Comforting chocolate


ProjectManhattan, Wikimedia Commons

If you are feeling stressed, let a rich chocolate brownie come to the rescue.

Many of us turn to chocolate for comfort when we are upset and after browsing social media the past few days, I am thinking a lot of people are going to need a big dose of chocolate. Social unrest is rampant, not just with politics, but with many other subjects, too.


I went straight to my recipes and started looking for ones that feature chocolate, as the 2-pound box of assorted milk chocolates I bought myself for Christmas is almost gone.


I was disappointed that my very favorite, called a Bordeaux, was not included in the mix, as the company had evidently run out and substituted other kinds. Then I got to thinking that if something that trivial is my main complaint in this day and age, I am pretty lucky.


I hope the New Year is treating you right so far and that you are enjoying good health. Now, let’s invite chocolate to the table.


Classic fudge walnut brownies


3/4 cup flour


1 cup white granulated sugar


3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa


1/2 cup packed brown sugar


1/2 teaspoon baking powder


1/4 teaspoon salt


1 cup bittersweet chocolate chunks, divided


1/3 cup milk


6 tablespoons butter, melted


1 teaspoon vanilla


2 large eggs, lightly beaten


1/2 cup chopped walnuts, divided


Cooking spray


1. Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, combine flour with sugar, cocoa, brown sugar, baking powder and salt. In a large microwave safe bowl, combine 1/2 cup chocolate chunks and milk and microwave on HIGH 1 minute, stirring after 30 seconds. Stir in butter, vanilla and beaten eggs.


2. Add the milk mixture, remaining 1/2 cup chocolate chunks and 1/4 cup walnuts to the flour mixture; mix well.


3. Pour batter into a 9-inch square baking pan that has been coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup walnuts. Bake in preheated oven for 22 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs clinging to it. Cool on rack and cut into 20 pieces. Makes 20 servings.


Rich, chocolatey cake


This one won’t find itself in any diet cookbook, but it might become a favorite.


1 package (18.25 ounce) devil’s food cake mix


1 package (3.9 ounce) instant chocolate pudding mix


2 cups sour cream


1 cup melted butter


5 eggs


1 teaspoon almond extract


2 cups semisweet chocolate chips


1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 10-inch Bundt pan.


2. In a large bowl, stir together cake mix and pudding mix. Make a well in the center and pour in sour cream, melted butter, eggs and almond extract. Beat on low speed until blended. Scrape bowl, and beat 4 minutes on medium speed. Blend in chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared pan.


3. Bake in preheated oven for 50 to 55 minutes. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.


Cherry chocolate chip oatmeal cookies


Even though many cookie recipes say to use an ungreased baking sheet, for some reason I always give it a spray anyway.


1 cup butter, softened


1 cup packed brown sugar


1/2 cup white granulated sugar


2 eggs


1 teaspoon vanilla


1 1/2 cups flour


1 teaspoon baking powder


1/2 teaspoon salt


2 cups quick-cooking oatmeal


1 1/2 cups dried, tart cherries


1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips


1. Preheat oven to 350.


2. Cream butter and sugars together. Whisk in eggs and vanilla.


3. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, salt and oats.


4. Mix the dry ingredients in with the wet. Stir in the cherries and chocolate chips.


5. Use a tablespoon to drop cookie dough balls onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Makes 4 dozen cookies.


Chocolate truffle cookies


Recipe requires about 3 hours of chilling time before baking. They are somewhat bittersweet in taste.


2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided


4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped


1/3 cup cold butter, chopped into cubes


1 cup sugar


3 large eggs


1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla


1/2 cup flour


2 tablespoons baking cocoa


1/4 teaspoon baking powder


1/4 teaspoon salt


Confectioners’ sugar


1. In a microwave, melt 1 cup chocolate chips, unsweetened chocolate and butter; stir until smooth. Cool 10 minutes.


2. In a large bowl, beat sugar and eggs 2 minutes. Beat in chocolate mixture and vanilla. In another bowl, whisk flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt; gradually beat into chocolate mixture. Stir in remaining chocolate chips. Refrigerate, covered, until firm enough to handle, at least 3 hours.


3. Preheat oven to 350. With lightly floured hands, shape dough into 1-inch balls; place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.


4. Bake in preheated oven until lightly puffed and set, about 10 to 12 minutes. Cool on pans 3 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool. Dust with confectioners’ sugar. Makes about 4 dozen.

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