Saturday, March 21, 2009

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

Bars that are pretty darn close to Reese's peanut butter cups.

  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips  (Sometimes I use half milk chocolate chips)
  • 4 tablespoons peanut butter


  1. In a medium bowl, mix together the butter, graham cracker crumbs, powdered sugar, and 1 cup peanut butter until well blended. Press evenly into the bottom of an ungreased 9x13 inch pan.
  2. In a metal bowl over simmering water, or in the microwave, melt the chocolate chips with the peanut butter, stirring occasionally until smooth. Spread over the prepared crust. Refrigerate for at least one hour before cutting into squares.
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Monday, March 9, 2009

Nana's Ultimate Chocolate Frosting/Ganache

So Tim's birthday cake looks pretty, but it didn't turn out very well at all. I'm not going to post the recipe because it tasted like Marzipan instead of Black Forest cake. I'm pretty mad that I made it actually, I was really disappointed.

I am going to post the frosting recipe. My mom has been using this chocolate frosting for years, and it is divine. I almost never make any other chocolate frosting. This one is really fast and I never have to go to the store for ingredients.

-1/2 c. butter
-3 (1 oz.) squares unsweetened chocolate (Baker's chocolate)
-1 lb. powdered sugar (1 box or about 3 3/4 c.)
-1/2 tsp. vanilla
-1/2 c. milk*


Melt chocolate and butter carefully in the microwave (don't scorch the chocolate!). In a large bowl, combine sugar, vanilla, and most of the milk. Blend in the hot melted chocolate and mix well, allowing the chocolate to melt the sugar. Add remaining milk if needed, a little at a time, until you like the consistency. Let it stand until spreadable (it thickens as it cools).

You can pour this over your cake while it's still hot if you want a glaze/ganache, or let it thicken up for a more traditional icing (great for layer cakes too!)

*Reduce milk to 1/4 cup for a frosting that's great for piping. It will still be thin at first, so let it sit out for about 15 minutes after making, or move to the fridge for a few minutes to thicken up.  This is delicious on chocolate cupcakes!
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Monday, March 2, 2009

Tortellini Soup

This is a really good vegetable tortellini soup, a bit like minestrone. This is the best soup recipe I've ever found. I use 1 lb. ground beef instead of the sausage, so I can't actually vouch that it's good with sausage! I use frozen tortellini because it's cheap. I cook it separately and add it right at the end so it doesn't soak up too much of the juice. I also substitute apple juice for the wine- because I usually have it on hand. Really good with a nice baguette.

  • 1 pound sausage
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cups sliced carrots
  • 1 cup sliced celery
  • 6 cups beef broth
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 (16 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, with liquid
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup zucchini, sliced
  • 1 pound fresh tortellini pasta
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese (real stuff please)
1. Brown sausage in pot; drain off fat. Add onions and saute until tender. Add carrots, celery, beef broth, red wine, tomatoes, ketchup, Italian seasoning, and garlic. Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes. Skim away the fat from the soup.
2. Stir in the zucchini, tortellini, red bell pepper, and parsley. (If you use fresh tortellini, cook them according to package directions.) Simmer, covered, for about 25-30 minutes or till the tortellini are tender. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with cheese right before serving.

Photo & recipe from
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Crunchy Peanut Butter Balls

These are really quick and really yummy! You can drizzle melted peanut butter chips or white chocolate over the top, or use holiday sprinkles. Sometimes I substitute mini marshmallows (about 4 cups) for the marshmallow creme if that's all I have. Just microwave them for a minute or so. Yum!

-1 cup peanut butter (be generous)
-1 (7 oz.) jar marshmallow creme
-2 cups crisp rice cereal
-1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
-4 teaspoons shortening


1. In a large bowl, combine the peanut butter and marshmallow creme; add cereal and stir until well coated. Roll cereal mixture into 1-in. balls and place on wax paper-lined cookie sheet. Refrigerate for an hour or put in the freezer 15 minutes.
2. In a small microwave-safe bowl, combine chocolate chips and shortening. Microwave at 50% power in 30 second intervals, stirring after each interval, until chips are melted smooth. Dip balls in chocolate using a toothpick. Place on a waxed paper-lined pan. Refrigerate until set.
3. Remove toothpicks and decorate as desired.
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Sunday, March 1, 2009

Do you crockpot?

Ok, let's be honest. I don't really enjoy making dinner. Desserts, yes. Dinner? Not so much. Preferably, I spend as little time cooking dinner as possible. Therefore I love my crockpot, but I have a hard time finding recipes that sound good.

Looky looky what I found... A Year of Slow Cooking
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