Tag Archives: chocolate

Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Bars

1 May

It would probably be inappropriate of me, as the teacher, to whine about having to walk over six miles greening up. But dang, I’m toddling for cripes’ sake.

It might be better for me to lament the fact that after my long, arduous Vermont winter, I forgot that my Scandinavian skin hates the sun. I look like a baby lobster.

This recipe is sunburn-friendly–there’s no need to stick you scorched face in to a hot oven more than once.

Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Bars

Adapted from Išbandyti receptai

Printable Recipe

Crust

1 1/2 stick butter

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cup flour

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter, sugar, and salt until light yellow and fluffy. Gradually add in flour and mix until combined–the dough will be crumbly. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes. In the meantime, preheat oven to 350°. Prepare a baking dish by lining it with parchment paper. When the dough is chilled, press into a thin layer in the baking pan. (Slightly damp hands will keep the dough from sticking to you.) Bake 15-20 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. Allow to cool.

Caramel

1 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup water

1 tablespoon butter

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups pretzels, roughly chopped

In a medium saucepan, combine brown sugar and water, stirring only until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil over medium heat, without stirring, for about 15 minutes. It will be difficult to tell when the caramel is ready because of the darkness of the brown sugar, but I generally go by when it starts to smell like caramel. While the sugar mixture is boiling, combine the heavy cream, salt, and vanilla in a small bowl. Once the caramel is ready, add the butter and heavy cream mixture and stir vigorously. Return to heat and stir until caramel is smooth. Stir in pretzels. Pour caramel over cooled crust and let set.

Chocolate Topping

1 bag milk chocolate chips

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 tablespoon honey

In a medium saucepan, combine all ingredients and stir constantly over medium heat until chocolate is just melted. Spread over caramel / pretzel layer. Cover baking dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours.

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Chocolate Covered Raspberry Marshmallows

8 Feb

A happy day in middle school–nobody failed their Chapter 2 test! This is particularly celebration-worthy because of the dismal results of the Chapter 1 test. I wanted the kiddos to know how (very) impressed I was, so I whipped them up a little treat.

I reinvented the marshmallow recipe that I used for the Hot Cocoa on a Stick recipe. The raspberry marshmallows are unexpected surprise inside the chocolate coating and the little size makes them a perfect little gift. You could use a heart-shaped cookie cutter instead for a cute Valentine’s day snack for your sweeties.

Chocolate Covered Raspberry Marshmallows

Printable Recipe

1/3 cup powdered sugar

1/2 cup cold water

2 1/2 tablespoons unflavored gelatin

1 1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 cup corn syrup

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup water

1 teaspoon raspberry extract

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 drops red food coloring

2 packages (12 oz. each) Wilton candy melts, light cocoa flavor

Grease sides and bottom of a 8″x8″ baking dish with butter or cooking spray. Dust with powdered sugar.

Pour cold water into bowl of a mixer. Sprinkle gelatin over the water and let sit.

In a heavy saucepan, cook sugar, corn syrup, salt, and 1/2 cup water over low heat. Stir constantly, until sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to medium and heat the syrup to boiling. Boil without stirring until the mixture reaches 240° on a candy thermometer. This will take about 15 to 20 minutes.

Remove from heat and, with the mixer running on low, pour the hot syrup in a thin stream into the gelatin.  Gradually increase the speed of the mixer to medium-high and beat until the mixture is white and has almost tripled in volume–about 8-1o minutes.

Add the extracts and food coloring and mix about a minute more to combine.

Pour marshmallows into prepared pan and allow to sit at least one hour to let them dry out a little bit.

Once they have set, carefully run a knife around the outside edges and lift the marshmallows in a single sheet onto a piece of parchment paper. Dip your cookie cutter in water and cut out the marshmallow shapes. Marshmallows have a sort of self-healing tendency, so the cutting of the shapes will require some tenacity on your part. Don’t lose heart!

In a metal bowl set over boiling water, melt the candy melts. Dip each marshmallow in the candy, using two forks to lift them in and out and scrape off any excess. Set on parchment paper to harden. Package each star in a cellophane treat bag.

Red Velvet Brownies

8 Jan

I don’t know what makes red velvet so special, but it certainly is, and what better way to ring in the New Year than with a brownie that’s full of elegance and topped with the most insane amount of frosting. These brownies have the best proportion of frosting to brownie that I have ever seen. That’s what drew me to them in the first place–I never say no to frosting, especially delicious homemade cream cheese frosting! That, and the brownie itself is rich and moist with all the luxuriousness of red velvet. I can promise they won’t last long!

Adapted from une Gamine dans la Cuisine

Printable Recipe

Brownies

4 oz. bittersweet chocolate

3/4 cup unsalted butter

1 cup sugar

1 cup brown sugar, packed

3 eggs

1 1/2 cups flour

1 oz. red food coloring

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a 9″x9″ baking pan with parchment paper.

In a large heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter, stirring occasionally. As soon as the mixture is smooth, remove from heat and whisk in the sugars. After the sugar is dissovled, whisk in the eggs one at a time. Add the flour, food coloring, baking powder, vanilla, and salt and mix until the flour is just combined–no more than 50 strokes. (No tough brownies for us!) Pour the batter in to the prepared pan. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out with just a few crumbs on it. Let cool completely before frosting.

Frosting

12 oz. (a package and a half) cream cheese, softened

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

3 cups powdered sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and butter together until fluffy (about 2 minutes). Gradually add in powdered sugar until a thick frosting forms. Add in the salt and vanilla and beat on high speed until creamy. Spread frosting over cooled brownies.

(I told you they wouldn’t last!)

Sweet Holiday Gift Idea: Hot Cocoa on a Stick

28 Nov

I’m already starting to think about holiday baked goods–after all, Christmas is only 27 days away! The holidays can sometimes seem overwhelming, but this is an easy, cute, and unique gift that you can make weeks in advance!

Hot Cocoa

Printable Recipe

1/2 cup heavy cream

14 ounces (1 can) sweetened condensed milk

3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

4 ounces unsweetened baker’s chocolate, chopped

25 lollipop sticks

Prepare an 8×8″ pan by spraying it lightly with cooking spray. Place the chocolate chips and chopped baker’s chocolate in a large heat-proof bowl.

Over medium-high heat, mix the heavy cream and the sweetened condensed milk together in a medium saucepan.

Bring a mixture to a simmer, whisking to make sure it doesn’t scorch. Once the liquid is simmering, pour it over the chocolate. Let it sit for a moment to warm the chocolate.

Stir the cream and the chocolate together, until the mixture is shiny and smooth. It will be quite thick.

Pour the chocolate into the prepared pan and smooth into an even layer. Allow this to firm up overnight or 3-4 hours in the refrigerator.

Once the chocolate has set, use a large knife to cut the block into 1 1/2″ squares. For the smoothest cuts, rinse the knife with hot water and dry it between each cut. I set my chocolate in the freezer after I cut it to allow it to firm up a little more before popping them out of the pan.

Peppermint Marshmallows

This was my first attempt at making marshmallows–and I was completely unprepared for the stickiness! Make sure you have plenty of powdered sugar on hand to keep things from getting out of hand.

Adapted from The Nerd’s Wife

1/3 cup powdered sugar

1/2 cup cold water

2 1/2 Tablespoons unflavored gelatin

1 1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 cup corn syrup

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup water

1 teaspoon peppermint extract

red food coloring

Grease sides and bottom of a 2-quart baking dish with butter. Dust with powdered sugar really well.

Pour cold water into bowl of a mixer. Sprinkle gelatin over the water and let sit.

In a heavy saucepan, cook sugar, corn syrup, salt, and 1/2 cup water over low heat. Stir constantly, until sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to medium and heat the syrup to boiling. Boil without stirring until the mixture reaches 240° on a candy thermometer. This will take about 15 to 20 minutes–be patient!

Remove from heat and, with the mixer running on low, pour the hot syrup in a thin stream into the gelatin.  Gradually increase the speed of the mixer to medium-high and beat until the mixture is white and has almost tripled in volume–about 8-1o minutes.

Add peppermint extract and beat to incorporate–about 15 seconds more on the mixer.

Remove from the mixer and add 4 drops of food coloring. Fold by hand 3-4 times to swirl color. Don’t mix too much or you’ll end up with pink marshmallows.

Pour marshmallows into prepared pan. Drop food coloring randomly on the surface of the marshmallows and drag the color through the mixture with a butter knife or toothpick. Again, don’t mix too much! Let the marshmallows sit, uncovered, for at least 4 hours.

After the marshmallows have set, sprinkle your work surface with powdered sugar. Place 1/3 cup powdered sugar in a bowl or shallow dish. Loosen the marshmallows in the pan by running a knife around the edges and gently transfer them, all in one piece, to the prepared work area. (That step sounds easier than it is; I would suggest using a large spatula dusted in powdered sugar to assist, and if you can find them, maybe even an extra pair of hands. Thanks, Mom!) The marshmallows will be extremely sticky–immediately dust the exposed sides and top with powdered sugar to prevent any grief while you’re working.

Using a sharp knife or a pizza cutter sprayed with non-stick cooking spray, cut marshmallows into 1 1/2″ squares. Dust all sides of the marshmallow by dipping them in the bowl of powdered sugar.

To assemble, skewer a marshmallow and a piece of cocoa fudge on a lollipop stick. I would suggest putting the marshmallow on first, followed by the fudge underneath it, otherwise the marshmallow will leave the stick all gooey.

Wrap in a cellophane treat bag and tie with a holiday ribbon.

If you are making these in advance, you can store the fudge up to a month in an airtight container in the freezer (one week at room temperature) and the marshmallows in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 weeks.

To enjoy the hot cocoa: Remove marshmallow from stick. Heat a mug of milk (not water!) and submerge chocolate block. Allow it to soften for a moment and stir vigorously to dissolve. Top with the marshmallow and enjoy!