Friday, January 30, 2009

chocolate eclair cake, chocolate mint bars and chocolate peppermint candy cookies

Do you detect a theme to today's food for thought friday post? It's all about the tasty chocolate desserts from the church bake-off. (After today we'll do just one more dessert post and finally be done with our bake-off series.) I am a BIG fan of chocolate so these were some of my favorite treats from that night, although I will say there was a pretty tasty lemon sugar snap recipe I'll be sharing with you next week. And for me to say a lemon cookie is tasty means it's pretty dang good!

Chocolate Eclair Cake
Approximately 45 graham crackers
3 c milk
1 large container Cool Whip
2 small packages Instant Vanilla Pudding
1 can chocolate frosting

Layer the bottom of a 9x13 dish with graham crackers. Mix pudding and milk in a bowl and beat until thick. Blend in Cool Whip. Pour half of the pudding mixture over graham crackers. Add another layer of graham crackers and then layer the remaining pudding. Add a third layer of graham crackers. Take the foil off the frosting container and microwave for 30 seconds. Pour frosting over top. Refrigerate 24 hours before serving.

NOTE: This recipe makes too much pudding mixture for the dish. You can divide the ingredients and use the 9x13 and a 9x9 with 1 1/2 cans of frosting. It will fill both dishes.

Chocolate Mint Bars
Bottom Layer
1 c flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 c sugar
1/2 c egg substitute
1/4 c melted butter
2 T water
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 (16-oz) can chocolate syrup (about 1 1/3 c)

Mint Layer
2 c powdered sugar
2 T milk
1/4 c melted butter
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
2 drops green food coloring

3/4 c semisweet chocolate chips
3 T butter

To prepare bottom layer, combine all ingredients for bottom layer and mix with wire whisk till smooth and blended. Pour batter into 13x9 pan coated with cooking spray and bake at 350 degrees for 28 min. or until toothpick inserted in center comes out almost clean. Do not overcook or the bars will be dry. Cool completely.

To prepare mint layer, combine all ingredients for that layer and beat with a mixer until smooth. Spread mint mixture over cooled cake.

To prepare glaze, combine chocolate chips and butter and microwave on high for 1 min. or until melted, stirring after 30 seconds. Let stand 2 minutes. Spread mixture evenly over top. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Dessert can be made up to one day ahead.

NOTE: I haven't tried it but I'm wondering if you could use a simple brownie mix for the bottom layer and cut the prep time and needed ingredients. Thoughts?

Chocolate Peppermint Candy Cookies
1/2 c butter (room temperature)
1 1/2 c sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp peppermint extract
1/2 c milk chocolate, melted
1/2 c cocoa
1 1/2 c flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
45 round peppermint candies or several candy canes (about 8) coarsely crushed

Cream butter. Add sugar and whip until blended then add eggs and beat until fluffy. Add vanilla and peppermint extract, then add cocoa. Blend well. Stir in melted chocolate. Add remaining dry ingredients and stir in 1/3 of crushed peppermints, reserving 2/3 of the candies. Refrigerate dough until firm, about 30 minutes (or wrap in plastic and refrigerate overnight).

Using a 1 1/2-inch scoop, form mounds of dough; dip tops into remaining candies to coat. Place on baking sheets lined with parchment paper, spacing 2" apart. Bake at 350 degrees until just set (about 12 minutes. Let cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes. Cool completely and store cookies in an airtight container. Makes about 3 dozen cookies.
"Strength is the capacity to break a chocolate bar into four pieces with your bare hands - and then eat just one of the pieces." ~Judit Viorst

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