Category Archives: Chocolate

Friday Favorites: Everyday Cakes {Spring Edition}

Friday Favorites: Everyday Cakes {Spring Edition}Everyday Cakes are probably my favorite desserts to make and eat. I’m sure I’ve said that about at least one other category of dessert, but I promise it’s true.

Like their name implies, these are cakes that can be made any ol’ day with limited fuss. Theyre single layer, have short ingredient lists and can almost always be adapted to work with whatever you have on hand. They’re the sort of thing you can bake on the fly when you need to let out some stress after work, or want to make a cake on a Saturday afternoon but don’t want to deal with frosting and layering. Even better, they’re the kind of super-classy-but-still-low-maintenance dinner party dessert that will make you look like Ina Garten (hydrangeas optional, but recommended). Their versatility simply cannot be matched.

It will come as no surprise that I have tons of Everyday Cakes in my archives—too many for one post—so this is my spring Everyday Cake round-up. Five cakes that are far more than the sum of their parts. Try out one or two before summer’s here and it’s too hot to bake!Friday Favorites: Everyday Cakes {Spring Edition}Boterkoek {Dutch Butter Cake}

My friend, David, introduced me to this Dutch dessert a few years ago and it’s quickly become one of my favorite cakes of all time. With plenty of butter, bits of ginger strewn throughout and a signature golden lid, it might just become your favorite too!

Ginger not your thing? Feel free to leave it out, or make my almond variation.Friday Favorites: Everyday Cakes {Spring Edition}Flourless Almond Cake

The nectarines in this picture won’t be in season for a few more months, but don’t let that stop you from making this dreamy Flourless Almond Cake! It’s perfect for eating with your fingers as a mid-afternoon snack, but it can also be dressed up with berries or chocolate or whatever for post-vaccine get-togethers.Friday Favorites: Everyday Cakes {Spring Edition}Blueberry Torte

A torte is just a low maintenance cake by another name. This one is super easy to make, tender and buttery and chockablock with fresh blueberries.Friday Favorites: Everyday Cakes {Spring Edition}Mango Upside-Down Cake

Pineapple is the reigning queen of upside-down cakes, but I’d like to make a petition for this mango number to be a princess or a duchess or something. The combination of brown sugar cake and fresh mango baked in caramel is absolutely divine.Friday Favorites: Everyday Cakes {Spring Edition}Winning Hearts & Minds Cake

Everyone needs a good flourless chocolate cake recipe in their back pocket. This one is the slightest take on Molly Wizenberg-Choi’s gem of a recipe. I’ve made it approximately a thousand times—I’ve got the recipe memorized—and am still not over the crackly top and dense chocolaty middle. Consider my heart and mind won.

Have you made these or any of my other everyday cakes? Let me know in the comments or on social media!

Better Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip CookiesYou will never find health food masquerading as dessert on this website, but I freely admit that some of my recipes are more nutritious than others. For instance, these Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies are made with 100% whole wheat flour, so they have more protein and fiber than your average cookie, along with some nutty whole grain flavor. They’re also full of butter, brown sugar and chocolate though, so don’t get it twisted—these are dessert, not a side salad. Nobody comes to this site for the vegetables.Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip CookiesIf you think you’ve seen these on here before, that’s because you have…or a version of them, anyway. I posted Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies back in the winter of 2016. I stand by that recipe, although my personal cookie tastes have changed since then, as has my general baking philosophy.

…can’t believe I just said I had a “baking philosophy.” Oof, that’s pretentious.

But seriously, in the intervening five years I’ve learned a few things about leaveners and flour and cookies in general, and that knowledge and desire for simpler, better home baking has led to a lot of good things. You know, like four dozen soft & chewy Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies.Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip CookiesThe ingredient list for these cookie is similar to the old recipe, but it’s been simplified. There’s less flour, I nixed the cornstarch, shifted the leaveners, and swapped all the white sugar for dark brown.

I’ve also fully eliminated the chill, which I rarely do in cookie recipes. Chilling cookie dough helps to produce thicker, puffier cookies, but these bake up nice and soft without any break in the action. If you want a slightly thicker cookie, or need to take a pause between mixing and baking, feel free to chill the dough for an hour or two before baking them off. For me though, these crisp-edged, soft-centered whole grain cookies are perfect without any lag time.Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip CookiesFor those of you wondering if whole wheat flour makes these taste healthy, it’s a resounding “no” because they’re not any less indulgent than the chocolate chip cookies you’ve eaten your whole life. The whole wheat flavor is absolutely there, but so is all that caramelly brown sugar, butter and chocolate. The whole wheat simply adds a subtle toastiness that amplifies the classic flavor we all love.

So, yeah. Health food, these are not. But delicious? You bet.Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies
makes about 4 dozen cookies

2 3/4 cups whole wheat flour (or white whole wheat flour)
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoons Kosher or sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2 cups dark brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a separate large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until light and fluffy. Beat in dark brown sugar, followed by eggs and vanilla. Add dry ingredients in two installments, beating until completely combined. Mix in chocolate chips.

Scoop dough in 1 1/2 tablespoon increments (I used a medium cookie scoop) and roll into balls, setting them two inches apart on the prepared pans. Bake 10-11 minutes until they look just slightly underdone. Let cool on the sheet pans for five minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Cookies will keep covered at room temperature for up to a week.

Chocolate Macaroon Thumbprints

Chocolate Macaroon Thumbprints If these Chocolate Macaroon Thumbprints look familiar, it’s because they are—these are basically just miniature versions of my Chocolate Macaroon Tart, one of my most-made and most-loved recipes ever. The golden coconut exteriors and dark chocolate interiors are a combination that simply can’t be beat (Lemon Meringue obviously excepted).Chocolate Macaroon Thumbprints Chocolate Macaroon Thumbprints are made with my trusty gluten- and egg-free Coconut Macaroon base, so they’re soft & light on the inside and toasty on the outside. I made one little tweak to the original recipe and added some cornstarch for a bit more structure, but rest assured that these are just as delicate and chewy as any coconut macaroon you’ve ever had.Chocolate Macaroon Thumbprints Chocolate Macaroon Thumbprints Chocolate Macaroon Thumbprints After the coconut base is rolled into balls, little indentations are pressed into each one to create the titular thumbprint. You could use your thumb, of course, but a spoon gives a more consistent shape and size and is way less messy. These initial thumbprints will become shallow during baking, so make sure to give them a second indentation when you pull them from the oven. Bigger thumbprint = more room for chocolate!Chocolate Macaroon Thumbprints Chocolate Macaroon Thumbprints Ohhh yes, these thumbprints are filled to the brim with dark chocolate ganache! It’s no secret that coconut & dark chocolate are perfect together, but the creamy-chewy texture situation here is positively glorious. I can say this with confidence because…well, I’ve eaten a lot of these lately. A. Lot.Chocolate Macaroon Thumbprints Chocolate Macaroon Thumbprints are a perfect addition to your Easter menu! Follow my lead and leave them plain for a simple & stunning finish, or top the pools of ganache with Easter egg candies for something a little more festive.Chocolate Macaroon Thumbprints

Chocolate Macaroon Thumbprints
makes about 1.5 dozen

3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 14-ounce bag (5 cups) sweetened flaked coconut
1 tablespoon cornstarch

Chocolate Ganache:
6 ounces dark chocolate
1/2 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. Set aside.

In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, use a fork to whisk together sweetened condensed milk, vanilla and salt.

Place coconut in a medium mixing bowl. Toss with cornstarch. Pour in sweetened condensed milk mixture and stir together with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon. Wet your hand and give the mixture a couple of kneads to ensure it’s very well-combined.

Scoop coconut mixture in 1 1/2 tablespoon increments (I used a medium cookie scoop) and form into balls. Place 2 inches apart on prepared pans. Use the back of a very small spoon (like a 1/2 teaspoon) to slowly press a well into each dough ball. Bake 16-17 minutes, until light golden and puffed. When you remove the cookies from the oven, press the back of the small spoon into the centers again. Let cool on pans for 10 minutes before using a spatula to remove them to a rack to cool completely.

Make ganache filling. Place chopped chocolate in a large measuring cup or heatproof mixing bowl. Heat heavy cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until it is steaming and bubbles are forming at the edge.

Pour warm cream over chopped chocolate. Do not stir. Cover bowl with a lid or aluminum foil for 5 minutes. Remove lid/foil. Use a fork to stir until chocolate and cream are combined and smooth.

Spoon a teaspoon of ganache into the well of each thumbprint. Ganache will begin to set pretty soon at room temperature, setting completely after a couple of hours.

Coconut Macaroons will keep covered at room temperature for a few days.

Chocolate Macaroon Thumbprints Chocolate Macaroon Thumbprints

Grapefruit Pie with Oreo Crust

Grapefruit Pie with Oreo CrustLast Pi Day (March 14th aka 3.14 aka π), I posted a recipe for Pecan Pie Kolaches that was mostly just me saying “What is happening? What is happening? Here’s a recipe, I guess,” and trying not to have a full-scale meltdown while the world closed up. Needless to say, this year’s post is a little less dramatic.

Except for the pie. It’s bringing all the drama in the best possible way. The colors, the textures, the slightly unusual flavor combination–it’s everything I want these days.Grapefruit Pie with Oreo CrustGrapefruit Pie with Oreo Crust is out of this world delicious and a stunner to boot. Crumbly Oreo crust is filled with a soft and tangy Grapefruit filling and finished with whipped cream, chocolate curls and thin strips of grapefruit zest.Grapefruit Pie with Oreo CrustIf you think I’ve lost my mind combining grapefruit and chocolate, know that I would have turned my nose up at this just a few years ago. However, after trying key lime and chocolate together, I am sold. The tang of citrus and the bitterness of chocolate are a perfect pairing. Try it—you’ll love it.Grapefruit Pie with Oreo CrustThis pie is pretty simple to make, but as with most simple things, it does require some preparation. The filling is a play on my Lemon Meringue Pie, wherein the structure mostly comes from egg yolks and cornstarch. It’s a lot like making homemade pudding, which is really no big deal.

Cornstarch, sugar, salt and water are whisked together over medium heat until thick. This mixture is used to temper (warm) the egg yolks, before it’s all simmered with a grapefruit reduction and a hint of lemon juice. Whisk in a little butter, pour it through a sieve and voila! Grapefruit pie filling.

(I think I may have accidentally made it sound complicated by laying the method out like that, but I promise you it’s simple and comes together quickly.)Grapefruit Pie with Oreo CrustOnce the filling and crust are prepared, it’s just a matter of pouring one into the other and letting them get nice and cold together. This cannot be rushed, so plan ahead. Grapefruit Pie with Oreo CrustGrapefruit Pie with Oreo CrustWhen Grapefruit Pie with Oreo Crust is completely chilled, it will still be a little on the jiggly side, like a citrus curd with a little more body. After you add a flourish of whipped cream and the garnishes of your choosing, you’ll be treated to a tart, sweet, creamy, crumbly confluence of goodness. The cream offsets the tanginess of the filling, and the buttery chocolate crumb crust rounds it all out. This pie is rich and refreshing–the perfect way to start what will hopefully be a much simpler twelve months for us all.

Happy Pi Day, y’all. Grapefruit Pie with Oreo Crust

Grapefruit Pie with Oreo Crust
makes one 9-inch pie

Oreo Crust:
24 Oreos
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Grapefruit Filling:
2 cups fresh grapefruit juice (from about 3 medium-large grapefruits)
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 1/3 cup water
5 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon fresh grapefruit zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 drop red liquid food coloring (optional)

Whipped Cream & Garnish:
1 cup heavy cream, very cold
4 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
grapefruit zest (strips or grated)
chocolate curls

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9-inch pie plate.

Make the crust. Place Oreos in the bowl of a food processor and blitz until they are crumbs. Add melted butter and pulse until the mixture can be pinched together. Press it into the bottom and up the sides of the pie plate (I find that a 1/4 cup measuring cup helps with this). Bake the crust for 10 minutes and then let it cool while you make the filling.

Pour grapefruit juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until reduced to 1 cup (about 10-12 minutes). Remove from heat and cool 5 minutes.

In a small mixing bowl, use a fork to beat egg yolks. Set aside.

In a large saucepan, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Whisk in water. Heat over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture reaches a simmer and thickens. Turn heat to low.

Whisking constantly, pour 1/3 cup of the mixture into the bowl of egg yolks until fully combined. Whisking constantly, add egg yolk mixture back to the pan. Return heat to medium. Stir in grapefruit zest, followed by grapefruit reduction and lemon juice. Continue whisking until the mixture has boiled for 1 full minute. Remove from heat. Whisk in butter, vanilla and optional red food coloring. Push filling through a sieve to remove solids.

Pour filling into crust. Gently tap the pan on the counter a few times to help air bubbles disperse. Pop any surface bubbles with a toothpick as needed. Let pie cool to room temperature, then chill for at least 4 hours. Filling will be set, but jiggly, when ready.

Just before serving, make whipped cream. Combine heavy cream and confectioner’s sugar in a large mixing bowl. Use an electric mixer to whip the mixture on low for 30 seconds before whipping on high for 1-2 minutes, or until stiff peaks form.

Load whipped cream into a piping bag fitted with a large star tip. Pipe as desired over the top of the pie. Garnish with grapefruit zest strips and/or chocolate curls, if desired.

Slice pie with a large, sharp chef’s knife, wiping it clean between cuts. Serve immediately.

Pie is best upon assembly, but leftovers may be kept in the refrigerator for a day. The filling may weep a tiny bit over time.

Grapefruit Pie with Oreo CrustGrapefruit Pie with Oreo CrustGrapefruit Pie with Oreo Crust

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Muffins

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip MuffinsIn five years, I’ve deleted exactly three recipes from this blog. I’ve kept terrible photos, absurdly lengthy writing and even some personal stuff on here, so you may be wondering why I’d remove whole recipes. The answer is simple: because they were bad. Not “not perfect,” not “unoriginal.” Just bad. They didn’t taste good and/or work properly, and those are basically the only two requirements for me to put a recipe on here, so I deleted them. Among the group were a batch of Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Muffins that were truly atrocious, and which I have finally found the time to rework into something delicious.Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip MuffinsNow, I didn’t intentionally write a terrible muffin recipe. There were circumstances. I wrote the old recipe for Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Muffins when I was five days off the break-up a four year relationship. That was my first mistake—don’t try to do good work when you’re heartbroken.

My next mistakes were not adding enough fat, eggs or dairy. My best friend made the old version a few years back and the only word she used to describe them was “lumpy.” Yikes. I took down the recipe shortly thereafter and put the words “Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Muffins” on my to-bake list once again.Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip MuffinsTwo weeks ago, I found myself five years more experienced, very over that boyfriend, and with a large bag of mostly-unallocated whole wheat flour. Armed with that and a newfound favorite muffin recipe, I set out to fix my past mistakes. Dare I say I nailed it?Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip MuffinsThese Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Muffins are soft and just sweet enough, with plenty of chocolate chips and whole grain flavor. Butter, sour cream and eggs keep them moist and balance the potential for heaviness that comes with using all whole wheat flour. They also get a little lift from starting in a 400F, then continuing at 350F until they’re fluffy, puffy and perfect.

Thank goodness for second chances.Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Muffins

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Muffins
makes 12 standard muffins

2 cups whole wheat flour (or white whole wheat flour)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup light or dark brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup milk, room temperature (not skim or nonfat)
1/3 cup sour cream, room temperature
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips, plus more for topping

Preheat oven to 400F. Grease a 12-cup standard muffin tin, or line with cupcake liners. Set aside.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together whole wheat flour, cinnamon, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, use a whisk to beat eggs. Whisk in butter and vanilla, followed by whole milk and sour cream. Add wet ingredients to dry, using a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to combine. Do not overmix. Fold in chocolate chips. Divide batter among prepared muffin cups. Dot the tops with additional chocolate chips, if desired.

Tap full pan on the counter five times. Bake for five minutes at 400F. Do not open the oven door. Reduce baking temperature to 350F, and bake an additional 15-16 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Let muffins cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely. Serve.

Muffins are best the day they are made, but may be kept covered at room temperature for a couple of days. They will keep well in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip MuffinsWhole Wheat Chocolate Chip MuffinsWhole Wheat Chocolate Chip Muffins