How To Make The Best Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

The Best Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Im not one for secrets.  Especially where chocolate is involved. 

I always have a few tricks up my sleeve and I can never keep them secrets for long.  Brown sugar baked bacon is one secret.  Sweet, salty, crisp, and perfect.  Adding that bacon to biscuits,  completely over the top good!  Brown butter in everything, most especially chocolate chip cookies…. another secret I just couldn’t keep to myself.  

Today another secret comes out.  We’re talking about the most perfect Chocolate Buttercream Frosting.  Soft, glossy, light and spreadable… and the secret ingredients are Rich Chocolate Ovaltine and heavy cream!  Malted chocolate milk powder and cream to add extra body, and a light whipped texture to our frosting.  It’s unexpected and perfect!  

I hope there is cake (and waaaay too much buttercream) in your future.  

The Best Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Here’s what you’ll need:

• Three sticks (1 1/2 cups or 12 ounces) softened, unsalted butter.  I think it’s best to leave the butter out overnight to softened to room temperature through and through.  Softening butter in the microwave makes the butter more melty than soft and can break our perfect buttercream,  

•  Unsweetened cocoa powder, and lots of it.

•  Salt, to balance the mountain of powdered sugar.

•  A mountain of powdered sugar. 

•  Milk for moisture and softness.

•  Rich Chocolate Ovaltine, the chocolate malted milk powder adds a creamy softness to this buttercream and makes it extra rich, glossy, and luscious.  

•  Heavy cream because, always.  

•  Extra credit:  pure vanilla extract.  

The Best Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Whipping together perfect buttercream frosting isn’t hard, but there are a few tricks to make things go smoothly.  

First, room temperature butter is creamed together with unsweetened cocoa powder and salt.  No sugar just yet.  Incorporating the butter and cocoa powder will ensure that the butter is soft and pliable and the chocolate is evenly distributed throughout the frosting.  The mixture will be thick.  Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl once or twice during mixing.  

The Best Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Next, add the powdered sugar all at once.  Just go for it.  Mix on low and slowly drizzle in milk and vanilla extract.  Get the mixture incorporated, but no need to whip the frosting on high just yet.  We’ll get to that soon.  The frosting should be relatively smooth and glossy (and it’s only going to get better!).  

The Best Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

In a small bowl, stir together Ovaltine and heavy cream.  

The mixture will thicken a bit as it sits.  

The Best Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

With the mixer on medium, add half of the Ovaltine and cream mixture.  Increase the speed and add a bit more.  The buttercream will lighten slightly in color as it comes together.  

Stop the mixer and scrape along the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure that it’s all mixing evenly.  You may not need the entire Ovaltine mixture, but just add enough to create a glossy, smooth, completely spreadable frosting.  I find that beating the buttercream on medium for about 1 minute makes a lovely frosting.  Try not to overheat the buttercream as that might break the butter.  

The Best Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

This buttercream is whipped and soft.  Perfect for frosting cakes.  It’s so soft and creamy it won’t rip the cakes or cause you undue stress. Plenty of frosting for a three layer cake or a sheet cake with frosting to spare.  Any leftover frosting can be stored in the freezer for a cake or chocolate emergency.

This buttercream is also supreme eaten directly from the bowl with a spoon.

The Best Chocolate Buttercream Frosting


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Prep Time
20 min

Prep Time
20 min

Ingredients
  1. 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  2. 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  3. 3/4 teaspoon salt
  4. 4 cups powdered sugar
  5. 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  6. 1/4 cup whole milk
  7. 3/4 cup heavy cream
  8. 2/3 cup Rich Chocolate Ovaltine powder
Instructions
  1. Cream together butter, cocoa powder and salt. Butter mixture will be very thick. Turn off the mixer, scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  2. Add powdered sugar. Turn mixer on low and mix in powdered sugar while adding milk and vanilla extract. As the sugar incorporates, raise the speed of the mixer to beat the frosting. Beat until smooth, about 1 minute.
  3. In a 2 cup measuring glass, stir together heavy cream and Ovaltine. Turn mixer speed to medium and pour half of the cream mixture into frosting in a slow, steady stream. Stop the mister scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add remaining cream mixture or until you’ve reached your desired consistency. Beat until soft and creamy, about 1 minute.
  4. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer. Bring to room temperature before frosting cakes and cupcakes.

Peanut Butter Bacon and Dark Chocolate Cookies

Peanut Butter Bacon and Dark Chocolate

These cookies are asking for your attention.  Not so much begging or pleading, but asking nicely for you to pay attention.  

They’re here to tell you that they’re a little to big, a little too sweet, have a little too much bacon, and yea… too much chocolate, too.  They’re crisp and they don’t care about your affection for chewy.  They’re gluten-free, but really… they never needed gluten in the first place.  They’re the boss.  They know it.  Don’t play.

Peanut Butter.

Bacon.  

Dark Chocolate.  

Get on the bandwagon before these cookies raise their voice.  Nobody wants that. 

See also:  Peanut Butter Bacon Pancakes.  Sorry.  Also, not sorry. 

Peanut Butter Bacon and Dark Chocolate

These cookies are so easy you’re going to feel like you’re cheating… like you’re getting way with something… like you’re part human and part bacon-cooking genius.  (Because bacon-cooking geniuses aren’t human.  We all know that.)

Peanut butter plus two sugars:  granulated and brown.  A one to one ratio.  Once cup peanut butter and one cup sugar.  

We’re off to a good start. 

Peanut Butter Bacon and Dark Chocolate

An egg too.  

Maybe a dash of vanilla extract if you’re feeling extra fancy.  

Peanut Butter Bacon and Dark Chocolate

And we can’t forget the baking soda.  

But that’s it!

There’s no flour in these cookies.  They’re the ultimate in gluten-free because there never was any gluten to begin with!

The cookies stick together with the magic of peanut butter and egg.  It’s a baking science that we should just acknowledge, accept, and appreciate. 

Peanut Butter Bacon and Dark Chocolate

The cookie batter will be rather thick, a bit greasy (don’t be scared), and maybe a bit grainy, too (still don’t be scared).  

Add chopped bacon and chocolate:  generous and aggressive.  

Peanut Butter Bacon and Dark Chocolate

Rolled into large balls making sure to get lots of bacon and chocolate in each cookie.  

Rolled in sugar.  That’s just the way of the peanut butter cookie.  

Peanut Butter Bacon and Dark Chocolate

Big, stacked, sweet, salty, peanut butter-y GOOD!  

If you’re still reading this please stop.  Stop right now and go make these.  They will win you friends, lovers, allies, and admirers. These are true words.   

Peanut Butter Bacon and Dark Chocolate Cookies


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Prep Time
15 min

Cook Time
15 min

Prep Time
15 min

Cook Time
15 min

Ingredients
  1. 1 cup chunky or smooth peanut butter
  2. 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  3. 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  4. 1 large egg
  5. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  6. about 6 slices of bacon, cooked, cooled and coarsely chopped
  7. 1 large handful dark chocolate pieces
  8. granulated sugar for coating cookies.
Instructions
  1. To cook the bacon, place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and lay uncooked bacon on top of the foil in a single layer. Bake for 12-15 minutes until cooked through, browned, and crisp. Remove from the oven and place on a plate to cool before chopping for the cookies.
  2. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine peanut butter and sugars until well combined. Add egg and baking soda and mix until well combined. Fold in cooked bacon and chocolate pieces.
  4. Roll into large walnut sized balls and if you’d like, roll the dough balls in granulated sugar before placing on the cookie sheet and creating a cris-cross pattern with a fork.
  5. Bake for 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool on a baking sheet for five minutes, then transfer to… your mouth.
Adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook

Cinnamon Orange Hot Chocolate with Cinnamon tinted Mexican Wedding Cookies

Since I bake with what seems like a compulsion, I must admit that I often eat dessert for dinner.  Photographed above is my Wednesday night dinner-  Cinnamon Orange Hot Chocolate with Cinnamon tinted Mexican Wedding Cookies.  I know… it might seem like I went a little cinnamon crazy, but I had good reason-  Nikki at CrazyDelicious is hosting a Master Baker event, and this months theme in cinnamon!

So there were three things going on in my mad kitchen: cookies that are light, nutty and tender, hot chocolate that is perfectly rich and full of flavor , and funky orange slices that I would take back if I could…. Let’s start with the cookies.  They’re outta sight!

I have a vague memory of my darling Aunt DeeDee making these Mexican Wedding Cookies for me as a child.  What I remember about them was how the powdered sugar accumulated on my fingers the more cookies I ate.  And I remember the satisfaction I had licking my fingers clean after eating a dozen or so of these cookies.  These cookies are a breeze to make, and they are light, tender filled with a rich cinnamon and pecan flavor.  I only added a teaspoon of cinnamon, so it didn’t overwhelm the reipe, but really complimented the toasted pecan flavor.  You must must try these!

Cinnamon tinted Mexican Wedding Cookies

adapted from Demolition Desserts

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2 cups (8 ounces) powdered sugar, sifted, plus 1/2  to 3/4 cup for coating the cookies

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 cup unsalted butter, softened but still cool

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 1/2 teaspoons water

2 cups all purpose flour, sifted

1 cup cornstarch

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup finely ground toasted pecans, from about 1 1/4 cup pecan halves

Position racks in the upper third and lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Pour 1/2 cup powdered sugar for coating into a shallow bowl or plate and pour the granulated sugar into another shallow bowl.  Set them aside until you are ready to coat the dough.

In a large bowl, using a wooden spoon, cream together the butter and 2 cups powdered sugar for about 3 minutes.  Add the vanilla and water and stir until just combined.  Add the flour, cornstarch, cinnamon, salt and pecans and stir for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the mixture resembles coarse crumbles.

Here comes the only trick to making this cookie: use a light touch when shaping the dough.  Lightly press the crumbly chunks of dough together between your palms to form balls the size of walnuts, being careful not to compact them.  Don’t try to form perfect, smooth little globes.  You want to push the dough together just enough so the balls hold their shape.   The looser the balls, the lighter the cookie.  As the balls are formed, set them aside of a baking sheet or tray.

When all the balls are formed, roll each ball first in the granulated sugar and then in the powdered sgar and place on the prepared pans, spacing them about 1/2 inch apart.  Don’t throw away the powdered sugar yet because you will give the cookies one final roll in it after they have been baked and cooled.

Bake the cookies, rotating the pan after about 7 minutes, for 14 to 18 minutes, or until lightly golden and just beginning to show cracks.  While the cookies are baking, clean any dough crumbs out of your bowl of powdered sugar.  If the powdered sugar seems low, add the remaining 1/4 cup to the bowl.  You will have powdered sugar left over  in the bowl when you finish, but having a good amount will make it easier to give the cookies the final coat.

When the cookies are done, let them cool completely on the pans, or transfer them to a cooling rack.  A cooling rack helps the cookies cool faster.  When they are completely cool, roll them gently in the powdered sugar one last time

These cooies have the best texture the day they are made.  They are fragile, so store them covered on a place instead of in a cookie jar, and eat them within 24 hours… that shouldn’t be a problem.

Cookies before they have been baked

Cinnamon Orange Hot Chocolate

adapted from Hershey

makes just over 4 cups

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup unsweetened Cocoa

1 ounce bitter sweet chocolate (60%- 65%)

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Pinch of salt

1/3 cup hot water

4 cups milk

zest of 1 orange

Mix the sugar, cocoa, bittersweet chocolate, cinnamon and salt in a sauce pan.  Stir in the water.  Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture boils.  Simmer and stir for 2 minutes stirring constantly.  Stir in the milk and heat, stirring often.  Do not bring the mixture to a boil.  Remove from heat, add orange zest, and left mixture sit, covered for 10 minutes.  After 10 minutes, strain the hot chocolate through a fine mesh strainer to catch all the orange zest.  Serve and enjoy.

These blood oranges were grown by two dear friends of mine.  They were perfection just as they were.  I decided to try and dry thin orange slices in the oven at 250 degrees F, for about an hour.  The color and flavor of the oranges intensified, but next time I would definitely use these blood oranges as a garnish just as they are- beautiful, juicy orange goodness.

Chocolate Espresso Sandwich Cookies

<Chocolate Espresso Sandwich Cookies

Dear My Bank,

We’ve known each other for a long time.  You know how I deposit my humble paychecks every so often, how I rarely use the ATM, and how I hate to use my debit card at the gas station.  I know that you like to decorate with bullet-proof glass… guns, I get it… have pens that don’t always work, and always want me to sign up for your credit card.  As much as I hate to admit it, we sort of have a thing going.

Let’s be honest Bank.  We’re not friends.  We don’t even really like each other very much.  I know that you have rules.  You know… if you’re being honest with yourself, that I do my very best to follow your rules.  And I do… Bank…..! Unless, I suppose, I just forget to add one payment to my balance books, leading me to believe I have several hundred dollars in you, Bank… instead of less than zero.

Here’s my beef with you… Bank!  Jerky bank.  When you penalize me several times in a row for spending money that I thought I had, well… that doesn’t get me any closer to having the money that you’d like to take.  How on Earth did you determine that was an acceptable overdraft charge?  Why are you allowed to take money that I don’t have?  You know what I think?  I think you’re taking advantage of my mistake.  You know me, Bank.  You know that I don’t like to spend money I don’t have… and when I do… accidentally… you use that as an opportunity to take advantage of me.

That’s reeeeeaal crappy.

Nobody likes you.  I’ve done the research.  It’s true.

Nobody will ever… not even once… make you cookies just because you’re nice.  Why?  Because you’re not nice.

Now you know.

Love,

Joy

Chocolate Espresso Sandwich Cookies

Chocolate Espresso Sandwich Cookies

Chocolate Espresso Sandwich Cookies

These cookies inspired a delicious wave of selfishness.  I did not want to share.  Certainly not with my jerky bank… but not with anyone else either.

The wafer cookies are deep dark chocolate with a saltiness that demands that you devour at least three sandwich cookies in one sitting.  They dough does not need any rest of refrigeration and goes straight from the mixer onto the table to be rolled.

The espresso filling adds just the right complexity to the cookie.  It’s sweet, with just a hint of bitter.  Divine with the chocolate wafers.

Hands down, the best darn cookie I’ve made in a long time.  Dreamy good.  Do it. Make ’em!

Chocolate Espresso Sandwich Cookies

Chocolate Espresso Sandwich Cookies

Don’t have espresso powder?  Feel free to skip it, and just make these cookies without.  You’ll have what looks like homemade Oreos!

adapted from The Essence of Chocolate

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makes about 3 dozen sandwich cookies

For the Filling:

1/2 cup heavy cream

8 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped

heaping 1/4 teaspoon  instant espresso powder

For the Cookies:

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 cup plus 3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

3/4 cup plus 1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/4 teaspoon instant espresso powder

15 Tablespoons (7 1/2 ounces) unsalted butter, but into 3/4-inch cubes, at room temperature

For the Filling:

In a small saucepan, bring the cream to boil over medium heat.  Remove from the heat and add the white chocolate and espresso powder.  Make sure all the chocolate is covered by the cream.  Let stand for 1 minute, then whisk the white chocolate until completely melted.

Transfer the filling to a small bowl and let stand until room temperature.  You’ll need the filling thicker to assemble the cookies, so cover the filling and place it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or an hour, until a thick consistency is reached.  If the filling hardens too much, it can be rewarmed in the microwave for a few seconds.

For the Cookies:

Position the racks in the lower and upper thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt and espresso powder and mix on low speed.  With the mixer running, add the butter a few pieces at a time.  The mixture will have a sandy texture at first and then will begin to form peddle-size pieces.  As soon as the dough starts to come together, stop the mixer.

Form and roll the dough straight from the mixer.  The dough becomes hard to work with if chilled.

Transfer the dough to a board and use the heel of your hand or a pastry scraper to shape the dough into a block about 5 by 7 inches.  Cut the block into two pieces.

One at a time, roll each block of dough between two pieces of lightly floured parchment paper until about 1/8-inch thick.  Using a cookie cutter, cut into 2 inch rounds.  Place 1/2 to 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheet.  You can form and roll the dough scraps once after the first roll.

Bake for 12-15 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through the baking.  Remove from the oven and cool on the sheets for 2 to 5 minutes.  Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack and let cool completely.

To Assemble the Cookies:

Place half of the cookies upside down on a work surface.  Whip the filling lightly with a whisk to loosen it.  It will lighten in color and fluff up.  Don’t overwhip or the filling may begin to separate.

Transfer the filling to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4-inch plain tip.  I just scooped my filling out by the scant teaspoonful.  Pipe or dollop one teaspoon of filling  in the center of each upside down cookie.  Gently, using your fingers, press the cookies together until the filling comes just to the edges.

The cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Old Fashioned Chocolate Pudding

Sometimes I just need the comfort of pudding to make things right in my world.  There is something about the smooth texture, slight chill and sweet chocolate goodness that can ease anything from extracted wisdom teeth to a broken heart.  It can even ease the pain of a crazy concoction your Mom may have tried to pass off as dinner.

I would say that this pudding is also comforting because it’s the way Mom used to make… but my Mom never actually made pudding.  It’s fine really, no hard feelings!  I have oodles of love for my Mom.  Hot dog casserole was more her kitchen niche.   And even that sometimes turned out purple.  I think the purple had something to do with cabbage, which is totally bad news.  As if hot dog casserole isn’t bad enough news.  Oh Mom.  She’ll never live down that tragic dinner.

Now, back to the chocolate!

This pudding is a breeze to make!  I toasted some marshmallow on top of mine before I dug in to eat.  The oh so slight crunch of the toasted marshmallow was perfect on top of the smooth chocolate.  So yummy!

Old Fashioned Chocolate Pudding

Gourmet Cookbook

Print this Recipe!

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)

2 Tablespoons cornstarch

pinch of salt

2 cups whole milk

1 large egg

4 ounces good semi sweet chocolate, finely chopped

Whisk together sugar, cocoa powder, cornstarch and salt in a 2-quart heavy saucepan, then gradually whisk in the milk.  Bring to a boil, whisking constantly, and boil, whisking, until pudding is thick, 3 to 5 minutes.  Remove from heat.

Immediately beat eggs lightly in a medium heat proof bowl, then very gradually add hot pudding to the egg, whisking constantly.  Whisk in chopped chocolate until smooth.

Pour pudding into ramekins or custard cups and cover surface each with wax paper to prevent a skin from forming.  Refrigerate, covered, until cool, at least 2 hours.

Serve pudding with toasted marshmallows or whipped cream!

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

I always have the best of intentions when I buy barely yellow bananas at the grocery store.  I have visions of healthy breakfast shakes, peanut butter and banana sandwiches, and healthy mid afternoon snacks.  Without fail the bananas turn brown and speckled.  They start to mush and sink into themselves.  They just become all around unsexy.  They threaten to spread they’re over exposure to the unsuspecting apples and oranges in the same bowl, and we simply can’t tolerate that!

I should just come to terms with the real reason that I buy bananas- so that I can mix them with chocolate and try to pass them off as breakfast.  This Chocolate Chocolate Chip Banana Bread is attempt to do just that-  eat loads of chocolate and say yes!  Yes, I ate a glorious breakfast!

There is satisfaction in that, to be sure!

This quick bread comes out more like a delicious chocolate cake than a traditional banana bread- that wouldn’t have anything to do with the truck load of chocolate in the bread, would it?  It’s tender and moist and has an absolutely beautiful undercurrent of banana flavor.  Try it for breakfast.  Milk is essential, or good coffee.  And that’s a start to a beautiful day, lovebird.

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Baking: from my home to yours

Print this Recipe!

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 stick (8 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar

2 large eggs

2 ripe bananas, mashed

3/4 cup buttermilk

3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter a 9×5 inch loaf pan and place it on an insulated baking sheet or on two regular baking sheets one on top of the other.  This extra insulation will keep the bottom of the bread from overbaking.

Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt ad baking soda.

Working with a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter at medium speed for about a minute  until soft.  Add the sugars and beat for 2 minutes more.  Add the egs one at a time, beating for a minute after each addition.  At this point , the batter may look a little curdled- it’s ok.  Reduce the mixer speed to low and mix in the mashed bananas.  Add the dry ingredients in three additions, mixing only until they disappear into the batter.  Still on low sweep, add the buttermilk, mixing until it is incorporated.  Stir in the chopped chocolate.  Scrape batter into prepared pan.

Bake for 3o minutes.  Cover the bread loosely with a foil tend to keep the top from getting too dark, and continue to bake for another 40-45 minutes (total baking time is between 70 and 75 minutes), or until a thin knife inserted into the center comes out clean.  Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for at least 20 minutes before running a knife around the edges of the bread and unmolding it.  Invert and cool to room temperature right side up.

Chocolate Brownie Cookies

I have birds.

Living in Los Angeles is like living in a jungle.  Instead of dense tropical trees and dangerous pumas, Los Angeles has obnoxious cars and… actors.  There is very little visible animal life besides dogs on leashes, squirrels rummaging through the trash bins and pigeons just walking around being pretty gross.

But I have birds.  I call them my Midnight Song Birds.  They live in the tree outside my bedroom window and sing to one another all night long.  All night!  Sometimes I’ll be up until 1 in the morning and the birds are still going at it.  They keep up the chatter all night long.

I’ve come to love sound of these birds chirping as I fall asleep.  It helps erase the occasional helicopter or  paramedic siren. My birds sound beautiful.  And though they sound completely out of place at 1 in the morning, they remind me to be thankful for the little things- like the simple joy of chirping birds, or chewy chocolate cookies.

How about some cookie adventures?  Follow me.

I’m convinced that these cookies are actually brownies in disguise.  They’re super soft, full of chocolate, and my favorite part- they have that brownie crackled skin on top.  I think it’s the slightly flaky chocolate top and soft center that won my heart.

Topped with darling chocolate covered sunflower seeds, these cookies are perfect to snack on with a glass of cold milk sitting in front of the TV watching dvds of Big Love… or maybe that’s just me.

Chocolate Brownie Cookies

recipe from King Arthur Flour

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yields 26 cookies without chips, 30 cookies with chips

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (chopped or in chips)

3 Tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) butter

1 cup sugar

3 large eggs

1 teaspoon espresso powder

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoons salt

1 cup chocolate chips (optional)

In a double boiler, or in the microwave, gently melt together the chocolate and butter.  To avoid heating the chocolate too much and possibly burning it, the best method is to heat till the butter is melted and the chocolate has partially melted, then remove from the heat.  Stir till all the chocolate melts.

In a separate bowl, beat together the sugar and eggs till they’re thoroughly combined.  You don’t need a mixer, just do it in a medium sized bowl with a wooden spoon.   Add the hot melted chocolate, then stir in the remaining ingredients, including the chocolate chips, if you’re using them.  Refrigerate the batter like dough for 1 hour, to make it easier to handle.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.  Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets, three if you have them.

Drop the cookie dough by the tablespoonfuls (about the size of a small ping pong ball) onto the prepared baking sheets.  A tablespoon cookie scoop makes this task extremely simple.  Leave about 2″ between the dough balls, as they’ll spread as they bake.

Bake the cookies for 11 to 12 minutes, until their tops are shiny and cracked.  They won’t crack until the very end, so keep a close eye on them; when they’re cracked all the way across the top surface, they’re done.  The point is, you want these baked all the way through, but just barely; additional baking makes them more crisp rather than chewy.  Remove the cookies from the oven, and top each with a kiss-shaped chocolate, a bittersweet chocolate wafer, or a chocolate covered sunflower seed.  Wait 5 minutes then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool.

Chocolate Orange Bundt Cake

Chocolate and orange are like a dream to me.  Although my dream last night had nothing to do with chocolate and orange, and everything to do with watching some bizarre alley cat trying to eat giant hissing grasshoppers, or something.  I woke up wanting a thick slice of this cake for breakfast.  You know, to make everything right in the world again.  It’s that simple.

Another reason I think this cake is dreamy is that it’s one moist cake batter, divided into two, flavored, then dumped in a bundt pan.   It’s great for those last minute, in a pinch desserts.

The cake is loaded with sour cream, and is incredibly moist.  The orange zest adds brightness and chocolate and chocolate chips add richness.  It’s absolutely delicious, and perfect if you wake up from bad dreams.

Chocolate Orange Bundt Cake

adapted from the Gourmet Cookbook

Print this Recipe!

3 1/2 cups cake flour

1 Tablespoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter at room temprature

2 cups sugar

4 large eggs, left at room temperature for 30 minutes

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups sour cream

1/2 teaspoon orange extract

zest of 1 large orange

4 tablespoons cocoa powder

1/2 cup chocolate chips

Put rack in the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter and flour a 12 cup Bundt pan and set aside.

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and set aside.

Beat together butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in vanilla.  Reduce speed to low, add half of flour mixture, and mix until just blended.  Add sour cream, mixing until just combined, then add remaining flour mixture and mix until smooth.

Divide the batter evenly into two bowls.  In one bowl add the orange zest and orange extract and stir to combine.  In the other  bowl add sifted cocoa powder and chocolate chips and stir to combine.

First pour the orange batter into the buttered Bundt pan, spreading it evenly around the bottom of the pan.  Next, simply add the chocolate batter on top of the orange to cover.  No swirling is necessary, although you can swirl the batters together if you like.

Bake until cake is springy to the touch and a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Remove from oven and cool cake in the pan for 30 minutes.  Invert onto a cooling rack and cool completely.

Double Chocolate Devil’s Food with Fresh Raspberries

Double Chocolate Devil's Food Cake

How are you going to share the love the Valentine’s Day?  How do you share the love every other day of the year?

At the restaurant, this Saturday night’s reservations are already fully booked.  We’re going to be packed to the gills with love birds.  We’ve got people calling trying to pull the VIP card.  What’s that?  Oh.. you happen to think you and the chef are bffs this week and you’d like a table for two at 8?  Tough luck.  Really…

But Friday night…?  Not a soul.

What a day Valentine’s Day is… so ripe with expectations, how can you satisfy?

I remove myself from the whole game.  There are so many other gorgeous days of my life that I prefer to share love with the world around me.  How do I do it?  It usually involves butter, brown sugar and cocoa powder, but that’s just my style.

Sometimes love is as simple as sending someone a goofy postcard.  As deliberate as looking someone in the eye and smiling as you pass on the street.  As tiring as staying up extra late to make your Mom a birthday cake.  We share more love than we might realize.  Everyday, in the little things.  Let’s remember that this week.  Let’s remember that always.  It’s those little touches that make this life seem loads brighter.

Summer Raspberry

Double Chocolate Devil's Food Cake

I made this triple layer Devil’s Food Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting for my Mom’s birthday.  My Dad aptly dubbed it “The Wall”.  I baked the smooth batter up in a single 9×13-inch pan, wrapped and froze the sucker, and the next day sliced it (still frozen) into thirds.  The layers measures 4×9-inches, producing a rather brick shaped cake.  Feel free to bake this cake in three 8-inch rounds or two 9-inch rounds.

What else do you need to know about this cake?

It’s moist, and beautifully flavored.  The coffee and dark brown sugars work wonders with the cocoa powder.  The chocolate frosting is an absolute dream, and fresh raspberries send the whole cake over the top.  Thin slices of “The Wall” will serve about 10 to 12 chocolate loving people.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting and cake frosting tips after the recipe!

Double Chocolate Devil's Food Cake

Devils Food Cake

makes a three layer 8-inch round cake

or a two layer 9-inch round cake

or a one layer 9×13-inch sheet cake

adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook

Print this Recipe!

1 cup hot brewed coffee

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)

1/2 cup whole milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, softened

1 1/4 cups packed dark brown sugar

3/4 cups granulated sugar

4 eggs

Double Chocolate Devil's Food Cake

Put racks in the upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.    Butter cake pans and line bottom with rounds of parchment or wax paper.  Butter paper and dust pans with flour, knocking out excess.

Whisk together boiling coffee and cocoa powder in a medium bowl until smooth, then whisk in milk and vanilla.  Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt into another bowl.

Beat together butter and sugars in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium sped until pale and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Beat in flour and cocoa mixtures alternating in 3 batches, beginning and ending with the flour mixture (batter may look slightly curdled).

Divide batter among pans and smooth tops.  Place two pans in middle of oven and one pan in bottom of oven.  Do not put top pans directly over bottom pans.  Stagger them in the oven so the heat circulates.  If you’re baking with a 9×13-inch sheet pan, feel free to bake on the middle rack.  Bake, switching positions of pans half way through baking, until a wooden skewer inserted in enter of cakes comes out clean and layers begin to pull away from the sides of pan, 20- 25 minutes.  25-30 minutes for 9-inch rounds and 35-40 minutes for a 9×13-inch cake.

Cool layers in pans on racks for 10 minutes, then invert onto racks, remove paper and cool completely.  I covered my 9×13-inch cake with plastic wrap while still in the pan, and put it in the freezer to rest until I had time to frost it the next day.

Once completely cool, put one layer right side up on a cake place and spread with about 1 cup of chocolate buttercream frosting.  Top with fresh raspberries and add another layer of cake.  Add another cup of frosting, fresh raspberries and the final cake later.  Top with buttercream and frost the top and sides of the cake.

If using a 9×13-inch pan, trim the sides slightly, and measure out the long side into three 4-inch sections.  Slice, creating three 4×9-inch layers.  Frost!

Notes:

These cake layers came be made two days in advance and kept, well wrapped in plastic wrap at room temperature.  It can also be frozen for up to a week.  I kept the cake frozen while I trimmed and frosted it. I think it’s easier and less crumby.

The cake can be frosted one day ahead and kept refrigerated covered loosely in plastic wrap.  Bring to room temperature before serving.

Double Chocolate Devil's Food Cake

You’ll need frosting right?

The Best Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Cake frosting tips!? We have those too!

Double Chocolate Devil's Food Cake

Dark Chocolate, Walnut and Golden Raisin Cookies

Dark Chocolate Walnut Raisin Cookies

Dear Girl (that sat next to me on the plane last night),

Hi.  How are you?  This is just a quick note to let you know that you sat on my glasses.  I know that you know that you sat on my glasses.  You did, after all,  hand them back to me crazy mangled.  I trust that you know what shape glasses generally assume.

I understand that there are two active parties in this tragedy.  There’s the person that accidentally left her glasses in the middle seat next to her while she properly stowed her purse under the seat in from of her…. that’s me.  There’s also the person that was in such a hurry to get into that second row middle seat, that didn’t let the girl with the glasses on the aisle properly acclimate before barging in… that’s you.  So, you sat on my glasses.

My favorite part about you sitting on my glasses, was how you showed exactly zero remorse for the damage you caused.  That was awesome.  Hey… remember that part when I was very obviously trying to bend them back in shape in front of you?  Yea… that was pretty fun too.  That was me being passive aggressive.  I bet that was your favorite part.

Oh well, they’re just glasses, right?  Next time, I’ll watch where I put my glasses if you watch where you put your body.  Deal?

Sincerely,

Joy

And now… dark chocolate cookies.  Let’s do this.

Dark Chocolate Walnut Raisin Cookies

I love big, soft, brownie-like cookies.  These are them.  Hot dang they’re satisfying.  Get your hands on some good chocolate for these beauties.  I used a Valrhona 70% chocolate.   When it comes to mix-ins, I went for walnuts and golden raisins.  Maybe you want to try dried cherries and white chocolate, or pecans and walnuts, or chocolate chunks and dried apricot.  Dream it up and go nuts.  Thanks for the Twitter inspiration on these Roberta!

Dark Chocolate, Walnut and Golden Raisin Cookies

adapted from King Arthur somewhere

Print this Recipe!

8 ounces good quality bittersweet chocolate , 60%-72%(chopped or in chips)

3 Tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) butter

1 cup sugar

3 large eggs

1 teaspoon espresso powder

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoons salt

1 cup chocolate chips

1 cup chopped walnuts

3/4 cup golden raisins

In a double boiler, or in the microwave, gently melt together the chocolate and butter.  To avoid heating the chocolate too much and possibly burning it, the best method is to heat till the butter is melted and the chocolate has partially melted, then remove from the heat.  Stir until all the chocolate melts.

In a separate bowl, beat together the sugar and eggs till they’re thoroughly combined.  You don’t need a mixer, just do it in a medium sized bowl with a wooden spoon.   Add the melted chocolate mixture, then stir in the remaining ingredients, including the chocolate chips, walnuts and raisins, if you’

re using them.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.  Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets, three if you have them.

Drop the cookie dough by the tablespoonful (about the size of a small ping pong ball) onto the prepared baking sheets.  A tablespoon cookie scoop makes this task extremely simple.  Leave about 2? between the dough balls, as they’

ll spread as they bake.

Bake the cookies for 11 to 12 minutes, until their tops are shiny and cracked.  They won’t crack until the very end, so keep a close eye on them; when they’re cracked all the way across the top surface, they’

re done.  The point is, you want these baked all the way through, but just barely; additional baking makes them more crisp rather than chewy.  Remove the cookies from the oven.  Wait 5 minutes then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool.