Double Chocolate Chunk Cookies

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double chocolate chunk cookies by twocarolines.com

These came about when I wanted to bring a treat to my daughter’s soccer practice, but needed to mindful of a nut allergy and the fact that 7 year olds are kind of lame sometimes about awesome stuff like coconut and oatmeal.  These cookies were a huge hit with the Huntington Beach “Kickers” and it’s no wonder with their perfectly chewy texture, and loads of rich chocolate flavor.  I am continuing to fuel the team with baked sweets because it’s working, we are UNDEFEATED!  And I’m sure double chocolate chunk cookies have a lot to do with that, because practice etc. really pails in comparrison to the power of an epic dessert.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder (you can also use natural Hershey’s or whatever you have on hand)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 ounces good-quality milk chocolate or dark/semi-sweet, 4 ounces coarsely chopped, 4 ounces cut into 1/4-inch chunks.  Chunks are delicious and add to the texture, but chocolate chips will work great too
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside. Melt coarsely chopped chocolate with the butter in a small heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water.

  2. Transfer chocolate mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add sugar, eggs, and vanilla; mix on medium speed until combined. Reduce speed to low; gradually mix in flour mixture. Fold in chocolate chunks.

  3. Scoop batter using a 1 1/2-inch ice cream scoop; place 2 inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake until cookies are flat and surfaces begin to crack, you still want them looking shiny and undone in the middle, about 11-13 minutes. Transfer on parchment to wire racks. Let cool 5 minutes.

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Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart Double Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Chocolate Almond Tart

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chocolate almond tart by twocarolines.com

I’m always looking for recipes with chocolate and nuts, and lately I’ve been on a pecan/ walnut binge, so it was fun to make this tart that reminded me of how magical almonds and chocolate are together.  It’s likely there will be more chocolate almond combos coming your way after this smashing success.  The texture of this tart is almost caramel like, it was really interesting and so so easy to make.  The original recipe calls for milk chocolate chips, she says that the dark or semi-sweet option made it too rich for her.  I am not familiar with the sensation of something being “too rich” – I used a combination of semi-sweet and dark chocolate and I thought it was just right!

Crust:
1/3 cup butter
1 cup flour
1 egg beaten

Filling:
1 tablespoon
1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
12 ounces chocolate – either one bag of chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
1/2 teaspoon (or up to 1 tsp if you really want some almond punch) almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup almonds chopped
for garnish – another 1/3 cup almonds and whipped cream

  1. Preheat oven to 400.  For the crust: In a medium bowl, cut the butter and flour with a pastry blender until mixture is crumbly.  Add the beaten egg.  Stir until a dough forms.  Press the dough firmly into a tart pan or 9″ pie tin.  Bake for 12-14 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool on a wire rack.
  2. Reduce oven to 350.  For the filling – in a medium saucepan, melt butter over low heat.  Add the sweetened condensed milk, chocolate chips, and extracts.  Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is melted.  Stir in the almonds.  Pour and spread evenly into the tart crust.  Bake an additional 23-25 mintutes or until the edges are set but the center still has some jiggle.  Cool in the pan on a rack.  Serve in slices, garnished with whipped cream and chopped almonds on top.

Recipe adapted from Chocolate Never Faileth by Annette Lyon

Grandma Ruth’s Cinnamon Rolls

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There is something so warm cozy and welcoming about a cinnamon roll, cinnamon rolls just want to love you, cinnamon rolls understand.  There are many versions of this beautiful pastry, but these are BY FAR the best I’ve ever tasted.  I was introduced to them from our sister Kristin who learned about them from our other sister Courtney who got the recipe from her husband Greg’s Grandma Ruth.  I never had the honor of meeting Grandma Ruth, but based on all accounts she was a character with a talent for cute one liners and cinnamon roll perfection.  The thing that makes these the most magical is….well, all of the things.  The dough is soft, but bouncy, not too sweet, and the filling has no strange flavors, it’s brown sugar and cinnamon, but perhaps the very most special ingredient is the really unique icing.  I’ve never met an icing like this one and PLEASE take the time to make it instead of wussing out on some easy sleazy pow sug and milk silliness.  You thicken it on the stove with sugar and flour then add the powdered sugar later.  It harden’s as it cools so it kind of closes in on your roll making it stay fresh longer, plus it allows you to easily freeze them individually and as Grandma Ruth used to say “pop em in the microphone for 20” to have a cinnamon that tastes like it just came out of the oven for weeks after the effort.  I have made a few adjustments, such as tripling the icing because a cinnamon roll without enough icing is truly tragic and I would never treat these sweet buns that way.  This is not the easiest thing on the planet to make but it’s not a finicky recipe, have fun with it, get your kids involved and don’t stress out.  They will turn out amazing and make for a magnificent morning guaranteed!

Rolls:
2 cups milk
2 rounded teaspoons salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter (cut up for easy melting)
2 beaten eggs
1/2 cup warm water
2 tablespoons yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
6 1/2-8 cups flour (enough to make your dough curl and handle easily – I usually use about 8)

Cinnamon Filling:
5 tablespoons butter
2 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon

Frosting:
1 cup sugar
1 cup evaporated milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon flour
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
6-7 cups powdered sugar

1. Scald the milk, either on the stove or I usually just warm in up in a large (4 cup capacity) pyrex for 3 minutes so it’s really hot.  Add salt, 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup butter to the milk and let stand until sugar and butter are dissolved and milk is no longer hot but just warm, -give this a mix before adding to your yeast mixture.

2.  In a separate bowl (I do this in a stand mixer) put your yeast into the 1/2 cup warm water and let sit with the extra teaspoon sugar until dissolved and starting to puff.  Add the two beaten eggs.  Next add milk mixture.  Combine and slowly add flour starting a few cups at a time but once you get to 6 cups slow down and watch how it curls and handles.  When your dough is ready it will start to pull off the sides of the bowl and stick more to itself than it does to your fingers.  It will still be a bit tacky, you don’t want it dry, just to the point where you can handle it.  It does not require a long knead, I just kneaded with the dough hook for about 4-5 minutes until all incorporated.

3.  Work dough into a ball and put into a lightly greased bowl covered for about an hour – until doubled.  Punch down once doubled and let them come back again about 15 minutes.  Divide dough into two and roll on a floured surface into a large rectangle.  Try to even up your corners as best you can.

4.  For the cinnamon filling melt the butter and use half for each half of dough – about 2 and a half tablespoons butter for each.  Spread out on your rectangle evenly then mix up your brown sugar and cinnamon and use half of this mixture over the butter reaching almost to the ends all over the dough.  Starting on a short side roll your dough rectangle into a nice tight rope and do your best to seal it at the end by pinching the dough into itself.  With a nice sharp knife cut rolls from your rope in about 1 1/2 inch sections and place them on a cookie sheet with either a silpat baking mat, parchment, or greased with butter or oil.  I just cut as many as my recipe makes instead of trying to do a set amount.  In my last batch I was able to make 35 total rolls.  Repeat step 4 with the other half of the dough.

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rolled out dough for cinnamon buns by twocarolines.com

5.  Preheat oven to 350.  Let the rolls rise under tea towels or plastic wrap for a good 20-30 minutes until nice and puffy.  Bake one cookie sheet at time for about 12-14 minutes.  Mine were done at 13.  You want them lightly browned and gorgeously puffed up.

6.  Make frosting – please don’t be lazy and do an easier frosting, the frosting for these is so unique and spectacular – it’s what makes them so super special!  In a large saucepan put evaporated milk, sugar, salt and flour.  Mix on medium heat until mixture is bubbling and thick.  Stirring constantly add butter vanilla and powdered sugar.  You might add a bit more powdered sugar to get desired consistency, but this magical icing hardens as it cools so don’t stress out about it.  Once it’s done, I pour it through a strainer and push it with a rubber spatula to get all the lumps out so it’s nice and pretty smooth.  You can also sift your powdered sugar as you add it, but this is too messy for me.  You could also just leave the lumps in, they taste fine, but are somewhat unsightly and won’t do if you’re a dessert blogger like me.  When they are hot out of the oven put icing on each bun generously, there should be enough to cover all your rolls easily.

7.  We always freeze what we don’t eat the first day in individual sandwich bags then heat them for 25 seconds and they taste incredible.  This magic icing doesn’t stick to plastic so they are easy to freeze.

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Grandma Ruth’s Cinnamon Rolls by twocarolines.com

 

 

 

Peanut Butter Cup Vanilla Ice Cream

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Remember that one time, when it was too hot for life? Don’t get me wrong, I love summer! I mean—I have to hide my fair skin from the sun the whole time—but I love that blessed sweet blue sky and warm summer nights. But when the sun brings that triple digit heat, you don’t necessarily want to turn on your oven and sweat over it. So, what better solution than to make ice cream? I was hanging out with my sis the other week, and she made some crazy good raspberry ice cream in such a quick amount of time, that I got it in my head to do the same. The base is Ben and Jerry’s Vanilla Ice Cream, and it’s oh-so easy to make! Of course you know I had to go to one of my favorite flavors and threw in Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups and some PB chips for my mix-ins. I can’t get over how simple and fast and delicious it was! So, I’m thinking you have new weekend plans, amiright?

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (I used vanilla paste)
  • 1 and 1/2 bags Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups cut in quarters
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter chips

DIRECTIONS

  1. Whip the eggs and sugar together with a whisk until fluffy (but not firm).
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients into the eggs and sugar.
  3. Whisk together until well mixed.
  4. Place in ice cream maker, add desired mix-ins and follow it’s directions to make.
  5. EAT ALL THE THINGS

-CK 1.0
Recipe adapted from here.

 

Oatmeal Fudge Bars

I very much love brownies and bars because in addition to being delicious, they are so quick, easy and satisfying.  You don’t always have time to make a special cake or pie, so brownies and bars are the ultimate lazy bakers delight.  This is one of the reasons twocarolines.com has dozens of amazing ones to choose from, which will not stop us from adding to the list frequently.  Whenever I come across a recipe I haven’t made before that looks great, I hop to it.  These ones were unique and you can make them a variety of ways.  In fact, I was in a rush and forgot to add the oatmeal to the bottom batter, so I laid a layer of it on top of the chocolate, swirled it in, and then dolloped the rest of the dough on and no one complained a bit!  I’m posting as recommended though, because next time I won’t forget and I think it would be an even cooler texture experience.  Either way, you’ll love these chewy, gooey, chocolatey oatmeal fudge bars.

1 cup butter
2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups quick cooking oats
1 can (14 0unce) sweetened condensed milk
1 package or 12 ounces chocolate chips
1/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional – I opted out of those so my kids wouldn’t turn up their picky noses)

  1.  Grease a 9×13 inch baking pan – I just laid down parchment which worked out great, but if you grease with butter or even spray that will work well too.  Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In a large mixer bowl cream the butter and brown sugar then add the eggs one at at time and the vanilla.
  3. In a small bowl sift flour, baking soda and salt then add that to the creamed mixture.  Mix in the oats.
  4. In a heavy saucepan, mix the sweetened condensed milk with the chocolate chips and butter, heat until just melted and you can whisk it smooth.  Stir in the vanilla and nuts if using.  Spread two thirds of brown sugar dough into prepared baking pan.  Spread the chocolate mixture on top, then drop remaining one third of brown sugar dough on top by spoonfuls.  Even out the top in a pretty way.
  5. Bake at 350 for about 25-30 minutes – be sure it’s not still doughy when you take it out, you can tell when it’s set and a toothpick will come out with moist crumbs not wet dough.  Cool for a good 15 minutes at least then cut into bars.  Makes about 36.

Recipe adapted from Lion House Classics Cookbook Oatmeal Fudge Bars

Homemade Bagels

homemade bagels

homemade bagels

Of all the white carbs I adore, legit, chewy, fresh bagels have my whole heart.  Maybe you’re thinking “why would I make them, when I can easily just buy them?” but you’ve been decieved!  It’s actually really difficult to buy a legitimate bagel these days – the distinction being a bagel that is actually boiled before it’s baked.  Even some large bagel chains have switched from poaching to steaming, which is so weak sauce!  In order to achieve that super chewy texture that makes a bagel so much more special than circle shaped bread, they need to take a little bath in boiling water, trust me, it’s a difference you can taste.  The cool bonus is that they are quite easy to make and don’t require any super secret ingredients.  And think of how impressed the people at your table will be when you bust out these beauties!  I cut, wrap in plastic, and freeze anything we don’t eat the first day then we eat them for weeks by throwing them in the microwave on defrost for a minute or so.  I’m way to much of a bagel purist to ever toast a bagel (BLASPHEME!) But I won’t judge you if you choose to warm yours up that way, this is assuming of course that you have any left after the first day….

6-7 cups white bread flour (I’ve used all purpose flour with great results, bread flour just makes a little smoother texture, it’s’ not essential)
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon yeast – (I like this saf instant one that performs well mixed in with flour instead of needing to hang around in water)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 1/4 cups warm water
2 tablespoons sugar for poaching in water (the recipe uses malt, but I’ve never found that and sugar works beautifully)

  1. Combine the flour, salt and yeast together in a large bowl.  Start with 6 cups flour but be ready to add 7 depending on how much your dough will take.  Add the sugar and oil to the water in a different bowl.  Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the liquid, mixing to a dough with a spatula or wooden spoon.
  2. Knead the dough either by hand or with a dough hook, trying to add more flour as it kneads- you actually want a quite dry dough vs. normal bread and yes, your dough will be stiff, but knead for a good 10 minutes until you have a really smooth, elastic dough.  I use my kitchen-aid mixer with the dough hook and it takes about 11-12 minutes.
  3. Form the dough into a ball, and put it into an oiled bowl (I just use my kitchen-aid one) turning once to coat.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave it to rise for about 1 hour.  It should be well risen, and when you poke it with your finger the impression should remain.
  4. Punch down the dough and give it a few kneads then divide it into 3 pieces.  Using your hands roll each piece into a rope then cut each rope into 5 fairly even pieces.  I line up my 3 ropes and cut with my pastry scraper that also helps me measure.
  5. Roll each piece into another rope and curl it around to form a ring.  Seal the ends by over-lapping them a little and pinching them together – I usually dip one side in a little water.
  6. At this point put a large pot of water to boil and once it’s boiling add your sugar.  Preheat your oven to 500 – I know it’s hot, but that’s what your bagels want!
  7. Set the bagel on baking sheets, cover with tea towels and leave for about 25 minutes by which time they should be puffy.
  8. To poach your bagels drop a couple at a time (I do 3-4 because I use a large pot) into the water and boil for only about 1 minute turning once.  I use a slotted spoon for this which works great.
  9. As you poach them put them back on your baking sheet that is either oiled or has a silpat on it.
  10. Bake for about 10 minutes or until they’re shiny and golden brown.  Let cool for a good 10 minutes, but they are incredible served warm.
  11. Note:  You are welcome to get creative with toppings etc.  I like to sprinkle a coarse salt/flour mixture on some and it’s also yummy to do a cinnamon sugar/butter combo on top as well.  If I have time I will even mix my last 5 with various things like chocolate chips, blueberries or cranberries before I boil them.  They always turn out tasty but some of my combinations make them look a little busted.  Do what sounds good to you!

Recipe adapted from Nigella Lawson How To Be a Domestic Goddess

homemade bagel sandwich

homemade bagel sandwich

Devil’s Food Cupcakes with Whipped Chocolate Ganache Frosting

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Devils Food Cupcakes by twocarolines.com

I often bake with my daughters, and when they get to choose, it’s ALWAYS chocolate cake, which is one of the reasons there are so many chocolate cake recipes on our site.  This one is super delicious, it’s got rich dark chocolate flavor and I decided to make it in a cupcake instead of a cake so we could freeze what we didn’t eat the day we made it and have fresh cake anyday.  I did find, as I do with many cakes from scratch, that they dry out a little on day two, so it’s best to make it for a crowd or freeze your leftovers.  I am a pretty loyal devotee to traditional buttercream frosting, but I decided to try whipped ganache, and I must say, it’s poppin off some serious chocolate flavor, fun for a change and for sure a very rich chocolatey experience.  I doubled the frosting because you use a lot more for cupcakes, but other than that, I stayed pretty close to the recipe.  Hope you enjoy them as much as we have!

Cake:

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Devils food cupcake with whipped ganache frosting by twocarolines.com

2 cups cake flour
2/3 cup natural cocoa powder
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup water
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Frosting:
14 ounces bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate chopped
1 cup heavy cream
6 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
chocolate sprinkles

  1. Prepare 2 muffin tins with cupcake liners, lightly spray the bottoms.  Preheat oven to 350.
  2. For the cake – Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl until light and fluffy.  Add the sugar and beat for 3 minutes, or until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Beat in the vanilla.  Reduce speed to low and add the cocoa mixture alternately with the buttermilk mixture in 3 batches, beating until well blended.  Transfer the batter to cupcake liners filling only 3/4 the way.  If you choose to make a cake this works great in two 9 inch round pans or one 9×13.  Just be sure to check for doneness and not bake times, bake time below is for cupcakes.
  3. Bake for 19-22 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes until turning out to cool completely on a cooling rack.
  4. To make the frosting, slowly melt the chocolate with the cream in a heatproof medium bowl and whisk until smooth.  Add the butter and whisk until smooth.  Let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate, covered, for 15 minutes.
  5. Beat the frosting with an electric mixer on medium high speed for about 8 minutes until thick enough to spread.
  6. Either frost cupcakes with a knife or put frosting into a piping bag fitted with a large tip and twirl pretty frosting mountains on top of your cooled cupcakes.  Add chocolate sprinkles for an extra pretty touch!

Recipe adapted from Luscious Chocolate Desserts cookbook  Devils Food Cake.