Chocolate Strawberry Shortcakes

chocolate strawberry shortcakes

Okay, I promise, this is my last strawberry post for a while.  Peaches are now in season!  I have several, very exciting recipes to share with you in the near future.  I just have to take advantage of fruit whenever it is in season.

As a child, I wasn’t a huge fan of strawberry shortcakes.  My mom, who wasn’t a huge baker, would either buy the store bought biscuits which were always dry and crumbly and stick-in-your-thoat kind, or she would make biscuits.  Those weren’t much better either, they were always not quite sweet enough and usually dry, because she always got distracted with a million other things while baking.  (A mother of four, a nurse practitioner, on a farm with many animals and large gardens- do you blame her for getting distracted!?)  So, needless to say, I wasn’t a fan.  I usually would eat the strawberries and whipped cream and maybe take a few nibbles of the biscuit.

chocolate strawberry shortcakes

As an adult, my experiences have been much better.  The more I bake, the better I can understand a recipe to know if it’s going to be decent or not.  (At least I like to think so-ha!)  I have made several different shortcake recipes that really haven’t made me jump for joy.  So, when I saw Annie’s recipe for chocolate shortcake, I couldn’t believe how genius it was!  One of those moments where the lightbulb comes on.  I made the whole batch, then froze what we didn’t use to have for future desserts.  These were rich, chocolatey, moist and perfectly sweetened.  Just the way the ideal shortcake should be.

Chocolate Strawberry Shortcakes

Yield: about 12 shortcakes

For the shortcakes

  • 1 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 Tablespoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • 3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/2 sticks (12 Tablespoons) cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

For the strawberries

  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 3-4 Tablespoons sugar
  • lemon juice

For the whipped cream

  • 1 cup heavy cream, cold
  • 2-3 Tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
  • dash of vanilla extract

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425˚ F.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

In a large measuring cup, whisk together the milk, vanilla and egg.  In a large mixing bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt and 1/2 cup of sugar together.  Add in the butter and toss to coat the butter in the dry ingredients.  Cut the butter into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender or two knives, until the pieces of butter are no larger than small peas.  Mix in the chopped chocolate and stir to combine.

Pour the milk mixture over the dry ingredients and stir gently until a sticky dough forms.  Very gently knead the dough just until most of the dry ingredients are incorporated.  Be careful not to overwork the dough.

Scoop the dough in about 1/3 cup mounds onto the baking sheets, leaving a few inches in between.  Gently pat the mounds to about 1-inch thickness.  Sprinkle the tops with sugar.  Bake, rotating the sheets halfway through, until the shortcakes are puff and give just slightly when lightly pressed, about 15-18 minutes total.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

To make the strawberries, combine the berries, sugar and lemon juice in a medium bowl.  Toss well to coat the berries with the sugar and let macerate at least 30-60 minutes.  If desired, mash lightly with a fork.

Just before serving, make the whipped cream.  Place the heavy cream, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla extract in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Whip on high speed until medium-stiff peaks form, being careful not to overbeat.

To serve, split each shortcake horizontally.  Top the bottom half of each shortcake with a dollop of whipped cream, spoon some of the berry mixture over the top, and replace the top half of the shortcake.  Serve immediately.

Advertisements

Chocolate Crinkles

Chocolate Crinkles

Hullo!  I apologize for the sudden and long absence.  Things got really crazy very quickly.  We bought a house elsewhere on the island and we jumped right into some repairs before moving in.  It’s an old fixer-upper, which is what I love about it the most.  My husband took two weeks off to scrape wall paper, mud and sand walls and floors, and paint.  He had the day shift while I had the night shift.  It was intense while packing everything at the same time.  We are finally (mostly) settled into the house, with many exciting projects on the horizon.  The most immediate one is, turning over the old garden and planting vegetables!  I am super excited about fresh veggies again.  Now, if only the weather would stay warm!  Northern Maine got snow a few days ago!! Crazy.

Now, onto these fabulous cookies.  These are my husband’s absolute favorite cookies.  His grandmother was kind enough to share her recipe with me.  She used to make them all the time for my husband and his brothers.  They are soft and chocolately- just the way a cookie should be!  These would make any chocolate lover in your life happy.

Chocolate Crinkles

  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 8 oz. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup (or more as needed) confectioner’s sugar

Directions

Place the butter and chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pot of barely simmering water.  Melt completely, stirring occasionally.  Remove from the heat and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the eggs and sugar until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Mix in the vanilla extract, then stir in the melted chocolate mixture until no streaks remain.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and baking powder.  With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the chocolate mixture, mixing until completely combined.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, 2-3 hours.

Once thoroughly chilled, preheat the oven to 325ºF.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

Place the confectioners’ sugar in a small bowl.  Scoop the chilled dough into small rounds (about 1-inch in size), and roll the dough in the confectioners’ sugar until completely covered.  Place on the prepared baking sheet, spacing about 2 inches apart.  Repeat until all the dough is gone.

Bake in the preheated oven for 8-10 minutes, or until the cookies are cracked and the edges are just firm but the center is still soft.  Remove from the oven and let cool before serving.

Store in an airtight container for up to a week.

Source: My husband’s grandmother

Brown Sugar Brownies

Brown Sugar Brownies

Growing up, my mom didn’t do a lot of baking.  She worked as a nurse practitioner an hour and a half away from home (the downside of living on an island in rural Maine).  In result of the very long hours and very long drive, she didn’t have time to cook a whole lot.  When she did have time bake a dessert, I always looked forward to these brownies.

Brown Sugar Brownies

These brownies are soft, sweet and amazing.  They are buttery with chocolate chips scattered in.  Oh my.  I could eat a whole pan if I didn’t have any self restraint.  They are really easy to mix up.  And, they make a great treat in a lunch!  Or midnight snack?

Brown Sugar Brownies

  • 16 oz. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups chocolate chips

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.  Grease a 9×13 inch pan.  Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter and brown sugar until light and creamy on medium-high speed, about 2-3 minutes.  Blend in the vanilla extract and eggs and beat until smooth again, 1-2 minutes.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.  With the mixer on low, slowly add in the flour mixture.  Turn the mixer to medium-low speed and beat just until smooth and fully incorporated.  Fold in the chocolate chips.

Scoop the mixture into the prepared baking dish and smooth the top.  Place in the preheated oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few crumbs.  Let cool before slicing.

Source:  My momma!

Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Layer Cake

Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Layer Cake

Last month it was my husband’s birthday.  Of course I had to make him a cake.  Usually he tells me what type of cake he wants, then I give him some options.  However, this year, he told me to make what I felt like making, as long as there wasn’t any cream cheese frosting.  I’ll tell you what, I was pretty excited to chose something that I have had in the back of my mind for a while, just never had an excuse to make it.  Wait, what? Since when do you ever need an excuse to make cake?

Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Layer Cake

Since he is a chocolate lover, I felt that this cake would be very fitting.  Wow. This cake is unreal.  Incredibly rich, so delicious and down right amazing.  It definitely is time consuming, but so worth it.  Without a doubt.  The cake is moist, layered with a rich caramel buttercream frosting, then topped with a thick and creamy chocolate frosting.  Superb.  This cake would make any chocolate lover extremely happy.

Dark Chocolate Cake with Salted Caramel

Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Layer Cake

For the cake

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons dark unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons buttermilk
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons brewed coffee
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

For the filling

  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • Generous pinch of sea salt, such as fleur de sel
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

For the frosting

  • 12 oz. good quality semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup very hot water
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons (18 tbsp.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 Tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • Fleur de sel, for finishing

Directions

To make the cake, preheat the oven to 350ºF.  Grease and flour the edges of 3 8-inch baking pans, shaking out the excess.  Line the bottoms with rounds of parchment paper.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Mix on low speed to blend.  Add the vegetable oil, buttermilk, coffee, eggs, and vanilla to the bowl and mix on low speed until well blended and completely incorporated.  Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans.  Bake 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let the cakes cool in the pans about 15 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack, remove the parchment paper and allow to cool completely.

To make the caramel buttercream filling, place 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of the sugar in a medium saucepan.  Mix in the water.  Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat.  Stop stirring and let the caramel cook, gently swirling from time to time, until it is a deep amber color (test a drop on a white plate or bowl if necessary), watching it carefully to avoid burning.  Remove the mixture from the heat and slowly whisk in the cream and then the salt.  Set aside and let cool.

Combine the egg whites and the remaining ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water.  Heat, whisking frequently, until the mixture reaches 160° F and the sugar has dissolved.  Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Beat on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form and the mixture has cooled to room temperature, about 8 minutes.  (The bowl should be cool to the touch.)

Reduce the speed to medium and add the butter, 2 tablespoons at a time, adding more once each addition has been incorporated.  If the frosting looks soupy or curdled, continue to beat on medium-high speed until thick and smooth again, about 3-5 minutes more (or longer).  Blend in the cooled caramel until smooth and completely incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

To make the frosting, place the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water.  Heat, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth.  Set aside and let cool to room temperature.  In a small bowl, combine the cocoa powder and water and stir until smooth.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter, confectioners’ sugar and salt.  Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.  With the mixer on low speed, gradually blend in the melted and cooled chocolate until well incorporated.  Blend in the cocoa powder-water mixture until smooth.

To assemble the cake; place one of the cake layers on a cake board or serving platter.  Top with half of the caramel buttercream and smooth in a thick, even layer.  Place a second cake layer on top and smooth the remaining caramel buttercream over that.  Place the final cake layer on top.  Cover the top and sides of the cake with the chocolate frosting and smooth with an offset spatula.  If desired, use additional frosting to pipe decorative accents on the cake.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.  Before serving, sprinkle with fleur de sel.

Source: Annie’s Eats, originally adapted from Sweetapolita, filling and frosting originally from Martha Stewart

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Peanut Butter Cups

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Peanut Butter Cups

This year has been my sweet craving winter. I think it’s because it has been really cold and really snowy. Or maybe it’s because I have been cooped up indoors way too much. On the plus side, I have been making a lot of delicious treats that I have wanted to make for ages. And I’m still breastfeeding, so I can get away with it, right? Ha!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Peanut Butter Cups

These babies are totally sinful. I mean really, peanut butter, cookie dough AND chocolate? Yes please! I’ll take two, thank you. I love to keep them in a large ziploc baggie in the fridge. That way, they will last a long time. Well, theoretically they should, but I end up eating them a lot faster than I’d like. The easiest way to eat cookie dough, chocolate and peanut butter. Need I say more?

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Peanut Butter Cups

Yield: 24 cups

  • 2 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Directions

In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Whisk in the brown sugar until dissolved, then let it bubble for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in peanut butter, then the vanilla. Let sit and cool completely, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, line a mini muffin with with liners. Melt 1 1/4 cups of chocolate chips either in the microwave or over a pot of barely simmering water. Drop 1/2-1 teaspoon of chocolate into each liner, then use a pastry brush to brush chocolate up the sides of the liner. (This will be messy!) Place in the freezer for 20 minutes. By this point the butter mixture should be cool. Whisk in confectioners’ sugar, salt and flour, until combine and a few lumps remain. Fold in the mini chocolate chips. Place in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes to allow the dough to harden.

Remove muffin tin and cookie dough, then place 1 teaspoon of cookie dough into the chocolate cups. Place back in the freezer for 10-15 minutes. Melt the remaining chocolate chips, then cover each cookie dough top with chocolate, smoothing with a spoon. Freeze again for 15-20 minutes. These are fine out in room temperature for a few hours (they may soften a bit) butthey are best stored in the refrigerator.

Source: How Sweet It Is

Chocolate Sugar Cookies

Chocolate Sugar Cookies

Has everyone made their Valentine’s Day plans?  What do you all do?  Stay in? Go out?  Do something romantic?  As I’ve said before, my husband and I don’t really celebrate the day. We generally exchange cards, but that’s as far as it goes.  I’m not saying I wouldn’t mind going out to eat! But, with three kids and one of them exclusively breast feeding, it’s a lot of work to find a sitter and pump enough milk. And, I’d rather dote upon my husband on his birthday, the day before (today!) instead.

Chocolate Sugar Cookies2

My daughter’s kindergarten class has a Valentine’s Day party today. Of course I offered to make something sweet. These chocolate sugar cookies came to mind immediately.  Royal icing brings cookie decorating to the next level.  How cute are those hearts!  Why have chocolate sugar cookies not become a really popular thing? Or maybe they have, and I missed it. These cookies are incredibly simple, but still delicious. Chocolately, buttery yumminess. These cookies make a great treat for Valentine’s Day. Or any time of the year, really. You still have time to decorate with royal frosting if you make these today! If you need an awesome tutorial for royal icing decorating, check out Annie’s Eats.

Chocolate Sugar Cookies3

Chocolate Sugar Cookies4

Chocolate Sugar Cookies

Yield: about 2 dozen cookies when using a larger cookie cutter

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 12 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder and salt, set aside.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and confectioners’ sugar.  Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes.  Blend in the eggs and vanilla.  With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients and mix just until incorporated and no streaks remain.  Form the dough into a disc, wrap tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, 1-2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 325ºF.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.  On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough out to about 1/4-inch thickness.  Cut out desired shapes with cookie cutters and place cut outs on the prepared baking sheet.  Bake 10-12 minutes, just until set.  Let cool on the baking sheet about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  Decorate as desired.

Source: Annie’s Eats, via Martha Stewart

Raspberry Cobbler with Dark Chocolate Biscuits

raspberry cobbler with dark chocolate biscuits

With Valentine’s Day coming next weekend, we can’t forget about a few dessert ideas!  My husband and I tend not to celebrate the day. It’s the day after his birthday, which I like to celebrate more.  But, that doesn’t mean I can’t bake a few Valentine themed desserts! Hearts make everything cuter, don’t you think?

raspberry cobbler with dark chocolate biscuits

Chocolate and raspberries are one of my favorite combinations. Well, that and chocolate with orange. Something about that fruity taste with chocolate makes me super happy. This cobbler is no exception. The “biscuits” are super chocolatey, with the slightly sweet raspberries. Topped with vanilla ice cream and we are in business! This is the perfect treat to whip up for that loved one in your life. Or, maybe just for yourself!

raspberry cobbler with dark chocolate biscuits

Raspberry Cobbler with Dark Chocolate Biscuits

Yield: 6 servings

For the filling:

  • 24 oz. frozen raspberries
  • 4 Tablespoons sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoons vanilla extract

For the biscuits:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 8 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons buttermilk
  • 2 oz. coarsely chopped semi-sweet chocolate

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425ºF.  Lightly grease a 2 to 2.5 quart baking dish. In the dish, combine the raspberries, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice and vanilla.  Fold together gently with a spatula until evenly mixed.  Transfer to the oven and bake 10 minutes without the topping.

Meanwhile, make the biscuits.  In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, sugar, and salt.  Whisk to blend.  Toss the butter pieces in with the dry ingredients until coated.  Cut the butter into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender or two knives until the mixture is crumbly and the largest butter pieces are the size of small peas.  Stir in the buttermilk and mix gently with a fork until a dough begins to form.  Knead together gently, just until the dry ingredients are incorporated.  Gently fold in the chopped chocolate.  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pat down into an even layer about 1 inch thick.  Use a cookie cutter to cut out heart-shaped biscuits, re-rolling dough scraps if needed.

Add the biscuits to the warmed fruit and return the baking dish to the oven.  Bake about 15-20 minutes more, until the fruit mixture is bubbling and the biscuits are just set and baked through.  Serve warm, with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Source: Barely adapted from Annie’s Eats