Chocolate Chunk Eggnog Cookies

These are one of the cookies I made last week for Carroll Cafe.  Now I have to confess that I don’t like eggnog.  But every year Sister likes to get a carton of eggnog for the season, and usually cuts it with milk because it’s too rich on its own.  So there’s typically at least half a carton left.  Now I finally have a recipe to help use up the rest of the eggnog!

These cookies are a bit cake like, and even remind me of a muffin-top…a little crispy on the edges, but soft and doughy in the middle.  The eggnog flavor is pretty subtle, but definitely noticeable with it’s faint spiced flavor.  And obviously you can’t go wrong adding in some chocolate chunks.  These are quite the seasonal treat, so put out a plate for Santa and enjoy.

Chocolate Chunk Eggnog CookiesChocolate Chunk Eggnog Cookies (A Seat at the Table)

Makes about 2 dozen cookies

Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

  • 3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 18 Tbsp (2 sticks + 2 Tbsp) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup eggnog
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chunks
  • cinnamon for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 300°F.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper or grease with cooking spray and set aside.

In a bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.

In a separate large bowl, beat butter and sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add in eggnog, egg yolk, and vanilla, beating until completely combined.  Slowly add in the flour, mixing until just combined.  Fold in the chocolate chunks.

Scoop the batter onto prepared baking sheet, then sprinkle with a touch of cinnamon.  Bake for about 22-28 minutes, or until golden around the edges and set.  Let cool on a wire rack.  If you don’t need to bake them all immediately, I recommend scooping the batter, freezing it and storing it in a ziploc freezer bag with baking instructions written on it to save them for later, or for when unexpected company arrives during the holidays.

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Fall Harvest Oatmeal Cookies

Is it possible that it’s November?!?  Where does the time go!  I hope you all had a wonderful Halloween.  If you didn’t get enough sweets already, here’s a wonderful fall cookie to try to remind you of the season…because clearly if I eat enough of these it’ll be easier to remember it’s already November….right?

These cookies were the fastest dessert to go at Carroll Cafe, and for good reason, they’re fantastic.  I based this off of my favorite oatmeal cookie recipe with a few seasonally appropriate additions to really make them special.  Pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds add a little extra crunch (and are full of super good for you vitamins and minerals!), dried cranberries for a little tart, chewiness, and dark chocolate because….well, what’s not better with chocolate?

Fall Harvest Oatmeal CookiesFall Harvest  Oatmeal Cookies (A Seat at the Table)

Makes about 1 dozen large cookies, 2 dozen normal size

Adapted from Betty Crocker’s Cookie Book (pg. 2)

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped dark chocolate
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds

Heat oven to 350°F.

In a large bowl, beat sugar and butter together until smooth.  Add baking soda, cinnamon, vanilla, salt, and eggs, and mix well.  Stir in the remaining ingredients.

Scoop batter onto ungreased baking sheet, about 2 inches apart.  Bake for about 9-12 minutes, or until set and just beginning to turn golden around the edges.  Allow cookies to cool on a wire rack (if you can wait).

Black and White Chocolate Cupcakes

These cupcakes are delicious.  The chocolate cake is super moist and so tender.  It has a rich, dark chocolate flavor that really shines.  It’s almost brownie-like.  Topped with a rich white chocolate frosting these are decadent and sure to be a new classic.  I’m not usually a fan of white chocolate, but the combination of white chocolate and cream cheese works wonderfully.  Make sure you use white chocolate bars as chips are coated with something to keep them in their chip shape and won’t melt as smoothly.  The cake batter is very runny, don’t be surprised when you’re mostly pouring it into the cupcake liners, but it just means it’s going to be the most amazingly moist cake you’ve ever had.

Black and White CupcakesBlack and White Chocolate Cupcakes (A Seat at the Table)

Makes about 20 cupcakes

Adapted from Orangette and Just a Pinch

  • 2 oz good quality semisweet chocolate
  • 2/3 cup hot brewed coffee
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup lowfat buttermilk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 300°F.  Line your muffin tin with paper liners and set aside.

Finely chop chocolate and combine with hot coffee, let stand for a few minutes, then whisk together until chocolate has fully dissolved.

In a large bowl, sift together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  In another bowl, beat eggs on high until slightly thickened and lemon-colored.  Slowly add oil, buttermilk, vanilla and melted-chocolate mixture, beating until well mixed.  Slowly add dry ingredients, beating on low until just combined.  Carefully pour batter into prepared muffin tins.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Allow cakes to cool completely in the tins on wire racks.

White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 1 1/2 pkgs (12 oz) cream cheese frosting, room temperature
  • 9 oz white chocolate squares (not chips!), chopped and melted
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp milk
  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

Beat cream cheese until light and fluffy.  Pour in cooled chocolate and beat well. Add butter, then milk and sugar, beating after each addition.  Taste and adjust sugar as needed.

Cinnamon Glazed Cappuccino Bars

Do you like coffee?  If so, these bars are for you.  These are a coffee lover’s dream.  They’re rich and decadent, with the espresso powder and dark chocolate cutting the sweetness, and then topped with a cinnamon glaze that totally takes these to a new level.  These have a lot of kick to them and a little goes a long way.  This would be perfect for any students you know…make these during finals to give them an extra caffeine boost to finish studying.  I’ve always known coffee and chocolate were a good match, and chocolate and cinnamon is awesome, but the three together is really a great combination.  Check them out and let me know if you agree!  (If you’re not sure you’re a coffee lover, you can reduce the amount of espresso powder, 1/2 a Tbsp would still give a taste of coffee but wouldn’t shine quite so bright.  You might also use semisweet chocolate instead of bittersweet for a less dark flavor)

Cinnamon Glazed Cappuccino Bars

Cinnamon Glazed Cappuccino Bars (A Seat at the Table)

Serves 12-16

Adapted from Everybody Likes Sandwiches

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp instant espresso powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (although white whole wheat would probably be good)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 8 oz (about 2 cups) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

Glaze:

  • 1 1/2 Tbsp milk
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375°F.  Line a 10×15″ jelly roll pan with foil or parchment paper, grease lightly with cooking spray.  (A 9×13″ baking pan would also probably work, but you’d have to increase the baking time a bit to make sure it cooks all the way through)

In a large bowl, cream together butter, brown sugar, espresso powder and vanilla.  Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt and mix into the butter mixture.  The dough will be on the crumbly side.  Fold in the chocolate.

Dump the batter onto your prepared baking sheet, and press into the bottom of the pan in an even layer.  Bake for 10 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through.  (They’ll sit in the pan until cooled, so don’t let them cook too long or they’ll get overdone with the residual heat)

Meanwhile, make the glaze.  Place all ingredients in a small pot and let melt over medium heat.  Whisk gently and bring to a simmer.  As soon as the bars come out of the oven, drizzle with glaze, spreading it to the edges with a spatula if necessary.

Let bars cool in the pan, then cut into squares and serve.

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Layer Cake

I didn’t used to be a cake person.  When Sister and I were little we always chose ice cream cakes for our birthdays, and not the new modern kind that have cold cake at the bottom, just straight up ice cream in the shape of a cake with a ganache on top.  So when asked to make a yellow cake for a friend’s party, I was a little stumped.  But thinking of what I know about her and her sister and their enjoyment of chocolate-covered strawberries.  I decided to create this chocolate covered strawberry layer cake.  And I have to say, it was pretty awesome.  This will totally make you into a cake person.  It’s light and delicate, perfect for spring.  It’s almost like strawberry shortcake, but better…since it has a rich chocolate ganache.  It is a bit of a process, so if you’re not feeling quite so ambitious, feel free to use a box cake mix.  But I would definitely recommend making your own whipped cream, it’s easy and really delicious.

But first let’s recap all the food for the party!  I went with a casual comfort-food theme, with a few heavier dishes since this was going to be dinner for most of the party-goers.  Here’s what I served:  beef sliders, turkey meatballs, mini corn dog muffins, mac and cheese, amazing bruschettacaramelized onion dip, smooth and creamy hummus, fruit salad, several cheeses, simple chocolate fudge, mint and chocolate bark, and chocolate covered strawberry layer cake.  Can you believe there was too much food?

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Layer CakeChocolate Covered Strawberry Layer Cake (A Seat at the Table)

Serves 30-40, makes a 9×13″ layer cake

Yellow Cake

Adapted from allrecipes

  • 2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 16 egg yolks
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups 2% milk
  • 4 cups cake flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease two 9×13″ pans with cooking spray, then line with parchment paper and spray again.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together, until light and fluffy.  Beat in the egg yolks one at a time, then beat in the vanilla.

In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.

Alternate adding in the flour and the milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.  Be careful to only mix it until just combined after each addition.

Divide batter evenly among the two prepared pans.  Bake for about 30-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few crumbs.  Let cool in pans completely.  (I read after making this cake that refrigerating the cakes make them easier to slice in half, so feel free to try that and report back).

Chocolate Ganache

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 lb semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup double-strength brewed coffee
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

In a medium saucepan, heat cream, butter, sugar and salt over low heat until butter is melted, stirring occasionally.  Turn off the heat and add the chocolate.  Let sit for about 30 seconds, then whisk the chocolate into the cream mixture until smooth.  Whisk in the coffee and vanilla.  Let sit until the mixture comes to room temperature and is a good spreadable consistency (about 3 hours).

Strawberry Layer

  • 5-6 cups chopped stawberries
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and let sit overnight, or at least for several hours.

Whipped Cream

  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar (more to taste)

In a large bowl, beat heavy whipping cream with the whisk attachment of your electric mixer.  After about a minute, once it’s fluffy, slowly whisk in the sugar, continue to whisk until stiff peaks form.  Taste and adjust sugar as needed.

Assembly:

Place one of the cakes on your serving platter, then slice the cakes through the middle, using a long bread knife.  I found it helpful to slide a thin flexible cutting board between the layers to move them about.  Spread chopped strawberries along the bottom layer, then spread a layer of whipped cream.  Top with top half of the cake, then repeat.  For the final layer of cake, just cover with a thick layer of the chocolate ganache (do not put strawberries or whipped cream on the top), allow ganache to ooze over the sides.  Garnish with whole strawberries.

Simple Chocolate Fudge

This was my first attempt at fudge.  It was a great recipe, very easy and delicious!  I’d definitely like to try some other variations, maybe some darker chocolate, some with nuts, maybe a swirl of peanut butter.  Whatever variations you decide to do, this is a great base, and great on it’s own in its simple chocolate deliciousness.

Simple Chocolate FudgeSimple Chocolate Fudge (A Seat at the Table)

Makes about 49 squares

Adapted from Martha Stewart

  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • 3 cups mini marshmallows
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 12 oz semisweet chocolate chips

Line an 8×8″ baking pan with two crisscrossed pieces of parchment paper, leaving some to overhang.

In a large saucepan, combine butter, marshmallows, sugar, cream and salt.  Cook over medium, stirring regularly until marshmallows are melted.  Turn off the heat and stir in the vanilla and chocolate chips.  Whisk until smooth, then pour into the pan.

Let cool for at least 30 minutes, then refrigerate for about an hour or until set.

Use the parchment paper to remove the fudge from the pan and use a sharp knife to cut into squares.  To store, refrigerate in an airtight container.

Chocaroon Pie

This is a recipe my mom had saved from a Baker’s chocolate box.  It’s a classic coconut-chocolate combination, which you really can’t go wrong with.  Combined with some condensed milk, this is a rich, decadent treat that really is as easy as pie.  A delicious chocolate base topped with a sweet toasted coconut macaroon flavored topping, perfect for an easy, yet impressive dessert.

Chocaroon PieChocaroon Pie

Serves 8

Adapted from Baker’s recipes

  • 3 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 3 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 2/3 cup sweetened shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease a 9″ pie pan with cooking spray.

In a small saucepan, melt chocolate and butter over low heat.  Remove from heat when melted and whisk in eggs, sugar, flour and vanilla.  Pour into prepared pie dish.  Mix together condensed milk and coconut and spoon over the chocolate mixture leaving a 1/2″ border.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, turning halfway through.  Allow to cool then serve and enjoy!

Peanut Butter Drizzled Chocolate Chocolate Chunk Cookies

These cookies are as spectacularly decadent as they sound.  A rich chocolatey, chewy cookies, with a touch of peanut butter…it’s a wonderful combination.  Be sure not to over-bake these cookies since they’ll dry out and be slightly less delicious.  The type of chocolate you use will really influence the outcome, so go with your favorite.  I like darker chocolate, so I went with about 60%, but the original recipe calls for milk chocolate, and I’m sure white chocolate would also be delicious if you’re into it.  Basically you can’t go wrong.  I mean it’s chocolate and peanut butter, what’s not to love?

Please excuse the not-so-artistic picture.  I made these for an event that later got canceled, so this is just a picture of my sample where I impatiently just slathered some peanut butter on top.  Delicious, but not exactly the pretty drizzle I’d planned for the public consumption.

UPDATED:  Made these again, look how pretty they can be with a proper drizzle!

Peanut Butter Drizzled Chocolate Chocolate Chunk CookiesPeanut Butter Drizzled Chocolate Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Makes 14 large cookies

Adapted from How Sweet It Is

  • 1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 egg yolk, room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 8 oz high-quality chocolate (I used semi-sweet, about 60%, but go with your favorite), chopped in chunks.

Preheat oven to 325°F.

Sift together flour, cocoa, salt, and baking soda, and set aside.  In a large bowl, mix together butter and sugars until combined.  Add the egg and the egg yolk, then stir in the vanilla until mixed.  Gradually add in the dry ingredients until just combined.  Fold in the chocolate chunks.

Scoop large balls of dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake for 14-17 minutes, until set.  While cookies are cooling, make peanut butter drizzle.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil

Heat peanut butter and coconut oil in the microwave until warmed and runny.  Mix well.  When cookies are mostly cool, drizzle peanut butter over the tops.  Enjoy with a cold glass of milk.

Decadent Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache Frosting

My adorable cousin turned 3 yesterday, and to celebrate, I made her this decadently chocolatey cake.  As my uncle said, “This is the best chocolate cake I’ve ever had!”  And indeed it is.  The cake is super moist and tender, the frosting is rich and creamy and thick and decadent.  Truly awesome.  This is not a cake for the faint of heart.  If you are not a chocolate lover, this might be way over the top for you.  Or if you have the chocolate-sweet tooth of this 3 year old, you’ll want to eat the frosting with a spoon.Natalie's Decadent Chocolate Cake

This cake is also a patience practice test.  It’s best if it sits for a day or two to develop its flavor.  Great for making ahead for a birthday party, not so great since you have to wait with this beauty tempting you.  Fortunately I had some extra frosting to tide me over until cake time.

Decadent Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache Frosting

Makes 1 9-inch layer cake

Adapted from The Kitchn

Frosting:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 lb semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup double-strength brewed coffee (I used decaf)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

In a medium saucepan, heat cream, butter, sugar and salt over low heat until butter is melted, stirring occasionally.  Turn off the heat and add the chocolate.  Let sit for about 30 seconds, then whisk the chocolate into the cream mixture until smooth.  Whisk in the coffee and vanilla.  Let sit until the mixture comes to room temperature and is a good spreadable consistency (about 2 hours).  Meanwhile, make the cake.

Cake:Decadent Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache Frosting

  • 1 3/4  cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup hot double-strength brewed coffee
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature (if you forget to set them out, set eggs in a bowl of hot tap water for about 10 minutes)
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325°F.  Generously grease 2 9-inch cake pans with cooking spray, then line the bottoms with parchment paper and spray again.  Set pans aside.

In a medium bowl, sift together sugar, flour, baking soda, and salt and set aside.  In a large measuring cup, whisk the chocolate into the hot coffee until smooth.  In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, oil, sour cream and vanilla.  Slowly whisk the chocolate-coffee mixture into the egg mixture.  Lastly, fold in the flour mixture 1/3 at a time, mixing until just combined and no lumps remain.

Divide batter into prepared baking pans and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Allow cakes to cool in pans for about 30 minutes.  Remove cakes from pans and allow to cool on a wire rack until completely cool and then remove parchment paper.

Spread a thick layer of frosting over the cake and then top with the second layer, and cover top and sides with more frosting.  Allow cake to sit at room temperature  covered by a cake dome or large glass bowl for at least two hours or overnight before serving.

Rich Chocolate Brownie Cookies

These cookies are insane.  They’re super chocolatey and rich.  Brownie in cookie form is definitely a good descriptor.  They’re tender with a crisp outside.  Absolutely delicious and guaranteed to satisfy your chocolate cravings.

Rich Chocolate Brownie CookiesRich Chocolate Brownie Cookies

Makes about 24 cookies

Adapted from Taste of Home magazine (Feb/March 2013)

  • 16 oz (about 2 2/3 cup) bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cubed
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp instant espresso powder
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 pkg (12 oz) semisweet chocolate chips

In a saucepan, melt bittersweet chocolate and butter over low heat, stirring until smooth.  Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.

In a large bowl, whisk eggs, sugar, and vanilla.  In a small bowl, sift together espresso powder, flour, baking powder and salt.

Whisk the melted chocolate into the egg mixture.  Then add the dry ingredients, mix until just combined.  Fold in the semisweet chocolate chips.

Refrigerate for about 20-30 minutes until firm enough to scoop easily.  Preheat oven to 350°F.  Using a 1oz cookie scoop (or a spoon), scoop batter onto a parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until set.  Cool on pans for a minute or two and then remove to wire racks to cool.