I am serious about chocolate: dark, semisweet or bittersweet chocolate with at least 72 percent cocoa. None of that milk or, God forbid, white chocolate for me.
Recently, I started musing about certain recipes that are traditionally not dominated by chocolate that I still like and make often — such as pound cake, blondies and chocolate chip cookies. And I started thinking what would happen if I added chocolate to them.
The results were pretty darn good. This is not to say that I will eliminate the traditional and popular versions from my repertoire, but rather that a little chocolate variety added a delicious and rich element to these dessert standbys.
Chocolate Pound Cake
Some people may consider it sacrilege to mess with butter pound cake. I get it — my pound cake is a standard offering for new neighbors, shiva calls, welcome home from anywhere, what can I bring, etc. But this version, while different, was excellent. Because the recipe makes two loaves, you can even do one of each — a vanilla and a chocolate.
2½ sticks butter, softened
2¾ cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1⅓ cup dark chocolate chips, melted
Heat your oven to 350 degrees and grease two loaf pans.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs and vanilla.
Add the flour, baking powder and salt and mix well. Add the milk and mix again.
Add the cocoa and melted chocolate and blend thoroughly.
Pour the batter into the loaf pans and bake for 55 to 60 minutes until the top is firm to the touch and a toothpick comes out clean.
Cool and remove from the pans; enjoy.
Note: If you wish to make 1 vanilla and one chocolate pound cake, pour half the batter into one of the prepared loaf pans after blending in the milk. Then reduce the chocolate quantities by half (use 2 tablespoons cocoa powder and 2/3 cup of chocolate chips) and follow the recipe from there.
Makes 2 loaves
Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Cookies
This recipe is by no means an attempt to improve on the pretty perfect all-American classic. Rather, it is a variation on a splendid theme. Like the chocolate pound cake detailed above, a chocolate-chocolate chip cookie is just a different version of something wonderful.
2 sticks butter, softened
1 cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1¾ cups flour
2½ cups dark chocolate chips, divided
Heat your oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment, or grease them.
In a large bowl, cream the butter, sugars, vanilla and cocoa powder. Add the eggs, then the flour, soda and salt.
Melt a half-cup of chocolate chips and add them to the mixture. When the dough is uniformly “chocolaty,” add the remaining chocolate chips and mix well.
Drop the dough by rounded teaspoon on the prepared cookie sheets, leaving about an inch between each.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until done. Cool, remove from the cookie sheets and enjoy.
Makes about 3 dozen cookies
These bars are a chocolate version of blondies. They are close to a traditional brownie. Connoisseurs will note a slight difference from brownies in that these have a touch of butterscotch flavor from the brown sugar, and their texture is slightly chewier and denser than that of a traditional brownie. But most people will register “delicious brownie.” And that’s just fine.
1 stick butter
½ cup dark chocolate chips, melted
1 cup brown sugar
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
Heat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease a square baking pan.
Melt the butter and chocolate chips together. Add the brown sugar and cocoa powder; mix well. Add the remaining ingredients, stir and spread the batter into the pan.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the edges are beginning to brown and the center is set.
Cool, cut and serve.
Makes 16 squares JN
This article originally appeared in Philadelphia’s Jewish Exponent, a Jewish News-affiliated publication.