Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Just when you think Minnesota is finally ready to say goodbye to winter, you get this..


I have my fingers crossed that Mother Nature is possibly pulling an early April Fool’s joke? It’s most likely not the case, but hey, a girl can hope right?


Lately I’ve been cooking more than usual, so be ready for a flood of new recipes, videos, and product reviews.

How about starting today with 4 recipes? I taught yet another cooking class for my town’s Community Education program this past Friday.  The theme?



First, take a look at my other classes here:


Chocolate Bread with Chocolate Butter


  • Butter, for pans
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate morsels
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
  • Chocolate Butter, recipe follows


  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter and flour (2) 9 by 5-inch loaf pans.

  • In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Beat in the milk, oil, eggs, and vanilla at medium-low speed with an electric mixer until combined. Beat in the chocolate morsels and pecans. Spoon the batter evenly into the prepared pans. Bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, about 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes. Shield the bread with aluminum foil to prevent excess browning. Let cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Remove the bread from the pans and cool completely on a wire rack. Serve with rich Chocolate Butter, if desired.

Chocolate Butter:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons hot fudge topping


  • In a small bowl, beat the butter and fudge topping at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Cover, and refrigerate. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.


Chicken with Cocoa Tomato Sauce 


  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper, plus 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, for cooking
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 pint tomato sauce
  • 1 pint diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Yellow or white rice, cooked and kept warm


  • Season both sides of chicken breasts with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. In a cast iron skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook until browned, about 10 minutes on each side. Remove the chicken from pan to a plate and set aside.

  • Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, onion, and garlic to the skillet and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, chicken broth, cocoa, oregano, basil, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Stir until well blended. Return the chicken to pan, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Turn chicken over and continue cooking, covered for 15 minutes. Arrange the chicken on a serving platter and serve over rice.

Recipe adapted from Paula Deen



Chocolate Chip Cheese Ball


  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup mini marshmallows
  • 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate morsels
  • 1 cup finely chopped toasted walnuts
  • Chocolate and honey flavored graham crackers and fruit


  • In a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese and butter.

  • Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Add the confectioners' sugar, cocoa, brown sugar, and vanilla.

  • Beat until well combined. Add the marshmallows and chocolate morsels. Stir to combine well. Cover and chill for 2 hours.

  • Form the mixture into a ball, then roll it in walnuts.

  • Arrange the cheese ball on a serving platter and serve with graham crackers and fruit.

Recipe adapted from Paula Deen


Peanut Butter Crunch Brownies

(aka better than crack brownies)


  • 1 batch brownies (boxed mix)

  • 1/2 cup salted peanuts 1 cup chopped

  • Reese’s peanut butter cups

  • 1 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips

  • 1 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

  • 1/2 tablespoon butter

  • 1 1/2 cups Rice Krispies Cereal


  • Mix brownies according to directions, and bake for 20-25 minutes in a 9 x 13 baking dish. Remove and top with peanuts and peanut butter cups, and bake for 4-6 minutes more.
  • While they are finishing baking, melt chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter. Stir in cereal. Remove brownies from oven and evenly pour chocolate mixture over top.
  • Refrigerate for 2 hours before serving.

Recipe adapted from How Sweet It Is

And here’s some more random shots from the night…




CIMG4837 CIMG4840




What is your favorite chocolate recipe?


lesley lifting life said...

Yeah, we're supposed to get some more snow too and I'm NOT looking forward to it! Hopefully the weather man is wrong!!

Krista said...

We just got hammered by another snow storm today. BLAH!!! Hope it misses you...

What awesome recipes! I love all the chocolate for sure!

Erica said...

oh my gosh! What a cool class! I think the chocolate bread looks FABULOUS. Favorite chocolate recipe? Honestly, I'm not a BIG chocolate person- strange, right? When I eat it, I like it straight up and dark ;)

Lisa said...

Just when you think butter can't get any better, now you come up with a chocolate butter. Heavenly. So many delicious ways to enjoy chocolate. I think my favorite chocolate recipe is chocolate trifle.

laurie said...

They all look AWESOME!

No school for me today! I didn't mind that..but then again I really am tired of the snow,too.

Mary said...

I hope the storm missed you. I love the dishes you featured today. They look wonderful. I also enjoyed the photos of your class. Have a great day. Blessings...Mary

katecooks said...

a chocolate theme is right up my alley! i love fudge and chocolate chip cookies myself.

Nicole, RD said...

I LOVE that teaching kitchen! So impressive!

And that cocoa tomato sauce sounds so good...and so unique!

I hope MN has warmed up some. It's been doing some of the same down in IL and OH...so not cool!

sophia said...

Holy cow!! Say you're joking...the temperature is disgusting!! How do you survive? Stay warm, darling!!

And everything looks amazing. I don't really have a favorite chocolate recipe..I like plain chocolate with almonds the most. :-)