Double Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

This spring I’ve been thinking about all the projects that will keep me busy throughout the (hopefully) warm summer months.  Of course my list is forever growing, but one thing I’m particularly excited about is planting our garden.  Last year we enjoyed fresh vegetables in and out of season.  I froze lot’s of veggies and made a gazillion jars of homemade dill pickles.

I figure somewhere around mid March we ran out of our frozen French cut green beans.  Can I tell you how much I miss them?  My favorite way to cook them is in a little garlic and olive oil with a touch of parmesan cheese  – oh yum!

One thing I haven’t run out of yet is the grated zucchini I froze.  I usually freeze enough to make zucchini bread all winter long.  Since I already have posted my recipe for Quick Zucchini Oatmeal Bread  here before, and today I was in the mood for chocolate, I decided to get a little crafty in the kitchen and come up with a for Double Chocolate Zucchini Muffins.  And as luck would have it, I succeeded and these turned out great!

What I like about these muffins is… the zucchini is barely visible.  If you’re trying to pass off some veggies to your picky eaters I can assure you that this is one way to do it.  Also, these muffins are moist, not greasy, and have just the right amount of chocolate to satisfy my taste.  As with most baked goods that I make, I also share, and the recipients of these muffins have given them great reviews.

And now for the recipe…

Double Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

2 eggs, beaten

1/2 c. granulated sugar

1/4 c. brown sugar

2/3 c. canola oil

2 c.  grated zucchini

3/4 tsp. baking soda

3/4 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 c. cocoa powder

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour

1/4 c. dark mini chocolate chips, plus some for sprinkling on top

Preheat oven to 325.  Line muffin tins with cupcake papers (makes 1.5 dozen muffins).

In a large bowl, add eggs, sugars, oil, and grated zucchini; beat with an electric mixer until completely blended.  Add in baking soda, baking powder, salt, cocoa powder, and vanilla extract and mix thoroughly.  Beat in flour, and lastly, fold in mini chocolate chips.

Pour into prepared muffin tins – filling each cup about 2/3 full.  Bake for about 18 – 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center. Immediately sprinkle some mini chips on the muffins once they are removed from the oven, and cool completely before removing the muffins from the tins.

Do you plant a garden?  If so, what is your favorite veggie to grow? And do you have a favorite?

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Dark Chocolate Mint Ovation Brownies

It seems like it’s been forever since I’ve made something really chocolaty and rich to share here on my blog.  Since I feel a wee bit irresponsible for not making more chocolate goodies for you, I’m making it up to you by sharing my newest chocolate brownie creation.

If you like the combination of mint and chocolate together then stick around.  These brownies (in my opinion) have the perfect texture; cake like and fudgy.  And the flavor is delicious – and that’s coming from someone who would normally prefer peanut butter to mint most any day of the week. 

These brownies will surely fit perfectly in your holiday cookie gift boxes this year.  If you don’t make cookie boxes, but are expecting to entertain guests this holiday season, then serve these up with a scoop of French Vanilla Ice cream and drizzle a little hot fudge on top – they’ll be a hit!

Instead of using mint chocolate chips in these brownies, I used Ovation Dark Mint Filled Break-A-Part candy.  These scrumptious candies come in the shape of an orange and they break apart into 20 pieces.  They also come in a variety of other unique flavors so you can really get creative when you bake using these.

Dark Chocolate Mint Ovation Brownies

1/2 c. margarine, melted

1 c. granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1/2 c. dark chocolate mini chips, melted

1/4 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1 tbsp. baking cocoa

3/4 c. all-purpose flour

1 c. chopped Dark Chocolate Mint Ovation Candy, (1/2 c. for the batter and 1/2 c. for the topping)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease 8”x8” glass baking pan.

In a large bowl, add margarine, sugar, eggs, an melted chocolate dark mini chips; mix thoroughly.  Add baking powder, salt, cocoa, and flour.  Mix all ingredients together until blended.  Fold in 1/2 c. of chopped Ovation candy. 

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the pan of brownies.  Remove brownies from oven and immediately sprinkle remaining 1/2 c. of chopped Ovation candy on top.  Cool thoroughly before cutting.

Ovation Break-A-Parts also come in Milk Chocolate Raspberry, Almond, Pumpkin Spice, Orange, and Key Lime, and Dark Chocolate Orange.  Which flavor would you pick to bake with?

Candy provided by SweetWorks Candy.  I was not compensated for this post and the opinions are my own.

Triple Chocolate Halloween Bark

When I was a kid, my sister and I would disguise ourselves in our annual Halloween costumes (on Halloween) and we’d join the throng of other kids in our small town for a night of trick or treating.  Our goal was to fill our big orange plastic pumpkins with as much candy as we possibly could. We usually didn’t have much trouble doing that either.  After a final stop at the fire hall for a cup of cider and a doughnut, we’d head home to sort the candy we had scored that evening.  Once everything was sorted; the trading began.  She had her favorite candy and I had mine.  It only seemed logical to negotiate for more of what each of us really wanted. 

Once the negotiating was done, and we’d eaten enough sugar to keep us fueled for the next few days to come, I’d stash my candy away for safe keeping.  My sister say’s I would have saved my candy until Easter, but we’ll never know that because after she ate all of her candy, she’d find my stash and eat that too.  So much for all that negotiating… 

My daughter and I recently got together to make this Triple Chocolate Halloween Bark.  It is one of the easiest Halloween treats that you can make, and it looks impressive.  If you can chop, melt, and pour, you’ve got it made in the shade. 

Triple Chocolate Halloween Bark

1/2 c. milk chocolate chips

1/2 c. dark chocolate chips

1/2 c. white chocolate candy wafers

1/2 c. (lime green, black and orange) Celebrations Sixlets, chopped

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Measure chocolate chips into separate glass bowls.  Microwave one at a time – for about 1 minute each.  Stir completely, and pour onto prepared cookie sheet into thirds.  Repeat until all chocolate has been melted and poured onto cookie sheet.  With a toothpick, swirl the chocolate together.  Sprinkle the chopped Celebrations Sixlets on top.  Place in refrigerator until chocolate has hardened.  Cut into desired sizes.  Store in refrigerator.

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Did you stash your candy as a kid?  Or did you raid your siblings stash?

Thanks to SweetWorks Candy for providing the Celebration Sixlets and the adorable Halloween pumpkin gumballs featured in this post.

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Chocolate Zucchini Cake

If you’ve ever grown a garden then you know all too well how quickly zucchini squash can take over your life.  This year we bought one little plant to put in our garden.  One little plant!  Five zucchini’s later, with more on their way, and I’m asking“what the he– are we going to do with all of this squash?”  We are still trying to get rid of bags of shredded zucchini in our freezer (from year’s past) by feeding it to our chickens.  And yet, we planted more?? 

Did I mention that I don’t really love zucchini either?  It is a veggie that (in my opinion) is pretty tasteless.  I’ve never known it to be the star of the show.  Spaghetti sauce makes it taste better, batter and butter make it taste better, and then of course there is chocolate which makes everything taste better. 

Optimal picking of zucchini is when they are small and don’t have gigantic seeds in them, similar to cucumbers, but you have to watch them closely because they can literally grow too big overnight.  I might add that I’m not always good at picking them in their prime either. 

The best way to use up those slightly bigger than you had planned on zucchini is to grate them up and make a nice bread or cake with them.  And that’s exactly why this Chocolate Zucchini Cake came about.

This cake is super easy to make.  It’s also super moist, on the sweet side, and the reason I skipped the frosting.  Other than seeing a fleck of green every now and then, you will even forget that there is squash in it.  If you have kids and want to sneak some veggies into their diet then this is one way of doing it.  Just maybe not the best way.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

1 stick (1/2 c.) margarine, melted

1 c. granulated sugar

1/2 c. brown sugar

3 eggs

1/2 c. sour cream

1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. vanilla

2 c. grated zucchini

1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Generously grease a 16×10 cake pan.

Put all ingredients (except flour) in a large mixing bowl.  Mix thoroughly with electric mixer.  Add flour and mix completely.  Pour into prepared pan and bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the cake.  Cool completely before cutting.  Sprinkle confectionary sugar on top and serve.

Any suggestions on how to use up all this zucchini?  What is your favorite zucchini recipe? 

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Peanut Butter Fudge Ice Cream Topping

Ever make something that you can’t wait to finish so you can lick the spoon?  Me too!

Honestly, I don’t know how you couldn’t lick the spoon, your fingers, and the bowl when you’re finished making this homemade peanut butter fudge topping.  If you can resist, you’re willpower is like granite, and mine – is not.

Peanut Butter Fudge Ice Cream Topping

Makes about 1 cup

1/3 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 tbsp. sugar

1/4 c. peanut butter

1/4 c. heavy cream

1/4 c. skim milk

a pinch of salt

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

In a saucepan, add chocolate chips, sugar, salt, and peanut butter.  Melt slowly on low heat.  Pour in cream and milk and continue to stir constantly on low heat until sauce is smooth, creamy, and thickens.  Stir in vanilla; pour into a jar.  Serve on your favorite ice cream, or refrigerate until ready to use and then rewarm in the microwave.

I’ve decided if I run out of ice cream I’ll just eat this topping by the spoonful!

What is your favorite ice cream topping?

Looking for more topping ideas and recipes?

Cherry

Apple Rum

Kahlua

Peach Glace’

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Sweet Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Whipped Cream Frosting

Baking doesn’t have to be a complicated process.  Does it?  No, it doesn’t.  Sometimes you should just pick a recipe out of your tried-and-true recipe box and make a sweet treat without over-thinking it.  That’s exactly what I did when I made these chocolate cupcakes.  My mind had settled on something chocolaty, and something that I knew I was comfortable baking.  No new recipes, just tried-and-true.

Sweet Chocolate Cupcakes

1/4 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted

1 1/4 c. granulated sugar

2 eggs

1/2 c. margarine, softened

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. espresso powder

2 tbsp. cocoa powder

1 c. all-purpose flour

1/2 c. sour milk

1/2 c. hot water

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Line 1 to 1 1/2dozen cupcake cups with cupcake papers.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a large bowl, add butter, sugar, eggs, and melted chocolate chips. Mix until completely blended with electric mixer. Add baking powder, baking soda, salt, espresso powder, and cocoa; mix again. Add flour, milk and hot water; mix thoroughly. Add vanilla; beat again until batter is light and fluffy.

Fill cupcake papers about 2/3 full.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until toothpick comes clean when inserted into the center of a cupcake. Remove from oven and cool on bakers rack.

Baker’s note: This is a thin cupcake batter, but don’t worry, the cupcakes will turn out just fine.

Chocolate Whipped Cream Frosting

1 c. heavy whipping cream

3 tbsp. chocolate pudding mix

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Place ingredients in a chilled bowl and beat on high until cream thickens.  Spread frosting on cooled cupcakes.  Keep cupcakes in refrigerator prior to serving.

If you’d like to see what these cupcakes look like on the inside, check out this link.  I  have posted these cupcakes before, but the last time I made them I added cinnamon, and eliminated the espresso powder.  I also frosted them with a buttercream icing that favored a hint of cinnamon.

What’s the last tried-and-true recipe you made?

Triple Chocolate Brownies

Sometimes you just have to overdose on chocolate.  And I’ve found that one of the best ways to do that is with these Triple Chocolate Brownies.

Triple Chocolate Brownies

This brownie recipe comes from my cookbook, In the sweet of it.

Triple Chocolate Brownies

1/2 c. butter, melted

1 c. granulated sugar

2 eggs, warmed to room temperature

1/2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted

1/4 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1 tbsp. baking cocoa

3/4 c. all-purpose flour

1/2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease 8”x8” square glass baking pan.

In large bowl, add butter, sugar, eggs, and melted chocolate; stir thoroughly.  Add baking powder, salt, cocoa, and flour.  Mix all ingredients together until blended.  Fold in chocolate chips.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the middle of the brownies.  Remove from oven and cool thoroughly before cutting.  

Triple Chocolate Brownies

These brownies are chewy on this inside with a light crusty top.  Many times I will use a double Dutch cocoa when I make these, but I did not do that for this particular batch.

Triple Chocolate Brownies

Do you have a recipe that you are drawn to when you need a chocolate overdose?