Saturday, January 28, 2012

Granola S'mores Bars

It's easy to look through my past posts and see a theme with many of them. Any recipe that incorporates marshmallows and chocolate is put at the top of the to-do pile, and usually with great results. This week's recipe was no different.

The recipe takes the basic elements of s'mores but puts them into an easy to eat treat, no campfire required. The addition of oats gives the bars a nice crunch and also helps balance the sweetness of the marshmallows. I'm always a bit nervous bringing my treats into work (such pressure!) But these went over like gangbusters. Not only were all the bars eaten by the second day, but my boss said they were one of his favorite treats that I've brought in. I hope he remembers that when it's time for my yearly review.

Granola S'more Bars (from King Arthur Flour Baking Companion)

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
6 tablespoons golden syrup
2 1/4 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/4 cups mini marshmallows

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt and stir together the butter, sugar, and syrup, cooking until the sugar has dissolved.  Stir in oats, flour, salt and graham cracker crumbs.

Press about 3/4 of the mixture into a lightly greased 9x9 pan.  Let cool completely.  Sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly over the top, then the marshmallows.  Top with remaining crust mixture.  Bake the bars for 15 to 20 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let them rest for 20 minutes, then cut into squares while still slightly warm.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Chocolate Raspberry Thumbprints

I’ve mentioned numerous times that Dennis loves raspberry and chocolate (Exhibits A,  B, and C).  And originally I was planning to make a lighter treat this week to welcome in the New Year and help us recover from gorging on Christmas cookies.  But then I came across this recipe for Chocolate Raspberry Thumbprint cookies and I put my “healthy” plans to the side.  There’s always next week, right?

I’m not the biggest fan of chocolate (blasphemy, I know) but even I had to admit these cookies were insanely good.  The actual cookie was so fudgy it resembled a brownie more than a cookie.  The raspberry preserves helped balance the sweetness of the cookies and you were left with one killer flavor combination.  I’ve already been instructed to add these to the “Must Make Again” list. 

Chocolate Raspberry Thumbprints (Adapted from All American Cookie Book)

6 ½ ounces bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, broken up
1 stick unsalted butter
2/3 cup sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons raspberry preserves
1 ¾ cups flour
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

In a large, microwave safe-bowl, microwave the bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate and butter on full power for 1 minute.  Stir well.  Continue microwaving on 50% power, stirring at 30-second intervals.  Stop microwaving before the chocolate completely melts and let the residual heat finish the job.  Let cool to warm. 

Stir the sugar into the chocolate mixture until well blended.  Using a spoon beat in the eggs, one at a time.  Stir in the vanilla.  In a small microwave-safe bowl, heat the 2T raspberry preserves on 50% power until just fluid, about 1 minute.  Stir the preserves into the chocolate mixture and set aside.

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.  Add the flour mixture and chocolate chips to the chocolate mixture and stir just until well blended.  Refrigerate the dough for at least 1 ½ hours or up to 8 hours. 

Preheat the oven to 325.  Line several baking sheets or coat with non-stick spray.

Use a cookie scoop to shape balls of dough, then place on the cookie sheets.  Press a well into the center of each ball and place about ¼ teaspoon of preserves in each well. 

Bake the cookies for 7 to 9 minutes, or just until they feel firm when pressed in the centers.  Transfer the sheet to a wire rack and let stand 3 to 4 minutes.  Transfer the cookies to a wire rack.