S’more Brownie Bites

Happy National S’mores Day! Will you be enjoying the campfire treat today? Truth be told, I had my first actual s’more last year and I must admit it was pretty good. I am not a big marshmallow fan so I think that’s why I never tried one, also, I’ve never been camping. Although you don’t have to go camping to have a s’more. Last year friends and I made them for dessert after a BBQ by roasting the marshmallows over sterno gel chafing fuel. Believe it or not, it actually worked! For today’s s’more treat I made S’more Brownie Bites.

I started by making the brownie batter. I melted a stick of butter in a small saucepan and then added in mini chocolate chips and whisked it until it was melted and smooth. I transferred this a medium bowl and stirred in sugar, eggs and vanilla extract. Using a hand mixer I then beat in all-purpose flour. And finally I stirred in mini chocolate chips. Now, the recipe called for quinoa flour along with all-purpose flour. I decided to omit the quinoa flour and just used all-purpose flour. I honestly didn’t want to spend money on quinoa flour which I probably wouldn’t use again and it didn’t seem necessary to the outcome of the recipe. I even researched making my own quinoa flour, but, it just didn’t seem worth the time and effort. Sorry if I sound so negative, but, I’ve finally learned that tweaking a recipe to the ingredients you have on hand is obviously much easier but also builds one’s confidence in the kitchen and you truly learn what works and doesn’t work. Back in the day, I would avoid a recipe if it included an ingredient not readily available or a bit on the pricier side, but, now I look for ways to make the recipe work with what I have on hand.

Once the batter was ready, using a small cookie scoop, I filled a mini cupcake pan, which I lined with liners, with the batter. Next, I pressed three mini marshmallows into each of the brownie bites and then topped them with crushed graham crackers. Here’s my simple trick for crushing graham crackers… Break them up a little and add them to a quart-size Ziploc bag. Seal the bag, removing the air, and then using a rolling pin, roll the graham crackers to crush them to your desired consistency. I opted to leave the graham crackers with little pieces to give the tops of the brownie bites a little texture to them.

After baking in a 350 F preheated oven for about 12 minutes they were ready! One downfall of baking marshmallows is that they melt considerably, so removing the brownie bites from the pan wasn’t as easy as just removing basic cupcakes. I let them cool for a few minutes before removing them so that could have been part of the problem, but, I also didn’t want to remove them right out of the oven since I wanted the brownies to settle a little before removing them. Removing them too soon could have resulted in smooshed brownie bites. Regardless, they still tasted yummy! The extra mini chocolate chips in the batter really added another level chocolate goodness to the brownie part and the marshmallows were perfectly melted into the brownies.

 

S’more Brownie Bites

  • Servings: 24 Brownie Bites
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Ingredients:

3-4 large graham crackers, finely crushed

1 stick unsalted butter

1 ¼ cups mini chocolate chips

½ cup sugar

2 large eggs, at room temperature

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 cup all-purpose flour*

Mini Marshmallows

*Original recipe called ½ cup all-purpose flour & ½ cup quinoa flour

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a mini cupcake pan with papers liners and set aside.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Remove from the heat and add in ¾ cup of the mini chocolate chips. Whisk until the chocolate chips have melted and the mixture is smooth. Transfer to a medium bowl and whisk in the sugar, eggs and vanilla. Using a handheld mixer, gradually beat in the flour until the mixture is smooth and thick. Finally, whisk in the remaining ½ cup of mini chocolate chips.

Using a small cookie scoop, fill each paper line with the batter. Press 3 mini marshmallows into the center of the batter and then sprinkle with graham cracker crumbs. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes, the marshmallows will be puffed and lightly golden. Let cool for 20 minutes and enjoy!

Recipe From Food Network

Slow Cooker Sunday: Chocolate Chip Cheesecake

I’ve tried baking in my slow cooker a few times and I’ve had a few fails that didn’t make it to my blog and there have been a few that did make it, but, I’ll admit weren’t all that perfect – the cakes were a bit unevenly cooked or they fell apart. But, baking a cheesecake in my slow cooker seems to be a winner – thanks to two items, a 6-inch springform pan and a mini rack to place the pan on in the insert of my slow cooker.

I began by making the graham cracker crust and pressing into the bottom and up the sides of my springform pan.

I placed the rack inside the insert of my slow cooker and filled it with a 1/2 inch of water. FYI…It’s an OXO Good Grips Silicone Rack. I found it at my local Sur La Table, but, it’s also available at Williams-Sonoma and Amazon.

After making the batter I poured it into the springform pan and placed the pan on top of the rack. I covered the slow cooker and cooked the cheesecake on high for 2 hours. After 2 hours I turned the slow cooker off and let the cheesecake sit inside for an additional hour without uncovering it. I then removed it, let it cool completely and refrigerated it for at least 4 hours before serving.

One thing I did like about making a cheesecake in the slow cooker… it didn’t crack. I have yet to make a cheesecake in the oven that didn’t crack. And while this cheesecake was good I learned something about myself, I love texture in most foods but cheesecake. I prefer my cheesecake to be smooth and not have any crunch to it

 

Slow Cooker Chocolate Chip Cheesecake

Ingredients:

3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (for 6-7 graham crackers)

1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon salt, divided

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon flour

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup sour cream

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

 

Directions:

In a medium bowl whisk together the graham cracker crumbs, cocoa powder and half of the salt and then stir in the butter.

Press the crumbs in the bottom and about 1/2 inch up the sides of a 6-inch springform pan.

In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese, sugar, flour and the remaining salt. Using a handheld mixer beat the mixture on medium-high speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, then the vanilla and finally the sour cream. Make sure to beat the mixture well after each addition. Stir in the chocolate chips and pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Place a rack in the insert of the slow cooker and fill with a 1/2-inch of water. Place the pan on the rack, cover and cook on high for 2 hours. Turn the slow cooker off and let stand, covered for an additional hour. Remove the cheesecake from the slow cooker and allow to cool completely and then refrigerate for at least four hours before serving.

Recipe from Slow Cooker Family Favorites

Sweets For Your Sweet

Are you thinking of making some homemade treats for your Valentine? Or, maybe something for yourself? Well, I have two quick and easy treats for just that… Matzo Crack & Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake Truffles.

For the Matzo Crack, you start off by making a simple toffee using butter and brown sugar. Which you then spread over matzo crackers that have been arranged in a single layer on an aluminum foil lined baking sheet. Pop it in the oven for about 10 minutes, remove and then spread a bag of chocolate chips – semi-sweet, milk or dark – over the bubbling toffee. Let it sit for a few minutes and then using an off-set spatula smooth the chocolate over the toffee. Sprinkle with seat salt (and nuts if you like) and refrigerate for about 45 minutes. Once the chocolate has hardened transfer to a cutting board and cut into pieces.

The truffles are just as easy… After making the filling – beat cream cheese, peanut butter, graham crumbs, sugar and peanuts together – roll it into 1-inch balls and freeze for about 10 minutes. Melt the chocolate and dip each of the balls in the chocolate, sprinkle with chopped peanuts and refrigerate until firm.

There you go… two quick, easy and delicious treats that you can enjoy this Valentine’s Day or any day!

Chocolate Toffee Matzo Crack

Ingredients:

4-5 lightly salted matzos

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter

1 cup light brown sugar

12 ounce bag of chocolate chips – milk, semi-sweet or dark

Sea Salt

Favorite nuts, optional

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil – make sure the foil goes up and over the edges of the pan. Top the foil with parchment paper. Cover the paper with the matzo, cutting and piecing the pieces together.

Combine the butter and sugar in a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a whisk until the mixture comes to a boil. Once the mixture comes to a boil cook for a few more minutes until it becomes foamy and thickened. The mixture may look like its separating, continues whisking and it will come together. Pour the toffee over the matzo and spread it into an even layer using an off-set spatula. Pop it in the oven and bake it for about 10 minutes, until the toffee is bubbling. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack

Scatter the chocolate chips over the hot toffee, let it sit for a few minutes and then using an off-set spatula spread the chocolate in an even layer over the toffee. Sprinkle with the sea salt and nuts (if using) and place in the refrigerator for about 45 minutes. Don’t let it stay in the refrigerator too long or it will be more difficult to cut.

Using the overhang aluminum foil transfer the matzo crack to a cutting board and cut it into pieces. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Recipe From Once Upon A Chef

Peanut Butter Cheesecake Truffles

  • Servings: About 28 Truffles
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Ingredients:

8oz. cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs

1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

3 tablespoons chopped peanuts, divided

8oz. semi-sweet chocolate, chopped into pieces

Directions:

Beat cream cheese in a large bowl until creamy. Add in the remaining ingredients, except the sugar, and continue beating until all ingredients have mixed together.

Roll the cream cheese mixture into 28 balls, using about a tablespoon of the mixture for each ball. Place on a waxed covered baking sheet and freeze for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt the chocolate. You can melt it in the microwave or using a double boiler. Dip the cream cheese balls into the chocolate and transfer them back to the wax-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with the remaining chopped peanuts and refrigerate until firm, about an hour.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Recipe from Kraft

Cookie Palooza: Peanut Butter Crinkles

It’s the first week of December! Are you even remotely ready for the holidays? Have you thought about what you are baking? If not, I am here to help this week. Welcome to my 2nd Cookie Palooza. A week full of cookies… Kicking it off are Peanut Butter Crinkles. A twist on the more popular Chocolate Crinkles.

Made with peanut butter – of course – and mini chocolate chips these cookies are rolled in granulated and confectioners’ sugar for a little extra sweetness prior to baking. If you’re craving more chocolate in your cookie opt to use regular size chocolate chips as opposed to the mini ones. You do get a chocolate taste with the mini ones, but, it’s more of a hint so little so that you wouldn’t miss it if you omitted them from the batter completely.

Peanut Butter Crinkles

  • Servings: 36 cookies
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Ingredients:

1 1/3 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup light brown sugar

3/4 cup creamy peanut butter

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3 cup mini chocolate chips

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus more for dusting

Directions:

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

Whisk the dry ingredients – flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt – in a medium bowl.

In another bowl, beat the butter, brown sugar and peanut butter with a mixer until creamy on medium speed. Increase the speed to medium high and beat until fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla extract and continue beating until combined. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture, beat until well blended. Add the chocolate chips and beat until combined.

Put the granulated and confectioners’ sugar in separate bowls. Roll tablespoonful of dough into balls and then roll in the granulated sugar and then the confectioners’ sugar. Place on the prepared baking sheets 2 inches apart.

Bake 15 to 18 minutes, switching the pans halfway through, until the cookies are firm around edges and cracked on top. Let cool a few minutes on the baking sheets before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely. Dust the cookies with more confectioners’ sugar if desired.

Recipe from The Food Network

Chocolate Chip Muffins

It seems like I am on a muffin kick… Last week I brought you Blueberry Crumb Muffins and this week I am bringing you Chocolate Chip Muffins. The real reason why I made these muffins… I was going on a road trip and thought they would be a good snack/treat/breakfast for the road. When you have chocolate chips in a muffin they can be for anything I think. While this recipe was written for 12 servings (aka a cupcake size muffin) I opted to make 6 large ones as I didn’t want that many muffins for the road.

 

Chocolate Chip Muffins

  • Servings: 12 small or 6 large
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Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs

1 cup whole milk

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425F and line a muffin tin with liners and then spray it with baking or cooking spray. This is just in case the muffins bake onto the pan so you can easily remove them.

In a large bowl mix together the flour, baking soda, salt and chocolate chips, set aside.

In a medium bowl whisk together the melted butter, sugar, eggs, milk and vanilla extract. Slowly add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and fold together until just combined.

Divide the batter among the muffin cups and bake at 425F for 5 minutes and then lower the oven to 375F and bake for another 12-15 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.

Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for about 10 minutes and enjoy!

 

Recipe from Little Sweet Baker

Cookie Palooza: Cannoli Wafer Sandwich Cookies

For today’s Cookie Palooza recipe I bring you a cookie you don’t have to bake! What could be better than that? No flour to measure, no oven to turn on… Anyone can make this cookie. So, what is it? It’s a Cannoli Wafer Sandwich Cookie! And let me just tell you that I brought these cookies to a friend’s house and they were a hit with everyone.

So, here’s what you need for these cookies; vanilla wafers, whole-milk ricotta, confectioners’ sugar, sugar, vanilla extract, white candy coating and miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips.

I began by making the cannoli filling by mixing whole-milk ricotta with confectioners’ sugar, sugar and vanilla extract.

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Next, I spread a teaspoon of the filling on the bottom half of the vanilla wafers and then topped them with another wafer.

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Once I had used up all of the cookies in the box….

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I dipped each of the sandwich cookies halfway into melted white candy coating – I used White Wilton Candy Melts. I dipped about five cookies at a time and then sprinkled mini chocolate chips on them. You don’t want the candy coating to set too much or the chocolate chips won’t stick to the cookies. Once I dipped all of the cookies I placed the cookies in the refrigerator for a few minutes so the candy coating could set.

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And finally, I dusted the cookies with confectioners’ sugar. How simple is that!?!?

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While these cookies are delicious and you might be tempted to save a few for the following day, they are best eaten the same day they are assembled.

Cannoli Wafer Sandwich Cookies

Ingredients:

1 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese

1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus additional for dusting the cookies

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 package (12 oz.) vanilla wafers

12 oz. white candy coating, melted

1/2 cup miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

In a small bowl mix together the ricotta cheese, confectioners’ sugar, granulated sugar and vanilla extract until well blended.

Spread 1 scant teaspoon filling on half of the vanilla wafers and then top with the other half of the cookies.

Dip each of the sandwich cookies halfway into the melted candy coating and place on wax paper. Sprinkle with chocolate chips and let the cookies stand until set, about 10 minutes. Alternatively you can place the cookies in the refrigerator for a few minutes to speed up the process.

Refrigerate the cookies until serving. Dust with confectioners’ sugar prior to serving.

Recipe from Taste of Home

Pumpkin Chocolate Brownies

I came across this brownie recipe in a recent issue of People magazine. At first it sounded great, but, then I started to make them and I began to question them due to the vast amount of ingredients.

In one bowl I sifted together flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt. In another bowl I combined 9 eggs, 2 1/2 cups of pumpkin puree and 4 1/3 cups of sugar. And finally, in another bowl I melted 1 2/3 cups of unsalted butter. YIKES! I’ve made brownies from scratch before and usually they require about 4 eggs or so and definitely not that much sugar. Oh, and if you didn’t know 1 2/3 cups of butter is roughly 27 tablespoons! So, I had my doubts, but I plowed ahead.

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To combine these three I continued to beat the pumpkin mixture on low while slowly adding in the melted butter and then gradually added in the flour until the mixture was completely blended.

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And finally I stirred in 1 1/2 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips.

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Next, I spread the batter into a greased 12 x 18 – inch rimmed baking sheet.

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And baked it for about 45 minutes, until cake tester came out clean from the center.

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And after letting them cool completely I went to slice them and problems quickly arose. While they did appear to be completely cooked for some reason when I went to slice them they seemed to be undercooked in the middle. Granted, if I had left them in the oven longer the edges would have really burned. So while it appeared that I would have been able to slice these into 20 healthy-sized brownies I really only ended up with 12. While they did taste good the verdict is out as to whether or not I will make them again. I actually brought them to a friend’s house and we jokingly coined them “The $50 Brownies” because of the amount of ingredients… LOL!

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Pumpkin Chocolate Brownies

Ingredients:

2 1/4 cups flour

1 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ginger

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon salt

9 large eggs

2 1/2 cups pumpkin puree

4 1/3 cups sugar

1 2/3 cups unsalted butter, melted

1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease an 18 x 12 inch rimmed baking sheet.

In a medium bowl sift together the flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together the eggs and the pumpkin puree on medium speed until well combined. Add the sugar and continue beating until all ingredients are well combined.

With the mixer running, slowly add the melted butter to the pumpkin mixture. Gradually add in the flour mixture until fully incorporated, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Spread the batter into the prepared baking sheet and bake for about 45 minutes, until a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool completely and then slice.

Recipe from Buddy Valastio People Magazine

 

S’mores Brownies

I hope you are all having a wonderful summer thus far! Today I have a treat for you that is perfect for these summer days, a spin on a favorite campfire treat… S’mores Brownies.

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I began by spraying a 9 x 13 inch pan with cooking spray and lining it with graham crackers.

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Next, I made my brownie batter and poured it right over the graham crackers…

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And then baked it in a pre-heated 325 F oven for 40 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the middle came out almost clean.

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I then switched my oven to the broiler setting and topped the brownie with mini marshmallows, chocolate chips and crushed graham crackers and placed it back in the oven for just about a minute until the marshmallows began to brown.

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I let the brownie cool on a wire rack and then transferred it to a cutting board to slice it. The key is to make sure the brownies have completely cooled before slicing into them, if you slice them too soon you will have a marshmallow mess as they will still be warm and gooey and the brownies will fall apart as they won’t have had enough time to set. I speak from experience on the latter.

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These brownies were perfect! The texture was spot-on… Not cakelike or too dense. And while you may think that the addition of the marshmallows and chocolate chips on top would make them too sweet, the opposite is true, it enhanced the flavor of the chocolate in the brownies. And let’s not forget the graham crackers on the bottom, they incorporated nicely into the brownie and while you may think they would get crispier when baked they actually provided a soft base to the brownies, sort of like a built-in plate. Overall, all of these flavors and textures worked together perfectly; just like your regular S’mores does.

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S’mores Brownies

Makes 12 Brownies

 Ingredients:

10 graham crackers

3 cups mini marshmallows

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, plus an additional 1/2 cup for the topping

1 stick unsalted butter

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup light brown sugar

4 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325 F. Spray a 9 x 13 inch pan with cooking spray and line it with graham crackers.

In a medium saucepan melt 2 cups of the chocolate chips with the stick of butter over low heat, stirring frequently.

Once the chocolate chips and butter have melted remove from the heat and whisk in the granulate sugar and light brown sugar, cool slightly.

Whisk in the eggs, one at a time and then the vanilla extract.

Stir in the flour and salt and pour the batter over the graham crackers.

Bake for 40 – 45 minutes, until a tester inserted in the middle come out almost clean.

Remove the pan from the oven and set the oven to the broiler setting. Top the brownie with the mini marshmallows, and the remaining chocolate chips and graham crackers – crush the graham crackers. Place the pan back in the oven for 30 – 60 seconds, until the marshmallows begin to brown. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cooled transfer the brownie to a cutting board and slice into 12 pieces.

 

Triple Chocolate-Hazelnut Cookies

There are many perks to living on Long Island – being readily close to a beach (although I am not a beach person per se I more so enjoy going to a nearby marina and watching the water, it’s quite calming,) I can be in NYC in about an hour and I can also visit some great wineries an hour in the opposite direction. A group of friends and I make it a point at least once a year – especially when the weather starts to get warmer – to visit the wineries. Although it’s not always the Long Island ones, Hudson Valley also has some great ones that are within driving distance as well. We usually do a potluck of sorts in terms of bringing things to eat and I usually volunteer to bring dessert. Last weekend we had our wine outing and I decided to make a batch of Triple Chocolate-Hazelnut Cookies. These could also be coined “Death by Chocolate Cookies.” They are incredible chocolaty thanks to the three chocolates used: Bittersweet (the base of the cookie which prevents it from being overly sweet), white and milk chocolate.

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My weekdays are usually split into three parts: Errands in the morning, midday, errands in the afternoon. I was squeezing baking these cookies into that midday part so I was pretty focused on getting my measurements for my ingredients ready prior to mixing. Not to say that I am usually a scatter brain baker, but, I usually assemble my ingredients together and then measure as I go along.

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I began by melting chopped bittersweet chocolate with unsalted butter in the microwave in 30-second intervals. You may be tempted to up the time for melting chocolate, but, it really is important to do so in shorter increments and whisking the chocolate between each of the intervals. By upping the time you may end up scorching the chocolate… I speak from experience. Once the chocolate and butter were melted I added in vanilla extract and whisked the mixture until it was smooth.

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Next, I beat two large eggs on medium speed with my stand mixer until they were foamy. Following that I gradually added in sugar until the mixture was thick and pale yellow.

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I then added in the melted chocolate mixture and then a flour mixture (flour, baking powder and salt) and continued mixing until it was just combined.

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And finally I folded in the hazelnuts (which I had blanched & toasted) and white and milk chocolate chips.

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My batter was then ready…

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I dropped the batter by tablespoonful onto parchment lined baking sheets. One thing I did notice was that as the batter sat it became thicker so next time I make these cookies I’ll let the batter sit for a few minutes before dropping them onto the cookie sheets.

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I baked the cookies in a preheated 350 F oven for about 12 minutes and then let them cool on the sheet for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

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After they were cooled I packed them up for the following day’s adventure.

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Overall, these cookies are winning recipe that I will be making again. As for the wine tasting, it was a great day as always. Some of the wine we tried was good, some, I don’t ever need to try again, but what makes the day great is being with wonderful friends and enjoying views like these!

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And seeing cute signs like this…

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Triple Chocolate-Hazelnut Cookies

Makes: 24 Cookies

Ingredients:

1 cup blanched hazelnuts, chopped

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 large eggs

3/4 cup sugar

1 cup milk chocolate chips

1 cup white chocolate chips

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spread the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and baked then until golden, about 7 minutes. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

2. Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl and set aside. Combine the bittersweet chocolate and butter in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 30-second intervals, whisking, until melted. Add the vanilla and continue whisking until smooth, set aside.

3. Beat the eggs in a large with a mixer on medium speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Gradually add the sugar and continue beating until thick and pale yellow, about 6 minutes. Gradually add the melted chocolate mixture and beat until combined. Reduce the mixer to speed to low and add the flour mixture and beat until just combined. Fold in the hazelnuts and chocolate chips.

4. Drop the batter by tablespoonful 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake until the cookies are slightly puffed and crackly, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes on the sheets, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Cheesecake Brownies

Brownies… They are probably the one thing I don’t bake too much of. I’m not really sure why that is since I do like them, especially when they have walnuts in them. Yum! I tend to like that crunchy texture in my deserts… walnuts in brownies or loaf cakes, sprinkles on cupcakes and ice cream and so forth. As I am thinking about it I think the major turn-off I have with brownies is having to slice them once they are cooled. They always tend to fall apart on me and I never end up with the amount the recipe says I’ll have; 12 somehow becomes 8 or 9. But, with this recipe not only did I end up with some delicious brownies, but, I also was able to cut them into 16 equal brownies as the recipe called for.

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In the bowl of my stand mixer I combined a box of Chocolate Fudge cake mix, oil, water and an egg and using the stir setting I mixed the ingredients until they were smooth. I then added in a 1/2 cup of chocolate chips and continued mixing until they were well incorporated.

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I then spread the mixture into a 13 x 9 inch pan that I sprayed with baking spray.

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Using a hand mixer – these are the times that I wish I had a second bowl for my stand mixer – I combined cream cheese, sugar, vanilla extract and an egg and beat the ingredients until they were smooth.

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After spreading the cream cheese mixture over the chocolate mixture I sprinkled chocolate chips over it.

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Once it was done baking – 35 minutes in a 350 F preheated oven – I let the brownies cool completely in the pan over a wire a rack.

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After some careful maneuvering – flipping and sliding – I placed the brownies on a large cutting board so I could cut them.

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And then it was time to enjoy them! Overall this recipe is a keeper. While the brownies are made using a cake mix they definitely tasted like they were made from scratch – i.e. flour, cocoa powder, etc. And the chocolate chips added to the brownie batter offer a nice texture and extra dose of chocolate in each bite. These brownies actually reminded me of the Mini Chocolate-Chip Cheesecakes I posted about a few years ago and continues to be a treat I make over and over again as it is a hit amongst many of my friends. And I am sure these brownies will become something I make quite a few more times.

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Cheesecake Brownies

Yield: 16 servings

Ingredients:

1 box Chocolate Fudge Cake Mix (Betty Crocker SuperMoist)

3/4 cup vegetable oil

2 tablespoons water

2 eggs

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1 8oz. package cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Prep a 13 x 9-inch pan by spraying the bottom with baking spray.

2. In a medium bowl, stir the cake mix, oil, water and 1 of the eggs until smooth. Stir in 1/2 cup of the chocolate chips. Spread batter into prepared pan.

3. In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla extract and remaining 1 egg with an electric mixer until smooth. Spread the mixture over the batter and sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup chocolate chips.

4. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in brownie 1 inch from the side of the pan comes out almost clean. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack, about 1 hour 30 minutes. Cut into 4 rows by 4 rows.