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Peppermint Bark Lollipops

a girl with a lollipop

Image via Wikipedia

Do you like peppermint bark? Do you like lollipops? Then you’re going to love these sweet treats- Peppermint Bark Lollipops. So easy to make. Cheap, cute and did I mention they’re a show stopper. Yes. SHOW stopper. I made about 60 lollipops for a Christmas Eve party and everyone was talking about them! It’s just the right amount of chocolate and peppermint and they’re great for big parties, to hold and walk around and still look pretty :) .

Going for an NYE party? Make these and bring them! Plus I’ll show you how to turn these lollipops into a chocolate bouquet- it’s super easy and cheap! And impressive, might I add. Let’s get started:

Peppermint Bark Lollipops:

Holiday Bouquet Prep:

  • 1 small basket (I bought mine from Michael’s)
  • 1 small styrofoam ball (I bought mine from Michael’s)
  • ribbon- assorted colors
  • pine tree leaves- optional

Tools: cookie sheets, parchment paper

1. Break up the dark and 1 bar of the semisweet chocolate and place into a glass bowl. Microwave for 35 seconds. Remove, stir with a spatula. Microwave for another 35 seconds. Remove and stir. Microwave for another 35 seconds if chocolate is not melted. When it’s just melted add the remaining semisweet chocolate bar and stir until everything is smooth and melted. Add 1-1 1/2 tbsp peppermint extract and stir. Melt the white chocolate in a separate bowl and stir in 1 tbsp peppermint extract.

2. On a cookie sheet (I used 3 of them) line with 1-2 sheets of parchment paper. Using a tbsp pour 1 tbsp of dark chocolate into a circle on the cookie sheet. Take the cookie stick and swirl into the bottom of the circle. Decorate with cranberries/pearls/sprinkles or a drop of white chocolate in the center and swirl with a toothpick. Repeat until chocolate is finished. I made a few white chocolate lollipops. Place in the fridge until hard and cool.

3. To make the bouquet: Cut small pieces of ribbon and tie around each stick. Using a scissor curl ends. Place lollipops in the freezer an hour or 2 before placing in the basket before your party. Place styrofoam ball in the basket and if using pine tree leaves, cover the foam with the leaves. Once the chocolate lollipops are hard and slightly frozen, stick them into the styrofoam until the whole thing is covered like a bouquet.

Makes 60 chocolate lollipops


Like Chocolate? Like Dessert? Check these out!

Mini Chocolate-Pumpkin Cupcakes

Vanilla Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate Frosting

Snowy Chocolate Cupcakes

Chocolate-Pumpkin Spice Latte

 

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Pearly Peppermint Bark

Chocolate en Rama

Image via Wikipedia

Want chocolate? Want dessert? Want something that doesn’t require baking or cooking? This is THE dessert for you! Well, you can categorize it as candy too, but I prefer calling it dessert. Just a tiny piece of this chocolatey and minty peppermint bark will satisfy your sweet tooth and after dinner dessert craving! It’s “pearly” because I decorate it with pastel green sugar pearls- festive and delicious!

Pearly Peppermint Bark:

  • 2 bars bittersweet chocolate (I use Ghiradelli 70% cacao)
  • 1 bar white chocolate (I use Ghiradelli)
  • 1-2 tbsp peppermint extract
  • green sugar pearls- for decorating

1. In a microwave-safe bowl break up dark chocolate bar and microwave for 35 seconds. Remove and stir with a spatula and microwave for another 35 seconds. By this time the chocolate should be melted, if there are unmelted chunks, just stir until everything is melted. Set aside for about 1-2 minutes until room temperature. Stir in 1- 2 tbsp of peppermint extract.

2. Repeat process for white chocolate and stir in extract. Set aside to cool until room temperature.

3. On a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, pour dark chocolate and spread evenly, but don’t make it too thin. Pour white chocolate on top and using a toothpick or a wooden skewer, swirl into dark chocolate. Top with sugar pearls. Set aside to cool (uncovered or covered is fine).

4. Break the chocolate into chunks and eat!

Like Chocolate? Like Dessert?

Peppermint Bark Lollipops

Snowy Chocolate Cupcakes

Mini Spice Apple Tarts with Chocolate

Vanilla Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate Frosting

 
 

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Walrus Chocolate Cupcakes Recipe

Devil's Food Cake With Vanilla Icing

Image by SimplyAvoir via Flickr

I recently was gifted the recipe book- ‘What’s New Cupcake?’ by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson. Let me just say this is probably my new favorite cookbook! Every cupcake is like a cartoon! Bears, race cars, golf course- you name it, it’s a cupcake! The first one to catch my eye was the Walrus!

I think walruses are cute in generally- so lazy and blubbery and CUTE!! And these cupcakes looked just like that! I attempted to re-create them. They weren’t difficult to make, but I will say that you need to allocate a couple of hours for the whole process. The recipe called for boxed Devil’s food cake and canned frosting. But, the foodie in me decided to make everything from scratch!

Chocolate Cupcake:

I used my Snowy Chocolate Cupcake Recipe- just doubled all the ingredients (except increase 1/4 cup Buttermilk to 1 cup.)

Dark Chocolate Frosting:

I used my Dark Chocolate Frosting Recipe- can be doubled if you desire more frosting, but these measurements sufficed.

  • 2-3 cups of frosting

Topping:

  • thin chocolate wafers- i used 100 chocolate wafers (that’s the only thing they had at the grocery store!)
  • 12 glazed doughnut holes (I used Entemann’s Pop-Em’s)
  • white nonpareils
  • 4-6 marshmallows
  • chocolate covered black sunflower seeds (or mini brown m&m’s)
  • chocolate sprinkles (jimmies)

Process:

1. Using an off-set spatula mound about 2-3 tbsp of the frosting on each cooled cupcake. Spread evenly. Place the doughnut hole towards the edge of one side of the cupcake. Place the cupcakes in the freezer for about 20 minutes to set.

2. While the cupcakes are freezing cut the marshmallows in half diagonally, then cut again diagnally, to produce 4 corners. Cut each corner in half to produce spikey tusk. Shape as necessary in order to resemble tusks.

3. Cut each wafer in half- 2 halves for fins, and one for a tail. Take the remaining wafers and crush in a ziplock bag using a rolling pin, or pulse in a food processor until finely ground. Pour into a shallow bowl.

4. Using the off-set spatula use about a 1/3 of the remaining frosting to completely coat the donut hole and any gaps that remain. You want the cupcake to be nicely coated in frosting, with no gaps or bare donut showing.

Carefully dip the cupcake into the cookie crumbs, gently pressing the crumbs into the frosting to stick. You want it to completely coat the cupcakes and start to resemble the shape of a walrus.

5. Place the remaining frosting in a ziplock bag and cut the corner about 1/8 an inch. Pipe two small circles on the head portion for the snout. Carefully place the tusks, topping with a bit more frosting to stick. Dip your finger in water and then in the white nonpareils and place on the frosting snouts.

Place a black sunflower seed sideways in the middle of the frosting snout- this is the nose. Take one chocolate sprinkle, dip into a little bit of the frosting and place above the snout as the eyes. Place some frosting on the edge of the chocolate wafers and place as the flippers- 1 on each side and one horizontally on the back.

6. Refrigerate so the frosting sets. Before serving, remove form the fridge serve at room temperature.

Makes 12 Walruses

Like Chocolate Desserts? Check these Out!

Vanilla Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate-Rasberry Frosting

Mini Spiced Apple Tartlets w. Chocolate

Rose Infused Red Velvet Cake Pops

Peppermint Bark


 

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St. Patrick’s Day and Chocolate Stout Cake

Baileys Irish Cream

Image via Wikipedia

Holidays (any holiday) are the perfect excuse to make festive treats and desserts. And I completely enjoy when friends and readers recommend recipes and dishes for me! So for this holiday, I took some recommendations and on top of the Irish cream bundt cake with Baileys glaze, I made a chocolate stout cake (the recipe can be found here) and some holiday themed dark chocolate cake truffles. The chocolate stout cake was especially fun to make because I’ve never worked with beer in a cake (although I have made beer bread), and I also got to use sour cream in a cake for the first time as well! The cake turned out very moist and a little more dense than normal cakes. I topped it off with someBaileys cream cheese frosting, a light dusting of cocoa powder, and it was ready to go!

And I can’t forget about the cake truffles. This recipe is so incredibly easy to make and alter if needed, plus it is perfect if you need to feed a lot of people. I brought a huge container to work for my colleagues with plenty to spare for my weekend with friends. They turned out to be great snacks for everyone, and it was just so much fun making these themed treats! I was able to enjoy them while hanging out in the Bay Area with some of the best ladies I know–what a great way to end the holiday. I hope everyone’s holiday weekend was filled with fun and great food as well!

 

Dark chocolate center with a milk chocolate coating

Source: http://lifetasteslikefood.wordpress.com/2011/03/22/st-patricks-day-and-chocolate-stout-cake/

 
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Posted by on March 23, 2011 in Baking, Chocolate, Sweets

 

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Chocolate and Almond Biscotti

A bowl of cocoa powder.

Image via Wikipedia

Chocolate BiscottiChocolate Biscotti

A work colleague once asked me if I order in restaurants the same way that I order coffee.  I thought his comment was pretty funny, especially since the weekend before my husband had said I was a waiter’s worst nightmare.

“What do you mean?” I asked my husband.

“Well, you like to change everything in the dish.  You want to order the steamed fish but have them fry it instead, and have the sauce on the side instead of pouring it over the fish – and if it comes with potatoes, you want rice instead!”  He said.

Surely he was exaggerating!

But I did have to concede to my work colleague that being finicky with my coffee never earned me any brownie points with the baristas.  One day I’m having a cappuccino with one sugar then the next I’m having it with one and a half sugars.  Then I learned that you get more milk with a latte so I switched to that (with one sugar).  Then I went off coffee and started having chai lattes – then soy chai lattes, then I missed my coffees and got back on to the lattes – but I wanted a weak latte, one and a half sugars and chocolate sprinkles on top…. oh and extra creamy.

And then I switched to tea – but that’s a whole different story altogether!

 

The one thing that remains constant though, is my love for a great biscotti.  Regardless of what drink I’m having, a perfectly made biscotti always goes well.  I simply love biscotti as it makes the perfect snack with tea (or coffee), especially since you can store it and bring it out when you have unexpected visitors.  This recipe keeps for up to a week in an airtight container.

I’m especially partial to this Chocolate and Almond Biscotti recipe.

When making this remember the dough is quite soft – so I used some cling wrap to shape the dough and then chilled it in the refrigerator which made handling much easier.

You’ll also want to make sure to have a sharp serrated knife so that when you cut the biscotti.  Remember, aim to cut the biscotti in one go – avoid a back and forth motion so you don’t shatter the loaf.

Chocolate BiscottiChocolate Biscotti

Chocolate and Almond Biscotti

  • 140 grams flour
  • 25 grams Lindt Dutch processed cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 100 grams sugar
  • 60 grams butter
  • 50 grams Lindt Excellence 70% Chocolate, cut into pieces
  • 60 grams almond slivers
  1. In a bowl mix together the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder. Set aside.
  2. In another bowl, using a hand held whisk, beat the egg, egg yolk, salt and sugar. Melt the butter and allow to cool slightly. In a bowl, melt the chocolate in the microwave for around 30 seconds (this will depend on the strength of your microwave)
  3. Add the butter and chocolate to the egg mixture and then add the flour mixture. Fold the mixture until smooth.
  4. Add the almond slivers evenly throughout the batter. The dough should be quite soft.
  5. Line a baking sheet with some cling wrap and place the dough onto the cling wrap and shape into a loaf, around 6 cm wide. Use the cling wrap to shape the loaf. Smooth and even the sides and cover with the cling wrap. Place the baking sheet with the biscotti load in the refrigerator and allow to chill for around 2 hours.
  6. Once chilled, remove the cling wrap and place the loaf in the center of a baking sheet. Pre-heat the oven to 175c (fan forced)
  7. Bake the biscotti for around 30 minutes until the loaf has spread and risen. The loaf should feel firm when pressed.
  8. Cool the load on the pan on a wire rack. When cooled, use a sharp serrated knife to slice the baked loaf, around 1 cm thick.
  9. Return the slices to the baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Then turn the slices over and bake for another 8 minutes. Cool the biscotti completely.

 

 

 
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Posted by on March 23, 2011 in Baking, Chocolate

 

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nutella cheesecake layer bars recipe

Tartine et pot de Nutella

Image via Wikipedia

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I am very much a creature of habit.

Daily routines, favorite foods, clothing styles, music preferences . . .

It’s all so predictable.

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So of course, my shopping tendencies are no different.

Case in point: 3 of the same horizontal-striped shirts from Gap in different color combinations.  (To be fair, I found two of them on sale.  Win win win!)

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I don’t know what it is about theses simple stripes that I like so much, but I always (and that’s no exaggeration) reach for this kind of clothing whenever I’m shopping.  It’s not so much reinforcing a style as it is my near-obsession with stripes.  (And I know that three shirts aren’t enough to constitute me calling this an obsessions – but these guys are just the tip of the iceberg.  One look inside my closet and you’d understand.)

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So I suppose it’s only natural that I would make a “horizontally-striped” dessert.

Layer bars.  I love them.

(Oh, and cheesecake too!)

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These bars are awesome.  They’re quick and easy (mixed almost entirely in the food-processor), require a pretty limited number of ingredients, and are flat-out delicious.

The first (bottom) layer is a chocolate graham cracker crust.  The crust isn’t overly sweet, though you could add a pinch of sugar if you’d like.  It’s more about the structural support for the bars, as well as the added chocolate flavor.

Next comes the second (middle) layer, which is really straight-forward vanilla cheesecake.  No bells and whistles.  But guess what?  It doesn’t need it.  Good-quality vanilla extract gets the job done.

Last is the third (top) layer – the layer we’ve all been waiting for – the Nutella cheesecake!  Blend in the infamously addictive chocolate-hazelnut spread with some reserved vanilla cheesecake and you’re good to go.  The Nutella flavor isn’t overpowering at all- it’s actually somewhat subtle.  It’s definitely detectable, but if you want a more robust Nutella flavor, go ahead and use a higher proportion of it.  You could even make a Nutella fudge sauce to serve with the bars.

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You can’t go wrong when there’s Nutella involved.

Nutella Cheesecake Layer Bars

- 8 Chocolate Graham Crackers

- ½ Stick Unsalted Butter, melted

- 16 oz. Cream Cheese, at room temperature

- 2 eggs, at room temperature

- ½ C. Granulated Sugar

- ¼ + 1 Tbsp. Heavy Cream

- 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract

- ¼ C. Nutella

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Butter an 8 x 8 baking pan and line with parchment paper, making sure that the parchment is well pressed in the corners.  Set aside.

In a food processor, pulse chocolate graham crackers until they become crumbs (like bread crumbs).  Add in melted butter and pulse until moistened.  Press graham cracker mixture evenly into the bottom of the prepared baking dish.  Bake crust in the center of the oven until set, about 12 minutes.  Set aside and cool.

Clean out the food processor.  Add cream cheese, eggs, sugar, ¼ C. heavy cream, and vanilla extract.  Pulse until smooth.  Put 2/3 of the cream cheese mixture in a bowl and set aside.  Add Nutella and 1 Tbsp. of heavy cream to remaining 1/3 of the cream cheese mixture in the processor.  Pulse until smooth.

To assemble, spread the vanilla cheesecake mixture over the cooled graham cracker base, being careful not to disturb the crust.  Pour Nutella cheesecake layer on top of vanilla layer and spread evenly.  Bake on the center rack of the oven for about 35 minutes, or until the center jiggles slightly.  Remove from the oven and cool completely on a cooling rack.  Refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

When ready to serve, lift bars out of the pan by lifting up the parchment paper (it should release easily).  Slice into 16 squares and serve.

Yields 16 Squares

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Source: http://themoonlightbaker.com/2011/03/04/nutella-cheesecake-layer-bars/

 

 

 
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Posted by on March 23, 2011 in Baking, Chocolate

 

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Thick & Rich Chocolate Pudding Recipe

Dry ingredients for a Wacky Cake - ingredients...

Image via Wikipedia

We are guilty as charged: “TheshoeboxKitchen doesn’t do enough chocolate!”

Well, we hope that the velvety chocolaty richness left in your mouth after trying this pudding will be enough to post our bail until we can backfill the chocolate deficiency in our recipe archives with some of your own suggestions.

Okay, on to the pudding!  What is a pudding, anyway?  How is it different from a custard?  What differentiates a pudding from a mousse?  If you’re asking similar questions, then we’re right there with you.  So many pudding recipes call for cornstarch as a thickening agent, other recipes look more like a custard, relying on the proteins in egg yolks to cause the pudding to set.  Still others use both egg yolks and cornstarch.  And then there’s mousse – let’s not even go there right now.

We were going for a rich pudding, so we knew we wanted to use egg yolks.  But some recipes we found that depended solely on egg proteins to thicken the pudding were accompanied by comments suggesting that the pudding ended up runny or that folks had difficulty getting it to set.  So we decided to throw in some corn starch as well, just to be safe.

What we ended up with is some combination of a David Lebovitz custard-based chocolate ice cream recipe and a Food52 finalist’s pudding recipe.

Thick and Rich Chocolate Pudding

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup half & half
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons corn starch (less if you don’t want it as thick)
  • 5 ounces bittersweet chocolate

Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out the seeds into a bowl with the sugar.  ”Chop” up the seeds so they are as distributed as possible (not clumped together) throughout the sugar.

Measure out the cocoa powder as well.

And go ahead and set aside your 5 ounces of chocolate.  We used chips because they melt efficiently.  If you buy bars of chocolate, cut them up into small pieces.

Now pour into a medium saucepan the heavy cream and half & half (or milk, if you’d like a lighter pudding).  Add to this liquid the vanilla seed & sugar mixture as well as the cocoa powder.  Throw the vanilla bean husk in there too, just for good measure.  Whisk everything together and then warm over medium-low heat, whisking occasionally.

While the cream mixture is heating on the stove, whisk together the egg yolks until they are pale yellow, then add the corn starch and whisk until the yolks and starch are well-combined.

When the cream mixture starts to steam slightly and form little bubbles (about 175 degrees), remove it from the heat and remove a ladle-full of the warm liquid.  Slowly pour the warm liquid from the ladle into the egg yolks, whisking the yolks continuously.  Then, transfer the now-warmed egg yolk mixture back into the original saucepan, whisking the contents of the saucepan continuously.  Continue to whisk the custard mixture (yes, this is essentially a custard with cornstarch added) until the mixture reaches about 180 degrees.  Do not let the mixture boil or you’ll have scrambled egg pudding.

When your mixture hits 180 degrees, remove it from the heat and pour it through a strainer into a separate bowl.  Now dump in the chocolate and continue to whisk until all of the chocolate is melted, leaving you with smooth, velvety perfection.

Now, if you want to get fancy,  dump that velvety perfection into your food processor and process for about a minute.  This tip comes from Dorrie Greenspan, and results in a silkier, slightly airier pudding (i.e., more perfect than before).  We thought this step made the texture a bit closer to mousse (not as airy as mousse, but silky like mousse), which we were very happy to discover.

Pour the pudding directly from the food processor into small bowls or ramekins.  Be timid with the portions – this stuff is rich!

Oh, and if you’re not a fan of pudding skin, immediately place plastic wrap over and on the surface of the pudding.  Let the pudding cool in the fridge for at least three hours, or overnight. (Editor’s note: We’ve actually found that we prefer this pudding just slightly chilled; so, if you have refrigerated it, take it out and let it sit on the counter for at least half an hour before digging in – if you can wait!)

This pudding is very smooth and stick-to-a-spoon thick.  It is rich, but not too sweet, has just the right amount of chocolate flavor, and the vanilla undertones from the fresh vanilla seeds add an extra layer of depth.  If you love chocolate, well, this one is a no-brainer.

What other chocolate dessert should we try?  Before you close this window, add a comment below and tell us what we should make next!

 

Source: http://theshoeboxkitchen.wordpress.com/2011/03/07/chocolate-pudding/

 

 

 
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Posted by on March 23, 2011 in Baking, Chocolate, Sweets

 

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