Category Archives: TenaciousM Indulgence

One-Bowl Caramel Skillet Brownie

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I believe my heart sunk right into this skillet’s fudgy middle even before it was cool enough to cut a square. These are brownies that satisfy like no other; they’re intensely chocolatey, chewy yet still fudgy, and made even more decadent with swirls of gooey caramel sauce and a healthy sprinkle of flaky sea salt.

Ingredients

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate (60 to 70% cacao), finely chopped
8 tablespoons (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon fine salt or 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 heaping tablespoons good-quality caramel sauce
1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt

Directions

1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 350°F. Place the chocolate in a large bowl.

2. Melt the butter in an 8- or 9-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat. Pour the melted butter over the chocolate, leaving a film of butter on the pan. Set the pan aside. Let the mixture sit for a minute, then stir to evenly combine — the chocolate should be melted and the mixture should be smooth.

3. Add the sugar and whisk to combine. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla. Whisk vigorously for about 1 minute. Stir in the flour and salt.

4. Transfer the batter to the skillet and spread into an even layer. Drop dollops of the caramel sauce all over the top. Using a butter knife, gently swirl the caramel sauce into the batter, running the knife lengthwise and crosswise. Sprinkle the top evenly with the flaky sea salt.

5. Bake until a tester inserted in the center comes out with just a few crumbs, 25 to 30 minutes. The edges should look firm and well-baked, the center should be moist but not gooey, and the caramel sauce should be bubbling.

6. Cool completely in the skillet on a wire rack. Cut into squares and serve.

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Candy Bar Stash Chocolate Cake

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This Candy Bar Stash Chocolate Cake starts with a rich chocolate cake with a tender, moist crumb and is topped with a sweet chocolate buttercream made with butter, cocoa powder and cream.

If that isn’t enough, take it up a notch and add your favorite chocolate candy bars. Once the cake is frosted, top it with a variety of candy bars making sure to do it right away as the frosting acts like a glue once it sits. It’s fun to give dimension to the cake by using Kit Kat, Crunch Bars, or even full-size candy bars that stand up on the cake.

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Ingredients

  • Chocolate Cake:
  • 1¾ cup Flour
  • 1¾ cup Sugar
  • ¾ cup Cocoa (high quality)
  • 2 teaspoons Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • ½ cup Oil (canola or coconut oil)
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 cup Buttermilk
  • 1½ teaspoons Vanilla
  • 1 cup Hot Water
  • Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:
  • 1½ cups Butter, softened
  • 1 cup Cocoa
  • 5 cups Powdered Sugar
  • ⅓ cup Cream, Half n Half or Milk
  • Candy Bars:
  • Kit Kat
  • Crunch Bar
  • Snickers
  • Reeses Peanut Butter Cup
  • Twix
  • Milky Way
  • Butterfinger
  • M & M’s
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. If you have a flour sifter, sift all dry ingredients.
  3. In mixing bowl, beat oil, eggs, buttermilk and vanilla for 1 minute. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir until combined. Pour in hot water and mix together.
  4. Spray two 8 or 9 inch cake pans with non-stick cooking spray. You can also use three 8 inch cake pans for this recipe. Pour batter evenly into each pan. Bake at 22-27 minutes. Place toothpick or cake tester in the center of cake to check if it comes out clean.
  5. Let cool before frosting.
  6. To make Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:
  7. In mixing bowl, cream together Butter, Cocoa, Powdered Sugar, and Cream until light and fluffy. You may want to add more cream or milk depending on consistency. Once cake has cooled and has been removed from pans, frost each layer with frosting.
  8. Top with your favorite chocolate candy bars — Kit Kat, Crunch Bar, Snickers, Reeses Peanut Butter Cups, Twix, Milky Way, Butterfinger, and M & M’s.
  9. This is one baked good that gets even better the next day, if covered.
  10. *If you would like to make a triple layer cake, 1½ times the recipe and use three 8 or 9 inch cake pans

Mini Triple-Chocolate Pound Cakes

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You’ll hardly be able to bake these little gems before they’re devoured!  Enjoy!


Ingredients

CAKE
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt
1 1/2 cups butter, softened at room temperature
3 cups granulated sugar
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
2 teaspoons instant espresso
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate morsels
Shortening

CHOCOLATE GLAZE
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate morsels
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

BUTTERMILK GLAZE
1 cup powdered sugar
1 to 2 Tbsp. buttermilk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

Prepare Cakes: Preheat oven to 325°.

  1. Whisk together ingredients.
  2. Beat 1 1/2 cups butter in a medium bowl at medium-high speed with an electric mixer until smooth.
  3. Gradually add granulated sugar, beating until light and fluffy.
  4. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until yolk disappears.
  5. Combine 1 1/4 cups buttermilk and next 2 ingredients.
  6. Add flour mixture to egg mixture alternately with buttermilk mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture.
  7. Beat at low speed after each addition. Fold in bittersweet chocolate morsels.
  8. Pour batter into 2 lightly greased (with vegetable cooking spray) 12-cup Bundt brownie pans, filling each about three-fourths full.
  9. Bake at 325° for 26 to 30 minutes.
  10. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans, and cool completely.
  11. Prepare Chocolate Glaze: Combine semisweet chocolate morsels, 3 Tbsp. butter, and 1 Tbsp. corn syrup in a microwave-safe glass bowl. Microwave at MEDIUM (50% power) 1 to 1 1/2 minutes or until morsels begin to melt, stirring after 1 minute. Stir until smooth. Stir in 1/2 tsp. vanilla.
  12. Prepare Buttermilk Glaze: Whisk together powdered sugar, 1 Tbsp. buttermilk, and 1/4 tsp. vanilla in a small bowl until smooth. Add up to 1 Tbsp. buttermilk, if desired. Drizzle warm glazes over cooled cakes.

Epic 12 Layer Chocolate Cake

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Twelve layers of chocolate cake filled with alternating layers of silky chocolate pastry cream and rich fudgy chocolate frosting. This 6-inch tall mega cake might just be the best chocolate cake you’ll ever taste.

Ingredients

For the Chocolate Cake:
4 cups (500 grams) All-purpose flour
4 cups (800 grams) granulated sugar
2 cups (170 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
4 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
5 large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups (452 grams) sour cream or Greek yogurt, at room temperature
2⅔ cup water, at room temperature
⅔ cup neutral-tasting oil
4 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the Simple Syrup Soak:
½ cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
½ cup water

For the Chocolate Pastry Cream: (makes about 4 cups)
2¼ cup whole milk
¾ cup heavy whipping cream
½ cup plus 3 tablespoons (137 grams) granulated sugar, divided
⅛ teaspoon salt
6 large egg yolks (freeze the whites for later use)
¼ cup (32 grams) cornstarch
¼ cup (57 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
4 ounces/ 114 grams finely chopped bittersweet chocolate (I used 66% dark chocolate callets)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or 2 teaspoons imitation vanilla flavoring

For the Fudgy Frosting: (makes about 4 cups)
12½ ounces/ 354 grams bittersweet or semisweet chocolate or a combination of both (I used ½ bittersweet, ½ semisweet)
1¼ cups heavy whipping cream
1¼ cups (250 grams) granulated sugar
Heaping ¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons (142 grams) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

For Garnish: (Optional)
Chocolate sprinkles, colored sprinkles, chocolate chips or chocolate curls/shavings (I used these chocolate flakes)

Instructions

For the Chocolate Cake: (Can be prepared several days in advance)

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat the oven to 350F/180C. Spray (or grease) four 9-inch round cake pans with non-stick cooking spray, line with parchment paper, then spray (or grease and flour) the parchment and pans. If you don’t have four 9-inch pans, use whatever amount you have and bake in intervals. You just want to end up with four equal cake layers.

2. In a very large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder. baking soda, baking powder and salt.
To the dry ingredients, add the eggs, sour cream, water, oil, vanilla extract and mix together using an electric mixer until well combined and smooth. Batter will be very thin.

3. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared pans. A great way to do that, is to weigh the batter, and divide that number by the amount of pans used, which is 4 in the case of this recipe. Using a scale to measure, fill each pan with the resulted amount.

4. Bake until the center of the cakes spring back when pressed lightly with your fingers and a toothpick inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean (a few moist crumbs attached are ok); about 25 minutes.

5. Let the cakes cool in the pans on wire rack for 15 minutes. Invert cakes onto a cake board or plate and peel off parchment; reinvert cakes onto the wire rack. Allow to cool until slightly warm or at room temperature, then wrap in a double layer of plastic wrap and keep in the freezer until cold and firm but not frozen. This step is optional, but it makes the process of slicing the cakes into thin layers, cleaner and easier. Alternatively, you could keep the cakes in the freezer for up to several days,

Meanwhile, make the other cake components.

For the Simple Syrup Soak: (can be prepared up to a week in advance)
Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved; set aside to cool completely before using.

For the Chocolate Pastry Cream: (Can be prepared up to 2 days in advance)

1. Heat the milk, heavy whipping cream, ½ cup (100 grams) of the sugar, and the salt in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat until simmering, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar.

2. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks and the remaining 3 tablespoons (37 grams) of sugar in a medium bowl, until the sugar has begun to dissolve and the mixture is creamy, about 15 seconds. (IMPORTANT: Don’t whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until the milk mixture is already heating, because if left together for too long, the sugar will start to cook the yolks). Whisk in the cornstarch vigorously until the mixture is pale yellow and thick, about 30 seconds.

3. When the milk mixture reaches a full simmer, gradually whisk the simmering milk into the yolk mixture to temper. Don’t do it too fast, or you’ll risk cooking the eggs. Return the mixture to the saucepan, scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula. Return to a simmer over medium heat, whisking constantly, until a few bubbles burst on the surface and the mixture is thickened and glossy, about 30 seconds. Be careful not to cook the mixture beyond the point of a few bubbles or the mixture can start to curdle and the yolks may scramble…not fun! Turn off the heat, whisk in the butter, chocolate, and vanilla.

3. Strain the pastry cream through a fine-mesh sieve set over a medium bowl. Press plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming and refrigerate until cold and set, at least 3 hours or up to 2 days.

For the Fudgy Frosting: (can be prepared 1 day in advance)

1. Place the chocolate in a large bowl.
2. Heat cream, sugar, and salt in saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves and mixture begins to simmer. It is very important to make sure that the sugar has dissolved completely, so you don’t end up with a gritty frosting.

3. Pour hot cream mixture over chocolate and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the butter until glossy. Cover and refrigerate until icing is firm but still spreadable, about 1 hour.

To Assemble the Cake:

1. Since this mega cake is a 6-inch tall beast, it is best to treat it as 2 separate cakes that we’ll later fuse into one; it will make for a sturdier construction that way. Start by lining the bottom of a 9-inch cake ring or the ring of springform pan with a 9-inch round cake board. Line the inside of the ring with a strip of acetate or parchment paper. This will later help release the finished cake from the ring easily.

2. If your cakes are domed, level them off by slicing away a thin layer from the top; you need the cakes to be as flat as possible. Using a serrated knife or cake leveler, as careful as you can, slice each of the 4 cakes into 3 layers of equal thickness, about 1cm each. You should end up with a total of 12 layers.

3. Using a round cake board or cake lifter, transfer the bottom layer of one of the cakes inside the ring. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the surface of the cake layer with the Simple Syrup Soak.

4. Using an offset spatula or back of a spoon, spread a little over ½ cup of the Chocolate Pastry Cream evenly over the cake layer, all the way to the sides of the ring.

5. Top with a second cake layer, then brush with the Simple Syrup Soak. Spread a little over ½ cup of the Fudgy Frosting evenly over the cake layer, all the way to the sides of the ring. Using up 2 of the 4 cakes, repeat, alternating layers of cake, Chocolate Pastry Cream, cake, Fudgy Frosting, brushing each cake layer with the Simple Syrup Soak. End with a smooth layer of Fudgy Frosting. You should now have 6 layers of cake and 6 layers of filling. Cover the cake loosely with plastic wrap and place in the freezer to set.

6. Using another 9-inch cake ring or the ring of springform pan, repeat Steps 3 through 5, using the remaining 2 cakes and the remaining Chocolate Pastry Cream, Fudgy Frosting and Simple Syrup Soak. Top the final layer of cake, decoratively, with the last bit of Fudgy Frosting creating swoops and swirls, as this will be the top layer of the final cake. If you don’t have an extra 9-inch cake ring (which I don’t) carefully slide the first cake out of the ring, keeping the acetate intact, cover, freeze, and reuse the same ring to assemble the other cake.

7. Freeze the 2 assembled base cakes until very firm and sturdy; 1 to 2 hours. You could even freeze it for several days (*For make ahead details, please refer to the NOTES below).
Pop the cakes out of the cake ring(s).

8. Gently peel off the acetate of the cake you plan to place on the bottom. Make sure the Fudgy Frosting topping on that cake, is soft enough to adhere to the top cake when placed on it. If its too cold and dry, warm through using a kitchen torch.

9. Top the bottom base cake with the top base cake (the one with the pretty swirls on top). Don’t forget to remove its cake board before you do! Peel off its acetate. Use an offset spatula to smooth out the sides of the cakes, fusing them together as you go, and scrapping off any excess and filling the gaps with it.

10. Place the final cake on a rimmed baking sheet to catch any decoration fall outs. Cover the sides of the cake with the garnish of your choice. I used these Chocolate Flakes.

11. Place the cake under a cake dome and allow to come to room temperature before serving. Timing will vary depending on how long the cake was left in the freezer. Serve at room temperature, or slightly warmed in the microwave. Leftovers will keep well chilled in the fridge in an airtight container.

Gooey Chocolate-Caramel Fantasy

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This luscious dessert includes a chocolate crumb crust and caramel-pecan filling crowned with melted chocolate.

Ingredients

1/3 cup butter, melted
2 cups chocolate wafer crumbs (about 38 wafers)
30 vanilla caramels
1/2 cup caramel ice cream topping
2 cups chopped pecans
1/4 cup whipping cream
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate pieces
1/4 cup whipping cream

Directions

1.In a medium mixing bowl, stir together chocolate wafer crumbs and melted butter. Press onto the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 10 minutes. Cool slightly on a wire rack.

2. In a heavy medium saucepan, melt caramels in caramel ice cream topping over low heat, stirring often. Stir in the first 1/4 cup whipping cream. Remove from heat; stir in nuts. Spread over crust. Cool; cover and chill for 1 hour.

3. For topping: In a heavy small saucepan, melt chocolate. Remove from heat; stir in remaining whipping cream.

4. Drizzle or spread over caramel-pecan mixture. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour. Makes 12 servings.

Mini Chocolate Snowball Cakes

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For when a snack-cake craving (or nostalgia) strikes. Confession: Sometimes we get a little nostalgic for a classic Hostess snack cake, specifically of the Sno Ball variety. When the craving strikes, we turn to this recipe for mini chocolate snowball cakes.

Ingredients

Cakes

½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar
½ cup sugar
2 eggs
1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2¾ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup cocoa powder
1¼ teaspoons baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
½ cup buttermilk
½ cup warm water 

Finishing

3 cups shredded coconut
2 2/3 cups whipped topping or whipped cream

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Make the cakes: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter with the brown sugar and sugar until light and fluffy, 4 to 5 minutes.

3. Add the eggs one at a time, and scrape the side of the bowl well after each is added. Add the vanilla extract and mix to combine.

4. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the cocoa powder, baking soda and salt to combine. Add about half of the flour mixture to the mixer, and mix on low speed to combine.

5. Gradually add the buttermilk and water to the mixer; mix to combine. Add the remaining flour mixture and mix to combine.

6. Scoop the batter (an ice-cream scoop works great) into 16 even mounds on the prepared baking sheets. Stagger the cakes, leaving at least 2 inches of space all around—the cakes will spread during baking.

7. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cake comes out clean, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool completely.

8. Trim the uneven edges from the cakes by pressing a 3-inch circle cookie cutter (or the rim of a large glass) into the center of each cooled cake. You will end up with 16 perfect circles.

9. Spread the coconut into an even layer on a large plate or baking sheet.

10 .Build the cakes:  Scoop ⅓ cup whipped topping or whipped cream onto a cake and then place another cake on top. Press down on the top cake until some of the filling comes out the sides and then use a spatula to spread this excess all over the sides and top. Repeat with the remaining cakes and whipped cream.

11. Roll the cakes in the coconut to coat all over. Refrigerate the cakes until ready to serve. They will keep in the refrigerator, stored in an airtight container, for up to a week.

Chocolate Cream Pie

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The filling of this chocolate-crust pie is luscious, but not too rich. (Think old-fashioned chocolate pudding.) A bit of sour cream in the whipped topping balances the chocolate perfectly.

Ingredients

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
4 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening, chilled and cut up
3 -4 tablespoons ice water
1 cup chopped semisweet chocolate (6 ounces)
2 tablespoons butter
3 cups whole milk
2/3 cup granulated sugar
4 egg yolks
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
Chocolate curls or grated semisweet chocolate

Directions

For crust: In a medium bowl, combine flour, 2 tablespoons cocoa, 4 1/2 teaspoons sugar and the salt. Using a pastry blender, cut shortening into flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs.

Sprinkle 1 tablespoon water over part of the mixture. Gently toss with a fork. Continue adding water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until all dough is moistened. Form dough into a ball. On a lightly floured surface press dough into a disk. Roll dough into a 12-inch circle. Ease circle into a 9-inch pie plate. Trim pastry to 1/2-inch beyond edge of pie plate. Fold under extra crust and crimp as desired.
Prick bottom and sides of pastry with a fork. Line crust with a double layer of foil. Bake in a 425 degrees F oven for 10 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 8 minutes more or until set and dry. Remove from oven and cool completely.

For filling: Place chopped chocolate and butter in a medium bowl. Set aside. Heat milk in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat until steam rises from surface (do not let boil). Meanwhile, in a medium mixing bowl, whisk together 2/3 cup sugar, the yolks, cornstarch, and 2 tablespoons cocoa powder (mixture will be thick).

Slowly whisk 2 cups of the hot milk into egg mixture. Add egg mixture back into saucepan. Cook and stir until mixture comes to a boil. Cook for 30 seconds more. Pour over chopped chocolate and butter. Let stand for 3 minutes. Add vanilla; whisk until chocolate and butter are melted and mixture is smooth.
Pour into cooled crust. Cover pie with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight until set.
When ready to serve, prepare topping. In a large mixing bowl beat cream, sour cream and powdered sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed just until stiff peaks form. Spread over pie and top with chocolate curls.