Chocolate Cannoli Brownies (Gluten Free Variation Included!)

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Brownies, cannoli and chocolate, with their powers combined, we get “Chocolate Cannoli Brownies!”  I toyed with “Brownnoli,” and then “Cannownie,” but each is so incredible all in its own that it just wouldn’t do to reduce them to a portmanteau word.  Each one deserves to be named in its full glory!

So, from whence did these heavenly delights descend?  Basically, I love all things chocolate, I really wanted some brownies, but cannoli sounded awesome too.  So, I did what anyone with an 8 year old’s obsession with sweets would do, I combined them all: CHOCOLATE CANNOLI BROWNIES!

Cannoli Frosting

  • 15 oz. Ricotta Cheese
  • 8 oz. Cream Cheese, softened
  • 2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 2 c. Confectioners’ Sugar
  • 1 c. milk chocolate chips
  • 4 tbsp. Yoo-Hoo
  • 1 c. Chocolate (60% Dark), chopped or grated into small pieces
  • 3 Cannoli Shells, halved (width wise – leave out for gluten free version)

Brownies

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Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 10×10 pan (I use butter!).

For the Cannoli Frosting:

In a large mixing bowl, whip ricotta, cream cheese and vanilla.

In a medium sauce pan, combine 1 cup milk chocolate chips and 4 tablespoons Yoo-Hoo.  Stir over low heat until chocolate is completely melted.  Remove from heat.

Add confectioners’ sugar to whipped mixture, followed by the melted chocolate.  Stir on low until full combined and smooth, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.  Cover and place in the refrigerator.

For the Brownies:

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, dark cocoa powder, baking powder and sea salt.  Add eggs, butter and vanilla.  Stir on “Medium” setting until completely incorporated.

In a small sauce pan over low heat, continuously stir granulated sugar, 1/3 c. Yoo-Hoo, and Ghirardelli chocolate squares (broken into small pieces) until chocolate is fully melted (be careful not to let the sugar burn!).  Remove from heat and add to flour mixture.  Set mixer to “Medium” and mix until flour and sugar mixtures are completely incorporated.

Using a wooden spoon, stir in the semi-sweet chocolate chips.  Pour brownie batter into prepared baking pan.  Bake for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the brownies comes out clean (may have some “gooey” brownie stuck to it, but no “wet” batter).  Let brownies cool for approximately 5 mins, and then cut with a plastic knife (keeps them from tearing too much).

Once brownies have cooled significantly (they don’t have to be completely cool, but close), remove from pan and frost (and don’t be stingy!).

NOTE: For gluten free brownies, sprinkle chocolate shavings/pieces on each brownie and you are good to go.  For those looking to get a little gluten in your gut, read on!

Press a cannoli shell half, cut end down, just deep enough into the top of each brownie that it can stand on its own.  Fill shell with additional frosting.  Sprinkle chocolate shavings/pieces on each brownie and cannoli.  Plate and serve!

Gustare!

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Prosciutto Jalapeno Deviled Eggs

The Devil Made Me Do it!

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I will definitely NOT be asking for forgiveness for eating these sinfully delicious Prosciutto Jalapeno Deviled Eggs.  Much like cream puffs, the subject of my last post, deviled eggs are infinitely versatile.  This particular version (possibly my favorite), has an Italian influence with a little something extra to add some kick!

No need to resist temptation, give in and enjoy!

Ingredients:

Directions:

Cut the hard boiled eggs in half, lengthwise.  Separate the cooked egg yolks from the whites, placing the yolks in a medium bowl and the whites in the refrigerator.

Using a fork, smash the egg yolks.  Add olive oil mayo, mustard, and jalapeno balsamic vinegar to the smashed egg yolks.  With an electric mixture, mix the ingredients together on medium speed for approximately 1 minute, or until you have a mostly smooth consistency (a few lumps are perfectly fine, but feel free to mix a bit less or more, depending on your personal preference).  Place in refrigerator.

In a small pan over medium heat, cook the chopped prosciutto for 3 – 5 minutes.  Stir often.  Remove from heat.  Place prosciutto on a paper towel to allow any excess fat to drain.

Chop fresh basil into strands.  (I usually use 2 – 3 large leafs worth).

Now, it’s time to build!  Retrieve egg whites and yolk mixture from the refrigerator.  Fill each hollowed egg white with approximately a tablespoon of the yolk mixture (TIP: I place the entirety of the prepared yolk mixture into a quart size plastic bag, cut off the tip of one corner, creating a make-ship decorating bag which allows for a clean and exacting transfer process).  Drop a healthy portion of the chopped prosciutto on each mound of yolk mixture, followed by a few stands of fresh basil (more or less to taste).  Plate and, now this is the most important part, EAT!

Gustare!

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Dark Chocolate, Chocolate Cream Puffs: Version GF (Gluten-Free)

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(Photo Credit: tealTheThings)

Cream Puffs are universally considered one of the most versatile and delicious pastries known to man (according to the survey done in my head, at least).  I can probably think of more ways to customize a cream puff than Bubba knew how to prepare shrimp.  I concocted numerous variations of this delectable delight, and no doubt I will formulate many more.  This post, however, is dedicated solely to a single variation, the Chocolate, Chocolate Cream Puff: Version GF (Gluten-Free).

Why a gluten-free dark chocolate, chocolate cream puff, you ask?  After all, I myself do not abstain.  In fact, quite the opposite is true.  I never saw a gluten-filled plate of pasta or pastry that I didn’t love.  Simply put, my wife asked and I complied.

One thing to note before providing the recipe and sending you on your way to the kitchen: I believe that baking should include a high level of personalization.  Recipes, generally speaking, should be used as a skeleton, with each individual baker making adjustments to match their tastes.  What I am saying is, make it your own!  J  So, without further ado:

YOU WILL NEED:

 

FILLING

 

PUFFS

 

DRIZZLE

 

DIRECTIONS

Begin by preheating your oven to 400 degrees.  Lightly grease (I use butter) a cookie sheet (feel free to cover with wax paper first to keep it clean) and set aside.  Prepare pudding and place in refrigerator to thicken.

In a small bowl, sift gluten-free flour, white sugar and cocoa powder together and set aside.  Combine water and butter in a medium saucepan.  Heat on stove until butter melts and water begins to boil.  Immediately add gluten-free flour, sugar and cocoa powder mixture to saucepan, stirring briskly and continuously with a wooden spoon until dough pulls away from the walls of the saucepan and forms into a ball (30 seconds to 1 minute).  Remove saucepan from heat.  Stir in eggs, one at a time, until smooth.

Place heaping tablespoons of dough onto prepared cookie sheet (size of heap can be adjusted based on desired size of puffs).  Cook for approximately 25 minutes (exact time varies by stove).  Remove from oven and place on cooling rack.

While puffs are baking, prepare filling as follows:

In a small saucepan, combine one bag (10 oz.) of chocolate chips (Ghirardelli Premium Baking Chips, 60% Cocoa Bittersweet Chocolate), 1 tbsp. of butter, and 1 tbsp. milk or Yoo-Hoo.  Melt over low heat, stirring continuously until mixture is smooth (do NOT let the chocolate burn).  Remove from heat.  Immediately combine pudding, melted chocolate and cream cheese and stir on low until smooth.  Add powdered sugar in ½ increments until desired consistency and sweetness is reached.  Place in refrigerator.

Once puffs have cooled enough to work with, cut off a small portion from the top and with a tablespoon, scoop out any loose dough, being careful not to puncture the base or sides of the puffs.  Spoon prepared filling into hollowed puffs (I like to put in enough so they slightly overflow).  Place the tops back on all filled puffs.

When all puffs have been filled, place in refrigerator and begin preparing drizzle as follows:

In a small saucepan, combine 1 c. chocolate chips (Ghirardelli Premium Baking Chips, 60% Cocoa Bittersweet Chocolate – feel free to use something sweeter, if that’s what you prefer), 1 tbsp. of butter, and 1 tbsp. of milk or Yoo-Hoo.  Melt over low heat, stirring continuously until mixture is smooth.  Remove from heat and stir in ¼ c. powdered sugar (add more or less to taste/desired consistency, but it must be liquid enough to drizzle on top of the puffs).

Retrieve filled puffs from refrigerator.   Lightly sprinkle each puff with powdered sugar.  Using a butter knife, drop thin lines of the chocolate drizzle on top of the puffs in a pattern to your liking.  Plate and serve immediately (refrigerate leftovers, though there should not be any!).  Enjoy!

(Photo Credit: tealTheThings)

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