Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

img_5768

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies by twocarolines.com

It’s kind of unbelievable that I’ve never made these before – I call them chocolate crinkle cookies, but I’ve heard loads of cute names for them, some call them crackles or my favorite “snow on the mountain cookies.  They are SOOOOO good, super chocolatey and just lovely with the way the sugar gently breaks when they bake – I’m pretty sure they are responsible for a solid 3 lbs of weight gain in just a few days – just be warned that control is difficult around this level of deliciousness.  I used a pretty traditional recipe, but I added chocolate chips because: obvious.  A cool bonus is that you can make the dough and keep it in the fridge and bust out hot cookies anytime!

5 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chopped
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup confectioners sugar

  1. Melt the chocolate either in a double boiler or in a heatproof bowl in the microwave on defrost or in 20 second increments until it looses it’s shape and you can whisk it smooth.  Set aside.
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl.  Beat the butter on medium speed in a large bowl until light and fluffy.  Add the granulated and brown sugars and beat until smooth.  Add the melted chocolate and beat until blended.  Add the egg, vanilla and chocolate chips until all combined.  Reduce speed to low and add the flour mixture in batches beating well after each addition so it’s all incorporated.
  3. Transfer dough to a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, a few hours or as long as overnight.
  4. Preheat oven to 375 and either grease or parchment line 2 baking sheets.
  5. Place the confectioners sugar in a small bowl.  Shape the dough into 1 inch balls (I use a small ice cream scoop for this and it works great).  Roll each ball in the confectioners sugar coating heavily.  Place cookies 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets.  Bake for about 7 minutes – until the sides bounce back when lightly touched but the middles still look a little doughy.
  6. Cool cookies on the baking sheets a few minutes – 4 or so, then move them to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Recipe adapted from “chocolatiest crinkles” in Luscious Chocolate Desserts by Lori Longbotham.

Caramelized Banana Coconut Chocolate Bread

You read that right – banana’s, coconuts, AND chocolate! When I see a recipe that combines all of the two Caroline’s very most favorite flavors I pretty much drop everything, turn on the oven and make that dessert with a quickness.  My sister 1.0 discovered this one and seriously, it did not disappoint.  I healthed it up slightly by adding some flax and wheat bran, but you can link to the original if you’d like.  I thought the few changes I made turned out incredible, it had such complexity of flavor with the unique caramelized bananas and the earthy sweetness that’s natural in whole grains like wheat bran and whole wheat flour then theres this melty chocolate and coconut giving you awesome texture and such a great flavor combo.  Yes, caramelizing the bananas is an extra step from regular old banana bread, but trust me, all that dark gooey goodness makes for an incredible loaf of sweet bread.

4 over-ripe bananas 2 tablespoons honey
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup whole wheat flour (I used the trader joes “white whole wheat” and it was fantastic)
1/4 cup wheat bran (or wheat germ)
1 tablespoon ground flax seed
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup coconut milk (I used the almond coconut milk combo because that’s what I had around and it worked great)
2 tablespoons greek yogurt (or sour cream)
1/2 cup coconut oil (you could sub with any vegetable oil)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4-5 ounces chocolate chips or chopped dark chocolate
1/2 cup sweetned flake coconut (toast if you would like by putting in your hot oven for about 4-5 minutes until lightly brown)
2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut flakes for the top

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (you could also use a silpat but parchment is handy for getting all the delicious bits into your bread dough).  Peel the bananas and lay them flat on the baking sheet.   Drizzle each with honey and then sprinkle with cinnamon.  Roast them for 20-25 minutes or until the tops of the bananas are very golden brown and caramelized.  Remove from the oven and let cool 5-10 minutes.  Once cool enough to handle, mash the bananas and set aside.  Reduce oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray a 9×5 loaf pan thoroughly with nonstick spray. In a small bowl, combine the whole wheat flour, wheat bran, flax, all-purpose flour, baking soda and salt, whisking thoroughly. Set aside.

  3. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and brown sugar until smooth. Add in coconut milk, yogurt (or sour cream) and coconut oil, whisking until combined. Stir in mashed bananas and vanilla until mixed. Slowly stir in dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Fold in the chopped chocolate and toasted coconut. Pour batter into the greased loaf pan and sprinkle with the remaining unsweetened coconut flakes.

  4. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until center is set. If the top begins to brown (mine did after about 45 minutes), you may want to tent the bread with aluminum foil.

  5. Remove and let cool a solid 20 minutes before cutting, if you can handle it, the smell is incredible and the taste will rock your world!  Keeps for 3-5 days covered.

Recipe adapted from Half Baked Harvest Toasted Coconut Chocolate Chunk Roasted Banana Bread

Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake

img_5343

chocolate peanut butter cake by twocarolines.com

As our readers know, the love Caroline’s have for desserts of the peanut butter chocolate variety is SERIOUS!  We have brought you some pretty amazing C&PB combo’s like the amazing double chocolate peanut butter pie, 1.0’s famous peanut butter banana chocolate chip cake, or our much loved peanut butter buckeye brownies plus many more.  Now I bring you one of my favorite cakes of all time – this chocolate peanut butter cake is all the things you want your C&PB desserts to be! Rich chocolatey flavor, and creamy delicious peanut butter frosting plus a luxey ganache filling that sets it all off perfectly.  I make this cake all the time, but it usually get’s eaten so fast I can never get a picture!  This time it was for my daughters soccer party after a championship victory so I piped the frosting to give it a fancy touch, but it’s just as delicious when it’s frosted with a spatula.  -CK 2.0

Cake: (this is my go-to chocolate cake recipe – but use your favorite, this one always turns out ultra moist and delicious but any standard chocolate cake recipe would work)

  • 1 box pillsbury devils food cake mix
  • 1 3.4 oz box jello instant chocolate pudding (not the fat/sugar free)
  • 1/2 cup melted butter, coconut oil or vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 4 eggs lightly beaten (room temp works best)
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Ganache Filling:

  • 1 1/2 cups chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Frosting:

  • 10 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 stick (4 ounces or 1/2 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 5 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 2/3 cup smooth peanut butter, preferably a commercial brand like Jiff or Skippy

 

  1. For the cake.  Preheat oven to 350 and line two 9″ cake pans with parchment and either butter or spray them then set aside.
  2. Lightly mix together the cake mix and pudding mix then in a separate bowl mix your eggs water, oil (or butter) and vanilla well, until all the eggs are incorporated.  Add the wet mixture into the cake mix making sure to mix it thoroughly for a few minutes, and then add the sour cream blending until no white streaks remain.  Last add the chocolate chips and just fold them in with a spatula so they are evenly distributed.  The batter is quite thick, but it bakes up really nice so don’t be nervous about the texture.
  3. Pour evenly into your cake pans and level out with a spatula.  Bake for about 22-25 minutes checking for doneness with a toothpick.  The top of the cakes spring back when done and the cake just barely starts to pull from the sides of the pan.  Let cool in pans for 5 minutes then turn out onto a cooling rack to cool completely while you make your frosting and ganache.
  4. Next I make the ganache and then the frosting because you need to pipe frosting around the bottom of your layer cake in order to hold the ganache in the middle while it cools.  The ganache can start to cool down and thicken while you make the frosting.
  5. For the ganache: Put the chocolate and heavy cream in a heatproof bowl – I use 4 cup pyrex for this.  Heat slowly in the microwave either on defrost or in 20 second intervals at full power until the chocolate starts to loose it’s shape and you can whisk it smooth.  You can also heat the chocolate and cream in a double boiler, but I find the microwave method much easier.
  6. For the frosting: In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar 1 cup at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl often. Continue to beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes.  Add the peanut butter and beat until thoroughly blended.
  7. Once the cakes have cooled, level the tops with a long serrated knife, unless you don’t care about having a neat looking cake, but this makes frosting easier and it gives you a little snack while you work.  Put the first layer on a plate or cake board and pipe with either a piping bag or just a bag made from parchment a dam of frosting around the diameter of the bottom layer that will hold in your ganache when you pour it in.  You may have some extra ganache – I used it last time to put on the top of my cake which you can do, or just save it for something else.  Now take your ganache and pour it into the middle of that bottom layer spreading out but taking care not to let it go over the edge or over the edge of your frosting layer – this is why you made a frosting dam, to hold in your ganache and keep your second layer of cake from squishing it.
  8. Let that cool for 10 minutes or so then put the second cake layer on – neat side up and plop a large amount of frosting on top.  Using an offset spatula spread the peanut butter frosting taking care to only touch your spatula to the frosting, and not to the cake so you don’t drag crumbs.  Work your frosting around the top, pushing it slowly from the middle, and then around the sides scraping the extra into a paper towel so you don’t drag crumbs.  A spinning cake pedestal helps, but you can do this by just turning a plate.  Once you have a uniform and neat cake you can decorate with extra ganache, chocolate curls, Reeses Peanut Butter Cups or whatever you would like.
  9. Keep plastic where you’ve cut your cake so it doesn’t dry out, but you’re not likely to have any extra!

 

Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake 

Coconut Snowball Cake

IMG_2208

Coconut Snowball Cake by twocarolines.com

When I asked my brother in law Bob what cake he would most want for the upcoming California wedding reception of his daughter he said “white cake with pink frosting” to which I immediately responded “BORING!” – but as I thought about it more and how he described this combination reminding him of convenience store treats of his youth, like Grandma’s Cookies, Hostess Zingers and Snowballs I was inspired!  I decided to make a white coconut cake, with this coconut frosting I usually put on chocolate cake then just smother it in coconut flakes so it has the effect of a hostess treat, but with homemade goodness.  The result was a resounding success, people went nuts for it!  And just to make life easy I was able to doctor a cake mix for the cake and it was honestly so perfectly moist, bouncy and delicious I’m glad I didn’t make the cake totally from scratch.   I used some pink dye just for Bobby J, but this would be extra pretty keeping all ingredients white as well, do what makes you feel good.

For the Cake:
1 package white cake mix (I used pillsbury, but any should work)
1 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons warm water
3 eggs (room temperature)
1/2 cup coconut oil (melted)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coconut extract

For the Frosting:
16 ounces or 1 box powdered sugar
1/4 cup boiling water
1 1/2 sticks or 3/4 cup butter
4 ounces cream cheese cut into pieces
1/4 teaspoon coconut
1 drop red or pink food coloring if using
3 cups shredded coconut (I mix normal sweetened coconut with unsweetened wide flake coconut I buy from Sprouts because I think it’s so pretty)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 – spray or parchment line two 9 inch baking pans.  I spray and parchment line because I’m careful like that, but do what works for you.  It’s also a good time to get out your cream cheese and butter for the frosting so they can come to room temperature.
  2. Mix sour cream, oil, water, extracts and eggs one at a time making sure they are all incorporated, then add cake mix and mix for a few minutes making a consistent batter.
  3. Pour into your prepared cake pans trying to get them as even as possible (I put them on a scale but that’s because I’m a dessert blogger and want my business to look legit – you could probably eye ball it and get close enough to even).  Bake for about 25-28 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean and the cakes are risen and browned nicely.  Let cool 5-10 minutes then turn out of pans and let cool completely on a wire rack.
  4. For the frosting, mix together the cream cheese, butter and boiling water then start to slowly add the powdered sugar making sure to scrape the sides of the bowl, last mix in the coconut extract.  Put your frosting in the fridge to get it a little thickened for 20 minutes or so.
  5. To frost, cut the round top off your bottom layer, then turn, cut side down onto a cake board or plate.  Pile a big glop of frosting onto this layer and spread out being sure to only touch your frosting spatula to the frosting and never to cake, just to the ends.  Next even out your next layer by cutting the round top then plop that on top of your frosted layer cut side down.  Put most of your frosting on top of the cake and spread out slowly – being careful to only touch the frosting and not the cake so you don’t pull up crumbs.  If you do, wash off our spatula and get more frosting to cover, there will be some left over.  Spread the top so it goes past the border of the cake then take frosting and scoop it on to your spreading spatula as you go along the sides turning your cake so you get a nice even layer all around the sides.  Last do a nice back and forth or a circular swirl on top then before it hardens press your coconut into the top and sides of the cake.  It’s helpful to have something under it so clean-up is easier.  Serve at room temperature – keeps for a good 3 days or more if you keep it covered.

 

Dark Chocolate Chunky Cookies

img_5093

dark chocolate chunky cookies by twocarolines.com

Like any rational human, I sometimes have a deep and urgent desire for something intensely chocolate.  At these times, a chocolate chip cookie is not going to cut it, not even a cake, I need a lightning bolt of chocolate flavor, and these cookies are the PERFECT remedy for intense chocolate emergencies of all kinds.  They are not only a super amazing chocolate experience, but they are the perfect texture, packed with chunky bits of nuts and chocolatey goodness.  I found the recipe years ago at my Mother-In-Law’s house, they had a very unappealing name in the book (chocolate chubbies) but I read the ingredients – which included a combined total of 24 ounces of chocolate! Plus, the intro bragged of the recipe being from a famous restaurant in SoHo so I copied it to make once I got home.  It took me forever to do it because there is some serious chocolate chopping involved, and the recipe has a few more steps than your average cookie, but don’t be intimidated, it’s easy to follow and so special when you’re done.  This makes 2 dozen cookies – next time I will half it, because having that many of these dark chocolate chunky cookies around is guaranteed to spell trouble, they are irresistible!

8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter cut into 1/2 inch cubes
9 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate finely chopped
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate finely chopped
1/2 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
3 large eggs (room temperature if possible)
1 1/4 cups sugar (they called for superfine, but normal sugar worked fine for me)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups (5 1/2 ounces) coarsely chopped pecans
1 1/4 cups (4 1/2 ounces) coarsely chopped walnuts

  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper (or silpat, or baking spray if you have neither of those)
  2. Melt the butter and chopped chocolate (semi-sweet and unsweetened) either in a double boiler or with my preferred method of melting them slowly in a microwave, either using defrost, or in 20-30 second intervals until the chocolate chunks start to lose their shape and you can whisk them to a smooth texture – melt SLOWLY or your chocolate will burn.  Let the melted chocolate mixture cool slightly, about 5 minutes stirring occasionally.
  3. Mix (or sift if your fancy) the flour, baking powder and salt together in a medium bowl.  Whip the eggs in the bowl of a heavy duty stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment on medium-high speed until the eggs are foamy and lightly thickened, about 30 seconds.  Increase speed to high and gradually add the sugar, then the vanilla.  Whip until the eggs are very thick and pale yellow, about 3 minutes.  Reduce the mixer speed to medium and beat in the tepid chocolate, making sure it is completely incorporated.  Change to the paddle attachment and reduce the mixer speed to low.  Gradually add the flour mixture. Remove the bowl from the mixer.  Using a wooden spoon, stir in the chocolate chips, pecans and walnuts making sure the chunky ingredients are evenly distributed at the bottom of the bowl.
  4. Using a 2-inch diameter ice cream scoop, portion the batter onto the prepared pans, placing the cookies about 1 1/2 inches apart.  Bake the cookies immediately–if you wait, they won’t be shiny after baking.  Bake about 15-18 minutes.  You can check done-ness by seeing if the when you lift a cookie from the pan the edge release easily, if they do, they’re done, even if they still don’t look baked at the top.  Cool and enjoy!
img_5092

dark chocolate chunky cookies by twocarolines.com

I wish I could remember the book I copied these out of to give them credit, if this looks familiar and you know where they came from let me know!