Archive for: chocolate chips
I am constantly on the lookout for new ways to incorporate bananas into various baked goods. I always have bananas on hand and it’s nice to have alternatives to banana bread. These Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies are one of those variations. I wanted to create a cookie recipe that had a chewy – and unmistakably cookie-like – texture to them, but still had a good banana flavor. Often, cookies that use bananas and other fruit purees have a dry and cakey texture to them. These are moist and chewy, but you won’t mistake them for banana bread.
There is a whole banana in this recipe. It is mashed up and added to the cookie dough along with the usual ingredients that you would find in chocolate chip cookies: butter, sugar, brown sugar, eggs, etc. You could easily add in cinnamon and other spices to this dough, but I kept the spicing very basic and only used vanilla extract to play up the natural banana flavor. This basic dough would probably be delicious as-is, with no mix-ins, though I couldn’t resist stirring in a whole bunch of semisweet chocolate chunks. When the cookies are still slightly warm from the oven and you take a bite, getting a mouthful of sweet banana cookie and melted chocolate, you know that the chocolate chips are a good idea.
These cookies get slightly crisp around the edges during baking, but they are a bit softer than your average chocolate chip cookie. They are moist and have a good chewy quality to them. Don’t overbake the cookies or they’ll get a little bit dry. The cookies should be lightly browned on top with a golden brown bottom when they’re done. They keep well (and actually freeze quite well, too) for a couple of days when stored in an airtight container, but stack them with layers of parchment or wax paper because the cookies will tend to stick together slightly when stored.
As much as I enjoy a good layer cake, most of them don’t have a lot going on texture-wise. Tender, fluffy layers of cake are sandwiched with creamy frosting. It is a wonderful contrast no matter what flavor cake you’re enjoying – no doubt about that! – but sometimes it is nice to have some nuts, chocolate chips or other elements to add some texture and a little extra flavor.
This Chocolate Chip Layer Cake with Chocolate Chip Buttercream has chocolate chips in the cake batter and in the buttercream frosting. Regular or miniature chocolate chips will both work well for the cake, adding bursts of chocolate throughout. Miniature chocolate chips are light enough to be stirred into the batter, while I tend to add regular chocolate chips before baking so the don’t all sink down into the batter. They do add a subtle crunch to the cake (since you can’t frost the cake while it’s still warm from the oven and it must be cooled completely), but you can let them melt on your tongue as you enjoy a slice if you want to maximize the chocolate chip experience.
The cake is light and moist, with a very good chocolate flavor. There is some coffee in the recipe, but it can actually be substituted with water if you aren’t a big fan and would prefer not to use the coffee. It simply enhances the chocolate flavor in this cake and doesn’t make a big impact on the flavor in its own. Overall, this is a great all purpose chocolate cake even without the chocolate chips, and this is a recipe that I like to use for other projects, as well.
The frosting is a simple buttercream that I enriched with a little bit of sour cream and flavored with cocoa powder and a bit of vanilla. It has a clear chocolate flavor, but it is much lighter than the cake layers beneath it. The sour cream makes the frosting extra creamy and adds a bit of a tang that makes the frosting seem lighter and slightly less sweet. Instead of stirring chocolate chips into the frosting (which would have made it a little too lumpy to easily spread on the cake), I finely chopped up some chocolate and stirred it in. This gave my frosting some pleasant texture, as well as some extra chocolate, but didn’t take away from the overall creaminess of it.
The only thing better than a full sized cheesecake is a mini cheesecake. One could argue that a full sized cheesecake is better because you get so much more – but there is a lot to be said for single-serving cheesecakes that can be made easily in small batches. They’re quick and convenient to bake, and they offer both portion control and portability. And on top of all that, they taste just as good as the full-sized version.
These Chocolate Chip Mini Cheesecakes are a simple cheesecake batter baked in a standard muffin pan, and no waterbath or other special equipment is required. The pans are lined with muffin wrappers, which make them easy to remove after baking, and a graham cracker crumb mixture is pressed into each one. The crust bakes along with the cheesecake. The cheesecake batter is a thick, creamy mixture of cream cheese and a bit of sour cream (or greek yogurt will also work) and it bakes up to have a rich, creamy texture. Chocolate chips are added on top of the crust before the batter is added to each of the muffin cups and are also sprinkled on top of each cheesecake before baking. I like classic semisweet chocolate chips for these mini cheesecakes, but dark chocolate and white chocolate will also work very well.
This recipe makes a small batch, just 8 mini cheesecakes. It can be doubled if you need more for a party or get together. The cheesecakes are good when they’re still slightly warm and the chocolate is a bit melty, but they’re also good after they’ve been chilled. You can eat them straight out of the wrapper, as you would a muffin, or peel off the wrappers and plate them for a slightly more dressed-up dessert. The leftovers will keep well in the refrigerator for a couple of days.
The standard chocolate chip for a chocolate chip cookie is semisweet chocolate, but over the past few years chocolate chip cookie-lovers have been looking for ways to improve on their favorite by chopping up other types of chocolate and adding them to their cookies. You can grab just about any kind of chocolate bar you like, with any cacao percentage, chop it up and add it to a batch of cookies to customize them to your personal tastes. I think that there is still something to be said for having that classic chocolate chip shape in my chocolate chip cookies, though, so I am always willing to try a new chocolate chip flavor if I spot one. Lately, I’ve been seeing new Nestle Tollhouse Dark Chocolate Morsels on store shelves and picked up a bag to try.
This dark chocolate version of the classic Tollhouse chip boasts a 53% cacao content and that it is a natural source of antioxidants on the front of the package, and it is a little bit more affordable than some of the premium dark chocolate chip brands out there. The chocolate chips do have a distinct dark chocolate flavor, with a distinct cocoa flavor and some fruity notes to back it up. Unlike a bar of dark chocolate, where you want the chocolate to have a sharp snap to it, these have a very smooth texture and melt easily in your mouth. This makes for a great melt in a still-warm chocolate chip cookie and actually produces a much more satisfying result than many other dark chocolates would. I’ll keep darker chocolate bars for snacking, but these dark chocolate chips are definitely a great choice for getting some dark chocolate into your baking.
Barry Callebaut is one of the finest chocolate makers in the world, and one of the largest, even though you may not have heard of it. The company has been around since 1850 and has been focused on chocolate for the last century. The reason that you may not have heard of this Belgian chocolate company is that their products are often sold directly to chefs, bakers and chocolatiers for food service use, and they are also rebranded and sold under other company names. With an increased interest in finding high quality cooking ingredients for home chefs, their bulk products have become more widely available to consumers. I spotted a box of Barry Callebaut Semisweet Chocolate Chunks on the shelf at Williams Sonoma the other day, one of the few non-bulk, Callebaut-branded products that I’ve seen marketed directly to consumers! Naturally, I had to pick up a box (they also make milk chocolate).
These chocolate chunks are delicious. They have a rich chocolate taste, a clear note of vanilla and a great texture that isn’t too hard. The chunks are about the size of chocolate chips and are irregularly shaped, which gives them a very attractive look in cookies, and they also hold up very well to baking. This version of Callebaut chocolate is more expensive than the bulk chocolate I’ve bought from their brand, but it does already come chopped up into perfectly sized pieces and is ready to use right out of the box, with a recipe for chocolate chip cookies printed on the back of the box. They are definitely some of my favorite chocolate chips and I’ll use them again but probably keep buying the bulk blocks of Callebaut chocolate to chop up myself, too!