Chocolate Pecan Pie

It is hard to believe that 2013 is coming to a close.

Chocolate Pecan Pie

It has been a challenging, exciting, crazy, tiring, adventurous year for me (as is probably evident by the LACK of posting on the blog).

There was that one time I went to Italy and ate pasta because it’s Italy. Then I went Barcelona and ate paella because it is the food of the gods. Then I went to London and ate nothing because, let’s be honest, it’s London. Then I went Amsterdam and ate Argentinean food, because everyone thinks of Argentina when they think of Amsterdam, obviously.

Chocolate Pecan Pie

I went to Las Vegas and saw The Killers and Imagine Dragons. Mind blown (and mind subsequently left in Vegas).

I cliff jumped, lifted weights, and forgot to floss.

Chocolate Pecan Pie

I played pool with my best friend, had the most perfect day ever eating tapas in Spain, and learned to crochet.

I laughed and laughed and laughed.

But…

Chocolate Pecan Pie

I also got a job and began working like a crazy person.

I sacrificed my time for certain things and missed out on opportunities.

I cried.

Chocolate Pecan Pie

Friendships suffered, some ended, but others began.

And you know what?

I made it out alive with only a few scratches, gorgeous red lipstick, and some killer nude platform pumps.

I don’t quite know what my plan is for 2014. Frankly, I don’t even know what my plan is for next week. But, I’m looking forward to whatever the future may bring. Happy New Year All!

Chocolate Pecan Pie

As a side note: The blog content might change a bit to reflect my changing mind, so hopefully that won’t bother anyone too much. I still plan to post recipes, but I hope to add more non-food related content. If you have any thoughts or suggestions, I’d love to hear them.

One Year Ago: Caesar Salad

Two Years Ago: Dark Chocolate Saltine Crack(er) Toffee and Yellow Split Pea Sweet Potato Soup

Chocolate Pecan Pie

Makes 1 pie (8 servings)

This pie is perfect for chocolate and nut lovers. Pecan pie is one of my favorite classic pies and the chocolate takes it over the top. If you’re feeling really crazy, pour in a little bourbon. I used a store bought pie shell because I didn’t have time to make a crust. If you have the time, you should try to make a homemade crust! Share with friends, or not. 

Ingredients

3 tablespoons butter, melted
3 eggs
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup corn syrup (I used light, the original recipe calls for dark)
3 tablespoons bourbon liquor (optional)
1 1/2 cups pecan halves
3/4 cup dark chocolate morsels (or milk, if you prefer)
1 (9-inch) unbaked pie shell (either store bought or homemade)

Method

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. In a medium bowl, beat the three eggs until combined. Mix in the sugar, flour, vanilla, corn syrup, and bourbon (if using). Add butter slowly, mixing while incorporating into the pie mixture (to avoid cooking the eggs). Add pecans and chocolate.
2. Pour mixture into unbaked pie shell. Place on a sheet tray and bake for 50 to 60 minutes until golden brown and fragrant.

Storage Store in plastic wrap or cake stand at room temperature for 5 days. I did not freeze my pie; however, I’m assuming that it would freeze well for up to one month in an airtight containter. If you try it, let me know.

Recipe adapted from The Food Network

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Chocolate Pecan Pie Cookies

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Chocolate Pecan Pie Cookies

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I. Cannot. Believe. This. Pie. Is. Vegan.

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Chocolate Cranberry Yeast Bread

I stumbled across one of my old journals while I was doing some cleaning in my new place.

It always makes me laugh at how boy-crazy and naive I was in high school. Oh wait, I’m still that way…

Chocolate Cranberry Yeast Bread

On one page, I found my resolutions for the New Year of 2010.

In case you were curious, I didn’t complete any of them. Shocker, I know.

Instead, I should have written more reasonable resolutions–learn how to make bread, run a half marathon, learn how to drive a stick shift–since I’ve done all of those.

Chocolate Cranberry Yeast Bread

Perhaps I’ll amend my 2010 resolutions so when my children look back in 2072, they will think I was supah coooool. Or supah weird.

Probably the former.

Chocolate Cranberry Yeast Bread

Chocolate Cranberry Yeast Bread

Makes 2 small loaves, 12 slices each

This is probably my favorite yeast bread. It is lightly sweetened, soft, and has an excellent crumb. Not only that, the pre-baked loaves are sliced on top to make a beautiful design. You’ll love these loaves with your breakfast. They bread goes wonderfully with peanut butter, Nutella, cookie butter, and even honeyed goat cheese. If you’re feeling crazy consider adding some dried cherries instead of cranberries (or any other dried berry).

Don’t be nervous about making this bread. It is so easy! I promise YOU CAN DO IT!!! :)

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup warm water (105° to 115°F)
  • 1 package (2 and 1/4 teaspoon) dry active yeast
  • 3 teaspoons granulated sugar, divided
  • 3-1/2 cups all purpose flour (you may need more or less depending on the whether and where you are making your bread)
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1-3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup freshly brewed coffee, cooled until warm (105° to 115°F)
  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 large egg, separated–cover egg white and place in refrigerator
  • 3/4 dried cranberries, or cherries
  • 3 squares (3 oz.) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (Or a mixture of white chocolate chips and regular chocolate, which I used)
  • 1 teaspoon water

Chocolate Cranberry Yeast Bread

Method

1. In a small bowl or cup combine warm water, yeast, and 1 teaspoon of the granulated sugar. Stir to dissolve. Let mixture stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine 3 cups of flour, cocoa, brown sugar, and salt.

3. With a wooden spoon, stir warm coffee, butter, egg yolk, and yeast mixture into flour mixture. With floured hands, knead the mixture several times to combine.

4. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic. About 10 minutes. This is the most tedious part of the bread making, below is great video if you need help. Work in the remaining 1/2 cup of flour just to keep the dough from sticking. You may not use it all. Knead in the cherries and the chocolate.

5. Shape the dough into a smooth ball. Place in a large greased bowl, turning the dough ball so that all sides are greased. Cover with plastic wrap or a towel and let rise in a warm place (80-85°F), until doubled in volume, about 1 hour 30 minutes.

6. Punch down dough. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and cut in half. Cover dough and let rest for 15 minutes for easier shaping.

7. Shape each dough half into a 5-inch ball. Using the sides of your hands, tuck the sides of the dough under to meet in the center. Rotate and repeat to form a taut ball. Place balls, 3 inches apart, in opposite corners of an ungreased large cookie sheet. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

8. Preheat oven to 400°F. In a small cup, beat reserved egg white with water. Use a brush to top the loaves. Sprinkle loaves with remaining 2 teaspoons granulated sugar. With a SHARP serrated knife or single edge razor blade, cut a shallow X in the top of the loaves. Bake until loaves are crusty, about 20 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool.

Storage Keep bread at room temperature, wrapped well in plastic wrap (I used about 4 pieces), for up to 5 days. Bread freezes well for up to 3 months, well wrapped–I first covered bread with plastic wrap, and then foil. Avoid the fridge as it will dry the bread out.

Recipe lightly adapted from Chocolate! Good Housekeeping Favorite Recipes

Chocolate Cranberry Yeast Bread

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Looking for more Cooking College Chick? Follow me on Twitter or Pinterest! You can also subscribe on the upper right hand bar to receive email updates! Happy Cooking!!!

Double Chocolate Avocado Muffins

Refried Beans…

No they aren’t in these muffins.

Chocolate Muffins

Actually, I’m going to tell you a pretty dumb wonderful story about refried beans.

So I have this “friend”.

She loves to cook, but sometimes she REALLY doesn’t want to cook. She’d rather have her teeth cleaned ten times (although, oddly she really likes getting her teeth cleaned)

So she eats refried beans.

Chocolate Muffins

Why? Because they are freakin’ delicious! And nutritious! I really don’t know why there are so many haters. Anyway…

This tasty habit occurred quite regularly to the point that her roommate could even tell her moods by the presence of absence of the signature can.

What is the moral of this story? I My friend just had the most delicious dinner of refried beans and rice. And then it inspired me her to tell me about it. Which got me thinking about muffins.

Chocolate Muffins

I’m sure you can see the connection here.

Last Year: Creamy Orange Bars and Armenian Nutmeg Cake

Two Years Ago: Chocolate Chickpea Cake

Double Chocolate Avocado Muffins

Makes 12 muffins

These muffins are moist and chocolatey. I would have to say these are probably my favorite chocolate muffins. They were gone in only a few days! The avocado is a replacement for some of the butter in the original recipe, so if you don’t have any (or don’t want to use it-although you really can’t taste it), you can use 4 tablespoons of butter instead. Also I used one cup of whole wheat flour to make the muffins a little bit healthier. You can use all-purpose if you want a lighter muffin though. 

Feel free to try using dried fruit (like cranberries) or different flavored chips (peanut butter, white chocolate, etc.) in place of the chocolate chips. Also, you can drizzle chocolate on top for an extra decadent breakfast treat.

Finally, the ingredient list looks long, but it’s really not that bad!

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 medium avocado, diced small (or an additional 1/4 cup of unsalted butter)
  • 5 ounces semisweet chocolate (I used chocolate chips, but coarsely chopped bar chocolate works as well)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 scant cup whole wheat flour (or an additional cup of all-purpose for a lighter crumb)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon instant expresso powder (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk (you can easily make your own with a few teaspoons of white vinegar or lemon juice)
  • 1/2 to 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips or chunks (OR dried fruit, white chocolate, peanut butter chips, etc.)

Method

1. Place oven rack in upper third of oven. Preheat to 350°F. Line 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners and set aside.

2. Prepare a double bowler by filling a small pot with about two inches of water over medium heat and allowing it to simmer. Place a slightly larger heat proof bowl (VERY IMPORTANT!) over the pot with butter, avocado, and 5 ounces of chocolate. Make sure it’s NOT touching the water in the pot. Stir occasionally until completely melted – I had to mash the avocado a bit into it, but eventually it melted completely. Remove from heat and set aside.

3. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and espresso powder in a medium bowl.

4. To the cooled chocolate mixture, mix in brown sugar. Then whisk in eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla (if using) into the chocolate mixture until well blended.

5. Add the flour mixture to the chocolate mixture all at once, folding with a spatula until there the flour is not visible. Fold in the chocolate chips (or dried fruit, etc.).

6. Divide batter into prepared muffin tin. Bake 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 5 minutes before removing them from the muffin tin. Eat! I liked them warm because the chocolate chunks got melty and delicious.

Storage Store in an airtight container or individually plastic wrapped at room temperature for up to five days.They also freeze well for up to one month. I usually wrap them individually in plastic wrap, place them in a gallon freezer bag, and freeze then for quick breakfasts.

Recipe adapted from Joy the Baker Cookbook

Chocolate Muffins

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Looking for more Cooking College Chick? Follow me on Twitter or Pinterest! You can also subscribe on the upper right hand bar to receive email updates! Happy Cooking!!!