13 November 2009

3 Quick Awesome Chocolate Recipes for the Holidays



From Denny: The holiday season is upon us and I'm on the hunt to find easy convenient recipes for us to enjoy during the holidays. Baking should be fun - and most times fast - so we can get down to the business of savoring that chocolate bite with a cup of steaming hot tea or coffee! Who's with me on this? All together now, everyone raise their virtual hands all at once! :)

Shortbread is often a holiday tradition in Europe and America. This almond fudge topped version is a new and wonderful twist as another way to use chocolate rather than the standard dipping and coating a cookie. The Chocolate Kisses Cookie Torte is a real show-stopper in the eye candy department and perfect for the holidays. While they do require some chilling time they can easily be made a day or two ahead of your big day.

The Really Chocolate Chocolate Cake is an easy basic cake to make with all purpose flour so you don't have to jump through hoops or run to the grocery store to make it since it comes from basic ingredients. We all know who follow this blog that chocolate is one of the major food groups and is always stashed in some form in our pantries. :) All I do with all purpose flour is sift it a few times to fluff it up so the cake is lighter, similar to using cake flour. It isn't exactly the same but is close enough.

Another quick note for beginner bakers: When using eggs in any baking recipe (unless otherwise noted) the standard is to use size large eggs. Use AA grade eggs when you can find them as those are the freshest and will give the best flavor and loft to your cake.

As to vegetable oil, when combining with chocolate I go for a neutral tasting oil like canola (also called rapeseed in Europe, correct me if I'm wrong on that one) so that the chocolate shines through to be the main player in the taste game.





Almond Fudge Topped Shortbread

From: Hershey's
Ingredients:

1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) HERSHEY'S SPECIAL DARK Chocolate Chips or HERSHEY'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips (Ghiradelli brand is wonderful too - feel free to use your best quality chocolate available)
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk)
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Directions:

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease 13x9x2-inch baking pan.

2. Beat butter, powdered sugar and salt in large bowl until fluffy. Add flour; stir until well blended. With floured hands, press evenly into prepared pan.

3. Bake 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Shortly before end of baking time, melt chocolate chips with sweetened condensed milk in heavy saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly until chips are melted. Remove from heat; stir in almond extract. Spread evenly over baked shortbread. Sprinkle with almonds; press down firmly. Cool.

4. Refrigerate 3 hours or until firm. Cut into bars. Store covered at room temperature. 24 to 36 bars.





Easy MINI KISSES Cookie Torte

From: Hershey's

Ingredients:

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
1/2 cup strong coffee
1/3 cup shortening
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 package (11 oz.) pie crust mix
2-1/2 cups cold whipping cream
1-3/4 cups (10-oz. pkg.) HERSHEY'S MINI KISSES Brand Milk Chocolates, divided

Directions:

1. Place sugar, cocoa, coffee, shortening and cinnamon in large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at HIGH (100%) 1 minute; stir. Continue microwaving, 30 seconds at a time, until mixture is smooth and creamy when stirred with wire whisk. Remove 3/4 cup of mixture; set aside remaining mixture.

2. Stir together pie crust mix and reserved 3/4 cup cocoa mixture, blending until smooth. Shape into ball; cut into 4 pieces. Shape into patties; wrap in plastic wrap. Freeze for 10 minutes or just until firm, but pliable.

3. Meanwhile, heat oven to 350°F. Line two cookie sheets with foil; mark two 8-inch diameter circles on each. Place one patty in center of each circle; press with fingers into marked circles. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until almost set; cool completely on foil.

4. Gently peel foil away from cookies. In bowl with remaining cocoa mixture, pour whipping cream; beat until whipped cream consistency, about 3 minutes. Place 1 cookie on serving plate; place chocolates all around the outside edge of cookie. Place one-fourth of cream mixture in center; gently spread out to chocolates.

5. Repeat layering with remaining 3 cookies, cream mixture and chocolates, ending with cream. Place remaining chocolates all over top of torte. Cover: refrigerate 4 hours until filling has softened cookies. Refrigerate leftover torte. About 10 servings.





Really Chocolate Chocolate Cake

From:
Hershey's

Ingredients:

2 cups sugar
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water
CHOCOLATE FUDGE FROSTING (recipe follows)

Directions:

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.

2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of electric mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water. Pour batter into prepared pans.

3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out almost clean and the top springs back when touched gently. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost with CHOCOLATE FUDGE FROSTING. 8 to 10 servings.


CHOCOLATE FUDGE FROSTING

Ingredients:

3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) butter or margarine, melted
1 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions:

1. Place melted butter in large mixer bowl. Add cocoa, stirring until smooth.

2. Gradually beat in powdered sugar, milk and vanilla, beating until smooth. If necessary add additional milk, 1/2 teaspoon at a time, beating until spreading consistency. About 3 cups frosting.


*** Thanks for visiting, everyone, and come back often! :) Looks like I'll have to ramp up and start posting more than twice a week on the recipes during holiday season. And chocolate food hound is on the move...
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