Tag Archives: Dark Chocolate

Mocha Banana Pecan Overnight Oats

I’ve noticed lots and lots of recipes for overnight oats in the last few years and have been wanting to try making some. I finally got around to doing that after receiving some complimentary breakfast coffees from Community Coffee. They sent me one of their new products, Amber Sunrise Blend, along with their tried-and-true Breakfast Blend.

Amber Sunrise Blend has a smooth, bright, pleasant flavor and smells wonderful as you’re brewing it. As one of my friends said, “It’s a coffee you want to wake up to.” The light roast Breakfast Blend also has a nice smooth, mild flavor–a great coffee to start your day with.

So what do overnight oats and coffee have in common? Well, I came across an overnight oats recipe on the blog at the Community Coffee site that includes coffee as one of the ingredients–along with oats, cocoa powder, banana slices, and other yummy ingredients. I made a few tweaks to the recipe and added some chopped dark chocolate on top. It’s a special mocha-flavored treat for breakfast–or you can have it later in the day as a healthy snack!

MOCHA BANANA PECAN OVERNIGHT OATS by NancyC, adapted from Community Coffee

Makes 1 serving

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup vanilla Greek yogurt (or substitute the same amount of milk)
  • 1/4 cup strong brewed Community Coffee (I used the Amber Sunrise blend)
  • 1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 banana, sliced
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped pecans (toasted or untoasted)
  • 1/2 Tablespoon chopped dark chocolate (72% Cacao works well in this)

In small jar or bowl with tight-fitting lid, combine oats, yogurt or milk, coffee, honey, cocoa powder, vanilla, and cinnamon. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Top with banana, chopped pecans, and chopped dark chocolate just before serving.

I used 72% Cacao dark chocolate when I made these overnight oats–it gives the oats a good rich cocoa flavor without making it too sweet. I can see now why overnight oats are such a popular breakfast item–they’re so easy and convenient to make! Have you tried making overnight oats yet?

Sharing at Fiesta Friday, Meal Plan Monday, Inspire Me Monday, Weekend Potluck.

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Yogurt with Mixed Berries, Walnuts, and Dark Chocolate

This is such an easy and healthy recipe for breakfast, a snack, or dessert! it’s from a new book called The SirtFood Diet. Before I received my review copy, I had never heart of “Sirtfoods.” In a nutshell, what I read in this book was that polyphenol nutrients from certain plants are good for us. And plants that have “noteworthy amounts” of sirtuin-activating polyphenols are called “Sirtfoods.” I know this sounds pretty technical, but the book gives a good explanation about all this. It also provides information about the top 20 Sirtfoods, along with other foods that are beneficial. I found that I actually like a lot of these foods, which include Arugula, Garlic, Green Tea, and even Cocoa!

This book explains that Sirtfoods, rich in special nutrients that help activate the same “skinny genes” in our bodies that fasting triggers, can help in effective weight loss–and so the Sirtfood Diet was created by nutritionists Aidan Goggins and Glen Matten. I haven’t tried the diet, so I can’t endorse it, but I’m sharing what the book says about it. The diet includes a plan for losing 7 pounds in seven days, along with keeping the weight off. There’s a recipe section that includes a good variety of healthy dishes–some even include chicken and beef. The authors also recommend having a good juicer to get the most benefits from this diet.

After looking through the recipe section, I decided to try this yogurt recipe because I loved all the ingredients and it was so simple to make. Simple as it is though, I actually made this recipe the wrong way! I put the berries over the yogurt instead of the yogurt over the berries! it does work better to put the yogurt over the berries as the recipe says, so be sure to layer the ingredients right! Even though I made this wrong, it does look pretty, doesn’t it? 🙂

YOGURT WITH MIXED BERRIES, CHOPPED WALNUTS, AND DARK CHOCOLATE from the SirtFood Diet

Makes 1 serving

  • 1 1/3 cups mixed berries (I used some organic fresh strawberries and frozen blueberries)
  • 2/3 cup plain Greek yogurt (or vegan alternative, such as soy or coconut yogurt)
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons dark chocolate (85 percent cocoa solids), grated

Add the mixed berries to a bowl and top with the yogurt. Sprinkle with the walnuts and chocolate.

That’s all there is to it! I’m so glad dark chocolate is good for you, even if it’s the 85% cocoa solid kind; I actually like the really, really dark chocolate better than the sweeter varieties.

Are you a healthy eater and have you heart of Sirtfoods?

Sharing at Fiesta Friday, Meal Plan Monday, Weekend Potluck, Inspire Me Monday, Full Plate Thursday.

Dark Chocolate Chip Granola Cookies

Dark Chocolate Chip Granola Cookies @ NancyC

I’ve been in a chocolate chip mood lately! I recently posted a recipe for some Chocolate Chip Scones and then I thought I’d make some breakfast-type cookies, but with chocolate chips in them, too–I call them Dark Chocolate Chip Granola Cookies. A cookie made with ingredients that I usually put in granola, like honey, coconut flakes, old-fashioned oats, wheat germ, ground flaxseed, chopped nuts, raisins or dried cranberries, and a good amount of dark chocolate chips!

These cookies brown a little more around the edges because of the honey, I think. I read somewhere that baked goods made with honey brown faster, so that’s true of these cookies. They’re a good, slightly chewy cookies that make a great snack or quick breakfast if you like sweet things for breakfast!

DARK CHOCOLATE CHIP GRANOLA COOKIES by NancyC

Makes about 26 cookies

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups sweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup wheat germ
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed (you can substitute wheat bran or oat bran for the wheat germ or flaxseed)
  • 1 cup golden raisins, dark raisins, or dried cranberries (or a mix of 2 or 3 of these)
  • 1 1/4 cups dark chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In large bowl, cream butter and sugar, until smooth, then add honey, vanilla, and eggs, blending well.

In medium size bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add this mixture, half of it at a time, to the butter/sugar mixture; mix until everything is blended, but don’t overmix.

Fold in, a few ingredients at a time, the coconut flakes, oats, wheat germ, flaxseed, raisins or cranberries, chocolate chips, and nuts, stirring to blend everything evenly into the batter (batter will be thick).

Using a measuring cup, drop dough by 1/4 cupfuls, 2 inches apart, onto parchment-lined cookie sheets (you should be able to fit 6 cookies per sheet). Bake at 350˚F for 12 to 13 minutes or until edges are browned. Cool on cookie sheet for 2 to 3 minutes, then move to wire rack to cool completely.

It’s nice eating cookies that have some healthy ingredients in them–I guess it helps justify eating cookies, right? 🙂 Do you have any healthier cookie recipes you like to make?

Sharing this recipe at Fiesta Friday, Meal Plan Monday, Weekend Potluck.

Dark Chocolate Almond Shortbread Squares

Dark Chocolate Almond Shortbread Squares @ NancyC

Dark chocolate and shortbread are two of my favorite sweets, and I discovered that they make a great combination as a cookie bar! Several years ago, I had found a recipe on the Eagle Brand® site and made it as directed, but was a little disappointed because my shortbread crust and the chocolate layer did not turn out as nice and thick as their recipe photo. But they had tasted good, so I decided to revisit the recipe, using dark chocolate instead of semi-sweet chips, and making them in a 9×9″ pan instead of 9×13.” I was hoping using a smaller pan would give me a thicker crust–and it did. I liked the way these turned out in the 9×9″ pan so much better!

Be sure to chill these bars for three hours before you try cutting them, because they’ll cut easier. The shortbread base will crumble some, so you need to cut them carefully.

DARK CHOCOLATE ALMOND SHORTBREAD SQUARES by NancyC, adapted from Eagle Brand®

Makes a 9 x 9″ pan

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (omit if you are using salted butter)
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 1 (10-ounce) package dark chocolate chips
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease or spray a 9 x 9″ baking pan with cooking spray.

Mix butter, powdered sugar, and salt in large bowl until fluffy (you can mix by hand or with a mixer). Add flour; mix well. Press dough evenly in prepared pan with floured hands (dough will be sticky). Bake 20 to 23 minutes or until lightly browned; remove from oven.

Melt dark chocolate chips with sweetened condensed milk in heavy saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth and creamy. Remove from heat; stir in almond extract. Spread chocolate mixture evenly over the shortbread in the pan. Note: You can also melt the chocolate mixture in the microwave–heat for 30 seconds, stir, heat another 30 seconds, stir, and repeat until mixture is smooth and creamy, which takes about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Be careful not to overheat!

Garnish with toasted almonds,* pressing them down firmly on the chocolate mixture. Chill 3 hours or until firm. Cut into bars.

Note: To avoid scratching my non-stick pan with a cutting knife, I removed the shortbread from the pan first. I did this by loosening the shortbread and chocolate layers from the edges of the pan and carefully inverting the pan. I had a parchment paper-covered hand on the shortbread, to catch it as it came out upside-down, then I inverted the shortbread again onto my other parchment paper-covered hand so it was right-side up on the second piece of parchment paper, ready to cut. You could also try lining your pan with parchment paper and just lift the shortbread out of the pan when it’s ready to cut, but the sticky shortbread batter may be a little difficult to spread on the parchment paper.

*Toast almond slices by placing in a dry nonstick skillet and cooking over medium heat, shaking pan until almond slices are lightly browned.

I love the thick dark chocolate top layer and the thick shortbread bottom crust on these bars! And the light almond flavoring adds just the right touch. I’m glad I revisited this recipe. Do you have a recipe you’ve revisited with good results?

Linked to Fiesta Friday, Foodie FriDIY, Sunday Features, Inspire Me Monday, Tasty TuesdayShow and Share, Wow Us Wednesdays, Wake Up Wednesday, Wow Me Wednesday, Whimsy Wednesday, Wonderful Wednesday, Full Plate Thursday, Create It Thursday, Share Your Style, Inspiration Thursday, Thursday Favorite Things, Foodie FriDIY.

Salted Dark Chocolate Coffee Bark

Salted Dark Chocolate Coffee Bark @ NancyC

On chilly mornings, I like to have a hot cup of coffee to start my day. With cream. I don’t like black coffee or sugar in my coffee, but I love having cream in my coffee! But cookingwithcoffeeapparently you can do so much more with coffee, as I discovered when I received a review copy of Cooking with Coffee by Brandi Evans. It’s a hardcover book with 60 recipes and lots of color photos.

The book begins with a brief history of coffee, benefits of coffee, different brewing options, and popular ingredients to use with coffee. Then you’ll find recipes for baked goods; homemade coffee creamers; drinks and smoothies; sauces, dips, and toppings; savory foods; and sweets and snacks. Recipes include:

  • Espresso Banana Muffins
  • Coffee and White Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake
  • Salted Chocolate Coffee Creamer
  • Peanut Butter Mocha Smoothie
  • Chocolate-Coffee Gravy
  • Coffee Maple Vinaigrette
  • Chicken Enchiladas with Quick Coffee Ranchera Sauce
  • Triple Chip Espresso Cookies

I decided to try the Salted Dark Chocolate Coffee Bark, because I thought it would be a great recipe to keep in mind as a food gift for the holidays. It’s easy to make and only has 3 ingredients, so you can whip it up easily and quickly. You just need to give the bark enough time to harden, at least an hour, before you break it up into pieces. It makes a great sweet treat for coffee and dark chocolate lovers! The recipes says to use 10 ounces of 60% dark chocolate, so I used one 10-ounce bag of dark chocolate chips and that worked perfectly!

SALTED DARK CHOCOLATE COFFEE BARK from Cooking with Coffee

Makes about 2 cups pieces of bark

  • 10 ounces 60% dark chocolate or semisweet
  • 1/4 cup whole coffee beans
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons large flake sea salt (I used less salt-more like 1 teaspoon, and that was salty enough for me!)

Over a double boiler or in a microwave-safe bowl, melt the chocolate until it’s just warm enough to completely melt when you stir (a few minutes over the double boiler or 1-2 minutes in the microwave, checking every 30 seconds).

Pour the chocolate onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and smooth out into an even layer.

Sprinkle the melted chocolate with the coffee beans and the sea salt.

Let the chocolate set at least 1 hour, then break into bite-sized pieces.

Like I mentioned earlier, this bark makes a great homemade food gift. Or you may want to give the book itself to a coffee-loving friend. Are you a coffee-lover yourself, and do you use coffee in any recipes?

Linked to Fiesta Friday, FoodieFriDIY, Sunday Features, Inspire Me Monday, Show and Share, Tasty Tuesday, Wow Us Wednesdays, Wake Up Wednesday, Wow Me Wednesday, Whimsy Wednesday, Wonderful Wednesday, Full Plate Thursday, Share Your Style, Thursday Favorite Things, Showcase Your Talent Thursday, Create It Thursday, Fabulous Foodie Friday.

Dark Chocolate Caramel Nut Bars

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This is a good, easy cookie bar recipe that I’ve had for quite awhile! I think I originally found it in a magazine ad and then I came across it later at Kraft Recipes. This recipe uses a cake mix as part of the ingredients for the yummy chocolatey crust, so it’s simple to put together. I usually prefer making things from scratch, but sometimes a mix comes in handy if you’re in a time crunch. And these bars are so good you may not mind that they’re made with cake mix!

My version of these bars is a little different from the original recipe–I usually use pecans instead of walnuts (this time I used a little of both), dark chocolate chips instead of chocolate chunks, and regular chocolate cake mix instead of German chocolate. When you’re in the mood for a very chocolatey, chewy, caramel treat, this is a great recipe to try! Save some time by unwrapping the caramels ahead of time before you make these!

DARK CHOCOLATE CHIP CARAMEL NUT BARS by NancyC, adapted from Kraft Recipes

Makes a 13 x 9″ pan of bars

  • 1 (11-ounce) bag Kraft caramels, unwraped
  • 1 (5-ounce) can evaporated milk, divided
  • 1 package (2-layer size) chocolate cake mix with pudding in the mix
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans or walnuts, divided (I used a mix of pecans and walnuts)
  • 1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips, divided

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Unwrap caramels and melt them with 1/3 cup of the evaporated milk in a saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently until caramels are completely melted. Remove from heat; set aside.

Mix remaining milk, dry cake mix and melted butter in a large bowl. Press half of the cake mixture firmly onto the bottom of a greased 13 x 9-inch baking pan to form crust. Bake 8 minutes, then remove from oven.

Sprinkle 1 cup of the nuts and 3/4 cup of the dark chocolate chips over the crust. Drizzle evenly with melted caramel mixture. Top with teaspoonfuls of the remaining cake mixture; press gently into caramel mixture with back of spoon. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of nuts and 3/4 cup dark chocolate chips.

Put back in the oven and bake an additional 16 to 18 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely before cutting into bars.

Note: if you want to eat these warm (they’d be great with some ice cream on top!) wait about 20 to 30 minutes before cutting them so they won’t be so gooey. For less gooey bars, wait about an hour before cutting them, when they’ve cooled more. Be sure not to wait more than a few hours before cutting them; if you do, they will be harder to cut since the caramel and bottom crust will harden some.

It may be a little tricky to get your first piece out of the pan without crumbling it a bit, but once that’s out, the rest of your bars should come out easily!

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The combination of dark chocolate, nuts, and caramel is so good! What’s your favorite chocolate/caramel dessert?

Linked to Fiesta Friday at The Novice Gardener, Inspire Me Monday at Create with Joy.

Double Dark Chocolate Banana Bread

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I had two recipe fails this past week–so frustrating! So I thought I’d make something a little more easy and familiar–like banana bread. I’ve made lots of different kinds of banana bread, but never a chocolate one.

I decided to try making a dark chocolate banana bread. I used a good amount of unsweetened cocoa powder in the batter, plus added some chopped-up dark chocolate chips so there would be even more dark chocolate flavor. I thought it turned out really good–very chocolatey and moist! A quite decadent banana bread. And even if you don’t like banana bread, you should still try this, because you taste the rich dark chocolate more than anything else! The bananas do their part by making the bread wonderfully moist, with a little help from some Greek yogurt. Nuts are optional. This is great for breakfast if you’re a chocolate-lover and it also makes a nice simple snack or dessert!

DOUBLE DARK CHOCOLATE BANANA BREAD by Nancy Creative

Makes one 9 x 5″ loaf

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cup ripe mashed bananas (about 3 to 3 1/2, depending on size)
  • 1/4 cup plain or vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (6 ounces) dark chocolate chips, coarsely chopped (keep them in the fridge until you’re ready to chop them; they’ll be easier to chop with your food chopper)
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, optional

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease and flour a 9 x 5″ loaf pan.

In a large bowl, cream softened butter and sugar. Add eggs, blending well, then add vanilla extract, mashed bananas, and Greek yogurt, and blend everything well.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; add to the butter/sugar/banana mixture and mix just until combined. Fold in coarsely chopped dark chocolate chips and nuts, if using, stirring until these are evenly incorporated in batter.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake at 350˚F for 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near center of loaf comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove and let cool about 10 minutes more on wire rack. You can serve this warm (great with a scoop of ice cream!) or wait till it’s completely cooled.

Are you a big fan of chocolate like I am? I’d have to say dark chocolate is my favorite–what’s yours?

Linked to Nifty Thrifty Sunday. The Creative Collection, Inspire Me Monday, Inspiration Monday, Nifty Thrifty Tuesday, Wow Us Wednesdays, Full Plate Thursday, Thursday Favorite Things.

Dark Chocolate-Cinnamon Pecan Coffee Cake

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The title read, A Cake You Can Eat for Breakfast and Dessert.” Well, that got my attention! The Yahoo Food article also said “A cup of coffee will disguise this treat as breakfast, and a scoop of ice cream transforms it into dessert.” Perfect! I always love recipes that give you that kind of flexibility! 🙂

So of course I had to try this coffee cake. I used more dark chocolate, added a little more cinnamon, and used pecans instead of hazelnuts. Yum! This coffee cake has a thick batter that bakes into a dense yet cakey chocolate-cinnamon treat. I found that my baking time was less than what the original recipe recommended, and you do want to be careful not to overbake this, or it will be a little dry.

This coffee cake is great for morning or anytime–especially if you are a fan of dark chocolate!

DARK CHOCOLATE-CINNAMON PECAN COFFEE CAKE by NancyCreative, adapted from Bon Appetit

Makes 9-12 servings in an 8 x 8″ pan

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for greasing pan
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1 cup (6 ounces) dark chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup plain whole Greek yogurt

Preheat oven to 350°. Butter 8” square baking pan; set aside.

Toss pecans, chocolate chips, cinnamon, and ¼ cup of the sugar in a small bowl; set aside.

In medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

In large bowl, using an electric mixer on high speed, beat butter and remaining ¾ cup sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in vanilla. Add eggs one at a time, beating to blend between additions and occasionally scraping down sides of bowl. With mixer on low speed, add dry flour mixture ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with yogurt in 2 additions, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. You’ll end up with a nice thick batter.

Spoon half of the batter into prepared pan and smooth top; top with half of the chocolate/pecan mixture. Spoon remaining batter over this and smooth top; top with remaining chocolate/pecan mixture. Bake cake until top of cake is golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 35-40 minutes (be careful not to overbake, or it will be dry! I recommend checking it after it has baked about 35 to 37 minutes). Transfer pan to a wire rack; let cake cool in pan before cutting into squares, and serve (if you want to eat it warm, let it cool about 10 minutes before cutting). I think this coffee cake tastes best warm myself!

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It’s been awhile since I’ve made a coffee cake, so this hit the spot! I have a few other coffee cake recipes I’ve been wanting to try. Have you made any good ones lately?

Linked to Thursday Favorite Things,  Foodie Friday, I’m Lovin’ It, Tickled Pink.

Dark Chocolate-Covered Cherry Swirl Brownies

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When Valentine’s Day comes around, I think of chocolate and cherries. So when I found this recipe at BettyCrocker.com, I thought it would be the perfect thing to make! The recipe I’m sharing here is a little different, because I made homemade brownies (adapted from the Hershey recipe) instead of using a mix. It really doesn’t take that much longer to do. And I topped these cherry-swirled brownies with a layer of dark chocolate–it never hurts to add more chocolate to a recipe! 🙂

I had some friends sample these and they all loved them and commented on how rich and chocolatey they were. They really are pretty decadent…definitely worthy to make for your Valentine, or for dessert any time of the year!

The cherry cream cheese filling has a mild cherry flavor, which everyone liked, but if you’d like the cherry flavor to be stronger, add a little cherry flavoring or extract, or some extra maraschino cherry juice and cherries (I’ve noted that in the recipe below).

DARK CHOCOLATE–COVERED CHERRY SWIRL BROWNIES by NancyCreative, adapted from Betty Crocker and Hershey’s

Make in an 11 x 7″ brownie pan 

For the brownies:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup Hershey’s unsweetened baking cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For cherry cream cheese mixture:

  • 1 (8-ounce) package light or regular cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup chopped well-drained maraschino cherries
  • 1 teaspoon maraschino cherry juice
  • optional: 1/4 teaspoon cherry flavoring or extract, or some extra chopped maraschino cherries, for a stronger cherry flavor
  • 1 egg

For dark chocolate layer:

  • 1 (10-ounce) package dark chocolate chips
  • 5 Tablespoons butter

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease an 11 x 7″ brownie pan (or a 9″ square baking pan if you don’t have a brownie pan); set aside.

Brownies: Stir together melted butter, sugar, and vanilla in medium bowl. Add eggs and beat well with a spoon. In another medium bowl, stir together flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt; gradually add to egg mixture, beating until well blended; set aside (this batter is pretty thick, FYI).

Cream Cheese Mixture: In medium bowl, beat softened cream cheese, sugar, cherries, cherry juice, and egg with a spoon; set aside.

ncdkChCvChBrn3Spread half the brownie batter in the baking pan. Spread cream cheese mixture over batter. Drop small dollops of remaining brownie batter over the cream cheese mixture, spread slightly with the back of a spoon, and then swirl cream cheese mixture and brownie batter with a knife.

Bake at 350˚F in an 11 x 7″ pan for 30-34 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out almost clean. If you bake this in a 9 x 9″ pan, your baking time might be a little longer. Let cool 30 to 40 minutes.

When brownies have cooled, top with dark chocolate layer: In microwaveable bowl, heat chocolate chips and butter, uncovered on high for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring until smooth. Spread over brownies. Refrigerate 40 to 50 minutes or until layer sets more, then cut into squares and serve (the dark chocolate layer may not be totally set, but you’ll still be able to cut the brownies into squares). Store covered in refrigerator…

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…that is, if you happen to have any left! 🙂

Have you made, or do you plan on making, any special Valentine treats?

Dark Chocolate Peppermint Cookie Bars

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I was wanting to bake something that I could use my extra candy canes in, so I modified a chocolate chip recipe of mine, using dark chocolate chips and adding in some crushed candy canes. I decided to make these into cookie bars, so they’re really easy to make and bake. The dark chocolate and peppermint flavors combined with the cookie dough is a really yummy combination! The bars are nice and thick…they’re chewy on the inside, but also a little crispy on the outside. These are a great treat, whether you make them during or after the holidays…and if you don’t have any extra candy canes, you can use peppermint candies instead. Have them with some hot cocoa or coffee!

DARK CHOCOLATE PEPPERMINT COOKIE BARS by NancyCreative

Makes a 9×13″ pan of cookie bars

  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
  • 1 cup granulated (white) sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure peppermint extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 (10-ounce) bag (or 1 3/4 cups) dark chocolate chips
  • 2/3 cup crushed peppermint candy canes (about 6 to 7 regular size) or peppermint candy
  • parchment paper, for lining your pan

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line a 9×13″ baking pan with parchment paper; set aside.

In large bowl, cream butter, granulated (white) sugar, and light brown sugar until well blended. Beat in peppermint extract, vanilla extract, and eggs, blending everything well.

In medium bowl, stir together flour, salt, and baking soda. Add flour mixture to butter mixture, blending well. Stir in the dark chocolate chips and the crushed peppermint candy canes or candy, blending so these are evenly mixed into the dough. Note: The dough will be very thick and even crumbly, so it’s easier if you  use your hands to work the chocolate chips and crushed peppermint candy into the dough.

Pat dough evenly into your prepared 9×13″ baking pan. Even though the dough is crumbly, it will press together nicely in the pan. Bake at 350˚F for 20 to 22 minutes, or just until very lightly browned. Let bars cool completely in pan (or, if you want to eat these warm, cool for at least 10 minutes). Remove from pan by picking up edges of parchment paper and placing on a cutting surface. Cut into large or small  squares or bars.

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From the top, clockwise, here’s the dough… (1) patted in the pan before baking, (2) baked and fresh out of the oven, (3) lifted out of the pan by the parchment paper edges, and (4) being cut into squares.

You can cut these into squares or bars, big or small.

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It’s a great way to use those holiday candy canes or peppermint candies! Do you have a favorite candy cane recipe?

Linked to Christmas Cookie Swap at Katherine’s Corner.