As I’m sitting here writing I decide to check my purse for a little something sweet. I usually have dark chocolate on me at all times. It’s insane, I know. But who doesn’t love chocolate? Instead of eating the Dove miniature that I usually embibe in, I was happy to discover I put some home made chocolate truffles in my purse this morning. My dark chocolate truffles are the perfect treat when you need a little pick me up. They are my “go to” guilty pleasure in a pinch. Recipe here for Ganache
Some folks require ice cream to satisfy their cravings, and I’m not opposed to that at all.In fact, a scoop of coffee ice cream with chocolate chunks is just the right amount of sweet and a nice boost in the mid day if you like coffee.
Speaking of desserts, I met a few friends last month at a nearby restaurant called Parada. Sharon, Elyse, Linda and I were celebrating Lisa’s birthday during lunch on a quiet Saturday afternoon. I’ve known these women for over 20 years since our kids attended the same elementary school and swim team. We spent time at boy scout outings together camping and hiking. It was nice to get together and share stories, lunch and get caught up.
The food at Parada was delicious. We shared the roasted chicken, had a few salads and a couple of appetizers. The only disappointment was finding out that they didn’t offer dessert for the birthday girl. What’s up with that? Why would I go back to this restaurant again knowing they choose not to surprise their guests with a little something sweet at the end of their meal? Luckily, I brought everyone individual servings of my magic cookie bar that I had made the night before. You see, my family is not big on chocolate. Hard to believe, huh? So I happened to have a huge pan of these delicious treats to share and celebrate Lisa’s birthday. And I like to get these wonderful goodies out of my house before I eat them myself. Lisa was thrilled!
Here’s Elyse and Lisa entering the Peruvian Restaurant Parada.
Magic Cookie Bars
2 Pkgs of Graham Crackers crushed in food processor
1 stick unsalted butter melted
1 tsp cinnamon
½ C sugar
2 Cans Sweetened Condensed Milk
2 C Chocolate Chips High quality like Ghirardelli, Valrhona
1 ½ C Shredded or flaked coconut
1 C toasted and chopped Walnuts
Melt butter in small saucepan. Place graham crackers in food processor (or crush in a extra large ziplock bag with a rolling pin). Add sugar and cinnamon to crushed crackers and blend. Add melted butter and blend again.
Place mixture in a foil lined or parchment lined 13 X 9 pan. I used a slightly larger pan my Pampered Chef Bar Pan. Smooth. Sprinkle chocolate chips, coconut and walnuts over crust. Pour 2 cans of condensed milk over the top. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 30- 40 minutes until brown and bubbly. Cool. Cut into squares and serve warm if possible.
My friends on Instagram are waiting for my cranberry orange and pistachio biscotti recipe. I made these crunchy and tart cookies to bring to Tom my step Dad. He has been suffering from the lousy cold that is going around so these cookies are sure to cheer him up. Here’s the recipe:
Cranberry Orange and Pistachio Biscotti
2 C All Purpose Flour
1 C Sugar (Plus 2 T to sprinkle on at end)
1t Baking Powder
2 T Brandy
2 T Cointreau Liqueur
1 t vanilla
1 t Anise extract
Zest from 1 large Orange
1 C whole fresh cranberries (Can substitute dried)
1 C toasted Pistachios
Preheat oven to 325 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Mix flour sugar and baking powder together in a large bowl.
In medium size bowl, whisk eggs, brandy, cointreau, vanilla, and anise.
Add egg mixture to dry ingredients until combined. Mix in pistachios.
Transfer dough to a prepared lined sheet pan. Shape dough into a 5inch wide and ½ inch high loaf. Sprinkle on 2 T granulated sugar.
Bake until firm and dry about 30 to 35 minutes when it is golden brown.
Remove pan from oven and slice loaf on a diagonal into ¼ to ½ inch thick slices. Arrange cookies cut side down onto the sheet pan and bake again until golden brown about 7 or 10 minutes. I prefer them not too crunchy, so I don’t bake them too long during the second bake only 7 minutes.
If you have any questions for me or you want to talk about your guilty pleasure, leave me comments below. I’d be honored.