My brother was visiting for Valentine’s Day and we were having dinner at home. Valentine’s Day, of course, calls for a chocolate dessert of some kind and this brownie recipe fit the bill for recipe number 6 in the 52 week new recipe challenge. This recipe was adapted from a Barefoot Contessa recipe. Originally, it calls for the use of smaller cast iron skillets but last year’s road trip found us in South Pittsburg, TN, home of the Lodge Cast Iron Outlet Store where I purchased these 6″ skillets. While the recipe says it makes 5 servings, using larger skillets yielded 2 skillets but you could still get 4 – 5 servings either sharing or with leftovers. A longer cooking time is required if using the larger skillets. Top with ice cream, we used vanilla but mint chocolate chip, vanilla fudge swirl, peanut butter or your favorite would also be delicious. A little Hershey chocolate syrup makes it all the more decadent!
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
- 1 1/2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, divided use
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Ice cream, chocolate syrup, nuts and other toppings, if desired
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a large, heat-proof bowl over simmering water, melt butter, 1/2 cup chocolate chops and chopped, unsweetened chocolate until smooth. Set aside and let cool for 15 minutes.
- In a large bowl stir together the eggs, vanilla and sugar. Stir the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture until well combined.
- In a medium bowl, sift together 1/4 cup flour, baking powder and salt and add to the chocolate mixture, stirring until just combined. In a small bowl, toss together the remaining 1/2 cup chocolate chips and one tablespoon flour and fold them into the chocolate mixture. Divide batter into two 6" cast iron skillets or five 3 1/2" cast iron skillets. Place on baking sheet and bake 25 - 35 minutes (depending on skillet size), taking care to not over bake.
- If desired, top warm brownies with ice cream and other toppings for a delicious sundae.
Chocolate mousse is one of my favorite desserts. My family loves it too. I often serve it as dessert after Christmas dinner because it’s light and perfect after a heavy meal. I originally got this recipe from the Hershey’s website but I can no longer find it there. None of the mousse recipes there now are this easy. I use Baker’s Unsweetened chocolate. They are individually wrapped in one ounce portions. I use a serrated knife to “chop” the chocolate rather than breaking up those smallish bars. Much easier. Don’t rush the melting process and use fresh chocolate. If you melt the chocolate too fast, it could seize up on you and you can’t recover that mistake. You will need to start again, so just be patient. You’ll be glad you were.
- 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
- 4 bars (1 ounce each) unsweetened baking chocolate, broken into pieces (Baker's Chocolate was used)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups (1 pint) cold whipping cream
- Melt chocolate with sweetened condensed milk in heavy saucepan over medium-low heat. Once melted, stir in vanilla. Pour into large bowl and cool to room temperature, about 1 1/2 hours. Beat until smooth.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat whipping cream until stiff peaks form. Fold into chocolate mixture until whipped cream is combined. Do this gently so as not to flatten your mixture.
- Spoon mousse into dessert cups. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, about 6 hours. Refrigerate leftovers.
There is no cook time, beyond melting the chocolate, just a 6 hour chill time.
I’m not quite sure how I found this recipe on the Taste of Home website but am I ever glad I did! It just so happened that I actually had everything I needed to make this tonight. Plus I needed to use up some green onions. So glad I didn’t need to go to the store. The original recipe was for four servings but I scaled it back to two for us this evening. It would make a nice intimate dinner, maybe for an anniversary or Valentine’s Day but would also be perfect for company. This really cooks up fast, especially since you flatten the chicken. Make sure your oil and butter are hot before you put in your chicken. It will be less likely to stick and be sure to use a non-stick pan. You do want some yummy brown bits to stick to the bottom so it will flavor your sauce. I added an extra pat of butter to the sauce for richness. So, without further delay…
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 3 teaspoons butter, divided
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup chicken broth
- 3 tablespoons chopped green onions
- Flatten chicken to 1/4 inch thickness; sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper. In a large non-stick skillet, brown chicken in olive oil and 2 teaspoons butter over medium heat for up to 10 minutes on each side or it is no longer pink inside.
- Remove chicken to a plate and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm. In the same skillet, whisk the lemon juice, parsley and mustard until blended. Whisk in broth; heat through. Place each chicken breast on a plate, spoon sauce over chicken and sprinkle some chopped green onions on top.
This would be delicious served with steamed green beans and roasted potatoes. If you have any leftover pan sauce serve rice and use the sauce to moisten the rice.
My son’s second grade class held a heritage luncheon as their winter party before the holiday break. Each family was asked to make a dish to share from their heritage. When I asked my son what he wanted to make he didn’t hesitate to say biscotti, from our Italian heritage. Honestly, I cringed! We love biscotti but, I’ll admit, I buy it. I made it once many years ago before children. When it comes to cooking, I rarely cheat, but it did cross my mind to purchase it. Then the memo from school…there will be a cookbook of all the families recipes, please email it to the room mom. So…off I went on a biscotti recipe search.
I did not keep the recipe I had made all those years ago because when I cut it after the first baking, it crumbled. It’s not that biscotti is a difficult recipe to make, it’s just a bit involved because it’s a twice baked cookie. So my search took me to the Taste of Home website where I found the recipe inspiration. I modified it to our tastes, leaving out nuts, adding chocolate chips and here is the result. The room mom was so impressed she asked if I bought them! I actually impressed myself too! They do look nice! For a different look, dip half the biscotti in white chocolate. These are perfect for dunking in your morning coffee.
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
- 3 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 1/3 cups sugar
- 3/4 cups baking cocoa
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
- 1 1/2 teaspoons shortening
- In a large bowl, combine butter, eggs and vanilla until well blended. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder and baking soda; gradually add to butter mixture just until combined. The dough will be crumbly.
- Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface; knead in chocolate chips. Divide dough in half. On an ungreased cookie sheet, shape each portion into a 12-inch by 3-inch log, leaving 3 inches between the logs.
- Bake at 325 degrees F. for 30 to 35 minutes or until set and tops are cracked. Cool for 15 minutes. Don't cool any longer or you risk the cookies crumbling when you cut them. Carefully transfer to a cutting board; cut diagonally with a serrated knife into 1/2 inch slices.
- Place cut side down on ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until firm and dry. Remove to wire racks to cool.
- For drizzle: Microwave white chips and shortening at 70% power for 1 minute; stir. Microwave at additional 10 to 20 second intervals, stirring until smooth. Drizzle over biscotti.
For less of a mess when drizzling, leave the biscotti on the cooling rack and place the cooling rack over a foil lined baking sheet. Drizzle away letting excess drip onto the foil. Easy clean up!
Recipe adapted from Taste of Home.