• Chocolate (Zucchini) Cake with Chocolate Frosting

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    Ssssshhhhhhhhh!  Don’t tell anyone that this chocolaty decadent dessert actually has zucchini in it!!!!!  If someone didn’t tell you there was zucchini in it, you would never ever know, and I’m not kidding.  The zucchini just melts into the cake, and you are left with an incredibly moist chocolaty treat!

    As far as desserts go, it’s on the “healthier” side.  My kiddos devoured it (and so did Steve and I)!

    Recipe adapted from Spend with Pennies.

    Ingredients:

    Chocolate Cake Ingredients:

    • 1/4 c. vegetable oil
    • 1 1/2 c. white sugar
    • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
    • 1 egg
    • 2 c. all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 2 tsp. baking soda
    • 2 1/2 c. grated zucchini (about 2 medium size)

    Chocolate Frosting Ingredients:

    • 1/3 c. milk
    • 1/3 c. butter
    • 1 1/2 c. white sugar
    • 1 c. mini chocolate chips (or preferred chocolate)

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 350*.
    2. Spray a 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray.
    3. In a large bowl, combine oil, sugar, egg and vanilla.
    4. In a medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder and baking soda.
    5. Add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture and stir well. The mix will be quite dry… TRUST the recipe; then gently stir in the zucchini and spread the mixture into your prepared pan.
    6. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until cake is done.
    7. While cake is cooling, combine butter, milk and sugar in a small pan. Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat. Allow mixture to boil vigorously for 30 seconds; then remove from heat and stir in chocolate chips. Immediately pour over warm cake. Let cool completely before cutting so the frosting has a chance to set.

    Chocolate (Zucchini) Cake with Chocolate Frosting:
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  • Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

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    These cupcakes are so decadently delicious!  The recipe comes from Taste of Home Cake Mix Treats, and if you love chocolate and peanut butter you’ll love these cupcakes!!!!

    Ingredients:

    • 1 package chocolate cake mix
    • 1 1/4 c. water
    • 1/2 c. peanut butter
    • 1/3 c. canola oil
    • 3 eggs
    • 24 miniature peanut butter cups

    Frosting:

    • 12 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
    • 1 1/3 c. heavy whipping cream
    • 2/3 c. peanut butter
    • Additional peanut butter cups, chopped

    Directions:

    1. In a large bowl, combine cake mix, water, peanut butter, oil, and eggs; beat on low speed for 30 seconds.  Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes, or until smooth.
    2. Fill paper lined muffin cups half full.  Place peanut butter cup in the center of each cupcake.  Cover each with 1 TBSP batter.
    3. Bake at 350 for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.  Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
    4. Place chocolate in a small bowl.  In a small saucepan, bring cream just to a boil.  Pour over chocolate; whisk until smooth.  Stir in peanut butter.  Cool, stirring occasionally, to room temperature or until ganache reaches a spreading consistency, about 10 minutes.
    5. Spread over cupcakes; immediately sprinkle with additional peanut butter cups.  Let stand until set.

    ****Don’t use reduced fat or generic brands of peanut butter.

     Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes:

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  • Chocolate Chocolate Mint Chip Cookies

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    Have you seen the new dark chocolate mint chips by Nestle?  I absolutely love mint, so I knew these were right up my alley!  -s is the cookie baker in our house, so he found a chocolate chocolate chip cookie recipe on Food Network, and used that recipe to make these most delicious cookies!

    If you love chocolate and mint you’ll love these cookies!  If you love thin mints, you’ll love these cookies!

    Ingredients:

    • 2 1/4 c.flour
    • 1 tsp. salt
    • 1 tsp. baking soda
    • 2 sticks butter, softened
    • 1 c. granulated sugar
    • 1 c. packed brown sugar
    • 2 eggs, beaten
    • 1 TBSP vanilla
    • 1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa
    • 1 10 oz bag of dark chocolate mint morsels

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
    2. In a bowl stir together flour, salt, and baking soda.
    3. In another large bowl stir together butter, both sugars, eggs, vanilla and cocoa. Gradually stir flour mixture into butter mixture and mix until combined. Stir chocolate chips and stir to distribute evenly.
    4. Drop dough by tablespoonfuls onto greased baking sheets and bake about 10 minutes. Cool on a baking rack.

    Chocolate Chocolate Mint Chip Cookies:

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  • Oatmeal Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies

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    These cookies were really good, although I thought the toffee kind of got lost in the cookie, so maybe add more toffee bits than the original recipe calls for.  This recipe is adapted from the oatmeal toffee cookies found in the December 2008 issue of Cooking Light.

    Ingredients:

    • 3.4  ounces  all-purpose flour (about 3/4 cup)
    • 1  c.  old-fashioned rolled oats
    • 1/2  tsp.  baking soda
    • 1/4  tsp.  salt
    • 3/4  c.  packed brown sugar
    • 1/4  c.  butter, softened
    • 1  tsp. vanilla extract
    • 1  large egg
    • 1/3  c. (or more) almond toffee bits
    • 1 c. chocolate chips
    • Cooking spray

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 350°.
    2. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, oats, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl; stir with a whisk. Place sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 5 minutes). Add vanilla and egg; beat well. Add flour mixture; beat just until combined. Stir in toffee bits and chocolate chips.
    3. Drop dough by tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart on 2 baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 11 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on pans 1 minute. Remove cookies from pans; cool completely on wire racks.

    Oatmeal Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies:

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  • Crispy ‘n Sweet Chocolate-Hazelnut Dumplings

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    This recipe comes from the October 2008 issue of Southern Living.  They are absolutely delicious, but I think they need to be eaten pretty soon after they are made.

    Ingredients:

    • 1 8oz package of cream cheese, softened
    • 1 c. Nutella
    • 3 TBSP flour
    • 1/2 (16oz) package of won ton wrappers
    • Vegetable oil
    • Powdered sugar

    Directions:

    1. Combine cream cheese, Nutella, and flour in a bowl.
    2. Working with one won ton wrapper at a time, moisten the edges with water.  Place 2 tsp. of the filling in the center; fold over to creat a triangle; seal the edges.  Repeat.
    3. Heat a good amount of oil to 375.  Fry dumplings until golden brown.  Remove and place on paper towels.
    4. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

    Note: to make sweet pumpkin dumplings, omit cream cheese, Nutella, and flour; combine 1 15 oz. can of pumpkin, 1/4 sugar, 2 TBSP brown sugar, 2 TBSP honey, and 3/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice; then follow above.
    Crispy ‘n Sweet Chocolate-Hazelnut Dumplings:

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  • Chocolate Mint Cupcakes

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    If you like chocolate and mint together like I do, you’ll enjoy these cupcakes.  My frosting didn’t turn out fluffy…more like marshmallow fluff, which I suspect is due to me being too impatient and not letting it beat long enough in the mixer.  It still tasted delicious though.

    I got this recipe from Taste and Tell, who got it from How to Eat a Cupcake, who got it from Crazy about Cupcakes…got that? ;)

    Chocolate Mint Cupcakes Ingredients:

    • 1/4 c. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    • 3/4 c. granulated sugar
    • 1/3 c. (2 ounces) unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped, melted
    • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
    • 1 tsp. peppermint extract (I used mint)
    • 1/2 c. chocolate milk
    • 1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
    • 1 tsp. baking soda
    • 1/2 c. (6 ounces) mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

    Directions:

    1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Insert liners into a medium cupcake pan.
    2. In a large bowl cream together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes. Beat the melted chocolate into the butter mixture. Add the eggs, peppermint extract, and chocolate milk. Beat until creamy.
    3. In a separate medium-sized bowl combine the flour and baking soda.
    4. Add the dry ingredients to the chocolate mixture and beat until well blended (DO NOT OVER BEAT). With a rubber spatula, stir in the chocolate chips.
    5. Fill the cupcake liners 2/3-3/4 full. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in pan.

    Mint Frosting Ingredients:

    • 3 egg whites
    • 1 c. granulated sugar
    • 3/4 c. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    • 1 1/2 tsp. peppermint extract (I used mint)
    • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract

    Directions:

    1. Put egg whites and sugar in a double boiler over simmering water. Whisking constantly, cook until sugar has dissolved and mixture is warm (about 160 degrees).
    2. Pour heated egg mixture into a clean bowl of a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat egg white mixture on high speed until it forms stiff (but not dry) peaks. Continue beating until fluffy and cooled, about 6 minutes (It’s very important to beat it for the whole 6 minutes).
    3. Switch to the paddle attachment. With mixer on medium-low, add butter several tablespoons at a time, beating well after each addition. (If frosting appears soupy or separated after all butter has been added, beat on medium-high speed until smooth again, 3 to 5 minutes more.)
    4. Beat in extracts. Reduce speed to low; beat 2 minutes to eliminate air bubbles. Stir with a rubber spatula until smooth.

    Chocolate Mint Cupcakes:

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  • Black Bottom Cupcakes

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    I came across a black bottom cupcake recipe at Annie’s Eats (adapted from David Lebovitz).  I’ve never made homemade cupcakes before (gasp!)…I guess I never realized how easy it is and how tasty they are!  My mother-in-law makes a similar cupcake for Christmas, and since -s loves those I thought I’d give these a shot.  They are so tasty, and I’m sure -s can’t wait to get home from his business trip to give them a try.

    Ingredients:

    For the filling:

    • 8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
    • 1/3 c. granulated sugar
    • 1 large egg, at room temperature
    • 1/4 c. of mini chocolate chips

     

    For the cupcakes:

    • 1 ½ c. all-purpose flour
    • 1 c. firmly packed light brown sugar
    • 5 TBSP unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 1 tsp. baking soda
    • ¼ tsp. salt
    • 1 c. water
    • 1/3 c. vegetable oil
    • 1 TBSP white or cider vinegar
    • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

    Directions:

    1. To make the filling, whisk the cream cheese, granulated sugar and egg until smooth.  Stir in chopped chocolate pieces.  Set aside.
    2. To make the cupcakes, adjust a rack to the center of the oven and preheat to 350°.  Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners (my batch made 15 cupcakes).
    3. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, brown sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.  In a separate bowl mix together the water, oil, vinegar and vanilla extract.  Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and stir in the wet ingredients, stirring just until smooth.  Stir any longer and you will over-mix the batter, and end up with less-than-tender cupcakes.
    4. Divide the batter among the muffin cups.  Spoon a few tablespoons of the filling into the center of each cupcake, dividing the filling evenly.  This will fill the cups almost completely, which is fine.  Bake for 25 minutes, or until the tops are slightly golden brown and the cupcakes feel springy when gently pressed.  These will keep unrefrigerated for 2-3 days in an airtight container.
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    What the cupcakes looked like just before going into the oven
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    Finished product

    Black Bottom Cupcakes:

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  • Tombstone Brownies

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    Here’s a super fun Halloween dessert adapted from a Halloween cookbook magazine from the grocery store check out.  These turned out so great, and everyone loved them!  For the tombstone writing you can purchase cookie icing in your baking aisle that comes packaged with a fine tip for writing or you can use white frosting.  If you use the frosting for writing, you’ll need to take a zip loc bag and cut a small whole in the bottom corner, then add your frosting and squeeze the frosting out to write RIP.

    Ingredients:

    • 2 packages (10 1/4 oz each) brownie mix plus ingredients to prepare mix
    • 3/4 flaked coconut, tinted green
    • 1 c. chocolate frosting (purchased or homemade)
    • 2 chocolate candy bars
    • White cookie icing or white frosting

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 13X9-inch baking pan with foil, extending foil beyond edges of pan; grease foil.
    2. Prepare brownie mix according to package directions. Spread in prepared pan. Bake 30 to 35 minutes. Do not over bake. Cool in pan on wire rack.
    3. To tint coconut, dilute a few drops of food coloring with 1/2 teaspoon water in a large plastic bag. Add 1 to 1-1/3 cups flaked coconut. Close the bag and shake well until the coconut is evenly coated. If a deeper color is desired, add more diluted food coloring and shake again.  Set aside until brownies are cool.  Once brownies are cool, spread the coconut onto your serving platter.
    4. Using foil as handles, remove brownies from pan; peel off foil. Cut brownies into twelve 4X2-inch bars.  Frost with chocolate frosting.  Place brownies onto the coconut grass.
    5. Break chocolate bars into pieces along scored lines. Using white cookie icing, write “R.I.P.” on chocolate pieces. Let stand until set.
    6. On the bottom of each chocolate piece, spread some chocolate frosting (this helps keep it attached) and press 1 chocolate piece into end of each brownie for tombstone.
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    Tombstone Brownies:

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  • Daring Baker’s: Cheesecake Pops

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    Here is my very first Daring Baker’s Challenge! These Cheesecake Pops were fun to make and real big hit with -s’s co-workers. -s and I are kind of cheesecake snobs, and the cheesecake wasn’t our favorite…too eggy for our taste, but they are a real crowd pleaser. If we make this one again, we’ll try our tried and true cheesecake, and then I think it will be over the top delicious!

    Ingredients:

    • 5 8-oz. packages cream cheese at room temperature
    • 2 cups sugar
    • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • 5 large eggs
    • 2 egg yolks
    • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
    • ¼ cup heavy cream
    • Boiling water as needed
    • Thirty to forty 8-inch lollipop sticks
    • 1 pound chocolate, finely chopped – you can use all one kind or half and half of dark, milk, or white (Alternately, you can use 1 pound of flavored coatings, also known as summer coating, confectionary coating or wafer chocolate – candy supply stores carry colors, as well as the three kinds of chocolate.)
    • 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening (I omitted)
    • Assorted decorations such as toasted coconut, mini Reese’s pieces, chopped nuts, colored jimmies, crushed peppermints, mini chocolate chips, sanding sugars, degrees) – Optional

    Directions:

    1. Position oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F. Set some water to boil.
    2. In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese, sugar, flour, and salt until smooth. If using a mixer, mix on low speed. Add the whole eggs and the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well (but still at low speed) after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and cream.
    3. Grease a 10-inch cake pan (not a springform pan), and pour the batter into the cake pan. Place the pan in a larger roasting pan. Fill the roasting pan with the boiling water until it reaches halfway up the sides of the cake pan. Bake until the cheesecake is firm and slightly golden on top, 35 to 45 minutes (mine took closer to 60 minutes, and the center still wasn’t fully cooked.)
    4. Remove the cheesecake from the water bath and cool to room temperature. Cover the cheesecake with plastic wrap and refrigerate until very cold, at least 3 hours or up to overnight.
    5. When the cheesecake is cold and very firm, scoop the cheesecake into 2-ounce balls and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. I couldn’t really scoop the cheesecake…I rolled it like meatballs. Carefully insert a lollipop stick into each cheesecake ball. Freeze the cheesecake pops, uncovered, until very hard, at least 1 – 2 hours.
    6. When the cheesecake pops are frozen and ready for dipping, prepare the chocolate. In the top of a double boiler, set over simmering water, or in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water, heat half the chocolate and half the shortening, stirring often, until chocolate is melted and chocolate and shortening are combined. Stir until completely smooth. Do not heat the chocolate too much or your chocolate will lose it’s shine after it has dried. Save the rest of the chocolate and shortening for later dipping, or use another type of chocolate for variety.
    7. Alternately, you can microwave the same amount of chocolate coating pieces on high at 30 second intervals, stirring until smooth.
    8. Quickly dip a frozen cheesecake pop in the melted chocolate, swirling quickly to coat it completely. Shake off any excess into the melted chocolate. If you like, you can now roll the pops quickly in optional decorations. You can also drizzle them with a contrasting color of melted chocolate (dark chocolate drizzled over milk chocolate or white chocolate over dark chocolate, etc.) Place the pop on a clean parchment paper-lined baking sheet to set. Repeat with remaining pops, melting more chocolate and shortening (or confectionary chocolate pieces) as needed.
    9. Refrigerate the pops for up to 24 hours, until ready to serve.
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    Cheesecake Pops:

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  • Super Easy Fudge with Marshmallows

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    I’ve never attempted fudge before, but I have heard that it can be difficult to make…depending on the weather, it might not set etc. I saw a recipe on the back of a store brand marshmallow package, which gave me the inspiration to create my own version, and it was so easy to make, and tastes delicious! Even my son, who doesn’t like chocolate, loved the fudge.

    Ingredients:

    • 1 3/4 c. granulated sugar
    • 2/3 c. evaporated milk
    • 2 TBSP butter
    • pinch of salt
    • 1 1/2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
    • 1 1/2 c. mini marshmallows, divided
    • 1 tsp. vanilla

    Directions:

    1. Combine first 4 ingredients in a heavy saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium heat; boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
    2. Remove from heat and immediately add chocolate chips and 1/2 c. marshmallows. Stir until chocolate and marshmallows are melted; then add the vanilla. Add an additional 1/2 c. marshmallows and stir to create a marshmallow swirl effect.
    3. Spread into a greased 9x9x2 pan. Take the remaining 1/2 c. marshmallows and sprinkle them on the top of the fudge, gently pressing them into the top of the fudge. Cool, and then cut into squares.

    Super Easy Fudge with Marshmallows:

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