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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thanksgiving Chocolate Ideas IV

In honor of Thanksgiving, finish off your Thanksgiving feast with these delicious chocolate pies, cakes, and tarts, your family and friends cannot wait to dive in.

Check them out!

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Chocolate Pecan Pie

Ingredients for chocolate pie dough:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup sugar

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

3 large egg yokes, lightly beaten

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Method:

Into a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, cocoa and salt. Rub in butter with your fingers until mixture is crumbly.

Using a wooden spoon, stir together yolks and vanilla; add to flour mixture. With a fork, blend until mixture forms moist crumbs (do not overwork).

Turn out dough onto a work surface; knead until smooth, about 1 minute.

Form into disk; wrap in plastic. Chill 30 minutes, or up to overnight.

Lotsa pecans!

Pie crust is filled and ready to go in the oven.

This is a horrible picture. It was super tasty, I swear.

Ingredients for Chocolate pecan pie filling:

2/3 cup sugar

1 cup light corn syrup

4 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

all-purpose flour, for dusting

Chocolate pie dough

3 large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups pecans (about 6 ounces)

Method:

Bring sugar and corn syrup to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar; reduce heat to low and simmer 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let cool completely (mixture will thicken).

In a heatproof bowl set over (not in) a pan of simmering water, heat half the chocolate with the butter until melted, stirring until smooth and combined. Let cool.

Preheat oven to 400˚F. On a lightly floured surface, roll out pie dough to a 13-inch round, about 1/8 inch thick. Lightly coat a 9-inch pie plate with cooking spray. Fit dough into pan; crimp edges as desired. Chill 30 minutes, or up to overnight.

In a large bowl, beat eggs until foamy. Add chocolate and corn-syrup mixtures, stirring to combine; stir in vanilla and pecans.

Pour filling into pie shell. Bake 20 minutes. Reduce over to 350˚F; bake until filling has set, about 20 minutes more. Sprinkle with remaining chocolate; bake 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

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Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake

Ingredients for the graham cracker crust:

2 cups finely ground graham cracker crumbs

1/4 cup white sugar

6 tablespoons butter, melted

Ingredients for the filling:

3 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened

1 cup sugar

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1 cup canned pumpkin

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

4 eggs

3/4 cup Mini Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

Directions:

Prepare graham cracker crust by combining graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter in a bowl until well blended. Using your fingers, firmly press mixture into an 8 or 9 inch springform pan making sure to go up the sides of the pan as well. Chill in the freezer for 15-20 minutes.

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Preheat oven to 400°F.

Using an electric hand mixer or stand mixer {with beater attachment NOT the whisk attachment}, beat cream cheese, sugar, flour and pumpkin pie spice in large bowl until well blended. Add in the pumpkin and then the eggs one at a time. This is important...you only want to add in the eggs one at a time. As soon as the egg is mixed in, add in another egg and so on. The reason is that you don't want to beat in a lot of air into the batter. Once the eggs are all mixed in, stir in mini chocolate chocolate chips by hand and pour batter into prepared crust. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.

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Reduce oven temperature to 250°F; continue baking 60 minutes or until almost set. Remove from oven to wire rack and gently run a sharp knife around the sides of the pan to loosen the cake from the side of the pan. This will keep your cheesecake from cracking too much as it cools. Cool completely and then chill in the refrigerator over night or at least 5 or 6 hours before serving. When you're ready to serve, remove sides of pan.

This cheesecake is lovely on its own...

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or you can add some wow factor by garnishing with chocolate leaves...

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I know...it looks like it would be hard, but making chocolate leaves is so simple. Promise.

What You'll Need:

Artificial leaves {non-toxic and washed}

Semi-sweet chocolate chips

Non stick spray

First, melt about 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips in a small bowl. Lightly spray the BACK of the leaves with non-stick spray. I usually give the leaves one quick spray and then rub it all over the back of the leaves using my hand.

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Then, using a small offset spatula spread melted chocolate onto the BACK of each leaf. Don't be shy...really slather the chocolate on or else it will be too thin and your leaves will break as you unmold them.

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Place the leaves onto wax or parchment paper and refrigerate for a few hours to let the chocolate really harden. Once you're ready to unmold, gently peel back the leaf from the chocolate. Make sure you begin from the stem end.

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Make sure to make some extra chocolate leaves because chances are some will break during the unmolding process. It always happens to me!

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Cranberry Ginger Chocolate Tart

Ingredients:

Cranberry Topping:

1/2 cup cranberry juice, divided

1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin

1 12 ounce bag fresh or frozen cranberries

1 cup sugar

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel

1 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger

1 Pinch salt

4 tablespoons finely chopped crystallized ginger

Crust:

1 1/4 cups chocolate wafer cookie crumbs (made from about 6 1/2 ounces cookies, finely ground in processor)

1/4 cup sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted -- (5 to 6)

Mascarpone - Cream Cheese Filling:

1 8 ounce container mascarpone cheese

1 4 ounce package cream cheese

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/2 cup chilled whipping cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Thin Strips crystallized ginger (optional garnish)

Instructions:

For Cranberry Topping:

Pour 1/4 cup cranberry juice into small bowl; sprinkle gelatin over. Let stand until softened, 15 minutes. Combine 1/4 cup cranberry juice, cranberries, and next 5 ingredients in medium saucepan; bring to boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to medium; simmer until cranberries are tender but still plump, 5 minutes. Strain into bowl; set cranberries aside. Add gelatin mixture to hot juice in bowl; stir until gelatin dissolves. Stir cranberries back into juice. Chill until cranberry mixture is cold and slightly thickened, at least 8 hours or overnight. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill. Stir chopped crystallized ginger into cranberry mixture.

For crust:

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Combine chocolate wafer cookie crumbs, sugar, and salt in medium bowl; add 5 tablespoons melted butter and stir until crumbs feel moist when pressed together with fingertips, adding remaining 1 tablespoon melted butter if mixture is dry. Press crumb mixture firmly onto bottom and up sides of 9-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom. Bake chocolate crust until beginning to set and slightly crisp, pressing with spoon if crust puffs during baking, about 14 minutes. Transfer tart pan to rack and cool crust completely before filling.

For mascarpone filling:

Using electric mixer, beat all ingredients except ginger in medium bowl just until thick enough to spread (do not overbeat or mixture may curdle). Spread filling in cooled crust. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.

Spoon cranberry mixture evenly over mascarpone filling. Chill at least 2 hours and up to 6 hours. Garnish with crystallized ginger strips, if desired. Cut tart into wedges and serve cold.

Servings: 10 – 12

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Chocolate and Pear Tart

Ingredients:

A pack of ready-made shortcrust pastry

125g ground almonds

2 large free-range or organic eggs

125g butter, softened

95g caster sugar

185g dark chocolate, melted

3 conference pears, peeled, cored and quartered

Crème fraîche, to serve

Method:

Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/gas 5. Roll out the pastry until ½cm thick and use it to line a 24cm tart tin. Leave in the freezer to rest for at least 20 minutes, or longer if you can.

Bake the pastry blind for around 10 minutes in the preheated oven, then remove, set aside, and reduce the oven temperature to 170°C/325°F/gas 3.

Mix your almonds, eggs, butter and sugar together and stir in the melted chocolate while it’s still warm. Pour the mixture evenly into the pastry case and then press the pears into the chocolate and almond mixture.

Bake the tart for 45 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and the chocolate and almond mixture is firm. Serve warm with crème fraîche.

Servings: 4 to 6

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Chocolate Cranberry Bars

Ingredients:

2 cups vanilla wafer crumbs (about 40 wafers, crushed)

1/2 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa

3 tablespoons sugar

2/3 cup cold butter, cut into pieces

1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk)

1 cup REESE'S Peanut Butter Chips

1-1/3 cups (6 oz. pkg.) sweetened dried cranberries OR 1-1/3 cups raisins

1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

Directions:

Heat oven to 350°F.

Stir together crumbs, cocoa and sugar in medium bowl; cut in butter until crumbly. Press mixture evenly on bottom and 1/2-inch up sides of 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Pour sweetened condensed milk evenly over crumb mixture; sprinkle evenly with peanut butter chips and dried cranberries. Sprinkle nuts on top; press down firmly.

Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cover with foil; let stand several hours. Cut into bars. About 36 bars.

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