Tag Archives: chocolate

Pretzels & Chocolate

Every year between the last two candlelight Christmas Eve services at church, the choir shares a brief time of food and fellowship. It’s always a fun and relaxed time to just be together … and it’s made even better when an unexpected friend {and choir alum} home for Christmas decides to join us!

Once again, as an alto I was asked to bring something sweet, so I made these super-easy-but-oh-so-tasty pretzels with chocolate. I may have used red and green M&M’s for Christmas, but they would be just as good for New Year’s Eve parties as well.

And can you really ever go wrong with pretzels and chocolate?


1 bag Window Pane Pretzels

1 bag Hershey’s Kisses

1 bag M&M’s


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Place pretzels on cookie sheet, then place unwrapped Hershey’s kisses in the center of each pretzel.

3. Bake for 1-3 minutes until kisses are semi-melted. Remove from oven and immediately press one M&M onto each kiss.

4. Let cool completely or chill in refrigerator until kisses are set.



Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

As is fairly well documented by this coconut cake (which happens to be the cake I made for Easter last year) and this strawberry pie (one of two pies I made for Father’s Day), when my family gathers for holidays or special occasions, I typically bring the dessert.

 This Easter was no different.

 When I first approached my mom about bringing a dessert for Easter dinner this year, I had no clue what I wanted to make.  I typically enjoy making cakes, but as I searched through some of my favorite recipe sites and blogs, finding several cakes that looked great and very Easter-appropriate, I ultimately discovered that I had a taste for something different this year.

I kept coming back to this recipe for Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie.

But every time I considered it I thought, “Peanut butter pie doesn’t seem very Easter-y. And who makes pie on Easter anyways?  The flavors aren’t right.  And it’s too rich.  My parents are NOT going to think this is a good idea.”

But I still wanted it.

So on the Thursday before Easter, I called my mom to see if she might possibly be sorta interested in peanut butter pie for dessert. And much to my surprise, our conversation went something like this:

 Me: So I’ve been thinking about Sunday. Could I maybe make peanut butter pie for dessert…?

Mom: Em! I just told your Dad that I had a craving for peanut butter pie! That sounds perfect!

Me: Really?  Weird.  Are you sure? I mean, peanut butter pie doesn’t seem like a very Easter-worthy dessert?

Mom: Why not? We think of Reeses Peanut Butter Eggs around Easter.

Me: Good point. Peanut butter pie it is.

So, peanut butter pie it was…

Ingredients for Crust:

25 whole oreos

4 tablespoons butter, melted

Ingredients for Filling:

1 cup creamy peanut butter

1 package (8oz.) softened cream cheese

1 1/4 cups powdered sugar

1 package (80z.) cool whip, thawed


  1. For the crust, crush oreos until fine (a food processor is preferable for this process…if you don’t have one, go search in your parents garage and they may have one they’re not using!). Pour melted butter over crumbs and stir with fork to combine. Press into pie pan and bake at 350 degrees for about 5 minutes (just until set). Cool completely.
  2. For the filling, beat the peanut butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Then add the cool whip and beat until smooth.
  3. Pour filling into crust and chill for at least an hour (longer is better…overnight is perfect).

(I have no idea what happened here…ha! Enjoy!)

{Guest Baker} Chocolate Sandwich Cookies


I haven’t had much time for baking recently.  And even when I have made time for baking over the last several weeks, it’s been for a specific purpose and squeezed into a too-tight schedule, so taking pictures of the product (much less the process) has not been a top priority.

But my roommate, B, has been on a Christmas cookie baking spree this week, so I thought it would be fun to share one of my favorite recipes from the week.

Chocolate sandwich cookies filled with peppermint icing.


Oh. Yum. 

Seriously.  I have eaten WAY too many of these cookies, but they are SOOO good! 

And who ever said cookies didn’t make for a balanced and nutritious breakfast anyway…?

As much as I really do love to bake, I think I could get used to this way of baking…B mixes the dough, rolls out the cookies, watches the clock, and I just “assist” while sampling and taking photos.

Lest you think otherwise, though, I wasn’t a completely useless assistant.  I made the final decision regarding the appropriate shade of red for the icing…an important part of the process if I do say so myself!


2 boxes Devil’s Food cake mix

4 eggs slightly beaten

2/3 cup oil

8 oz. package of cream cheese, softened

½ cup butter, softened

3-4 cups powdered sugar

½ teaspoon vanilla

Peppermint extract to taste

Red food coloring (optional)



  1. Beat cake mixes, eggs, and oil. Batter will be stiff.
  2. Roll dough into balls (or use a cookie dough scoop) and place on ungreased baking sheets (parchment paper on the cookie sheets is optional).
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes (do NOT over-bake).
  4. Immediately after cookies are removed from oven, flatten lightly with spatula, and move to wire cooling rack.
  5. In another bowl, beat cream cheese and butter.  Add powdered sugar and vanilla, and mix until smooth.  Add peppermint extract to desired minty-ness.  Feel free to add red food coloring to desired shade of red at this point as well.  Or not.
  6. Spread icing onto bottom of one cookie and top with another cookie.


These cookies are soooo good (and even better when made by your roommate while you “assist” in the kitchen…just sayin’)!


Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Filling

A couple of weekends ago, I decided to experiment with a new cupcake recipe.  But not just any cupcake recipe.  After spending entirely too much time watching shows such as Cupcake Wars and DC Cupcakes, I decided to experiment with filled cupcakes for the very first time.

I had already bookmarked this recipe from Food & Wine for double dark chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter filling (say that three times fast…), so this seemed like an appropriate time to pull it out and give it a try.



Considering I had never made filled cupcakes before, I think they turned out pretty well!  My number one take-away lesson for next time, though: Add. More. Filling.

These cupcakes were a little involved, but totally worth it!



Chocolate Cupcakes


3/4 cup & 2 tablespoons cocoa powder

½ cup boiling water

1 cup buttermilk

1 ¾ cups flour

1 ¼ teaspoons baking soda

¼ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

1 ½ sticks butter

1 ½ cups sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract



1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 24 muffin cups.

2. Combine cocoa powder and boiling water.  Whisk until smooth.  Add buttermilk.

3. Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

4. In large bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in eggs and vanilla.  Then beat in dry ingredients alternating with cocoa mixture.

5. Spoon batter into liners (about two-thirds full) and bake for 20-22 minutes.

6. Let cupcakes cool in pan for about 5 minutes, then let them cool completely on wire racks before filling.



Peanut Butter Filling


1 cup peanut butter

3 tablespoons butter

2/3 cup powdered sugar



1. Beat the peanut butter and butter until creamy.  Add powdered sugar and beat until light and fluffy.

2. Spoon filling into pastry bag with star tip (or if you’re like me, a plastic baggie with the corner cut off works just fine).

3. If you have a pastry bag, push tip into top of cupcake and fill.  If using a plastic bag, cut a cone shape out of the top of the cupcake, fill, then replace cone.


Chocolate Icing


1 cup heavy cream

8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped



1. In small saucepan, bring heavy cream to a simmer.

2. Off the heat, add semisweet chocolate to cream and let stand for 5 minutes before whisking together until smooth.

3. Let icing stand until slightly cooled and thickened (mine took about 10 minutes, but it could take up to around 15 minutes).

4. Dip the tops of the cupcakes into the icing, let stand for 5 minutes, and then dip the tops again.




Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cake Cookies

On Sunday evening, I had an intense craving for chocolate, but didn’t feel like making anything overly complicated.  I considered just making brownies, but didn’t have a box mix in the pantry.  (And yes, I actually prefer brownies from a box to any made-from-scratch recipe that I’ve tried.  I know; it doesn’t make sense…)

So my search for chocolate led me to this FABULOUS recipe for chocolate chocolate chip cake cookies on allrecipes.com!



I mean…YUM!  These cookies are rich and moist and wonderful!




Except for a couple of minor ingredient substitutions (regular salt instead of kosher salt and salted butter instead of unsalted) and one omission (no nuts – I’m allergic), I followed the recipe exactly.


          1 cup butter

          1 ½ cups sugar

          2 eggs

          1 teaspoon vanilla extract

          2 cups all-purpose flour

          ½ teaspoon salt

          2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

          2 cups semisweet chocolate chips



1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. In large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy (for 8-10 minutes).  Add the eggs one at a time.  Add the vanilla.

3. Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder in large plastic baggie.  Seal bag and combine until no separate ingredients are showing.

4. Add the flour mix to the butter/sugar.  Mix together until completely combined (about 3 mintues).  Add the chocolate chips.

5. Drop by tablespoons onto cookie sheet.

6. Bake for 11 minutes.  Let cool on cookie sheet for a minute or two, then remove to cooling rack to cool completely.