Fudgy Butternut Squash Brownies

Ok, so the title of this recipe would sound a LOT better if I had been able to use PUMPKIN in these brownies instead of butternut squash but guess what? The store was out of canned pumpkin when I went! I’m really hoping this isn’t another one of those pumpkin shortage years but I’m getting a little nervous to be honest.

Nevertheless, I pressed on and substituted the canned butternut squash for the pumpkin in this recipe because let’s face it…they taste exactly the same! But people looooooove pumpkin. You don’t see a butternut squash spice latte at Starbucks do you? NO. Butternut squash scented candles? NO. It’s pumpkin…all. pumpkin.

However, I’m pleased to report that the butternut squash totally worked in this recipe and these brownies turned out AWESOME. The center was definitely more fudgy than the outer edges and to me they were slightly more cake-like (which is not a bad thing at all). But they were seriously to die for and I’ll just confess…we polished the pan off in probably 2 1/2 days. So proud!

These were also some of the easiest brownies I’ve made which is a huge bonus. Not to mention, dairy and refined sugar free! Feel free to use pumpkin or even sweet potato in these, instead of the butternut squash, because they’ll turn out fabulous no matter what.

For more healthy brownie inspiration, check out my Gluten-Free Brownies and Lightened Up Gluten-Free Brownies! 

Fudgy Butternut Squash Brownies
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1, 15 oz. (1⅓ c.) Can Organic Butternut Squash (pumpkin and sweet potato also work)
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1½ c. Almond Butter (no added oil, salt, etc)
  • ¼ c. Agave
  • ½ c. plus 1 T. Organic Sprouted Spelt Flour (or whole wheat, white whole wheat, whole wheat pastry, etc.)
  • 2¼ t. Baking Soda
  • ¼ t. Sea Salt
  • ½ c. plus 1 T. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 1 c. Sucanat
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 325. Spray a 9x9 pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together butternut squash, almond butter, vanilla and agave until smooth.
  3. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients.
  4. Add the dry ingredients into the wet and beat on low speed until everything is incorporated and batter is smooth.
  5. Pour batter evenly into the prepared pan.
  6. Bake for 25-28 minutes, until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  7. Cool completely and cut into squares. Store in an airtight container.
Notes
Makes about 16 brownies.

 

 

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Dark Chocolate Strawberry Cream Cake

If you are looking for a super decadent, rich, absolutely DELICIOUS and most importantly HEALTHY chocolate cake–look no further! I can honestly say this is maybe the best chocolate cake I’ve ever had and I can only guess it has something to do with the crazy amount of avocado in it! Yes, avocado!

I just love avocado. Although you’d NEVER guess it was in this cake. All you’ll taste is chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate! Oh and some strawberry. 😉 Avocado is so great for chocolate desserts, like this Chocolate Avocado Pudding and I’ve also seen chocolate frosting recipes that use it in place of butter although I have yet to try it myself! It really is the ultimate super food!

What makes this cake even better is the fact that it is totally dairy-free, gluten-free and refined sugar-free! Enjoy a big ‘ole slice without any guilt!

Dark Chocolate Strawberry Cream Cake
Author: 
Category: Cake
 
Ingredients
Dark Chocolate Cake
  • 3 c. Chopped Avocado (4-5 large), pureed
  • ¾ c. Xylitol
  • ¾ c. Sucanat
  • ¼ c. Agave (optional)
  • 4 Large Eggs
  • 3 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 ½ c. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • ½ c. Special Dark Cocoa Powder (or use another ½ cup regular)
  • ½ t. Sea Salt
  • 1 t. Espresso Powder
  • 2 t. Baking Soda
  • 1 c. Enjoy Life Dark Chocolate Chunks (optional)
Chocolate Whipped Cream
  • 1, 14.5 oz. Canned Full-Fat Coconut Cream, chilled in fridge (unopened) for at least 5-8 hours or overnight
  • 2-3 T. Refined Coconut Oil, softened
  • Pinch Sea Salt
  • 2 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2 t. Cocoa Powder
  • 2 T. Agave
  • 2 Packets Truvia (or use couple teaspoons of powdered stevia, etc)
Other
  • 1 c. Sliced Strawberries
  • ½ c. Enjoy Life Dark Chocolate Chunks, melted
Instructions
For the Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray two, round 9x9-inch pans with non-stick spray and line with parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer on low speed, beat the avocado puree, xylitol, sucanat and agave until smooth. Beat in the eggs and vanilla until fully incorporated.
  3. Beat in remaining ingredients (except chocolate chunks). Stir in dark chocolate chunks.
  4. Divide batter evenly between the two pans--it will be VERY thick. Bake for 22-25 minutes until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
For the Chocolate Whipped Cream
  1. Place the metal bowl and whisk of an electric mixer in the freezer for at least 30 minutes (if you don’t have an electric mixer, a bowl and whisk should work as well).
  2. Place the thick cream part of the chilled coconut milk (you can just discard the liquid if there is any or save for smoothies, etc) into the chilled electric mixer bowl and whisk the coconut milk, coconut oil, salt, vanilla, cocoa powder, agave and truvia on medium/high speed until fully combined and thick. Refrigerate or use immediately on cake.
To Assemble
  1. Remove chilled cakes from pans and peel away parchment paper. Put one cake on a large plate or cake stand. Spread ½ of the whipped on the first cake layer.
  2. Top with the second cake layer and spread with the remaining whipped Cream
  3. Place strawberry slices around the outer edge and drizzle with melted chocolate. Serve immediately or refrigerate covered until ready to serve.

 

 

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Chocolate Avocado Pudding

Chocolate Avocado Pudding

I know what you’re thinking….avocado pudding?!  Hear me out on this one though!  Believe it or not, avocados make a great base for a LOT of desserts.  My brother-in-law, who is from the Philippines, will not eat guacamole because where he is from they use avocados in sweet things, smoothies, etc. so using it in a savory way is weird to him.  When I heard that I thought it was so strange but it kind of makes sense, especially now that I’ve tried it in a sweet dessert.

Chocolate Avocado Pudding Close

Avocados are fairly neutral in flavor, can be blended until they’re super creamy and contain loads of nutrients and healthy fat!  And this pudding is absolutely delicious.  SUPER thick, creamy, chocolatey and not too sweet.  Honestly, I don’t think anyone would know the difference if you never told them it wasn’t “real” pudding.  They’d probably even like it better!  I know I do.  Oh and did I mention it literally takes minutes to make?  Put everything in your food processor and done!  Easy!

Enjoy!

Chocolate Avocado Pudding
 
Ingredients
  • 3 Medium to Large Avocados
  • ½ c. Coconut Milk (or almond milk)
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 6 T. Regular, Unsweetened Cocoa
  • 2 T. Dark Cocoa
  • 6 T. Agave (or honey)
Instructions
  1. Remove skin and pits from avocados and place in a food processor. Add remaining ingredients and blend for a few minutes until mixture is smooth and no green pieces remain. Scrape down the sides and blend for a few seconds more, until mixture is thick. Put pudding in a bowl or air-tight container and place in the fridge for at least one hour before serving.
Notes
Serves 3-4.

 

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Homemade Chocolate Candy Cups

Almond Chocolate Candy Cups

I am still on a healthy sweet kick around here!  Hope you guys don’t mind!  I have been craving chocolate like MAD lately but didn’t want all the refined sugar, dairy and other junk that comes in commercially produced chocolate.  And believe it or not, you can actually make chocolate HEALTHY.  Well, ok, I’m not sure it would be classified as a health food but it’s 1,000x’s better than what you’d buy at the store.

Chocolate Candy Cups

Pistachio Chocolate Candy Cup

Good fat from coconut oil and organic cocoa make these little gems possible.  Seriously, we love them.  Yes, hubby loves them too which is the true test of course!  I topped mine with coconut, raisins, pistachios, almonds and dried mango.  Next time I’m going to experiment with pure mint oil,  peanut butter and a few other variations I have running through my brain.  I can’t wait!

Coconut and Raisin Chocolate Candy Cups

Enjoy!

Original Recipe: Pepperplate

 

Homemade Chocolate Candy Cups
 
Ingredients
  • ⅔ c. Organic, Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • ⅔ c. Organic Coconut Oil
  • ⅓ c. Agave (or honey, etc)
  • 1 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • Toppings such as dried fruit, nuts, coconut, etc
Instructions
  1. Place mini muffin or candy cups on a cookie sheet.
  2. In a medium bowl, melt coconut oil. Whisk in cocoa, agave and vanilla all at once. Spoon chocolate into muffin/candy cups and top with toppings of your choice. Place in freezer for 5-10 minutes until hardened. Store in refrigerator or freezer.
Notes
Makes 15, 1½" chocolate candy cups.

 

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Chocolate Fudge Tart

Chocolate Fudge Tart 2

Chocolate Fudge Tart 1

If I told you this scrumptious looking Chocolate Fudge Tart was gluten free, dairy free, has ZERO refined sugar and is no-bake, would you believe me?  Well, it’s totally true!  I used this recipe from Deliciously Organic and modified it just a bit to my liking.  What resulted was one of the richest, most delicious things I’ve ever had.  If you like super dark chocolate and fudge, this is the recipe for you. And if you don’t like super dark chocolate and fudge…what’s wrong with you?!?!!

Just kidding.

Chocolate Fudge Tart 3

Chocolate Fudge Tart 4

I love that the crust uses almond meal…it’s absolutely delicious in the recipe.  Little confession though…I had to use half almond meal and half oat flour (which I just made by processing organic rolled oats in my processor) because I ran out of almond meal.  It was still delicious and I might just make it that way from now on.  As with all “healthy” treats, this one still has calories and sugar, just not the refined, overly processed junk.  So use moderation but definitely feel free to indulge without guilt!  Make it for someone you love this Valentine’s Day!

Chocolate Fudge Tart 5

Chocolate Fudge Tart
 
Ingredients
Crust
  • 2½ c. Almond Meal (or half almond meal and half oat flour)
  • ½ c. plus 1 T. Hershey Special Dark Cocoa Powder
  • ¾ t. Sea Salt (I use pink Himalayan
  • ⅓ c. Agave (or maple syrup, honey)
  • ⅓ c. Coconut Oil, melted
Fudge Filling
  • 3 c. Hershey Special Dark Cocoa Powder
  • 1 t. Sea Salt (I use pink Himalayan)
  • 2 c. Agave (or maple syrup, honey)
  • ⅓ c. Coconut Oil, melted
Instructions
  1. Lightly oil or spray a 9-inch springform pan with non-stick cooking spray.
For the Crust
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the almond meal, cocoa powder and sea salt. Stir in the agave and coconut oil until large clumps form. Press into the bottom and up the sides of springform pan.
For the Chocolate Fudge Filling
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder and salt. With a large wooden spoon, stir in the agave and coconut oil. Mixture will get VERY thick. Pour into the crust and gently spread into an even layer. Freeze or refrigerate for about two hours, until firm. Cut into slices and serve immediately. (I actually froze mine overnight so it was a bit too firm when I took it out of the freezer. I had to let it sit and soften for about 30-45 minutes, just fyi.)
Notes
Serves16

 

 

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Homemade Chocolate Truffles

Hey friends!   Hope everyone has had a great Easter Sunday…ours was filled with a wonderful church service, lunch with family and…well, that’s about it!  Yay for lazy Sundays!

I wanted to share a recipe for homemade chocolate truffles with you guys tonight.  You know, the kind you pay major bucks for at Godiva or another fancy chocolate shop??  Yeah, that’s the kind I’m talking about! It’s soooo easy to make gourmet truffles on your own at home.  They are probably one of the first candies I ever made.  I moved on to other things like homemade marshmallows, chocolate covered cherries, turtles, caramels and toffee, but honestly, there is just something so decadent and indulgent about chocolate truffles.  Especially when they are made with quality ingredients.

When I first started making truffles, I really enjoyed experimenting with them.  I remember how many bottles of liquor I had in my house…and NOT for drinking!  Hah!  No, no it was all used for candy making!  It is super simple to add a little citrus zest, extract or liquor to your chocolate and get a variety of gourmet chocolates.  Some of my favorites were Starbucks coffee liquors and berry liquors.  Can you say YUM??  So use this recipe as a starting point and see what flavors you can add for your own homemade box of chocolates!  I think once you see how easy it is, you’ll never visit a pricey chocolate shop again!

Homemade Chocolate Truffles
 
Ingredients
  • 20 oz. Good Quality, Bittersweet Chocolate Bars, finely chopped, NOT unsweetened chocolate or 2¼ c. Dark Chocolate Chips (I prefer Ghirardelli 70% Bars or I have even used their 60% Bittersweet Chocolate Chips, but I recommend using the bars, as they melt easier than chips)
  • ¾ c. Heavy Whipping Cream
  • Citrus Zest, Flavored Liquor, Extracts, etc for flavoring (optional)
  • Chopped chocolate, cocoa, chopped nuts, melted chocolate, flaked coconut, etc (for coating truffles)
Instructions
  1. Place the chocolate in a medium bowl. In a medium saucepan, heat the heavy whipping cream over medium heat just until it boils and pour it immediately over the chocolate. Let it set for 1 minutes and then stir with a spoon or spatula or whisk until completely smooth. If adding flavor, do so now. Let cool completely and then place in fridge for a couple of hours until the mixture is firm but not stiff or refrigerate overnight (if you refrigerate overnight, let it set out for about 30 minutes to it has softened just a bit and you can scoop it more easily). Using a melon baller, scoop 1" size truffles onto a large baking sheet lined with foil. If the mixture is not too soft, roll into balls with your hands. If it is too soft, place in the freezer for a few minutes to allow to firm up a bit. Once you've shaped the truffles into balls, you can roll them in chopped nuts, finely chopped chocolate, etc or dip in melted chocolate.
Notes
Makes 30 truffles, 1" truffles

 

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White Chocolate Easter Bark

Hi guys!  I wanted to share a super easy, last-minute Easter dessert idea with you today—Easter Candy Bark!  I wish I could take credit for this idea but I actually saw it on Pinterest (shocking, I know) and couldn’t wait to make it.  It took only about 20 minutes to do, which in my book=AWESOME.

So, you can do this a couple of ways if you’d like.  The first is to buy several different colors (including white) of Wilton Candy Melts from your local crafts store (such as Hobby Lobby or Michaels).  Whatever you think is Easterish.  The second way is to buy just white Wilton Candy Melts and color them yourself which is what I did.  I really wanted to control the color of the candy so that they were really pastel and would be exactly what I wanted.  I loved the way they turned out.  Now that you have your options, let’s get on to the recipe!

Easter Bark
 
Ingredients
  • 24 oz. White Wilton Candy Melts
  • Gel-based Dyes (for coloring the white chocolate—VERY important it is gel-based and NOT water-based as the water will cause the chocolate to seize and ruin)
  • Easter Candy such as M&M’s and Jelly Beans (Nerds, Robin Eggs, Skittles…whatever you like!)
  • 1 Large Bowl
  • 4 Small Bowls
  • Several Spoons
  • 1 Knife
Instructions
  1. Line a large baking sheet with foil.
  2. In the large bowl, melt the white candy melts on 20-second intervals in the microwave, stirring between each. Once completely melted, put two large spoonfuls of white chocolate into each small bowl. Color the white chocolate in the small bowls with your gel-based dyes.
  3. Pour the remaining white chocolate out onto the foil-lined baking sheet and spread in an even layer. Spoon out all the colored white chocolate randomly over the white chocolate layer. Run the knife through the chocolate, in a swirled motion one way and then the other way. Sprinkle the candy over the chocolate and then gently press the candy into the chocolate (this is VERY important, otherwise some of the candy will fall off after the chocolate has hardened). Place in the freezer for about 3-5 minutes until completely hardened. Cut into pieces with a sharp knife.
Notes
Makes about 20 pieces.

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Java Mocha Protein Balls

I spied these dark chocolatey little bites of protein on Pinterest (where else?) the other day and knew right away I’d like them.  (See original recipe here.)  These are full of good fats and protein from the almonds, wheat germ, flax seed and protein powder and are lightly sweetened with dates and agave.  Oh and how could I forget the ground coffee.  Yes, it gets mixed right in with everything else for one powerhouse of a snack!  Forget the Snickers when you are feeling that afternoon slump…eat a couple of these for some REAL energy and nutrition.

Enjoy!

P.S.  This recipe makes ALOT  and my food processor wasn’t quite big enough so I had to split it into two batches.  Just FYI.

Java Mocha Protein Balls
 
Ingredients
  • ⅓ c. Ground Coffee
  • 4-5 T. Cocoa Powder
  • 2 c. Raw Almonds
  • ¼ c. Ground Flax Seed
  • ¼ c. Wheat Germ
  • 3 Scoops Plant-Based Chocolate Protein Powder (I prefer Garden of Life Chocolate Protein and Greens)
  • 2 T. Pure Vanilla
  • 1 c. Dates, finely chopped
  • ¼ c. Agave
  • ½-3/4 c. Warm Water
  • Chopped Bittersweet Chocolate (Prefer Enjoy Life Dark Chocolate Chunks), Cocoa Powder or Coffee Beans (for rolling/decor)
Instructions
  1. Place all the ingredients excluding the agave and water into your food processor. Blend until smooth.
  2. Add the agave and then slowly add the water, pulsing as the consistency thickens like dough. Form dough into a ball and wrap with plastic wrap. Place in an air-tight container and refrigerate for a couple of hours or overnight. Remove from fridge, form into 1-inch balls and roll in chopped bittersweet chocolate, cocoa powder or garnish with a coffee bean.
Notes
Makes 50.

 

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New Year’s Eve Party Mini Desserts

I have been in love with mini desserts for years.  They are just so darn cute and the fact that you don’t have to pick just ONE dessert but can in fact try several, due to their tiny size, is just awesome to me.  I love them so much that I actually used to cater desserts and only did miniature sizes.  It was so much fun and sometimes I really miss planning dessert tables for weddings or parties with loads of colorful, bite-size desserts!  Thank goodness for the holidays when I can unleash my creative baking skills (obsession?) on all my family and friends!

So, I thought what would be better for a New Year’s Eve party than mini sweets?!  Finger foods are VERY popular for New Year’s Eve parties and these desserts stay right with that theme.  Some of these are super easy (2-3 ingredients), which is great since you have no doubt been in the kitchen waaaayyyy too much between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Also, another way to make easy miniatures is to bake up a normal 9×13 pan of brownies, blondies, cake, etc. and cut them small with a knife or fun-shaped, small cookie cutters or take any regular ‘ole cookie recipe and just make smaller than normal cookies (be sure to cook them for less time!).  Ok, let’s check out some other awesome tiny goodies from around the blogosphere:

First up, Mini S’mores Cakes.  How cute are these?!  Get a lot more mini ideas from Delish here.

I LOVE baklava.  Love it.  It was the one thing I was looking most forward to indulging in over the Christmas holiday. I’ve actually made Baklava Cups before and they are super good and MUCH less labor intensive than the traditional way.  See more ideas from Women’s Day here.

Mini Oreos.  Yum.

Mini Ice Cream Cookie Pops. How fun!  However, if you’re afraid of the ice cream melting before people can scarf them down, try it with buttercream frosting.

I love these Mini Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Treats.  Rice Krispie treats are sooo classic and just plain good.

Banana Split Bites.  Delicious and gorgeous.

Vanilla Bean Baby Doughnuts.  Perfect after a night of imbibing.

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake.  One of my favorites.

Poptarts on a stick.  Totally awesome.  AND easy.

These Chocolate Salted-Caramel Mini Cupcakes look soooo rich and decadent.  Pure bliss.

Cut these yummy Red Velvet Brownies super small for bite-size treats.

These Lindt Mini Chocolate Trifles are adorable.  Use some larger shot glasses for the cups and think about switching up ingredients…caramel sauce for the fudge, brownies for the cookies, etc.

I have been making Brownie Tassies forever.  The only thing I do differently is top them with coffee buttercream and toasted, slivered almonds.  People will go nuts over these.

Ummm, excuse me but this Chocolate Covered Bacon Caramel Popcorn is dangerous.  Dangerous I tell you!!  And I am SO going to make it.

These Mini Cherry Pies are just down right pretty.  And begging to be eaten.

I love the playfulness of this Gumdrop Fudge.  Very festive and party appropriate.  Not to mention easy.  We like easy!

Well, hopefully this gives you some inspiration for whatever crazy New Year’s party you may be hosting or attending.  Tomorrow I’ll have my own recipe for Mini Doughnut Muffins!

 

 

 

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A Candy Cane Christmas

Nothing is more symbolic of Christmas than a candy cane and peppermint has been one of my favorite flavors for as long as I can remember.  I’ll never forget taking trips to see my Grandma who lived in Kansas City around the holidays and there was a little ice cream shoppe that had the most amazing hand-dipped candy cane ice cream.  I could hardly stand the three-hour drive from Springfield to KC in anticipation of that peppermint, creamy, frozen goodness!  Such a good memory.

So, I went searching for some awesome peppermint recipes and found so many, I almost didn’t know when to stop!  But I did manage to stop and I have quite the selection to share with you!  Not only are these desserts GORGEOUS but they are chocked full of peppermint goodness.  Make one of these for your holiday gathering this weekend!

 Layered Peppermint Cheesecake Cake

White Chocolate Peppermint Bark Cheesecake

Peppermint Crunch Truffles

Peppermint Meringues

Peppermint Brownies

Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

Peppermint Whoopie Pies

 

Candy Cane Cake Pops

Chocolate Peppermint Ice Cream Cake

Chocolate Peppermint Roll with Chocolate Ganache

Peppermint Ice Cream

Peppermint Mocha Kahlua Truffles

Vanilla Peppermint Cupcakes

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Peanut Butter Balls

As promised, my famous Peanut Butter Ball recipe!  Ok, maybe they’re not quite famous, BUT I have sold alot of this candy over the years and people love them!  It’s a recipe I have never shared before but since I took it to the cookie exchange I figured why not put it on the blog?  As you can see, I chose to top mine with crushed potato chips-delicious!  There are a lot of peanut butter ball recipes out there but this is the best, in my opinion.  They are super creamy and 100 times better than a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.  Seriously, the best.  But that’s just my opinion…

Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Balls
 
Ingredients
  • 1 Stick Unsalted Butter
  • 2 c. Creamy Peanut Butter (I prefer Peter Pan)
  • 1 lb. (3¾ c.) Powdered Sugar
  • 1 lb. High-Quality Chocolate Candy Coating
  • Crushed Potato Chips, Chopped Dry-Roasted Peanuts, etc for topping
Instructions
  1. Melt the butter in a large bowl. Add the peanut butter and stir until smooth and thoroughly combined. Add the powdered sugar and stir until completely incorporated. The mixture will become stiff (you may need to use your hands, I do). Form into two balls and let it stand overnight on the kitchen counter. Knead it the next morning until smooth. Put in the refrigerator to firm up a bit, about an hour. Form into 1½" balls and place on a foil lined cookie sheet. Place back in the fridge while you melt your chocolate. Melt the chocolate candy coating in a microwave at 20-second intervals, stirring between each, until smooth and completely melted. Dip peanut butter balls (I remove only a few from the refrigerator at a time) in chocolate and immediately top with crushed potato chips, chopped peanuts, etc. and let cool on foil until hardened.
Notes
Makes 55-60.

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Homemade Christmas Candy

This past weekend I made homemade candy, which is probably my favorite thing to make in the kitchen.  I tried a couple of old recipes and a couple of new ones.  One of the new ones was out of a candy book that I have and unfortunately it was a total disaster.  It was supposed to be similar to a 3 Musketeers but was more like chocolate taffy.  The taste was great because I used my super delicious Mexican cocoa powder but the texture was way off.  I was soooo disappointed in the recipe but I’m not going to give up!  I think that is what I like about candy making, it can be a challenge and it’s fun to figure out why recipes went wrong and what to do right or change the next time.

Here is a small collection of candy recipes that I’d love to try this Christmas, from simple to a little bit more complicated.  The homemade Snickers bar and Coffee Toffee are totally calling my name…actually they ALL look good!  Which one would you like to try??

Chubby Hubby Truffles

Gumdrops

Coffee Toffee

Honey Vanilla Bean Marshmallows

Cherry Cordials

Pumpkin Spice Truffles

Peanut Brittle

Eggnog Fudge with White Chocolate and Walnuts

Chocolate Cheesecake Truffles

Chocolate Dipped Caramels

Oreo Truffles

Divinity

Homemade Snickers

Peanut Butter Cups

Candy Cane Marshmallows

Salt Water Taffy

Chocolate Covered Coffee Crackle Crunch

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Savannah Chocolate Chewies

There’s a good chance you’ve never heard of Savannah Chocolate Chewies.  I didn’t know about them either until a few years ago and discovered them in one of my favorite cookie books, The All-American Cookie Book.  I’ve never had a recipe in this book let me down and this one is no exception!  I actually forgot about this recipe until recently and I am so glad I have rediscovered it!  What I didn’t know a few years back is that this cookie is reminiscent of one of my favorite kinds of cookies today… the French macaron.  These Savannah Chocolate Chewies are made primarily with egg whites and powdered sugar and end up forming a shiny “crust” as they bake, but the inside remains chewy and delicious.  They are perfect for any holiday party you have ever the next few weeks and very simple to make, although beware of the baking time—16 minutes!  But so worth the wait.

Enjoy!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Savannah Chocolate Chewies
 
Ingredients
  • 2 c. Chopped Pecans, toasted
  • 2¼ c. Powdered Sugar
  • ¼ c. plus 2 T. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 2 T. All-Purpose White Flour
  • ⅛ t. Salt
  • 3 Large Egg Whites
  • 1 t. Pure Vanilla
  • 1 oz. Bittersweet (not unsweetened) or Semi-Sweet Chocolate, grated (I just finely chopped 2 T. chocolate chips since I didn't have any bars)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, thoroughly combine the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, flour and salt. On low speed, beat the egg whites, one at a time, into the powdered sugar mixture. Add the vanilla and beat for 1½ minutes on high speed, scraping down the sides several times. Fold in the pecans and chocolate until evenly incorporated.
  3. Scoop the dough onto the cookie sheet by heaping spoonfuls, spacing about 2 inches apart.
  4. Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, in the middle of the oven for 15 to 18 minutes (mine took 16), or until dry on the surface but soft in the center when pressed. Reverse the sheet from front to back halfway through baking to ensure even browning. Let cookies cool on the sheet for 2 minutes and then transfer to a wire cooling rack. Let cool completely.
Notes
Makes about 24 cookies.

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No-Bake One Pan Wonders

Things are busy this time of year.  You need something to be easy.  Like 5-minutes, DONE easy.  What about some desserts that require ZERO baking time and hardly any effort?  Maybe you need something for an office party or family get-together or ANOTHER ugly Christmas sweater party?  I’ve got a few recipes that are perfect and done in no time, all in one pan.  They will definitely impress!  And you will be alot less stressed.

Enjoy!

Cake Batter Rice Krispie Treats

No-Bake Lemon Curd Cheesecake Bars

No-Bake Brownies

Peanut Butter Cup Bars

Oatmeal Butterscotch Bars

Chocolate Layered No-Bake Cheesecake Bars

No-Bake S’mores Bars

No-Bake After-Dinner Mint Bars

Nanaimo Bars

No-Bake Chewy Cookies and Cream Bars

 

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Dark Chocolate Cheesecake for Christmas

I am more excited about this Christmas season than ever before!  And it’s mostly because I will be baking my way through the next 25 plus days and documenting every gloriously sweet moment on this blog!  Since there are so many awesome recipes I want to try right now, I’ll be posting a new one every Monday and Wednesday of the week from now until Christmas.  Most likely one will be something baked (cookie, cake, etc) and one will be unbaked (candy, party mix, etc).

I’ve decided to kick off all the festive baking with this amazing  Dark Chocolate Cheesecake with Cappuccino Ganache.  This thing is decadent and rich and worth every single calorie you will have to burn on the treadmill the next day.  You really can’t go wrong bringing chocolate to a holiday gathering because seriously, who doesn’t love it??

The only problem (well, ok there were two) I encountered with this cheesecake is that the butter in the cookie crust started seeping out of my springform pan for some reason (I have NEVER had that happen before–weird!) so I had to put a cookie sheet beneath it to catch it all. And problem number two was that I didn’t realize how much volume adding two cups of melted chocolate chips would add to this recipe so my 9-inch springform pan got very full…TOO full!  I’d advise you to use at least a 10-inch round springform pan.  And don’t freak if the top gets kind of funky and cracked; your just going to cover it with ganache anyway.  I torted mine to give it a nice even surface before spreading the ganache over it and in the end it turned out perfect!

What are you most looking forward to baking this Christmas season??  I’d love to know!

Dark Chocolate Cheesecake with Cappuccino Ganache
 
Ingredients
Dark Chocolate Cheesecake
  • 2½ c. Oreos, crushed (I did mine in a food processor)
  • 1 Stick Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 4, 8 oz. Packages Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1½ c. Granulated Sugar
  • ¾ c. Whole Milk
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1 c. Sour Cream
  • 2 T. Pure Vanilla
  • ¼ c. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 c. Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1 c. Bittersweet Chocolate Chips
  • ¼ c. Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa
Cappuccino Ganache
  • 9 oz. Bittersweet Chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 c. Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 2 T. Instant Coffee (or 1 T. Espresso Powder)
  • ¼ t. Cinnamon
Instructions
For the Cheesecake:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 10-inch springform pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the crushed Oreos and melted butter and press evenly into the bottom of the springform pan, pressing the crust up onto the sides of the pan just a little.
  3. In a small bowl, melt the semi-sweet and bittersweet chocolate chips in the microwave at 20-second intervals, stirring between each, until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Set aside and let cool slightly.
  4. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Blend in the milk and then mix in the eggs, one at a time. Beat in sour cream, vanilla, flour and cocoa until smooth. Beat in the melted chocolate and spread evenly into the springform pan.
  5. Bake for 1 hour. Turn the oven off and let the cheesecake cool in the oven with the door closed for at least 1 hour (I left mine in for 3 but if I'm pressed for time, I take it out at about 1 hour...it's supposed to help prevent cracking, if you care about that). Let cool completely and then chill in the refrigerator overnight.
For the Ganache
  1. Place the chopped chocolate and cinnamon in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan, heat the heavy whipping cream over medium heat. Bring just to a boil. In a separate bowl, dissolve the instant coffee in 3 tablespoons of the boiling heavy whipping cream and then add back to the rest of the heavy whipping cream in the saucepan. Pour the heavy whipping cream over the chocolate and stir until smooth. Let cool slightly to barely warm and almost room temperature. Pour over cheesecake by starting at the center of the cake and with a spoon, slowly smooth it out toward the edges and slightly over. Let cool completely and store in the refrigerator. Decorate with shaved white chocolate, if desired.
Notes
Serves 12-15.

 

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Pecan Pie Trifle

Ok, I’ve got one more last, LAST minute Thanksgiving day dessert!  It’s a Pecan Pie Trifle–layers of chunked pecan pie, whipping cream/cream cheese mixture, fudge, caramel and toasted pecans.  Doesn’t that sound like pure evil?!  Well, it is!  Very rich, delicious evil.

You can make the cream cheese mixture or go really simple and do just homemade (or even store bought…I suppose) whipped cream, which I think I might do next time to cut back on the richness of it.  And I also did a ganache and homemade salted caramel sauce which I highly suggest doing but when your short on time a store bought, high-quality hot fudge sauce and caramel sauce will work just fine!

Enjoy!

Pecan Pie Trifle
 
Ingredients
  • 3 c. Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1 c. Powdered Sugar
  • 2 T. Pure Vanilla
  • 2, 8 oz. Packages Cream Cheese, softened
  • 2 c. Sugar
  • 1 T. Vanilla
  • 1, 2-lb. Frozen Pecan Pie, thawed and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • ½ c. Chocolate Fudge Sauce (or ganache)
  • ½ c. Caramel Sauce
  • ½ c. Chopped Pecans, toasted
Instructions
For the Whipped Cream:
  1. In a very cold mixing bowl, whip the heavy whipping cream at high speed until it becomes thick and stiff. Mix in the powdered sugar and vanilla. Set aside.
For the Cream Cheese Mixture
  1. Beat the cream cheese and sugar on medium speed in the bowl of an electric mixer until smooth. Beat in the vanilla. Fold in ¾ of the homemade whipped cream.
To Assemble:
  1. Place ⅓ of the pie cubes in the bottom of a large trifle dish or clear, tall glass bowl. Spread half the cream cheese mixture over the pie cubes, drizzle with ⅓ of both sauces and sprinkle with pecans. Repeat two more times, leaving a couple of tablespoons of both sauces and pecans to use for decoration. Spread the remaining whipped cream evenly over the top and drizzle with the rest of the sauce and sprinkle the remaining pecans on top.

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Healthy (yes, healthy!) Fall Inspired Desserts

Believe it or not, there are some people on diets this time of year.  Yes, DIETS, preparing/starving themselves for the two month long eat-o-rama that begins around mid-November and doesn’t stop until somewhere around the new year.  I myself believe in moderation and balance and try to get plenty of exercise and eat an overall healthy diet (I definitely do NOT believe in starvation and “diet” trends).  And I am most certainly planning on indulging during the holidays but in moderation.

So, for those more health-conscious readers out there like myself, I thought I would provide you with some healthy dessert options for you to bring to those family get-togethers.  Some are most definitely more healthy than others; there are low-fat, low-calorie, high-protein, low-sugar, etc.  Options!  That’s what I’m all about. 🙂  I’ll definitely be testing a couple (the Date Bars and Honey-Almond Cake are calling my name!) to see if they are worthy of the upcoming family festivities. I’ll post my results!

Pumpkin Spice Whoopie Pies

Chocolate Accordion Bread

Sweet Potato Cinnamon Bundt Cake with Orange Glaze

Pumpkin Rice Pudding (Scroll a just over half-way down the page to see the recipe.)

Chocolate Cupcakes

Sunny Oat-Date Bars

Apple Dumpling Cinnamon Rolls

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bars

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Coconut Cookies

Flourless Honey Almond Cake

Pumpkin Sesame Cookies

Chocolate Torte

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The Baked Brownie

Once again, I’ve missed the baking boat.  A little while ago I went searching for the ultimate brownie recipe and noticed a lot of bloggers raving about “the famous Baked brownie”.  Say what?  Please tell me I’m not the only one that doesn’t know about this brownie from a little NYC bakeshop called, well, what else…Baked!  From what I can gather, these guys made some brownies that Oprah raved about on her show which pretty much resulted to them being shot into baking stardom overnight.  Ok, so I was intrigued and got busy making the brownies.

The verdict?  Umm, the BEST BROWNIES I HAVE EVER HAD.  No joke.  They are dense, fudgy, rich and have that wonderful shiny crackle “crust” on top.  Hello, beautiful!  I was officially sold on this recipe and promptly went online to order their book and see what other awesome recipes I was missing out on.

If you love brownies, you absolutely MUST try this recipe.   Prepare for brownie heaven!  Oh yes, MILK.  Must have that, very important.  Now go bake!

The Baked Brownie
Author: 
Category: Dessert
24
 
Ingredients
  • 1¼ c. AP Flour
  • 1 t. Salt
  • 2 T. Dark Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 2 c. Dark Chocolate Chips (I used Ghirardelli Bittersweet)
  • 1 c. (2 sticks) Unsalted Butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 t. Instant Espresso Powder (I only had instant coffee granules and used 2 teaspoons)
  • 1½ c. Granulated Sugar
  • ½ c. Light Brown Sugar, packed
  • 5 Large Eggs, room tempoerature
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease the sides and bottom of a 9x13 glass or light-colored baking pan. Line with foil, letting extra hang over the sides to use as "handles". Grease the foil.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, salt and cocoa powder together.
  3. Put the chocolate, butter and instant espresso powder (or instant coffee granules) into a large bowl and melt in the microwave at 20 second intervals, stirring between each time until completely melted and smooth. Add sugars and whisk until completely combined. Let cool to room temperature.
  4. Add 3 eggs to the chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Add the remaining eggs and whisk until combined. Add the vanilla and stir until combined. Do not overbeat the batter at this stage or your brownies will be cakey.
  5. Sprinkle the flour mixture over the chocolate mixture. Using a rubber spatula (not a whisk), fold the flour mixture into the chocolate until just a bit of the flour mixture is visible.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake in the center of the oven for 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out with a few moist crumbs sticking to it. Let the brownies cool completely, then lift them out of the pan using the foil "handles". Cut into squares and serve.

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Chocolate Mud Cake…In a Crockpot

There’s only one thing hotter than football this fall…crockpots.  Yes, CROCKPOTS.  They are blowing up all over the Internet like they were invented yesterday.  And there are many reasons to love crockpots…they require simple/few ingredients most of the time, they cook for you while you’re at work and it’s all done in one single piece of equipment.  Yay!  And there are soooo many recipes that you can make in a crockpot…from apple cider, to mexican casseroles, to appetizers and meatloaf, the possibilities are endless.  And I recently discovered another use for my crockpot–cake!

Who would have thought you could make a cake without turning your oven on??  Simply amazing.  Now this cake isn’t winning any beauty pageants any time soon, but in the taste department it takes home the gold!  I literally threw the ingredients together for this cake in 30 minutes over my lunch break, went back to work for a couple of hours and when I got home my whole house smelled like chocolate.  Yeah, I could come home to that smell every day.

It’s an interesting recipe because you make the cake batter and put it in the crockpot and then pour this water/sugar/cocoa mixture all over the cake.  I mean, it’s a LOT of liquid!  But amazingly enough while the cake cooks, the liquid turns to a  yummy fudge sauce underneath.  It’s hard to capture the full deliciousness of this cake in a picture just ’cause really, it’s not pretty, but alot of ugly recipes taste the best.  This is one of those.

Enjoy!

Chocolate Mud Cake
 
Ingredients
Chocolate Cake:
  • 2 c. AP Flour
  • 4 t. Baking Powder
  • ½ t. Salt
  • 6 T. Unsweetened Cocoa (I used 4 T. regular unsweetened cocoa and 2 T. Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa)
  • ⅔ c. Semi-Sweet or Bittersweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1½ sticks Unsalted Butter, cut into chunks
  • 1 t. Instant Coffee Granules
  • 1¼ c. Granulated Sugar
  • ⅔ c. Whole Milk
  • 2 Large Egg Yolks
  • 2 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
Fudge Sauce:
  • 3 c. Hot Water
  • ⅔ c. Granulated Sugar
  • ⅔ c. Packed Brown Sugar
  • ⅔ c. Unsweetened Cocoa (I used half regular unsweetened and half Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa)
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
Instructions
For the Cake:
  1. Coat the inside of a 2½ quart to 5 quart slow cooker or crockpot with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa. Set aside.
  3. In another large bowl melt the chocolate chips, butter and instant coffee granules in the microwave at 20-second intervals, stirring between each until melted and smooth. Whisk in the sugar thoroughly and then the milk, egg yolks and vanilla until smooth. Add the flour mixture and mix thoroughly with a spatula. Pour into the bottom of your slow cooker and spread evenly.
For the Fudge Sauce:
  1. Combine the hot water and both sugars and whisk until sugar is dissolved. Whisk in the cocoa and vanilla. Pour over the cake batter.
  2. Cover the slow cooker with a tea towel and then put the lid on top of that (the towel will absorb any condensation that occurs). Cook for 2½ hours on high. You will know it's ready when nearly all of the cake is set and the edges begin to pull away from the sides. Let it set for 30-45 minutes and then serve in bowls with whipped cream or ice cream.
Notes
Serves 12-16

 

 

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Oreo Cheesecake Cupcakes

For the past year or two I’ve had a minor obsession with what I call “cheesecake cakes” and it all started when I made Jeremy this Red Velvet Cheesecake for his birthday.  He first had Red Velvet Cheesecake at The Cheesecake Factory and absolutely loved it.  I have to admit, it was awesome.  When his birthday came around I did my best to imitate their version and think I got pretty darn close.

After that, my brain couldn’t help but imagine all the possibilities of cheesecake cakes…I did a vanilla cheesecake and strawberry cake combo, a neapolitan with chocolate cake, vanilla cheesecake and strawberry cake…you get the picture.   While they are delicious to make, they can be somewhat labor intensive and difficult to transport.  So I finally had the bright idea to make it into a cheesecake CUPCAKE.  Brilliant, right?  So much simpler!  And that idea led to the glorious recipe offering I give you today…Oreo Cheesecake Cupcakes.

I don’t think I need to say too much about these other than they are good ABSOLUTELY AMAZING.  The chocolate cake is a recipe I borrowed from My Baking Addiction and the cheesecake is a recipe from a friend.  I was a little skeptical about the cake since it used a cake mix, but it was actually quite good.  It had a more spongy texture than I was used to but was still very moist and had a rich chocolate flavor.  And the Oreos…I mean, how can you NOT put Oreos in these?  They just send them over the top and transport you directly into chocolate/cheesecake/Oreo heaven.

Make these and share them with the people you love.  They will love you back.  Promise.

Oreo Cheesecake Cupcakes
Author: 
Category: Dessert
36
 
Ingredients
Chocolate Cake
  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package Devil’s Food Cake Mix
  • 1 (5.9 ounce) package Instant Chocolate Pudding Mix
  • 1 c. Sour Cream
  • 1 c. Vegetable Oil
  • 4 Large Eggs, lightly beaten
  • ½ c. Warm Water
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
Cheesecake
  • 1 (8 ounce) package Cream Cheese, softened
  • ½ c. Granulated Sugar
  • 2 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 1 (18 ounce) package Regular Oreos
Buttercream Dream Frosting
  • 2 sticks Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 1 c. Shortening
  • ⅛ t. Salt
  • 2 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2 lbs. (7.5 cups) Powdered Sugar, sifted
  • 4 T. Very Cold Heavy Whipping Cream (or milk)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a regular size muffin pan with paper liners or spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. For the Chocolate Cake: In an electric mixer, beat together the cake and pudding mixes, sour cream, oil, beaten eggs, water and vanilla until well combined and smooth. Set aside.
  3. For the Vanilla Cheesecake: In an electric mixer beat the cream cheese until fluffy. Add the sugar and vanilla, beating well. Beat in the egg and set aside.
  4. For the Buttercream Dream Frosting: In an electric mixer, cream the butter and shortening until fluffy, about three minutes. Add the salt and vanilla and combine well. Begin adding the sugar, one cup at a time and mix thoroughly after each addition. After all the sugar has been added and mixed thoroughly, begin adding the very cold heavy whipping cream one tablespoon at a time, combining well after each addition. Beat on medium-high speed for three minutes to reach desired consistency.
  5. To assemble: Use a scant tablespoon full of chocolate cake mix and smooth into the bottom of the muffin tin (I actually used my (very clean) finger to do this). Spoon in just enough cheesecake to cover the chocolate cake. Press an Oreo into the cheesecake and cover the Oreo with cheesecake mixture–just enough to cover the cookie. Top with another tablespoon of chocolate cake and gently spread until even in the tin. (Be careful to do no more than a tablespoon each time otherwise your muffin tin will be too full and the cupcake batter will rise above the muffin tin and “mushroom”) Repeat with remaining muffin tins. Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until top is springy to the touch. Place on wire rack and cool completely. Pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes and store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.

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