Monday, December 29, 2008

Triple Chocolate Brownies

These are by far the best brownies I have ever made. I am serious. My family loves them so much that I am not allowed to any family gathering without them now. Even the kids love them. I cut them into really small pieces since they are just so rich and chocolaty. Now, some people feel that brownies shouldn't be frosted, but I think that is what makes them taste so good.

Triple Chocolate Brownies
Makes about 60 pieces (about 1 1/2-inches in size)

1 cup unsalted butter, cut into pats
2 bars (about 4 ounces each) bittersweet chocolate (at least 60% Cacao), broken into pieces
4 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 13- x 9-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. In a medium saucepan over very low heat, melt the butter and bittersweet chocolate, stirring constantly to prevent scorching, until smooth. Remove from heat.

In a large bowl, combine the eggs, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed until combined, about 1 minute. Slowly stir in the melted chocolate mixture. Mix well.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the flour mixture to the chocolate batter. Mix well making sure flour mixture is completely incorporated. Stir in the white chocolate chips and milk chocolate chips. Add the brownie batter to the prepared pan.

Bake the brownies until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with some moist crumbs, about 35 minutes. Place pan on a wire rack to cool.

Meanwhile, place the semisweet chocolate chips and heavy cream in a microwave safe bowl. Heat on HIGH for 30 minutes. Stir until smooth and all the chocolate has melted. Spread the chocolate glaze on top of brownies. Chill brownies until ready to serve, at least 4 hours. Cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces to serve. Keep chilled for best taste.

(Each piece is about 3 pts.)

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Cinnamon Roll Apple Cobbler

I've been wanting to try this recipe for a while. I have always loved those Cinnabon cinnamon rolls that they have at the mall. Did you know that Pillsbury now offers their version with "cinnabon cinnamon?" Plus, they come in low-fat. I thought they would make a great cobbler topping — and I was right. It was delicious. I made this dessert for my parents when they came over for Hanukkah dinner. They loved it, too!

Cinnamon Roll Apple Cobbler
Serves 8

4 large Macoun apples, peeled, cored and cut into thin wedges
2 Tbsp. light brown sugar
1 tsp. apple-pie spice
1 tube Pillsbury Reduced-Fat Cinnamon Rolls with icing

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, combine the apple wedges, brown sugar and apple-pie spice. Place in an 8-inch round pan.

Open the roll container. Set the icing aside. Cut each cinnamon roll into quarters. Arrange the roll quarters on top of the apples. Tent the pan with aluminum foil.

Bake for 15 minutes. Remove the foil. Bake until the top of the rolls are browned, about 15 minutes longer. Remove the pan from the oven, and immediately dot the top of the cobbler with the reserved icing. Serve warm.

(Each serving is 4 pts.)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake

I tend to get a little obsessed with pumpkin this time of year. I love pumpkin. Usually adding canned pumpkin to recipes is what I do to bring down the calorie count, but in this case, there isn't a chance of bringing down the calories. However, you are allowed to enjoy a treat every once in a while, right? So if this is your moment, then definitely try this delicious cheesecake.

Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake
Serves 12

2 cups gingersnap crumbs (about half of an 18 ounce box)
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup unpacked brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar, divided
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves

Preheat oven to 325°F. Place a pan of water on the lowest shelf in the oven.

Combine the gingersnap crumbs, pecans and melted butter in a large bowl. Press onto the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, brown sugar, 1/4 cup granulated sugar and the vanilla on low speed until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Remove 1 1/2 cups of the batter to a separate bowl. Add the pumpkin, remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar, the cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves to the remaining batter. Mix well.

Spoon half of the pumpkin batter into the crust lined pan. Spoon dollops of the reserved plain batter over the pumpkin. Repeat with remaining batters. Drag a butter knife through the batter to swirl.

Place the cheesecake on a baking sheet and place on the center shelf in the oven. Bake until center is just set and edges are firm, about 55 minutes. Turn off oven and leave door ajar for 30 minutes. Remove cheesecake from oven and loosen sides. Chill cheesecake for at least 4 hours or overnight.

(Each serving is 12 pts.)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Bonbon Surprise Cookies

This is another holiday cookie I love to make. The butter cookie outside is not overly sweet, and when you bite into the cookie, you get a chocolaty surprise of a chocolate kiss! It's hard to eat just one!!!!

Bonbon Surprise Cookies
Makes about 5 dozen (recipe can be cut in half)

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
3 cups all-purpose flour
60 chocolate kisses, unwrapped (from a 12-ounce bag)
1 box (1 pound) confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup milk
Christmas-inspired sprinkles and/or sugar

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer set on medium speed, beat the butter and sugar until creamy, about 2 minutes. Beat in vanilla and cinnamon until combined. Gradually stir in flour until blended completely. Cover and chill dough for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Measure about 1 tablespoon of dough and flatten into a disk. Place one chocolate kiss into the center of each dough disk. Wrap dough around kiss and roll between your palms into a ball. (Make sure the dough covers the kiss completely so the chocolate doesn't leak out.) Repeat with remaining dough and candies.

Place filled dough balls about 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake, turning baking sheets halfway through baking, until cookies are golden, about 20 minutes. Place the baking sheets on wire racks to cool for about 10 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire racks to cool completely.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the confectioners’ sugar and milk. (Icing should be thin enough to pour; if icing is too thick, add additional milk, one teaspoon at a time, until thin enough to pour.)

Set wire racks with cookies over sheets of waxed paper. Spoon icing over cookies. Sprinkle with sprinkles or sugar. Let cookies dry completely before storing or serving.

(Each cookie is about 3 pts.)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas Spritz Cookies

I have been making these Christmas cookies for years. Yes, yes, I know, why is the Jewish girl making Christmas cookies? Well, I did grow up with a lot of catholic friends, and I remember one of my mom's friends always made these around the holidays. A few times I even helped her. They are just so good, they melt in your mouth!

Christmas Spritz Cookies
Makes about 5 dozen

1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking powder
Red and green colored sugar

Preheat oven to 375°F. With an electric mixer on medium speed, cream shortening, butter and sugar together. Beat in egg and vanilla.

Sift together flour, salt and baking powder. Gradually stir in flour mixture. Fill cookie press and form cookies onto ungreased baking sheets. Sprinkle cookies with colored sugar.

Bake, turning baking sheets halfway through baking, until edges of cookies are light browned, about 10–12 minutes. Transfer baking sheets to wire racks to cool.

(Each cookie is about 1 pt.)