Chocolate Pecan Bars!

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So, let me start by saying that my sister, Lauren, said she liked these bars more than my chocolate pecan pie (which I make every year for Thanksgiving, and has become a family tradition). When Lauren said that, I knew I had a winner. After trying them, I couldn’t help but ALMOST agree with her. They are similar in taste, but with more of a shortbread bottom layer opposed to crust. I also use semi sweet chocolate chips for the bars, and unsweetened chocolate for the pie so there are a couple differences.
The reason I chose to make chocolate pecan pie bars is because I was going over to a friend’s last night and wanted to whip up something relatively simple and also using ingredients I already had in the pantry. I originally wanted to make bars that used fresh fruit, but because I didn’t plan ahead I didn’t want to risk going to the grocery store and not finding ripe fruit. Instead I remembered a recipe I found a couple days earlier while browsing Pintrest (like many of us do). The original recipe is from Jam Hands and can be found here below: (http://www.jamhands.net/2008/11/chocolate-pecan-pie-bars.html)
I would say this is a treat that you can bring to any party, and it was a hit at the dinner last night. I think they are very decedent and I am not sure if you will have enough will power to only eat one. I think I ate two yesterday, maybe two and a half. ☺ One of the things I love most about this recipe is the shortbread bottom layer, this may have happened accidentally because I doubled the recipe for the bottom layer so that the ingredients filled the pan. I used a 13 x 9 size pan, and when I made the first batch of the “crust layer” I found myself half a pan short of crust. So, I told my sister to make another batch. Luckily it worked out and came out delicious and even better than I expected.

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Bake Time:

Crust: 20 – 25 minutes
Bars: 25 minutes
Bake Temp: 350 degrees (9 x 13 pan)

INGREDIENTS:

Crust Bottom Layer –
2 sticks unsalted butter

½ cup brown sugar

2 ½ cup all purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

Top Layer
3 eggs

¾ cup light corn syrup

2 tablespoons melted butter

½ cup sugar

2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips (you can always use less if you’re not a huge chocolate fan)

2 cups chopped pecans

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 350 and line the baking pan with aluminum foil. Spray the pan before you are ready to put in the crust layer.
In a mixing bowl, beat two sticks of room temperature butter, then add in the brown sugar. In ½ cup increments add in the flour, and then the salt. The mixture should be course crumbs. Place crumb mixture into the pan and press firmly. Try and make it so this layer is pressed in the pan as evenly as possible to ensure correct baking time. Bake this for about 20-25 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Let cool for 10 to 15 minutes before pouring on the top layer. Remember that different ovens will have slightly different baking times. Also you will be baking this again once you pour the top layer on so try not to over bake.
In the same bowl mix together the eggs, corn syrup, sugar and two tablespoons of melted butter. After that is mixed together, fold in the chocolate chips and pecans. Pour mixture onto the crust layer and spread evenly. I tried to make it so every part of the crust layer had a good amount of chocolate chips and pecans.
Bake bar for 25 minutes, and then let cool completely before taking out of pan. The foil helps to remove the bars from pan ever so nicely. Place bars on a cutting board once cool and then cut into squares. Then eat and enjoy.

Bars - Extra Bars - Foil

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Chocolate Pecan Pie

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Let’s get one thing straight about this pie, you will not want to share! I usually make this around the holidays with my mom and sisters, and we crank them out 4 at a time. And then gift them to our friends and family. Today, I was feeling extra cheery, or rather am getting used to not having homework to do, so decided… why not bake some chocolate pecan pies. They’re a treat for everyone. So tonight, on my relaxing Sunday afternoon/evening, I baked three chocolate pecan pies. One for my friend Hosana, we went grocery shopping together today, and I thought a pie at the office would be a nice Monday pick me up. The second pie I will bring to my grandmother’s for dessert tomorrow, and the third pie I’ll keep at home for my sister, myself and my roommates.

This chocolate pecan pie is so good you will not stop at just one slice. My family loves it when I make this for them. it’s a great combination of sweet and salty. I love to drizzle a little bit of semi sweet chocolate on top too, just to give it that extra chocolate-y loving. The recipe below is for one pie, although I usually bake two at a time if I am buying the frozen deep dish pie shells, since two come in one package.

 

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Chocolate Pecan Pie

Baking Temp: 325

Baking Time:  45min – 1 hr

Ingredients:

3 eggs

1 cup sugar

½ teaspoon vanilla

¼ teaspoon salt

¾ cup corn syrup

2 oz unsweetened chocolate

¼ cup of butter (½ stick)

Instructions:

First you want to add eggs to mixing bowl and mix on medium speed until frothy. Then add vanilla.

In a separate bowl melt chocolate and butter. I microwaved it for 1 to 1 ½ minutes, in 30 second increments to be sure the chocolate didn’t burn. Make sure the chocolate is cool before adding it to the eggs, you don’t want the high temperature of the chocolate to cook the eggs. Put this bowl to the side.

Next, add the sugar in with the eggs then add in salt and syrup. Mix together.

Last add in the chocolate and butter mixture, until all ingredients are combined. This does not take long, around 1 to 2 minutes. Don’t over mix the batter.

In your frozen pie shells, pour in 1 cup of pecans. Then add 1/2 cup of the batter on top of pecans. Add in the last 1/2 cup of pecans on top of batter. Then add another 1 to 1 1/2 cups of batter on top of the pecans.

The pie will cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour. After the first thirty minutes of baking, remove pie and cover with aluminum foil, this will prevent the pie from burning on top.

Let cool for 20-30 minutes and then you can serve or save for later. No need to refrigerate.

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Chocolate White Chocolate Chip Cookies

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These cookies are just what any chocolate lover needs, decedent and delicious. I love baking cookies because they are so simple. The ingredients can easily be found in any regular baker’s pantry, and cookies are easily adapted by changing the type of chocolate chips or adding nuts or sprinkles. I was in the mood for something chocolate-y, plus tomorrow my family and I are going to be going to see Think Like A Man 2, and I wanted to make sure we had some homemade snacks to bring in addition to the popcorn! Also, when my family goes to the movies, we usually take up close to half or a whole row, depends on how many of us are going.

This cookie recipe was what I found on Pinterest, and I especially liked it because it used whole milk and no eggs. I needed to use up my milk that’s been in the fridge and had a little more than half a package of white chocolate chips in my pantry, so that’s particularly why I chose this recipe.

Here is the link to the recipeI found on Pinterest., and the only thing I did differently was I added in ½ cup of milk chocolate chips in addition to the 1 ½ cup of white chocolate chips.

Recipe adapted from Chez CateyLou blog – http://chezcateylou.com/2013/06/13/oreo-inspired-cookies-chewy-chocolate-white-chocolate-chip-cookies/

 

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Ingredients

1 ¼ cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

2/3 cup cocoa powder

½ cup (1 stick) butter at room temperature

½ cup sugar

1 ½ teaspoon vanilla

1/3 cup whole milk

1 ½ cups white chocolate chips

½ cup milk chocolate chips

 

Instructions:

First you want to whisk together the flour, baking powder, sat and cocoa powder

Then in a separate mixing bowl beat butter until smooth and fluffy

Add sugars in with butter then mix in vanilla

Add in about half of the flour mixture to the creamed butter and sugar, then pour in the milk

Add the rest of the dry ingredients plus the chocolate chips until well incorporated

Chill dough in freezer for 15 minutes

Take out the freezer and scoop about 1 ½ tablespoon into your hand (I use coconut oil spray to grease the spoon I’m scooping with)

Put dough in your hands and roll into a ball, then put on cookie pan and press down, making it a round cookie shape

Bake at 325 degrees for 13 to 17 minutes.

Let cool for about 20 to 25 minutes. Eat and enjoy!

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Pineapple Banana Bread (made with coconut oil!)


 This recipe is so simple and easy to make, I love recipes that only require one mixing bowl. It is also different from you regular banana bread. The pineapple elevates the flavor and adds that extra sweetness to it. I baked the bread in one loaf pan and then with the remaining batter, I made a dozen muffins. I didn’t get to cut into the bread because it was a gift for my dear friend Valeria, who currently lives about 2 hours away.

Valeria has been a friend of mine since I was in 1st grade, we have known each other our whole childhood and grew up in the same small town. Since I was not able to attend her party, I sent up the bread, muffins and other treats with a friend who did go to the birthday soiree. When I got the phone call the next day about how happy she was with the gift and how the delicious everything was, I knew I did something right. Happy Birthday Valeria!

This recipe is from Averie Cooks, I love her blog! All the sweet treats you could think of! Link below.

http://www.averiecooks.com/2013/03/pineapple-coconut-oil-banana-bread.html

 

Ingredients:

2 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon nutmeg

1 ¼ cup sugar

¼ cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla

½ cup coconut oil (you can also use vegetable oil or butter)

A pinch of salt

2 large eggs

1/3 cup buttermilk

1 ¼ cup of ripe smashed bananas (I used 3 medium sized bananas)

1 cup diced pineapples (canned pinepples)

Instructions:

In one large mixing bowl combine the coconut oil, buttermilk, eggs, sugars and vanilla. Whisk all ingredients.

Add in the flour, baking soda, baking powder, nutmeg, salt, and stir. Mix well enough so all ingredients are incorporated. Do not over mix, or else the gluten will overdevelop and the bread will come out tough.

Stir in bananas. Before you stir in the pineapple make sure they are not carrying too much liquid. I squeezed the pineapple with my fingers to remove the excess liquid. Careful not to over mix the batter.

Use cooking spray (I use Trader Joe’s Coconut Oil spray) to coat the loaf pan. Then pour batter until loaf pan is a little over half way full. You can bake this using two loaf pans or bake one loaf and a dozen muffins. The muffins are also excellent! They are a yummy on the go breakfast when in a rush.

Preheat over to 350 degrees and bake the loaf for about 45 minutes or until top is golden brown.

I baked the muffins for about 20 minutes at the same temperature.

Allow the bread to cool for about 20 minutes before removing from pan. I used a mix of powdered sugar and whole milk for the glaze. It was just to add a little extra sweetness.

Store in a airtight container or foil. Bread is delicious with tea, or coffee in the morning. Enjoy!