Dense Dark Chocolate Brownies with Walnuts

IMG_6852How many chocolate brownie recipes can two dessert bloggers named Caroline offer to you……more than you might think! If you click the “brownies and bars” category on the lower right column of our site you will get literally DOZENS of incredible square shaped treats.  There’s the super basic but practically perfect Kristin’s Brownies, my personal obsession Spelt Brownies and some extra fun layered bars like Buckeye Brownies, S’mores Brownies or Butterscotch Brownies – all of which I very enthusiastically recommend.  Some might think adding to this category is superfluous – those people just don’t understand the chocolatey magic of a perfect brownie!  I was in the mood for some really SERIOUS chocolate, like the dense, rich, dark and melty kind that urgently pleads for a large draw of milk with every bite.  These came from “How To Be A Domestic Goddess” by Nigella Lawson.  I halved the recipe and baked them in an 8×8, which I recommend because this recipe is massive so double if you’re feeding a crowd or if your doctor told you to gain a lot of weight as fast as you can (I can’t imagine a more delicious way to do that) because I halved it some of my measurements look a little wompy, like if it’s 1 & 2/3 in the original recipe it’s 1/2 & 1/3 halved – but they worked out perfectly in an 8×8.  After a day, heat them in the microwave for 10 seconds to get maximum brownie gooeyness – that is, if they make it to day two (not likely~).  -CK 2.0

  1. 1/2 & 1/3 cups soft unsalted butter (1 stick and 5 1/2 tablespoons of another stick)
    6.5 ounces of dark bittersweet chocolate
    3 large eggs
    1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
    1/2 & 1/3 cups sugar
    3/4 cups all purpose flour
    1/2 teaspoon (scant) coarse salt
    2/3 cups chopped walnuts (I used less than that because I only put walnuts in half – kids are so lame about nuts!)

    1.  Preheat oven to 350 and line your brownie pan with parchment.  I lined it both ways, but you can pull them out easy enough if you just line is one side, and you can even just spray it without parchment and cut them out of the pan too! Whatever works for you.

  2. Melt the butter and chocolate together – either in a double boiler over the stove or slowly in the microwave (20 second increments until they loose their shape and you can whisk it all smooth).  In a bowl beat the eggs with the vanilla and sugar.  Measure the flour and salt into another bowl.
  3. When the chocolate mixture has melted, let it cool a bit before beating in the eggs and sugar, and then the nuts and flour.  (I added the nuts on 1/2 of the brownies last on top and just pushed them in and smoothed the top).  Beat to combine smoothly and then scrape out of the bowl into the lined brownie pan.
  4. Bake for about 23-25 minutes until the top looks dried to a paler brown speckle but the middle will still be dark dense and gooey.

Recipe adapted from “How To Be A Domestic Goddess” Nigella Lawson.

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.

Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies

FullSizeRender-1.jpg

This time of year we want ALL the spices. Cloves, allspice, cinnamon and—my personal favorite—ginger! And that’s not just because I get called “Ginger Lady” when I visit Turkey. I want all the ginger drinks and edibles! These cookies are the product of two recipes that I really, really like. So I thought they’d make the ultimate “power cookie”. They are super soft and chewy but you can bake them a little bit longer if you want more of a crisp cookie experience.  -CK 1.0

1 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 oil
1/4 cup molasses
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1 egg

2 c flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cloves
1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
7 ounces dark chocolate, chopped (I use 70% cacao Lindt bars, but you could use chocolate chips in a pinch)
Sugar for rolling

  1. Chop chocolate into 1/4-inch chunks; set aside. In a medium bowl, sift together dry ingredients.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat brown sugar, oil, ginger and egg, until combined. Add molasses; beat until combined.
  3. Slowly combine the wet and dry ingredients until just combined. Mix in chocolate chunks; turn out onto a piece of plastic wrap. Pat dough out to about 1 inch thick; seal with wrap; refrigerate until firm, 2 hours or more.
  4. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Roll dough into 1 1/2- inch balls; place 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Roll in granulated sugar. Bake until just before the surfaces crack, but not too doughy—about 7 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Gingerbread Cookies

img_4923

Gingerbread Cookies by twocarolines.com

3 cheers for the smell of baking ginger and molasses in your house and a gorgeous plate of gingerbread cookies to share with your neighbors and friends.  To me, holiday cookie decorating is all about the kids, so I searched to find a recipe that gave me all the gingerbread flavor I wanted, but not quite as much bite as the most traditional cookies so little kids wouldn’t complain that they are “too spicey” as my 3 year old put it last year.  These ones are called “light spice” but they are HEAVY on delicious holiday flavor and with some bright and festive royal icing they tasted like everything that rules about Christmas.  I hope you enjoy!

For the Cookies:

  • 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) butter
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice or ground cloves
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tablespoons molasses
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch

For the Icing:

  • 3 ounces pasteurized egg whites*
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 cups confectioners sugar
  • food dye (I enjoy the gel kind to keep your consistency, but liquid dye will work) and whatever sprinkles you like

Directions:

  1. For the cookies: In a medium-sized bowl, beat together the butter, shortening, sugars, baking powder, spices, and salt until light and fluffy.
  2. Add the egg and molasses, and beat well.
  3. Mix about half of the flour into the butter mixture. When well combined, add the cornstarch and the remaining flour.
  4. Divide the dough in half, flattening each half slightly to make a disk. Smooth the edges by rolling the disk along a lightly floured work surface. Wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 1 hour (or longer), for easiest rolling.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  6. Take one piece of dough out of the refrigerator, and flour a clean work surface, and the dough.
  7. Roll it out as thin or thick as you like. For slightly less crisp cookies, roll it out more thickly. We like to roll these cookies 1/8″ to 1/4″inch thick. Use flour under and on top of the dough to keep it from sticking to the table or rolling pin.
  8. Alternatively, place the dough on parchment, and put a sheet of plastic wrap or another piece of parchment over it as you roll, pulling the plastic or parchment to eliminate wrinkles as necessary when rolling; this will keep dough from sticking without the need for additional flour.

    img_4901

    rolled out gingerbread by twocarolines.com

  9. Transfer the cookies to ungreased or parchment-lined baking sheets.
  10. Bake them just until they’re slightly brown around the edges, or until they feel firm, about 10 to 12 minutes.
  11. Remove the cookies from the oven, and let them cool on the baking sheet for several minutes, or until they’re set. Transfer them to a rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining dough.
  12. For the icing: In large bowl of stand mixer combine the egg whites tiny pinch of salt and vanilla and beat until frothy. Add confectioners’ sugar gradually and mix on low speed until sugar is incorporated and mixture is shiny. Turn speed up to high and beat until mixture forms stiff, glossy peaks. This should take approximately 5 to 7 minutes. Add food coloring, if desired. For immediate use, transfer icing to pastry bag or heavy duty storage bag and pipe as desired. If using storage bag, clip corner. Store in airtight container in refrigerator for up to 3 days.  I split mine into multiple colors by mixing them in dixie cups and piping them with disposable piping bags.  *Royal icing does contain raw eggs, I’ve never had a problem with this, my husband worked for a huge egg distributor for 5 years and as long as they are pasteurized and not super old, you are likely to be fine, but if you have a crazy sensitive stomach there are other icings you can find.

    img_4922

    Christmas Cookies by twocarolines.com

Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour light spice holiday cookies and Alton Brown Royal Icing Recipe.

Striped Citrus Meringue Cookies

img_4549

Striped Citrus Meringue Cookies by twocarolines.com

While sitting with my 3 year old on the couch I did a quick browse on my Instagram and a video popped up on my Wilton feed with these beautiful little Meringue cookies – Millie excitedly said “Mom! They are like rainbow chocolate chips, we have to make them!” fullsizeoutput_657cObviously I am not capable of denying a face like this so we spent the afternoon making these beautiful cookies and then had a blast delivering them to friends.  Millie felt very strongly that they needed to be pink with stripes, so we put a touch of red food coloring in our stiff peaks, but you can do these so many ways.  They are the perfect cookie for any occasion that calls for “cute” such as a baby shower, childrens birthday or even a fun wedding.  I thought they were pretty but was not expecting them to taste too exciting, and I’m happy to report, they were just delicious!  Bright and sweet with a beautiful texture and nice vanilla lemon flavor.  They really are a joy to make and to eat! -CK 2.0

  • 6 large egg whites (fresh work best)img_4557
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • zest of 1 lemon, orange or lime (I used lemon and loved it!)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste or pure vanilla extract
  • food dye of your choice
  1. Prepare 2 cookie sheets by lining them with parchment paper.  I ended up having leftover even after filling 2 cookie sheets so you might need another or you can just discard or eat your leftover meringue.  Preheat oven to 200
  2. put your 6 egg whites in the heatproof bowl of a stand mixer (you can use any heatproof bowl and a hand mixer too – but stand mixers are nice for meringue because stiff peaks take a while).  Add a pinch of salt and whisk it up a bit to break up your whites.  Next add your sugar and whisk all of that for a minute then put it over a pot of boiling water.  Continue whisking until your mixture is a little warm and the sugar granules are dissolved so you don’t feel them between your fingers.  Once the sugar is dissolved, take off the heat and add your 1/8 teaspoon of cream of tartar.  Set in your stand mixer with the whisk attachment and whip on a high setting until your get nice glossy stiff peaks. Once you have pretty stiff peaks add your citrus zest and vanilla.  We also added a touch of red coloring at this stage so our base color would be pink.
  3. Take a few dots of meringue and use it as glue between your parchment and cookie sheet so the parchment paper doesn’t try to come up while you pipe out your cookies.  To prepare your piping bag, find a tip that’s about 1/2 inch round – I used the Ateco 808 which worked perfectly.  I also used Wilton disposable piping bags, which are so handy, but you could fill any bag and I think it would work fine.  You could also use a star tip, but make it a large one.  Next, cut the hole in the bottom of your bag, make sure your tip is a tight fit, then paint with any paintbrush (or even your finger if you don’t have one) stripes down the sides of the bag of whatever color you want to pipe out.  We used blue and purple in ours which was really pretty, but suit yourself.  The color might not show up until you’ve piped out a few cookies FYI.  I put my bag into a tall vase and fold the top over all the way around.  This way I have a hard surface to scrape off and push down the meringue filling, but I can still get a clean twist at the top to squeeze with.  Piping out the cookies is easy, just apply a little pressure from the top with your tip close to the cookie sheet then stop pushing before you pull it up in a little twist.  There are lots of shapes you can do – have fun with it!
  4. Bake in a 200 degree oven for a good hour and a half.  Rotate somewhere in the middle of that and to let the cookies cool, just turn off the oven and let them cool in the oven.  They will be crisp, come off easily, but not brown.  I used tongs to put them on plates for friends because they did stick to my fingers a little.  Enjoy!

 

img_4558

striped lemon meringue cookies by twocarolines.com

Recipe adapted from Renee Conner – I got it from her youtube video that had some other fun videos too – check it out!

 

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

img_4228

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies by twocarolines.com

It’s the last day of October and we have dedicated this month to ALL THINGS PUMPKIN! We have brought you Pumpkin Streusel Coffee Cake, Pumpkin Dulce de leche Pie, Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Cinnamon Caramel Sauce, and the unforgettable Pumpkin Spice Cake with Cream Cheese frosting that we featured on Elevate Everyday, but you can find it here too!  In order to properly round out our pumpkin dessert collection, we need to share with you a bomb pumpkin chocolate chip cookie.  This recipe is a family favorite from my friend Rachel who actually shared it with me years ago before I had a dessert blog and I’m so excited to finally drop this knowledge on all you lovely people.  What I really liked about her cookies is that they didn’t slime out as pumpkin cookies tend to do – and they have butter, because she’s a reasonable person, but they also have applesauce adding to the moisture and taking from the fat so they are for sure a lower calorie cookie option than their traditional CCC counterpart.  She insists on Guittard milk chocolate chips- which are so creamy and good, but I liked them a touch better with semi-sweet because I’m just drawn that way.  Use whatever you like and have a fantastic Halloween!

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup applesauce
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup pumpkin (don’t use more, it will make them sticky)
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 of a bag (11.5 ounces) guittard milk chocolate chips
fullsizerender-10

  1. Preheat oven to 375 and either lay down a silpat, parchment or spray a few large cookie sheets.  My friend Rachel always doubles this recipe, so feel free to do that, but this makes loads of cookies, so only double if you’re baking for a crowd.  She suggests one and a half a bag of chocolate chips if you double.
  2. Cream the butter, applesauce, sugar, egg and vanilla.  Add the pumpkin to the wet ingredients.  In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.  Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and add chocolate chips.  My friend insists on the Guittard milk chocolate chips, which are super good, but I did a few with semi-sweet and liked them even more, use whichever you prefer, I think about 9 ounces or 1 3/4 cups was about right, but use as many as seems right to you!
  3. Either use a cookie scoop or just eyeball about 2 tablespoon sized cookies and space them on your prepared cookie sheet with some room to expand.  Bake for about 10 minutes until cookies are clearly golden brown around the bottom – these are not like normal chocolate chip cookies where you want to underbake them, make sure they are done.

    Recipe courtesy of Rachel Clark

Pear Plum Pecan & Apple Crisp

pear plum and apple crisp

Pear Plum Pecan and Apple Crisp by twocarolines.com

Fall fruits have never been in a more delicious setting than bubbling with cinnamony juices and topped with a crumbly crunch top in this delicious pear, plum and apple crisp!  I am missing the bounty of summer, but honestly there is no summer dessert that can make your house smell like this, and not only does this crisp taste outstanding warm, but it’s life altering cold and completely over the top with a scoop of legit vanilla ice cream.  This recipe is very versatile.  It’s my own creation loosely based on the Joy of Cooking apple crisp.  I’ve made it with apples and blackberries, rhubarb and blueberries, any number of stone fruits or just with apples, and the topping is begging to be messed with too!  This time I added oats as I almost always do and chopped some pecans into it which was heaven, but you could add any number of yummy things like coconut, dried fruit, or nuts of  just about any kind.  This is the ultimate in easy desserts which is also handy for this busy time of year, but despite the small effort, anyone who eats it will be convinced you’re a genius in the kitchen!

2-2/12 lbs fruit – either apples, or apples and a combination of other fruit – it comes out to about 7-8 medium sized apples.  Peel and chop apples, pears and plums.
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup oats (old fashioned work best)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup cold butter cut into small pieces

  1.  Prepare a 2 quart sized baking dish by spraying the very bottom.  You don’t have too, but I think it helps with clean up.  Preheat oven to 360 (original recipe is 375, but I find that burns my nuts so I keep it a bit cooler).
  2. Spread fruit into dish and in a separate bowl combine everything but the butter then cut the butter in with a pastry cutter or forks until it resembles coarse bread crumbs.  Scatter the topping evenly over the fruit.  Bake until the topping is golden brown, the juices are bubbling and the apples are tender, about 45-50 minutes.  I usually tent mine at the end just to make sure things don’t get too brown, but you don’t have too.
  3. Serve hot or cold with whipped cream, sour cream or ice cream…or just by itself because it’s seriously incredible on it’s own.  Refrigerate leftovers, which will be good for at least 4-5 days but they will be long gone before then!

Recipe adapted from Joy of Cooking Apple or Fruit Crisp 2006