Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies #Choctoberfest

Note: I received complimentary products for this post. All opinions are my own.

One thing I love about #Choctoberfest is getting to know some new brands – like Davis Chocolates I showed off the amazing Cocktail Sticks on facebook last night, but they also sent these awesome (organic!) peanut butter baking chips  – and I knew they’d become cookies.

These cookies are so, so fabulous. They’re rich and chocolaty without being overly sweet – and then you bite into the pockets of chocolate chunks and peanut butter chips. It’s just seriously yum. I brought these to a meeting and as we were packing up at the end everyone was grabbing “just one more” – always the sign of a good cookie!

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies
(a Kate’s Recipe Box original)
Makes about 3 dozen 2″ cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups peanut butter chips (I used Davis Chocolate Organic Peanut Butter Baking Chips)
1 cup chocolate chunks

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt and set aside.

In a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy – about 5 minutes. Mix in the eggs one at a time, then mix in the vanilla.  Add the dry ingredients, a little at a time, until just combined. Fold in peanut butter chips and chocolate chunks.

Drop by rounded tablespoons onto a baking sheet at bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven and then let cool for five minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

You can see today’s other #Choctoberfest recipes here:

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Roasted Sugar Chocolate Cake #Choctoberfest

Note: I received complimentary products for this post. All opinions are my own.

Imperial Sugar returned as the Choctoberfest Gold Sponsor this year – and if you follow me on Facebook, you’ve already seen the amazing package they sent. I’m not sure who was more excited about it – me or the kids. (PS – if you want to win your own year’s supply of sugar, check out their Scary Scramble Contest going on now!)

When I started planning recipes for this week, I asked Jake if there was anything special he wanted to make, and without hesitation he told me, “Chocolate cake”. So, it went out our list.

It was also a great excuse to try out roasting sugar. Have you heard of this technique? I’ve seen it on a few food sites and I was super intrigued – you cook the sugar for a few hours and it gives the sugar a caramel-like flavor but you can still use it like you would regular white sugar. The results in this cake were pretty amazing – it’s more or less a regular chocolate cake, but then you get this beautiful caramel flavor at the end of the bite. I can’t overstate how awesome that touch is!

Roasting the sugar was also the only part of the cake that Jake didn’t have a hand in. He was particularly excited about helping frost the cake – and overrode my plans of topping it off with dark chocolate curls in favor of  mini chocolate chips.

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I absolutely love how excited he was to see the end result – and hear again and again from friends and family we shared the cake with how awesome it was. Jake kept telling me, “I made that! I’m Baker Jake!” and they recreated the cake a million times over in his play kitchen. In the middle of a crazy week, it was such a good reminder to slow down and savor the moment. Thank you, Imperial Sugar, for helping create such a fun memory with my little guy!

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Roasted Sugar Chocolate Cake
(a Kate’s Recipe Box original)
Makes 1 9″ 3 layer cake

4 lbs. white sugar (I used Imperial brand Sugar)

3 cups of flour
1 1/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tbsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. salt
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups plain yogurt
2 cups water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 Tbsp. vanilla

1 1/2 cups butter, at room temperature
7 cups powdered sugar (I used Imperial brand Sugar)
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 Tbsp. vanilla
Pinch of salt

Start by roasting the sugar. Pour 4 pounds of sugar into a glass or ceramic 9×13″ baking dish. Roast at 350 degrees for 2 hours, stirring well every 20 minutes. You want the sugar to start to turn a lightly browned color, but not to melt. Once done, cool completely and store in an airtight container.

To make the cake, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and 3 cups of the cooled roasted sugar. Add in the eggs, water, vegetable oil, and vanilla and mix until just combined.

Grease 3 9″ cake pans and divide cake batter evenly between pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Let cake layers cool completely before assembling the cake.

To make the frosting, sift together the powdered sugar and cocoa powder. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter. Add the remaining ingredients and beat until smooth and fluffy.

Once the cake layers are cool, frost and decorate as desired.

See the rest of today’s #Choctoberfest recipes here:

Mint Chocolate Mousse #Choctoberfest

Note: I received complimentary products for this post. All opinions are my own.

Choctoberfest is, by default, a pretty indulgent event. Barlean’s is a great, healthy spin on the chocolate theme so I’m always excited to work with them as a sponsor.

This recipe is a dessert – but it’s not one you’ll feel guilty indulging in. Once chilled, the texture of this mousse is perfectly fluffy. It gets it’s flavor from two Barlean’s products – and they also pack it with flaxseed oil, greens, and other good stuff. A total win-win – especially when you have chocolate-loving little ones.

This also can be easily adjusted to your taste – leave out the mint, go light on the mint, make it super minty – do what you love!

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Mint Chocolate Mousse
(a Kate’s Recipe Box original)
Serves 4

1 can coconut milk
1 Tbsp. Barlean’s Essential Woman Omega Swirl Chocolate Mint Flavor
1/4 cup Barlean’s Greens Powder Chocolate Silk Flavor
1 Tbsp. mini chocolate chips

In a stand mixer, whip together the coconut milk, Barlean’s Essential Woman Omega Swirl Chocolate Mint Flavor, and Barlean’s Greens Powder Chocolate Silk Flavor until light and fluffy. Pour into four small bowls or ramekins. Sprinkle with mini chocolate chips. Refrigerate for 4 hours before serving.

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See today’s other #Choctoberfest recipes here:

Chocolate Marshmallows #Choctoberfest #MadeWithRodelle

Note: I received complimentary products for this post. All opinions are my own.

I first made homemade marshmallows for Christmas a few years ago. They were amazing and I absolutely adored them floating in a mug of cocoa. And while vanilla marshmallows have been my go-to, I kept dreaming about chocolate ones.

Fluffy chocolate marshmallows floating in rich chocolate cocoa. Sounds heavenly, right?

It took a few tries to figure out how to make it work – trying to mix in cocoa powder never gave me the result I was hoping for but mixing the cocoa powder into a chocolate paste makes them just right.

I used gourmet baking cocoa from Choctoberfest sponsor Rodelle for this and it was such a great choice – the rich flavor is perfect for decadent marshmallows!

As we were sampling these, Jake requested making them into s’mores using chocolate graham crackers too – I’m pretty sure that will be our next project!

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Chocolate Marshmallows
(a Kate’s Recipe box original)
Makes about 2 dozen

1/4 c. powdered sugar
1/4 c. cornstarch
1/2 c. cocoa powder, divided (I used Rodelle Gourmet Baking Cocoa)
Vegetable oil
2 envelope unflavored gelatin
1 1/2 c. white sugar
2/3 cup light corn syrup

In a bowl, sift together the powdered sugar, cornstarch, and 1/4 c. cocoa powder.

Oil an 8×8″ baking pan with vegetable oil and then dust with powdered sugar mixture.

Mix remaining 1/4 cup cocoa powder and 2 Tbsp. hot water to make a paste.

In another bowl, put 1/2 cup cold water and sprinkle gelatin over. Set aside.

In a saucepan with a candy thermometer, combine the sugar, corn syrup and 1/2 cup of water. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium. Cook until it reaches 240 degrees then remove from heat.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the gelatin mixture and beat for a minute, until broken up. Add the chocolate paste and beat until well incorporated. While the mixer is going, slowly pour the corn syrup mixture in. Beat on high for about 15 minutes, until thick and doubled in size.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and cover top with more of the cornstarch mixture. Set aside overnight.

The next day, invert the pan to remove the marshmallows. Cut into squares and then roll in remaining cornstarch mixture to coat all sides. Stir in an airtight container.

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You can see today’s other #Choctoberfest recipes here:

12 Desserts for Your 4th of July Cookout #CookoutWeek

Need a last minute dessert for your 4th of July cookout? Here are a dozen of my favorite ideas. From fruit pies to fudgy brownies – there’s bound to be an option you’ll love!

SmorePizza

S’more Pizza

FirecrackerCookies

Firecracker Cookies

Cake Batter Blondies

Cake Batter Blondies

Banana Split Pie

Banana Split Pie

Firecracker Bundt Cake

Firecracker Bundt Cake

Raspberry Mousse

Raspberry Mousse

Monster Magic Cookie Bars

Monster Magic Cookie Bars

Ice Cream Sandwiches 2

Ice Cream Sandwiches

Strawberry Sour Cream Pie

Strawberry Sour Cream Pie

S'more Brownie Bars

S’more Brownie Bars

NutellaToppedKrispieTreats

Nutella Topped Brownies

CherryVanillaCokePokeCake

Cherry Vanilla Coke Poke Cake

Sweet Potato Brownies #RecipeMakeover

Jake gets such a kick out of being my sous chef that I let him pick my last project for #RecipeMakeover week.  He picked brownies. Challenge accepted.

These, admittedly, still aren’t the healthiest brownies ever – but they’re a solid step in the right direction. This recipe uses less sweeteners than most and sneaks in some sweet potato to boot. And while I didn’t plan it this way, they’re vegan, too.

I mashed my sweet potatoes with a fork so they were still a little lumpy going into the batter. Jake isn’t picky (and is thrilled with anything chocolate), so he didn’t mind at all, but if you’re catering to a finicky crowd, pureeing the sweet potatoes would be a better way to hide them!

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Sweet Potato Brownies
(adapted from Better Homes and Gardens)
Makes 1 9×9 ban

1/2 cup unrefined organic cane sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 cup almond butter
3/4 cup mashed, cooked sweet potato
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla
3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and line a 9×9 baking pan with parchment.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.

In a larger bowl, whisk together the almond butter, sweet potato, syrup and vanilla until well combined. Add the dry ingredients and stir just until everything is moistened. Fold in chocolate.

Transfer to the prepared baking pan and smooth out evenly in the pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the top looks dry and puffed. Cool completely before removing from the pan.

Dust with additional cocoa powder, if desired.

Cranberry Honey Banana Bread #RecipeMakeover

Disclosure: I received products from Barlean’s free as part of #RecipeMakeover week. All opinions are my own.

While I’m pretty decent at whipping up a healthy dinner when need be, my baking projects are decidedly different.  Tackling a makeover of one of my most-frequently-baked items – banana bread – seemed like the perfect challenge.

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As I was working on this recipe, I turned to products from #RecipeMakeover sponsor, Barlean’s. Their Butter Flavored Coconut Oil can be subbed 1:1 for butter – so that was a great place to start. Roasting the bananas brought out some more natural sugars, and using Barlean’s Digestive Blend punched up the flavor while adding some good-for-you stuff to the bread (it’s a mix of ground flaxseed, chia seed, quinoa, unsweetened shredded coconut, and a pumpkin blend that is remeniscint of pumpkin spice!) My added sweetener here was a local cranberry honey (fun fact: New Jersey is the 3rd biggest cranberry producing state in the US!) – I Iiked the flavor it added, but if you don’t have this available any honey would be great in this recipe.

The result? A banana bread that was really good – and much better for you than my usual go-to loaf.

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Cranberry Honey Banana Bread
(a Kate’s Recipe Box original)
Makes 1 loaf

4 medium bananas
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup Barlean’s Digestive Blend
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
Pinch of ginger
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup melted Barlean’s Butter Flavored Coconut Oil
1/2 cup Cranberry Honey (or regular honey)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Line  a baking sheet with foil. Prick the banana peels with a fork, place them on the baking sheet, and roast for 15 minutes. Remove to cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, Barlean’s Digestive Blend, baking soda, cinnamon, and ginger.

In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, Barlean’s Butter Flavored Coconut Oil, and honey until well combined. Mash bananas and add to the wet ingredients – stir until well combined.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until the everything is just moistened.

Pour the batter into a greased loaf pan. Bake for 40-50 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.

Chocolate Bunny Brownies #ChocolateBunnyPledge

Are you working on filling Easter baskets this week? We are. I’m so looking forward to stocking up on jellybeans, marshmallow chicks, and chocolate bunnies for my crew. You know what won’t be in our Easter baskets? Any live animals.

Each year after Easter, animal shelters and rescue groups get countless requests to take in baby chicks, ducks, and bunnies that were gifted in Easter baskets. It might seem like an adorable idea, but those animals aren’t toys – they’re a lot of work.

The Bunny Hutch is one of these groups and this year they’re asking people to take the #ChocolateBunnyPledge. Will you commit to making your Easter basket fillers candy instead of live animals? Sign the pledge here.

ChocolateBunnyBrownies

And if you’re looking for the easiest Easter dessert ever – featuring a chocolate bunny! – look no further. This is a standard brownie mix (or your favorite brownie recipe – I love this one.) Take it out of the oven during the last two minutes of baking and press a chocolate bunny and some Cadbury mini eggs into the brownies. Return to the oven for 2 more minutes to let everything meld together. Voila! Easy Chocolate Bunny Brownies.

No-Bake Oreo Pie

It’s been a while since we had something sweet around here. Would you like a slice of pie?

This was actually our pi day pie. Made in the middle of the Nor’easter. I knew we’d be stuck in the house, so I picked a pie that Jake could help with.

We all really enjoyed this and while a frozen pie wasn’t necessarily the best choice for a snowstorm, it’s going to be perfect for summer barbecues!

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No-Bake Oreo Pie
(adapted from The First Year)
Serves 8

1 premade Oreo crust
1 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
10 Oreos chopped, divided
1 8 oz. container Cool Whip, thawed, divided
3/4 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, beat together the cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla until well combined and smooth. Stir in half the container of Cool Whip. Stir in 6 chopped Oreos. Spread mixture in the premade crust and freeze for 3 minutes.

Place chocolate chips in a heat-proof bowl. In a microwave-safe container, microwave heavy cream until just starting to bubble. Pour over the chocolate chips and let stand for 1 minute. Whisk together until smooth.  Let cook to room temperature. Pour over the top of the pie and smooth out.

Spread remaining Cool Whip over the pie and then sprinkle remaining chopped Oreos over. Cover and return to the freezer for 1-2 hours. Remove a few minutes before serving.

Triple Chocolate Cheesecake

Date for Valentine’s Day? I have the perfect one. This cheesecake.

But seriously, if you’re looking for a dessert for the holiday, this is a great option. It’s decadent and special, but easy enough that anyone could pull it off. Want to make it even easier? Swap out the ganache topping for the fruit topping of your choice – I think cherries would be especially marvelous!

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Triple Chocolate Cheesecake
(from OMG Chocolate Desserts)
Serves 16

Crust:
24 Oreos, finely crushed
1/4 cup butter, melted

Cheesecake:
2 lbs. cream cheese at room temperature
1 1/3 cups powdered sugar
3 Tbsp. cocoa powder
4 eggs at room temperature
10 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Ganache topping:
3/4 cup heavy cream
6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. sugar

Additional chocolate bar to make curls.

Preheat the oven to 350 and grease a 9″ springform pan.

Combine the finely crushed Oreos and melted butter and press mixture into the bottom of the springform pan. Bake for 8 minutes then cool on a wire rack while you prepare the filling.

Melt 10 oz. of bittersweet chocolate and set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar together until smooth. Mix in the cocoa powder until well combined. Mix in the eggs, one at a time, until combined. Add the melted chocolate and mix until combined.

Pour the filling over the top of the cooled crust and smooth out.  Bake for 60-70 minutes, until the center is set and the top looks dry. Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes, run a thin knife around the pan to loosen the sides of the cheesecake, then refrigerate, uncovered until completely cooled – at least 8 hours.

Once completely cooled, stir together the cream, 6 oz. bittersweet chocolate and sugar together in a medium saucepan. When it is completely melted and smooth, remove to cool. Pour over cheesecake. Top with chocolate curls.