Double Chocolate Banana Muffins

Hello all– This is a little chocolate banana muffin that masquerades as a fruit muffin, but really is more of a dessert.  You can make them for breakfast if you want to (no judging here!), but they’d be fine with a cup of coffee after dinner too.  Moist, rich and delicious…

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE BANANA MUFFINS
2 bananas, smashed
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup sour cream (or unflavored yogurt)
1 egg
2 tab. unsweetened cocoa*
1 cup mini chocolate chips, divided
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tab. cornstarch
1 cup flour

Smash the bananas completely in a mixing bowl with a fork. Stir in the brown sugar, vanilla, oil, sour cream and egg.  Then mix in the cocoa and 2/3 cup of the chocolate chips.  Finally stir in the salt, baking powder, cornstarch and flour.

Spoon the batter into 10 to 12 muffin tins lined with muffin papers.**  Sprinkle the remaining 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips over the muffins. Pop them into a 350 degree oven for 15 to 18 minutes until they are firm to the touch.

*Love Hershey’s dark cocoa
**or spray the muffin pans with cooking spray

Chocolate Cheesecake

Hi there– The problem with cheesecake is leftovers.  There is one last piece of this chocolate cheesecake calling to me from the fridge right now.  Got this recipe from a magazine 40 years ago when we were first married and with a few twists and turns have been making it ever since.  It’s a favorite.

CHOCOLATE CHEESECAKE

Crust:
1/3 cup melted butter
2 tab. sugar
1 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 8 crackers)

Filling:
16 oz. cream cheese (2  8oz. blocks)
1  1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa*
1 tsp. vanilla
3 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream

Top layer:
1 cup sour cream
2 tab. sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
garnish: mini chocolate chips

Smash the graham crackers in a plastic bag with a rolling pin, until they are fine crumbs. Mix them in a bowl with the 2 tab. sugar and melted butter. Pour the mixture into a spring form pan (or deep pie dish) and pat it down flat with a spatula.  Set aside.

With an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese and sugar until it’s fluffy and thoroughly blended.   Then beat in the cocoa, 1 1/4 cup sugar, vanilla, eggs and 1/2 cup sour cream.  Scoop the mixture into the pan over the crust and put into a 350 degree oven for 40 to 50 minutes until it is set, but just a little jiggly still in the middle.

While that is baking, mix together the topping– 1 cup sour cream, 2 tab. sugar and 1/2 tsp. vanilla.

When the cheesecake comes out of the oven carefully spread the sour cream topping over the surface.  Then pop it back into the oven for 10 minutes more.

Take the cheese out of the oven and slide a knife around the edges of the pan to separate the cake from the pan.  Let it sit at room temperature for an hour.  Then put the cheesecake into the fridge to chill at least an hour before you serve it.

*Love to use Hershey’s Dark Chocolate Cocoa

Simple Mocha Cake

Hi all– I’m afraid this isn’t much of a recipe– more like just a tip about putting instant coffee into your cake mix & frosting to give it a rich mocha flavor.  But I promise if you try this simple cake, you’ll have a hard time not licking your plate.  It’s crazy delicious!

SIMPLE MOCHA CAKE

Cake:
1 dark chocolate cake mix
1 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
2 tsp. instant coffee (about 2 small packs)

Frosting:
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 tsp. instant coffee (about 2 small packs)
1/4 cup dark chocolate unsweetened cocoa
8 oz. cream cheese
1 tsp. vanilla
1 pound box powdered sugar (about 3 3/4 cups)
1-2 tab, water if needed
garnish:  stemmed cherry!!

 

With an electric mixer beat together the cake mix according to the directions on the package–mine used 1 cup water, 1/3 cup oil and 3 eggs.  Them mix in the 2 tsp. instant coffee.

Spoon the batter into two 8″ or 9″ cake pans that have been sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes until the cake is firm to the touch.  Cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting, melt the butter in the microwave and then mix in the cocoa and instant coffee.  Then with a mixer beat in the cream cheese vanilla and powdered sugar.  Begin mixing on the lowest setting until the sugar has started in incorporate (or you will have sugar flying everywhere!).  Up the speed of the mixer to blend thoroughly.

If the frosting seems too dry, add 1 or maybe 2 tablespoons of water (be careful it’s easy to add to much water and end up with running frosting!)

Frost the bottom layer.   Add to top layer and frost away the top and sides.  Add cherry and it ‘s done!

 

Sour Cream Chocolate Pecan Bread

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Hey there friends– Maybe you know what I mean. Sometimes (think 4:00 in the afternoon) I just need a little taste of chocolate and nuts.  In an emergency there is always a handful of dark chocolate chips and a few pecans from the cupboard to see me through.

But this is really a much better solution– moist and rich and the sweet crunch of pecans.  Add a mug of tea. Perfect.

SOUR CREAM CHOCOLATE PECAN BREAD
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
1  1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 sleeve (1 tsp.) instant coffee*
1/2 cup Hershey’s dark cocoa
1/2 cup buttermilk**
3/4 cup sour cream
1  1/2 cup flour
1  1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. sal1 cup pecans, chopped
garnish: handful of mini chocolate chips & pecan bits

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In a mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, eggs and oil.  Then mix in the vanilla, coffee, cocoa, buttermilk and sour cream.  Next stir in the flour, baking powder and salt.  Finally mix in the pecans (you can keep a few aside to sprinkle on top of the loaves)

Spoon the batter into a 9″ x 5″ loaf pan*** that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Sprinkle the mini chocolate chips and extra pecans on top and then bake it all in a 350 degree oven for 45 to 50 minutes, until a small knife inserted comes out clean.

Let it sit a few minutes before cutting into slices.

*The coffee doesn’t show up in the flavor, just makes the chocolate taste so much richer.
**Buttermilk substitute– 1 tab. cider vinegar added to milk to make 1/2 cup
***I used two smaller half size loaf pans.

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Chocolate Samoa Cake

 

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Hey friends– This cake gets it’s name from those Girl Scout cookies– the ones with the coconut & caramel & chocolate.  Know what I mean??  Delish!

I made it for our young adults group that comes in on Thursdays.  And I liked it so much, that I made it again on Saturday for dinner with friends!  (so I’ve been nibbling on leftovers all week…)   I think you would like it too…

CHOCOLATE SAMOA CAKE

Cake:
1 chocolate cake mix
1/2 cup oil
1 cup water
3 eggs

Frosting:
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup milk
3 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup caramel sauce*

Toppings:
2  1/2 cups coconut
1/2 cup caramel sauce*
3/4 cup chocolate chips
1 teaspoon canola oil

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Mix the cake mix up according to the instructions on the package.  Mine called for water, 1/2 cup oil and 3 eggs.  Pour the batter into a 3″ x13″ baking dish –or a large 10″ cake pan.**  Bake the cake 25 to 30 minutes until it is firm to the touch.

While the cake is cooking, line a baking sheet with foil (for easier clean up) and sprinkle the 2 1/2 cups coconut evenly over the foil.  Put it in the oven with the cake and let it cook for 10 to 12 minutes, taking it out and stirring the coconut every 3 or 4 minutes so it does not burn.  (be careful, this coconut can burn easily!) When half of the coconut is still white, but crispy and the other half is light brown, it’s ready.

Let the cake cool and then with the handle of a wooden spoon, poke holes all over the cake.

Mix together the frosting ingredients– the melted butter, 1/4 cup milk, powdered sugar, vanilla and 1/4 cup caramel sauce.  Pour them carefully over the cake, smoothing it with a spatula to get the frosting partially down into the holes in the cake.

Then spread the coconut over the top of the frosting.  Put the chocolate chips and oil in a glass bowl and microwave them about 120 seconds, until the chocolate chips are soft enough to stir into a smooth melty mess.  Alternately drizzle the chocolate and 1/2 cup caramel sauce over the coconut layer.  Done.

*You can make your own caramel sauce, but I use store bought
**I like to use my largest spring form pan -about 10  1/2″- because it’s easy to get the cake out onto a pretty plate to serve it.

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Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Cookies

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Hello here– It’s still raining here– All yesterday afternoon I sat and read and watched through the back door– at the pounding persistent rain.  Thankful to be cozy and snug under my blanket of the couch with my book—and a cup of hot chocolate pudding.  So content.

Well, I won’t send you a “recipe” for chocolate pudding (1 box of pudding mix cooked with 3 cups of milk!!), but if you are in a rainy day mood for something desperately chocolate, these cookies might do the trick!

DARK CHOCOLATE SEA SALT COOKIES
12 oz. butter (1  1/2 stick)
1/4 cup unsweetened dark cocoa*
1  3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. sea salt (coarse salt)
2 cups chocolate chips (12 oz. bag)**

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In  small mixing bowl, melt the butter in the microwave (a little over 1 minute).  Then stir in the cocoa and set it aside.

With an electric mixer beat together the brown sugar, eggs and vanilla.  Then beat in the flour, baking powder and sea salt.  Lastly, beat in the chocolate chips.

Put rounded tablespoons of batter onto a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper (or sprayed with cooking spray). Bake them up at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes.  With a spatula remove the cookies to baking racks to cool.  Will make about 3 1/2 dozen cookies.

*I use Hershey’s dark chocolate cocoa (easy to find)
**The recipe I worked from called for regular chocolate chips, but I just had mini chips–either are fine.

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Chocolate Croissant Braid

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Hey there– Love this little pastry because it reminds me of a corner coffee cafe across the street from Cal,  where our Ani went to college.  When I’d go up to visit, we’d sit under the trees and watch hundreds of students stream by.  Our usual was tea and chocolate croissants.

So when I came across this recipe, I was on it!  I think one of it’s chief virtues is that is has a great effort to appearance ratio– so super easy, yet pretty on the plate.  Plus puff pastry wrapped around chocolate??!!  It’s a yes. Delicious warm from the oven!

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CHOCOLATE CROISSANT BRAID
1 sheet frozen puff pastry
4.4 oz. chocolate bar (milk or dark)
1 egg
2 to 4 tablespoons sliced almonds
2 tab. powdered sugar

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Lay the puff pastry on a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper.  Let it sit and defrost 30 to 40 minutes and then unfold it to a rectangle on the parchment.

Lay the chocolate in the center of the puff pastry and then cut 6 to 8 strips of dough along the long sides of the chocolate.  Cut off the corners of the pastry.  And next fold the top and bottom of the pastry over the chocolate.  Finally, “braid” the strips across the pastry to cover all the chocolate.

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Beat the egg in a small cup and stir in a splash of water.  Then use a pastry brush to “paint” the egg wash over the top of the pastry.

Put the pastry in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes.  Then pull it out and sprinkle the almonds across the stop.  Slide it back into the oven for 5 to 10 minutes more until the pastry and the almonds are a nice golden color.

Let the pastry cool for just about 10 minutes and then dust it with the powdered sugar shaken through a sieve.  Very best eaten warm from the oven!

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