Tag Archives: Chocolate

Paleo, Vegan, Gluten Free Brownie Bites

It sounds fake…or super dry and lacking of taste when you put it that way. But I have been seeing dessert recipes online that are based around dates for a while now and when I was at the grocery store a little while ago I decided to pick some up for when i became bored enough to try something new.

There are TONS of variations on this everywhere and I just decided to use which ever nuts I had on hand and since I didn’t have any coconut flakes, those didn’t make it in there either. But the REALLY taste like brownie bites! This is a perfect little recipe to have just a few morsels in the refrigerator for when you are craving something filled with chocolate.

Chocolate Brownie Bites

Ingredients:

1 Cup Sliced Almonds 1/2 Cup Chopped Walnuts
Pinch of Salt 1 Teaspoon Vanilla
1 Cup Pitted Dates 1/3 Cup Cocoa Powder, Unsweetened

Directions:

1. In a blender, blend the walnuts and almonds until they are fine. Then add in the pinch of salt, vanilla, dates and cocoa powder. After blending for 30 seconds, add in a tablespoon of water to get everything to stick together.

2. Scoop out about a tablespoon of the mix and roll them into a ball in your hands. Refrigerate until you are ready to eat them!

They are so easy to make and definitely taste better when they are cold. All they have in them is fruit and nuts! You can’t go wrong!

What is your favorite cheat snack that isn’t really bad for you??

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Chewy, Chocolate Chip Cookies

Everyone needs that chocolate chip cookie that reminds them of their childhood. These cookies aren’t unbelievably sweet, they are chewy and filling so you don’t really have to worry about getting your hand stuck in the cookie jar too many times in a day.

But just in case, check out this nifty kitchen tool to help with portion control when you just want 1 more chocolate chip cookie:

It’s called…The Kitchen Safe. And it is exactly what you are thinking. You set a timer on the top of the jar, say 24 hours, and once you open the jar to grab a cookie or two and put it down, the jar will seal itself for 24 hours before allowing your grubby little fingers to grab at another cookie.

No doubt, you can outsmart it, but really?! It’s one way to stop the munching.

Now for the cookies…YUM.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

1 Cup Softened Butter 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1 Cup White Sugar 2 Teaspoons Hot Water
1 Cup Ligth Brown Sugar 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
2 Eggs 3 Cups All Purpose Flour
2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract 2 Cups Semisweet Chocolate Chips

Directions:

1. In a mixer, mix the butter, white sugar and brown sugar until smooth. Then add the eggs one at a time, followed by the vanilla.

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2. In a small glass, heat up water and dissolve the baking soda. Then add to the mixer and blend. Stir in the salt, flour and chocolate chips next.

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3. Place on a ungreased, nonstick cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes, or until the cookies are slightly browned. The cookies will spread, so place them about 2.5 inches apart.

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And boom…delicious chocolate chip cookies. This batch made about 4 dozen cookies, which should last a while 🙂

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The batter would also be great to mix up the ingredients with, substituting the chocolate chips.

What would you lock up in the Kitchen Safe??

Cupcake Decorating

This past month or so, I’ve been on a little kick of decorating cupcakes with a little pizazz. My sister Maggie’s birthday was this past month and I wanted to take advantage of my spurt of creativity and make her something a little different. When I was trying to come up with an idea for her, the only thing that came to mind was pugs. Maggie loves EVERYTHING PUG.

When it came to the fondant situation, I decided to make my own based upon watching someone about a year and a half ago make some for a wedding cake. It just seemed easy enough. Right?? If you buy fondant in the store, it can get quite expensive and I did need a few different colors. Well, after about 4 or 5 hours of mixing fondant, playing with colors, cutting out a million different shapes and playing around a bit, I had 6 pug cupcakes. Six. Which was the original plan, because I thought have 6 cupcakes with just some green grass would be balance out the plate.

Pug Cupcake Collage

 

For my first adventure into SERIOUS cupcake decorating, I would say they came out pretty well. I definitely took a few notes on what would have make this project a little easier and will make sure I have everything I need the next time a doggie cupcake needs baking. And Maggie loved them.

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The second cupcake that I wanted to do was for Christmas. I really wanted to make something that was more simple and easy. Chocolate shapes. For this one, I topped them off with my own buttercream frosting and went to work on drawing with melted chocolate on wax paper. This wasn’t as easy as I anticipated. In my mind, tracing cookie cutter shapes would have been an easy way to get a nice shape. NOPE. Epic fail. Instead, I ended up free handing them, which I don’t think came out bad at all. I also used shaved coconut flakes on several to make a snow effect.

Christmas Cupcake Collage

 

Just the beginning, but I think a good start!

Caramel and Toasted Coconut Holiday Cookies

Caramel & Toasted Coconut Holiday Cookies

This past week I had a meeting with some coworkers and my urge to bake something led me to bringing a batch of cookies to the meeting. I put these guys out on the table and they were demolished in minutes with people asking me for the recipe. So, I figured I would have to share them with you all, especially since they were requested to be at our next meeting.

I have to admit, they were a little time consuming to make. I’m talking a few hours total. And they didn’t come without some frustration. One cookie may or may not have been thrown across the kitchen. But, I think I have knocked out a few sources of frustration in this revised version. 🙂

Ingredients:

For the Cookies:
1 Cup Unsalted Butter, Room Temperature 1/4 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 Cup Sugar 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
2 Cups All Purpose Flour 2 Tablespoons Milk
1/2 Teaspoon Vanille Extract

 

For the Topping:
3 Cups Sweetened, Shredded Coconut 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
15 Ounces Soft Caramels 8 Ounces Dark Chocolate
3 Tablespoons Milk

Directions:

1. In a standing mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until it is light and fluffy. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt. Then, in increments of 3, add the flour mixture into the butter mix. Once well mixed, add in the vanilla extract and milk.

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2. Once mixed, divide the dough into halves, form each shape into a disk and wrap in seran wrap. Refrigerate the dough for an hour.

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3. When the dough has chilled, roll one of the disks out onto a lightly floured surface. Using a cookie cutter, cut the dough into stars and place them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Continue until all of the dough is complete.

Coconut Cookies, Step 3

 

4. Bake the cookies at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. The cookies should come out only slightly browned but cooked through. You do not want to cook these cookies too long or else they will break apart when you are putting the caramel topping on them.

 

The Topping

1. Spread the coconut flakes out on a tin foil lined cookie sheet and bake them for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Be sure to stir them frequently to avoid them burning. Coconut does burn easily. Once they are cooked, remove them from the oven and set them aside.

Coconut Cookies, Topping

 

2. In a double broiler, melt the caramel along with the milk and salt. Stir it frequently until all of the caramel has completely melted. Then add 3/4 of the caramel to the toasted coconut. Stir until well mixed.

Coconut Topping, Step 2

 

3. Carefully spread the coconut mixture onto the cooled cookies. I found using a fork worked best. If the caramel becomes hard to work with, try placing it over the heat and melting the caramel a bit more. Patience is key at this step.

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4. The hard part is done. With the remaining caramel, put a dab on the top of each cookie and place a bit of fresh coconut on top. Then melt the dark chocolate in the microwave and drizzle it on top. You should then let the cookies sit out for a bit in order for the caramel and the chocolate to harden. And whelah!

Coconut Cookie Complete

 

I have to say, they really did come out delicious. Fortunately, I will be making these again. I have a meeting this Friday to bring them along to and then of course, our next company meeting after the holidays. But I’m definitely going to come up with some other fun options to bring along. Holiday cookies are one of my favorite things to make.

 

Do you have a recipe that takes a lot of effort but is worth it in the end??

Blueberry Chocolate Cake with Blueberry Buttercream Frosting

Sunday night was also my Dad’s birthday and birthdays are kind of a big deal in our family. There are a few unique things that I think make a birthday in this house a bit different than what you might see elsewhere.

  • There are usually 7 of us, and now with Brent there are 8. So, it’s loud. Picture the stereotypical Italian family getting together and multiply that by 6 girls. Seriously loud.
  • Dinner is all out. The birthday person gets to pick what they what for dinner and that is what is whipped up. This time was a seafood pasta.
  • When singing Happy Birthday, sing as loud and as out of key as possible. Ear splitting high notes, piercing notes and anything else you can make your voice do. This is usually when the dogs run away in terror. If we have company, they think it’s weird at first then they join in with something we’ve never heard before. We all think it’s hilarious.
  • When picking out a card, it NEEDS to pop up. If it doesn’t pop up, put it down and find another. If you can find one that sings AND pops up, you probably have a winner. There is a competition for the best card and strangely enough, we have never shown up with the same card. Only every once in a while from year to year. Those immediately lose. Sorry.
  • Have fun. Obviously.

For my Dad’s birthday, I decided that I would make the cake and his favorite thing in the world is blueberry. So I decided to make a blueberry cake. Originally it was going to be a Blueberry Lemon Cake, but he didn’t really like that idea. He wanted chocolate. Chocolate it is.

Chocolate Blueberry Cake

 

 

Ingredients:

1 Cup Flour 1 Cup Sugar
6 Tablespoons Cocoa Powder 3/4 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
3/4 Cup Water 1/2 Cup Blueberries, melted
1 Egg

 

Frosting Ingredients:

1/2 Cup Butter, softened 4 1/2 Cups Confectioner’s Sugar
1 1/2 Teaspoons Vanilla 3 Tablepsoon Milk
1/2 Cup Frozen Blueberries, thawed and drained

 

Directions:

1. In a large bowl, stir the dry ingredients. Then, with a blender, blend the blueberries, egg and water.

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2. Whisk the wet ingredients in with the dry. Be careful not to over mix the batter.

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3. Bake in a greased round 8 inch pan at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. I made two of them in order to stack them for the cake.

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For the Frosting:

1. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter until it is light and fluffy. Then gradually add in the confectioner’s sugar. Lastly, mix in the blueberries, and milk. Use the milk to get the consistency that you would like.

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Easy! When the cake is completely cooled, COMPLETELY cooled. You can start frosting it. Just know that it needs to be stored in a chilled area because the frosting is made of butter.

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I was struggling a little bit with the icing of it. But that’s a skill that I will pick up eventually 🙂

We all sat down for dinner and Maggie gave us a mini wine lesson on the two that she had picked out for dinner.

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We sat down and had some seafood pasta with a delicious red sauce.

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As we were sitting down, I grabbed one of the naked rigatoni still sitting in the strainer just to munch on. I was talking at the same time, and decided to goof around a little bit, so I blew through the rigatoni…IT WHISTLED! I felt like a five year old that just discovered the best thing ever! Why I never realized this when I was younger, I have no idea. I know I would have driven my mom nuts if I did figure it out earlier.

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So fun! You just have to pinch the sides of it a little bit to restrict the air flow and it will make this loud, high pitched whistling noise. 🙂

 

After dinner, the cake came out and I was honestly a bit nervous about how it was going to go over. I have never made one of a birthday cakes and this one was a bit different in itself. I don’t know if you noticed…it has NO OIL. There is no butter, no canola oil, no nothing. The icing obviously has butter but the cake itself. Nada. It’s a healthy chocolate cake. YUP.

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But it was delicious! The cake itself was really rich. The chocolate flavor really came through in it. The blueberries were also really apparent in the frosting. Big hit!

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It was even better the second day. The blueberry flavor came out a lot more the second day.

When cake was finished and we were starting to clean up, my dad brought over the wish bone that I had been waiting to dry out for a few days. Brent and I broke it and I guesssssss my wish won’t come true. MER.

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Happy Birthday!!

Do you have any weird traditions in your family??