Bored Cook In The Kitchen

Tried and true recipes, new twists on old favorites, and new dishes to expand my family's palate.

Tag Archives: Chocolate

My Flop At Whipped Frosting

I’m always on the hunt for that perfect frosting recipe.  I’m not a buttercream person.   The thick and overly sweet texture of it just turns me off.  I’m not going to disagree that a stiff buttercream is a great base for cake decorating.  But eating that thick stuff, for me anyway, is just not a good thing.

Years ago I took a cake decorating class.  The frosting we used was made with shortening and it was pretty much the nastiest thing I had ever tasted.  But it was fantastic for learning how to frost and decorate a cake perfectly.  You could pretty much do anything with that frosting.  It grabbed onto color perfectly, it went on smooth as glass, and whatever tip you used to decorate that cake with just held up beautifully.  But eating it is a big no!  It tastes like exactly what it was…shortening with sugar.

Before each class we had to bring our baked cake to class and then we would frost and decorate it with our instructor showing us new and different techniques.  After class each week I would drop off my decorated cake to my boyfriend’s house.  There was nobody in our house who would eat it.  I’m not even sure anyone in his house ate it either.  The oddest part of all though was that just a few short weeks before I stated taking this class he proposed to me.  Amazing he didn’t demand the ring back after being forced to eat those gross cakes each week.  I don’t think I would have blamed him if he did.

Since that time I have been in search for the perfect frosting.   I’ve come across a few buttercream frosting recipes that were better than others, but still nothing that has made me want to really come back for more.

I love whipped cream, but it tends to break down after a few hours and doesn’t hold up that great when wanting to be adventurous with decorating.  Whipped frosting, like the ones you get on bakery cakes are fantastic, but I have yet to find a good recipe for one. 

With that I tried my hand at my own whipped frosting.  That is what I decorated these cupcakes with.  Let’s just say this was easily a flop.

I searched online and found a few recipes, and tried my hand at altering them.  The end result was horrible.  A whipped frosting that was not able to be piped well, and while not overly sweet, it was just an odd taste all the way around.

So I have no recipe to share with you today.  Not even the cupcakes themselves.  They were Betty Crocker’s Moist Deluxe Double Chocolate and those were good and the best part of this whole baking fiasco.

Since I make it a personal vow to myself to share not only my triumphs in the kitchen but my flops as well, this is my flop for the week. 

If you have a good frosting recipe that is not thick and overly sweet I would love it if you would share it.  Have pity on my sickening attempt at a good frosting.

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

A long time ago I read this quote somewhere; “Cooking is an art while baking is a science.”  And I couldn’t agree more.

Science and me have never gotten along.  It was one of my least favorite classes in school.  And unfortunately it was my first period class during my sophomore year of high school.

The medical part of science has always intrigued me.  But stupid me elected to take Earth Science in high school because that’s what several of my friends were taking.  So instead of maybe finding more interest in Biology, I instead was frustrated and bored to death with studying soil, plant life, and dissecting an earth worm.

Not to mention my teacher and I never saw eye to eye.  He knew I hated his class and had no interest in it whatsoever.  He also hated the fact that I showed up to his first period class every morning with a toasted bagel and a cup of coffee.  Every morning I walked in with it, and every morning he took it from me, placed it on his desk and made me pick it up after class was over.  When the bagel was soggy and the coffee cold.  Why did I bring it with me everyday if I knew he would take it away from me anyway? 

For one thing, first period class was early and it was my breakfast.  Something I didn’t have time for before class because I was too busy sleeping late and rushing to school. 

And also, I was never one for following the rules so it was sort of my way of saying; I know you hate that I bring my breakfast to class every morning but too bad, I’m doing it anyway.  Deal with it.

I’m not sure why he didn’t just eventually put his foot down and either throw away my breakfast to make a point, or write me up for it.  But he never did.  Everyday I walked into class, put my bagel and coffee down, got my books out and he would walk by, while still addressing the class, grab both the bagel and coffee and put them on his desk where I would grab them after class was over.  Maybe he had a point to make as well.

What does this have to do with the recipe I’m sharing with you?  A lot in fact, not that my babbling so far would be any indication as to where I am going with this.  Welcome to the chaos in my head.  This is where my thoughts wander when I think too much.

The reason I shared that story with you is because that quote I pointed out to you earlier is why, although I enjoy to bake, I enjoy cooking more.  Cooking is more lenient with the changes I feel compelled to make.  Since baking is actually a science, you tend to have to color within the lines when you create something or the scientific part of the baking process doesn’t always turn out right.  Since I like coloring outside of the lines, cooking allows me to be more lenient, and more scatter brained. 

The recipe I’m sharing with you today was a new one I had wanted to try from one of my cookbooks.  The problem was I didn’t follow the directions.  Not purposely.  My daughter was begging me to have a tea party with her and as I was getting ready to mix up the ingredients I got a phone call that distracted me further.  Instead of mixing the ingredients the way the recipe called for, I mixed a major ingredient in too early.  They still turned out good, but I plan to make them the correct way next time to see what the difference may have been. 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars:

Makes 24 bars

Recipe from The Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook

  • 1 Box Yellow Cake Mix
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1 Cup Chunky Peanut Butter
  • 1/2 Cup Butter or Margarine Softened
  • 1 Cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1 14 oz. Can Sweetened Condensed Milk

Heat oven to 350 degrees. 

Combine the first four ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.  Beat on medium speed with electric mixer for 1 to 2 minutes.  (Mixture will be thick.)

Press half of cake mixture into an ungreased 13″ x 9″ pan.  Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.

Remove from oven and sprinkle with chocolate chips and drizzle on the sweetened condensed milk.  Sprinkle the top with the remaining cake mixture. 

Bake in oven for 30 minutes.  Cool completely and cut into bars. 

**Here is the mistake I made.  I mixed the cake mix, butter, peanut butter, eggs AND the sweetened condensed milk together.  I realized the mistake after all the ingredients were mixed together.  I should have left the sweetened condensed milk out as per the directions, but I didn’t.  As I mentioned, they still came out very good, but I’m curious to see what the difference would have been if I had done them correctly. 

Also, mine took just under 27 minutes to bake completely.  So watch your oven and before they get too brown, remove them to a cooling rack.

Mega Chocolate Cake

That’s not the official name of this cake, but it’s the name I have given it.  Then again, I’ve changed the original recipe by almost half of what it was, that it’s the name that fits it best.  If you are like me, and live and breathe for chocolate, this is the cake for you.  It’s deep, rich, chocolatey, and moist.  Not to mention, super easy to make. 

I adapted this recipe from a book I bought at my son’s school last year during their book fair.   I made it the way the recipe called for, but believe it or not, found that the amount of chocolate chips they added were a bit much.  So I decreased it, and added a few different twists of my own.

Do you get nervous when you know you have to pull a cake out of the oven, cool it and then turn it out to a cake dish?  I hate that moment.  Drives me crazy.  Especially when you use a Bundt cake pan and there will be no hiding the imperfections if it comes out wrong.  Or, doesn’t come out at all!

Taking a deep breath:

Holding it in…

Letting it out…

Breathing again!  Perfect!

Here is my version:

Mega Chocolate Cake:

  • 1 Box Chocolate Cake Mix (I used Betty Crocker Dark Chocolate)
  • 1 Box Instant Chocolate Pudding Mix
  • 3 Tbsp. Dutch Cocoa
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil
  • 1 3/4 Milk
  • 1 Cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1 Cup Chopped Pecans
  • 1 tsp. Almond Extract

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, mix together the cake mix, pudding mix, cocoa, eggs, milk, vegetable oil and almond extract.  Mix on low-speed for two minutes, or until completely blended, scraping down the sides as you go.

Once the batter is completely mixed, stir in the chocolate chips and the pecans.

Grease a Bundt cake pan well, and pour in the batter.  Bake for 50 to 60 minutes.  Check the cake after the first 45 minutes to see if it is done.  Once done, remove from the oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes before turning out to your cake dish.

Sprinkle with confectionary sugar and get your self a huge cup of coffee.  Then sit and get ready for a huge chocolate experience.  Delish!

Chocolate Almond Biscotti

I LOVE Biscotti.  And when I eat it I always think about my grandfather.  I remember how he would dip his Stella Doro Biscotti into his coffee.   Back then I was not a lover of this crunchy cookie, but I don’t think they were as popular or as decadent as they are today.  I could be wrong though, since I was just a little kid and had no love for coffee, or cookies that were not a soft and chewy choclate chip.  The only Biscotti I ever remember seeing back then was one flavor:  Anise.  Now they have all different types of flavors, filled with different types of nuts and then dipped in all kinds of chocolate. 

But my most favorite Biscotti is chocolate with almonds.  Not that I would turn down anything dipped in chocolate.  (Trust me: It would never happen) .  But in this instance, for me anyway, simple is better.  Chocolate and almonds being dipped into my coffee:  Absolutely delicious. 

Someone gave me this recipe awhile back and I had never made them.  I came across it last week and decided to finally go ahead and try them out.  I was pleasantly surprised.  Not only were they delicious, but super easy to make.  

CHOCOLATE ALMOND BISCOTTI

  • 1 Stick Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 Cups Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 tsp. Pure Almond Extract
  • 2 1/4 Cups Flour
  • 1/2 Cup Dutch Processed Cocoa
  • 1 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1/4 tsp. Salt
  • 1 Cup Slivered Almonds

Makes about 16 to 18 Biscotti

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Beat softened butter and sugar until well blended. Add in the eggs and almond extract and beat well.  In a separate bowl, stir the flour, baking powder, cocoa and salt, and add in small increments to butter and sugar mixture, blending well after each addition until smooth.  Once blended the dough will be thick but not overly sticky.  Stir in the almonds. 

Separate the dough into two equal parts.  Begin forming your first piece of dough on an ungreased cookie sheet. Mold and shape the dough with your hands into a 10 inch long roll.  Do the same with the other section of dough and keep each roll about 4 inches apart on the cookie sheet.

Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.  Remove from the oven and allow them to cool for 10 to 15 minutes.  Here is the trickiest part about this recipe – removing them from the cookie sheet.  The easiest way I found to do this was to take my off-set spatula and glide it slowly along the bottom of each piece of dough to loosen it from the sheet.  It was easy enough to do, but you MUST be cautious while doing it that you don’t disturb the underside of the dough.  Once I had it loosened I just slid them on to a cutting board.  You will want to do the sliding very slowly as well or your large cookie is going to break.

Using a serrated knife, – I found a steak knife worked best – use a sawing motion and cut each individual biscotti in 3/4 inch wide pieces.  After they are all cut, return them cut side down to the baking sheet and place them back into the oven to bake for 12 to 15 minutes.  Take them out, turn them over and bake on the other side for another 12 to 15 minutes.  These are not soft middle cookies here, folks.  You want them crisp and crunchy.

Once they are done, take them out to cool on a wire rack.  DO NOT make a pot of coffee while you are baking these because you may end up eating an obscene amount of them while waiting for the rest of them to cool.  Not that I would know about that…I’m just sayin’!  Store in an airtight container for up to a week.

These are light, crunchy,  and delicious!  Even my youngest son, who hates nuts and cries when I put them in cookies or brownies, ate a handful of these!  That’s how good they are! 

Note:  In my picture you can see the almonds I used were sliced although the recipe calls for slivered.  Sliced was all I had on hand the day I baked these, and they worked out well.  Since I’m a lover of big crunchy nuts I do plan on using the slivered next time I make these.  Even whole almonds would be great!

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