Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

For some reason I have been baking up a storm lately, from homemade sweet rolls, to chocolate caramel brownies, I just can’t stop.

Here is a neat little recipe I wanted to pass along:

Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies:

cran choco

Ingredients:

  • 1/2  cup (1 stick) plus 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 3/4  cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2  cup granulated sugar
  • 2  eggs
  • 1  teaspoon vanilla
  • 1-1/2  cups all-purpose flour
  • 1  teaspoon baking soda
  • 2  teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • !/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon of allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cardamom
  • 1/2  teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 3  cups Oats (quick or old-fashioned, uncooked)
  • *6 – 8 oz of Cocoa Mill’s Dark Chocolate Cranberry Bark

Preparation

Heat oven to 350°F.

Chop chocolate cranberry bark up into nice bite size chunks, set aside (to snack on while you assemble the rest of the cookie).

 

In large bowl, beat butter and sugars until creamy.

Add eggs and vanilla; beat well.

Add combined flour, baking soda, spices and salt; mix well.

Add oats and chocolate cranberry bark; mix well.

choc oatmeal dough2

Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto un-greased cookie sheets.

choc oastmeal pan

Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; remove to wire rack. Cool completely. Store tightly covered or in freezer safe bags for later consumption 😉

Enjoy!

cran oat

* Bark may be substituted for 6 – 8 oz chopped bittersweet dark chocolate and 1 cup cranberries.

 

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Chocolate Salads

The other day I made the comment “The best way to eat a salad is to throw it away and get a chocolate bar out of the cupboard.”

Being that it is January people have made their New Year’s resolutions, a lot of them involved not eating sweets, exercising more and doing away with certain vices. It seems to be increasingly hard to keep these resolutions; temptations seem to be lurking around every corner. This is an attempt at finding a way to help indulge the temptations that are faced without crossing the line of over doing it. Hopefully these next recipes will bring a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment when tried.

Strawberry Salad with Chocolate Dressing:

choc salad

You will need:

1 bag spinach leaves
5 large strawberries cut in half
1/8 cup of feta cheese crumbled
½ of a purple onion
Handful of slivered almonds (sunflower seeds or your nut of choice)
3 oz. of dark chocolate
1 tbsp. of honey
1/8 tsp. of black ground pepper
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup of olive oil
4 tbsp. of water

Place the olive oil in a sauce pan over medium heat, add the chocolate continue to stir the oil and chocolate until it is melted then add the water, pepper and honey, stir until well blended. Remove from heat and let cool 8 minutes. After the 8 minutes add the balsamic vinegar, stir until well blended.

chocolate dressing

Thinly slice the purple onions and place in a skillet that has been drizzled with olive oil. Cook the onions until they become soft, limp and begin to lose their color. Remove the onions from the skillet and place in an airtight container. Take a portion of the dressing and coat the onions on all sides. Place the onions in the refrigerator to cool. Also place the chocolate dressing in a container to cool in the frig for about 30 minutes.

spinach berries feta

Remove half of the onions from the dressing and place on a salad plate. Add the spinach leaves (make sure they are washed and all water has been spun off) Add the feta cheese, strawberries and almonds. Drizzle the chocolate dressing in a zigzag motion over your salad and enjoy.

This next recipe I ran across on ABC Health and Well Being it looks pretty tasty so I am passing it along…

Orange Mint and Chocolate Salad:

orange salad
• 3 oranges, peeled and thinly sliced
• 2 sprigs of mint, washed and leaves picked off the stem
• zest and juice of 1 lime
• 2 tsp of honey
• 20g dark chocolate, grated

Place the orange slices onto a large plate and sprinkle the mint and lime zest over them. In a separate bowl, whisk together the honey and lime juice. Pour this over the oranges and then top with the grated chocolate. Sweet, Simple, Enjoy!

Holiday Baking Ideas: Mrs. Vickie’s Dark Chocolate Shavings Cookie

 

My family was a big fan of chocolate chip cookies until one of our employees at Cocoa Mill started using Cocoa Mill’s Bittersweet chocolate shavings in their cookies… They are now converts and will accept nothing less. This is the perfect cookie for the Holidays.

Cocoa Mill’s Bittersweet Chocolate is perfect for baking. In this recipe you will need 1/4 lb of dark chocolate and a good sharp knife to shave the chocolate into small pieces.

You will need:

2/3 cup of butter (or shortening)

1/2 cup of granulated sugar

1/2 cup  of brown sugar

1 egg

1 tsp. vanilla

1  3/4 cups of all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. of baking soda

1/4 to 1/2 a tsp. of salt (depending on how sweet you like your cookies)

1/4 lb shaved bittersweet chocolate

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F.

Cream butter and sugars together, add egg and vanilla, mix well. Add flour, baking soda and salt, mix well. Add the Chocolate shavings and mix well one more time. Spoon cookies onto a greased cookie sheet.

Bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes. When golden around the edges take out and cool on a wire rack. Enjoy with a tall glass of cold milk.

These cookie freeze well, this allows you to pull them out and enjoy them whenever you wish. They also make a beautiful and delicious gift for loved ones and friends during this season of giving.

Summer Sweets: Julia’s Chocolate Strawberry Cream Cupcakes

After weeks of careful observation my nine-year old daughter approached me. Her eyes were full of questions as I turned to see what was on her curious little mind. She asked me why had I been cooking so many things and why did they all have chocolate? I explained that this is part of my work. I was trying out new ideas and then sharing them with others in hopes that they might enjoy them too. 

“Oh…” she said looking a little puzzled.  “Mommy?… If I come up with a recipe will you make it and write about it?” 

“Sure,” I said a little skeptical, not knowing how this experiment might turn out. ” You need to remember the recipe has to have chocolate in it somewhere.”

“OK!” she squealed as she scurried off to her room. A few moments later she emerged with her face a little downcast this time. “I don’t know how to make a recipe.”

We talked about recipes and the proper way write one. She and I then proceeded to make our way to the bookshelf that houses our cookbooks. With her arms full of cookbooks her eyes danced magically about and a beautiful smile filled her face. That sweet smile could have lit up a dark night sky. She again scurried off to her room. It was an enchanting moment to watch as this sweet young girl embark on her journey of creating something new and exciting.  As I heard the door to her bedroom close I remembered the years of magic that I had so routinely felt as a young child, it left me longing for a little more magic in my oh so grown up life.

Later she came and handed me a beautifully handwritten recipe with detailed instructions on how to make her Strawberry Cream Cupcakes. With a few minor changes we were ready to bake. I hope you enjoy these cupcakes from the creative mind of a nine-year old girl.

Strawberry Cream Cupcakes:

1/2 cup of butter (softened)

1 cup of low-fat milk

1  cup of sugar

1/3 cup of powdered sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp. of vanilla

2 cups of all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp of salt

4 oz. Cocoa Mill’s Bittersweet Chocolate (melted with a 1 Tbsp of butter)

1 qt. fresh strawberries

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cream the sugar and the butter, add the eggs and vanilla, mix well. Add the milk and mix again. Scrape the edges of the bowl. Add the dry ingredients and mix well. Scrape sides of bowl again.

Melt the butter and chocolate over low heat, add to the cake batter and mix thoroughly.

Line two muffin tins with cupcake holders. Fill liners about 3/4 of the way full. Place in the oven and bake for about 14 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.

Cream frosting:

1 stick of butter

1 box of confectioners sugar

heavy whipping cream

2 tsp. of vanilla

Cream the butter and sugar together, add the vanilla and mix well. While mixing slowly pour in small amounts of heavy whipping cream until frosting is a light fluffy consistency. ( you can add more powdered sugar if you need to thicken it or more cream if you need to thin your frosting.)

Chill in fridge while the cupcakes cool. Frost and enjoy!

 

Picture above was painted by Torrie Smiley. You can find this painting as well as other paintings at: http://torriesmiley.blogspot.com/2012/07/cupcake-002.html

Summer Sweets: Salmon in White Chocolate Dill-Lemon Sauce

I was ready for a light summer meal after damaging storms blasted through the area causing wide-spread power outages.  Huge old trees that hold the history of our land have been uprooted and chaotically tossed about, personal property that has been meticulously cared for has been destroyed along with people’s hopes and dreams.  Most everyone was thrust into some sort of temporary frontier life.  While roughing it is fun; it looses it’s luster after about 48 hours leaving the harsh realization of just how dependant this society is on the luxuries of everyday life.  Several places are still waiting for power to be restored.  The power companies have been working for 8 days to clean up the mess and restore some sense of normalcy to our area.  In returning to a normal summer life I came across this light meal that taste like a summer evening in every bite.  I hope you enjoy it!

Salmon in White Chocolate Dill-Lemon Sauce:

You will need 2 large Salmon Steaks

1 oz of Cocoa Mill Solid White Chocolate

4 Tbsp of butter

1 Tbsp of flour

1/2 cup of fish or chicken stock

1/2 tsp of pepper

1/4 tsp of salt

1 1/2 tsp of dill

4 tsp of lemon juice

2 Tbsp of olive oil

2 Tbsp minced garlic

In a sauce pan melt 2 Tbsp of butter and the white chocolate over medium heat. After the butter and chocolate are melted add the flour and stir until the butter/chocolate  is absorbed.  Add half of the stock until the liquid begins to thicken, add remainder of the stock and stir until mixed throughly. Reduce to low heat add pepper, salt, lemon juice, and dill. Simmer stirring occasionally until fish is ready to serve.

In a skillet melt the remaining  butter and olive oil. Salt and pepper the salmon and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes per side, or until done. Remove fish from the skillet and add the garlic heat lightly for about 3 minutes until the garlic just starts to turn brown. Top the salmon with the garlic. At this point if you have any steamed vegetables throw them into the skillet with the heat off just to incorporate the garlic and butter taste into the vegetables.

Remove the sauce from the heat and drizzle over the salmon until lightly covered.

This dish is best served with steamed broccoli, asparagus, or green beans. I enjoyed a nice cucumber and tomatoes salad, just to have that full summer taste.

Enjoy summer with chocolate!

Summer Sweets: Frozen Hot Chocolate

Frozen Hot Chocolate is a recipe I have wanted make for a long time. I know that the restaurant Serendipity3 in New York has this dessert and people rave about how good it is. I thought I would give it a go with our own Cocoa Mill Chocolates.  

This was surprisingly easy to make.  I used my own homespun recipe for Hot Chocolate and then adjusted it accordingly to get the Frozen effect.  This recipe will give you something to look forward to after a long hot day.

 

What you will need for this refreshing treat:

4 cups of whole milk

3 oz Cocoa Mill Dark Chocolate

3 oz Cocoa Mill Milk Chocolate

3 oz Cocoa Mill White Chocolate

3 Tbsp granulated sugar*

3 tsp. vanilla

6 Tbsp powdered sugar*

1 pint heavy whipping cream

Chocolate shavings

You will also need, a blender and  mixer capable of whipping cream.

 

Process:

1. Warm milk in a sauce pan over low heat, (be careful not to boil the milk). When steam begins rising from the milk add your 3 types of chocolate, 1 1/2 tsp of vanilla and 3 Tbsp of granulated sugar. Continue cooking over low heat until chocolate is melted and well blended with the milk.

(1 1/2. You can stop here if you want hot chocolate, keep it in mind for those Cold winter nights.)

2. Remove from heat and let it cool in the fridge for two hours (or longer if needed).

3. Place whip cream in a bowl and add 1 1/2 tsp vanilla and 3 Tbsp of powdered sugar whip with a beater until the cream forms stiff peaks when the beater is removed. Cover and place in refrigerator.

4. In a blender pour in 2 1/2 cups of the now cold hot chocolate add a 1/2 cup of whipped cream and 3 Tbsp powdered sugar mix until blended (about 45 seconds to a minute.) 

5. Fill blender with Ice cubes until liquid has reached 5 cups. Blend until creamy.

6. Pour into a glass, top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings and have a good chocolatley evening. 

There are so many ways you could adjust this recipe, add Bailey’s Irish Creme for an adult beverage, add 3 Tbsp of coffee for a mochachino, add some caramel syrup on top of the whip cream just for an added yum. Let us know what variations you come up with!

*You can also substitute  truvia for sugars or another sweetener to decrease caloric/carbohydrate in take.

You can save the additional hot chocolate mixture for up to a week in the refrigerator.

 

Holy Mole: Chocolate Chicken

 The windows were down and a nice summer breeze was blowing through the car as we were driving home from work.  My girls asked their usual question, “Mommy, what’s for dinner?”

“I’m not sure what we are having tonight, but tomorrow we are having Chocolate Chicken.”  I responded nonchalantly, knowing this information will provoke some sort of contorted face and then perhaps a discussion.

“Ewwww. That’s gross.”  My nine and five-year olds say in unison.

“Chicken and chocolate do not go together Mom.” My nine-year old states as if she’s been cooking for years.

“Well if that’s what you’re cooking then I’m not eating it.” My five-year old informed me.

The girls continue to question my sanity and I just smile as we continue our ride home.

The following day we make our way to the grocery store to gather the ingredients for our chocolate chicken dish.  The girls watch very intently as I carefully select the chiles, spices, and tomatoes.

” Is that all we need?”  My nine-year old asks?

“Yep, that’s it!” I respond

“Does that mean we can go home now?” My five-year old asks impatiently.

“Yep, let’s go.” I answer, and just like that we are off on our journey to make the chocolate chicken.

Braised Chicken with Chocolate Mole Sauce:

You will need:

10 dried Ancho chiles

4 dried Chiles Negros

1/3 cup sesame seeds

1 tsp. allspice

1 tsp. ginger

1/2 tsp. chili powder

2 tsp. cumin

2 tsp. coriander

1/4 tsp ground cloves

20 black peppercorns

1 tsp cinnamon stick

5 Tbsp of butter or lard

1/4 cup of raisins

1 corn tortilla broken into pieces

4 tomatillos

10 cherry tomatoes

5 garlic cloves peeled

1 small onion chopped

5 1/3 cups of chicken stock

3  ounces Cocoa Mill Bittersweet Chocolate; coarsely chopped

Salt, pepper, garlic powder, dry mustard

1 large package boneless skinless chicken thighs, 3-4 large chicken breasts

2 Tbsp chopped cilantro

Olive oil

Pre-heat oven to 275 degrees F

1. In a medium bowl cover the dried chiles with boiling water and let stand for 30  minutes.

2. In a large skillet combine the spices: sesame seeds, all spice, ginger, chili powder, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, and peppercorns. Toast the spices over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, until fragrant. Transfer to blender or food processor and grind to a fine powder.

3. In the same skillet melt 1 Tbsp of butter. Stir in raisins and tortilla. Cook the mixture until the raisins are nice and plump and the tortilla is lightly toasted (about 5 minutes). Transfer into a bowl.

4. In the same skillet add tomatillos and cherry tomatoes. Blister the skins for about 12 minutes. set aside.

5. Staying with the same skillet add onions and garlic cloves, cook until lightly browned (about 10 minutes)

6. In a food processor chopped all the tomatoes, onion and garlic. 

7. Blend the raisins and tortilla and 1/3 cup of stock in the food processor.

8.  Melt 1 Tbsp of butter in skillet, add vegetable mixture, spice powder and cook five minutes, drain chiles and 5 cups of chicken stock, cover and let simmer for 1 hour.

9. In a bowl add 1 Tbsp of salt, 2 tsp pepper, 2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp coriander powder, 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp ginger, 1/2 tsp dry mustard. Mix together and rub on chicken.

10. In a skillet  heat a splash of olive oil and 1 Tbsp of butter until melted. Add chicken and brown on each side for 3-4 minutes. Transfer into a 9 x 13 casserole dish.

11. Chop the 3 ounces of Cocoa Mill Bittersweet Chocolate and place in food processor, remove chiles for the sauce and place in food processor over chocolate, mix until you have a thick paste, add back into the sauce, heat for an additional 15 minutes.

12. Take half of the sauce and spoon over the chicken, cover with aluminum foil and place in the oven and cook for 3 hours.

Serve with rice and a nice summer salad. Enjoy!

Side note: My girls thoroughly enjoyed the “Chocolate Chicken” and cleaned their plates.