Pecan Pie Brownies

December2912 004

While going through my Google Reader, a recipe caught my eye. Pecan Pie Brownies? Yum, I love nuts and our Kentucky Derby Pie, which has similar ingredients, was awesome.

I did cheat and use a boxed brownie mix as the base, Ghiraradelli since they taste the most homemade in my opinion. These came together in a snap and I was enjoying a nice warm brownie in no time.

These were gooey and sweet but not as good as the pie. I may have had my hopes up a bit too high since we love the pecan and chocolate combo but I felt these could have been better. I may try again using a homemade brownie as the base but I don’t know if that will help, I just felt the topping needed a bit more flavor, salt? maybe bourbon, maple syrup? IDecember2912 006 am not sure. I will say that I ate half a pan in a day so these are by no means bad.

If you are looking for a yummy twist on a typical brownie than I would recommend these, if you however want pecan pie and chocolate, make this pie.

I rate this recipe a 7.5

Pecan Pie Brownies
from here

For the Brownie Layer (I cheated and used a box mix)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup + 2 Tbsp sugar
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp cocoa
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp espresso powder, optional
1/2 Tbsp vanilla
2 eggs
3/4 cups flour
1 cup chocolate chips

For the Pecan Pie Layer
1/2 cup honey or corn syrup
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 Tbsp vanilla
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
2 cups chopped pecans
For the Brownie Layer
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 8″x8″ pan

In a saucepan set over low heat, melt the butter, then add the sugar and stir to combine.

Transfer the sugar mixture to a medium-sized mixing bowl, if you’ve heated it in a saucepan. Stir in the cocoa, salt, baking powder, espresso powder, and vanilla.

Whisk in the eggs, stirring until smooth.

Add the flour and chips, again stirring until smooth.

Spoon the batter into a lightly greased 8″x8″ pan. Bake for 10 minutes while you prepare the pecan pie layer.

For the Pecan Pie Layer
While the brownies are in the oven, mix the pecan pie layer.

In a medium bowl, combine the corn syrup and sugar. Whisk until smooth.

Mix in the eggs and vanilla. Add the melted butter and stir until combined.

Stir in the pecans.

Final Assembly
After the brownies have baked for 10 minutes, remove from oven. Pour pecan pie layer over brownies and use a spatula to spread evenly to the edges of the pan.

Return to the oven and bake for 35-45 minutes until pecan pie topping is completely set.

Remove from oven and allow to cool, preferably overnight. Cut and serve with ice cream or whipped cream.

Chocolate Lovers Cheeecake

 

With family coming to town I once again baked up a cheesecake. It has become a tradition to eat cheesecake and drink Margarita each summer when they visit. This year while I was searching for a flavor to make, my Taste Tester suggested a chocolate one with some sort of ‘topping’ and by ‘topping’ he wanted the ganache from one of his all time favorite desserts. 

I found this recipe on Annie’s Eats and knew it would be perfect. They only changes I made were that I used a different topping. The end result was rich and sinful and so wonderfully smooth. Like all cheesecakes, this is best served after a chill in the fridge for a day or two.

If you love chocolate, this is for you, its flavor is more mild than this recipe but still packs a chocolate punch enough to satisfy your craving.

I rate this recipe a 9

Chocolate Lovers Cheesecake
from here

For the crust:
1½ cups finely ground chocolate cookie crumbs*
3 tbsp. sugar
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

For the cheesecake: 
½ cup sour cream
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. espresso powder or instant coffee granules
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
3 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
¼ tsp. salt
1¼ cups sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature

For the glaze: (i did not use this recipe)
3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
6 tbsp. heavy cream
1 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature

*I used this ganache recipe:

Bittersweet Ganache
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla extract

Place chopped chocolate in a medium bowl.

In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a boil. Remove pan from heat and add the chopped chocolate. Let stand for 1 minute then gently stir until chocolate is melted and the glaze is smooth. Gently stir in the vanilla. Transfer glaze to a small bowl and cover the surface of the glaze with plastic wrap and let cool for 5 minutes at room temperature before using.

Directions:


To make the crust, preheat the oven to 400˚ F.  Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with a round of parchment paper.  In a medium bowl combine the cookie crumbs, sugar, and melted butter.  Stir with a fork until all the crumbs are moistened.  Add the crumb mixture to the springform pan and gently press about 1 inch up the sides of the pan.  Press the rest of the crumbs into an even layer over the bottom of the pan.  Bake for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.  Reduce the oven temperature to 300˚ F.

To make the crust, preheat the oven to 400˚ F.  Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with a round of parchment paper.  In a medium bowl combine the cookie crumbs, sugar, and melted butter.  Stir with a fork until all the crumbs are moistened.  Add the crumb mixture to the springform pan and gently press about 1 inch up the sides of the pan.  Press the rest of the crumbs into an even layer over the bottom of the pan.  Bake for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.  Reduce the oven temperature to 300˚ F.

To make the filling, combine the sour cream, vanilla, and espresso powder in a small bowl.  Whisk to blend and set aside.  Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave (in short intervals, stirring frequently) until completely smooth.  Set aside and let cool slightly.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the cream cheese, cocoa powder, and salt.  Beat on medium-high speed until smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Beat in the sugar and continue mixing about 2-3 minutes more, scraping down the bowl as needed.  Add the cooled chocolate to the bowl and mix on medium-low speed.  Beat in the sour cream mixture just until evenly blended.  Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing each just until incorporated.  (Don’t over-beat once the eggs are added or the cheesecake will puff too much.)

Pour the filling into the cooled crust.  Bake until the center jiggles very slightly when nudged, about 50-60 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 1-2 hours.  Then cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 8 hours or overnight.

* (I did NOT use this recipe, i followed the recipe I listed above)

To make the glaze, place the chopped chocolate in a small heatproof bowl.  Bring the cream to a simmer in a small saucepan or in the microwave.  Pour over the chocolate and let stand briefly, 1-2 minutes.  Whisk just until a smooth ganache has formed.  Whisk in the butter until completely incorporated.  Pour the glaze in an even layer over the chilled cheesecake.  Chill thoroughly.

To serve, carefully unmold the sides of the springform.  Run a sharp knife under hot water to warm the blade, and wipe dry with a towel.  Slice cleanly, wiping the blade between slices and reheating as necessary.  Serve chilled.

No Bake Chocolate Drenched Oatmeal Coconut Squares

I love coconut though I do not bake with it nearly often enough. When this recipe popped up in my GoogleReader, I starred it immediately. I love no-bake treats, especially during the warm summer months. I whipped these up over the weekend in no time.

The original recipe calls for a 9×9 pan but I opted to use an 8×8 as I wanted my bars a little more substantial and not so thin. I also found that the amount of butter/coconut oil was more than what I needed to completely wet my dry ingredients. I did melt the original amount but only used about 3/4 of it. I would recommend pouring it in and stirring slowly as you may find you don’t need to use it all either. Next time I make these I will cut the amount and see if I can find out the amount that works for me. I also cut the honey down to only 3 TBS as I did not want the flavor to overpower the coconut. I am glad I did this as I did taste the honey but it was not overpowering.

After pouring the chocolate over the bars I topped mine with toffee bits. I must say these bars were really satisfying. I liked my modifications so feel free to make these bars you own. I think some toasted coconut on top may be good as well as some chopped almonds. I will be making these again this summer I am sure.  My only complaint is these are tough to cut and transport or serve as they do tend to be a bit crumbly unless right from the fridge.

I rate this recipe an 8.5

Thin + Chewy Chocolate Drenched Coconut Oatmeal Squares
recipe found here 

1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups shredded, sweetened coconut
1/4 cup brown sugar, loosely packed
pinch of salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup coconut oil (measured solid)
1/4 cup honey

Spray a 9×9 pan with nonstick spray.

In a large bowl, combine oats, coconut, brown sugar and salt. Heat a small saucepan over low heat and add butter and coconut oil, stirring until melted. Add the butter and oil to the oat mixture, then add the honey and stir very thoroughly until the entire mix is moistened. Press it into the pan and stick in the fridge for 15 minutes.

Chocolate layer

8 ounces good-quality chocolate, chocolate
2 tablespoons coconut oil (measured solid)

Using the same saucepan that you melted the butter and oil in, add the chocolate and oil and stir over low heat until melted. Remove the pan from the fridge and pour the chocolate evenly over top, spreading with a spatula or spoon. Place back in the fridge for about 30 minutes. When ready to eat, either cut the squares in the pan, or gently lift the square out and place on a cutting board to cut. It helps if the bars somewhat come to room temp before cutting, as they will slightly crumble a bit if super cold!

No Bake Peanut Butter and Oatmeal Bars

I love a good no-bake dessert, especially during the warm months. I have made a several no-bake desserts over the years and love trying out new recipes.

These bars are so super quick to make, take few ingredients and are perfect for a last minute dessert. These bars are a bit like my other bar recipes and no-bake cookies combined. The flavor of peanut butter shines and the oatmeal makes these bars chewy and soft. I love the combination of peanut butter and oatmeal and to top it all off a yummy chocolate ‘frosting’.

The trick to these is that the mixture needs to boil for about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes in order for the bars to set. If you don’t boil long enough they will still be good, but just really gooey and difficult to eat. You can remedy this by keeping them chilled but just be warned at room temperature they will be messy! I will be making these again when I need a quick dessert, I am rating these an 8.5 only because I do like the other bars a bit better.

I rate this recipe an 8.5

No Bake Peanut Butter and Oatmeal Bars

3 Cups Oats
2 Cups Sugar
1 Cup Peanut Butter
1/2 Cup Milk
1/4 Cup butter
1 tsp vanilla

1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup butterscotch chips
1/2 cup peanut butter

Lightly spray an 8×8 pan with Pam.

In a medium sauce pan, melt the butter, sugar, and milk. Over a medium high heat, bring to boil making sure to stir constantly. Continue to stir and boil for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes after it reaches a rolling boil.

Remove the pan from heat and stir in peanut butter and vanilla until peanut butter is melted. Stir in oats.

Pour mixture into prepared pan and press lightly and make sure to spread out mixture evenly.

In a medium sauce pan, heat chips and peanut butter over medium heat and stir until melted. Pour over bars and spread evenly.

Allow bars to set before serving.

Dark Chocolate Brownies

My Taste Tester and I were hungry for some icecream and hot fudge and what goes better with those two sweets than a rich chocolatey brownie? I typically make these but had seen a recipe for a dark chocolate brownie that I had been wanting to try.

These came together in no time but when I went to pour the batter into the 9×13 pan called for I found the batter to barely cover the bottom of the pan. I knew since there was no baking soda or baking powder in the recipe that they would turn out super thin. I decided to transfer the batter to an 8×8 pan and they still turned out thinner than I would have liked so I can’t imagine using a larger pan for these.

The results were chocolatey but not overpowering. These are not my favorite brownies but did hit the spot when covered with vanilla icecream and hot fudge. I wish the flavor would have been a bit deeper or more complex, maybe some chocolate chips or walnuts thrown in would help.

I rate this recipe a 7.5

Dark Chocolate Brownies
found here

6oz. 70% cacao chocolate (chopped)
6oz butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1tsp vanilla extract
1 cup flour

Preheat oven to 325
Spray 9×13 pan with PAM (i used 8×8 pan)

Melt butter and chocolate either in medium sized microwave safe bowl in microwave (stirring every 20 seconds until smooth) or in a double boiler. Once melted stir in sugar and mix well. Add vanilla and eggs mixing well.
Add flour and stir to combine.

Pour into prepared pan and bake for 25-35 minute until center is set (do not overbake)

Kentucky Derby Chocolate Pecan Pie

My Taste Tester and I spent Saturday doing outdoor chores and enjoying the Kentucky Derby. What better way to enjoy the Derby than to make a dessert? We chose a recipe I found on the internet a while back.

I had never made a pecan pie before so I don’t really have anything to compare this one to, but my Taste Tester has eaten several pecan pies in his day and said this recipe is a keeper. The chocolate compliments the sweetness of the filling by adding an extra dimension of flavor. I also added 1/2 cup toffee chips but they were not noticeably detected so I may leave them out next time.

We cheated and used a frozen pie crust (partially baked first) but doing so allowed us to be enjoying this pie in under an hour. I had some extra filling so i filled up a 4 inch ramekin and baked it for about 30 minutes as well.

If you are looking for a great pecan pie this is a keeper with or without the chocolate chips I  am sure. I would suggest eating this pie warm as it is best with the chocolate being melted and gooey.

I rate this recipe a 9

Kentucky Derby Chocolate Pecan Pie Recipe from here

1 10-inch Single Crust Pie Crust
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), melted
1/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup Karo light corn syrup
4 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup bourbon
3/4 cup gourmet chocolate chips
1 1/4 cup toasted pecans, shelled and chopped in half if desired (I used pecan peices)
1/2 cup toffee chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Roll crust out crust and place in prepared pan (fluting the edges) or use a store bought pre-baked pie crust, line a 10-inch deep dish pie pan

In a large mixing bowl, on medium speed with whisk attachment, whip butter, sugars, corn syrup, eggs, vanilla and bourbon together until frothy. Gently fold in the pecans, chocolate chips and toffee if using. Blend well.

Pour into prepared pie crust and bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes or until set

Serve warm

One bowl Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Glaze

I don’t bake cakes too often as you can probably tell by looking through my blog. I like cake but always feels it takes forever to make. I can rarely just make a cake without frosting too, and if I make frosting, then I need to make it look half-way pretty but decorating it. Overall I think cakes take too many ingredients, have too many steps and in the end aren’t worth my effort.

I have had chocolate cake on my mind lately. Not sure why but I can’t stop thinking about it. I gave in and finally paged through my cookbooks only to find this super simple, super quick cake recipe that did not call for ingredients (you know, like cake flour or buttermilk) that I usually don’t buy. Just plain and simple. Plus it came with a very quick ganache recipe to pour on top instead of frosting. SOLD!

What I had after 45 minutes (30 of it baking) was a moist but dense chocoate cake with thick, sweet liquid chocolate fudge (best way I can describe it) on top. Oh my, I was in heaven! Now this is not the best ever chocolate cake in the world but it did more than satisfy my craving and the amount of hands on time it took was so minimal I was in awe at how great it turned out.

I did pour the glaze over the cake while it was still warm and I would do so again in the future. I ate this cake every night for a week, simply nuked for 20 seconds to get the frosting a bit melted and dug in! So yummy!

I rate this recipe a 9 

One Bowl Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Glaze
from Better Homes and Garden Cookbook

1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg

Grease an 8×8 pan,

Preheat oven to 350.

In large bowl mix flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add milk, oil and vanilla. Beat for 2 minutes. Add eggs and beat 2 minutes more.

Pour into pan and bake for 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Chocolate Glaze
4 oz chocolate (I used bittersweet and semi sweet)
3 TBS butter
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar (sifted)
3 TBS hot water or cream

Melt chocolate and butter in microwave (in 20 second intervals) until melted. Beat in powdered sugar and water. Add more powdered sugar or water until pouring consistency.

Pour over cake.