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Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: Another Reason to Eat Chocolate!

By Sherrie Norris

As if we need a reason to eat chocolate, we are in the midst of National Chocolate Week, always the third week in March.

It’s not like millions of dollars weren’t spent recently on chocolate hearts and kisses for Valentine’s Day — or that chocolate Easter bunnies will not have their day in the very near future. But, who’s complaining?

Yes, we need one special week devoted to chocolate. Let’s not waste another minute.


Simply Delicious Chocolate Cake

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar

½ cup baking cocoa

2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. salt

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup canola oil

1 cup buttermilk

1 cup hot water

Frosting (see below)

Colored sprinkles, optional

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 9 x13-inch baking pan. In a large bowl, whisk the first six ingredients. Stir in eggs, oil and buttermilk. Add water; stir until combined.

Transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Frost cake. If desired, decorate with sprinkles.


Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:

½ cup softened butter,

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1½ tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 cup baking cocoa

3-4 Tbs. 2% milk

beat until creamy.

In a large bowl with mixer, whip butter, gradually beat in remaining ingredients, starting slowly with milk to reach desired consistency.


Heaven in a Crockpot

1 box Betty Crocker fudge brownie mix

½ cup butter, melted.

4 eggs

1 pouch Betty Crocker chocolate chip cookie mix

Mix ingredients together and put into a crockpot. Cook about 3 hours on low. Top with vanilla ice cream.


Brownie Trifle

1 pkg. fudge brownie mix with walnuts

(or) Devil’s Food Cake mix and ¾ cup chopped walnuts

1 large pkg. chocolate instant pudding mix

1 large container frozen whipped topping, thawed

Prepare and bake brownie or cake mix according to package directions, adding walnuts to cake mixture if using, before baking, Set aside to cool.

Prepare pudding as directed on box.

Place about half the crumbled brownies in bottom of 3-quart trifle bowl, setting aside some for garnish; top with half of the pudding and whipped topping. Repeat layers with remaining brownies, pudding and whipped topping.

For garnish: Use a little of the (crumbled) baked brownie, ¼ cup of chopped walnuts and add maraschino cherries, if desired.

Cover and chill at least 8 hours.


Baby Ruth Brownies

1 pkg. brownie mix

3 (2.1-oz.) Baby Ruth candy bars, chopped

1 (8-oz.) pkg. cream cheese, brought to room temperature

½ cup sugar

1 large egg

2 tsp. milk

Preheat oven to 350. Prepare brownie mix as directed on package, then stir in chopped candy. Pour into a greased 9 x 13-inch baking pan.
 In a small mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add egg and milk to cream cheese mixture and blend well. Drizzle cream cheese mixture over brownie batter and swirl with a knife to create a marbled effect. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out almost clean. Remove brownies from oven and cool completely in pan. Cut into bars. 


Low- fat Chocolate Cake

1 2/3 cup flour

2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa, sifted
1½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1¼ cups sugar (can use half white sugar and Splenda)

4 egg whites (or use 2 whole eggs)
1 Tbs. vanilla

1½ cups low-fat yogurt or sour cream
½ cup applesauce
Preheat oven to 350. Generously grease a 9 x 13-inch baking pan. In a medium bowl, sift flour with cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, beat sugar with egg whites and vanilla until well combined. Mix in yogurt/sour cream and applesauce until thoroughly combined. Mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients; beat on low speed until just combined.
Transfer to prepared baking dish. Bake for about 30-35 minutes. Watch closely to avoid over baking.