Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Chocolate Chunk CookiesMy tasting panel (ten warehouse workers at my office) really liked these chewy yet crispy cookies and the extra chocolate from the addition of chunks with the chips.

This recipe yields 32 cookies which can be a lot of you’re only craving a quick dozen. The cookie dough can easily be divided and wrapped tightly in wax paper them aluminum foil and frozen for up to a month.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ tsp. baking soda
  • 1 ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) butter, softened
  • 1 ½ cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 ½ cup chocolate chunks

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda and salt.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  4. Add the eggs to the butter mixture, beating well after each one, until fully combined, about 1 minute. Add the vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture – do not over mix.  Add the chips and mix until just combined.
  5. Line four cookie sheets with parchment paper (if you only have two cookie sheets, break up the baking in two phases making sure the cookie sheets cool completely from the first batch prior to doing the next). For each cookie, scoop one tablespoon of dough, place on a cookie sheet and flatten gently with the palm of your hand. Eight cookies will fit on each cookie sheet.
  6. Bake, two sheets at a time, until golden, about 13 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheets then transfer cookies to a cooling rack to cool completely. Repeat the process with the last two cookie sheets.

Makes 32 cookies.

Easy Zeppole – Italian Fried Dough

Easy Zeppole – Italian Fried Dough

Photo by Eat with Dan

Photo by Eat with Dan

Who doesn’t love going to the fair and getting a hot paper bag full of Zeppole covered in confectioners’ sugar? Nobody – that’s who!

I’ve used a ‘standard’ recipe for fried dough that involved yeast and just the right warm water temperature but really, who needs to go through all that? This is one easy recipe that everyone can make. While the oil and frying can be scary, as long as you have a heavy pot deep enough, you’ll have no issues.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 quarts canola oil for frying
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 pinch Kosher salt
  • 1 ½ tsp. granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
  • ¼ tsp. pure vanilla extract
Photo by Eat with Dan

Photo by Eat with Dan

Directions:

  1. Add the confectioners’ sugar to a paper bag.
  2. Heat the oil in a heavy and deep pot until a candy / deep-fry thermometer reaches 375 degrees. The oil shouldn’t come up more than a third to a half of the depth of the pot at the risk of overflowing.
  3. In a medium saucepan, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Stir in the beaten eggs, ricotta cheese and vanilla. Mix gently over low heat until combined, 1-2 minutes. Batter will be sticky.
  4. Drop the batter by tablespoons into the hot oil a few at a time to ensure your oil doesn’t cool off (raise the heat under the pot if temperature cools too much). Fry the Zeppole until golden brown, about 3 or 4 minutes. Add hot Zeppole to the paper bag and shake to cover in confectioners’ sugar. Serve warm.

Makes 3 dozen Zeppole.

Adapted from AllRecipe.

5 National Cheesecake Day Recipes

5 National Cheesecake Day Recipes

Dulce de Leche Mini Cheesecake

Dulce de Leche Mini Cheesecake

Today’s National Cheesecake Day. I don’t care who decided today was dedicated to all things cheesecake – I love cheesecake!

Here are 5 cheesecake recipes to help you celebrate National Cheesecake Day!

What are some of your favorite cheesecakes?

Cheers,

Veronique

Chewy Crunchy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chewy Crunchy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chewy Crunchy Chocolate Chip CookiesI truly love when readers contact me to say they’ve successfully tried some of my recipes and have even ventured to make yummy variations to them.

One of my readers, Kayla from New Jersey, wrote me recently to say she used the Extreme Peanut Butter Cookies recipe and replaced the peanut butter chips with chocolate chips. She loved the results and sent in the gorgeous images posted here. Here’s the recipe for your perusal and enjoyment!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar or ½ cup honey
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 8-ounce bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips

Chewy Crunchy Chocolate Chip Cookies PanDirections:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and peanut butter with an electric mixer on medium-high speed for 30 seconds.
  3. Add the granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking soda and baking powder and 1 cup of the flour. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in the eggs and vanilla until combined. Beat in remaining flour. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  4. Shape dough into 1½ inch balls. Place balls 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 7 to 9 minutes or until bottoms are light brown. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.

Makes about 36 cookies.

Let me know what you think if you bake a batch!

Chocolate Cupcakes with Ganache Centers

Chocolate Cupcakes with Ganache Centers

Chocolate Cupcakes with Ganache Centers

With Chocolate Marshmallow Frosting

Ganache centers, need I say more?? These dark chocolate cupcakes get an extra boost of chocolateness with the addition of bittersweet chocolate ganache filling in the center of the cupcakes.

As you bake these cupcakes, the fudgy centers will cave in – no worries! That’s the perfect little nook to put extra frosting in.

Ganache Centers Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. confectioner sugar

Chocolate Cupcakes Ingredients:

  • 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • ¾ cup piping hot, brewed coffee
  • ¾ cup bread flour
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • 6 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp. white vinegar
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Cupcakes after baking

Cupcakes after baking

Ganache Centers Directions:

  1. Place chocolate, cream, and confectioner sugar in a medium bowl and microwave for 30 seconds. Stir the mixture and if not completely melted, return to the microwave for 10 seconds. Stir until smooth then place in the refrigerator to cool, 15-20 minutes.

Chocolate Cupcakes Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and either butter and flour a 12-muffin pan or add cupcake liners.
  2. In a medium bowl, add the chocolate and cocoa powder. Pour the hot coffee over the chocolate and cocoa powder. Whisk until smooth, about 1 minute, and chill in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes.
  3. Blend together the flour, sugar, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl.
  4. In another medium bowl, beat the oil, eggs, vanilla and vinegar. Whisk the egg mixture into the reserved bittersweet chocolate / cocoa powder mixture until smooth.
  5. Using a rubber spatula, add the flour mixture to the chocolate batter until just incorporated. Don’t overmix.
  6. Divide the batter among the cups of the muffin pan. Each cup shouldn’t be more than ¾ full.
  7. Add a teaspoon of ganache on top of each cupcake – don’t mix the ganache in the cake batter.
  8. Bake 17 – 19 minutes, until the cupcake tops are firm. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then unmold and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  9. Frost with Chocolate Marshmallow Frosting.

Yields a dozen cupcakes.

Chocolate Marshmallow Frosting

Chocolate Marshmallow Frosting

Marshmallow FrostingOne of the best frostings I’ve ever tasted was at a kids’ birthday party when I was around 8 years old. My friend’s mom made a light and fluffy marshmallow frosting over confetti cake so delicious I remember it vividly to this day.

Since I’m a serious chocolate fanatic, I decided to try a chocolate version of marshmallow frosting. The results were hugely popular with my co-workers who tasted the frosting over Chocolate Cupcakes with Ganache Centers.

Ingredients:

  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 4 Tbsp. milk
  • 3 cups confectioner sugar
  • ¼ cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 7-ounce jar marshmallow crème

Directions:

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer on medium speed, cream the butter, vanilla and milk until smooth, about 2 minutes.
  2. With the mixer on low, add the confectioner sugar and the cocoa powder and beat until just combined, then beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes.
  3. With a rubber spatula, gently fold the marshmallow crème into the frosting mixture until most of the white streaks are gone.
  4. Use right away or refrigerate for up to 2 days. Bring to room temperature if previously refrigerated.

Makes enough frosting for a dozen cupcakes or a 8” double layer cake.

Red, White and Blue Cake

Red, White and Blue Cake

Red Velvet CutI love red velvet cake, well, the cream cheese frosting actually, so when I was looking for a dessert to make for my 4th of July party, I opted for a red and blue velvet cake.

I love that this cake turned out not…fussy and perfect for a casual outdoor party that involved grilling a whole beef tenderloin.

I made my life easier by baking the four cakes the night before my party so they’d be completely cooled by the time I got around to frosting them with the decadent cream cheese frosting.

Red Velvet AngleThe recipe below is for two red velvet cakes. Make those than make the exact recipe but with 2 ounces of royal blue paste food coloring (I use Wilton). I dipped some strawberries in chocolate for an additional festive touch.

Red Velvet Cake Ingredients:

  • 2 ½ cups cake flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 ounces red food coloring
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tsp. white vinegar
  • 1 tsp. baking soda

Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients (enough to cover the whole 4-layer cake):

  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
  • 2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted

Red Velvet Red ClothRed Velvet Cake Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using cooking spray or a bit of softened butter, coat two 9-inch round cake pans.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt and baking powder.
  3. In a small bowl, blend the cocoa powder and the food coloring with a teaspoon to create a smooth mixture.
  4. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the sugar and the butter until light and fluffy, about three minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula every minute.
  5. Add the eggs to the butter mixture, one at a time, mixing well after each one.
  6. Add the food coloring mixture and mix well, about 1 minute, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
  7. Add half of the flour mixture to the creamed butter mixture, then, add half of the buttermilk. Add the rest of flour mixture, then the rest of the buttermilk. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula to ensure the batter in completely blended without white streaks of batter.
  8. In a small bowl, combine the vinegar and the baking soda with a teaspoon to form a bubbly mixture.  Add the mixture to the cake batter and stir gently until just combined.
  9. Divide the batter evenly in each cake pans and place them in the preheated oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes.
  10. Cool the cakes in their pans for 10 minutes then remove the cakes from the pans and allow to cool completely on wire racks.

Red Velvet SliceFrosting Directions:

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula every minute. Incorporate the vanilla.
  2. Turn off the mixer and add the powdered sugar. Turn mixer on low and blend until the powdered sugar has been incorporated, about 2 minutes, again scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
  3. Use the frosting right away or refrigerate, covered, until ready to use. To use refrigerated frosting, bring to room temperature then stir thoroughly using a wooden spoon.
  4. Place a red cake on a large platter or cake stand. Cover with a thin layer of cream cheese frosting using an offset spatula or butter knife. Top the red cake with a blue one, ice it, then, repeat the process with the remaining cakes, ensuring that the top layer is the flattest slice – this will ensure a smooth surface for the finished cake.
  5. Crumb coat the entire cake with a thin layer of frosting and refrigerate for 30-60 minutes. Finish icing the cake with the rest of the frosting then refrigerate. Serve within a day at room temperature.

Serves 12.

Chocolate Decadence Chip Cookies

Chocolate Decadence Chip Cookies

Chocolate CookiesI made these decadent cookies as take-home gifts for my guests at my recent Food & Wine Chickie Lobsterfest, but the excess of adult libations “made me” forget to actually give them out at the end of the evening – boo!

I sort of redeemed myself by bringing them to work where they received some pretty big kudos from my colleagues.

You might question how old my baking sheets are – and they are! They’re my Grand-Mother’s sheets and although not new and shiny, I love thinking of her as I bake.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. Kosher salt
  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
  • 8 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Chocolate Cookie DoughDirections:

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or coat with cooking spray.
  2. Whisk together cocoa, flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Reserve for later use.
  3. Warm half the chocolate chips in the microwave for 30 seconds and stir. If not fully melted, microwave in 15 second increments until they are.
  4. Place the melted chocolate in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the sugar, the eggs and the vanilla. Blend together on medium speed until fully combined, about 1 minute. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture, one tablespoon at a time until combined. Using a wooden spoon, add the remaining chocolate chips to the dough.
  5. Form dough into 1 ½-inch balls. Place the dough balls 2” apart on the parchment-lined baking sheets and bake for 15 minutes. Allow to cool on the baking sheets for 2-3 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to completely cool (if you can wait that long).

Makes 3 dozen cookies

Source: Adapted from Martha Stewart Living, June 2005

No-Bake Blueberry Cheesecake

No-Bake Blueberry Cheesecake

Cheesecake 2When I saw this beautiful dessert from the July 2003 issue of Bon Appetit, I knew it would be perfect for me Memorial Day barbecue. I’ve made some changes to the recipe and it’s light, pretty and delicious. I had the perfect quantity of blueberries from a giant container from my local Costco.

Crust with Butter

Crust with Butter

Crust Ingredients:

  • 9 whole Graham crackers or 1 ¼ cups Graham cracker crumbs
  • ½ cup old-fashioned oats (I used 2 envelopes of instant oatmeal and it was fine)
  • 3 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 5 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Filling Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 envelopes of unflavored gelatin (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 12-ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. freshly-squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 cups fresh blueberries
Whipped Cream Over Cheesecake

Whipped Cream Over Cheesecake

Topping Ingredients:

  • 1 cup chilled heavy whipping cream
  • 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 2-3 cups blueberries
  • 2/3 cup blueberry or strawberry jam
Crust Baked

Crust Baked

Crust Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Pulse first 4 ingredients in a food processor until mixture is finely ground.
  3. Add butter and vanilla to the crumb mixture and pulse a few times until moist crumbs form.
  4. Press crumb mixture onto bottom and 1 inch up sides of 9-inch-diameter springform pan. Bake crust until deep golden brown, about 12 minutes. Cool.
Blueberries with Jam

Blueberries with Jam

Filling Directions:

  1. Pour 1/4 cup water into small saucepan and sprinkle gelatin over. Let stand 10 minutes.
  2. Stir over very low heat just until gelatin dissolves. Set aside.
  3. Blend cream cheese, cream, sugar, and lemon juice in a food processor until smooth. Add blueberries and puree until smooth with some blueberry bits, about 20 seconds.
  4. With food processor running, add warm gelatin mixture through feed tube and blend well.
  5. Pour filling into crust. Cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight. (Can be made 2 days ahead).
  6. Run knife around pan sides to loosen cake. Release pan sides. Transfer to platter.

Cheesecake 1Topping Directions:

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat cream and sugar until firm peaks form.
  2. Spread cream mixture thickly over top of cheesecake.
  3. Place blueberries in a medium bowl.
  4. Heat jam in microwave for 20 seconds or until just melted.
  5. Pour jam over blueberries and toss to coat. Mound coated blueberries in center of cream, leaving 1-inch plain border. Chill cake at least 1 hour and up to 1 day.

Serves 10.

Family, Friends and Food in Quebec

Family, Friends and Food in Quebec

Beet Salad

Beet Salad

Last weekend, I flew up to Quebec to surprise my dad for his birthday. As always, the weekend was filled with an abundance of food and adult libations.

Lobster Dinner

Lobster Dinner

Friday, the weather was nice and we opted to grill pork tenderloin kebabs that my brother-in-law, Etienne, had marinated in his special concoction a good part of the afternoon. Since it was also my mom’s birthday a couple days prior to my arrival, my nieces and me made my Chocolate Éclair Squares, an easy-to-fix, tasty and light dessert (perfect for Memorial Day celebrations).

Wines for Lobster Dinner

Wines for Lobster Dinner

Saturday, my sister Josée, her daughters and me decorated her home for dad’s party and began cooking for the memorable dinner party. On the menu was a springtime salad of roasted beets, heirloom tomatoes, red onions, Mozzarella and basil. My brother-in-law boiled some lobsters and made his now-famous Lemon Butter Cream for dipping – fantastic. Dessert was a plate of vanilla bean cupcakes and my Zesty Key Lime Tart (minus the meringue and topped with whipped cream instead). The wine lineup wasn’t half bad either.

Poutine

Poutine

Sunday morning, mom fixed us a big breakfast of eggs benedict with homefries and after spending the morning at our horse ranch, I headed back to the airport to catch my flight back to New Jersey. As I’ve grown accustomed to doing when I fly out of Quebec, I had a poutine to mark the end of my wonderful weekend.

Hope your weekend adventures were as delicious as mine were.

Cheers,

Veronique