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Coconut, Almond and Chocolate Bars

coconut

Nutty, chewy and chocolaty, these bars hit every craving. A toasty almond crust is topped with a creamy coconut and dark chocolate filling, and finished with a thick bittersweet glaze. This recipe calls for cream of coconut; similar to condensed milk, it can be found on the baking or drink aisle in most well-stocked supermarkets.

Coconut, Almond and Chocolate Bars

For the crust:

1 cup (5 oz./155 g) all-purpose flour

1/4 cup (2 oz./60 g) firmly packed dark brown sugar

1/4 tsp. kosher salt

6 Tbs. (3/4 stick) (3 oz./90 g) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

3/4 cup (3 1/4 oz./105 g) slivered almonds, toasted and chopped

 

For the filling:

1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) canned cream of coconut

3 oz. (90 g) bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1/4 cup (2 oz./60 g) sour cream

4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) (2 oz./60 g) unsalted butter

1 1/4 cups (5 oz./155 g) unsweetened flaked coconut

 

For the glaze:

3 Tbs. heavy cream

3 Tbs. unsalted butter

3 1/2 oz. (105 g) bittersweet chocolate, chopped

 

Preheat an oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter an 8-inch (20-cm) square baking pan and line with parchment paper, leaving an overhang of about 2 inches (5 cm) on all sides. Butter the parchment.

 

To make the crust, in a food processor, combine the flour, brown sugar and salt and process to mix well. Add the butter and almonds and process until the texture resembles fine meal. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan and press firmly into the bottom. Bake until the crust is barely firm to the touch, about 40 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely.

 

Meanwhile, make the filling: In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the cream of coconut to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low, add the chocolate and stir constantly until melted. Transfer to a bowl. Add the sour cream and butter and stir until melted and smooth. Stir in the flaked coconut. Cover and refrigerate for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Spoon the filling into the cooled crust, smooth the top and refrigerate while you make the glaze.

 

To make the glaze, in a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the cream and butter to a simmer, stirring frequently. Reduce the heat to low, add the chocolate and stir until melted and smooth. Pour the hot glaze over the filling and spread to cover it evenly. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

 

Using the parchment, lift the dessert from the pan. Cut into bars and serve. Makes 12 to 16 bars.

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Lemon Chiffon Gingersnap Pie

gingersnap

Lemon chiffon pie is a timeless dessert, filled with rich, tangy pudding lightened by whipped cream. Give this classic a wintry twist with a spicy gingersnap crust. A sealable plastic bag and a rolling pin make short work of crushing the cookies into crumbs.

Lemon Chiffon Gingersnap Pie

1 1/4 cups (4 oz./125 g.) gingersnap cookie crumbs

5 Tbs. (2 1/2 oz./75 g.) unsalted butter, melted

3/4 cup (6 oz./185 g.) plus 3 Tbs. granulated sugar

2 1/4 tsp. (1 package) unflavored powdered gelatin

1/8 tsp. kosher salt

3/4 cup (6 fl. oz./180 ml.) fresh lemon juice, strained

1 Tbs. finely grated orange zest

4 large egg yolks, lightly beaten

1 1/4 cups (10 fl. oz./310 ml.) heavy cream

1/4 cup (1 oz./30 g.) confectioners’ sugar

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). In a bowl, stir together the crumbs, butter and 3 tablespoons granulated sugar until the crumbs are evenly moistened. Pat the crumb mixture firmly and evenly into the bottom and all the way up the sides of a 9-inch (23-cm.) pie pan or dish. Bake until the crust is firm, 5-7 minutes.

Pour 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml.) cold water into a saucepan and sprinkle with the gelatin. Let stand until the gelatin softens and swells, 5-10 minutes. Stir in the 3/4 cup granulated sugar, salt, lemon juice, orange zest and egg yolks; the mixture will be lumpy. Cook over medium heat, stirring continuously, until the gelatin melts and the mixture thickens, 6-8 minutes. Do not allow the mixture to boil. Set the saucepan in an ice bath until the mixture is cool to the touch.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, whip the cream and confectioners’ sugar on medium-high speed until thick, soft peaks form. Spoon the whipped cream into the gelatin mixture and fold together with a rubber spatula until smooth. Pour into the prepared crust, smoothing the top.

Refrigerate the pie until chilled and firm, 3-4 hours. Let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes before serving. Serves 6-8.

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Walnut–Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

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No one can resist a thick slice of freshly baked banana bread, especially when it’s studded with melting chocolate chips and toasty walnuts. Baking this bread is a good way to take advantage of fruit that has been languishing on the counter throughout the busy week. The riper the bananas, the sweeter and more delicious the bread will be.

 

Walnut–Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

3 very ripe bananas, peeled

2 cups (10 oz./315 g) all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1⁄4 tsp. fine sea salt

6 Tbs. (3 oz./90 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

3⁄4 cup (6 oz./185 g) sugar

2 eggs, beaten

1⁄2 cup (4 oz./125 g) sour cream, at room temperature

1 cup (6 oz./185 g) semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup (4 oz./125 g) coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted

Preheat an oven to 350°F (180°C). Lightly butter a 9-by-5-inch (23-by-13-cm) loaf pan. Line the bottom and long sides of the pan with parchment paper. Butter the top of the parchment. Dust the pan with flour, tapping out the excess.

 

Using a fork, mash the bananas in a bowl; you should have about 1 cup (8 oz./250 g). In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt.

In a third bowl, using a handheld mixer on high speed, beat together the butter and sugar until light in color and texture, about 3 minutes. Gradually beat in the eggs and then the mashed bananas. Reduce the
speed to low and add the flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with the sour cream in 2 additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture and stopping to scrape down the bowl as needed, beating until smooth. Fold in the chocolate chips and half of the walnuts. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle the remaining walnuts on top.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Turn out onto the rack and remove the paper. Invert again, and let cool completely. Cut into slices and serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 1 loaf.

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Dark Chocolate Ganache Tart

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This dramatic dessert can be assembled a day ahead of serving, making it the perfect choice to prepare for a dinner party. Just remember to remove it from the refrigerator 15 to 30 minutes before serving to allow it come to the ideal temperature. Since this dessert is all about the chocolate, use a high-quality brand such as Scharffen Berger or Valrhona.

 

Dark Chocolate Ganache Tart

1 egg yolk

2 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. ice water

3 tsp. vanilla extract

1 1⁄4 cups (6 1/2 oz./200 g) all-purpose flour

1⁄3 cup (3 oz./90 g) sugar

1/4 cup (3/4 oz./20 g) cocoa powder

1⁄4 tsp. salt

10 Tbs. (5 oz./150 g) cold unsalted butter

10 oz. (315 g) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml) heavy cream

Fleur de sel to taste

In a small bowl, stir together the egg yolk, water and 2 tsp. of the vanilla; set aside.

In a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater, stir together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder and salt on low speed. Add the butter, increase the speed to medium-low and mix until the texture resembles coarse cornmeal, with butter pieces no larger than small peas. Add the egg mixture and beat just until the dough pulls together.

Transfer the dough to a work surface and flatten into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 1 hour.

Preheat an oven to 350°F (180°C).

On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into a 20-by-8-inch (50-by-20-cm) rectangle. Transfer to a 13-by-4-inch (33-by-10-cm) tart pan with a removable bottom. Press the dough into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Cut off any overhanging dough and prick the dough in several places with a fork.

Line the dough with parchment paper and fill with pie weights. Bake until the sides are cooked through and the bottom is almost cooked through and slightly flaky, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the pie weights and parchment and continue to cook until the bottom is dry and set, about 8 minutes more. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool.

Cut the remaining 2 Tbs. butter into small pieces and put in a heatproof bowl along with the chocolate. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the cream to a boil. As soon as it comes to a boil, remove the cream from the heat and pour it over the chocolate and butter. Let stand for 2 minutes, add the remaining 1 tsp. vanilla extract and whisk until smooth.

Carefully pour the chocolate ganache into the prepared tart shell. Sprinkle with fleur de sel to taste and refrigerate the tart until the filling is set, about 1 hour. Remove the tart from the refrigerator about 15 minutes before serving. Serves 8 to 10.

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Chocolate-Cherry Biscotti with Almonds

biscotti

Biscotti are one of those treats you see in a glass jar on the counter in a café or in the display case in a
bakery but may not consider making at home. They’re actually quite easy to make, and they store well.
Biscotti are forgiving, too, since they are meant to be hard, inviting dips into coffee, tea, milk or dessert wine.

 

Chocolate-Cherry Biscotti with Almonds

1/2 cup (2 1/2 oz./75 g) slivered blanched almonds

3/4 cup (4 1/2 oz./140 g) unsweetened dried cherries

3 Tbs. kirsch

2 3/4 cups (14 oz./440 g) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

1/4 cup (3/4 oz./20 g) unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp. baking powder

1/8 tsp. salt

3 large eggs

1 cup (8 oz./250 g) sugar

1 tsp. pure almond extract

6 oz. (185 g) semisweet chocolate, very finely chopped

 

Preheat an oven to 325°F (165°C). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

 

In a small, dry frying pan, toast the almonds over medium heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Pour onto a plate to cool. Set aside.

 

In a small bowl, combine the cherries and kirsch and toss to coat the cherries. Set aside.

 

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl, beat the eggs with the sugar and almond extract until well blended and lightened in color. Add the flour
mixture and chocolate and beat until a dough forms. Drain the cherries. Scatter the cherries and almonds on top of the dough and fold in until evenly distributed.

 

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and divide in half. Shape each portion into a
flattish log about 3 inches (7.5 cm) wide, 8 inches (20 cm) long, and 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick. Arrange the 2 dough logs on 1 of the prepared baking sheets, leaving at least 1 inch (2.5 cm) of space around them on all sides.

 

Bake until firm to the touch, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool on the pan on a wire rack until cool enough to handle, then transfer to a large cutting board. Using a large serrated knife, using a gentle sawing motion, cut the logs crosswise on a slight diagonal into slices about 1/2 inch (12 mm) wide.

 

Divide the biscotti between the 2 baking sheets, arranging them on a cut side. Return to the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Turn over the biscotti and continue to bake until dry to the touch, about 10 minutes longer. Let cool on the pans on wire racks. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 month. Makes about 2 1/2 dozen.

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15 Decadent Chocolate Desserts

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It’s National Chocolate Day! Time to treat your inner chocoholic to something rich, decadent and melt-in-your-mouth chocolatey. These recipes will do the trick.

 

Chocolate Chip-Pecan BarsChocolate Chip-Pecan Bars
Chocolate chips and pecans add texture and contrast to this big batch of blondies — a delicious twist on on the classic chocolate chip cookie.
Dark Chocolate CupcakesDark Chocolate Cupcakes
When all you want is a simple, classic chocolate cupcake, this recipe does the trick. Moist, tender dark chocolate cake topped with smooth, creamy dark chocolate frosting feeds the chocoholic in all of us.
Chocolate-Dipped Coconut MacaroonsChocolate-Dipped Coconut Macaroons
These chewy coconut stacks are great make-ahead morsels, as they keep well for several days. Dipping them into dark chocolate only makes them more decadent.
Dark Chocolate PuddingDark Chocolate Pudding
This bittersweet chocolate pudding is easy to adapt. You can turn it into a parfait with layers of whipped cream and fresh raspberries. Or, try stirring in a little rum, Amaretto or Frangelico, then garnish the top with crushed chocolate wafer cookies or shaved semisweet chocolate.
Chocolate Caramel TartChocolate Caramel Tart
This tart takes a bit of work to make, but the result is well worth the effort and is always a crowd-pleaser. A thick layer of chocolate, plus a gooey caramel center and a crispy crust — what more could you want?
Chocolate-Peanut Butter Whoopie PiesChocolate-Peanut Butter Whoopie Pies
A retro treat, these whoopie pies feature cakey chocolate cookies sandwiching a creamy filling. For a classic version, swap out the peanut butter filling for marshmallow creme.
Chocolate SouffléChocolate Soufflé
Soufflés are spectacular and surprisingly easy to make. This chocolate version should be devoured immediately, still hot from the oven and topped with big scoops of vanilla ice cream.
Coconut, Almond and Chocolate BarsCoconut, Almond and Chocolate Bars
Nutty, chewy and chocolaty, these bars hit every craving. A toasty almond crust is topped with a creamy coconut and dark chocolate filling, and finished with a thick bittersweet glaze.
Chocolate TrufflesChocolate Truffles
Truffles are easy to make — especially when you get friends involved! These require just 5 ingredients, and they can be stored in the freezer (well wrapped) for at least 3 months.
Chocolate Chip CookiesChocolate Chip Cookies
There are chocolate chip cookies, and then there are these chocolate chip cookies: large, chewy, buttery and with just the right amount of chips and nuts.
Chocolate Brownie CakeChocolate Brownie Cake
This dessert has all the moist richness of brownies but is served like a cake for an elegant presentation. The secret to success: good-quality chocolate and a dusting of unsweetened cocoa powder to finish.
Chewy Chocolate MeringuesChewy Chocolate Meringues
Crunchy on the outside and gooey on the inside, these gems not only are a cinch to make but also are completely addictive—you won’t be able to stop at one (or two or three). The cocoa nibs add a nice crunch and nutty flavor.
Devil’s Food Layer CakeDevil’s Food Layer Cake
This time-honored favorite, layered with velvety chocolate frosting, makes the ultimate cake for a birthday or other celebration. It’s a chocolate lover’s dream.
French Chocolate MacaronsFrench Chocolate Macarons

Delicate chocolate macarons are one of Paris’s most delicious treats. If you’re not traveling to the City of Lights soon, whip these up and pretend — the contrast between the crisp cookies and creamy ganache filling is a revelation.

 

S’mores BrowniesS’mores Brownies
Within this recipe is a fantastic brownie—just the right balance of fudgy and cakey with a crackle top—embellished with crunchy graham crackers and big melting marshmallows. If you’d prefer the classic, just leave those two ingredients out and bake as directed.