December 2011

Six Reasons to ADD Chocolate to Your New Year's Resolutions

I absolutely love chocolate and I am psyched to have found several reasons to keep my favorite sweet treat on hand for my family and I to enjoy. I used to eat milk chocolate but, while I was pregnant and having to count carbs, I switched to dark chocolate because this form doesn't contain as much sugar as milk or white. Now that I know that dark chocolate is safer for me, while pregnant or otherwise, I want to understand the other benefits of enjoying my favorite sweet treat. Here are six reasons to go ahead and enjoy a bite:

 

One reason to enjoy a daily bite of dark chocolate is that the candy contains good-for-you vitamins including riboflavin, calcium and iron. Mix together dark chocolate with nuts and you get extra amounts of these vitamins, according to the California Academy of Sciences.

 

You don't have to worry about dark chocolate causing acne to form on your skin. Recent studies indicate that there is no direct evidence that supports the claim that chocolate, among other foods, causes acne.

There is Never a Wrong Time for a Whoopie Pie

Check Out This Recipe for Chocolate Ones

 

There is never a wrong time for a whoopie pie. Check out this recipe for Chocolate Whoopie Pies with Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream from La Mia Vita Dolce. The recipe yields 34.

Chocolate Whoopie Pies

  • 490 g (3½ cups) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1¼ teaspoon bicarbonate of (baking) soda
  • 90 g (¾ cup + 3 tablespoons) dark unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
  • 110 ml (4 ounces) hot coffee
  • 110 ml (4 ounces) hot water
  • 350 g (1¼ cups + 2 tablespoons) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 170 ml (6 ounces) grapeseed (canola) oil (can be substituted with vegetable oil)
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 110 ml (4 ounces) buttermilk, room temperature, shaken

Since the Holidays are all about Surprises...

Check out Surprise Cookies

 

Since the holidays are all about surprises, why not try chocolate surprise cookies? See this recipe from Martha Stewart.

 

Ingredients

            1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

            3/4 cup cocoa powder

            1/2 teaspoon baking soda

            1/2 teaspoon salt

            1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

            1 cup sugar

            1 large egg

            1/2 cup milk

            1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

            12 large marshmallows, cut in half horizontally

            Chocolate Frosting for Surprise Cookies

The World's Largest Chocolate Chip Cookie

Going along with the theme of extreme chocolate edibles, here's an item that may make your mouth water, but your belly a little uneasy. I was searching and found out who made the world's largest chocolate chip cookie – and boy is it huge!

 

The monster cookie measuring at 100 feet in diameter and containing over 6,000 pounds of chocolate chips was the show stopper for a fund raising effort towards funding the American Folk Art Museum. The crazy idea was cooking up by the Immaculate Baking Company, which involved making a custom structureless over to be able to heat the large cookie for over 5-6 hours.

Chocolate Dipped Candy Canes

Relax and Enjoy These With a Mug of Hot Chocolate

What's a better way to enjoy an evening during the holiday season than to sit back, relax with a cup of hot chocolate and enjoy a chocolate dipped candy cane? The recipe is easy and only requires three ingredients: melted chocolate, peppermint sticks and white nonpareils.

 

 

You can use the candy canes as a plate decoration during your Christmas feast to enjoy during dessert or you can wrap them up to give as a gift. One nice thing about this recipe is you can make it with the chocolate and candy cane of your choice. Not a big fan of white chocolate? Substitute with milk chocolate instead. So many varieties of candy canes are on the market today from caramel to apple. Experiment with different varieties such as cinnamon, black cherry and strawberry.

 

Things You'll Need:

Who Doesn't Love Chocolate?

Especially when it's a Cheesecake...

For the month that’s usually all about chocolate, check out this recipe from Nigella Lawson for chocolate cheesecake.

Ingredients

Cheesecake base:

Cheesecake filling:

For Extreme Chocoholics only: The World's Largest Reese's Cup

'The World's Largest Reese's Cup' is an official Reese product, made the same, packaged the same as their normal sized counterparts – just bigger.

I loves me some chocolate. I also have a deep childhood level love for Reese’s Peanut Butter cups. There's something to be said for the sweet victory of munching through a candy chock full of chocolate and peanut butter goodness.

 

But then there are those who are not satisfied with 1, or 2 or 4 cups in one sitting. Reese's offers a specialty size Reese's Cup that you'll rarely see at any gas station or super market candy isle.

 

How to Melt Chocolate in the Microwave

Quick Melting Chocolate Instructions

Melting chocolate for holiday baking doesn't have to take up a large chunk of your time, especially when you're schedule is already chocked full of events. Preparing your chocolate in the microwave takes a little over or under a minute, depending on what type you have in your kitchen. Using this method gives you more freedom to oversee other areas of your baking then you would typically have when melting with a double boiler or water bath.

What Could be Better than Peppermint in Brownies all Mixed into a Pie?

Try out this Sweet Recipe for Peppermint Brownie Pie

As the holidays are getting closer, it’s time to think of dessert. Remember, calories don’t count when you’re on vacation and peppermint and brownies have never sounded so good. Check out this recipe for peppermint brownie pie.

This recipe makes 10 servings and ha a total prep time of 20 minutes. Bake at 55 minutes at 350 degrees Farenheit.

Gingerbread Cookies with a Chocolate Twist

Eggnog and gingerbread cookies are my favorite parts of the holiday season.  Unfortunately, most of my family does not share my personal tastes.  After searching online I found a Mccormick recipe for white chocolate gingerbread cookies.  I’ve previously had only bad luck with manufacturer recipes, but this recipe was relatively easy, made a large batch, and was delicious.

The ingredients needed to make these cookies are:

Chocolate Bread Pudding

By Paula Deen, how Could you go Wrong?

Since it’s still the holiday season, why not just go all out? Coffee flavor liquor and chocolate are just two fantastic ingredients in Paula Deen’s chocolate bread pudding, the extra calories are definitely worth it for this sweet treat.

 

Ingredients

Hershey's Kiss Cookies: A Great Way to Liven Up the Holidays

Change Up the Recipe to Make it Your Own

 

Every Christmas, for as long as I can remember, my mom and I baked Christmas cookies. The cookies were meant for Santa when my brother and I were little. When we got older, the cookies were made and decorated out of enjoyment and excitement. One of the recipes, the Hershey Kiss Cookie, tasted really good no matter which way we changed the batch to fit individual tastes at the time.