakes

  • 1 cup pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup real maple syrup
  • 2 large eggs, at room temp
  • 1/4 cup milk (I used coconut milk as I had it on hand)
  • 1 tsp real vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar bourbon
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin spice
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup melted unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Dutch-processed, it’s the best)
  • 1/2 cup (or so) chocolate chips, divided

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350°. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with liners and spray the insides with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large bowl mix together the pumpkin, syrup, eggs, milk, bourbon, and vanilla.

In another bowl sift together the flour, baking soda, pumpkin spice, and salt.

Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and fold in until just combined. Add the melted butter and stir until combined.

Now divide your batter in half. To one half add in the cocoa and 1/4 cup of chocolate chips. Stir to combine. Now add it back into the other half and gently swirl them together. You don’t want them too mixed if you want to see a swirled pattern.

Scope into the lined muffin tin, filling about halfway. Sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips on top. Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool and eat.

 

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German Chocolate Pie

I came across a recipe for this pie and it immediately caught my attention. Mostly because I have a good friend who loves German Chocolate cake; in fact, I made one for him for this birthday one year. So I thought I would give it a try. I only modified it slightly. Used my own pie crust recipe and added some good Dutch-processed cocoa. Warning! This is really rich so a little goes a long way! Enjoy!

 

German Chocolate Pie

Filling:

  • 4 oz sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 1 14oz can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa
  • 1 tsp real vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Filling:

  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, cubed
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Direction:

Preheat your oven to 400°. Roll out the pie dough using my recipe (which will make 2 pies) and line a pie plate. Prick the bottom and sides with a fork. Line the pie dough with parchment paper and pie weights (I just use dry beans). Bake for 15 minutes. Carefully take the weight and parchment out and put it bake in the oven for another 10 minutes or until light brown. Remove and cool on a wire rack.

Preheat your oven to 350°. Put the chopped chocolate in a microwave bowl and nuke to 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Allow it to cool slightly until just warm to the touch. Whisk in the milk, yolks, and vanilla until smooth. Stir in the chopped pecans. Pour into the pie shell and bake for 20 minutes. Allow to cool on a wire rack.

Once it’s cool, combine the brown sugar, cream, and butter in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved. In a small bowl whisk the yolks. Slowly whisk in a small amount of the hot sugar/cream mixture. Pour the yolks into the remaining sugar mixture and cook for 2-3 minutes over medium heat until the mixture is thick. Stirr in the coconut ad vanilla, allow to cool for 10 minutes. Pour over the pie filling and sprinkle with the 1/2 cup of chopped pecans. Refrigerate until completely chilled. Enjoy!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

To get ideas for cooking, and to post to this blog, I frequently ask people I know what their favorite dessert is. Recently one of those was peanut butter. Since I’ve already made peanut butter cookies I decided to try coming up with something else. Lucky for me I had recently come across a recipe for peanut butter pie. Which was fine but I happen to like chocolate with my peanut butter so I added a layer to the top. It turned out pretty good. Enjoy!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

  • Pastry for a single-crust pie (see previous blog post)
  • 1 1/2 cups light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 4 large eggs, at room temp
  • 1/2 tsp real vanilla extract
  • 4 1 1/2 oz Hershey chocolate bars

Directions:

Pre-heat your oven to 350°. On a lightly floured workspace roll out the dough and line a pie pan with it. Chill while making the rest of the pie.

In a large bowl, beat together the corn syrup, sugar, peanut butter and salt until creamy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla until light and fluffy. Pour into the pie shell and bake for 60-70 minutes. It will puff up, that’s fine. It will also fall once you take it out, that’s fine too. You want it to be almost set, so a knife inserted in the middle will come out almost clean.

Allow to cool. Break up the Hershey chocolate bars and microwave in a microwave proof bowl for 30 seconds at a time, stirring between, until melted and smooth. Pour over the top of the cooled pie and smooth out. Eat.

Coconut Chocolate Pie

I made this recipe as a follow up for my Hawaiian friend who had a birthday. I figured, why only celebrate once? It was one of the recipes suggested by my friend, Google. I only modified it slightly. Instead of using a store bought pie crust, I used the recipe I’ve posted before in my Dutch Apple pie for the crust.  I really liked that the coconut flavor was subtle, not in your face. Enjoy!

 

Coconut Chocolate Pie

  • 1 pie crust
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 14 oz can coconut milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1 1/4 cups chocolate chips
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup creme de cocoa liqueur, divided in half

Directions:

Bake the pie crust in a 350° oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. You want to poke the bottom and sides with a fork first.  I weight mine down with parchment paper and some old dried beans. This prevents it from puffing up but can take longer to bake. Allow to cool completely.

In a medium pan; whisk together the milk, coconut milk and sugar. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat then reduce to low. Combine the corn starch and cold water, I like to use a jar for this. Shake well until it’s mixed (no lumps of cornstarch). Slowly pour into the milk mixture, whisking constantly. Continue stirring until it thickens, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Use a microwave safe bowl and nuke the chocolate in 20 second interval, stirring between, until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Add in 1/2, or 2 Tbsp, of the cocoa liqueur.

Divide the milk mixture evenly, I like to use 2 identical liquid measuring cups for this. Add the chocolate to one of them. Pour one of the mixtures into the cooled pie shell and smooth out. The original recipe called for the chocolate first but I missed that and poured the coconut first, I don’t think it really matters but I liked the light/dark/light layering. Pour the second mixture and gently smooth out. Refrigerate for at least an hour, longer is better.

Place a mixing bowl and beaters, or whisk attachment if using a stand mixer, in the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes. Once cold, beat the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add the powdered sugar and remaining cocoa liqueur and beat until stiff peaks form. Spread on top of the pie and serve.

Dulce de Leche Pie

So I was requested (more like a demand) that I make a Dulce de Leche recipe. I was pretty sure what was wanted was actually a tres leches cake but that’s another story (turned out I was right). I’ve modified it a bit, like most recipes I make, and I think it turned out pretty good (or so I heard since I didn’t get any). The original recipe called for white chocolate and I didn’t think that really paired well with the leche. The crust is based on the recipe I posted earlier for dark cocoa cookies. Just let them dry out for a day or too. And an added bonus? There’s not baking involved. Enjoy!

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Dulce de Leche pie

Crust:

  • 14 to 16 oz of dark cocoa cookies, crushed (amount depends on your pie tin size)
  • 8 Tbsp melted butter

Filling:

  • 10 Oz chocolate chips
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 8 oz cream cheese, at room temp
  • 1 cup dulce de leche (I make my own)

Topping:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp chocolate vodka or liqueur (optional)

Directions:

Pulse the cookies in a food processor until fine. Add the melted butter and mix well. Pour into a pie tin and press firmly into the button and up the sides to create a thick crust. Chill.

Place a mixing bowl and beaters, or whisk attachment if using a stand mixer, in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes.

Using a microwave-safe bowl, melt the chocolate by nuking for 20 seconds at a time; stirring in-between until it’s completely melted and smooth. Beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the melted chocolate and beat again until smooth. Add the dulce de leche and beat again, until smooth.

Take the bowl out of the freezer and beat the heavy cream until it starts to form peaks. Add in the powdered sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Fold into the cream cheese/chocolate/leche mixture until well combined. Pout into the pie shell and refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours, or until set.

Before serving; put a mixing bowl and beaters, or whisk attachment if using a stand mixer, in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes. Beat the heavy cream until soft peaks start to form. Add the powdered sugar and chocolate vodka, if using, and beat until stiff peaks form. Spread on top of the set pie and serve.

Dark Cocoa Cookies

So I had a request to make a Dulce de Leche dessert. I gave it some thought, consulted my friend Google, and came up with the idea of a pie. The recipe I found, which I’ll post later, wasn’t exactly what I wanted so I modified it extensively. But one of the things it called for was ground up Oreos for the crust. Unfortunately it called for them WITH the filling, which I thought sounded awful (and way too sweet). So I decided to make my own but more in the style of Paul Newman’s tops & bottoms.  I found this recipe, which is one of the few I haven’t modified really, and they turned out exactly how I wanted. No, in fact, better than what I wanted. Unlike the above mentioned, they were just a tiny bit moist. Well until I let them dry out for my pie. The key is GOOD cocoa. Don’t go buy cheap stuff, like Hershey’s, but true Dutch processed cocoa. The darker the better! Enjoy!

 

Dark Cocoa Cookies

  • 1 1/4 cups butter at room temp
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup Dutch processed cocoa
  • 1/2 Tsp kosher or fine salt
  • 1 Tsp real vanilla
  • 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups flour

Directions:

In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy. Turn down to low and add the cocoa a little at a time, careful it’s very powdery and will fly everywhere if you’re not careful. Once incorporated, add the salt and vanilla, mix until combined. Add the flour 1/2 cup at a time. And each time you want to mix it until all the flour is incorporated. Mix until the dough is mostly dry and crumbly. It’s a fine line here, you don’t want it too moist because you want a crisp cookie; but you don’t want it too dry either. It should stick together but not be sticky at all. Divide it into 2 disks, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 15 minutes. You want it cold but not so cold it won’t roll out. If it goes longer that 15 minutes then let it warm up at room temp for 15 minutes before trying to roll it out.

Preheat your oven to 350° and line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. Roll out the dough to about 1/8″ thickness. Again not to thick, you want a crisp cookie after all. I used a couple of pieces of waxed paper and sandwiched the dough between them so it wouldn’t stick. Use a 2″ circle cutter, like a biscuit cutter, to cut out the cookies.

Bake for 8-9 minutes. It’s almost impossible to tell when they’re done because they’re so dark but you should be fine as long as you stick to this range. You may need to adjust slightly depending on your oven. Better a little underdone and needing to be popped back into the oven for a minute or two than over done and burnt.

 

 

Flourless Chocolate Cake

I’m always on the lookout for gluten free options for desserts. You know, we all have that one friend. This is based off of a recipe from Pati Jinich, who is on PBS. Her recipe calls for pecans, not a fan here so I substituted almonds instead. I added a few other things and bam! A great gluten free dessert. Another bonus? You can make this in your blender. Enjoy.

Flourless Chocolate Cake

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter (1/2 a stick)
  • 6 oz bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 Tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sugar
  • pinch of kosher or fine sea salt
  • 1 Tsp Espresso powder
  • 1 Tsp ground cinnamon

Directions

Preheat your oven to 350°. Spray a 9″ springform pan with non-stick cooking spray and line the bottom with parchment paper.

Set a medium glass or metal bowl over a medium pot with a couple inches of water and bring to a simmer. Add in the chopped chocolate and butter, stir until it’s smooth and melted. Set a side to cool slightly.

In a blender, chop the almonds until they are finely ground. Add the eggs, vanilla, sugar, salt and melted chocolate. Blend until smooth. Pour into the pan and bake for about 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes our moist but not wet.

Allow it to cool and then release the springform pan. Invert onto a plate and then flip it again. Sprinkle the top with powdered sugar, or whip cream or even chocolate sauce. Some berries add a fine touch as well.

Tiramisu

This is probably one of the most classic Italian desserts. As a classic, there isn’t much modification that you can or need to do to it. Pretty much every recipe is the same. That said; I, of course, modified it. But barely. I added a little Kahlua in addition to the traditional rum, it really enhances the coffee flavor, and I like mine with a thin layer of whip cream on top.

Now when I make this I try to also have at least one other recipe in mind that calls for mascarpone cheese. And maybe some mashed potatoes too. Why? Because rather than going to a regular grocery store and paying around $7.00 (or more) for 8 oz (and the recipes calls for 32 oz!) I go to Smart Foodservices Warehouse (used to be called Cash & Carry). It’s sort of like Costco but smaller and definitely aimed at restaurants. There I can pick up a 5 lbs bucket for between $20-$25. Do the math, $7×4 for just 2 lbs or get the 5er. Pretty easy choice. Unfortunately they’re just on the west coast but try Costco, they sometimes have it as well. Enjoy

Tiramisu

  • 6 extra large egg yolks, at room temp
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark rum, divided in half
  • 1/4 cup Kahlua or other coffee flavored liquor
  • 1 1/2 cups brewed espresso, divided 1 1/4 and 1/4
  • 2 lbs mascarpone cheese, at room temp
  • 30 Italian ladyfingers, an Italian cookie
  • bittersweet chocolate, shaved or grated
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar

Directions

In a stand mixer, with the whisk attachment, beat the egg yolks and sugar until they’re very thick and light yellow (about 5 minutes). Lower the speed and add in 1/4 cup rum, Kahlua, 1/4 cup espresso and all of the mascarpone cheese. Beat until smooth and creamy.

Combine the remaining rum and espresso in a shallow bowl or pan. Dip the ladyfingers in the mixture and line the bottom of a 9″x12″ pan that’s at least 3″ to 4″ deep. You’ll want to do this quickly as these little cookie soak up moisture quickly and will turn soggy. You don’t want that. Pour half of the espresso/mascarpone mixture on top and smooth it out. Do a second layer of espresso dipped ladyfingers and add them to the top of the espresso/mascarpone layer. Pour the rest of the espresso/mascarpone mixture and smooth it out. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Take the bowl of your stand mixer and the whisk attachment and put them in the freezer for at least 30 minutes. Starting on low, beat the heavy cream until  frothy. Slowly raise the speed until it’s on high and the whip cream start to form soft peaks. Lower the speed, add in the sugar and raise the speed to med-high. Beat until firm peaks form. Smooth it out on the top of your tiramisu and dust with the grated or shaved chocolate. Chill for another 30 minutes or so and then serve.

S’more Sandwich Cookies

Ok the s’more cookie recipe that I’ve been working on has gotten under my skin. The first try was pretty good but the graham cookies were a little dry. So I have it another go and it turned out pretty good. Recently I was talking to a co-worker about cookies and she gave me a great idea for a new twist on this cookie. So instead of putting chocolate ON the graham cookie and then the marshmallow I decided to make a chocolate cookie and sandwich marshmallow fluff in-between. And to add another twist, I made the fluff bourbon flavored. I think they turned out pretty good. Enjoy!

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Graham cookie

  • 2 cups graham or whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 Tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 Tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 Tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 Tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into 1/4″ cubes
  • 2 1/4 oz molasses
  • 1 1/2 oz milk
  • 1/2 Tsp pure vanilla extract

Directions

In a food processor combine the flours, sugar, baking powder and baking soda. Pulse a couple of times to combine. Add the butter and pulse until it starts to look like cornmeal. Add the molasses, mild and vanilla and process until the dough starts to form a ball, about a minute.

Poor out onto a board and shape into a long rectangle about 2″ x 2″. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour, longer is better.

Once chilled, pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Cut the log into 1/4″ squares and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 25 minutes.

Chocolate Shortbread cookie

  • 1 ¾ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup almond flour
  • 2 ½ sticks unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp espresso powder
  • ½ cup mini semisweet chocolate chips (or grated chocolate)

Directions

Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream the butter and brown sugar at medium speed until smooth. Add vanilla and beat for another 1-2 minutes.

Whisk the flours together in a medium bowl with the cocoa and espresso. Add to the butter mixture and mix until smooth. Add chocolate chips and mix until just combined.

Dump the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap and shape into a long log about 2” wide & high. Refrigerate for at least an hour, longer is better.

Preheat the oven to 350°. Cut the cookie log into about ¼” slices and space evenly on the cookie sheet. They do not spread much, only a little so leave about 1/2 inch between. Bake for 25 minutes.

Bourbon Marshmallow Fluff

  • 1 package Knox unflavored gelatin
  • 1/2 cup bourbon + 1 Tbsp
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 Tsp kosher salt
  • 2 large egg whites

Directions

In a stand mixer sprinkle the gelatin into the 1/2 cup cold water.

In a heavy pot combine the sugar, 1/2 cup bourbon, syrup and salt. Heat over low heat and whisk until the sugar has dissolved, about 5 minutes. Once the sugar has dissolved, turn up the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. continue to boil until the mixture comes to 240 degrees. A candy thermometer really comes in handy here. Once it hits 240 remove it from the heat and slowly and carefully pout into the gelatin mixture. Using the whisk attachment beat hard for about 10 minutes. It’ll start to double in bulk and become white and fluffy. Meanwhile beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Add the tbsp of bourbon until stiff again. Add to the sugar/gelatin mixture and stir to combine. Chill for about 30 minutes.

Assemble the cookie

This is pretty easy. Take a tablespoon of marshmallow fluff and sandwich it between a graham cookie and a chocolate cookie.