A Simple Chocolate Pie

chocolate pie

Chocolate pie is what I would call one of the best things you can easily make, and win a few hearts along the way. Valentine’s Day is coming!! With a little bit of help from one of my grandma’s favorite recipes (and some upgraded chocolate), you can have the pie in a hurry, too. The recipe is very easy to make and the only thing that’s a downside is having to wait around for the pie to cool enough to eat it.

The pie you see in the picture is not the simplest nor the most extravagant pie you can do with this recipe. If you care, you can use a chocolate pie crust made up of Oreos or Graham crackers, or a simple pie crust from the refrigerated aisle at the grocery store. I use my own crust, but didn’t bother to make it look as pretty as you might have seen elsewhere at Discovery Cooking. I just wanted something quick and easy. I used some whipped cream and some chocolate chips to decorate mine, you can use fruit or have it just plain. Your call.

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Nan’s Chocolate Sour Cream Cookies

Chocolate Sour Cream Cookies

I don’t recall when my mother — who all her grandchildren and great-grandchildren called “Nan” or “Nannie” — began baking these wonderful soft, moist chocolate sour cream cookies, but I have trouble remembering a Christmas without them. I’d bet this recipe was published somewhere and she tried and liked it. That would have been at least 50 years ago, probably more, so the original source is now a mystery. What’s fun is that her granddaughters continued the tradition of making these cookies every Christmas. 

The recipe makes from 6-8 dozen cookies. The good news is that when they’re kept in air-tight containers, they have a really long shelf life. Several weeks, in fact. I made one change to the original recipe, by substituting a half cup of unsalted butter for the original’s half cup of vegetable shortening. Nobody needs a half cup of transfat in their diet, I think.

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Chocolate Pancakes

Chocolate Pancakes

A few days ago, I posted an orange cranberry muffin recipe and the purpose, in part, was to highlight the idea that there is a close kinship between muffins and pancakes. So here is the other side of that equation. These chocolate pancakes were made using exactly the same base recipe, but swapping cocoa powder for some of the flour and, of course, eliminating the fruit and juice.

I don’t know whether to think of these as a brunch item or a dessert or maybe a brunch dessert. Whatever use you them for, these chocolate pancakes are decadently rich and I suspect very appealing to kids.

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Chocolate Tart with Espresso Glaze

chocolate tart

There is something about dark chocolate and dark, rich coffee flavors that makes them go together. This chocolate tart takes advantage of that marriage of flavors like nothing I’ve tasted before or since. It’s really not difficult to make, either. The end result, however, looks like it could come from a fine french patisserie.

To make this, you’ll need one special piece of equipment: a two-piece flan pan (or a springform cake pan) like the one pictured. The one I use in 10 inches and the recipe is formulated for that size.

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Poached Pears and Chocolate Espresso Sauce

poached pear

My amazing daughter recently moved to a new home which sits on a large lot on which are planted several fruit trees, including a couple of pear trees. When I got back from a recent visit, I began thinking about what might be done with the fruit I’m hoping to collect from her and also some things she might be interested in doing with what looks for now to be a bumper crop. Poached pears was high on my list.

Poaching does wonderful things for pears. It brings out the subtle pear flavor and sweetness and accents that flavor with hints of the flavors in the poaching liquid. If you think of the pears as the lead singer in a band, then the poaching liquid represents the back up singers, adding harmonious depth to a song without overpowering it. Adding in a complimentary sauce, on the other hand, is a lot like inserting a great guitar solo to the tune.

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