Flourless Cocoa Cookies

Yes! More cookies and ice cream. In fact, I have several cookie drafts waiting to be shared. All of a sudden, it just feels like it’s finally time. 🙂

These cookies are a fabulous hybrid of a fudgy brownie and a cookie. This recipe was adapted from The Fearless Baker by Erin Jeanne McDowell via The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I weighed the dry ingredients, included the cinnamon, and used 70% cacao dark chocolate chopped into chunks. Great.

Yield: about 2 dozen cookies

  • 3 eggs
  • 3 cups/340 grams confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 ½ cup/106 grams unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, optional
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup/140 grams bittersweet chocolate chunks (I used 70% cacao dark chocolate)
  • Flaky sea salt, for sprinkling (I used Fleur de Sel)
  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees, preferably on convection. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs until well blended.
  3. In another large bowl, sift together confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder, cinnamon and salt.
  4. Whisk into eggs, changing to a spatula when the batter becomes too thick to whisk.
  5. Stir in vanilla and chocolate chunks.
  6. Use a large 2-tablespoon cookie scoop to scoop cookies onto prepared baking sheets, leaving 1 1/2 inches between them. (I baked 9 on each baking sheet.) Sprinkle with flaky salt.
  7. Bake, rotating front to back, and top to bottom, halfway through, until set around the edges, cracked on top and slightly underbaked in the middle, 10 to 13 minutes.
  8. Transfer to a rack and let cool completely on the baking sheets. Store carefully in an airtight container.

Fudge Brownies with Oreos

These classic brownies are absolutely perfect. We baked every variation! I have made them with and without adding Oreos- both perfect. I have also made them allowing the chocolate chips to melt and allowing the chocolate chips to stay partially intact (adding a little texural contrast). Both delicious. Yes, we’ve “suffered” through many batches. 😉

This recipe was adapted from King Arthur Flour.com. The website describes them as having the perfect balance between a fudgy and cakey brownie- I completely agree. They are incredibly moist, have a good rise, and have a lighter-colored and shiny top crust. Superb.

The recipe makes a large batch (which I recommend) but half the recipe can be made in an 8-inch square pan. In order to keep the chocolate chips intact, the batter must cool slightly before adding them. To melt the chocolate right into the brownie, the chips are stirred into the warm batter. My family didn’t agree on a favorite version but we all enjoyed each and every one of them. 🙂

Yield: 24 brownies

  • 4 large eggs
  • 106g (1 1/4 cups) Double-Dutch Dark Cocoa or Dutch-Process Cocoa (I used Trader Joe’s Cocoa), sifted
  • 1 tsp coarse salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp espresso powder
  • 1 T vanilla extract
  • 227g (2 sticks, 1 cup) unsalted butter
  • 447g (2 1/4 cups) granulated sugar
  • 177g (1 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 340g (2 cups) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 12 Oreo cookies, quartered,  plus 2 crumbled Oreo cookies, for garnish, optional
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F, preferably on convection.
  2. Lightly grease a 9″ x 13″ pan or line with parchment paper and coat with cooking oil spray. (I used a pyrex baking dish.)
  3. Crack the 4 eggs into a bowl, and beat them at medium speed with the sifted cocoa, salt, baking powder, espresso powder, and vanilla for about 1 minute, or until smooth. (You can do this while you’re melting your butter (next step).)
  4. In a medium-sized microwave-safe bowl, or in a saucepan set over low heat, melt the butter, then add the sugar and stir to combine. Or simply combine the butter and sugar, and heat, stirring, until the butter is melted.
  5. Continue to heat (or microwave) briefly, just until the mixture is hot (about 110°F to 120°F), but not bubbling; it’ll become shiny looking as you stir it. Heating the mixture to this point will dissolve more of the sugar, which will help produce a shiny top crust on your brownies.
  6. Add the hot butter/sugar mixture to the egg/cocoa mixture, stirring until smooth.
  7. Add the flour and chips, stirring until smooth. Again, adding the chips helps produce a shiny top crust. (Note: Decision time: Do you want chocolate chips that show, and add a bit of chunkiness to your brownies? Or do you want the chips to simply melt into a rich smoothness, perfectly amalgamated within the brownie? **For chips that retain their shape and add chunkiness, let the batter cool for about 20 minutes before adding the chips, stirring occasionally to hasten the process. **For brownies where the chips melt right into the brownie, add them to the hot batter immediately, stirring to combine.
  8. Incorporate the quartered Oreo cookies, if using. (Keeping the Oreos in larger pieces (quarters) made them visible in the finished brownies.)
  9. Spoon the batter into the parchment paper-lined and lightly greased 9″ x 13″ pan. Sprinkle the crumbled Oreo cookies over the top, if using.
  10. Bake the brownies for 27 to 32 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, or with just a few moist crumbs clinging to it. The brownies should feel set on the edges, and the center should look very moist, but not uncooked. (Note: When making half the recipe, bake in an 8″ x 8″ pan for 20 to 25 minutes.)
  11. Remove them from the oven and cool on a rack before cutting and serving.

Turkey Chili with White Beans

This classic recipe is going to be my new go-to chili. It was easy to prepare, a little bit lighter, using ground turkey and omitting cheese, and is only mildly spicy- a crowd-pleaser. The heat can easily be increased by adjusting the amount of chili powder to taste. It had a wonderful combination of seasonings including cinnamon and cocoa powder.

I used all white beans but this dish would be delicious with any type of beans or an interesting combination. 🙂 We ate it over brown rice with cornbread and green salad on the side. It would be perfect to serve at a Super Bowl feast!

This recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit. It was part of a “sleeper hit recipe” collection from the magazines’ archives. The collection contains tried and true favorite recipes from back in the day that may be passed over due to blurry, low-resolution (aka unappealing!) photos. I’m happy that they brought them to my attention. I’ll have to try others. 🙂

Yield: Serves 8

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 2 medium yellow onions, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/4 pounds lean ground turkey
  • 4 T chili powder
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 T unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp coarse salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 3 cups chicken stock or beef stock
  • 1 cup (8 oz) tomato sauce
  • 3 15-ounce cans small white beans, such as Cannellini, rinsed, drained (or any combination of beans such as kidney and/or black beans)
  • thinly sliced red onion, for garnish
  • chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
  • plain low-fat yogurt or light sour cream, for garnish
  1. Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add onions; sauté until light brown and tender, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add oregano and cumin; stir 1 minute. Increase heat to medium-high.
  3. Add turkey; stir until no longer pink, breaking up with back of spoon.
  4. Stir in chili powder, bay leaves, cocoa powder, salt and cinnamon. Add tomatoes with their juices, breaking up with back of spoon. Mix in stock and tomato sauce. Bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add beans to chili and simmer until flavors blend, about 10 minutes longer.
  6. Discard bay leaves. Taste and adjust seasoning, as desired.
  7. Ladle chili into bowls. Pass red onion, cilantro and yogurt/sour cream toppings separately.

Note: Chili be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Rewarm over medium-low heat before serving with toppings.

Chocolate Chip Streusel Brownies

My indecisiveness can be crippling- that’s why I really love recipes like this one. It’s perfect for those of us who can’t decide if we should make cookies or brownies. 😉 I am slightly more partial to brownies… and this brownie base was made even more delicious by incorporating dark chocolate.

This recipe is from Martha Stewart Living. Rich and amazing.

Yield: Serves 16+

For the Cookie Dough:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
  • 1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I used 72% cacao dark chocolate)

For the Brownie Batter:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into large pieces
  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I used 72% cacao dark chocolate)
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  1. For the Cookie Dough: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Brush a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with butter; line with parchment, leaving a slight overhang on long sides.
  3. Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  4. In a large bowl, beat butter with both sugars on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 6 minutes.
  5. Reduce speed to medium-low and beat in egg. Beat in vanilla.
  6. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture; beat until just incorporated. Stir in chocolate.
  7. For the Brownie Batter: Melt butter and chocolate in a medium heat-proof bowl set over (not in) a pot of simmering water, stirring until smooth.
  8. Remove from heat; whisk in granulated sugar.
  9. Whisk in eggs, one at a time, until combined.
  10. Whisk in cocoa and salt.
  11. Fold in flour until combined.
  12. Pour brownie batter into prepared pan, smoothing top with an offset spatula.
  13. Crumble cookie dough evenly over batter.
  14. Cover with parchment-lined foil; bake until just set, 20 minutes.
  15. Remove foil and continue baking until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into center (avoiding chocolate chunks) comes out with moist crumbs, 27 to 30 minutes more.
  16. Let cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Lift brownies from pan using parchment; cut into 16 squares. Brownies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days.

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Chocolate-Avocado Pudding

This pudding gets its creaminess from avocados- and you would never know. It’s also made in minutes using a blender- fabulous! I love that it incorporated a vanilla bean and freshly squeezed orange juice too.

This recipe is from Gjusta in Venice, California, via Bon Appetit. Fresh and great.

Yield: Serves 8

  • 2 large avocados, pits removed
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ cup pure maple syrup
  • ¼ cup agave nectar
  • ¼ cup (or more) fresh orange juice
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1½ cups heavy cream, optional
  • ¼ cup cocoa nibs and/or chopped hazelnuts, optional
  1. Scoop avocado flesh into a blender. (I used a Vitamix.)
  2. Scrape in vanilla bean seeds; reserve pod for another use.
  3. Add cocoa powder, maple syrup, agave nectar, orange juice, and salt and blend to a coarse purée.
  4. With motor running, gradually stream in ¾ cup hot (but not boiling) water; blend, adding more orange juice as needed, until smooth and creamy.
  5. Divide pudding among eight 4–6 oz. ramekins or small bowls and chill (uncovered) at least 2 hours.
  6. Just before serving, whip cream in a medium bowl to soft peaks and spoon over pudding, if desired; top with cocoa nibs and/or hazelnuts.

Note: Pudding can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and chill.

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Pressure Cooker Mushroom Chili

Yum! Using dried beans makes such a textural difference in this tasty chili. Using a pressure cooker to expedite the cooking of the dried beans is genius! They were cooked perfectly and added a wonderful contrast to the softer “meaty” mushrooms in the finished dish.

The spiciness of the red pepper flakes is magnified in the pressure cooker- I reduced the amount suggested in the original recipe and the spice level (medium?) was just right for our crowd. This recipe was adapted from Hip Pressure Cooking: Fast, Fresh, and Flavorful by Laura D.A. Pazzaglia, founder of hippressurecooking.com. The recipe can easily be made without the bacon to be vegetarian by using more vegetable oil in lieu of bacon fat. We ate it with cornbread and green salad on the side. A perfect cold weather meal- or for the Superbowl!

I am bringing this tasty bowl to share with my friends at the Novice Gardener for Fiesta Friday #51! Enjoy!!

Yield: Serves 6 to 8

Time: 1 to 1 1/2 hours, plus soaking beans overnight

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  • 2 T canola oil (4 T if using instead of bacon fat)
  • 7 oz bacon or pancetta, chopped, optional
  • 2 medium yellow onions, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 8 oz white button mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
  • 24 oz cremini mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
  • 2 T ground cumin
  • 2 T ground coriander
  • 2 T unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 cups beer (I used New Castle)
  • 28 oz canned chopped tomatoes with juices
  • 2 cups dried pinto beans, soaked overnight (up to 24 hours), rinsed, and drained
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2-3 tsp coarse salt, or to taste
  • 1 large bunch of cilantro, stems removed, minced, for serving
  • sour cream, for serving, optional
  1. Cover the dried beans with several inches of water in a large bowl. Soak overnight. (or up to 24 hours)
  2. Heat the pressure cooker on medium heat; add the oil and heat briefly. Add the bacon and sauté until almost crispy, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the onion and celery; sauté until the onion has softened, about 4 minutes.
  4. Add the sliced mushrooms; sauté, stirring occasionally, until browned and about half of the juices have evaporated, 5 minutes or longer.
  5. Sprinkle the cumin, coriander, cocoa powder, and red pepper flakes over the mixture and stir to combine. Saute for 1 minute more to lightly toast the spices.
  6. Stir in the beer to deglaze the pan.
  7. Add the tomatoes, beans, and bay leaf and mix well.
  8. Close and lock the lid of the pressure cooker. Cook at high pressure for 25 minutes.
  9. Turn off the heat and release the pressure by “Natural Release” (letting it sit off the heat) as it continues to cook. (It took my pressure cooker 20 minutes to release the pressure.)
  10. Open the lid and remove and discard the bay leaf. Add the salt; taste and adjust the seasonings.
  11. Ladle the chili into individual bowls and garnish with sour cream and/or cilantro, as desired.

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Dark Meat Chicken Chili

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This chili has an incredible rich flavor. The chicken is browned and then braised and both dried and smoked chiles are used instead of chili powder. Not too spicy- just absolutely delicious!!

This recipe was adapted from a dark meat turkey chili in Bon Appetit, contributed by Claire Saffitz. I substituted boneless, skinless, chicken thighs for turkey drumsticks and adjusted the cooking times. We ate it with all of the toppings (of course) as well as with cornbread on the side (in Pullman loaf form!). Perfect for any cold day- or for the Super Bowl. 🙂

Yield: 8 Servings

  • 2 guajillo chiles, stems removed
  • 1 ancho chile, stem removed
  • 1 canned chipotle chile in adobo, plus 1 Tbsp. adobo
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 10 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 12-oz. can Pilsner or other light beer
  • 2 15-oz. cans pinto beans, rinsed
  • Lime wedges, sour cream, chopped red onion, chopped fresh cilantro, and sliced avocado (for serving)
  1. Toast guajillo and ancho chiles in a small dry skillet over medium-high heat, tossing, until darkened in color and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a blender and add 1 cup boiling water. Let sit 10 minutes.
  2. Add chipotle chile and adobo to the soaked dried chiles and blend until smooth, about 1 minute. Set chile purée aside.
  3. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium-high heat. Season chicken generously with salt and pepper. Working in batches if needed, cook, turning occasionally, until browned all over, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
  4. Reduce heat to medium and add onion and garlic to same pot; season with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft and translucent, 8–10 minutes.
  5. Mix in cocoa, cumin, oregano, and cayenne and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  6. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, until onion is coated and paste begins to darken, about 2 minutes. Add reserved chile purée and bring to boil.
  7. Continue to cook, stirring, until thickened and darkened in color, about 3 minutes.
  8. Add tomatoes, beer, and 4 cups water; season with salt and return chicken to pot. Bring to a boil.
  9. Reduce heat and gently simmer, uncovered, until meat is tender, about 20 to 30 minutes. Remove chicken from pot and let cool slightly. Shred meat and return to pot.
  10. Add beans and simmer, adding more water as needed, until meat is beginning to fall apart and beans are very tender, 20 to 30 minutes; season chili with salt.
  11. Serve chili with lime wedges, sour cream, red onion, chopped cilantro, and sliced avocado.

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