Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars with Vanilla Frosting

chocolatechipbars

Life has been a little bit hectic lately. Between dealing with the whole lightning incident, work getting super busy and just trying to catch up on house work, I just needed to stop for a second and bake something. My husband and I have just been trying to find normal things to do to get our minds off everything. Baking and knitting are things that have been happening a lot for me. For a couple hours a day, I can just forget everything and have immediate results, whether it be a quick cowl or these bars.

This recipe was so quick to throw together. Cookie dough usually is quick, and the longest part is scooping cookies out and baking in batches. Well, with these bars, you just spread the whole thing in a jelly roll pan. Simple enough, right? This tastes just like a cookie cake, and the icing puts it over the top. I used a whipped vanilla buttercream that I blogged about before, and then went crazy on the sprinkles. (By the way, am I the only person who buys bulk sprinkles?) They were perfect–simple, classic and tasty.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars with Vanilla Frosting
Source: Martha Stewart

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups packed light-brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 (12-ounce) bag semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 batch whipped vanilla frosting
  • rainbow sprinkles

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F, making sure that your oven rack is in the center. Line a 12×17 inch rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda and salt together and set aside. Then, in the bowl of an electric mixer (using the paddle attachment), beat the butter and granulated/brown sugars on medium speed for 2-3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl with a spatula, and add the eggs and vanilla. Mix everything until well-combined. Add in the flour mixture, and beat everything on low speed until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  3. Dollop the dough on the baking sheet, and spread in an even layer with a spatula. If the dough gets sticky, have a bowl of hot water handy to dip/clean off the spatula.
  4. Bake the bars for about 20-30 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through the baking, until the edges are brown and the top of the bars are golden. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire cooling rack, and allow it to cool completely in the baking sheet.
  5. Make the whipped vanilla frosting, and once the bars are fully cooled, liberally frost the bars. Add sprinkles on top of the frosting and serve.

 

Chewy Oatmeal Fudge Bars

fudgebars

I’m starting to really get tired of the summer. I know there are some people still clinging on to summer for dear life, but living in heat indexes of over 100 degrees for almost 3 months now? I’m just over it. OVER IT.

I feel like this summer has been full of bad news too. My latest round of it was breaking a tooth. Yeah, I know. I was just eating a cookie (a chewy one, at that), I felt a crack and there it was. A big chunk of tooth. I went to the dentist the other day, and she took one look in my mouth and told me I’m definitely grinding my teeth again. The question of new stresses popped up, and I had to laugh. The poor dental office became my therapist as I vented about the house, the tragedies in our family, the fact that I was sick and now, this broken tooth. I’m trying to look at the bright side of things…at least I wasn’t in any pain after my tooth broke? I still can’t believe that I broke a tooth…ugh. Ridiculous.

Lately, with all of this bad news, I’m all about comfort foods. I stink at calorie counting right now…I just can’t find my stride. I’m a pro at eating chocolate when more stress enters our lives. I’ve gained 15 lbs. since April. ::sigh:: Yep. 15 lbs. :(

Part of that is probably because I’ve been baking a good bit since we realized that the lightning didn’t fry our range oven (phew!). I forgot how comforting baking is…too bad I have no willpower against the end products lately. I’m gonna have to start taping saran wrap over the goodies to avoid eating 2-3 of everything I bake.

These bars were something I’ve been meaning to make for a while now. I wanted something rich/indulgent, and the fudge filling on these bars were just that. In fact, I joked with myself that this would make a KILLER hot fudge sauce….I almost grabbed ice cream out of the freezer before I assembled the bars, but I resisted.

Chewy Oatmeal Fudge Bars
Source: Erin’s Food Files, originally on Baking Blonde

Ingredients:

For the bars:

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 cups quick oats

For the filling:

  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 15 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line a 9×13 inch pan with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and the 1 tsp. of salt. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the 1 cup of butter and the brown sugar for 2-3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one egg at a time and mix until combined. Add the 2 tsp. of the vanilla extract and mix until combined.
  4. Add in the flour mixture to the wet mixture slowly and mix until just combined. Using a spoon or spatula, stir in the quick oats to the batter as well.
  5. Spread 2/3 of the crust into the bottom of the prepared pan, and save the last 1/3 for a topping.
  6. To make the filling, place the chocolate chips, condensed milk, 2 tbsp. butter and the 1 tsp. salt in a medium sauce pot. Heat the mixture over medium-low heat, and stir until the mixture is smooth. Once the mixture is melted and smooth, remove the mixture from heat and stir in the 2 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract.
  7. Pour the filling onto the oatmeal bar crust, keeping the filling about 1/4 inch away from the sides of the pan to prevent sticking while baking. Evenly add the rest of the oatmeal batter in dollops on top of the filling. Then, bake the bars for 30-35 minutes, until the oat topping is light brown and the fudge layer is set, being mindful not to over bake these bars. Allow the bars to fully cool before cutting and serving.

Nutella Banana Swirl Muffins

nutellabananamuffins

It’s been a while since I’ve consistently lost weight. I’ve been hovering around the 70 lbs. lost mark for about 3 months now, and while it’s great to know that I can maintain the loss, I really miss that loose clothes feeling. :-) I started a new weight training program last week, and it made me forget just how amazing weights can be. Currently, I’m working out 4 days a week straight, with 3 rest days, which is how the program is outlined. For those four days, my weight dropped a little, but once those rest days hit, the scale had a huge drop.

Five pounds lost!

I was completely shocked to see a number like that, and it’s super motivating to get back on track. My original goal was to hit Onederland (199 lbs.) by Halloween, but I’m not sure at this point if that’s possible. We shall see, though. Last Halloween, I hit 50 lbs. lost. How perfect would 100 lbs. lost be? (even though I’d probably gain 2 back testing out candy for Trick or Treaters).

Since I was getting back on track, I wanted to bake up something that would be a quick, easy snack to share with coworkers. These muffins were perfect. I subbed applesauce for oil (1:1), which substitutes perfectly in quick breads and muffins (you won’t miss it!), and omitted the pecans, since I’m probably the only southern gal who thinks pecans are gross. (Back story: I ate one too many rotten ones off my Memaw’s tree as a kid and now I can’t stand them!) These muffins were fluffy, flavorful and my coworkers didn’t even realize there was applesauce in them! :-) You don’t even need to fork out the mixer for this one….two bowls and a spoon will work just fine. I love recipes like that. :-)

Nutella Banana Swirl Muffins
Source: mildly adapted from The Novice Chef

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 4 medium over-ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened (no sugar added) applesauce
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • nutella

Directions:

    1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and line a muffin pan with paper liners.
    2. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt until everything is well-mixed. Set this aside for later use.
    3. In a large bowl, mix together the bananas, granulated sugar and brown sugar. Mix in the egg, applesauce and vanilla extract, and beat everything for about 2 minutes. Add the flour mixture to the banana mixture, and slowly mix everything together until just mixed (don’t over-mix).
    4. Scoop the muffin batter into the prepared muffin tin, filling each liner 3/4 of the way full. Add 1 tsp. of nutella to the top of each muffin, and use a toothpick to swirl the nutella into the muffin batter.
    5. Bake the muffins for 15-17 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffin comes out clean.

Granola Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cookies

granolacookies

Ever since I came home from Food Blog Forum, I’ve been having an itch to register for another food blog conference. I don’t think I realized how amazing the food blogger community was until the conference. Everyone was just so friendly and welcoming…it felt like so many of us had been friends for the longest time. Just awesome. I’m seriously on pins and needles about where BlogHer Food will be next year…I think I’m ready to take the plunge. :-)

Another thing I really didn’t account for were the goodies. Oh man….I brought my checked luggage bag as a precaution for souvenir shopping, but seriously needed the whole suitcase for the bag o’ swag, along with the food from a local food exchange. So much stuff LOL. I still haven’t gotten through it all! In my bag was a container of granola, and since I don’t eat granola very often (I may sprinkle some in yogurt for crunch), I searched in hopes that someone has already invented cookies that would use up some of this granola.

Luckily, I came across this recipe, and the results were SO good. The flavor reminded me of an oatmeal raisin cookie, but it definitely had more to it, with the addition of dried cranberries, nuts (from the granola) and chocolate chips. I had to get these out of the house!

Granola Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cookies
Source: Epicurious

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups granola
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries, chopped
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, add the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt and whisk the ingredients together until well-mixed.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the butter and sugar on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add in the egg, and mix until well-combined. Then, mix in the vanilla extract.
  4. Scrape the bowl down with a spatula and add in the dry ingredients. Mix on low until just combined. With a spatula, fold in the dried cranberries and chocolate chips.
  5. Using a medium-sized cookie scoop, scoop each cookie two inches apart on the lined cookie sheets. Bake the cookies one sheet at a time on the middle rack of the oven for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown. Cool the cookies completely on the cookie sheets and enjoy!

Whipped Chocolate Pudding Frosting

puddingfrosting

When I was a kid, my Mom used to make the infamous Wilton cakes. I’d watch in awe as she made gorgeous roses out of something as simple as Crisco and sugar, meticulously turning a simple cake into a work of art. For our birthdays, she’d spend hours working on the infamous bear cake (or other character pans), and after all of that work, within 20 minutes, the cake was gone. My siblings and I used to stand by the mixer and wait for the batter bowl. It was the best! Or even better…when Mom would level her cakes, she’d give us the extra cake pieces. Such a treat! To me, the cake was the best part. :-)

However, when it came to the icing…blech. That nasty decorative icing…I was never a fan of it. However, in Louisiana…you kind of need the Crisco if you want things to remain in their decorated state. :-P This made birthday cake eating a task for me…I always ate around the icing. ALWAYS. To this day, decorative buttercream is disgusting to me. I really don’t like it. To note: I can deal with buttercream (made with real butter), but I can’t eat a lot of it…I usually find it too sweet. Swiss Meringue Buttercream is my jam.

Anyway…

I remember one year in high school, my Mom purchased a whipped icing cake for me for my birthday. I was eating around the icing as usual, but Mom told me to give this icing a try…it’s supposed to be lighter and fluffier. I was hooked! I’m sure what they use in the grocery store bakery is full of chemicals, so I just figured I could never replicate this icing…until now.

A while back, my coworker (who LOVES Pinterest just as much as me) found a frosting recipe featuring pudding mix. I didn’t know what this would do to the icing, but I was willing to give it a try. This was it. It had that light, fluffy texture…the not-too-sweet flavor…it was perfect! I got the recipe from her, and decided to try it with chocolate pudding mix. Yup…still perfect. I could eat this stuff out of the bowl…it’s that good! (I usually pour dish soap on the bowl and super hot water to avoid the temptation…I seriously could make a happy bowl ha!)

Note: If you make this, PLEASE pay close attention to mixing times. The pudding mix is sort of grainy, and you need to mix it adequately for everything to dissolve together. Also, just wanted to note that this buttercream is very butter-y in flavor.

Whipped Chocolate Pudding Frosting
Source: adapted from Cooking with Carrie

Ingredients:

  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 small package instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup confectioners sugar

Directions:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter on medium-high speed for 3-5 minutes, until light and fluffy.
  2. Turn the speed on low, and add in the pudding mix and salt. Once it’s all mixed, add the cream slowly. Once those ingredients are fully incorporated, turn the speed on high and beat the frosting for 5-7 minutes.
  3. Turn the speed on low, and add 1/2 cup of the confectioners sugar. Once it’s mixed, give it a taste…if it’s not sweet enough (it was for me), add the extra 1/4 cup. Beat for another 5 minutes on high speed. Scrape down the bowl, and add the vanilla extract. Beat the frosting on low for a minute for the extract to be well-mixed in the frosting. Enjoy!

 

 

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

reesescookies

My husband and I are huge fans of warehouse club shopping. The only one out here is Sam’s Club, but we’re getting a Costco soon, and I couldn’t be more excited to check that place out!

Even though there’s just two of us in the house, we buy a lot of staples there. To name a few, we like to buy cheap spices, baking ingredients, frozen fruits, meat (we use our FoodSaver religiously), dog treats and a lot of times, even clothes!

Clothes are a new thing, for sure. Before my weight loss journey began, I barely fit in the shirts they would sell there. It’s very odd to now go to Sam’s, and purchase jeans/shirts/cardigans from there. It all fits now! It’s awesome, because it’s dirt cheap and most of the time, they offer fairly classic pieces.

The nemesis of warehouse club shopping, however, are the impulse buys. Whew…can’t tell you how many times random things just hop in our cart! In fact, just recently, there was a bulk box of Reese’s mini cups (the already unwrapped kind) that somehow found its way in our cart. :-P

Since I had a plethora of Reese’s cups to now use up, I decided that cookies would be an awesome idea. I searched the Internet, and found these giant cookies. I was immediately smitten. These were so good…they have the classic chewy peanut butter cookie flavor with Reese’s all throughout. Can’t go wrong here, folks!

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies
Source: Real Mom Kitchen

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 32 mini Reese’s peanut butter cups, quartered

Directions:

    1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Add the butter and sugar to the bowl of an electric mixer, and mix on medium-high until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Scrape down the bowl, and add the peanut butter, eggs and vanilla. Mix until well-combined
    2. With the mixer on low, add in the baking soda, salt and flour. Mix until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips and Reese’s cups using a spatula.
    3. Using a large cookie scoop, scoop the dough onto a parchment or silicone mat lined cookie sheet. For me, 6 cookies fit on each sheet. Slightly flatten each scoop with your hand, and then bake the cookies for 12-15 minutes.
    4. Allow the cookies to cool for 2 minutes, then place them on a cooling rack to finish cooling.

 

 

 

Chocolate Malted Milk Ball Cookies

whoppercookies

Do you ever smell something that just takes you back to a memory? I had a memory like that when I was making the batter for these cookies.

When I was a kid, one of my uncles used to own a snoball stand. In case you don’t know what New Orleans style snoballs are, you’re missing out they are basically ice, VERY finely shaved with flavored syrups added throughout. I know it doesn’t sound like anything special, but the ice is what makes it. Next time you’re in NOLA for the Spring/Summer, seek out a snoball. It’s worth it.

I remember going to my uncle’s snoball stand quite frequently, and just watching them work. Since they were close to so many refineries (lots of people working outside in the Louisiana heat), there was never a dull moment there. They were always busy. Since he also had a soft serve machine in his stand (to make stuffed snoballs), he would also offer malts and shakes. OMG…the banana shakes that he would make were just amazing. To this day, banana is my favorite flavor in a shake. However, when I tried the malt, I was ehh…it was the ONE THING I just didn’t like. Am I weird for not liking malts?

Ever since trying a malt as a kid, I’ve just steered clear of anything malt-y flavored. Malts, malted milk balls…if it has anything to do with a malt flavor, I’m out. After Halloween, I was sorting through our leftover candy and found a TON of malted milk ball packs in the bowl. I stashed them in the fridge, and forgot about them…until this month. I was looking through one of my cookbooks, and came across these cookies. Perfect.

I whipped up the dough for these, and decided since I haven’t tried malted anything in at least 15 years, I’d try a cookie. I found that I’m still not a fan of malted anything…ah well! So, I brought them to my coworkers. Y’all…if you’re a lover of the malted milk balls, try these cookies. I had quite a few coworkers stop by my office asking for this recipe. They were apparently that good. :-)

Chocolate Malted Milk Ball Cookies
Source: Baking From My Home to Yours

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup malted milk powder (regular or chocolate flavored)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 stick + 3 tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 2 cups Whoppers (malted milk balls), coarsely chopped
  • 6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Prepare two cookie sheets by lining them with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Set aside. Sift together the flour, malted milk powder, cocoa, baking powder and salt into a medium sized bowl, and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar on medium speed for 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the eggs in one at a time, beating for a minute after each addition. Mix in the vanilla extract.
  3. Reduce the speed on the mixer to low, and add in half of the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined. Add in the milk, and then the remainder of the dry ingredients, mixing again, until just combined. With a spatula, fold in the Whoppers and chocolate chips.
  4. Scoop the dough with a tbsp. sized scoop onto the lined cookie sheets, leaving about 2 inches of space between the cookies. Bake the cookies for 11-13 minutes, rotating the sheets in the oven halfway through the baking process. Do not overbake…these cookies will be puffy and set, but still slightly soft to the touch when done. Allow the cookies to cool for 2 minutes after baking before transferring the cookies to a cooling rack.
  5. Repeat until all of the dough is used, keeping in mind to allow the cookie sheets to fully cool between batches. Enjoy!

Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Peanut Butter Frosting

chocolatepbfrosting

If you put a bag of Reese’s in front of me, consider it gone almost immediately. It’s one of my vices, and I know I can’t keep that kind of stuff in my house. When my husband and I went shopping at Sam’s Club a few weeks ago, however, I saw Reese’s minis…in bulk. Ugh. I totally bought it, justifying that I would bake with them. Haha. Yeah…

Well, 1 bag mysteriously disappeared :-P, but then I was asked to bake up a simple cake for my work’s birthday club. Every month, they have a cake to celebrate birthdays for those in the office who had a birthday that month. Previously, they would just buy a sheet cake from a grocery store, but since my coworkers know I love to bake, they asked me to do it from now on. Um…how could I say no to that?!

I figured a Reese’s cake would be a tasty one, so I made chocolate cake with a chocolate peanut butter frosting, and then topped it with chopped Reese’s minis. The cake may not be the prettiest (ugh…my cake totally stuck to the pan in the corners so I used frosting to glue it back together), but darnit…it was GOOD! I had to pour dish soap on the leftover frosting or I seriously would have eaten the rest with a spoon. So good!

Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Peanut Butter Frosting
Source: cake from Ina Garten, frosting adapted from this post

Ingredients:

For the cake:

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cups cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk, shaken
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee

For the frosting:

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 1/2 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 5 tbsp. heavy cream
  • optional: Reese’s minis (chopped), for decoration

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare an 9×13 inch cake pan by lining the inside with baking spray or butter/flour
  2. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer, and mix on low speed with the paddle attachment until combined. In another large bowl, mix the buttermilk, oil, eggs and vanilla together. Turn the mixer on low speed again, and slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. Scrape down the bowl with a spatula, and then slowly add the coffee and mix until everything is just combined.
  3. Pour the cake batter into the prepared 9×13 inch pan, and bake for 30-40 minutes, until a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan for 30 minutes, and then turn it out onto a cooling rack to finish cooling.
  4. While the cake is cooling, make the frosting. Place the two sticks of butter in a clean bowl of your electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment and cream it on medium-high for 2 minutes, until light and fluffy. Turn the mixer to low and add the confectioners sugar, cocoa powder and salt until well-mixed. Scrape the bowl down, and then, add the vanilla extract, peanut butter and heavy cream and mix on low for 30 seconds to incorporate the ingredients. Turn the speed up to medium and whip up the frosting for 2-3 minutes, until fluffy.
  5. Once the cake is completely cool, frost your cake and if preferred, add the chopped Reese’s on top for decoration.

Melting Chocolate Cake (for two)

Melting Chocolate Cake for Two

My husband and I went on a Carnival cruise this past December. It was our first cruise together (and individually), so we really weren’t sure what to expect. We decided to go the week before Christmas, which meant our holiday prep had to be done way in advance. I have to admit, it was really bizarre coming back to New Orleans two days before Christmas. It just didn’t feel like Christmas after spending a week snorkeling, eating island food, sampling lots of Jamaican rum & battling a mean sunburn (ha!). :-) We ended up having a wonderful time, and we’re actually planning our next one!

One of the things that I was looking forward to was the food. I read reviews that the meals in the dining room were like going to a fancy restaurant every night. Oh man….and those reviews were right. Every single dish we had we loved. In fact, I loved the food so much that I gained 5 pounds in a week (whoops!). The dish I looked forward to the most (based on reviews from friends and online) was the warm melting chocolate cake. After trying my first one, I was hooked. It was such a rich, decadent dessert, and usually I can’t finish desserts like this, but I couldn’t let any of the cake go to waste. They served them in small ramekins with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The cake itself is baked along the edges, but in the middle is a warm, gooey center of chocolate. Amazing. It’s worth breaking a diet over…seriously.

When we got home, I immediately searched for this recipe. There were a couple of popular variations, but this one is apparently straight from the cruise line’s newsletter. I ended up halving it to make this a dessert for two. This recipe is so simple (you will need a food scale for this one)…the batter was done within minutes, and I only used two regular sized bowls to make the batter. It’s the perfect ending to a nice dinner (hint hint: Valentine’s Day or Anniversary). You could add fresh fruit, whipped cream or vanilla ice cream on top, which I would recommend since it’s so rich.

Melting Chocolate Cake for Two
Source: mildly adapted from Carnival Cruise Lines, found on Mommy Musings

Ingredients:

  • 3 oz. semi-sweet chocolate (chopped)
  • 3/4 stick butter
  • 2 eggs (at room temperature)
  • 3 oz. granulated sugar
  • 1 oz. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • confectioners sugar, for dusting

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 390 degrees. Prepare two small ramekins (or cocottes) by spraying the inside with a baking spray. Place the two ramekins in a 9×13 inch baking pan, and fill the baking pan (not ramekins) with water until it is surrounding the ramekins halfway up the sides.
  2. In a bowl, microwave the chocolate and butter, stirring the mixture every 30 seconds, until the chocolate and butter are homogenous mixture. Allow the mixture to cool until it’s just warm.
  3. In another bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar together for about a minute, until well mixed. Add in the flour and vanilla extract and mix together.
  4. Once the chocolate/butter mixture is no longer hot, pour the egg mixture into the chocolate mixture, whisking well as you pour it in.
  5. Once everything is mixed, divide the batter into the two ramekins. Bake for 15-25 minutes (it varies this much based on the size of your ramekins/cocottes…mine took 21 minutes), until the top of the cake is crusted, the edges are baked/firm, yet the middle of the cake is still gooey.
  6. To serve, sift confectioners sugar over the cakes and enjoy warm!

 

 

One Bowl Brownies

onebowlbrownies

Ok ladies. You know how you have a craving and no matter how many times you try to shake it, you just can’t until you actually eat what you’re craving? Yeah, that was me this WHOLE week.

It was a burrito salad at this place called Izzo’s. I’ve been thinking about it all week, and while the salad that I enjoy is well within my calorie count for the day, for some reason the food there makes me bloat like crazy. Oh, TMI…whatever. You ladies who are reading this get it.

And with my latest DietBet ending today, I was able to go to that restaurant today (right after the gym, mind you) and I savored every last bite of that darn salad. I will never have the mentality of “eat to live”…but at least it wasn’t an order of nachos or something, right? I could have done worse…way worse. :-P

After Christmas, I had a similar craving for brownies. I just couldn’t shake it, and one night, I figured if the recipe was easy enough, the darn brownies were meant to be. And then I came upon this recipe. One bowl brownies.

Meant to be, I guess. :-) I only had one out of the pan (coworkers had the rest), and oh man, these brownies were so rich and fudgy. I was pleasantly surprised since the recipe was so simple! I ended up throwing some leftover Christmas Hershey kisses in there as well, just to get rid of the candy. The brownies are a great, basic recipe…they would probably be amazing with peanut butter or caramel sauce mixed in as well.

One Bowl Brownies
Source: Kraft

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz. Baker’s unsweetened chocolate
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all purpose flour

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 13×9 inch cake pan by lining it with foil and spraying the inside with cooking spray.
  2. Microwave the chocolate and butter in a large bowl for two minutes, or until the butter is melted. Stir the mixture until the chocolate is completely melted, and stir in the sugar. Wait for the mixture to be cool to the touch, and whisk in the eggs and vanilla extract. Add in the flour and mix well. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  3. Bake the brownies for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few fudgy crumbs (making sure not to overbake). Allow the brownies to fully cool in the pan before serving.