Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Irish Cream Pudding

The easy way to do this is to use a boxed chocolate cake mix and a boxed chocolate pudding mix.

But it is just as easy to use a favorite one-bowl chocolate cake and an easy from-scratch pudding recipe such as Hershey’s Quick Creamy Chocolate Pudding, which was what I did, except that I used half a recipe (for both cake and pudding) because I wanted a small cake.  But I also wanted a little oommph for the pudding, so I made a few changes…

Prepare the chocolate cake and bake as usual.  When the cake is done, remove from the oven and poke holes in it using the handle of a wooden spoon.  Start cooking the pudding.  When the pudding is done, pour over the hole-ridden cake.  Press plastic wrap on the pudding and chill until set.

My Chocolate Irish Cream Pudding –

1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa
1-1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
pinch of salt
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons Irish Cream liqueur

Combine the sugar, cocoa, cornstarch, salt and milk in a thick saucepan.  Cook until thick and boiling.  Simmer at boiling for about 1 minute.  Remove from the heat and add the butter, vanilla and Irish Cream, mix well.

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Triple Choco Chip Cookies

My cousin D and I have been talking about chocolate chip cookies.  It made me experiment again.  But I already have a go-to recipe that I quite like (even if I experiment with other recipes still) but I’ve always baked in my big gas oven and this time I wanted to try it in my little electric oven…

The mixing part –

1. Creaming the butter and sugars.

2. Stirring in the flour mixture.

3. Folding in the chocolate chips and chunks.  I used 2 kinds of chips – semi-sweet chips and dark chips; plus I added chopped bittersweet chocolate (at least 72%)

I think that using different kinds of chocolate, as well as differently sized bits, in the cookie makes the resulting cookie so much better, with a different dimension to it.

See?  My oven is really small and it can only take 6 cookies at a time, and I had to use the 1-oz scoop at that!

The results –

top – 8 minutes baking time.  Result – soft and chewy cookies

middle – 10 minutes baking time.  Result – crispy edges, soft and chewy centers

bottom – 12 minutes baking.  Result – super crispy cookies.

The winner as per hubby – soft and chewy, 8-minute baked cookies

The little girl’s favorite?  The super crispy, 12-minute baked oookies

Me?  I added walnuts to the last batch of 6

and baked them for 9 minutes…

(before i forget, I always turn the baking sheet around midway!

Banana-Choco Chip Muffins

I don’t get to bake often these days and when I do, I just use the small electric oven. The big gas oven seems overkill when all I want is half a dozen of muffins!

So anyway, I have been craving muffins for a while now. And finally, finally, I have some spare time! I dusted off my handy dandy mixer and scrounged up my measuring cups and spoons, and mixing bowl and spatula…

To begin, preheat the oven to 375*F. Line a 6-cup muffin tin with paper cups.

Mix together:

1 large egg
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon yogurt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Add the dry ingredients:

1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons muscovado sugar **
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt

Mix until just incorporated.

Stir in mashed bananas (2 large pieces very ripe bananas). Portion the batter into the 6 muffin cups. Add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of mini chocolate chips in each muffin cup. Use a toothpick to stir and distribute the chips in the batter.

Bake about 20 minutes.

Muffins in an hour! Yum!

Healthy Brownies

I don’t remember anymore who gave me the recipe but it had been languishing in my “box of recipes that i plan to make”. Finally, finally, i made them… in my little electric oven, too!

1/2 cup flour
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 cup cocoa
1/2 cup vanilla sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup coconut sugar
1 cup Greek yogurt
1 egg + 1 egg white
1/3 cup dark chocolate chips

The procedure is easy too! Mix the dry ingredients together. Add the yogurt and egss. Mix well. Stir in the chips. Put the batter in a lined 8-inch square pan, then bake in a preheated 350*F oven for 25 minutes or so. Do not over bake.

Done.

Snickers Peanut Butter Squared Cookies

If there is one candy that I cannot resist, it is Snickers Peanut Butter Squared.  It is not all that common locally so when I find them, I hoard!  My problem now is that we have too much and I can’t finish them all!!!  (and Hubby is not a fan of peanut butter…) so… I decided to convert them into… cookies!!!

The original recipe estimated a yield of 4 dozen.  Frankly, I don’t know how all of that would be consumed (even assuming that I was giving half away!!!) so I used only half the recipe (using all butter also instead of a butter-shortening mix) and added a little less than 2 cups of chopped up Peanut Butter Snickers!

1/2 cup butter
3/8 cup each brown and granulated sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/8 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1-1/2 cups chopped Snickers Peanut Butter Squared candies

Beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy.  Add egg and vanilla; mix well.  Stir in flour and baking soda.  Fold in chopped candies.  Drop by round tablespoons (a 1-oz scoop is very convenient) on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake in a preheated 375F oven for 8 to 11 minutes.


They are so yummmmyyyy! And the smell that wafted through the house as the cookies were baking – so heavenly!

I was done in less than an hour and the cookies were soft and chewy! The peanuts in the candy provided the crunch while the caramel and nougat in the candy bits provided just enough sweetness! I got about 30 cookies from half the recipe. I’m definitely making these cookies again!  Maybe I will try adding different kinds of chopped candy…

The original recipe is from this book:

The recipe can be found here, with a couple of its variants.

Banana Chocolate Chip Pancakes

The little girl had a friend over for playtime one afternoon.  Mid-afternoon, she runs to the kitchen and whispers to me –

“Mommy! You forgot to make us a snack!”

I didn’t forget.  I had planned to serve some store-bought cookies and juice.

The kid objected.  Vehemently.

She wanted a snack that I made… cooked… or baked…

Sigh.

Ok.

I thought… pancakes… those are fast…

But in the midst of preparing the pancakes, I saw a couple of bananas on the counter that looked like it was going bad… so I peeled them, mashed them then dumped them into the mix.

And as they were cooking on the stove, I saw the remains of some chocolate chips left over from long ago.  I started sprinkling the chips on the pancakes.

Lo and behold.  The pancakes were such a big hit, the little girl asked for the same thing for breakfast the next day!  I had to rush out to buy more bananas!

(Smile)

Here’s the recipe:

2 cups flour, sifted
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
2 to 4 tablespoons sugar (I used just 2 tablespoons)
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 medium eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup butter, melted

2 pieces over-ripe bananas, mashed
pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg
chocolate chips, as desired

Mix the dry ingredients together, then mix the wet ingredients together. Mix together dry and wet ingredients just until mixed. Add the mashed bananas. Do not overmix.

Cook on a griddle as you would regular pancakes. Sprinkle on some chocolate chips while you’re at it!

Then enjoy!

Mini Chocolate Cupcakes

For a quick fix, nothing beats a cupcake.  And, if you are in a hurry, mini cupcakes bake up even faster!

The chocolate fudge cupcake recipe I used (slightly varied to suit my personal taste and style) is from this site:  http://yourfoodtube.com/easy-italian-cupcakes-nutella-buttercream-tasty-dessert/

1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons dutch-processed cocoa
1/2 tablespoon instant coffee powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup melted butter
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon golden rum
1/2 cup hot water

Combine the dry ingredients together.  Add melted butter, eggs and rum.  Stir to mix.  Add hot water; stir.

Spoon the batter into 24 mini cupcake tins (lined with paper liners).  Bake in a preheated 350*F oven for about 14 to 16 minutes.  Cool in pans for about 10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the icing, I used an American-style Cocoa Buttercream.

Fast, easy, delicious!  Even if I barely had time!

 

Valentine Brownies!

Truth be told, these brownies were plain old brownies… you could even make the boxed variety… as long as you have a heart-shaped cutter… VOILA!  Heart-shaped Valentine Brownies!

00_heart-brownies

I did discover that it is easier to cut the brownies without them crumbling if they are well chilled… even a bit frozen even.

These were such a hit with the hubby and the kid!

 

Stovetop Granola

My problem with making granola is that it is always a large batch, aside from the fact that it takes quite a bit of time.  Then, because a batch is always big, we have problems finishing it!  A batch takes us almost a month to finish and towards the end, it deteriorates even just a little bit no matter how well it is stored.

The good news is that there is a easier, faster way to make granola, even if it is only for a single serving!  And no preheating the oven too!  This is granola cooked on the stove top!

Toast 1/3 cup rolled oats and 30 grams sunflower seeds tablespoons (chopped nuts if you prefer) in a wide, flat (nonstick) pan.  Add 1/2 tablespoon each of canola oil and organic honey and toss until everything is coated.  Stir occasionally until light brown, over low to medium heat (take care not to burn the mixture).  Add 1 teaspoon wheat germ.  Stir to mix completely.  Remove from heat, transfer to a plate to cool.  Add about 50 to 75 grams of your preferred mix of dried fruit (mine was a mix of raisins, diced apricots, dried apple, cranberries) and toss to combine.

I based my stovetop granola on the recipe found at http://food52.com/recipes/38602-stovetop-granola.