Gooey Chocolate Lava Cake

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Gooey Chocolate Lava Cake by twocarolines.com

I needed a cake to top off our Memorial Day feast, something with plenty of chocolate, because it had been too many days since I’d made a chocolate dessert, something elegant, because for a Holiday meal I like to go all out, and something easy, because I was also making roasted cauliflower, fried potatoes, cornbread, fruit salad, slow cooked baked beans and a beef brisket smoked from 8 a.m. to 5:30!  This cake not only checked all the boxes, but it turned out so insanely delicious that I’m going to have to add it to my frequent chocolate rotation.  It has a brownie quality to it, with the almost batter like texture on top, but it still feels like cake because of the more substantial cake layer around the bottom.  Don’t get me wrong, these layers are not distinct, they melt into each other in a chocolate flavor and texture experience that will seriously send you spinning.  IT’S SO GOOD!  And just wait until you see how easy it is to make!

2 sticks butter melted (half for bottom layer and half for top)
1 package chocolate cake mix (I used the pillsbury devils food cake mix)
3 eggs (1 for the bottom layer and two for the top)
1 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup cocoa powder
16 ounces confectioners sugar (3 and a heavy half)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1/4 cup chocolate chips

  1.  Heat oven to 350 and prepare a 9×3 inch round cake pan.  Just spray with cooking spray and if you want to be extra careful put a parchment round in the bottom.  My normal cake pans were not 3 inches high so I used my springform pan and wrapped it once with foil so no butter would leak out.  It worked great!  You can also use a 9X13 but in that case bake time would be really decreased and I think it would be difficult to get the bottom layer spread out all the way – an 8×8 might have high enough walls, whatever you use, pay more attention to doneness than bake time.
  2. Combine the cake mix, 1 egg and 1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter until blended.  It’s very thick.  Press this layer into the bottom of the pan as evenly as you can.
  3. In a stand mixer on medium speed beat the cream cheese until smooth.  Add the remaining two eggs powdered sugar, and the cocoa powder.  Lower the speed of your mixer and add the remaining 1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter and vanilla then beat until smooth.
  4. Sprinkle the chocolate chips on the bottom layer (This is optional, but I thought they created a nice kind of glue for the two layers and I used bittersweet just to be extra fancy) then pour the cream cheese batter over the top.
  5. Bake 40-50 minutes – in my foil wrapped spring form pan it took about 55.  It’s done when the sides are set, but the center still jiggles – like jello, not like liquid.  If you’re using a different pan than I did check at 30 minutes and every 5 after that.  Serve slightly warm or room temperature.  Its fantastic on it’s own but great with vanilla ice cream or dusted with powdered sugar.

Recipe adapted from “I am baker.net” Ooey Gooey Chocolate Cake

Strawberry Streusel Pie

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Strawberry Streusel Pie by twocarolines.com

I’ve been running into some really amazing strawberries of late, and when they are red through and through and sweet as can be, I prefer to use them fresh, but I also got a great big box of strawberries that turned out just okay, which gave me the perfect excuse to bake them!  I thought about doing a strawberry pie with one of those intricate braided, flowered, super detailed double crusts, and then I remembered how I have 3 young kids and an insane schedule and no time for that mumbo jumbo right now (hopefully I can work on one of those soon!).  I also remembered that streusel is dear to my heart – anything is better when you top it with a nice crumbly, sweet, delicious crumb.  This pie turned out so incredible!  The strawberries baked up super sweet and the streusel top made for such a texture knock out.  It’s the perfect accompaniment to any Memorial Day spread!

traditional 9 inch pie crust par baked – with ours that means bake for about 6- minutes at 425 before filling (I actually used a deep dish so I just rolled our recipe really thin and it worked out well, but could have been a little more full, it will fill a 9 inch nicely but be sure to bake on a sheet to prevent spills)

For the filling:
6 cups (2 pounds) strawberries hulled and quartered
1/2 cup sugar (less if you want your pie less sweet)
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon lemon or orange zest
1/4 teaspoon cardamon
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

For crumb topping:
3/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter melted and cooled slightly

  1.  First make the crust, par bake it and set it aside.  Set your oven to 350.
  2. Make the filling: Toss the strawberries, sugar, lemon juice, cornstarch and spices and zest in a mixing bowl. Let sit in the fridge or at room temp for a good 25 minutes and strain out any juices.
  3. While you are waiting for your strawberries to let out some juice make your crumb streusel topping.  Combine the oatmeal, flour and sugar in a small bowl and toss to combine. Add the melted butter and stir until thoroughly incorporated. Freeze or refrigerate the topping until chilled, a good 10-15 minutes.
  4. Spoon your strawberry filling into the crust being sure to not include juice.  Spread the crumb topping over the top and bake in the middle rack of the oven (put a cookies sheet under to prevent spills) until your pie is bubbly and the crust and topping are golden brown, about 55 minutes.  Transfer to a rack to cool to room temperature before serving.

Recipe adapted from Emeril Lagasee Strawberry Crumb Pie 

Homemade Hamburger Buns

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Homemade Hamburger Buns by twocarolines.com

Burgers are a subject we feel quite strongly about in the King family.  It’s one of those foods that we not only love to eat out, but we make an incredible burger at home – and of course the secret is in the bun!  This is a pretty easy way to elevate your Memorial Day burger game on a whole nother level.  It makes burgers on store bought buns seem so sad and pedestrian by comparison.  I’ve been using this recipe for years, sometimes I make half burger buns and half hot dog buns and we grill both.  However you choose to shape them they are guaranteed to make the most memorable Memorial day meal you’ve ever had!

1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup milk
1 large egg
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups (maybe a bit more) all purpose flour
1 tablespoon butter (to go on top before they go in the oven)

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl if mixing by hand) stir the yeast into the warm water, and let sit 3-5 minutes until dissolved.
  2. In a separate bowl (I use a large pyrex measuring cup) whisk together the milk, egg, oil, sugar, and salt.  Add this to the yeast mixture and stir until combined.  Add all the flour and stir (use dough hook on stand mixer) until it forms a shaggy dough.  Knead at a low speed (or on the counter if mixing by hand) for a good 10 minutes.  The finished dough should be smooth, feel slightly tacky and spring back when pushed.
  3. Spray mixing bowl then return dough to mixing bowl and cover.  Let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about an hour.  IMG_1150
  4. Dust your work surface with flour and turn out risen dough on top.  Divide the dough into 8 pieces.  I just roll it into a burrito, cut 4 even chunks and then cut those in half to make 8.  Shape each into a tight ball.  Transfer dough balls to a lined baking sheet and preheat oven to 375 while those rise until they are puffy and hamburger sized, about 30-40 minutes.
  5. Melt the butter and brush it over the risen buns.  Bake until they are nice and golden brown – a good 13-16 minutes.  Let them cool for at least 30 minutes until slicing, they will slice better closer to room temperature.  Enjoy!

 

I wrote this recipe down years ago and I have no idea where I got it – so if it’s yours, let me know and sorry for not giving you props!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake

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chocolate peanut butter cheesecake by twocarolines.com

Today is Caroline King v1.0’s birthday – and as I often do, I baked her a cake that I know she would love, even though there are a thousand or so miles between us 😦 If you’re thinking we should ease up on the peanut butter chocolate desserts, you should make one and get back to me.  This cheesecake is PBC perfection!  The crust is so unique – it has loads of chopped chocolate in it, in addition to the chocolate wafers, and then you have the layers of chocolate and peanut butter plus that mouth watering sour of the cheesecake, mind BLOWN!  Even if you just eat a sliver you’ll feel like it’s a LOT because this one is rich deluxe.  HBD 1.0, I love you more than all the peanut butter chocolate desserts the world has to offer (and that’s quite a few!) -CK 2.0

 

Chocolate Crust
9 ounces chocolate wafers – you can use the outsides of oreos if you can’t find the famous kind which I use most often because they are easier to find)
6 ounces bitter- or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped or 1 cup chips
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and still hot

Fudge Layer
1 cup heavy or whipping cream
13 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons  smooth peanut butter (optional)

Cheesecake Layer
2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups smooth peanut butter
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup sour cream
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Ganache Topping
1/3 cup heavy or whipping cream
4 1/2 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped

  1. To make the Chocolate Crust – If planning to use a water bath, double-wrap outside of a 9-inch springform with 3-inch high sides with aluminum foil (heavy-duty if you have it). If you aren’t doing a water bath, still wrap at least once as there is not in existence a springform pan that does not leak that I know of.  In a food processor, blend cookies, chopped chocolate and brown sugar together until finely ground. Drizzle in melted butter and process until crumbs begin to stick together, scraping down the bowl if needed. Transfer crumbs to prepared pan. Wrap fingers with plastic wrap and press crumb mixture up sides to within 1/2 inch of top, then evenly over bottom of pan. It helps to use the bottom of a cup to even out the bottom layer of your crust.  Chill crust until next step.  IMG_2343
  2. Make fudge layer: Bring cream to simmer in large saucepan. Remove from heat; whisk in chocolate and peanut butter, if using, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Pour into bottom of chilled crust and spread in an even layer. Freeze until fudge layer is firm, about 30 minutes.
  3. Make cheesecake layer: Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese, peanut butter, and sugar in large bowl until well-blended and fluffy. Beat in sour cream, then eggs, one at a time, and vanilla. Mix until smooth. Pour over fudge layer that has set in the freezer.
  4. To bake in a water bath: Place foil-wrapped springform pan in a roasting pan large enough to hold it. Fill roasting pan with enough hot water to come 1-inch up the sides of the springform and carefully transfer to middle oven rack.
  5. To bake without a water bath: Place springform on middle baking rack.
  6. Both methods, to bake: Bake cake until slightly firm to the touch and the top appears dry, about 75 to 90 minutes. Cheesecake done times can be very tricky – Deb from Smitten Kitchen recommends this visual guide: The center two inches should only move slightly when pan is gently shaken. Transfer cheesecake to rack in the fridge until fully cool, at least three hours.
  7. Make ganache topping: Heat cream in a small saucepan until simmering. Off the heat, whisk in chocolate. Pour on top of chilled cheesecake and spread to the edges. Return cheesecake to the fridge until the ganache sets, about 30 minutes.
  8. To serve: Remove foil from outside cheesecake pan if you have not already. Gently cut around between edge of cheesecake crust and springform pan to make sure it isn’t sticking. Unhinge the sides. You can serve it on the springform base, or, if you’re feeling confident, slide a knife gently under the bottom crust to loosen it from the springform base and slide the cake onto a serving plate. Serve in very small wedges.  Cake keeps for a week in the freezer and longer in the freezer.

 

Recipe (with hardly any changes because she’s a genius) from Smitten Kitchen, Feb 2014

Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies by twocarolines.com

My sister with the same name and I are so much alike that we often go on binges with the same flavors, which is why there has been a lot happening in the chocolate peanut butter world of late.  We are trying to crave other things and bake them for you, but this  was a recipe that showed up on the back of my Bob’s Red Mill flour and I could not deny it access to my mouth.  They are a very chocolatey brownie with awesome texture and the perfect crispy top and edges that all brownie kids want.  Plus, how pretty is that swirl action?!

For brownie bars:
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips or chopped chocolate (these would be awesome with a dark chocolate or milk chocolate as well)IMG_2282
8 tablespoons butter (1 stick) cut into quarters
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 eggs
1 cup all purpose flour

For peanut butter swirl:
3 tablespoons butter melted
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. Heat oven to 350.  Line an 8 inch baking pan with parchment criss-crossing and leave the edges hanging over the sides.  Spray with cooking spray.
  2. In a pyrex or other heatproof bowl microwave the chocolate and butter, 30 seconds at a time stirring and repeating between until smooth and melted.  Whisk in the cocoa powder until all smooth and set aside.
  3. For peanut butter swirl combine melted butter, peanut butter, powdered sugar, salt and vanilla in a bowl and stir until smooth.  Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk the sugar, salt, vanilla, and eggs until combined.  Whisk melted chocolate mixture into egg mixture.  Stir in the flour until just combined.  Do not overmix.  Pour mixture into prepared pan.  Drop dollops of peanut butter mixture on top of brownie batter and use a butter knife to swirl in the peanut butter.
  5. Bake 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out mostly clean.  Cool on a wire rack as long as you can resist before serving.  Pull from pan using parchment liner.

Recipe from Bob’s Red Mill 2016

Peanut Butter Banana Bread with Copious Chocolate Chips

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We recently had a big family event + Mother’s Day, so it was so fun to have us all together to celebrate. As always, we need to celebrate with food and I was asked to bring a lil’ something. I had a surplus of bananas, and wanted to make a banana bread, however—I wanted to add the two best ingredients to go with that—peanut butter and chocolate. I know, I know, I’m predictable. But at least deliciously so? I know that I already posted the divine Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Chip Cake, BUT bread is a whole different machine, right? It’s something you can feel good about eating for breakfast or a snack, and with all the all the peanut butter and banana, because it’s totally good for you, right? RIGHT? Just nod along and make and eat this tasty form of denial.

Peanut Butter Banana Bread with Copious Chocolate Chips

Yield: One 9-by-5-inch loaf + a small little loaf (mine was a bit too full for just one loaf)

1 1⁄2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, divided
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 mashed bananas
1⁄2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1⁄4 cup cream
1 cup peanut butter (crunchy or creamy
1 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and position the rack in the center. Butter a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan, dust it with flour, and knock out the excess flour. Remember you will have enough batter to make a mini loaf or 5-6 muffins, if you pour it all in one loaf pan you’ll have a big over-flowing mess.

In a large bowl, whisk together 11⁄2 cups flour, the sugar, salt, and baking soda.

In another large bowl, whisk together the bananas, oil, eggs, cream, and peanut butter. Toss the chocolate chips in the remaining 1 tablespoon of flour, then stir the chocolate chips into the banana mixture.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the wet mixture into it. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ever so gently until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs.

Let the loaf cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.

The loaf can be stored at room temperature, in an airtight container or wrapped tightly, for up to 3 days.

adapted from Baked Elements

 

Coconut Macadamia Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Coconut Macadamia Chocolate Chip Cookies by twocarolines.com

We’ve been on a cookie binge lately,…you’re welcome.  These incredible cookies were first discovered by our sister Kristin who became obsessed with them at the Nordstrom’s Cafe – they are called the “Nordie” and they are such a sensational combination with crunchy, chewy, sweet, salty and chocolatey cookie perfection.  It took her a number of trials and errors before she found a recipe that not only tasted like the Nordstrom cookie, but was even better!  The original author of this recipe is vanilla and bean – check out her rad blog.  The “Nordie” is a large cookie and it’s baked longer than traditional chocolate chip cookies to make the coconut have a nice toasted flavor, but you can also bake them less time for more chew and less crunch if you prefer.  Another bonus with these cookies is how you can easily save the dough in the fridge or freezer and just scoop and bake what you want to eat or even bake them all and freeze completed cookies until you’re presented with a situation that only an insanely delicious cookie can solve.

2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs at room temperature
1 cup all purpose flout
1 cup whole wheat white flour (they taste great with only AP flour if you don’t have any wheat)
1/4 cup almond meal (can substitute with wheat germ, wheat bran, or just normal flour)
1/4 cup corn starch
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup macadamia nuts roughly chopped
3 cups shredded coconut
1 1/2 cup chocolate chips

  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line a cookie sheet with parchment or silpat
  2. Mix together the flours, almond meal, baking soda, salt and cornstarch.  Set aside.
  3. With the paddle attachment on a stand mixer, beat the butter, sugar, and vanilla until smooth, about 2 minutes.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time until totally incorporated being sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Then add the flour mixture in a few batches making sure to scrape the bowl.  Last add the coconut, nuts and chocolate chips mixing on low speed until ingredients are evenly distributed throughout the dough.
  5. To make the large cookies use a big 3-4 tablespoon scoop – only about 6 cookies per pan.  Bake about 17-20 minutes until nicely browned.  You can also make smaller cookies if you want and if you do bake them for less time, like check them around 9-10 minutes.  The original cookies are darker than an average cookie with a nice crunch to the outside, but they are also delicious baked just until the bottoms are brown if you prefer your cookie more chewy and less crunchy.  Pay more attention to doneness than bake times as times vary greatly depending on how large your cookies are.

 

Recipe adapted from vanilla and bean