chocolate

Always a big fan of the uber-talented David Lebovitz, I knew as soon as I read about these brownies I’d have to make them.  Typically I look at a recipe, via a photo of the finished product, before I attempt to make it, but in this case, is was the ingredients that caught my eye.

The Dulce de Leche (see recipe here) is basically caramelized sweetened condensed milk.  While available in the store, it’s so easy to make at home (and much cheaper), I’m not quite sure why anyone would actually buy this stuff instead of making it themselves.

Dulce de Leche Brownies

8 tbsp butter, cut into tbsp-size pieces
6 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup (0.75oz) unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
3 eggs
1 cup (7oz) sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup (5oz) flour
1 cup (3.5oz) toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped
1 cup Dulce de Leche

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line the baking pan with two sheets of foil placed perpendicular, with the edges overhanging the sides, so that they make a cross.  These will be used as handles to lift the brownies out of the pan.  Spray foil-lined pan with cooking spray.
  3. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the chocolate pieces and stir constantly over very low heat until the chocolate is melted. Remove from heat and whisk in the cocoa powder until smooth. Add in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the sugar, vanilla, then the flour. Mix in the nuts.
  4. Scrape half of the batter into the prepared pan.
  5. Drop one-third of the Dulce de Leche, evenly spaced, over the brownie batter, then drag a knife through to swirl it slightly.
  6. Spread the remaining brownie batter over, then drop spoonfuls of the remaining Dulce de Leche in dollops over the top of the brownie batter. Use a knife to swirl the Dulce de Leche slightly.
  7. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes. The brownies are done when the center feels just-slightly firm. Remove from the oven and cool completely.

Storage:These brownies actually become better the second day, and will keep well for up to 3 days.

Makes 12 brownies

Source: http://www.davidlebovitz.com/archives/2006/06/dulce_de_leche.html

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Peanut Butter Dulce de Leche Chocolate Cheesecake

Peanut Butter Dulce de Leche Chocolate Cheesecake

So the Dulce de Leche I made recently kept taunting me every time I opened the refrigerator, just daring me to open a jar, get a spoon, and start eating.  My will power, surprisingly enough, held that idea in check, but I knew it was only a matter of time, so I figured I outta do something with Dulce de Leche.

There’s no shortage of yummy things to make with Dulce de Leche, but when the Kuhn Rikon Push Pan I’d ordered arrived, I knew it had to be a cheesecake.  The Kuhn Rikon Push Pan has a silicon ring at the base which claims to eliminate the need wrap the pan in double foil when using a water bath.

The Dulce de Leche isn’t a super strong flavor, so I jacked up the flavor with some peanut butter, and topped the cheesecake with a chocolate ganache, as peanut butter/Dulce de Leche and chocolate are like the yin and yang of sweets.  With the sweetness of the Dulce de Leche and the peanut butter, I was able to tune back the amount of sugar typically used in a cheesecake. [continued after the jump...]

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Double-Chocolate Browned-Butter Rice Krispy Treats

Double-Chocolate Browned-Butter Rice Krispy Treats
A CheesecakeForBreakfast original recipe!

Who doesn’t love Rice Krispy Treats (RKT)?  Easy to make, cheap, and quick, there is a reason they’re a staple at just about every bake sale you run into.

But lets face it, they’re a simple tasting treat too.  Rice Krispy’s don’t have a lot of taste to them and neither do marshmallows.  I was looking to make a RKT that was not only simple/easy to make, but also make them a more adult-like treat.

Tried using whiskey, which made boozy RKT. RKT are not rum balls!

I noticed in Joanne Chung’s Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston’s Flour Bakery + Cafe cookbook (read my review here, or do yourself a favor and order the book here) she uses brown butter to add some depth to her RKT.  Knowing how well the browned butter worked in my chocolate chip recipe, I made a batch using browned butter.  Better, but still not what I was looking for, so I added the browned butter to my bag of tricks and kept searching.

Figuring chocolate was what I was looking for, I melted some chocolate in with the marshmallows and butter.  The taste was there, but with the amount of chocolate I had to add, the texture suffered.  They were no longer light and airy, the hallmark of RKT.

I switched to using chocolate Rice Krispies, but the chocolate flavor just wasn’t strong enough.

Finally, I realized that with the chocolate Rice Krispies, I could still add some real chocolate without affecting the texture of the RKT.  With the nuttiness of of the browned butter, and the double punch of chocolate Rice Krispies and real chocolate, I had a winner.

The only hard part about these RKT was getting a photo of them before they were all gone! [continued after the jump...]

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Peanut Butter and Chocolate Rice Krispy Treats

Rice Krispy treats are about the easiest thing in the world to make, especially  if you use the microwave.  With the reception I always get when I make them, you would think that it takes hours to make them, not the 10 minutes (if that).

I’ve tried making peanut butter Rice Krispy treats before by adding peanut butter to the butter/marshmallow mixture, but while they taste great, they are a little tough, and one of the things I love about Rice Krispy treats is the texture, the almost melt-in-your-mouth softness.  Texture won out over taste, so if I wanted peanut butter Rice Krispy treat, I’d just smear peanut butter on the top.  Not very sophisticated, but it got the job done….somewhat….

One of the food blogs I like to read when I have the chance, Brown Eyed Baker, had a recipe for peanut butter Rice Krispy treats, which included both peanut butter, AND peanut butter cups!

I tried Michelle’s recipe, but as she said in the notes, store them in the refrigerator if your house runs warm (or it’s August, as in my case).  Well, Rice Krispy treats become bricks when refrigerated, so that wasn’t going to cut it.

I tried melting some peanut butter chips with the peanut butter to make it firmer, but the artificial taste of the “peanut butter” chips made the topping taste gross.  Using chocolate with the peanut butter, worked, but by the time I got enough chocolate in with the peanut butter to make it firm enough, the chocolate overpowered the taste of the peanut butter.

What I wanted was a ganache-like consistency for the peanut butter topping.  Then it hit me: make a peanut butter ganache.  Well, easier said than done, as I was quickly back to the problem of the chocolate overpowering the taste of the peanut butter and getting the right consistency.  Finally, I got the right quantities of peanut butter, chocolate, cream, and butter for both the taste and the consistency I wanted.

Peanut Butter Cup Rice Krispies Treats

6 cups Rice Krispies
10oz (1 bag) marshmallows
4 tbsp (2oz) butter

12oz bag miniature peanut butter cups, quartered
1/2 cup heavy cream, scalded
2 tbsp butter
3/4 cup peanut butter
8oz semi-sweet chocolate

3oz dark/bittersweet chocolate

  1. Butter/spray with cooking spray, a 9×13″ pan.
  2. Measure the cereal into a large mixing bowl and set aside. Melt the marshmallows and butter together in a medium saucepan over medium heat (or in the microwave for about 3 minutes, but keep watch so the marshmallows don’t puff over the sides of the bowl!). Pour the melted marshmallow mixture over the cereal and mix well so the cereal is coated. Pour into the prepared pan and use a buttered piece of wax paper (or a buttered spatula) to press evenly into pan.
  3. Once the marshmallow mixture is cool, evenly distribute the chopped peanut butter cups over the marshmallow mixture.
  4. In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to scalding temperature. In a large bowl, place the chocolate chips and butter. Once the cream is scalding, pour over chocolate and let sit for about 30 seconds. With a spatula, slowly stir the chocolate from the center until melted. Immediately add the peanut butter and stir until smooth Pour and evenly the peanut butter ganache over the marshmallow mixture.
  5. Melt the dark/bittersweet chocolate in the microwave at 50% power for about 1-2 minutes; stir until smooth. Using the tines of a fork, drizzle the melted chocolate across the top. Allow to cool, cut and serve.

Notes:

  • Unlike every other recipe here, do NOT use natural peanut butter, or the ganache won’t set properly.
  • Put the peanut butter cups in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes and they will be easier to open.
  • Don’t use a wire wisk when making the ganache, or you’ll end up with a ball of peanut butter in the center of the wisk
  • A small offset spatula works great for spreading the ganache around and into the corners.

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Chocolate Chunkers

Lemme see, chocolate, chocolate, even more chocolate, and butter. That’s about where I stopped reading and started making these cookies.

Another receipe from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking From My Home to Yours, my (so far) top cookbook addition of 2010.

These are very simple to make and bake. I usually make a double batch as these go FAST and everyone seems to love them, even people who aren’t that much into chocolate (yes, I was as surprised as you probably are that such people exist). [continued after the jump...]

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream

Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream

I picked up a copy of David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop a few months ago (see my review here) and promptly made some ice cream.  For the sake of my waistline, I put the book (and ice cream maker) away.  After having dug the ice cream maker out for last month’s Daring Bakers challenge, and with summer heat like we haven’t seen in a long time, I figured it was time to get David’s book out and try some more flavors.

It didn’t take long before I came across this recipe and knew it was the one to make.  How can you go wrong with chocolate, peanut butter, and ice cream?

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Ice Cream

2 cups half and half
1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch processed cocoa powder
1/2 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 cup smooth all natural peanut butter (see my notes below for details)

Whisk together the half and half , cocoa powder, sugar, and salt in a large saucepan.  Heat the mixture, whisking frequently, until it comes to a full rolling boil.  Remove from heat and whisk in the peanut butter, stirring until the peanut butter melts and the mixture is thoroughly combined.

Refrigerate the mixture for 1 hour, then follow the directions of your ice cream maker to make the ice cream.

Makes about 1 quart.

Note: Use only all natural peanut butter, the kind that consists of peanuts and salt.  If there are any other ingredients, the ice cream will taste funny.  While I love Skippy Super Chunky peanut butter in a PB&J, when you cook/bake with peanut butter, make sure you use all natural peanut butter.

Source: The Perfect Scoop (p.30) by David Lebovitz

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