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Posts Tagged ‘chocolate’

banana bread no refined sugar

I pulled out my BH&G cookbook for the base recipe for banana bread, then put my spin on it.  An acquaintance once asked if I bake without refined sugar, well this is the first way I can implement coconut sugar successfully without the kids noticing.  It’s moist and has a tender crumb, exactly what good banana bread should be.  While I can’t ingest nuts, I’m sure they would make a swell addition.

 

  • 2 cups organic all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • scant 1/4 teaspoon fresh nutmeg
  • scant 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 4 ripe bananas
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 1/3 cup coconut sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Line a loaf pan with parchment paper.  Preheat the oven to 375ºF.

Combine the dry ingredients, including the spices and stir with a whisk.  Set aside.

Combine the wet ingredients in a separate bowl.

Pour the wet into the dry bowl.  Stir and fold the mixture until the flour is incorporated.  Do not over mix.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 35-55 minutes.  A toothpick inserted in the middle should come out clean.

Immediately remove from the pan and paper to a cooling rack.  Wrap leftovers in plastic, it should keep for up to 3 days at room temperature.

 

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This is a topic I wasn’t going to discuss openly, yet alone on my blog.  I feel sick, like the way you feel after accidentally overfeeding a goldfish to find it belly up in the morning.  You were just taking care of it, and it died.  You know it wasn’t intentional but feel sick to your stomach anyways.

My goldfish died a year ago.  And when I say goldfish I mean my marriage.

You never know what the future holds, but I was a naive 20-something bound and determined to hold on to a boyfriend.  I had a long-standing semi-long-distance relationship that went nowhere for years and I got out of it.  Since then it’s been like grasping at straws and water running through my fingers, nothing was sticking.  Until I met him, the one who stuck, and ultimately destroyed himself and the goldfish.

I wanted to write about the process, emotionally and whatnot, but it’s still too gripping, a nightmarish flash of the detrimental blow to the fish tank.  All I can say is, I survived and it’s going to be a long road ahead.

That road is full of possibilities, one of which is chocolate.  What do I reach for when dealing with a dead goldfish?  Coffee Crisp.  Chocolate covered strawberries.  Chocolate cake.  Chocolate cakeballs covered in chocolate.  Hot chocolate.  Peanut Butter Cups.  Valentine’s Day was especially hard to hold restraint from diving into the bins of chocolate in the stores.  Now I feel a little pudgy.

Hey Cupcake, Double Chocolate and Sweetberry

Deciding that feeding my emotions was not a healthy response, I backed away from the cupcakes and Girl Scout Thin Mints.  I went for a run (!!!) with my dog and felt like I was going to die, lung and calves burning.  A full-out run in the park should have started with a brisk walk, maybe even a jog.  I used to cross-country ski when I lived in the snow, and swam every morning before class in college.  Life crept in and pushed out the will to exercise, then again, I could blame it on the goldfish.

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It’s not what you think, although I do love me some peanut butter, this is not a self deprecating post.  I was on the way home this week and needed to get some cash to pick up Little Sister’s birthday gift from a family I found on Craigslist ( The best way to find toys for a 3-year-old and brownie points since it’s a type of recycling).  I stopped in at Whole Foods, picked out a small armload and headed to the cashiers.  Forgetting to tell the cashier to run it as debit, I swiped and that was it, transaction done.  Regretfully, I asked to get cash back.  I had to buy something else!  Well, this little Piggy was the smallest thing nearby…

Oops!  Did I just buy more chocolate, when there’s a whole section of my fridge full of chocolate already?  There’s always room for more chocolate.  Well this little guy didn’t have to worry about residency, I ate him before he got too comfortable.  Mmmm… Very smooth chocolate center with a hint of peanut butter.  Don’t expect a Reese’s Cup here, just a mouthful of yum.  A cute pig-shaped mouthful of yum!

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“What’s that?” said Big Brother.

“Cookbooks.”  I replied.

“Why do they have so many pages?” he asked.

“Well, there are lots of different ways to make food.  Cookbooks have lots of recipes.” I explained.

“Can we make some?”

I pulled the COOKIES book off the kitchen shelf.  I pointed out the pictures of all the cookies you could make using recipes in the cookbook.  Big Brother saw the brownies and said “The chocolate one!”.

Two sous chefs eagerly awaited instructions as they perched on a chair at the counter in front of the mixer.  We read the recipe together and measured and mixed the ingredients.  Most of the chocolate ended up where it was supposed to.

I used unsweetened chocolate and had to adjust the amount of sugar in the recipe, otherwise the kids would not eat these brownies.  It would have been better to use the semi-sweet chocolate called for, the extra sugar gave them a crunchy outer crust.  We enjoyed the rich (and sweet) brownies garnished with strawberries.

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A double batch of chocolate chip cookies to share with the kids and friends.  The right type of cookie sheet makes a huge difference in how these darlins turn out.  My old single layer sheet pan made the edges brown faster than the double layer pans.  The trick is to slightly under bake, just until the middle is set, then let them hang out on the pan on your wire racks.  They keep cooking as the pans cool.  Every oven is different, and the amount of batter used will affect the baking time too.

Try a test batch of three cookies of all the same size scoop.  Preferably, weigh the scoops on a kitchen scale (I’m dying to find a good deal on a digital scale!) Put the dough along the edges and bake for the minimum amount of time described in the recipe.  I watch the first pan like a hawk, then “calibrate” my baking time according to the test batch.  When you use different pans this theory will no longer apply.

Lesson for today: buy more of the same cookie sheets when I find them on sale, don’t stop at three!

Chocolate Chip Cookies will be available through my bakery for Mother’s Day.  If you’re in the area check out the upcoming sale!

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Little Sister was at the helm of the KitchenAid mixer for this recipe.  She was supposed to be supervising the making of big chewy cookies, which translates to counting the cups and spoonfuls of ingredients going into the bowl.  She wants to help mommy and I’m more than happy to have her with me learning the craft.

Unexpected things can happen when 2-year-olds bake.

I turned around for a second and Little Sis had grabbed the baking soda box and her measuring spoon.  As my eyes and brain tried to work together, she had already dispensed an unknown amount of the white powder into the bowl.  This would not have been so dramatic except there was whipped butter and a measurement of sugar sitting in the bowl at the time of her “addition”.

I had to guess how much was in there and left it as it was and hoped that it was enough and not too much.

Little Sister was allowed to stay and help.  She was now manager of the M&Ms.

Monster Cookies

Adapted from Chunky Peanut, Chocolate, and Cinnamon Cookies from COOKIES by Martha Stewart Living Magazine

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour (or use all-purpose)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup M&Ms or Smarties
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Mix flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon in a bowl and set aside.  Cream butter, peanut butter with sugars.  Mix in eggs and vanilla.  Add a little of the flour at a time, then the chocolates.  Chill for 15 minutes (I didn’t).

Drop by large spoonfuls on baking sheets.  Flatten using your palm.  Bake for 10-14 minutes (it will depend on the size of your cookies).

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OK, I’ll admit this is more of a milkshake than a smoothie since there’s no yogurt and several scoops of ice cream.  But hey, I call it as I see it, and this is a smoothie. I think they should teach milkshake-making in culinary schools, if they don’t already then y’all need to call me to teach it.

For 2 small servings

  • 2 cups strawberries, washed
  • 1 cup milk
  • about 1 1/2 cups chocolate ice cream

Hull and roughly chop the berries.  Add the berries to a blender.  Add the ice cream and half the milk.  Pulse the blender to combine the ingredients, add more of the milk to reach the desired consistency.  Serve immediately.

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Beatrice Ojakangas fudgy brownie recipe modified by adding chocolate chips and mini marshmallows.

Making brownies from scratch is pretty simple.  Take your favorite chocolate, some butter, eggs and flour.  Bit of sugar.  Splash of vanilla or strong coffee.  Bake until almost done.

My mother-in-law bought me a set of those silicone pans, sheets and muffin cups.  One of my pet peeves is scraping brownies out of my metal or glass pans.  I used a silicone square pan to remedy this twitch.   And I discovered silicone is not a brownies’ friend.

After the initial alloted baking time stated in the recipe I took the brownies out of the oven.  They smelled good and had a crinkled top due to my addition of mini marshmallows.  They were left to cool as dinner was made.

Trying to pop the pan mold off the brownies nearly ended in disaster.  The middle was not set.  Not one bit!  I poked around with a toothpick and found these brownies were closer to the batter I poured into the pan than the chewy chocolate morsels I thought were coming out of the pan.  Back to the oven.

At this point I was beyond mad.

Another 10 minutes.  Still gooey.

I’m finished making dinner and try to get everyone seated at the table.  Distractions occur in the form of a two-year old.

Another 10 minutes go by, possibly more.

I remembered that I forgot to reset the kitchen timer;  leapt into the kitchen and pulled out the brownies.

They were done alright, just not…  almost done.

Brownies

Adapted from Beatrice Ojakangas’ recipe in The Great Holiday Baking Book

  • 2oz unsweetened chocolate
  • 6 Tbsp butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • handful of chocolate chips and/or marshmallows

Mix.  Bake at 350ºF in a 8×8″ pan for 25 minutes.

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It was a late night last night to kick start my baking frenzy, and an early start after dropping Big Brother off at school this morning.  I watched the sun behind morning clouds climb ever so gracefully over the hill on the way back home from the school.

Here’s what you will see at the bake sale in Round Rock (Old Settler’s Park entrance):

Spiced Ginger Cookies

 

Pecan Raisin Tarts

Finnish Pulla Bread - Resting

Nanaimo Bars

 

The Tamale Placejust dropped off their donation for the sale!  Thank you Tamale Place for your Caramel Empanadas (Mexican pastries) and Galletas de Nuez (Pecan cookies), I think these will go fast!

Mexican Pastries

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double chocolate banana muffins fresh out of the oven

To make these chocolate banana muffins a little easier on the waistline, I substituted most of the oil with vanilla yogurt.  The result was an intensely moist muffin that retained more moisture over the few days they survived in the kitchen.

double chocolate banana muffins with topping

I saw marshmallow topped cupcakes on Martha Stewart’s website, so the second tin of muffins received the same treatment.  For experimental sake.  The kids loved the sticky caramelized marshmallows, I might have too.

Here is the recipe:

  • 4 ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp salt

Pre-heat the oven to 350ºF.  Fill a muffin tin with paper liners.

Combine the wet ingredients, mashing the bananas to a fine pulp, in a bowl.  In a second, larger bowl, combine the dry ingredients.  Make a well in the center to pour in the wet mixture.  Gently mix by hand until the flour is no longer visible.

Fill the paper cups mostly full ( I like big muffin tops) and bake for 25 minutes.

Option: Top the baked muffins (do not over bake them) with one large marshmallow each.  Place under the broiler for a few seconds, do not walk away!  Squish the toasted marshmallows to cover the top of the muffin.

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