Chocolate Zucchini Cake

I was recently reminded about this delightful treat by a friend.  This cake is so moist that it doesn’t need icing.  You can even dress it up a bit by sprinkling powdered sugar on top.  However, if you insist on making one, a cream cheese version would be lovely.

2 c. flour
2 c. sugar
3/4 c. cocoa powder
2 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
1/2  t. salt
1 t. vanilla
1 c. oil
3 c. grated zucchini

Preheat over to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour 9×13″ pan.

Blend eggs, vanilla and oil, whisking well.

Combine all dry ingredients and add to egg mixture.

Stir in zucchini and combine well without over-beating.

Pour into prepared pan and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.

Farmgirl Chocolate Chippers

Don’t worry.  You don’t have to be a farmer…or a girl…to enjoy these cookies.  Their delightfulness surpasses every demographic, which is a good thing…because this recipe makes a LOT.

2 c. butter, softened
2 c. sugar
2 c. brown sugar, packed
4 eggs
2 t. vanilla
5 c. regular rolled oats
4 c. flour
1 t. salt
2 t. baking powder
2 t. baking soda
1 12-oz. pkg. chocolate chips
1 7-oz. chocolate candy bar, broken into several pieces
3 c. nuts, chopped (I especially like almonds.)

Cream together butter, sugar and brown sugar in large bowl.  Add eggs and vanilla.

Process half of oats in blender until powdery.  Process remaining half of oats until coarse, then add broken chocolate bar and process until oats are powdery and chocolate is chopped.

Add oats, flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda, then stir into butter mixture.

Mix in chocolate chips and nuts.

Form into golf ball-sized balls and bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes.

Makes 10 or so dozen.

NOTE:  These cookies freeze very well.

Cream Cheese Frosting

This is my favorite cream cheese frosting.  I use it for chocolate cake, spice cake, carrot cake, cinnamon rolls, pumpkin bars and so on.  Occasionally, I will sprinkle some pumpkin spice in it for a little something different.  My new favorite variation, though, is to add the juice and zest of one lemon plus a couple of drops of lemon essential oil to the recipe.  It is delightful on a variety of cupcake flavors.  (A bit more powdered sugar might need to be added to create the proper spreading consistency after adding lemon juice.)

1 8-oz. bar cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 c. butter, room temperature
1 t. vanilla
4-5 c. powdered sugar, sifted

Cream the cheese and butter, then stir in vanilla.  Add sugar to desired consistency.

Chocolate Cupcakes

These chocolatey treats didn’t take much more time than a cake mix to make, and the flavor was so much better.  They were part of the cupcake lineup for my oldest daughter’s Sweet 16 Open House, and they were gone well before the party-ing was over.

The cupcakes freeze very nicely, and they taste delightful with almost any icing you choose.

1 1/3 all-purpose flour
1/4 t. baking soda
2 t. baking powder
3/4 c. baking cocoa
1/4 t. salt
3 T. butter, room temperature
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs, room temperature, if possible
3/4 t. vanilla
1 c. buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Sift together dry ingredients; set aside.

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one.  Stir in vanilla.

Alternately add flour mixture with milk; stirring until incorporated.

Line muffin tin with 12-18 liners.  Fill tins 3/4 full.

Bake 15-17 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.

Cool completely before icing.

Graham Delights

These are soooooo easy to make–and taste better than they sound.  Quick, easy and relatively inexpensive for a cookie tray.

graham crackers (enough to line bottom of jellyroll pan)

1/2 c. sugar

1 c. butter

1/2 c. raw, chopped pecans, walnuts or almonds

Boil butter and sugar in a saucepan for one minute; pour over graham crackers to cover evenly. 

Sprinkle with nuts and bake at 325 until golden and bubbly–about 6-9 minutes. 

Cool slightly, then remove with spatula and set on wax paper to cool completely. 

Break into squares and store in an airtight container.

Brownie Pudding Cake

I am doing you a favor by not posting a picture of this delightful dessert.  And, you should be thankful that the recipe is not scratch ‘n’ sniff.  It is an old Pampered Chef recipe, and it is heavenly.  It’s also easy to make and uses on-hand ingredients.  Yum-o!

First Layer:
1 1/4 c. flour
3/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. cocoa powder
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
3/4 milk
3 T. butter, melted
1/2 T. vanilla
1 c. chocolate chips

Combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder and salt in large bowl.  Add milk, melted butter and vanilla; stir until smooth.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Spread batter evenly in an 8″ baking dish.

Second Layer:
3/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. flour
1 3/4 c. boiling water
1 t. vanilla

Whisk together sugar and cocoa.  Gradually stir in boiling water and vanilla.  Carefully pour liquid over batter already in baking dish.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. The gooey layer will go to the bottom and the top will be a heavenly brownie.   Cool 15 minutes before serving.  Serve with ice cream or whipped cream.

Nikki’s Chocolate Cookies

nikki'scookiesAren’t these pretty cookies?  They taste really good, too.  A girl named Nikki brought them to a class I taught once, and I kind of fell in love.  I mean, Nikki is a nice girl and all, but these cookies are…amazing.

Nikki uses peanut butter chips in these, which are lovely.  I baked them today with mint chocolate chips that I got on clearance after Christmas.  Also lovely.  I think it would be tough to mess these up.  Moist, super chocolatey and easy.  They also freeze beautifully.

Although we gave Nikki a hard time at the class for using “plastic” margarine instead of real butter in her batch, either way is tasty.  The only other change I make is to reduce the amount of sugar by a bit, which I do in almost all of my cookies and quick breads.

It is my pleasure to run into Nikki almost every time I go to my dentist (her place of employment).  She always has a smile on her face, and it’s fun to “talk shop” with her about gardening, parenting, baking and just being who God calls us to be.  Come to think of it, I guess Nikki is about as amazing as her cookies.

1 c. butter
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs
2 t. vanilla
2 c. flour
2/3 c. cocoa powder
3/4 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 (12-oz. pkg.) peanut butter or mint chips

Cream butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla until light and fluffy.

Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt; add to creamed mixture.

Stir in chips.

Drop by spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 10 or so minutes.