Nothing satisfies a craving for chocolate baked sweets faster than a brownie mix, and they taste pretty good. However, for about 2 minutes more effort you can have these chewy, chocolatey, corner crunchy, mind melting brownies using only one bowl and ingredients that are always on hand. They are so simple, and so fantastically delicious. My kitchen master sister in law Kristin dropped this knowledge on me and once I learned about them I never went back to the box. They are truly so much better tasting and it’s fun to see the people you serve them to expect a “normal” box brownie then get wide eyes and freak out over how much more delicious these are. They are also wonderfully versatile so add all the chopped nuts, chocolate chips, powdered sugar, frosting etc. that you feel like, or just leave them as is because they put on quite a show all on their own.
1 cup butter (melted)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons vanilla
optional – 3/4 cup chocolate chips, chopped walnuts or other additions
Preheat oven to 350 and spray a 9X13 pan. Please note you can easily half this recipe in an 8×8 just use 2 eggs and do 1/4 plus 1/8 cocoa – it’s okay to approximate.
Mix sugars and butter until very well combined then add eggs one at a time until totally incorporated. Next add salt then pile the cocoa, flour and baking powder all on top of your mixture and whisk until smooth. Last add your vanilla and any additions if using until uniform and spread into your pan.
Bake for anywhere from 25-30 minutes depending on how done you like your brownies. If you enjoy a gooeyer texture opt for a shorter bake time, but go all the way if you like your brownies more done. Enjoy!
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
Preheat oven to 350 and line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper (or silpat, or baking spray if you have neither of those)
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.
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.
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!
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!
I’m well known for my love of cakes, so people often ask me my favorite, well HERE IT IS! Caroline’s world famous Chocolate Zucchini Cake with Chocolate Frosting. I just deeply love and adore this cake. It’s the dessert I crave the most often, there’s something about it, that really sends me. Usually when I make it, I bring it directly to an event of some sort and never get a decent picture, it’s just that once it’s done, everyone wants to eat it so fast photos seem unimportant! I’m not ashamed to admit that this is a ‘doctor the mix’ cake, with a mix foundation that tastes better than many from scratch cakes, there are no ego’s allowed in my kitchen! The cake itself is soooooo rich and chocolatey, the zucchini makes it ridiculous moist. And the frosting is a legit, dreamy dark chocolate buttercream just poppin off chocolate flavor like nobody’s business. I like to put nuts on half my cake so nut haters can still enjoy but man alive does a pecan or walnut just belong on this beauty! I also adore this cake with a white sticky frosting, but if you make it that way you need to eat it day of, because the white sticky tends to break down after a day or so. I’m so excited to share this and I hope you love it as much as I do!
Chocolate Zucchini cake:
1 package devils food cake mix (I use the pillsbury one and it always tastes great)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup oil
2 cups zucchini
1/2 cup chocolate chips
Chocolate buttercream frosting:
1/2 cup butter melted
3/4 cups cocoa
1/3 cup milk (or cream)
3-4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt
1/2 cup or so walnuts or pecans (optional)
Heat oven to 350. Grease and line 2 9 inch round cake pans (or it bakes up beautifully in a 9×13 – just pay attention to doneness rather than bake times).
In a large bowl blend cake mix, cinnamon, buttermilk, vanilla, oil, and eggs and beat for a few minutes. Add zucchini and mix until thoroughly combined and then add chocolate chips.
Distribute evenly into your cake pans and bake for about 22-25 minutes depending on your oven. It’s done when a toothpick in the center comes out clean. Let cool before frosting.
For the frosting, mix the butter and cocoa then add the milk, vanilla, salt and powdered sugar mixing on high until totally uniform and combined. I use a cocoa mix with 1/3 special dark cocoa and the rest regular cocoa for an ultra decadent flavor. Add more powdered sugar, or milk alternatively to get the desired texture.
Cut off the top rounds on your cakes with a large bread knife then put the first one cut side down on a plate or cake stand. Spread 1/3 of your frosting on that layer, then put your next cake on cut side down and spread the rest of your frosting, starting at the top and being careful to never touch your frosting spatula or knife to the cake itself but only on the frosting so you don’t pull crumbs. Spread over the sides and around the edges. Garnish with pecans or walnuts if you would like.
I have a new habit of slapping a black bottom on every pie I make – it’s my new favorite party trick. I put one on the incredibly delicious peanut butter chocolate pie, my nutella pie, and lately I’m throwing this down on all my cream pies like banana cream and coconut cream pie. This cream pie recipe is one you’ve maybe seen here before, but not when it’s atop a decadent layer of ganache and dripping with salted caramel sauce. This was an experiment that paid off MAJOR! I was so happy with it and it’s not very hard to make! The combination of flaky pie crust + bittersweet chocolate ganache + rich vanilla cream filling + fresh whipped cream + salted caramel = 💯
Crust:Traditional pie crust – our recipe is awesome and easy. I made this in a deep dish pie pan, but it would work in a standard 9″ – it would just be really full – you could save some ganache for later if it looks like you’re filling it too full before you get to your cream filling.
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup crisco
4 tablespoons ice water
1 cup chopped chocolate or chocolate chips (I love it with a dark bittersweet chocolate)
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 (scant) teaspoon salt
3 3/4 cup whole milk
7 large egg yolks
4 tablespoons butter (cut into small pieces)
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
To make the crust, mix your flour and salt, then add the Crisco and cut it into the flour with a pastry blender as you add the cold water. It will start to come together at which point you can pull in all the dry parts with your hands and quickly knead it into a ball. Flour your work surface and roll it into a thin circle. Roll it onto your rolling pin and slowly into your (ungreased) pie pan. Make a ridge around the outside and crimp as desired. Poke all over with holes or put beans or pie weights into your crust with parchment before baking. Blind bake at 450 7-9 minutes until lightly browned.
While crust is cooking and cooling make your chocolate ganache. You can melt your chocolate and cream in a double boiler on the stove, or with my preferred method – Place chocolate and cream in a glass pyrex in the microwave on defrost for a few minutes or in 20 second increments on full power until the chocolate loses it’s shape and you can whisk it all smooth. You don’t want it to get too hot so the key is to heat is slowly. Pour your ganache layer into your (mostly) cooled pie crust and put it into the freezer or fridge so it can harden while you make your filling.
Put sugar and cornstarch in a large saucepan with a thick bottom. With your burner on medium/high (I keep mine just above medium) slowly pour in the milk and stir until combined then add your egg yolks one at a time, whisking after each until no yellow streaks remain. Now switch to a heat proof rubber spatula and stirring constantly bring to a simmer. Once the bubbles come up and you know it’s starting to boil scrape down the sides of the bowl and whisk until smooth then return to the heat and stir constantly for 1 minute while your mixture slowly bubbles (wear an apron!). Remove from the heat and stir in butter and vanilla until all is combined then pour into your prepared pie crust on top of your cooled ganache.
Put plastic wrap directly over the top before refrigerating. Be sure to let it cool a solid 4 hours or so before you top it with whipped cream and salted caramel.
For the Caramel whisk together sugar and water in a medium (heavy bottom) saucepan and cook over medium-low heat until sugar is just dissolved. Add butter and bring to a slow boil without stirring. Continue cooking over medium heat until the mixture turns a deep golden brown, almost copper (DO NOT STIR). Remove from heat and immediately but slowly add the heavy cream. Be careful as your caramel will bubble and steam. Add salt. Whisk the final mixture together well and set aside to cool – it will get thicker as it cools.
To make the cream, whip heavy cream in a cool bowl and add sugar as it starts to thicken to desired consistency.
To serve, drizzle caramel over each slice then serve and store refrigerated…if there’s anything left!
This is a chocolate cookie CLASSIC! I call them chocolate crinkle cookies, but I’ve heard loads of cute names for them, such as “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
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.
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.
Transfer dough to a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, a few hours or as long as overnight.
Preheat oven to 375 and either grease or parchment line 2 baking sheets.
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.
Cool cookies on the baking sheets a few minutes – 4 or so, then move them to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Oh bananas, chocolate and peanut butter, you have our whole heart! We salute you here on two carolines with not, 5, not 10, but literally dozens of recipes and we’re not even done yet! This is a wonderful mash up of 1.0’s famous banana peanut butter chocolate chip cake with my (2.0 duh) renowned peanut butter chocolate cake frosting – and trust me, it’s all that is right in the world to combine these two masterful recipes into one dessert. Grab those spotty bananas and buy a big bag of pow sug because these are going to need to be added to your summer bucket list STAT! -CK 2.0
For the cupcakes:
4 very ripe bananas
2 large eggs
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
3/4 cup peanut butter (use creamy or crunchy according to texture preference, but probably creamy, and not the kind you have to stir)
2 cups chocolate chips
For the 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
Set oven to 350. Line two muffin tins and spray just a touch of cooking spray (I use coconut for most bakes) into the bottom of each one.
In a medium mixing bowl, mash the bananas well with a fork or potato masher. Add the eggs and vanilla, and stir well to combine. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking soda, and cinnamon—then add to the banana mixture.
Add the peanut butter and when that is combined, add the chocolate chips.
Pour the batter into your lined muffin tin up to 3/4 full then bake one at a time for about 17-19 minutes (you know your oven, check for doneness with a toothpick).
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.
Put a large star tip (I use all of these large tips regularly for cupcakes, macaroons and all manner of sweets) into a big piping bag and seal the end with plastic wrap or a clamp then drape your bag on a very tall glass or I always use a vase. Fill your piping bag with frosting then pipe a cute swirl of PB frosting onto each cupcake, once they’ve cooled. This frosting and cake keep fine at room temperature but keep them in a sealed container for freshness. If you don’t have a piping bag and tips just spread it on top of your cupcakes however you want.
I’m introducing you to the most perfect party companion ever. These cupcakes are always so moist, rich and chocolatey with a bit of sour for balance and the most perfect springy texture, they are consistently amazing and so easy it’s embarrassing. Of course this recipe works great as a layer cake, in a bundt, or just poured into a 9X13, just be sure to check doneness instead of bake times. I made this batch for a sweet baby boy’s 1st birthday and thought it would be more fun to have two kinds of frosting for the kids to choose from, I will post both but I only made half of each for 24 cupcakes. If you don’t feel like making frosting I’m sure you’ll enjoy them with a little ganache glaze or even just sprinkled with powdered sugar.
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 or coconut oil
1 cup sour cream
4 eggs lightly beaten (room temp works best)
1/2 cup warm water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 heaping cup chocolate chips
Vanilla Buttercream Frosting:
1/2 cup butter at room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese (1/2 a box) room temperature
5 cups confectioners sugar
1/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:
1/3 cup butter
2-3 ounces cream cheese
2/3 cup cocoa powder
3-4 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk (might need a bit more if frosting is too thick)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
For the cake. Preheat oven to 350 and line 2 cupcake pans then spray the very bottom so your cakes come out clean.
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 get scared.
Fill muffin tins about 2/3-3/4 tall depending on how tall your want your cupcakes. You might have a bit extra.
Bake at 350 for about 19-20 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean (bake times vary for 9″ pans, bundts etc. so check doneness with a toothpick before taking out).
For the vanilla buttercream – mix butter and cream cheese in a stand mixer until well combined and a little fluffed up. Add sugar and milk alternating, then vanilla. I usually end up adding a little more sugar or milk until I reach desired texture.
For the chocolate buttercream – melt butter and mix with cream cheese until well combined. Add about half the milk to this mixture then start to add your cocoa and sugar in alternating batches ending with sugar. Add vanilla and salt anytime. Put in the rest of the milk and make sure you scrape down the sides of the pan often and just like the vanilla buttercream have extra milk and sugar on hand to get to your desired texture.
I think it’s easiest and pretty to pipe on your frosting for cupcakes. I use these handy Wilton disposable piping bags and I just cut them and put in my large frosting tip then put the bag into a tall vase with the edges pulled over the top to fill it up and pipe it on to my cupcakes. So easy, and looks pretty good for someone who’s not the worlds best decorator.