Chocolate Raspberry Bars

These are very rich bars, but if you're a big fan of chocolate, then you'll love them.

Chocolate Raspberry Bars
 2 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 c cold butter
14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
2 c semisweet chocolate pieces
seedless raspberry jam

Preheat oven to 350.

Place flour, brown sugar, salt, and cold butter in a food processor. Process until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set 1 1/2 c of crumb mixture aside. Press remaining mixture into bottom of a greased 9x13 inch pan. Bake for 14 minutes.

For the filling, heat condensed milk and 1 c of chocolate pieces over low heat until the chocolate melts, stirring constantly. Pour mixture over baked crust, spreading evenly. Sprinkle with remaining crumb mixture. Drop teaspoons of raspberry jam 1 1/2 inches apart over the top and sprinkle with the remaining chocolate pieces. Bake for 30 minutes, then cool and cut into bars.


Brownie Pillow Cookies

I can't remember where I first saw these cookies. I've tried the brownie/chocolate chip cookie mixes from the grocery store before but they never quite come out right, so this recipe intrigued me.

Brownie Pillow Cookies
 For the brownie:
1/2 c butter, melted
1 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 c all-purpose flour
1/3 c cocoa powder
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

For the cookies:
1 c butter, room temperature
1 1/2 c packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, plus 1 egg yolk
1 T vanilla extract
2 1/2 c all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
12 oz bag semi-sweet mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9 inch square baking pan.

For the brownies, stir together butter, sugar and vanilla. Add eggs, beating well. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Gradually add to egg mixture, beating until well blended. Spread evenly into pan and bake 20-25 minutes. Once cool, cut about 10 one inch squares.

For the cookies, beat butter until creamy. Add brown sugar and beat until smooth. Add eggs, yolk and vanilla, beating until smooth. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add flour mixture to butter mixture and beat until combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Chill dough in refrigerator for an hour.

Scoop batter into 1/2 c portions. Place on parchment paper lined baking sheet. Make an indentation in the center and put brownie square into indentation. 

Work remaining dough into ball around brownie.

The cookies will get very large, so put only 4-5 per baking sheet. Bake for about 18 minutes.


Sugar Cookie Bars

I originally saw these on Love and Olive Oil. They're really tasty, and the bar form makes them very easy to make.

Sugar Cookie Bars
 For the cookies:
1 c unsalted butter, room temperature
2 c sugar
4 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
5 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda

For the frosting:
1 c butter, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1 c confectioners sugar
5 T milk
food coloring

Preheat oven to 375.

Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time. Mix in vanilla. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, salt and baking soda. Gradually add butter mixture and mix until just combined. Grease a large rimmed baking sheet (13x18) or line with parchment paper. Evenly spread batter into pan. Bake 15-20 minutes until light golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.

To make frosting, beat butter until fluffy. Mix in vanilla and salt. Add confectioners sugar, one cup at a time, until combined and then add milk and mix until smooth. Add food coloring if desired. Spread over cooled cookies, then cut into bars.


Chicken Burger

Chicken Burgers
1lb ground chicken
1/2 c panko crumbs
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 T plain Greek yogurt
pinch of salt

Mix together all ingredients. Shape into 4 patties and chill.

Brush patties with oil and grill 4-5 minutes per side. Serve on toasted bread or bun with sprouts and avocado.


Mango Sorbet

I recently purchased an ice cream maker, so for my birthday my awesome sister sent me an ice cream recipe book called The Perfect Scoop. I had a few mangoes sitting around so I tried some mango sorbet right away, adapted slightly.

Mango Sorbet
2 large mangoes
2/3 c sugar
2/3 c water
4 tsp lemon juice
1 T dark rum
pinch of salt

Peel the mangoes and cut into cubes. Put mango cubes into blender with sugar, water, lemon juice, rum, and salt. Puree mixture until smooth. Chill mixture before freezing in ice cream maker.


Jim and I have birthdays a week apart, which makes for lots of baked goods to consume within a very short time. 

Since Jim loves airplanes so much, I made him airplane shaped brownies:

And he got me an amazing cake from Wilson Farm in Lexington:
It was a vanilla cake with a strawberry and whipped cream filling - SO good!


Homemade Oreos

I love oreos... so much that I could eat an entire package in one sitting. When I came across a recipe for homemade oreos (I forget where I saw it), I knew I needed to try making them. These cookies taste almost like the real thing, but are a bit sweeter. Luckily I like them that way because it makes me stick to one or two instead of eating the whole batch.

Chocolate Wafer Cookies
For the wafers:
1 1/4 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 c sugar
1/2 c + 2 T butter, room temperature
1 large egg

For the filling:
1/2 c butter, room temperature
1/2 c vegetable shortening
2 c confectioners' sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375.

Using a mixer, combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and powder, salt and sugar. While on low speed, add the butter and then the egg. Continue mixing until dough forms a mass. Place rounded teaspoons of batter on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Slightly flatted the dough with your hands. Bake for 9 minutes.

For the filling, mix butter and shortening, and gradually beat in sugar and vanilla. Turn mixer to high and beat for 2-3 minutes, or until filling is light and fluffy. Pipe blobs of cream into the center of one cookie and place another cookies of equal size on top, pressing to work the filling to the outside edges of the cookie.

Crab Cakes

As I was reading Food Network magazine a few weeks ago, I saw a recipe for a low-fat crab cake. I'm not the biggest fan of crab cakes because I'm never sure what else is in them besides crab, but figured I'd give this one a try since I like most of the ingredients. For one serving of these (2 crab cakes), there is only 220 calories. There's 9g of fat and 26g of protein as well. Granted, this will change based on what brands of ingredients you use, but that's not a bad range.

Crab Cakes

1 T + 2tsp olive oil
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 c finely chopped red bell pepper
1 c panko bread crumbs
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 T nonfat milk
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 T fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp Old Bay seasoning
dash of hot sauce
1 lb lump crab or crab claw meat
salt and pepper
cooking spray

Heat 2 tsp olive oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add scallions and bell pepper and cook until they begin to soften.

Mix 1/2 c panko crumbs, egg and milk in a small bowl. In another bowl, whisk Worcestershire sauce, mustard, lemon juice, Old Bay, and hot sauce. Fold in the crab meat, panko mixture, scallion-pepper mixture, 1/4 tsp salt, and a pinch of pepper. Shape into 8 patties and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Coat crab cakes with remaining 1/2 c panko. Heat remaining 1 T olive oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Mist crab cakes with cooking spray and cook, sprayed-side down for 3-4 minutes. Spray the tops and flip, cooking 3-4 more minutes. Serve with a lemon wedge.

Chocolate Pudding

It may not be the most summery dessert, but after coming across a recipe for chocolate pudding, I couldn't resist. This was super easy to make, but takes a while to chill before it's ready to serve so it's best made a day or two before needed.

Chocolate Pudding
2 egg yolks
1/2 c sugar
3 T cornstarch
3 c whole milk
5 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
pinch of salt
1 T vanilla extract

Whisk the egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch together. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the milk, chocolate, and salt. Stir until the chocolate melts. (It's very important to make sure the chocolate is fully melted, or the pudding will be lumpy.) Pour the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture, whisking constantly. (Again, you must whisk constantly or the pudding will be lumpy.) Once combined, pour back into saucepan and stir constantly until thick, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the vanilla, and divide into small serving dishes. Cover with plastic wrap or a lid and refrigerate until set.

To add a little something to this pudding, I made some cinnamon whipped cream to add to the top. Whipped cream is really easy to make and pretty much any flavoring can be added to this recipe to use with any dessert.

Cinnamon Whipped Cream
1 c heavy whipping cream
1 T sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Whip the cream and sugar in a bowl until soft peaks form. Fold in the cinnamon.

Cupcake Hero

One of the blogs I follow, I heart cuppycakes, holds a competition each month called Cupcake Hero. The competition is hosted each month by the person who won the previous month. Here's the link to this month's competition. The ingredient is raspberries, and since I just picked some really yummy ones up from a local farm (Wilson Farm) I thought it was time to get baking and enter the competition for once instead of just reading about it. I couldn't decide on one idea so I made two different kinds of cupcakes.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Raspberry Whipped Cream
For these cupcakes, I used this cupcake recipe, which I've used before.
For the raspberry whipped cream:

1c whipping cream
1T sugar
1T raspberry sauce

Whip the cream and sugar for about 2 minutes, until it begins to thicken. Add in raspberry sauce and continue to whip until soft peaks form.
For the raspberry sauce, I used some of the filling from my other recipe below. You can also mash the raspberries and use the juice and small raspberry pieces from that. More or less raspberry sauce can be added to taste.

Raspberry Lemon Cupcakes
Makes 6

For the cupcakes (adapted from Love and Olive Oil):
1/2 + 1/8c all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4c sugar
1/8c light brown sugar
1/8c olive oil
1/2c 2% milk
1tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon juice

For the raspberry filling:
1/2 pint raspberries
1/3c sugar
3T lemon juice
1T cornstarch

For the butercream:
1/4c butter
1.5c confectioners' sugar
1.5T raspberry filling
1tsp lemon juice
1/2 T 2% milk

Preheat oven to 350. To make the cupcakes, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, and brown sugar. In a separate bowl, whisk together oil, milk, lemon juice, and vanilla. Mix into the dry ingredients. Fill cupcake liners and bake about 20 mins.

To make the filling, mash berries and add to a saucepan along with sugar, lemon juice, and cornstarch. Stir constantly as mixture boils and thickens. Allow to sit at room temperature until cool and thick.

For the frosting, cream the butter until fluffy. Add confectioners' sugar 1/2c at a time. Add lemon juice, raspberry filling, and milk, and mix until light and fluffy. If too runny, add more sugar. If too thick, add milk.