TWD: Not quite 15 Minute Magic Chocolate Amaretti Torte

 

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Today’s recipe from the TWD group was for a 15 minute “Magic” Chocolate Amaretti Torte.  I believe torte is a fancy way of saying brownie like.  I believe that the magic must have been the Amaretti cookies that everyone had such a hard time of finding.  Myself?  Did not find them and since one person admitted to using Nilla Wafers, I can admit to using some European Almond Cookie that I found in the European portion of my grocery store.  A step up from Nilla Wafers, but I am sure they weren’t the Amaretti cookies that some people paid $7 for. 

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Dorie uses a food processor to make this recipe, which is an awesome idea.  If you have a big food processor.  I have a mini food processor that I love for quick chopping vegetables and for making bread crumbs.  But for this recipe?  It was too small.  I did use it to chop up my cookies and slivered almonds and then seperately to combine the eggs, sugar and butter.  It ended up leaking out the top of my little machine and I decided that a bowl and spatula would work just perfect for the final mixing.  Mine ended up taking longer to bake than Dorie suggested but I believe that is because I put the baking dish on an airbake pan rather than just a regular cookie sheet.  The torte I ended up with was also much flatter than others that I have seen too.  hmmm.  Did I screw something up?

Overall, the recipe was fairly simple and it was an interesting idea to use an almond flavored cookie and ground almonds as your flour.  But to me this recipe has the look of something rather fancy while not really being anything more than a mildly almond flavored brownie.  Perhaps if I had used the $7 cookies to make the recipe it would have had a stronger almond flavor but somehow the mix of chocolate and almond doesn’t seem all that appealing to me.  The ground nuts added an interesting texture to the recipe.  Think about when you eat nuts of any sort and after you are finished how there is always just a bit in your teeth, not so much stuck in between teeth but mashed into the grooves on the top of your teeth.  Wow.  I just made that sound fantastic didn’t I?

You can find the recipe here.

Chocolate Cookies

chocolate-cookies

Over the holidays I was looking for a basic chocolate cookie recipe.  I wanted something that would work well with any chip, chunk or candy bit I had on hand.  Luckily, this one fell into my hands.  Okay, not quite, but it was worth the internet search to find it. 

This cookie has a dough that is easy to work with and I have not found one person that didn’t love the cookies.  Okay,  not quite again, but that is my husband who is a freak and doesn’t like anything chocolate besides chocolate cake with peanut butter icing and turtle brownies. 

I like to divide the dough into two batches before adding whatever chunk, chip or candy bit I have on hand.  The first half might be made with mint chips and the second half can be made with chopped mini Reese cups.  The texture in these cookies is soft and chewy almost like a thick brownie.  When it first comes out of the oven, I always feel a little nervous that they aren’t baked enough because they are so poufy looking.  But then I slide them off the cookie sheet and let them cool for about twenty minutes and they are soft and delicious.   I find it easiest to use parchment paper on the cookie sheet and simply remove parchment paper and all from the sheet to allow them to cool.  You won’t ruin any cookies that way. 

When using something like a mini Reese cup or other mini candy I used 16 and chopped them into fourths.  That was a half batch, so if making a full batch I recommend using 32 mini candies. 

Storing these cookies is no problem.  They have lasted five days in an airtight storage container without tasting stale or dry in the least.  They only lasted five days because I made a double batch! 

 

Chocolate Cookies – adapted from allrecipes.com

Ingredients

1 cup butter (softened)
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups peanut butter chips (or any chip of your liking)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.  If not using parchment paper, grease sheets. 
  2. In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Stir in the eggs and vanilla. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt, stir into the creamed mixture. Finally, fold in the peanut butter chips or chips of your choice.  Scoop approximately one tablespoon into a ball and place on parchment paper two inches apart.
  3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until set. Cool on parchment paper. 

Probably not the best healthy recipe to start the new year off with, but geesh!  Chocolate is essential.  Along with the two sticks of butter!

Yeild 2 dozen

Peanut Butter Cheesecake Cups

If you are anything like me, you love peanut butter.  You love chocolate.  What about cheesecake.  Some people might be lost there, but not me.  I love cheesecake enough that it was our wedding cake.  Let me tell you that a cheesecake big enough to serve the very small wedding that we had cost almost as much as most people will pay for a cake for 150 people.  Ouch.  Oh weddings and how you pay out the wazoo for everything. 

Wait.  Focus.  Cheesecake.  Peanut Butter Cheesecake cups.  A good friend, close enough friend that I would consider her like family, celebrated her birthday last week.  She absolutely loves peanut butter and chocolate and typically I make chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter icing for her, but this time I wanted something different.  The original recipe was a full cheesecake, but I knew that one large cheesecake for two people is a bit much even if it is tasty, so I decided to try to adapt it to cupcakes.  Then I realized I was missing ingredients.  Then I realized I did not know what adding peanut butter to the recipe would do to it.  So I just began to wing it.  Then when I realized that I was using the crust up way to quickly and I had to make more mid baking.  The recipe was more of a guide.  But sweet mother.  I will make these sweet babies again and again.  I received rave reviews from both the birthday girl and folks at the office that received the remainders. 

Peanut Butter Cheesecake Cups- Eats and Treats

Yields 20 Cheescake Cups

Crust
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips
Cheesecake
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup peanut butter 
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
Additional mini chips for topping (1/3 cup)
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. 
For the crust, crush the graham crackers (approximately 8 crackers) and mix with sugar, cocoa and melted butter.  Using a cupcake pan with paper liners, press one and a half tablespoon into liners.   Sprinkle mini chocolate chip crusts on top of crust. 
In large bowl, mix cream cheese, sour cream and peanut butter.  Mix in sweetened condensed milk, eggs and vanilla.  Mix in chocolate chips by hand. 
Fill paper liners 3/4 full with cheesecake mixture.  Sprinkle tops of cupcakes with remaining chocolate chips.  Bake in oven for 25 minutes.  Remove from pans and allow to cool on wire racks for one hour.  Cool in fridge for at least four hours before eating.