Category Archives: Chocolate

Homemade Chocolate Shell

Homemade Chocolate ShellHomemade Chocolate Shell has appeared on here a few times over the years, but always as a part of another recipe. I’ve used it to finish an ice cream cake, as a dip for truffles, and just as a drizzle, but we all know chocolate shell shines brightest on a scoop of ice cream. It’s high time that it gets its own post.Homemade Chocolate ShellChocolate shell is both entertainment and dessert. It goes on ice cream (or anything cold) like chocolate syrup and then magically transforms into a hard edible shell right in front of your eyes! It’s no wonder the popular store brand is marketed as Magic Shell.Homemade Chocolate ShellThe “magic” of chocolate shell was a mystery to me for years—how did they do that?! Turns out, mostly with ingredients and preservatives that I’d rather not ingest whenever I get a hankering for a bowl of ice cream with a snappy chocolate topping. Imagine my utter delight when I discovered Homemade Chocolate Shell could be made with just two easy-to-find, vegan ingredients!Homemade Chocolate ShellHomemade Chocolate ShellYes, all you need to make Homemade Chocolate Shell are four ounces of bittersweet chocolate and two tablespoons of coconut oil. Melt them together, stir until smooth, and then drizzle—or let’s be real, pour—it over a scoop (or three) of ice cream. Then watch as the glossy sauce magically turns into a matte shell in a matter of seconds! It works because coconut oil solidifies at 76F, but that’s way less fun than calling it magic.Homemade Chocolate ShellNot only is Homemade Chocolate Shell made of less-terrifying ingredients than the store bought stuff, it’s more delicious, too. You control the quality of ingredients here, and that goes double since there are only two of them. This batch was made with Trader Joe’s Pound Plus Dark Chocolate and refined coconut oil because those are things that I like and keep on hand.

You may wonder, why refined coconut oil? The answer is simple: because it doesn’t taste like coconut. I like my Homemade Chocolate Shell to taste only of chocolate. That said, if you only have extra virgin coconut oil and don’t mind a little coconut flavor in your chocolate shell, it will work just fine.Homemade Chocolate ShellHands down, my second favorite part of eating Homemade Chocolate Shell is thwacking through it with the side of a spoon. There’s nothing quite like that satisfying snap and the shards of cold chocolate that melt in your mouth.

My first favorite part of eating Homemade Chocolate Shell? Actually eating it. Duh.Homemade Chocolate Shell

Homemade Chocolate Shell
makes about 3/4 cup

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons coconut oil (preferably refined/high heat)

Combine chopped chocolate and coconut oil into a small bowl. Microwave in 15 second increments, stirring in between, until melted. Let cool 8-10 minutes for optimal pouring consistency (so it doesn’t melt off whatever it’s coating). Pour or drizzle over ice cream or use as a dip for other frozen treats.

Leftover chocolate shell will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week. Reheat by microwaving in 10 second increments, stirring in between, until pourable.Homemade Chocolate ShellHomemade Chocolate ShellHomemade Chocolate Shell

Crispy, Crunchy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Crispy, Crunchy Chocolate Chip CookiesTwo chocolate chip cookie recipes in four weeks? Don’t mind if I do.

If you like your chocolate chip cookies soft and chewy, I already have at least two recipes for you. But these? These are for the crispy, crunchy cookie people.Crispy, Crunchy Chocolate Chip CookiesYes, you. I know you’re out there. I see you, wading through a sea of soft, chewy chocolate chip cookie recipes, baking them extra long in hopes that they’ll be something they’re not. I’ve read your emails and direct messages, and I’ve been trying on-and-off for years to make a cookie base just for you.

It’s been more frustrating than you’d imagine—I mean, how difficult could it be to make a cookie that’s crunchy throughout?—but I finally, finally cracked the code a few weeks ago. The results are crispy (duh) but not overly hard, and very caramelly and chocolate-studded and delicious, as all chocolate chip cookies ought to be. Oh, and their crunch? Ridiculous. Ree-diculous.Crispy, Crunchy Chocolate Chip CookiesNow, I’m sure if you bake any cookie dough long enough, the results will be crispy, but this one is *specifically formulated* to be that way. It sounds a little pretentious when it’s written out like that, but it’s true. It’s taken at least 30 test batches, if not more, to make the perfect homemade Crispy, Crunchy Chocolate Chip Cookies. I don’t throw the word “perfect” around on here literally ever, so please believe me when I tell you how incredible these are because getting here has been a journey.Crispy, Crunchy Chocolate Chip CookiesWhen I started down this particular cookie road (really going with the journey metaphor), I knew I needed to bump up the granulated sugar and reduce the brown sugar for crisper results. It’s basic cookie science. Sugar is hygroscopic, meaning it absorbs moisture from the air. Brown sugar, which is what happens when you whirl molasses into granulated sugar, absorbs more moisture than plain white granulated sugar. Therefore, more brown sugar in a cookie recipe = more chew. I wanted less chew—no chew, even—but still needed that signature brown sugary chocolate chip cookie flavor, so I opted to use equal parts brown and granulated sugar. The results are all the flavor I expect in a chocolate chip cookie and none of the softness.Crispy, Crunchy Chocolate Chip CookiesNext, I reduced the flour to cause more spreading during baking. Yes, I wanted this dough to spread—no multi-hour chills here! I also decided to try a reverse creaming method after seeing Stella Parks’s homemade Tate’s cookies. This mixing method is unusual in cookies but popular for cakes. The flour, sugar and other dry ingredients are mixed together first, then coated in softened butter, creating a barrier of fat and a visibly sandy texture. This butter barrier keeps the flour from absorbing liquid, which would activate the gluten, which would create chewy texture. Lesson learned: for the crispest cookies and the softest cakes, reverse creaming is the way to go.Crispy, Crunchy Chocolate Chip CookiesNow, all of that is fine and good and very important in the whole crunchy cookie racket, but the real game changer came a few weeks ago. I was eating Hobnobs (crisp chocolate-dipped oat tea biscuits) at 1am on a Thursday and going down an internet rabbit hole about how to make them…because it was 1am on a Thursday. Like all the best love (and recipe development?) stories, I wasn’t even looking for this solution, but then there it was in a homemade Hobnob recipe: golden syrup. It bound together an otherwise crumbly dough, doing what an egg does in other cookie recipes, but since the syrup is sugar (read: it doesn’t have the fat and protein eggs do), it produced a crisp finish, rather than a chewy one.

Mind blown. MIND. BLOWN. Mind *freaking* blown.

Approximately ten more test batches later, these are the Crispy, Crunchy Chocolate Chip Cookies I’ve wanted all along.Crispy, Crunchy Chocolate Chip CookiesCrispy, Crunchy Chocolate Chip CookiesNow, If you’re scratching your head wondering what WTF golden syrup is, you’re not alone. It’s a cane sugar-based invert sweetener (invert = liquid) that’s popular in the UK, but a bit more niche here. I can find it in some really well-stocked grocery stores and online, of course, but I can’t expect you to go out of your way for one ingredient. No way. Cookies are an immediate need, as far as I’m concerned—we’re in a pandemic, dang it—so I use the USA’s easy-to-find, low-rent golden syrup substitute, light corn syrup. You can also use a mild honey if corn syrup isn’t your bag. And for those wondering, nope, it’s not the same as the dreaded high-fructose corn syrup.Crispy, Crunchy Chocolate Chip CookiesCrispy, Crunchy Chocolate Chip CookiesCrispy, Crunchy Chocolate Chip CookiesThe syrup is added after the butter is reverse-creamed in, and before the chocolate chips. The dough will hold together as well as any other chocolate chip cookie dough, and rolls easily into 24 tablespoon-sized balls.

They’re baked for 15-16 minutes, until they’re really, really done. Long baking time is key for crunchy cookie success. The cookies will puff as they bake, but should already be relaxing into their final shape when you pull them from the oven, and be fully crisp within a few minutes of cooling. You may be tempted to eat them warm, but I think their flavor is best at room temperature. All the flavors meld together after 30 minutes or so, resulting in super caramelly, crisp, surprisingly light-textured chocolate chip cookies. Prepare to fall in love with their satisfying crunch—don’t say I didn’t warn you.Crispy, Crunchy Chocolate Chip CookiesCrispy, Crunchy Chocolate Chip CookiesOne more reason to get on the crunchy cookie bandwagon? Crispy, Crunchy Chocolate Chip Cookies keep like a dream. A dream, I tell you! I am a huge snob about day-old cookies, so believe me when I tell you that these just get better with time. Where soft cookies get a little stale after a day, these crisp treats retain their texture and their flavors only deepen further. You should keep them covered as sugar’s hygroscopic nature means your cookies can be affected by humidity, but the batch pictured made it through some seriously gnarly NYC weather and were still near perfect. And by near perfect, I mean perfect-perfect.Crispy, Crunchy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Crispy, Crunchy Chocolate Chip Cookies
makes 2 dozen cookies

1 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed (not dark brown)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 tablespoon light corn syrup (or golden syrup or mild honey)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Arrange oven racks in central positions. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, granulated sugar, light brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Cut softened butter into 8 pieces and add them to the mixing bowl. Starting at low speed and increasing as ingredients become incorporated, use an electric mixer to mix the butter into the flour/sugar mixture until powdery and wet-sandy. You may need to stop a time or two to break up larger pieces of butter.

Add corn syrup and vanilla and mix to combine. Dough will look crumbly, but should hold together well when pinched.

Add the chocolate chips to the dough and mix/knead them in with a clean hand (or a silicone spatula or wooden spoon) until evenly distributed and the dough is a cohesive unit.

Scoop the dough by the tablespoon, roll into balls and place them 2-3 inches apart on prepared pans (I fit 12 on each half-sheet pan). Bake for 8 minutes, then rotate the pans top-to-bottom and front-to-back. Bake another 7-8 minutes, until a bit puffy and deep golden.

Let cookies cool for 7 minutes on the pans. Remove to a rack to cool completely. Serve.

Leftover cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.Crispy, Crunchy Chocolate Chip CookiesCrispy, Crunchy Chocolate Chip CookiesCrispy, Crunchy Chocolate Chip Cookies

“I Got Yolks” Chocolate Chip Cookies

“I Got Yolks” Chocolate Chip CookiesYou know how sometimes you test a cake recipe a few too many times because you’re a perfectionist and then you’ve got approximately one million egg yolks in your fridge with no purpose?

*crickets*“I Got Yolks” Chocolate Chip CookiesWell, here is something to do with them: “I Got Yolks” Chocolate Chip Cookies!

*more crickets* + *excitement for cookies*“I Got Yolks” Chocolate Chip CookiesAnyway…this is a recipe born of necessity. Namely, the necessity to not waste good ingredients. Also, the necessity for something that can be eaten immediately or frozen for later or left on your friends’ front steps for a socially distanced surprise. Trust me, they’ll be beyond thrilled with a bag of these.“I Got Yolks” Chocolate Chip Cookies“I Got Yolks” Chocolate Chip Cookies are, in a word, spectacular. They’re super rich and chewy from three large egg yolks, melted butter, and brown sugar, and incredibly tender thanks to the addition of confectioners sugar. I threw the confectioner’s sugar in the first batch on a whim just to see what would happen and, well, it won’t be the last time. The sweetness, structure and texture it provides are really something—like the cornstarch I put in my other cookies, but better.“I Got Yolks” Chocolate Chip Cookies“I Got Yolks” Chocolate Chip Cookies“I Got Yolks” Chocolate Chip Cookies“I Got Yolks” Chocolate Chip Cookies“I Got Yolks” Chocolate Chip CookiesThe cookie dough comes together the same way most chocolate chip cookie doughs do—mix together wet and dry ingredients separately, combine them, and fold in some chocolate chips. Give the dough a chill, then roll it into balls and bake until they’re puffed and golden. They’ll get those gorgeous rumples and cracks as they cool–perfect resting spots for granules of coarse salt.

Coarse salt + Chocolate Chip Cookies = best friends forever ❤ “I Got Yolks” Chocolate Chip CookiesThese are not only my current favorite way to use up egg yolks, but also my current favorite chocolate chip cookies. They are nice and thick, with crisp exteriors, soft centers, a rich caramel flavor and the perfect amount of chocolate chips. The confectioner’s sugar in the dough gives them an extra-smooth quality and has the added benefit of keeping them soft for days. That’s saying something—I’m a total diva about day-old cookies.“I Got Yolks” Chocolate Chip CookiesOne more great thing about this recipe is that you can age the dough. I suppose you can age any cookie dough, actually, but I rarely have the fridge space. If you’ve never tried it, aging is as simple as keeping the dough in the fridge for up to a week before rolling and baking. By letting it sit for an extended period, you’re allowing the flavors to deepen in a really wonderful way. The exteriors get a light sheen after baking and the brown sugar flavor really sings. Try it. You’ll like it.“I Got Yolks” Chocolate Chip Cookies

“I Got Yolks” Chocolate Chip Cookies
makes about 2.5 dozen cookies

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 cup light or dark brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup confectioners sugar
3 large egg yolks
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
coarse salt or other finishing salt, for garnish (optional)

In a small-medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together butter, brown sugar and confectioner’s sugar until completely combined. Mix in egg yolks, followed by vanilla. Add dry ingredients in two installments, mixing to combine. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold in chocolate chips.

Cover dough with plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours or up to a week.

When you’re ready to bake, remove the dough from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 10 minutes, or until hard but still scoopable.

Arrange oven racks in central positions (I do second from top and second from bottom), Preheat oven to 350F. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.

Scoop dough in 2 tablespoon increments, roll into balls, and place them 3 inches apart on prepared pans. Bake 6 minutes, then rotate the pans top-to-bottom and front-to-back. Bake 5-6 more minutes, until golden and puffed. Sprinkle with coarse salt. Let cool 7-8 minutes on the pans, then use a spatula to remove the cookies to a rack to cool completely. Bring baking sheets back to room temperature before repeating rolling and baking processes with remaining dough.

Cookies will keep well covered at room temperature for 3-4 days.

Baked cookies may be wrapped tightly and frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw before enjoying.“I Got Yolks” Chocolate Chip Cookies“I Got Yolks” Chocolate Chip Cookies“I Got Yolks” Chocolate Chip Cookies

Homemade Chocolate Syrup

Homemade Chocolate SyrupMy dad is the kind of person who just *needs* something sweet at the end of each day, probably because he was raised by someone who always had a chocolate cake on her kitchen counter. Aside from brownies though, he’s not much of a baker and neither is my mother, so homemade desserts weren’t a huge part of my family life growing up. Still, we were a small-dessert-every-night sort of family. We always had something sweet in our weekly grocery haul–Oreos, pecan sandies, popsicles–but I think, if asked, we’d all agree that the best dessert was always vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup. Homemade Chocolate SyrupFast forward fifteen-ish years to me living the professional home baker life in New York in the middle of a pandemic. I can pretty much make whatever dessert I want, and maybe it’s because the weather is warming up or I’m feeling nostalgic or a little homesick, but all I really want right now is vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup.Homemade Chocolate SyrupNow, I do not have much desire to begin making my own vanilla ice cream, but Homemade Chocolate Syrup? That, I need. Like many of us, I grew up with Hershey’s Syrup in the fridge, but now that I’ve started making my own chocolate syrup, I’m ruined for storebought forever. Deeply chocolaty, a little tangy, just thick enough, pourable even when it’s fridge-cold—this is the stuff my ice cream dreams are made of.Homemade Chocolate SyrupHomemade Chocolate SyrupHomemade Chocolate SyrupHomemade Chocolate SyrupAlso, my chocolate milk dreams. I generally cannot abide liquid dairy, but put some chocolate syrup in a glass of whole milk and I. am. interested.Homemade Chocolate Syrup beats the pants off of every storebought version I’ve ever had. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t turn up my nose if someone offered me a scoop of ice cream with a drizzle of Hershey’s Syrup on top—I’m not a monster!—but it simply can’t compete with this stuff. Where the syrups you’ll find on shelves are cloyingly sweet, lacking in chocolate flavor and full of ingredients none of us can pronounce, this one is super chocolaty from cocoa powder and bittersweet chocolate, has a little depth from brown sugar, and requires six ingredients that you very well may have in your pantry right now. Oh, and it’s vegan.

If you’re wondering if it’s worth the effort to make Homemade Chocolate Syrup, the answer is a resounding “yes.” This is essentially a souped-up simple syrup with a little chopped chocolate and vanilla extract stirred in at the end. We’re talking twelve minutes start-to-finish for a pint (that’s two cups!) of chocolate syrup. I haven’t done the math, but I’m fairly certain this is less expensive than storebought, too.Homemade Chocolate SyrupWith that, I rest my case…and also tiptoe into my kitchen at 2am for some ice cream and Homemade Chocolate Syrup. Homemade Chocolate Syrup

Homemade Chocolate Syrup
makes about 2 cups

1 cup light brown sugar, packed
2/3 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
pinch of salt
1 1/4 cups water
1 ounce bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

In a small pot or saucepan, whisk together brown sugar, cocoa and salt to remove any large lumps. Add water and whisk to combine.

Place over medium heat. Stir occasionally until it comes to a simmer, then constantly for 5 minutes while it simmers. Mixture will expand dramatically. Remove from heat.

Whisk in chopped chocolate, followed by vanilla. Let cool a bit in the pot before transferring to a jar (or other container) for storage.

Chocolate syrup will keep covered in the refrigerator. Stir before using.Homemade Chocolate SyrupHomemade Chocolate SyrupHomemade Chocolate Syrup

S’mores Magic Bars

S’mores Magic BarsThis summer is going to be a little different, but one thing remains the same: its unofficial kick-off, Memorial Day, is coming up next week. While it’s highly unlikely that I’ll find myself around a campfire or even on a rooftop anytime soon, I will not let this year go by without a s’mores-centric treat.S’mores Magic BarsIs there anything that says “summer” quite like a s’more? I mean, what’s not to love about crisp graham cracker, milk chocolate (or lemon curd!) and toasted marshmallow stacked together while everything’s still gooey?S’mores Magic BarsThese S’mores Magic Bars aren’t your traditional summertime fare, but they have plenty of graham crackers (in the form of crust and crispy shards), chopped milk chocolate and toasted marshmallows. It straight-up doesn’t count as a s’mores dessert if the marshmallows aren’t toasted, am I right?!S’mores Magic BarsS’mores Magic BarsS’mores Magic BarsAs with all magic bars, these are held together with a can of sweetened condensed milk. It serves as the structural backbone of this whole operation (along with the graham crust), and caramelizes in the oven for a toffee undertone.

S’mores + toffee = basically everything I’ve ever wanted.S’mores Magic BarsThe sweetened condensed milk also gives these bars a slightly gooey finish, which is a good thing because while the marshmallows do get nice and golden brown, they also have to cool completely before you slice the bars. Like I said, we’re not going for tradition, we’re going for the most efficient way to get toasted marshmallow, graham cracker and milk chocolate into our faces in a less than ideal summer situation!S’mores Magic BarsAlso, unlike traditional s’mores, these sweet squares will stay good for days after baking. Days! That’s a very good thing, because I have a feeling I’m going to need a few batches between now and Labor Day.S’mores Magic Bars

S’mores Magic Bars
makes one 8- or 9-inch square pan

Crust:
9 sheets graham crackers
1/4 cup light or dark brown sugar, packed
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Filling:
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk, divided
2 cups mini marshmallows, divided
2 sheets graham crackers, broken into small pieces
4 ounces milk chocolate, roughly chopped

Place an oven rack in the center position. Preheat oven to 350F. Heavily grease a 9-inch square pan and line with parchment paper, leaving overhang on two sides. Grease again. Set aside.

Make the crust. Place graham crackers in the bowl of a food processor and process until no large pieces remain. Add light brown sugar, melted butter, and salt. Process until the mixture resembles wet sand, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Transfer the mixture to prepared pan and use the bottom of a measuring cup (or clean hands) to press the mixture onto the bottom of the pan. Bake crust for 10 minutes. Cool it on a rack for a few minutes while you prepare the filling.

Pour 1/2 cup of the sweetened condensed milk into a liquid measuring cup or small bowl. Set aside.

Drizzle remaining sweetened condensed milk onto crust. Top with 1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows, followed by graham pieces and chopped milkchocolate.

Drizzle on reserved sweetened condensed milk and scatter on remaining mini marshmallows. Bake 30-32 minutes, until everything is golden brown and the center of the pan just barely jiggles when the pan is jostled.

Let bars cool completely in the pan on a rack. Use parchment overhang to remove them to a cutting board before slicing with a large, sharp chef’s knife. For clean edges, carefully wipe the knife blade clean with a damp towel between cuts.

Layer leftovers with wax paper (or parchment) in an airtight container. Bars will keep covered at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to a week.S’mores Magic BarsS’mores Magic Bars