Happiness Project Recipe #10: White & Dark Chocolate Cake Brownies!

Oh. My. Word. You don’t know the meaning of true decadence unless you’ve tried this oozing concoction of cake brownie heaven! Considering how much of a chocolate connoisseur I am, I’ve rarely come across a dessert that is simply TOO much for me to handle. Until now.

This recipe nearly sugar-shocked me into complete chocolate withdrawal. That’s how good it is! Plus, once the flavors have settled in a bit, it tastes even BETTER the day after (I think so, at least). So here it is, in all of it’s sticky, gooey greatness!

1 box devil’s food chocolate cake mix

½ cup butter, softened at room temperature

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 to 3 tablespoons cold brewed coffee

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 cup white chocolate chips

1 can (14-ounces) sweetened condensed milk

½ cup (4 ounces) cream cheese, softened

½ teaspoon clear vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 350F and prepare a 9×9 pan by lining it with aluminum foil and then spraying it with cooking spray. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cake mix, butter, egg & vanilla and mix with electric beaters. The batter will be very thick & difficult to combine at first, so adding the coffee will help create a softer consistency. Start pressing the dough into the prepared pan & prepare yourself for incredibly messy fingers. Even though it will be a bit sticky, keep pressing & spreading it until it’s evenly laid out.  Once you’re happy with the cake layer, sprinkle the white and dark chocolate chips over the top (fun, fun!).

In another mixing bowl, combine the sweetened condensed milk, cream cheese & ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract, stir until well combined and pour milky mixture evenly over the cake dough. Bake for roughly 24 to 26 minutes, or until the edges begin to brown and pull away from the sides of the pan. Remember, you can always use a small pairing or serrated knife to cut off the browned edges. The middle will still be quite soft & jiggly upon removing from the oven but never fear, this will continue to set up more after they are cooled. Cool completely on a rack for about 30 to 45 minutes before carefully slicing them up into bars. If not serving immediately, store refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

So what say you? Think you’ll be able to handle the craziness of this glorious lip smacking concoction? You might want to have a tall glass of milk handy when you do! *hint hint* Good luck!

Happiness Project Recipe #7: Sprinkle Cake Batter Truffles!

Mmmm. Cake. Who doesn’t like some really good cake? Especially when it’s bite-size! Before finding this recipe, I had never worked with truffles before so the very thought of creating an actual truffle seemed rather intimidating to me. Was I sadly naive? Yes. You want simple? You get simple! You want messy? You get messy! Best of all, you get a ridiculously fun, yummy dessert that’s a sure fire way to please just about every sweet tooth in the family! Guaranteed! Here it is, my friends!

½ cup unsalted butter, softened at room temperature

½ cup sugar

1 ½ cup all purpose flour

1 cup dry, cake mix of any flavor (I used vanilla cake mix for these)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

3 tablespoons of whole milk

2-4 tablespoons jumbo sized sprinkles

10 oz white dipping chocolate (I buy this at my local Micheal’s Arts & Craft store)

Once you’ve gathered all your ingredients, here’s a handy tip! Wear an apron. You’re going to get very, very messy. Case in point: I did NOT wear my apron & paid the price. My kitchen had splattered dipping chocolate dripping all over the place. My hair included.

Beat together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until combined. Add the flour, cake mix, salt & vanilla into the mixing bowl and mix thoroughly until well combined (you can easily mix this by hand if you don’t have a stand mixer). Add 3 Tablespoons of milk to create a dough-like consistency. Now the fun part! Mix in those jumbo rainbow sprinkles by hand. Once your sprinkles are generously incorporated, roll dough pieces into 1 inch balls and place on a parchment or wax lined cookie sheet (I swear by my Silpat, which you can buy at any Sur La Table location). Chill the dough balls in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes to help firm them up.

Remember how I just recommended wearing an apron? You’ll need to use it for this next step.

While your dough balls are chilling, melt the white dipping chocolate in the microwave in 30-second intervals until melted. Stir between each 30-second interval. Using a large fork or spoon (whichever is easier to handle), dip dough balls in the melted dipping chocolate and shake off the excess chocolate by gently tapping the fork or spoon on the side of the bowl. Place the coated truffle back onto the cookie sheet and top with sprinkles. Quick tip: the melted dipping chocolate will solidify fairly quickly, so you’ll want to distribute the sprinkles with haste. Repeat this technique with the remaining balls, one at a time.

Chill your cake batter truffles in the refrigerator until serving or the coated cake batter will start becoming a bit gooey. Unless, of course, you like gooey.

Overall, this is one of the messiest but easiest dessert recipe I’ve had the pleasure of re-creating thus far. You will LOVE it! Trust me.

Happiness Project Recipe #2: Chocolate Chip Blondies!

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Since finishing Pastry School, I’ve recently become a wee bit obsessed with finding the BEST dessert recipes to tweak & re-invent to my own super snobbish version of perfection. One of these said recipes is creating a bar a bit more adventurous than a traditional chocolate brownie (though what’s NOT to love about a chocolate brownie??). Enter the classic Blondie. The wondrous thing about the Blondie is that you can add just about anything to it & it comes out tasting just the way you want it! Nuts, fruits, frosting, even a cup or so of your favorite whiskey! It’s that easy to create your own slice of personalized bliss! Drooling now, aren’t you? Here’s the recipe!

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, completely melted

1 cup brown sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pinch of kosher salt

1 cup all purpose flour (I prefer King Arthurs Flour, which you can find at any Whole Foods Market location)

One of the most important things I learned in school, was that with baking, you MUST follow recipe directions in a timely & exact manner. With any good recipe base, there’s not usually much wiggle room for change (though tweaking bits of it can be fun once you’ve figured out what your individual preferences are). So when preparing this lovely bar, remember to take heed to any specific directions. Ready?

Lightly butter an 8×8 pan. Lightly, because otherwise, the bottom of your Blondies will end up being a bit greasy.

Mix your melted butter with brown sugar & beat until smooth (on medium speed in a stand mixer for a few minutes). Beat in the egg and then the vanilla extract.

Add the salt & stir in the flour until fully combined. If you are using any additions, such as chocolate chips, nuts, fruits etc, mix this in now. I’ll list a few of my favorite additions below.

Additions can be as follows: 1 cup chopped nuts, 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, 1/2 cup dried fruit (stirred into batter), 1/3 cup bourbon or other whiskey (most of this will burn off while baking & will only add a very subtle bit of extra flavoring); increase the flour by 1 tablespoon

Pour your mixture into the prepared pan. Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes, or until set in the middle. With most bar & brownie recipes, the sides will begin to brown & peel away from the edges when done. Cool completely on a rack for 20-30 minutes before cutting them. Since I’m not a big fan of flaky edges, I usually cut the browned edges off in the pan (with a small serrated knife) before I slice up the actual bar pieces. It’s just prettier (and we all know how much I like pretty things!).

Now, serve & enjoy!

Yum? Oh yes!

*Recipe adapted from “How To Cook Everything”

My Happiness Project!

Hello friends! Welcome to my recipe blog, where I’ll be sharing some of my favorite recipes featured in my “Happiness Project.” Since happiness, to me, is measured by simple, everyday pleasures, baking has become a very prominent focus in my current lifestyle. And since so much of my happiness (& sanity) comes from baking for others, this is my way of sharing this adventure of mine with you, one yummy treat at a time. Most of these recipes are very easy to replicate, so don’t be afraid to break out that whisk, throw down some flour & get baking! Your tummy will thank you (& your friends will too!) Happy baking! =)

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