Mocha Brownie Nut Torte

Coffee CakeHaving my parents visit over the weekend was the perfect excuse to try a new recipe.

And – of course – that recipe needed to be a rich, decadent, and chocolate dessert worthy of a Papa Jim and Nana Shirley visit!

Dagmar took this challenge on willingly. She pulled out all of her favorite cookbooks and spent an hour looking for the perfect recipe.

(I know it was an hour – because she confessed to doing this while listening to a business DVD for school. I’m thinking she probably didn’t get much out of that lesson!)

From all of those cookbooks, she narrowed it down to 3 different chocolate desserts, and then asked her siblings to help her choose. All three of them voted for number 3,  so of course, she made number 2! 🙂

Nobody complained when it was served though! It was just as rich and decadent as the picture promised – and the mocha cream on top was – as Dagmar put it, “One of the best spoonfuls I have ever put in my mouth, just saying…”

Yep. It was that good.

Mocha Brownie Nut Torte
(original recipe from The Hershey’s Chocolate Cookbook)

1 cup (2 sticks) butter
4 ounces of unsweetened baking chocolate, chopped
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup flour
1 cup finely chopped pecans (we were out, so we substituted almonds)
1 – 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup chilled whipping cream
2-3 tablespoons powdered instant coffee

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line bottom and sides of a 9 inch round cake pan with foil, extending the foil beyond the sides. Grease the foil.

Melt the butter and chocolate together in a double broiler. Stirring till combined. Let cool 5 minutes.

Beat eggs and vanilla in a large bowl until foamy. Gradually beat in the granulated sugar. Blend in the chocolate mixture. Fold in the flour and pecans.

Spread the mixture in the prepared cake pan and bake 40 – 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely on wire rack.

Remove the brownie from the pan using the aluminum foil. Discard the foil and place the brownie on a serving plate.

Beat the cream cheese and powdered sugar in a bowl until well-blended.

Beat whipping cream and instant coffee until stiff. Gradually fold in the cream cheese mixture, blending well.

At this point you can spread the luscious coffee cream over the brownie and refrigerate it until serving time.

Or you can do what we did – serve the brownie naked and let each guest put either the coffee cream on top, or just plain whipped cream, or both!

Delicious!

Enjoy!

I’ve linked this post with Tasty Tuesday at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam and Tempt My Tummy Tuesday on Blessed With Grace.

 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream Dessert

DessertIt’s summertime!

The days are longer.

The temperatures are higher and my days are busier!

It sounds like the perfect time to make a yummy ice cream dessert!

This recipe was the inspiration for two of our family favorites, Chocolate Strawberry Ice Cream Dessert and Chocolate Ice Cream Dessert.  Both of which we’ve enjoyed often.

But would you believe that we have never made the original?!

It was past time to try it.

And it was delicious!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream Dessert

1 cup vanilla wafer crumbs
1/2 cup finely chopped peanuts
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
6 cups chocolate ice cream, softened, divided.

Filling:
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup peanut butter, either crunchy or smooth
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup whipping cream, whipped (I cheated and used about 4 ounces of Cool Whip)

Line the bottom and sides of a loaf pan (9 inch x 3 inch x 5 inch) with heavy duty aluminum foil.

Combine the vanilla wafer crumbs, chopped peanuts, melted butter and 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar. Press half into the bottom of the foil lined pan. Freeze for 15 minutes.

Spread half of the ice cream over the crust and freeze for 1 hour.

(Here’s a hint for the ice cream: a half-gallon carton is the perfect size! Open it up lengthwise and cut the rectangle of ice cream in half. Then cut one of the halves into thirds and squish them into the loaf pan. Put the rest of the ice cream in the freezer till later.)

Meanwhile, for the filling, beat cream cheese and peanut butter in a mixing bowl. Add powdered sugar and milk. Mix well. Fold in whipped cream.

Spread over the ice cream and freeze for 1 hour or until firm.

Spread with remaining ice cream – the pan will be very full. (Just cut the remaining half of the carton of ice cream into thirds and start squishing it in!) Press the remaining crumb mixture on top. Cover and freeze for several hours of overnight.

Remove from the freezer about 10 minutes before serving. using the foil, remove the loaf from the pan and discard the foil.

Cut into pieces with a serrated knife.  It should yield 10-12 large slices, or 15 smaller ones.

Enjoy!

I’ve linked this post up with Tempt My Tummy Tuesday at Blessed with Grace and Tasty Tuesday at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam.

Surprise Meringues

Surprise MeringuesSpring on the farm usually means eggs – lots of eggs.

But my chickens have reached the age of retirement (either that or they are still on strike for better working conditions!) and slowed down their egg production drastically.  I’m thankful that our friend Martha has kept us well supplied.

It just wouldn’t be spring without homemade angel food cake, lots of puddings and custards, and of course – meringues!

Since Dagmar is gone for the week at Teen Pact Iowa – I spent some time this morning perusing her new Taste of Home Cookbook. (Shhh! Please don’t tell!)

While I absolutely love my go-to chocolate meringue recipe – I found a new one that sounded promising.

I made one recipe and divided it in half so I could try two variations. The first with chocolate chips and nuts, the second with a hidden chocolate kiss.

Oh my! Both were wonderful!

Surprise Meringues

3 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Place egg whites in a large bowl and let stand for 30 minutes. Add vanilla, cream of tartar and salt; beat on medium high speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar, 1 tablespoon at at time until stiff glossy peaks form and sugar is dissolved, about 6 minutes.

Fold in chocolate chips and nuts.

Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart on a parchment lined baking sheets. Bake at 250 degrees for 40 – 45 minutes or until firm to the touch. Turn oven off; leave meringues in the oven for 1 – 1/2 hours. Remove to wire racks. Store in an airtight container.

Variation : Meringue Kisses – Omit the chocolate chips and walnuts. Drop the meringues by tablespoonful on parchment lined baking sheets. Press a chocolate kiss into the center of each one and cover with meringue. Bake at 375degress for 30-35 minutes or until firm to the touch. Remove immediately to a wire rack.

The original recipe said they would make 4 dozen cookies – but I just made mine bigger and got 2 dozen.

They were still only 57 calories a cookie! 🙂

Now that’s a guilt free cookie!

Enjoy!

I’ve linked this post up with Tasty Tuesday at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam, Tuesdays at the Table at All the Small Stuff and Tempt My Tummy Tuesday at Blessed with Grace.

Chewy Chocolate Cookies

 Cookies I will be the first admit that I hadn’t expected much when Dagmar first showed me the recipe for these cookies.

And they sure didn’t look like much sitting there on the cooling racks.

But – oh my – was I wrong! It just took one bite to make them a new favorite!

They are a cross between a meringue and a cookie – crispy on the outside and moist and chewy on the inside.

Heavenly!

And the best news – they are only 143 calories for a nice sized cookie – even with the mini chocolate chips and chopped nuts! 🙂

Chewy Chocolate Cookies
from the Encyclopedia of Baking

4 egg whites
2 -1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup baking cocoa
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon instant coffee
1 Tablespoon water
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with wax paper and spray the paper with cooking spray.

In a large bowl beat the egg whites until frothy.

Sift the sugar, cocoa, flour, and coffee into the egg whites. Add the water and continue beating on low speed to blend, then on high speed for a few minutes until the mixture thickens. With a rubber spatula, fold in the chopped nuts and chocolate chips.

Place generous spoonfuls of the mixture 1 inch apart on the prepared cookie sheets.  Bake until firm and cracked on top – but soft inside – about 12-15 minutes.

With a metal spatula, transfer to a rack to cool.

Enjoy!

I’ve linked this post up with Tasty Tuesday over at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam, Tuesdays at the Table at All the Small Stuff, and Tempt My Tummy Tuesday at Blessed With Grace.

Birthday Blessings

I celebrated a birthday yesterday. 🙂

(But I won’t tell you which one! My husband keeps track of that for me – it involves numbers and you know I don’t like numbers – especially when you have to borrow in subtraction!)

The numbers don’t matter anyway – you know the saying, “Count your life by smiles not tears, count your age by friends, not years.”

If that’s true – then after the last few daysI must be very old – and blessed!

The surprises started on Sunday when a sweet friend walked into church carrying a chocolate almond cheesecake for me!

chocolate almond cheesecake

Dorothy – the amazing cheesecake fairy – left me speechless. Trust me – that doesn’t happen very often! It tasted just as wonderful as it looks! (And yes – I shared!)

That just got the ball rolling!

The birthday fun started at breakfast with hot, fresh chocolate strawberry scones. <contented sigh>

And continued with the e-cards and Facebook messages that kept flowing in all day- so many of them chocolate-covered! Including the one from my friend Cinnamon who informed me that all chocolate eaten on my birthday has NO calories.  Now that’s a true friend!

All though there were a few I questioned – like the one from my niece Mel who said,” Happy birthday Auntie M!!! Hope you have an exciting…wait, when you are – however old you are now – I suppose you prefer relaxing…second try! I hope you have relaxing, fun and chocolate filled birthday.”

So you think I’m old – huh, Mel?

Good thing she doesn’t know that I spent part of my birthday afternoon sitting on the couch reading.

Yes. Reading.

In the middle of the afternoon.

On a Tuesday.

It was wonderful!

Meanwhile in the kitchen, Dagmar was preparing a scrumptious Mexican feast for my party – including chimichangas with enough heat to burn out my sinus’s and enough fat to close up every artery. Fabulous!

And of course, Mommy’s traditional Chocolate Cheesecake Pie for dessert.

Mom's Birthday

(By the way – for those of you still trying to figure out my age – the candles are not a clue! The girls used up the only pink candles we had left because they knew it was my favorite color!)

After the birthday pie there were presents – all of which were surprises!

And you want to know the best gift of all? I went an entire day without doing any dishes at all! 🙂

My sister Becky wrote in her card to me, “Hope your love tank gets filled to overflowing!”

Oh – it did!

Pressed down, shaken together, and running over!

I feel so blessed.