Tag Archives: chocolate

Walnut Brownies

My London landlady introduced me to her friends as follows: “This is Meghan. She makes the world’s best brownies.”

I’ll only add that this recipe is my mother’s. So, technically, she makes the world’s best brownies. Like mother, like daughter indeed.

Walnut Brownies:

3 1-ounce squares of unsweetened chocolate or 9 tablespoons of unsweetened chocolate and 3 additional tablespoons of butter
1/2 C. butter, softened
3 eggs
1 1/2 C. of granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp of vanilla
1 1/2 C. chopped walnuts/pecans
1 C. flour

1) Whip butter and add eggs.
2) Stir in dry ingredients.
3) Coat a brownie pan (mine is 7×7 or so) with butter, then lightly dust the pan with cocoa. Pour in batter and bake at 325 degrees for about 35 minutes.
4) A toothpick test isn’t necessary, since these come out quite fudgey and they’ll continue baking once removed from the oven.

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Courgettes. They sound so sophisticated, so French. Of course, when I first arrived in London, I stared dumbly down the produce section looking decidedly unsophisticated; I felt up several of the green squashes before confirming that courgettes are, in fact, zucchini. Turns out that the British are Francophiles, and I am just a woman who creeps people out while shopping for vegetables.

But I digress. The end of zucchini season means that those lovely green squashes must find their way into new foods. I’m tired of roasting ’em and frying ’em and putting ’em in pasta. They deserve a sweet ending. Plus, chocolate courgette bread sounds so lovely. It smells even lovelier. Plus, zucchini is healthy. By extension, anything that contains zucchini is healthy. So chocolate zucchini bread is healthy.

I made this bread only to give it away. (Hint: if you help me find a job, I’ll bake you something.) Yeah, you can call me Magnanimous Meghan. Because of the gift-like nature of this bread, I have not yet tasted it. (It is pending review by a very well-respected Yelper.**)

See? I have self-control. I really do. Excuse me while I go eat three chocolate chip cookies.

Chocolate Zucchini Bread:
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 and 1/2 cups shredded zucchini (with skin)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
Dash of salt
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1) Combine oil, sugars and vanilla. Mix in eggs and shredded zucchini.
2) In a separate bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, salt, cinnamon, baking soda and baking powder. Slowly add dry to wet. Beat until combined. Mix in chocolate chips.
3) Scrape batter into a greased loaf pan, and bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes, or until a toothpick pushed into the center comes out clean.

**Yelper and Meghan approved. Lawdy, is this bread divine.

More Cupcakes

Variety pack: raspberry, vanilla, mint, and chocolate buttercream frosting.

Seriously, no more cupcakes for awhile. I mean it.

Mint Chocolate Whoopie Pies

Yes, I made whoopie. Pies. Recently I’ve noticed that an increasing number of publications are predicting the end of the cupcake trend, with these cookie sandwiches replacing cupcakes oh-so-sweetly, and rather sneakily. (See this Times’ article. Oh, and Lee Schrager has endorsed them, too.) Now, I don’t make a living predicting upcoming food trends, not that I wouldn’t adore a job in that field, but I won’t pretend that I do not appreciate the ease of a whoopie pie. With the cake encasing the frosting rather than sinking underneath it, a one-handed approach to eating is significantly more possible. Also, no frosting up one’s nose. I appreciate that.

Anyway, my dear roommate is celebrating her 21st birthday today, so I made mint chocolate whoopie pies for her party last night. Having served cupcakes at parties in the past, I can honestly say that these babies held up way better under pressure. They didn’t crumble all over our new carpet or induce any serious sugar comas. The Bakerella recipe I used was ideally dark chocolatey, a rich, not overwhelmingly sweet flavor that paired well with my mint buttercream frosting. They’re more like cakes than cookies. And not anything like pies. I definitely recommend using a Silpat for its non-stick qualities and a cookie dough baller to achieve uniformly-sized whoopies.

Chocolate Whoopie Pies:
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
4 tablespoons vegetable shortening
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup milk

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2) Line baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat.
3) In a bowl, sift together, flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.
4) In another bowl, beat butter, shortening and sugar with a mixer on low until just combined. Increase speed to medium and beat for about 3 minutes.
5) Add egg and vanilla and beat for two more minutes.
6) Add half of the flour mixture and half of the milk and beat on low until incorporated. Repeat with remaining flour and milk and beat until combined.
7) Using a tablespoon or cookie dough baller (one of my favorite kitchen gadgets), drop batter on baking sheet two inches apart. Bake for about 10 minutes each or until pies spring back when pressed gently.
8 ) Remove from oven and cool for about five minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool completely. If you have OCD, pair the similarly-shaped ones next to each other for some good-looking sandwiches.
9) Once cool, pipe frosting of your choice onto one whoopie cookie. Top with another similarly-shaped whoopie cookie.

I cannot recommend these highly enough for parties. I’m already trying to rationalize why I ought to buy the cookbook Whoopie Pies. Actually, I don’t even own Joy of Cooking yet. I need to get my cookbook priorities in order.

Has anyone else tried whoopie pies? Do you think it’s time for the cupcake trend to get burned?

A New Blog with an Old Recipe: Mint Chocolate Cupcakes

It’s appropriate for me to begin my new blog with an old recipe.

Almost a year ago, my mint chocolate (chip) cupcakes won the title of “fan favorite” at the 2009 Chapel Hill Cupcake Competition. They won over my classmates last fall. They earned me the potentially ominous nickname of “Cupcake.” (I enjoy a good cupcake, but I don’t aspire to look like one.)


So, as I embark on my senior year of college and a brand new blog, I want to start with a recipe that’s sweetly optimistic. Unless consumed in large quantities, leading to a diabetic coma.

My tastebuds rejoice in the refreshing flavor of sweet mint combined with the intensely dark, fudgey chocolate cake. It’s one of my absolute favorite combinations in candies and ice cream. So why not translate it into everyone’s favorite food trend–the cupcake?


The chocolate base I use is from Cupcakes Take the Cake. I let them cool for at least an hour.

Then I whip up a simple mint buttercream frosting. Helpful hint: Use store-bought frosting to stick tile to your floors. Make homemade frosting to top your baked goods.

Mint Buttercream:
1 stick of softened butter
4 C. confectioner’s sugar
2 TB or so of milk
1 t. peppermint extract
A few drops of green food coloring, if desired

1) Beat the butter. Slowly combine confectioner’s sugar.
2) Add extract and food coloring.
3) Add a bit of milk at a time, until frosting reaches a whipped consistency.

I like to dump the frosting in a Ziploc baggie and cut one corner diagonally, about 1/2-inch in length. That creates the bakery-style swirls without necessitating the purchase of a pastry bag.

Now I’ll spend the rest of the evening perfecting this year’s cupcake entry. What flavor combinations are your favorite? If it’s a sweet recommendation, I’d love to incorporate it into a future cupcake concoction.