Best Chocolate Sheet Cake

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-0UNWq1L_-E4/UFqF9Xk7iaI/AAAAAAAAGPE/Ul0k3yt_29Y/s1600/IMG_7876.JPGIt’s Judy’s Surprise Birthday and I have been wanting to make this incredible cake ever since I saw it on The Pioneer Woman Cook’s Blog. She says it’s The Best Sheet Cake Ever, and I trust her. Everything that I have made from her blog has been delicious and my kids have asked me to make it all the time! Well she was right! Friends were going back for second and third pieces! I wanted to make a delicious cake for Judy and her friends, since I didn’t know how many people were going to be there to surprise the HECK out of her, I thought that a sheet cake would be perfect! I read every single one of the comments on TPWC Blog, which is saying a lot ( she usually gets around 800 comments or MORE per post) and so many people commented that this cake was really difficult to mess up. I thought of this the whole time that I was talking to my best friend while trying to make the cake and frosting. Do you ever do that? Leave out an ingredient while you are having a serious conversation on the phone? I have, sugar , while making pies, not good at all!I didn’t leave out any ingredients for this cake, but my mind was really concentrating on two things at one time. I recommend this if you are feeling lazy and need to be challenged! Talking and Baking!
This sheet cake is wonderful warm after just being freshly frosted or perfect the day after for breakfast, or as a late snack, or before lunch, or after a hike! My kids are asking me to make another sheet cake since this one was whisked away for the party, okay kids, for your birthday! Make sure to decorate the cake if you like, I am in no way a skilled baker-ess, I drew out JUDY and a Heart, but it was still hard to tell what that exactly was…
As we were all hiding waiting for Judy and Tom to come back from their date night, Judy’s Mother called Judy from the back room asking her if she could show her something on the computer, the lights were off, we were quiet as mice, we all jumped out and yelled SURPRISE!! Thank goodness, Judy is young and has a very strong heart, I would have collapsed, don’t yell at me and come jumping out at me from a dark room, years will come off my life! You are an amazing sport Young Judy!!
Judy still trying to recover, you did a great job Tom keeping it a secret!

Ingredients

FOR THE CAKE:
2 cups Flour
2 cups Sugar
1/4 teaspoon Salt
4 Tablespoons (heaping) Cocoa Powder2 sticks Butter
1 cup Boiling Water
1/2 cup Buttermilk
2 whole Beaten Eggs
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Vanilla

FOR FROSTING:
1/2 cup Finely Chopped Pecans
1-3/4 stick Butter
4 Tablespoons (heaping) Cocoa
6 Tablespoons Milk
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1 pound (minus 1/2 Cup) Powdered Sugar

Preparation Instructions

Note: I use an 18×13 sheet cake pan.
In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt.
In a saucepan, melt butter. Add cocoa. Stir together.
Add boiling water, allow mixture to boil for 30 seconds, then turn off heat. Pour over flour mixture, and stir lightly to cool.
In a measuring cup, pour the buttermilk and add beaten eggs, baking soda, and vanilla. Stir buttermilk mixture into butter/chocolate mixture. Pour into sheet cake pan and bake at 350-degrees for 20 minutes.
While cake is baking, make the icing. Chop pecans finely. Melt butter in a saucepan. Add cocoa, stir to combine, then turn off heat. Add the milk, vanilla, and powdered sugar. Stir together. Add the pecans, stir together, and pour over warm cake. Enjoy! Take this sheet cake to your next party, you will make lots of friends! Nettie This post has been linked up to these fabulous blogs!

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Pumpkin Chocolate Cake

I really love pumpkin and since it has been rainy and colder, I have been feeling like baking something with pumpkin, what could be better than a pumpkin chocolate cake? This cake is moist and filled with chocolate, not overbearingly sweet. This cake received rave reviews from four different friends, all saying it was one of the most delicious cakes and that they didn’t want to share! Perfect review I think! I baked this cake in a Rose Bundt pan to show off the pumpkin, chocolate and pecans in a beautiful design. I think it is a show stopper.
This cake is very moist and rich, I used Ghiradelli Double Chocolate Bittersweet Chocolate Chips for this recipe.
Here is what you need: butter, brown sugar, white sugar, eggs, flour, baking powder, baking soda, baking chocolate ( I used both Ghiradelli chips and Ghiradelli baking chocolate), vanilla, pumpkin, pecans, cinnamon ( not shown).
Beat butter, add sugars. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each.
Mix dry ingredients. Add to mixed butter, sugar and eggs, then add pumpkin.
Add pumpkin to batter.
 
Grease Bundt pan well.
After dividing the batter in half, add melted chocolate. Mix well.
Sprinkle chopped pecans to the bottom of the greased bundt pan.
To the other half of the batter add chocolate chips, mix well.
Pour pumpkin batter with chips on the bottom layer, sprinkle a layer of pecans, top with chocolate batter, sprinkle pecans to the top. Bake 60-70 minutes, test with a knife that it comes out clean. This cake took about 10 minutes longer to bake, the knife did have melted chocolates on the knife, so it doesn’t come out perfectly clean. Let cool for 15-20 minutes, my cake stuck in one spot, I eased it out and put it together where it had come apart, it still looked beautiful.
Pumpkin Chocolate Cake

 Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
  • 1 cup (6 ounces) Bitterwseet chocolate chips
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped pecans, divided

Directions

  • In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon; add to the creamed mixture alternately with pumpkin, beating well after each addition. 
  • Divide batter in half. Stir melted chocolate into one portion. In a well-greased 10-in. fluted tube pan, sprinkle 1/2 cup pecans. Spoon chocolate batter over pecans; top with pumpkin batter. Sprinkle with remaining pecans.
  • Bake at 325° for 65-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack. This recipe was inspired from Taste Of Home.This post has been linked up to these fabulous blogs!Photobucket
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{ Off to College} Chocolate Oats Cookies

Going off to college is so exciting and wonderful! But going off to college can be scary and entering the unknown. Our good friend is going off to college so I baked her a batch of these delicious Chocolate Oats cookies to help her with the transition, I know it would help me! I used my Kitchen Aid to make these cookies, love my Kitchen Aid, it makes baking so easy.

{ Off to College } Chocolate Oats Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup Ghiradelli’s Double Chocolate Bittersweet chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; stir into the creamed mixture until just blended. Mix in the quick oats, walnuts, and chocolate chips. Drop by heaping spoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets.( I use Silpat’s on top of my baking sheets)
  3. Bake for 12 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. Makes 3 dozen cookies. This post has been linked up to these fabulous blogs!
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Groovy Caramel Bars

It’s Anna’s baby shower and these are her sister’s favorite bars. The gold medal goes to these Groovy Caramel Squares. Since Anna is a Gold Medalist these are perfect for her baby shower! This recipe comes from Jemma’s recipe box, it’s an Irish favorite. I think it will be yours as well. 3 steps for a flaky shortbread crust, a gooey caramel filling and a perfect chocolate glaze.
Combine flour and sugar in a bowl.
Cut in butter until crumbly.

 
Grease baking dish.

Press mixture into bottom of pan and bake.
Melt butter in a saucepan.
Add sweetened condensed milk .
Add packed light brown sugar.
Crust is golden brown.
Add honey to filling mixture.
Boil and stir for 5 minutes.
Pour caramel filling over warm crust.
 
Melt chocolate chips in microwave.
Groovy Caramel Bars
 

 Ingredients

Shortbread Crust

1 1/4 cup All Purpose Flour
1/4 cup sugar
10 tablespoons cold butter

Filling

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons honey

Glaze

2 cups bittersweet chocolate
1 tablespoon shortening


Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Shortbread Crust

In a bowl, combine flour and sugar. Cut in butter until crumbly. Press into a 9″ square baking dish. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown.

Caramel Filling

Combine the filling ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil and stir for 5 minutes. Pour over warm crust.

Glaze

In the microwave, melt chocolate chips and shortening for 1-1 1/2 minutes, or until melted, stir after 30 seconds. Spread over filling. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into squares. This recipe is adapted from Jemma’s recipe book. This post has been linked up to these fabulous blogs! Nettie

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Best Chocolate Chip Cookie

My gal pal and one of my favorite foodie’s and Chef, Frankie Poe Harvey from The Elegant Gourmet, has asked me to be featured on her incredible blog. I am thrilled and honored that she has asked little ol’ me. Not only is Frankie a talented and incredible Chef and TV celebrity, but she has a huge heart. When I was suffering from terrible migraines, Frankie would send me sweet supportive notes and then she sent me an incredible care package with grits, I was so touched by my dear friend, nothing says, ” I hope you feel better” better than food. I have been blogging for a little over 11 months. I really can’t believe that a year has flown by. I have been cooking and baking since I could reach the kitchen counter, maybe earlier helping my Mom, Grandma’s and Great Grandma’s in the kitchen. My family is from the south and food and cooking is a really big deal. We would talk about what we were going to make and everyone would have a say in the matter and what would go with each dish and who was coming for dinner. It was like that every day. Everyone had their specialty. I had my vegetarian phase and everyone went along with it as I created dishes and used all of my family members as guinea pigs, some delicious, some tasted like wood chips, but no one ever complained, every one was so supportive of every one’s creations. I was so inspired one day when I read a fellow blogger describing her pain because of a tragic event that had occurred in her life, her husband had a heart attack at a very young age. I was heart broken reading her post. I cried and cried. She described how her husband just loved Peanut Butter Pie. Suddenly, hundreds of fellow bloggers started sending photos and notes of their rendition of Peanut Butter Pies for Mikey with a sweet note and story. I get chocked up even now thinking about it. I wanted to be a part of this amazing group of food bloggers. I was welcomed with love and support unlike anything I had ever seen before. I was overwhelmed. I was blogging about something that I absolutely love and I was supported by thousands. I never would have met Frankie Poe Harvey had it not been for my food blog. I love simple and delicious home made food with no fuss. I really have a difficult time saying no to sweets and potatoes, I really may have to go to Potatoes Anonymous. My game day staple would be anything chicken or pasta. Nothing says love like a gorgeous bowl of pasta or pie or chocolate chip cookies. I do have one kitchen quirk, my kitchen must be clean before I can bake or cook. I just can’t concentrate in a messy kitchen. I love growing Basil, Oregano, Tarragon and Mint and Tomatoes. I can not grow a sunflower to save my life, I grow hundreds of flowers in my garden, but this one stumps me, WHY?? I can’t live without my Kitchen Aid, I am in love with it, Especially when Baking!! Yes, I have used my Kitchen Aid for one of my favorite recipes: The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie.This really is the Best Chocolate Chip Cookie. It is so important to use very good quality chocolate chips. I have been making chocolate chip cookies for over 40 years, now I understand why kids are so crazy about cookie dough ice cream, one taste of this cookie dough and I could hear angels singing. Taking a bite into a warm chocolate chip cookie is the ultimate dessert for me, warm chocolate chips, vanilla, pecans and brown sugar perfection! I made a double batch to bring to Cape Cod for eight delightful Girl Scouts, let me tell you, these cookies were a smashing hit!!
In a large mixing bowl, cream sugars and butter.
Keep mixing on medium speed until creamy.
Add your best Vanilla, I love Penzey’s Spices Pure Vanilla Extract Double- Strength.
Add 2 large eggs to creamed sugars and butter.
Beat at low speed until eggs are incorporated.
This looks perfect.
Cookie dough looks firm but creamy.
In a separate bowl,sift flour with baking soda and salt, gradually blend dry mixture into creamed mixture.
Best cookie dough, what a dream!
So happy that I have made 4 dozen, these babies go quick when there are ten kids!!
Add a good quality chocolate such as Ghirardelli Chocolate Chips!
Gently mix in chocolate chips.
 
I added chopped pecans, why? Because I love pecans in chocolate chip cookies!
This cookie dough would be perfect in ice cream too!!
Smile for the camera you hunk of burning love cookie dough, come to Mama!!
Drop by tablespoon on un-greased cookie sheet.
I didn’t photograph it here, but I used a Silpat, makes a light golden brown cookie, you won’t have to worry about burning edges.

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yield: 
4 dozen cookies

Ingredients
11 1/2 ounces Ghirardelli Bittersweet Chocolate Chips
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/4 cups unsifted flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped (optional)

Directions:

Heat oven to 375ºF.
Stir flour with baking soda and salt; set aside. In large mixing bowl, beat butter with sugar and brown sugar at medium speed until creamy and lightened in color. Add eggs and vanilla, one at a time. Mix on low speed until incorporated. Gradually blend dry mixture into creamed mixture. Stir in nuts and chocolate chips. Drop by tablespoon onto un-greased cookie sheets. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown.
Note: The 11 1/2 ounces of Bittersweet Chocolate Chips can be substituted with any variety of chip flavor (i.e.- Milk Chocolate Chips, Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips, etc.)  Nettie This post has been linked up to these Fabulous Blogs!

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Chocolate Banana Birthday Cake

This is a very special birthday cake for a very special girl who turned 18 years old. It’s not every day that you turn 18 years old, so you need to have a very special cake. Most kids that I know request chocolate as a main ingredient in cookies and cakes, but let me tell you this is a double chocolate cake, with extra chocolaty goodness. The birthday girl loved my Chocolate Macadamia Nut Banana Bread so much that she requested it for her birthday cake. Of course I was thrilled and honored to make whatever she requested, but a bread for your birthday? I wasn’t sure, so I thought and I thought and I went through every recipe of every blogger that I know looking for the perfect Chocolate Banana Cake, and low and behold, I found Dragon’s Kitchen Chocolate Banana Cake! It sounded absolutely delicious and perfect for the Birthday Girl. So on this special day I created an amazing cake, step by step, it came out like perfection. I was swimming in the scent of chocolate aromatherapy…….heavenly. I skipped around the kitchen so pleased with myself that she would love her cake. The Birthday Girl’s  Nonna arrived with candles and delivered her cake right to her. The phone rang with a very excited young lady on the other end, exclaiming with glee that it was perfect and lots of thank yous.
One piece of advice: Allow Bundt Cake to cool completely before turning out of bundt pan.
Had a hard time deciding which side to frost.
I chose this side.
Chocolate Glaze dripping everywhere, I mean everywhere…..free tastes!!
I took this incredible picture of Nonna and myself, obviously,  I have to stick with food photos!!

Ingredients:
2 1/4 cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup best-quality cocoa
3 large eggs
1 1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter, melted
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup sour cream
4 medium ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup chocolate chips, melted and cooled slightly
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Glaze:
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 325°. Generously grease and flour a 10-inch Bundt pan.

2. In a bowl, sift flour with baking powder, baking soda, salt and cocoa; set aside.

3. In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs until light in color and fluffy. Gradually add the sugar. Add butter and vanilla. Beat until well blended.
4. With mixer at low speed, beat in the sifted dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with the sour cream. Fold bananas and melted chocolate into the cake batter; thoroughly combine.

5. Spoon cake batter into prepared Bundt pan and bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

6. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Invert the cake onto a cooling rack and allow the cake to cool completely.

7. While the cake is cooling, prepare the chocolate glaze. Heat the cream until it just comes to a boil.

8. Pour the cream over the chocolate and stir until the chocolate is melted. Set aside until the cake is completely cooled.

9. When the cake is completely cooled, cover the top of the cake and sides with the glaze. Refrigerate the cake for at least an hour to set the glaze.   This recipe has been linked up to these wonderful blogs!
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Caramel Nut Revel Bars ( The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap)

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The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap
I signed up for the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap with cookieswap@loveandoliveoil.com with Lindsay and Julie. It is a secret Santa style swap- so I am not supposed to contact my matches until after the swap! Lindsay and Julie told me not to ruin the surprise. I am terrible with secrets, this is killing me! I want to call my swap matches and ask- Did you get the cookie bars? Did they arrive in bars and not crumbs? Do you like them? Do you really ? Huh? Huh? Oh yeah, this is torture! So far, I have received one dozen cookies from my secret Santa and they were oh- so- yummy! I baked over three dozen bars and shipped one dozen cookies to three different people! I can’t wait for the responses!
These bars are so dreamy and delicious, your kids will be fighting over them, Amy’s kids were- LOL!
All of my favorite cookie bar ingredients, Oatmeal crust, caramel, chocolate, roasted almond slivers, marshmallows…..YES!!
This is what the picture looks like in the magazine- oh please let my cookie bars turn out like these!
It came out better than the photo!
Sunshine on my cookie bars, makes me happy, sunshine in my eyes….la dee da……Caramel Nut Revel Bars for The Cookie Swap

  •     1    cup butter or margarine
  •     2    cups packed brown sugar
  •     2    eggs
  •     2    teaspoons vanilla
  •     2 1/2    cups all-purpose flour
  •     1    teaspoon baking soda
  •     3    cups quick-cooking rolled oats ( I used regular oats)
  •     1    14 ounce can (1-1/4 cups) sweetened condensed milk
  •     1    12 ounce package (2 cups) semisweet chocolate pieces
  •     1    cup chopped walnuts ( I used roasted almond slivers)
  •     2    teaspoons vanilla


Directions

1. Set aside 2 tablespoons of the butter or margarine. In a large mixing bowl beat the remaining butter or margarine with an electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add brown sugar; beat until well mixed. Beat in eggs and 2 teaspoons vanilla. In another large bowl stir together flour and baking soda; stir in oats. Gradually stir dry mixture into beaten mixture. Set aside.

2. In a medium saucepan combine the reserved butter or margarine, the sweetened condensed milk, and chocolate pieces. Cook over low heat until chocolate melts, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Stir in walnuts and the 2 teaspoons vanilla.

3. Press two-thirds (about 3-1/3 cups) of the oat mixture into the bottom of an ungreased 15x10x1-inch baking pan. Spread chocolate mixture over the oat mixture. Using your fingers, dot remaining oat mixture over the chocolate.

4. Bake in a 350 degree F oven about 25 minutes or until top is lightly browned (chocolate mixture will still look moist). Cool on a wire rack. Cut into 2×1-inch bars. Makes about 75 bars.

    Make Ahead Tip Line the baking pan with foil, extending the foil over edges of pan. Prepare and bake bars in foil-lined pan as above. Cool; lift bars out of pan on the foil. Place uncut bars in freezer bag or container. Seal, label, date, and freeze up to 1 month. Thaw bars at room temperature about 15 minutes. Once thawed, cut into bars.

Recipe from Better Homes and Gardens
Christmas Cookies Magazine.

These are the adorable boxes that I used for the cookie swap!
Santa’s elf helping me with packaging and wrapping the cookie bars!
My Christmas Wreath that I made with help from Sweet Annie Designs.
One of the Christmas wreaths from Church.
My beautiful bouquets from my loving friends and paper whites about to pop! Merry Christmas 2011! Love, Nettie This post has been linked up to some of my favorite blogs!!

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