Chocolate Orange Spiced Brownies

brownie3

I rarely use the word “Sexy” to describe food, especially the things I make. Mostly because I’m totally immature and it would make me giggle because I feel ridiculous saying it. But if I’m going to make an exception of course it’s going to be chocolate related. I love chocolate. I really really love chocolate. In the short time my baby blog has been around I have mentioned this a bunch so im guessing you get the picture. So when the holidays come (Valentines day, Easter, etc) I am a complete mess. CHOCOLATE, CHOCOLATE EVERYWHERE!! Help me please!

Just today i went strolling through the store and my eyes were assaulted with bright-colored packages of sweets on display for poor schmucks like me. Because I am but a mere mortal I will undoubtedly give into the power of the chocolate and pretty packaging. So in the spirit Chocoholics venting I’m posting but of course a chocolatey, fudgy brownie recipe (with a little something extra going on). They are completely decadent and rich with a hint of orange and spice. I am completely in love with them.

I have been toying with the idea for these brownies for ages now. It started with my love of Terry Chocolate Oranges. I’m not sure if anybody remembers those, but it was a huge hunk of chocolate shaped like an orange and in this pretty aluminum wrapping. When you opened them you got to whack them really hard on the table and the pieces would fall away in the shape of orange slices. I wonder if the even still sell them. Hmmmm…… I haven’t seen these those things in forever.

So I’m calling all my fellow chocolate lovers to unite and take a walk on the dark side, or in this case the dark and spicy side. Are you ready to add a little spice to your life ( INSERT SPICE GIRLS PUN HERE) or at least to your chocolate?
These brownies are completely killer! It’s not just a brownie dare i say it is an experience. And don’t panic at the addition of the cayenne pepper it seems odd but it totally helps to make the brownie.

brownie1

Spiced Orange Chocolate Brownies

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon espresso powder
2 eggs, rm temperature
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Zest of 1 large Orange

*Orange Chocolate Ganache (Optional)

*Use the recipe for the orange chocolate ganache filling and just leave out the spices

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 8×8 baking pan with aluminum foil or just spray it really well. In a small bowl whisk together the flour, cinnamon, cayenne and salt. Set aside.
2. Place the chocolate and butter in a medium heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water (double boiler). Stir until the mixture is completely melted and smooth. Allow to cool slightly. Pour the chocolate mixture into a larger bowl and whisk in espresso powder and sugars until smooth. Whisk in the eggs one at a time, then whisk in the vanilla and orange zest.
3. Whisk in the flour mixture until smooth and pour into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes.
While the Brownies are cooling , make the *Orange Chocolate Ganache. Pour over the top of the brownies and allow the ganache to set ( you can place them in the fridge if you like). Cut them into whatever size or shape your little heart desires and inhale…..uhhh….i mean enjoy them.

Sweet Potato Cobbler

scobbler2

Did you know February was National Sweet Potato month? I had no idea! Do you not know how deep my love for sweet potatoes goes…hmmm…. Come to think of it you probably don’t. I eat them baked and plain, I eat them in pie, I eat them in soup, I eat them here and there, I will eat them anywhere. Well now I have a whole month to convert….uhh….I mean share my love of them with you. Every Thursday in February I will be posting recipe with sweet potatoes.

So how about we do a little inappropriate food daydreaming right now. Close your eyes and picture a bubbling hot cobbler coming from the oven. Now picture yourself grabbing a huge bowl and scooping the piping hot goodness into it, but wait you’re not done. Go to the freezer and get that tub of vanilla ice cream and place a big ole scoop on top. Oh yeah, that ought to get your inner Homer Simpson going, I know it did mine. Excuse me while I take a minute to wipe my keyboard off a little. *clears throat* there we go…. All better now.
Sooo now that you have that image going on, go ahead and make the cobbler full of sweet, cinnamony sweet potatoes, and commence with more drooling. Im really giddy about this recipe. I just love it so much. This insane cold weather makes for some weekends snuggled warm in your house and to me this is like a major comfort dessert.

I know for most people when you hear “Cobbler”, especially if you are born and raised in the south like I am, your mind automatically goes to peach cobbler. Aint nothing wrong with that but even if you are a die-hard peach cobbler fan and trust me I know some , I bet I can convert you or at the very least get you to expand your horizons because you have not truly lived until you’ve tried this sweet potato cobbler.
*Im thinking this might be really good with a homemade cinnamon ice cream on top. Maybe ill try that next time.

2 large sweet potatoes
½ cup sugar
½ cup light brown sugar
1 egg
¼ cup melted butter, cooled
1 ½ teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup self-rising flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Wash the sweet potatoes and place on a pan. Bake the sweet potatoes for 1 hour or until they are soft enough to pierce with a fork. Allow them to cool completely.
2. Remove the skin from the sweet potatoes and place them in the bowl of an electric mixer or a large bowl using a hand mixer. Add the sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, egg, and vanilla. Mix together on low speed until smooth. Pour the mixture into a sprayed ore buttered deep 8 x8 baking dish. (If you don’t have a deep enough dish you can use a 9×13 inch baking dish).
3. In a medium sized bowl combine the flour, sugar, milk, and 1 teaspoon vanilla and whisk until smooth. Pour the mixture on top of the sweet potato mixture.
4. Reduce heat to 350 degrees. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until crust is lightly browned.

Chocolate Dipped Shortbread Hearts

heart3

So it seems that time of year is slowly creeping up on us. You know the one. It involves staring at a sea of pink and red in just about every store you enter. Everything is heart shaped and/or covered in chocolate. (FYI: I’m totally all for the covered in chocolate part).  And you can’t walk two feet without tripping over roses, balloons and stuffed animals holding hearts with cutesy messages on them like “I love you Bear-y much”.

Yes good people it is Valentine’s Day and if you’re single like me it can kind of be the pits, but I’ve decided there’s no point in being bitter about it. Valentine’s Day is one those holidays that if you let it can make you feel kind of lonely if you’re not part of a twosome. That’s not what I’m going for this year. I’m going to embrace it and I’m going to celebrate it and I’m going to bake cookies.

heart2

Ill probably take them to work and pass them out. Just because I don’t have a valentine doesn’t mean I can’t spread some love. That’s the outlook I’m trying to go with this year. Focus on the Positive and not the Negative. And who’s to say me being single is a negative thing right now. With all the changes I have going on in my life recently my focus is being pulled in so many directions it really wouldn’t be fair to take on a relationship right now.

So maybe this year I’m not celebrating being part of a couple or having one specific valentine, I still can celebrate the people in my life that I love and they can all be my Valentine. That includes you guys!

And to show you just how much I love you I’m going to share these amazing, buttery shortbread cookies. And because I’m in a festive mood, let’s make them pink and heart shaped. And to show how much I really love you, let’s dip them in chocolate! Your welcome!!

Chocolate dipped shortbread hearts

1 ½  cup all purpose flour

½ cup cornstarch

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter rm temperature

1 cup powdered sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla

2-3 drops pink food coloring (optional)

1 – 12 oz. bag Ghirardelli dark chocolate melting wafers

Sprinkles for decorating

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt. Whisk together to combine and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer or with a hand mixer cream the butter and powdered sugar until fluffy. Add the vanilla and beat to combine. Add the drops of pink food coloring.
  3. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture and mix until just combined.
  4. Chill the shortbread dough for 30 minutes. ( this is just to make handling dough easier if dough is manageable you can skip this step)
  5.  Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and Roll out  about ½ inch thick and cut out heart shapes.
  6. Place the cookies on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet pan. Place the pan in the refrigerator and let the cookies chill for 30 minutes.
  7. Once the cookies have chilled, bake for 15 minutes or until cookies are set. Place cookies on a wire rack and let cool completely before dipping.

For dipping:

  1. .  To melt, place the Chocolate in top pan of a double boiler or in bowl placed over simmering water. Stir constantly until smooth and melted.
  2. Dip each cooled cookie in the dark chocolate candy coating making sure only to coat half of the cookie. Remove it from the chocolate lifting up, letting the excess drip back into the bowl. Place the dipped cookie on a parchment paper lined sheet pan. Drop a few of your festive sprinkles on top of the chocolate.  Let the chocolate set for about 15 minutes or if you want faster result you can pop them in the fridge until the chocolate is set. Repeat this process with the rest of cookies.

heart1

 

Biscoff Cake Truffles

btruffle1

So the Biscoff love affair continues with these cake truffles, or “cruffles. I’m not really sure if people are still calling them that.
I originally wanted to post these around Christmas time as part of the Christmas baking “mania”, because I had fully intended to box them up pretty and give them out as gifts. Sadly I did not get to do half as much baking this year as I wanted to, so I guess that just means next year I have to go completely overboard. (Consider this a warning to my friends and family)
I still think these would make a really sweet gift (yes pun intended) for someone, especially a biscoff lover, or just make a batch of em and stuff your face. If I haven’t said it already this is a judge free zone people. I fully intend to stuff my face with a few while binge watching Community DVDs and having inappropriate thoughts about Donald Glover. (Sorry, was that TMI)…. It doesn’t have to be any special reasons just make em because they’re yummy and you want to.
I chose to use white cake mix. It just seemed like it was much easier especially since the cake is going to be crumbled up anyway, but you can definitely use your favorite scratch cake recipe if you have one. It doesn’t even have to be white cake either.
Just as a side note I want to thank those of you who have been supporting the blog. It means more to me than you’ll ever know…..and in 2014 I’m committed to working harder to make it even better. The start of this year brings in a couple of major changes for me and I’m trying to adjust. I just started a new job, a new furry friend, and working towards finding a new place. And I have some cool new things I want to do with the blog. I’m feeling like im in a bit of a chaotic state right now, but im slowly getting it together.

btruffles3

Biscoff Cake Truffles
For the cake:
1 box white mix ( I used Duncan hines)
3 egg white
1 cup water
¼ cup vegetable oil
For the Biscoff frosting:
½ cup Biscoff Spread
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 ½ cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk

1 cup Biscoff cookie crumbs

1-12 oz bag Ghiradelli White Chocolate Melting wafers
½ cup Biscoff cookie crumbs for topping truffles

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13 x 9 inch baking pan and set aside.
2. In large mixing bowl blend cake mix, water, egg whites and oil at low speed for 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium and blend for 2 minutes. Pour batter into the greased pan and bake for about 15 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove cake from oven and set aside to cool completely.
3. While cake is cooling. Mix together the frosting.
4. For the frosting: Beat the softened butter, and biscoff spread together until smooth. Add the vanilla. With the mixer on low add the powdered sugar and blend until smooth. Add the milk and blend until smooth.
5. In a large bowl crumble the cooled cake and work with your hands until its in small pieces
6. Scrape ¾ of the frosting and ½ cup Biscoff cookie crumbs into the bowl and stir with rubber spatula or large wooden spoon until well combined. The mixture should hold together if you squeeze a ball of it between your fingers. If mixture seems too dry you can add more of the frosting.
7. Using a small ice cream scoop, scoop out small balls of cake and roll between your palms until smooth round is formed. Place the formed cake truffles on a parchment paper or wax paper lined baking sheet. Once all the truffles are shaped place them in the refrigerator to chill until firm.
8. While the cake truffles are chilling you can melt the white chocolate candy coating. To melt the candy coating place the candy coating in top pan of a double boiler or in bowl placed over simmering water. Stir constantly until smooth and melted.
9. Using a fork dip the cake truffles in the melted white chocolate candy coating. Remove it from the chocolate lifting up, letting the excess drip back into the bowl. Drag the bottom across the lip of the bowl. Place the dipped cake truffle back on the parchment lined paper. Sprinkle the top with Biscoff cookie crumbs. Repeat this process with the rest of the truffles.
10. Refrigerate until set. About 20 minutes.

btruffles2

HAPPY (VERY, VERY) BELATED NEW YEAR!!!!

Hey Guys! It a New year! Arent you excited? Although I didn’t make any resolutions, (I kinda gave up on those a long time ago), I did decide to make some changes for the better. Or at least try my best to.

global wonderland 4

How did you guys celebrate bringing  the new year. Did you stay snuggled in with that special someone counting down, did you go to a massive party and kiss a random stranger at midnight ( no one’s judging), However you spent it im hoping you enjoyed it.

This is probably the first new year in a long time that I was actually out and about. Yes I am an old lady trapped in a young person’s body.  My mom and i usually throw some snacks together and dance the night away to whatever party is happening on the TV. Yeah….she’s a partyer from waay back so she ususally out parties me.

But this year I was invited to hang out with some girlfriends at this amazing event called The Global Winter Wonderland. I Had a blast!! Even though it was outside and it was freezing cold it was totally worth it.

Global wonderland    global wonderland3

It was a huge celebration of lights with these gorgeous and enormous displays of some the worlds most famous landmarks. I know my words probably aren’t doing it any justice so of course im posting these pictures I took.

global wonderland1  DSCN1387

There was a huge tent filled with vendors selling food from many different countries and of course my favorite Fair food. If you dangle funnel cake in front of me I will pretty much follow you anywhere.

I started the new year off being courageous….i hate roller coasters with the burning passion of a thousand suns.(hmmm that may be a bit dramatic) but somehow I was coaxed into getting on not one but TWO! Including one whose sole purpose was to spin and spin and spin and spin…okay I just got dizzy and nauseous all over again.

global wonderland6           global wonderland5

But to sum it all up, Gorgeous view, Good company, Funnel cake, and a show of bravery…..not a bad way to celebrate bringing in the new year!

global wonderland7     global wonderland 10

global wonderland8        global wonderland9  global wonderland2

Peppermint Bark Rice Crispy Treat

pbarkcrispies

I can admit that sometimes I can be an impulsive shopper. Usually when I’m strolling down the aisles of the groceries stores (usually the snack aisles) and I see something new that peaks my interest I grab it. Then most of the time I eat it once and think “ehh…” and then it sits in my pantry until I forget about it. But knowing this ridiculously pattern I got extremely excited when I saw these Peppermint Marshmallows on a recent trip to Wal-Mart. I think I actually went “ooh” very loudly and yes I got some strange looks but hey wouldn’t be the first time.

pmintmallows

The first thing I thought about was a giant cup of hot cocoa loaded with peppermint marshmallows and how perfect that sounded especially with the colder weather moving in. The next thought was just stuffing them in my mouth and then I kinda ran outta options.

And then I remembered a box of rice crispies sitting in my pantry thought “ these would make some awesome rice crispy treats….and I can drizzle them in dark and white chocolate and sprinkle them with crushed peppermint….ooh peppermint bark rice crispies” yep….i just took you through my entire thought process. I know, deep right!?

These were so good and so easy and so perfect for the holidays! I know most of you   are already at the finishing line of the holiday baking marathon and I’m way in the back shouting “Hey guys, wait up” but I still wanted to share this with you guys. My super crazy insane work schedule has kept me out of the marathon but I’m determined to get in there anyway.

So as this post goes up very close to Christmas, I just want to wish everyone a Happy Holidays from Mocha Baker Girl!( Just pretend like I rang your doorbell and handed you a pretty holiday tin filled with these and gave you a big hug!)

Peppermint Bark Rice Crispys

¼ cup margarine

4 cups Jet-Puffed miniature peppermint marshmallows

1 teaspoon peppermint extract

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

6 cups Cripsy Rice Cereal

4 oz dark chocolate, chopped

4oz white chocolate, chopped

½ cup crushed peppermint candies

  1. Generously spray or butter a 13 by 9 inch baking pan. set aside.
  2. In a large saucepan on medium heat place the margarine. When margarine is completely melted add the marshmallows and stir constantly until melted. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the peppermint extract, vanilla and the cereal working quickly.
  3. Stir until all the cereal is coated evenly and press into a baking pan. ( I like to use my hands, just make sure your hands are sprayed or buttered really well)
  4. Allow rice crispys to cool .* In a small bowl over a small saucepan of simmering water place the dark chocolate and stir until melted. Using a spoon drizzle the melted chocolate over the rice crispy. Place in the freezer for 5 minutes. In another small bowl over the saucepan of simmering water place the white chocolate and stir until melted. Using a spoon drizzle the white chocolate over the rice crispy and then sprinkle with the crushed peppermint.
  5. Place in the refrigerator and cool until chocolate is set. Once cool cut into squares or other desired shape.

*if you prefer you can melt the chocolate in the microwave in a microwavable bowl at 10 second intervals, stirring after each 10 seconds. You can also use the melting chocolate (chocolate bark).

Chocolate Molasses Crinkle Cookie

Molasses Cookiemakes about 3 1/2 dozen cookies

Do you ever look through your pantry and come across something you bought for a recipe ages ago.  You only needed a little bit and once you used it, it ended up shoved to the back of the pantry or cabinet more than likely never to be used again. This is basically what happened to me when searching through my pantry I found a practically full jar of molasses. So I decided to try my best not to be the waster that I can be sometimes (Hey! Don’t judge I’m working on it) and instantly started to brain storm some ideas for treats I could use molasses in.

The first thing that came to mind was gingersnaps, but I have to say unless they are crushed and used as a crust for something like cheesecake or Alton Brown’s City Ham recipe I’m not really a big fan. But I still liked the idea of a molasses cookie; especially with the holiday season approaching I could always use some new holiday cookie ideas.

Molasses has a very strong and distinct flavor in fact I find kind of harsh, which I guess is why I don’t use it a lot. I figured if I added chocolate it might help to bring help take away some of the harshness, plus I never pass up the opportunity to throw chocolate into a recipe. I took the basic flavors and spices of the traditional molasses cookie and incorporated chocolate and the outcome was amazing. Let’s face it Chocolate makes everything better. The result was a soft and chewy chocolate cookie with a hint of spice. These cookies taste incredible and with the cold weather moving in on some of us are perfect with big cup of hot cocoa!

With the holiday season approaching I know all you awesome people are already in full blown holiday cookie mode, I would love to know what Holiday cookies are you guys making this year?

Chocolate Molasses Crinkle Cookie

1 ½ cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 ½ teaspoon ginger

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon nutmeg

¼ teaspoon cloves

¾ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled

½ cup granulated sugar plus additional 1/3 cup set aside

½ cup light brown sugar

1 egg

¼ cup molasses

1 cup Chocolate Chips (I used Ghirardelli Bittersweet chips)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In medium bowl whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves and set aside.
  3. In bowl of electric mixer combine melted butter, brown sugar and ½ cup granulated sugar. On medium speed mix until well combined and sugar is dissolved (about 3 minutes).  Reduce speed of mixer and add egg. When egg is fully incorporated, turn the mixer off and add the molasses. I find that if I add the molasses with while the mixer is still going most of it ends up around the top sides of the bowl.
  4. Turn the mixer back on low speed and mix until the molasses is fully incorporated. With the mixer still on low speed add the dry ingredients and the chocolate chips and mix until just combined.
  5. Cover mixing bowl with plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator for 1 hour.
  6. Place the remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a small bowl and set aside.
  7. Once dough has chilled using a small ice cream scoop or tablespoon to scoop dough into palm of hand and roll into a ball. Then roll each ball of dough into the small bowl of sugar making sure it is completely coated  and place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet about 1 to 1 1 ½ inches apart. Bake in preheat oven for 9 to 10 minutes. Cookies will be puffy when you remove from the oven but will collapse while they are cooling.
  8. Let cookies cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.