Monday, November 28, 2011

Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars

Yum!






















I hope everybody had a nice Thanksgiving.  Mine was wonderful just like it is every year.  Zack and I spent time in West Virginia with his family.  This was my seventh Thanksgiving with his family and boy am I thankful for them.  Zack's mom is an amazing cook and we stuffed out bellies.  My favorites this year were the cranberry sauce, the dressing, and the sweet potatoes.  Believe it or now I would not eat any of those dishes growing up unless it was cranberry jelly from a can.  You can ask my mom, I used to love that canned stuff! Since this is a baking blog, I bet you are wondering what we had for dessert.  I brought the pies this year which consisted of 2 Pecan Pies, 1 Pumpkin Pie, and a Cranberry Apple Pie.  The Pecan is my favorite, which is also a pie I would not eat growing up.  This post is probably shocking my mom.  I suppose I had to grow up eventually.

The Pecan Pie is also the favorite of my mother-in-law, my sister-in-law, and my niece.  My niece told me that she never liked Pecan Pie until she had mine which is quite the compliment from an almost 14 year old. Since it is getting closer to the holidays and just about everybody will be looking for cookie and bar recipes I thought I would share a delicious recipe for Chocolate Pecan Pie bars with you. These bars completely embody Pecan Pie.   I think they were great with the addition of the chocolate chips, but if you are more of a traditionalist you can definitely leave them out.


Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars
recipe slightly adapted from Glorious Treats

Crust

1 3/4 cups flour
1/4 cup packed brown sugar (light or dark)
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup cold butter, cut into pieces
1-2 Tablespoons cold water

Filling

3 eggs
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 Tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups pecan halves, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line the bottom and sides of a 9"x13" baking pan with aluminum foil.

(For the crust)  In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat 3/4 cup butter, brown sugar and salt until smooth and creamy.  Add flour, and beat until coarse crumbs form.  While the mixer is running, add 1-2 tablespoons of cold water, as needed to help form dough.  Press dough into the bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides of the prepared pan.  Prick the dough with a fork several times, randomly around the pan.  Bake 10-12 minutes or until light golden brown.

(For the filling)  In a large bowl, mix eggs, brown sugar, corn syrup, vanilla, melted butter, bourbon and salt with a whisk until well blended.  Stir in pecans and chocolate chips.  Pour filling into baked crust.  Bake 20-30 minutes or until golden brown and filling is set.  Cool completely before cutting.  


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Chocolate Pomegranate Cupcakes

Sorry for the terrible photo, it is from my phone.


I know this photo  is pretty bad, but these cupcakes are delicious so I wanted to share them with you.  I had a rough morning Thursday (which included falling down the stairs) and forgot to take a photo before I brought them to work,  I made these cupcakes Wednesday night for a coworker.  She went out of her way to help me so I wanted to do something nice for her.  I asked her what she liked and like most people she gave the "Oh, I like everything" response.  A week earlier she happened to bring in some dark chocolate pomegranate candies which were addictively delicious. I immediately went to BJ's to pick some if the candies up (they topped the cupcakes) and they inspired these cupcakes.  Now I must tell you that people seriously loved these cupcakes at work.  Several people commented that they are better than Georgetown Cupcake and other DC cupcake shops.  Three people even asked me if I can do parties for them.  I think they would be a great addition to a Thanksgiving or Christmas Dessert Table.

Chocolate Pomegranate Cupcakes
from Baked Perfection

Makes 24 cupcakes

Chocolate Cupcakes recipe slightly adapted from allrecipes.com

1 package chocolate cake mix
1 package instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
1 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 eggs
1 tablespoon instant espresso dissolved in 1/2 cup warm water 
2 cups chocolate chips (dark chocolate or semi-sweet), dusted in 1 tablespoon flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a large bowl, mix together the cake and pudding mix, sour cream, oil, eggs, vanilla extract, and espresso dissolved in water.  Gently stir in the chocolate chips

Bake for 20 minutes, or until top is springy to the touch and a wooden toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.

Pomegranate Frosting
recipe from Baked Perfection

1 cup pomegranate juice
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
6 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a small sauce pan bring the pomegranate juice to a boil over medium-high heat.  Continue to cook until sauce has thickened and reduce to 1/3 cup.  Set aside to cool.

Cream the butter on medium speed until it is very light in texture. Add the cooled pomegranate juice, salt, and vanilla.  Slowly add the powdered sugar  and mix on a low speed until the sugar and butter are blended, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Increase the speed to medium, with the mixer running, add the milk one tablespoon at a time until you reach the desired consistency. 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Chocolate Peanut Butter Half and Half Cookies

Two worlds collide.



Two very delicious worlds that is.  Chocolate and peanut butter go together like they were never meant to be apart.  I love the combination and am pretty sure that it is on most peoples favorite lists.  Of course there are those people who say they don't like chocolate, or peanut butter, or the combination.  I put those people in the same group as people who claim to not like macaroni and cheese.  Honestly, who does not like macaroni and cheese?!?!  

Anyway, back to these cookies.  These little cookies are addictive!  I came up with the idea to make them after seeing another recipe of chocolate chip cookies sandwiched with a chocolate chocolate cookies. I these delectable treats on vacation with two of my friends and I am ashamed to admit that we polished them off in one night.  In fact, we may have eaten all but one before we even landed at our destination!  I want to share these with you now because I know it is cookie making season with the Holidays coming up.  These cookies will definitely be a hit with anybody you share them with.   

Chocolate Peanut Butter Half and Half Cookies
recipe by Baked Perfection

makes approximately 5 - 6 dozen

Chocolate Dough

2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3
 cup baking cocoa
1 1.4 oz package of instant chocolate pudding Mix
1
 teaspoon baking soda
1/2
 teaspoon salt
1
 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
2/3
 cup granulated sugar
2/3
 cup packed brown sugar
1
 teaspoon vanilla extract
2
 large eggs
1 2/3
 cups peanut butter morsels

Combine flour, cocoa, pudding mix, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large  bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels. 

Peanut Butter Dough

1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
3 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl.  In a large bowl, cream together the peanut butter, butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until well blended. Beat in the egg, milk, and vanilla one at a time. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chips. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Combine 1/2 tablespoon of each dough and roll into a ball.  Place onto ungreased baking sheets.  Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until cookies are puffed and centers are set. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.