Milk Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies

From the wonderful Flour Bakery in Boston. I would think you could substitute semi-sweet chocolate or bittersweet chocolates if you prefer those-it is delicious with milk chocolate. I always make my cookie doughs a day or two ahead of when I want to bake them. Trader Joe’s sells toasted and skinned (mostly) hazelnuts. I use my scale in baking and find it essential.
Makes about 30 cookies.

3/4 c. plus 1 T (1 1/2 sticks plus 1 T.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 c. (140 grams) granulated sugar
2/3 c. (150 grams) packed light brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 t. vanilla
1 1/2 c. (210 grams) blanched whole hazelnuts, toasted
1 1/2 c. (210 grams) unbleached flour
1 t. baking soda
3/4 t. kosher salt
12 oz. (340 grams) milk chocolate, chopped into 1/2″ pieces

In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and both sugars on medium speed for 5 minutes until the mixture is light and fluffy. Stop and scrape the sides down occasionally. Beat in eggs and vanilla on medium speed for 2-3 minutes. Scrape the bowl again.
In a food processor, pulse 1/2 c. (70 grams) of the hazelnuts until ground to a fine powder.Be careful as it will turn into a paste if you over do it. Roughly chop the remaining hazelnuts. In a medium bowl, stir together the ground and chopped hazelnuts, flour, baking soda, slat and chocolate. On low speed, slowly blend the flour mixture into the butter-sugar mixture. Mix until totally incorporated and the dough is evenly mixed. Wrap in an airtight container and chill 3-4 hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Drop the dough into 1/4 c. balls onto cookie sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the cookies are golden brown on the edges and pale and slightly soft in the center. Cool for 5-10 minuets.Store cookies in an airtight container for 3 days. The unbaked dough can be kept airtight for up to a week.

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No-bake Chocolate Mousse Bars

From the NY Times, a very easy bar that you can make a day or two ahead. Use the best semi sweet chocolate you can find (I used Callebaut). I mistakenly baked the graham cracker crust-do not do the same-it made it way too crumbly! The flavor of the mousse is delicious and it is a wonderful treat!

Crust:
18 whole graham crackers (about 9 1/2 ounces/269 grams)
8 tablespoons/113 grams unsalted butter (1 stick), melted
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
Filling:
1 pound/454 grams semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
3 cups cold heavy cream, plus more for serving
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
Whipped cream (optional)

Make the crust: Line a 9-inch-by-13-inch baking pan with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on 2 sides. In a food processor, or in a resealable plastic bag, crush the graham crackers until you have fine crumbs (but stop before you have dust). You should have about 2 1/4 cups. Transfer the crumbs to a medium bowl. Add the butter, sugar and salt and stir until evenly moistened. Tip the crumbs into the prepared pan and press them down into an even layer on the bottom. Transfer to the freezer while you prepare the filling.
Make the filling: Set the chocolate in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan, heat 1 cup cream, espresso powder and salt until hot but not boiling. Pour the hot cream mixture over the chocolate and let it stand for 2 minutes. Add the vanilla and whisk until smooth. Set aside to cool completely.
In a large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the remaining 2 cups heavy cream until you have stiff peaks. Add the chocolate mixture and gently fold to combine. Pour the mixture over the prepared crust, and spread it out into an even layer. Cover with plastic wrap and chill until firm, at least 2 hours. To serve, cut the two edges without parchment free with a sharp knife then use the parchment overhang to transfer the bar to a cutting board. Cut into squares and serve with a dollop of whipped cream, if desired.

Chocolate Raspberry Tart

This recipe is from my sister, Meg that she got from a chef that worked at Tuscan Express in Grand Rapids, MI. I found the crust to be a little bit difficult and only rolled out one 10″ tart and used half of the filling mixture and 2.5 pints of raspberries. You can make the tart a day ahead which for me is a huge plus. It is very impressive looking and delicious!

Chocolate Raspberry Tart
Recipe By: Dana, the pastry chef at Charie’s Crab who used to work at Tuscan Express

I use this recipe to make this recipe a 12″ round and three 4″ tarts **note-I made one 10″ and froze the remaining dough.
SWEET DOUGH CRUST:
1 1/2 stick unsalted butter-very cold, (or salted)
1/4 cup sugar
1 3/4 cup flour
2 egg yolks
2 T. heavy cream
FOR FILLING:
20 ounce semisweet chocolate
1 1/2 cup heavy cream
4 pint fresh raspberries, This takes 4 pts. but I usually buy 6 pints so I can pick through for the good ones.

CRUST: Using a food processor, combine butter, sugar, and flour until it resembles course sand. Add yolks and heavy cream. Mix until all ingredients combine. Pour out onto table and kneed together until it forms a ball. Make sure not to over work the dough. Chill 5-10 minutes.
Roll out dough until 1/4 ” thick. Coat tart pan with veggie spray and place dough into pan. Push side of dough down to make sides fit evenly within the pan. Place in freezer 5-10 minutes until chilled. Bake at 350 for 5-7 minutes. Prick any bubbles that may form at bottom of pan, then continue to bake until golden brown (12-15 minutes) Cool completely.

FOR FILLING: Place chocolate (chop it up) in a bowl. Heat heavy cream in a saucepan over medium heat to a boil. Pour over chocolate and whisk until smooth. Pour into tart shell.
Place in refrigerator for 20 minutes .
Place fresh raspberries on the top, close together in a nice pattern of some sort.. Chill a few hours or longer.

Nanaimo bars

A recipe from Vancouver Canada via my friend Jen and the NY Times . My crust was a little crumbly and I think I might add 2 more ounces of butter next time. I also think this bar could be baked in a 9″ square pan. I ordered the Bird’s custard powder from Amazon.

½ cup/115 grams unsalted butter (1 stick), cut into pieces
¼ cup/50 grams granulated sugar
1 large egg
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups/235 grams graham cracker crumbs
1 cup/85 grams unsweetened shredded coconut
½ cup/50 grams finely chopped walnuts, almonds or pecans (or a mixture)
FOR THE BUTTERCREAM:
¼ cup/60 grams unsalted butter (1/2 stick), at room temperature
3 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons custard powder, such as Bird’s
2 cups/245 grams confectioners’ (icing) sugar
FOR THE CHOCOLATE TOPPING:
4 ounces/115 grams semisweet chocolate, broken into 1/2-inch (1 1/4-centimeter) pieces
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Flaky sea salt, for sprinkling (optional)
Line an 8-by-8-inch (20-by-20-centimeter) metal baking pan with parchment, allowing parchment to overhang by about 2 inches (5 centimeters) on two sides.
Prepare the base: In a double boiler, or a heatproof bowl placed over a saucepan of boiling water, whisk butter with granulated sugar, egg, cocoa powder and vanilla until melted. Continue whisking until mixture thickens slightly, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
Stir in crumbs, coconut and nuts until the mixture is well combined and resembles wet sand.
Transfer mixture to the parchment-lined pan and use your fingers to press it into an even layer. Transfer pan to the refrigerator to chill until firm, at least 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the buttercream: In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter on medium speed for about 1 minute. Add heavy cream and custard powder and mix until combined, scraping sides and bottom of the work bowl as needed. Add 1 cup confectioners’ sugar and mix on low until incorporated. Add remaining confectioners’ sugar and mix on low until combined, scraping the bottom of the bowl as needed, then mix on medium-high speed until smooth, light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.
Remove pan from refrigerator. Dollop the buttercream on top of the base layer then gently spread it evenly on top using an offset spatula. Transfer pan to the refrigerator to chill until buttercream is set, about 30 minutes.
Prepare the topping: In a small, heavy saucepan or a double boiler, heat the chocolate and butter over low, stirring often, until melted and evenly combined, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Take pan from refrigerator and pour chocolate on top of buttercream layer. Working quickly and carefully, spread the chocolate evenly over the buttercream using an offset spatula. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt, if using.
Return pan to refrigerator and chill until chocolate hardens, about 25 minutes.
To serve the bars: Lift excess parchment to remove Nanaimo square from the pan. Cut into 16 2-inch (5-centimeter) squares. Store bars in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Bring to room temperature before serving. Store remaining bars in the refrigerator for a few days, or wrap well and freeze.

Carrot Pecan Snacking Cake

  • From Food and Wine-another simple snacking cake that does not disappoint!

    2 cups almond flour (about 7 ounces)
    1/2 cup all-purpose flour (about 2 1/4 ounces) or gluten-free all-purpose flour (about 2 3/4 ounces)
    2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
    3/4 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    2 large eggs1/2 cup buttermilk
    1/2 cup honey
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract1
    1 1/2 cups shredded carrots (about 2 large carrots)
    3/4 cup coarsely chopped toasted pecans (about 2 ounces), divided
  • FROSTING
    4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Make the cake: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8-inch square metal baking pan with parchment paper, allowing paper to overhang about 2 inches.

Whisk together flours, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Make a well in center of mixture; crack in eggs, and whisk to beat. Add buttermilk, honey, and vanilla; whisk until well blended. Fold in carrots and 1/2 cup pecans. Spoon mixture into prepared baking pan.

Bake in preheated oven until a wooden pick comes out with a few moist crumbs clinging, 25 to 27minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack 5 minutes. Remove cake from pan using parchment as handles, and let cool on rack to room temperature, about 1 hour.

Make the frosting: Combine cream cheese and butter in a large bowl; beat with a handheld mixer on medium speed until fluffy, about 1 minute. Add vanilla and salt; beat just until combined. Add powdered sugar; beat on low speed until just combined; increase speed to medium, and beat until smooth. Spread frosting over cake. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup pecans. Store in refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Chocolate Snacking Cake with Tangerine Glaze

The third of three in the NY Times article on snacking cakes. I love the idea of a snacking cake, meant to be served in the afternoon, any afternoon, no special occasion necessary! Cake is festive! *I did add an extra tablespoon of juice to the glaze to make it thin enough to glaze the cake.

⅓ cup/80 milliliters neutral oil, such as grapeseed or canola, plus more for pan
¾ cup/95 grams all-purpose flour
½ cup/50 grams Dutch-processed cocoa powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
2 ounces/60 grams chopped dark chocolate (about 1/3 cup)
½ cup/120 milliliters hot coffee
¾ cup/155 grams light brown sugar
⅓ cup/80 milliliters sour cream
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
FOR THE GLAZE:
½ tablespoon finely grated tangerine zest
1 tablespoon tangerine juice *see above
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 cup/115 grams confectioners’ sugar

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by-9-inch pan and line with parchment paper, letting the two long edges hang over the sides by at least 2 inches.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
In a heatproof bowl, melt chocolate in the microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring in between. Or you can melt the chocolate in a double boiler over simmering water on the stove, stirring well. Whisk in hot coffee.
Whisk together flour mixture, coffee-chocolate mixture, brown sugar, sour cream, oil, eggs and vanilla. Scrape into baking pan and smooth the top. Bake until the top is springy and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Let cool completely before glazing.
When cake is cool, make the glaze: Whisk together tangerine zest, tangerine juice and lemon juice, then whisk in confectioners’ sugar. Taste, and if it’s too sweet, add another drop or two of lemon juice. Pour glaze onto cooled cake, and spread to the edges. Let glaze set for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I realized I did not have a basic recipe for chocolate chip cookies on my blog so this is a good one from King Arthur Flour. I ground up the oats a little in my mini food processor. I also mixed up the chocolate-I used one cup each of semi sweet chips, milk chocolate chips and Heath toffee bits.

1 cup (16 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 cup quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt or 3/4 teaspoon regular table salt
3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line several cookie sheets with parchment paper, or lightly grease with non-stick vegetable oil spray.
Beat together the butter and sugars until smooth.
Add the eggs, and vanilla one at a time, beating well after each.
Whisk together the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and add to the butter mixture in the bowl.
Mix until everything is thoroughly incorporated. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl, and mix briefly.
Stir in the chocolate chips.
Scoop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 1 1/2″ to 2″ between cookies.
Bake the cookies for 12 to 17 minutes, until they’re a light golden brown, with slightly darker edges. Their middles may still look a tiny bit shiny; that’s OK, they’ll continue to bake as they cool on the pan.
Remove the cookies from the oven, and as soon as they’re set enough to handle, transfer them to racks to cool.

Banana Snacking Cake with Salted Caramel Glaze

Another winner from the NY Times!

½ cup/115 grams unsalted butter (1 stick), melted, plus more for pan
1 ½ cups/185 grams all-purpose flour
¼ cup/50 grams granulated sugar
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon fine salt
1 cup/250 grams mashed banana (from 2 to 3 very ripe bananas)
¼ cup/60 milliliters sour cream
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
FOR THE GLAZE:
4 tablespoons/65 grams unsalted butter (1/2 stick), cut into pieces
⅓ packed cup/70 grams dark brown sugar
¼ cup/60 milliliters heavy cream
Large pinch of fine sea salt
¼ cup/30 grams confectioners’ sugar
Flaky sea salt, for serving
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by-9-inch pan, and then line with parchment paper, letting the two long ends hang over the edges by at least 2 inches.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, granulated sugar, baking soda and salt. Whisk in bananas, melted butter, sour cream, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla.
Scrape into baking pan and smooth the top. Bake until the top springs back when lightly pressed in the center, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Let cool completely.
When cake is cool, make the glaze: In a medium or large pot (not a small one because the mixture will bubble up), combine butter, brown sugar, heavy cream and salt. Bring to a full boil and continue to boil over medium heat for 1 minute. Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes.
Whisk in confectioners’ sugar until smooth, then immediately pour over cooled cake. Spread evenly across cake and let set for at least 30 minutes. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt before serving.

Lemon Snacking Cake with Coconut Glaze

Another fun cake from the NY Times article on snacking cakes! I used unsweetened coconut because the sweetened stuff is too sweet for me. I love that there is coconut milk in the cake and the icing. My cake sunk in the middle a little but it was still delicious!

½ cup/120 milliliters neutral oil, such as grapeseed or canola, plus more for pan
3 lemons
½ cup/120 milliliters sour cream
¼ cup/60 milliliters coconut milk
2 large eggs
1 ½ cups/185 grams all-purpose flour
1 ¼ cups/250 grams granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
½ packed cup/50 grams shredded sweetened coconut
FOR THE GLAZE:
3 tablespoons coconut milk
1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
Pinch of fine sea salt
⅔ cup/85 grams confectioners’ sugar
Finely grated lemon zest, for garnish

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by-9-inch pan, and then line with parchment paper, letting the two long ends hang over the edge of the pan by at least 2 inches.
Grate 2 tablespoons of zest from the lemons. Juice the lemons so you have 1/4 cup/60 milliliters juice. Add juice and zest to a medium bowl, then whisk in oil, sour cream, coconut milk and eggs.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk wet mixture into dry mixture until smooth.
Scrape batter into baking pan and spread in an even layer. Sprinkle evenly with shredded sweetened coconut. Bake until the top of the cake springs back when lightly pressed in the center, and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, 35 to 45 minutes. Let cool completely.
When cake is cool, make the glaze: In a small bowl, whisk together the coconut milk, oil and salt. Whisk in the confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Pour over the cake, and grate some lemon zest over the top. Let the glaze set for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Belgian Chocolate Brownie Cakelets

Another winner from Smitten Kitchen! I did have to bake them an additional 10-12 minutes before the toothpick came out clean. This is a very fast and simple recipe that I will make again and again!

7 ounces (200 grams) bittersweet chocolate (70 or 72%), roughly chopped
7 ounces (200 grams or 14 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon (20 grams) all-purpose flour

Place chocolate and butter in a large heatproof bowl. Either over a saucepan of simmering water or in the microwave in 15- to 30-second bursts, stirring frequently, melt the two together. Off the heat, whisk in sugar, which should cool the mixture down significantly. Whisk in salt, then eggs, one at a time. Stir in flour.

Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. The batter will thicken a bit as it stands.

Heat oven to 325°F (165°C).

Either coat a 12-cup muffin tin with nonstick spray or line it with cupcake papers. Spoon batter halfway into each cup and bake for 25 to 30 minutes (20 minutes in the mini-tart pans I show), or until a toothpick inserted into the center of cakelets comes out batter-free. (Fudgy crumbs are to be expected.)

Let cool on a rack for 5 to 10 minutes before unmolding. Puffed tops will fall a little as they cool.