Tag Archives: chocolate

Holiday Baking Party and Dough Boy Recipe

Last week Thursday, some friends of mine and I got together to bake some holiday goodies.  I love getting people to bake for the holidays because it’s a great opportunity to reap the benefits of a wide variety of cookies without having to actually make all the cookies yourself.  Plus, you get to hang out with fun people while you bake up those treats!  Really, what could be better?

As it turns out, there are a couple of ways to make an already wonderful baking experience even better.  While I’ve hosted holiday baking parties before, this one was a little different, and special, for the following reasons:

  1. We met at the Logan Park Community kitchen where we were able to utilize 2 – count them – 2 ovens!!  If you’ll remember, my friend Angela and I embarked on a tomato canning adventure a few months back in a Minneapolis community kitchen. That experience planted the seed for this baking adventure.  Really, you can get so much more done with 2 ovens!
  2. We donated a large chunk of the baked goodies to the NE Meals on Wheels program as a reward for the volunteers who deliver tasty meals to residents in the neighborhood.  I think I can speak on behalf of all of the bakers – we were happy to be able to share a little cheer to help thank volunteers for their dedication to our community!
  3. I finally got to meet my new blog friend Molly from The Found Recipe box in real life!  If you haven’t checked out her blog yet, do.  I think she’s one creative cookie and I’m glad she was able to make it to our baking extravaganza.

There were about 8 of us in the kitchen at Logan Park and everyone contributed some fantastic recipes.  Despite a little minor smoke plume emitting from one of the ovens, we still managed to yield quite the assortment of holiday treats!  We had spritz cookies, raspberry tarts, rice krispy wreaths, peanut clusters, ginger cookies, chocolate crinkles and a family classic – the Dough Boy.  The cookies all turned out to be quite tasty and plentiful and we were able to divvy up cookies for each of the bakers while still donating a bunch for the Meals on Wheels program, much to the dismay of the elementary wrestling team who was practicing in the gym adjacent to the kitchen.

Ginger Cookies

Ginger Cookies

Peanut Clusters

Peanut Clusters

Raspbery Tarts

Raspberry Tarts

Dough Boys

Dough Boys

And now, without further adieu, I present to you the classic and coveted Dough Boy recipe (imagine the narrator from A Christmas Story as you read this part because that’s what I would like my voice to sound like right now).  No, this is not a dough boy as in the Pillsbury Dough Boy.  These Dough Boys are not pale and pasty, nor do they giggle uncontrollably.  Quite the opposite. They are rich, chocolaty pieces of heaven that melt in your mouth and cause you to make that “mmmm, mmmm” sound.  In a word, the holidays just aren’t complete without a plate of dough boys.  Or at least Christmas can’t go on in my family without a plate of Dough Boys.

Dough Boys (from my mom, from her Grandma, from who knows where)
13 whole graham crackers, finely crushed
1 12 oz. package chocolate chips
1 can sweetened condensed milk (Eagle Brand)
powdered sugar

Heat oven 250º.  Layer crushed graham crackers, chocolate chips and condensed milk in a 9 x 13″ pan.  Place in oven for approximately 10 minutes or until chocolate chips appear glossy.  Remove pan from oven and mix all ingredients together.  Quickly roll into small balls and roll in powdered sugar.  Tell people they are from a complicated Martha recipe.*  Enjoy!

*Clearly this line is not from my great-grandmother.  But it is from my mom circa 2002 when she first emailed the recipe to me and a friend.  The subject of the email?  “The no-longer secret family recipe”.

Person pouring condensed milk on the Dough Boys

Pour the condensed milk on the dough boys with a smile!

Thanks to all of my baking friends for joining me in the community kitchen and for donating the fruits of your labor to the Meals on Wheels program.  I hope we can do something like this again next year!


Gert’s Chocolate Sauce

It’s hot out.  It’s hot inside my apartment.  But apparently not too hot to keep the vermin out.  Last week, a squirrel decided it would be a good idea to gnaw through the kitchen screen and eat some unsuspecting peanuts that were sitting (enclosed) on my counter.  The screen is now fixed and all the ivy has been trimmed from the windows so the little buggers don’t have anywhere to hide, but alas, I will be keeping my windows closed until next spring for fear that the squirrely devils might come back in to raid my nut stores.  Anyway, now I’m living in constant fear of funny, squeaky sounds.  Go find your own nuts you stupid squirrel!

Prior to the squirrel incident, I reluctantly turned on my stove to mix up one of my absolute favorite VVG recipes.  This isn’t one of Grandma’s recipes, but it is a recipe of one of her dearest friends, Gert.  Mom used to make this chocolate sauce for us when we were growing up and, well, it’s just really, really, good.  Very, very good, if you will.

Gert’s Chocolate Sauce
1/2 c. cocoa
3/4 c. sugar
2 Tbsp. flour
1 c. milk*

Mix dry ingredients.  Stir in milk.  Cook in a double boiler until thick.  Add salt and 2 Tbsp. butter and a little vanilla.  Scoop as much of this stuff as possible over vanilla ice cream and enjoy.**

*If you don’t drink your milk regularly and it curdles on you, your neighbor’s half and half will do in a pinch.  In fact, your chocolate sauce might even be better than the original recipe!  In the words of my neighbor, “What? You doubled the fat content and it tastes better?  No way!!”  Way.

**My words, not Gert’s.  But I’m pretty sure she’d agree.

Picture of chocolate sauce on ice cream

Chocolate Pudding

Last week Tuesday it was my turn to host book club (we read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which I highly recommend if you haven’t read it already).  Normally, hosting such an event is an excuse to try a new recipe.  But last week, I needed to finish upholstering the chairs I found on Craigslist so that my guests would have somewhere to sit.  So, though I didn’t get to try any new recipes, I am pleased with my (and my mom’s) craftiness on this little project.

refinished Danish modern chairs

Finishing home improvement projects immediately prior to having guests over is a fine art I inherited from my parents, and perhaps more specifically my father.  Nothing lights a fire under your butt to get [insert home improvement project name here] done like the threat of having guests over.  Thankfully, I had 24 hours to spare after completing my chairs, so I did have a little bit of time to contemplate what to make for the book clubbers.  I thought about making strawberry shortcake, but the idea of turning on my oven and consequently turning my apartment into a sauna, didn’t really appeal to me on an 85º+ day.  My blog reading that morning really paid off though, because I noticed a gazpacho recipe that required no cooking and only the use of my food processor.  Perfect!  Then, in a moment of inspiration I decided to make chocolate pudding for dessert.  I really like this recipe because it’s so easy and requires so few ingredients.  Plus, on a hot day, there’s no need to get all hot and sweaty – let the fridge do the work!! It’s from Mollie Katzen’s The Enchanted Broccoli Forest.

Chocolate Pudding
1 c. chocolate chips (I used Ghiradelli Bittersweet Chips for this batch)
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 cups milk (Mollie says soy is okay, but I’ve never had success with it so I always use cows milk)
a pinch of salt
3 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Combine chocolate, sugar and milk in a saucepan.  Heat gently, whisking constantly until all the chocolate is melted and the mixture is uniform. Remove from heat.  Place the cornstarch and salt in a medium-sized bowl and add about half of the hot mixture, whisking vigourously until the cornstarch is dissolved.  Then, add this mixture back into the saucepan.  Keep stirring the mixture over low heat for about 8 – 10 minutes or until it is think and glossy.  Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.

Transfer pudding to a serving bowl or individual cups.  To avoid a skin forming on top, lay a sheet of waxed paper over the surface.  Chill completely before serving (It takes about 2 hours when they pudding is in ramekins).