Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Peppermint Hershey Kiss Brownie Bites

Wow, it's been a while!! Almost three months since I've blogged and let me tell you, it's been bittersweet.  I've had a lot of time to relax and keep my thoughts and planning on the arrival of our baby, but we've suffered in the meal department.  I've resorted to a lot of the same meals recycled over and over again.  Convenience and ease in the kitchen has been by saving grace since I want to spend as little time in the kitchen and as much time on the sofa with my feet up as I can!

While it's been difficult to get myself motivated to cook anything new, I've been experimenting a lot with soups lately.  My doctor has advised me not to eat cold cuts so an alternative to the turkey sandwich I've enjoyed for lunch over the last 5 years has been to eat homemade soups instead.  I've been finding the more often I make soup, the easier it becomes and whipping something up on Sunday afternoon for the week is a piece of cake! 

Speaking of cake... at 29 weeks pregnant my little guy growing inside of me is craving sweets, sweets, and more sweets!  So it's only natural that I break out of my blogging rut just in time for my friend Kate's annual cookie swap!  When I was trying to decide what to bring I searched the internet for inspiration.  My cravings were officially at an all time high...  after reviewing hundreds of mouthwatering recipes I came to the conclusion I needed chocolate and peppermint hershey kisses immediately.

That's how these Peppermint Hershey Kiss Brownie Bites came to fruition.  I brought them to the cookie swap and they seemed to be a hit!  So although I wasn't planning on blogging these and didn't take my usual step by step pictures, it was a recipe I decided was definitely worth sharing just in time for the holidays!

These Peppermint Hershey Kiss Brownie Bites are rich and moist with a subtle peppermint flavor.  Made of a chewy chocolate brownie recipe and dipped in chocolate ganache, these bites are sure to satisfy your strongest chocolate cravings.  The addition of peppermint hershey kisses add a great flavor and texture.  You get a surprise of delicious peppermint white chocolate in every bite!  Hope you enjoy making these fun and festive Peppermint Hershey Kiss Brownie Bites!

 Recipe Tips
  • I made the chocolate ganache sauce 3 separate times (1 cup chocolate chips, 1/2 cup cream, and 1 teaspoon instant coffee).  This allowed me to work in smaller batches without the sauce hardening too quickly.  If you have extra helpers in the kitchen you can try making the sauce all at once as long as you work quickly!

Peppermint Hershey Kiss Brownie Bites
Brownie Recipe Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker
Makes: about 40 brownie bites

Prep Time: 1 hour
Bake Time: 10 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean
(Printable Recipe)

1/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa
1½ teaspoons instant coffee granules
½ cup plus 2 Tablespoons boiling water
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted
½ cup plus 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2½ cups (17½ ounces) sugar
1¾ cups (8¾ ounces) all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon salt
1 package of peppermint hershey kisses, roughly chopped into 1/2 inch chunks

Chocolate Ganache
3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cup heavy cream
3 teaspoons instant coffee granules

1/2 package of peppermint hershey kisses, very finely chopped for sprinkling

Combine your cocoa powder, instant coffee, and boiling water into a large mixing bowl and whisk until smooth.  Immediately add the unsweetened chocolate and whisk until melted and incorporated into the mixture.  Whisk in your melted butter and oil.  Then add your eggs, yolks, and vanilla and continue to whisk until smooth and blended.  Add your sugar and whisk until combined.  Add the flour and salt and mix with a rubber spatula until smooth.  Finish by adding your peppermint hershey kiss chunks to your batter and fold in with your spatula.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and very generously grease a mini muffin pan.  Fill your mini muffin molds 3/4 full with batter, making sure to get a chunk of peppermint kiss in each scoop.  Place your pan on the middle rack of your oven and bake for 10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Once cooked through, remove from the oven and allow them to cool for 5-10 minutes.  Then remove from your pan and transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Chocolate Ganache
Create a double boiler by filling a medium sized pot with about 2 inches of water.  Bring your water to a simmer.  Meanwhile, combine your chocolate chips, cream, and instant coffee in a large heat proof mixing bowl.  Once your water has reached a simmer, place your mixing bowl over the top of your pot and whisk your ingredients continuously until the chocolate chips have melted.  Remove your bowl from the heat and continue to whisk for 30 seconds to ensure a nice smooth and shiny consistency.

Once your brownies have cooled completely and your ganache has been prepared, dip your brownie bite into the sauce.  Make sure to coat it completely, then let the excess drip off.  Transfer to a cookie sheet lined with parchment or wax paper.  Sprinkle the top with finely chopped peppermint hershey kisses.  Repeat these steps with your remaining brownies until all have been completed.  Transfer to the refrigerator to harden and serve when ready!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Crock Pot BBQ Ribs

This week on my Patch column, "Cooking with Chelsea", I made Crock Pot BBQ Ribs.  A perfect weeknight meal when you have a busy week ahead of you!  This dish is convenient and easy- perfect for a mom with a newborn (wink wink) or a parent trying to juggle dinner and a busy schedule.

Regardless of your schedule, you'll appreciate the simplicity of this dish.  It uses very few ingredients and takes only minutes to put together.  Once assembled, turn the crock pot on and let it cook while you're at work or have your hands full.  When you're ready for dinner, you'll have a delicious meal ready to enjoy.  What's not to love about that?!

To find this recipe, click here to visit my cooking column on Patch.  Hope you enjoy it!


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Macaroni and Cheese and A Big Announcement...

 I need to start this post by apologizing for my lack of posts these last few months!  I'm sincerely sorry for leaving you all stranded without an explanation.  The best way to explain my absence is that I received a food bloggers worst enemy... morning sickness!!! Yes, that's right readers.... I'm pregnant!!!! My husband and I couldn't be happier!!

I'm currently 16 weeks along and expecting our first child February 28th.  What an experience this has been so far! The first trimester made me develop a repulsive outlook on food... something I never thought I'd feel!  I'm sincerely saddened over some of the lasting nausea inducing foods that still come over me.  For example, homemade tomato sauce- my favorite item to make from scratch!  I thought I could battle nausea head on so I decided to make a pot of sauce in my first trimester and now I just can't shake the feeling I had that day.  So sad.

Now that I'm in my second trimester, I've been gradually feeling better.  It's been hard getting back in the kitchen because the smells and reminders of nausea seem too familiar, but I finally forced myself to get back to cooking more regularly and have learned the more I cook, the easier it gets!  I'm not sure how frequent my posts will be, but you can still find me writing my weekly column, "Cooking with Chelsea" for Patch.  I'll also be updating those recipes here on my blog again for you to enjoy. 

The latest recipe I made for Patch is my Mother-In-Law's famous Homemade Macaroni and Cheese- known to her grandchildren as "Rommey's Special Mac and Cheese".  This recipe is easy, uses pantry ingredients, and is chosen by her grandchildren over Kraft every time. This recipe is definitely worth trying... check it out here on my Patch Column, "Cooking with Chelsea".  Hope you enjoy it!!