Chocolate Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread

Chocolate Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread Glaze

I have been seriously struggling lately with inspiration for my blog.  And motivation.  I mean, I WANT to bake and blog and there are plenty of recipes out there that I’m dying to try, but it’s just a little daunting trying to find the time with a baby to be in the kitchen for an hour or more.  Not gonna lie, it kinda sucks.  Love my daughter but I miss baking!!!  Just keeping it real, people.

Chocolate Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread Slices

Anywho, most of my recipes lately have been fairly simple and quick to make and honestly will probably stay that way for awhile.  And I really don’t see anything wrong with that as long as they TASTE good.  That’s the main objective, after all…something you want to eat!  Last week I was racking my brain trying to think of something easy to make and it occurred to me that I had quite a few overripe, frozen bananas in my freezer that I needed to use.  If for nothing else, I just needed that freezer space back!  I went to see how many I had and I counted 20 bananas.  Twenty!!!  That’s a lot.  Unbelievably enough, I couldn’t find a recipe that uses 20 bananas at once (shocking, I know) but I did manage to adapt this Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread from Sally’s Baking Addiction and use a whopping four bananas.  Woo hoo, my freezer will be cleaned out in no time!  NOT.  I have a feeling we’ll be eating a lot of banana bread in the future.

Chocolate Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread Loaf

So like I said I adapted this recipe and threw in a little cocoa powder (I love the combo of chocolate and cinnamon) and added a crunchy cinnamon sugar top to the loaf.  It turned out moist and so delicious.  The only disappointing thing was that you couldn’t see the cinnamon sugar layer in the middle of the loaf because of the cocoa…I didn’t even think about that!  But it still tasted amazing.  Simple, homey and just good.  It’s a favorite banana bread recipe in our house now!

Enjoy!

Chocolate Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread
 
Ingredients
Banana Bread
  • 2 c. Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
  • ¼ c. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • ¾ t. Baking Soda
  • ½ t. Salt
  • 1 t. Ground Cinnamon
  • ¾ c. Dark Brown Sugar, packed
  • ½ c. Vegetable Oil
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1½ c. Mashed, Very Ripe Bananas (about 4 bananas)
  • ⅓ c. Sour Cream
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
Cinnamon Swirl
  • ½ c. Granulated Sugar
  • 1½ t. Ground Cinnamon
  • ½ c. Unsalted Butter, melted (this will be reserved for the top of the loaf)
Simple Glaze
  • ½ c. Powdered Sugar
  • 1 T. Heavy Cream (or milk...all I had was almond milk so I used that)
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9x5-inch loaf pan.
For the Banana Bread
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and sugar. In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, eggs, bananas, sour cream and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Do NOT overmix.
  2. Spoon half of the batter into prepared pan. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle half of the cinnamon sugar mixture onto the batter in the pan. Top with remaining batter and sprinkle with remaining cinnamon sugar mixture. Pour melted butter evenly over loaf. Bake for 50-55 minutes until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool 15 minutes in the pan on a wire rack. Remove from pan and cool completely on wire rack.
  3. While the bread is cooling, make the glaze in a small bowl by combine the powdered sugar, heavy cream and vanilla. Drizzle over the cooled banana bread. Store in an airtight container.
Notes
8-10 servings.

Chocolate Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread Pieces

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Bakery Review – Hurts Donut in Springfield, MO

Hurts Donut Outside

Hurts Donut Sign

Hurts Donut Window

A few weeks ago a new donut (doughnut?  I never really know) shop opened in downtown Springfield, MO and people went NUTS.  I mean, NUTS.  It was lines out the door, front page news, donut PANDEMONIUM.  So of course I had to check it out and see what all the fuss was about.  We ventured downtown late one Saturday morning with stinker butt (that would be our daughter, Avery) and to our surprise there was no line out the door and hardly anyone inside.  Apparently we had just missed the rush.  Yay!  So we got to swagger right up to the counter where we were greeted with a plethora of brightly decorated, candy and cereal crusted donuts.

Hurts Donut Inside

 

Hurts Donut Menu

Hurts Donut Case

The variety was pretty big….from your basic glazed yeast donut to maple bacon long johns and cake donuts dipped in frosting and covered with cereal, candy bars, sprinkles and almost anything else you could imagine.  It reminded me of a place I had seen on Food Network years ago called VooDoo Doughnut in Portland, Oregon.

Fruity Pebble Donut

Cinnamon Crunch Donut

Captain Crunch Donut

Butterfinger Donut

So how were the donuts?  Pretty tasty.  I wasn’t a fan of the cake donuts with all the crazy toppings (cereal and candy on a donut just isn’t my thing) but the streusel yeast donut and glazed maple long john we had were quite delicious.  I can definitely understand the appeal to so many people with all the variety they have.  You’re bound to find something you like!  At this point, they are open 24 hours a day so check them out if you are in the area.  Hopefully this place will be around for awhile!

Animal Cookie and Coconut Donut

 

Box of Donuts

 

Streusel Donut

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German Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars

German Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars

I had grand plans this past Thanksgiving of making pie, which is definitely one of my favorite desserts.  For me, it ranks up there with cheesecake, bread pudding and really good wedding cake.  However as the time drew near, I quickly realized how challenging it would be to make two or three pies with a seven month old demanding my attention.  Yeah, not happenin’.  Soooo, Plan B was these German Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars.  And I must say, I am NOT sad that I had to make these instead!  Imagine pecan pie, loaded with coconut and bittersweet chocolate chunks, on top of a chocolatey crust, in bar form.  To. Die. For.  I can honestly say I’m glad I had to change things up because these were out of this world delicious!

German Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars 2

 

German Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars 3

Enjoy!

Original Recipe:  Southern Living Magazine

German Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars
 
Ingredients
Crust
  • 1¾ c. All-Purpose Flour
  • ¾ c. Powdered Sugar
  • ¼ t. Salt
  • ¼ c. Unsweetened Cocoa
  • ¾ c. (1½ sticks) Unsalted Butter, cubed
Filling
  • 1 c. Dark Brown Sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 c. Light Corn Syrup
  • ½ c. (1 stick) Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 3 Large Eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 3½ c. Pecans, toasted and roughly chopped
  • 2 c. Bittersweet Chocolate Chips (I like Ghirardelli 60% Bittersweet but you could also use semi-sweet, etc)
  • 2 c. Sweetened, Flaked Coconut
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line bottom and sides of a 9x13 pan with heavy duty aluminum foil, allowing 2 to 3 inches to extend over the sides to use as "handles". Lightly grease foil.
For the Crust
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt and cocoa powder. Add butter and crumble it with your fingers or a fork until it resembles a coarse meal. Press into the bottom of the 9x13 pan. Sprinkle with chocolate chips.
For the Filling
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, corn syrup, butter and eggs. Stir in 1 cup of coconut and pecans and pour over the crust. Top with remaining cup of coconut.
  2. Bake for 45 minutes or until golden and set (mine was still the slightest bit jiggly in the very middle and I was ok with that). Cool completely on a wire rack. Lift baked bars from pan using foil "handles" and cut into squares. Store in an airtight container.
Notes
Makes 20 bars.

German Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars 4

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Nutella Ooey Gooey Butter Cake

Nutella Ooey Gooey Butter Cake

Nutella Ooey Gooey Butter Cake Piece

Gooey butter cake again?  YES.  And this time with Nutella.  NUTELLA.  In OOEY GOOEY BUTTER CAKE.  Can your mind even comprehend?!  I’ve made all kinds of gooey butter cakes, but this one might be my favorite.  It’s rich, decadent and perfect with ice cream.  A great, chocolatey addition to any holiday spread!

Nutella

Enjoy!

Nutella Ooey Gooey Butter Cake
 
Ingredients
For the Cake
  • 1, 18.25 oz. Box Duncan Hines Dark Chocolate Fudge Cake Mix
  • 1 Large Egg, at room temperature
  • ½ c. Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
For the Filling
  • 8 oz. Cream Cheese, softened
  • 3 Large Eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 c. Nutella
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 3¾ c. Powdered Sugar
  • ½ c. Unsalted Butter, melted
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9x13 baking pan.
For the Cake
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine cake mix, egg, butter and vanilla and mix well. Pat into the bottom of the prepared pan and set aside.
For the Filling
  1. Still using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth; add eggs, Nutella and vanilla. Dump in powdered sugar and beat well. Reduce speed of mixer and slowly pour in butter. Mix well. Pour filling onto cake mixture and spread evenly. Bake for 40-45 minutes (mine is done around 40), until a tester comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool completely on a wire rack.

 

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Pumpkin Spice Dessert Dip

Pumpkin Spice Dessert Dip

Have you heard of dessert hummus?  Sounds kind of gross, right?  When you think of hummus you typically think savory, spicy, chickpea goodness served with veggies, crisp chips and deliciously soft, warm pita bread.  You usually don’t think of dessert.  But this recipe will forever change the way you view hummus!  Because chickpeas have a fairly neutral flavor, they are a great base for MANY things (brownies, fudge, etc).  Kind of like avocado…remember this awesome Chocolate Avocado Pudding made with avocados?!  Yeah, it was awesome.  But back to the hummus…in a word, this stuff ROCKS.  You would never know it was made with BEANS and you definitely don’t have to tell people.  I absolutely love that it is healthy and a perfect holiday treat.  I served it with graham crackers, gluten-free cinnamon crisp cookies and tart fuji apples.  I actually liked the apples best for dipping!  That is when I was actually using something to dip it with and not just eating it with a spoon.  Kind of addictive.  But in a good way!  Try this for your next holiday party just don’t mention the beans! 😉

Pumpkin Spice Dessert Dip with Pecans

 

 

Pumpkin Spice Dessert Dip and Apples

Enjoy!

Pumpkin Spice Dip
 
Ingredients
  • 3 c. Chickpeas (2, 15 oz. cans), drained and rinsed
  • 2 c. Pumpkin Puree (I like organic because it has the best taste)
  • ½ c. Almond Butter
  • ¼ c. Olive Oil
  • ½ c. Agave (or honey, maple syrup, etc)
  • 4 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 3 t. Cinnamon
  • ¼ t. Ground Ginger
  • ⅛ t. Nutmeg
  • ⅛ t. Ground Cloves
  • ½ t. Pink Himalayan Sea Salt
Instructions
  1. Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Serve with cookies, apples, pumpkin or apple bread, etc.
Notes
Makes 6 cups.

 

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Praline-Apple Bread

Praline Apple Bread

Praline Apple Bread Slice

I am into FAST recipes these days.  But of course they still have to be delicious.  And obviously were in the full swing of fall so they either need pumpkin or apples involved somehow.  Which gives us this super moist, super yummy Praline-Apple Bread.  I love quick breads, especially ones that are topped with a gooey praline topping.  The chunks of apples, bursts of cinnamon chips and crunchy, toasted pecans make this bread perfect for a brunch, snack or after dinner dessert!  I took it to a mommy/baby play date and it was almost gone by the time we left!  I call that a successful recipe!

Praline Apple Bread Slices

Praline Apple Bread Loaf

Enjoy!

Praline-Apple Bread
 
Ingredients
  • 1, 8 oz. Container Sour Cream
  • 1 c. Granulated Sugar
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 2 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2 c. All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 t. Baking Powder
  • ½ t. Baking Soda
  • ½ t. Salt
  • 1 t. Apple Pie Spice
  • 2 c. Finely Chopped, Peeled Jonagold Apples (or golden delicious, granny smith, etc. It ended up being about 3 large apples.)
  • 1½ c. Cinnamon Chips
  • 1 c. Chopped Pecans, toasted
  • ½ c. Unsalted Butter
  • ½ c. Dark Brown Sugar, firmly packed
  • ½ t. Pure Vanilla Extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9x5-inch loaf pan.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the sour cream, sugar, eggs and vanilla on low speed for 2 minutes or until blended.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and apple pie spice. Add to sour cream mixture, beating just until blended. Fold in apples, ½ cup of pecans and 1 cup of cinnamon chips. Pour batter into loaf pan and sprinkle with remaining pecans and cinnamon chips, lightly pressing them into the top of the batter.
  4. Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 5 minutes or until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean, shielding with aluminum foil after 50 minutes to prevent excessive browning (I missed the tip about the foil and my edges were well done so I strongly recommend doing it.) Cool in pan on wire rack, placed over a baking sheet, for 10 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack.
  5. Bring butter and brown sugar to a boil in a medium, heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly; boil 1 minute. Remove from heat and spoon over top of bread. Let cool completely. Store in an air-tight container.
Notes
Serves 10-12.

 

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Pumpkin Crunch Cake with Cinnamon Whipped Cream, Bourbon Salted Caramel and Dark Chocolate Chips

Pumpkin Crunch Cake

Fall is in the air!  Cooler weather, leaves falling, sweaters and boots, bonfires, apple and pumpkin EVERYTHING.  I love it!  Definitely my favorite season.  So I thought I’d start things right with this recipe for Pumpkin Crunch Cake.  I saw this recipe on The Picky Apple and since it had over HALF A MILLION pins on Pinterest, I thought it might be a good one to try.  The bottom is like a yummy custard type pumpkin pie and the top is cakey and slightly crunchy from the pecans.  So good!  I topped mine with homemade cinnamon whipped cream, Bourbon Salted Caramel from Fat Toad Farm and organic dark chocolate chips.  If you’re looking for a delicious fall recipe, this is the one!

Pumpkin Crunch Cake with Cinnamon Whipped Cream

 

Pumpkin Crunch Cake Slice

Enjoy!

Pumpkin Crunch Cake with Cinnamon Whipped Cream, Bourbon Salted Caramel and Dark Chocolate Chips
 
Ingredients
  • 1, 15 oz. Can Pumpkin Puree (NOT pumpkin pie mix)
  • 1, 12 oz. Can Evaporated Milk
  • 3 Large Eggs, room temperature
  • 1½ c. Sugar
  • 1 t. Cinnamon
  • ½ t. Salt
  • 1 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1, 18.25 oz. Spice Cake Mix
  • 1½ c. Pecans
  • 1 c. Unsalted Butter, melted
  • Cinnamon Whipped Cream
  • Dark Chocolate Chips
  • Caramel Sauce
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 10½ inch springform pan or 9x13 cake pan. I used a springform pan which did leak a little so I put a large, round baking pan under it.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, milk, eggs, sugar, cinnamon, salt and vanilla. Pour into the pan and sprinkle the cake mix on top (I only used about ¾ of the cake mix because I used a springform pan), then the pecans and drizzle with the melted butter. Bake for 1 hour or until the middle of the cake is firm (mine took about 1 hour and 10 minutes). Cool completely. Top with cinnamon whipped cream, caramel and dark chocolate chips.

 

 

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No-Bake Energy Bars

No-Bake Energy Bars Chocolate

Sometimes I think I like my healthy recipes better than my totally unhealthy ones…for instance, these No-Bake Energy Bars.  One word-AMAZING.  Easy and delicious, sweet but not too sweet, chewy and just yummy.  Wholesome ingredients like oats and flaxseed and a little indulgence from the dark chocolate chips. Perfect pick me up in the afternoon when energy is at an all-time low.  Now if I could only eat just one…

No-Bake Energy Bars

Enjoy!

No-Bake Energy Bars
 
Ingredients
  • 1½ c. Organic Peanut Butter (I used crunchy)
  • ¾ c. Agave (or honey)
  • 2 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2 c. Oats
  • 2 c. Dessicated Coconut Flakes (the unsweetened kind)
  • 1 c. Ground Flaxseed (I used flaxseed meal)
  • ⅓ c. Coconut Oil, melted
  • ½ c. Organic Dark Chocolate Chips
Instructions
  1. Line a 9x13 pan with foil and lightly spray with non-stick cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine peanut butter, agave and vanilla until smooth. Add oats, coconut flakes and ground flaxseed and combine thoroughly. Stir in coconut oil. Stir in dark chocolate chips. Press evenly into bottom of pan. Refrigerate for at least 30-45 minutes until bars are firm. Invert onto a cutting board, peel away foil and cut into squares. Store in refrigerator.

 

 

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Banana Split Ooey Gooey Butter Cake

Banana Split Ooey Gooey Butter Cakes

My love affair with ooey gooey butter cake is well-documented here, here and here.  I love it and I’m not ashamed.  And I’ll probably keep coming up with more versions as long as there’s a semi-creative bone in my body!  Hope you guys don’t mind.  Actually I know you won’t mind once you taste this Banana Split Ooey Gooey Butter Cake.  It. Is. Divine.  Literally like a banana split in cake form and so, so, SO good.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Banana Split Ooey Gooey Butter Cake

 

Banana Split Ooey Gooey Butter Cake
 
Ingredients
Cake
  • 1, 18.25 oz. Box Yellow Cake Mix
  • 1 Egg
  • ½ c. (1 stick) Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 1 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
Filling
  • 1, 8 oz. pkg. Cream Cheese, softened
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1, 16 oz. Box (3¾ c.) Powdered Sugar
  • ½ c. (1 stick) Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 2 Ripe Bananas, mashed (not brown ripe like for banana bread and not green...just nice and yellow)
  • 1 c. Maraschino Cherries
  • 1 c. Pecans, toasted and chopped
  • 8 oz. Pineapple Tidbits
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 pan with nonstick cooking spray.
For the Cake
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cake mix, egg, butter and vanilla on medium speed until well combined. Pat into the bottom of the prepared pan and set aside.
For the Filling
  1. Still using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat in mashed bananas. Dump in the powdered sugar and beat well. Reduce speed of mixer and slowly pour in butter. Mix well. Beat in cherries, pecans and pineapple tidbits until just combined. Pour filling onto cake mixture and spread evenly. Bake for 45 minutes or until filling is firm in the middle.
Notes
Makes 18 pieces.

 

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Soft & Thick Snickerdoodles

Snickerdoodles

I never thought I was a huge fan of snickerdoodles until I found the recipe I’m going to share with you guys today. I mean, I always liked them ok but if given the choice, I’d probably choose a peanut butter or classic chocolate chip cookie.  However, this snickerdoodle totally gives those other cookies a run for their money.  Just like the title says it is totally soft and crazy thick and full of yummy cinnamon flavor!  I took them to our gourmet cooking club the other night and heard several people say they were THE BEST snickerdoodle they’ve ever had.  Yay!  And I have to agree!  If you’re looking for a cookie you can whip up quickly and will get you rave reviews, look no further!  This is it!

Snickerdoodle

Enjoy!

Recipe source:  Sally’s Baking Addiction

Soft & Thick Snickerdoodles
 
Ingredients
  • 1 c. (2 sticks) Unsalted Butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1⅓ c. Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Large Egg, room temperature
  • 2 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 3 c. All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 t. Cream of Tartar
  • 1 t. Baking Soda
  • 2½ t. Ground Cinnamon
  • ½ t. Salt
Topping
  • ¼ c. Granulated Sugar
  • 1 t. Cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Make the topping by tossing the ¼ cup granulated sugar with 1 teaspoon of cinnamon in a small bowl. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the softened butter for about 1 minute on medium speed until smooth. Add the sugar on medium speed until fluffy and light in color. Mix in the egg and vanilla. Scrape down the sides as needed.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in three different parts. The dough will be thick.
  5. Roll 1.5-2 Tablespoons of dough into a ball and roll in the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Bake cookies for 11-12 minutes, rotating pans and switching racks halfway through. Let cool on the pans for two minutes and then transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.
Notes
Makes 2 dozen.

 

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Ultimate Fudge Brownies

Ultimate Fudge Brownies 1

Just when I think I’ve found the most amazing brownie recipe ever and can end my search for good, I find another recipe that claims to be “the best, most chocolatey, fudgiest, decadent, to-die-for, OMG good” brownie EVER and just have to try it.  Such was the case with these Ultimate Fudge Brownies.

Ultimate Fudge Brownies 2

I’ve tried a few brownie recipes in my time (many flops that I have never even bothered to blog about…or maybe I should have just as a warning to readers haha) and thought I had found the perfect one with the infamous Baked Brownie but honestly, this new one totally gives it a run for its money.  And I’m pretty positive I like it better.  Ok, I KNOW I do.  It’s thicker, denser, fudgier, richer and so, so, SO GOOD.  The perfect brownie?  Umm, yes.  For now at least!  I’m not sure it can get any better!  And they are easier to make than the Baked Brownie which is another plus when you’re the mom of a newborn.   You DEFINITELY need fast and easy.

Ultimate Fudge Brownies 3

Enjoy!

Ultimate Fudge Brownies
 
Ingredients
  • 1 c. (2 sticks) Unsalted Butter
  • 1¾ c., plus 2 T. Sugar
  • 1¼ c. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • ¼+1/8 t. Salt
  • 3 Large Eggs, cold
  • ¾ c. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 c. Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • ½ c. White Chocolate Chips (or whatever kind you prefer...dark, milk, butterscotch, peanut butter, etc)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray a 9x9 square baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Melt the butter, sugar, cocoa and salt in a large bowl in the microwave at 30 second increments, stirring each time until the butter is completely melted. Mixture will look gritty. Set aside for a few minutes and let cool slightly.
  3. Stir in the vanilla extract. Add eggs, one at a time, stirring after each addition. The batter will be thick and glossy. Add the flour, stirring with a whisk until just combined. Do not overmix the batter. Gently fold in the semi-sweet and white chocolate chips with a large spatula. Pour into prepared baking pan.
  4. Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick/tester inserted in the middle comes out clean with only a few crumbs. Do not overbake.
  5. Cool brownies completely on a cooling rack, cut into squares and store in an air-tight container.
Notes
Makes 20 brownies.

 

 

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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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New York Style Lemon Cheesecake

NY Style Lemon Cheesecake

Cheesecake is one of my all time favorite desserts, especially New York style cheesecake.  So a couple of weeks ago when we were getting together with some extended family for a little cookout, I knew what I’d be making for dessert!  Nothing better than cool, creamy cheesecake on a ridiculously hot day…well, ok, maybe ice cream is better but cheesecake doesn’t melt!

NY Style Lemon Cheesecake Close

NY Style Lemon Cheesecake Slice

I have a fabulous cheesecake recipe that I decided to put a little twist on with fresh squeezed lemon juice and grated lemon rind.  I also topped it with homemade whipped cream, which not only looks pretty but helps balance out the sweetness of the cheesecake.  It was fabulous and the perfect ending to a great meal!

Enjoy!

New York Style Lemon Cheesecake
 
Ingredients
  • 2¾ c. Lemon Sandwich Cookie Crumbs (or graham cracker crumbs)
  • 8 T. Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 4, 8 oz. pkgs Cream Cheese, at room temperature
  • 4 Large Eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 c. Sour Cream
  • 1½ c. Sugar
  • ¾ c. Milk
  • ¼ c. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • ½ c. Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice (I used 4 large lemons)
  • 2 T. Lemon Zest
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan. (Wrap pan in foil if doing waterbath. I did not do a waterbath but did place the pan on a large cookie sheet to catch butter that would leak out.)
  2. Combine cookie crumbs and butter. Press evenly into bottom of pan and up the sides an inch or so.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar on medium to high speed until smooth. Blend in milk and then mix in the eggs all at once, mixing just enough to incorporate. Mix in sour cream, vanilla and flour until smooth. Beat in lemon juice and lemon zest. Pour filling into crust.
  4. Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until the center appears firm. Remove from oven and let cool completely on a wire rack. Chill for at least 4-24 hours before serving. Top with homemade whipped cream just before serving.
Notes
Serves 20.

 

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Bakery Review: Elle’s Patisserie in Springfield, MO

Elle's Patisserie Outside

Elle's Patisserie Front Door

There’s a teeny little shop in our town that sells the most delicious treats.  And when I say delicious treats I’m talking legit truffles, ice cream and serious baked goods.  I had the pleasure of visiting Elle’s Patisserie a couple of weekends ago and was in love with the quaint little shop the moment we stepped inside.  From the cute purple exterior to the lovely little patio outside, everything about Elle’s is perfection.  The interior is relaxed and French inspired and tiny but the perfect size to display everything that comes out of the kitchen.

Elle's Patisserie Menus

Elle's Patisserie Menu

Elle's Patisserie Display Case

Elle's Patisserie Chairs

Elle's Patisserie Banner

Per usual, I wanted to try one of everything and was in a sort of daze just looking at all the truffles.  We sampled some ice cream (totally yummy) and then proceeded with the difficult task of deciding what we wanted to buy.  We finally narrowed it down to a piece of Chocolate Covered Bacon, a Salted Caramel Coffee Macaron, a Dark Ganache Truffle with Cocoa Nibs, a Peanut Butter Ball and a Peanut Butter Ganache Brownie.

Elle's Patisserie Ice Cream

Elle's Patisserie Macarons and Truffles

Elle's Patisserie Brownie

I won’t go into tons of detail about each one because they were all equally divine and if I wasn’t watching my girlish, post-pregnancy figure, I would have promptly bought one of each of everything else.  My favorite thing was probably the macaron.  Or maybe the dark ganache truffle.  Definitely a toss-up. Suffice it to say, Elle knows what she’s doing in the kitchen.

Elle's Patisserie Truffles

Elle's Patisserie Macaron

Elle's Patisserie Brownie and Treats

My only regret is that we didn’t get there a little earlier in the day.  By the time we arrived they were completely sold out of pastries.  Bummer!  But we’ll be back.  Elle’s is definitely a must-visit little chocolate shop so be sure and check them out if you are in Springfield, MO!

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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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Coconut Mango Chia Seed Pudding

Coconut Mango Chia Seed Pudding 1

So, who isn’t thinking about losing weight and looking hot in a two-piece right now?!  I for sure am thinking about it more and more as the weather warms up and summer gets closer.  And since I don’t have quite as much time to exercise right now (who knew babies could be so demanding?!) I am watching my diet like a hawk and definitely limiting my sugar intake.  Which led me to this recipe for Coconut Mango Chia Seed Pudding.  Did you know you could make pudding with chia seeds??  I love it!  Once this mixture sets overnight, the chia seeds plump up and thicken and you’ve got cold, creamy, good-for-you pudding!  I made mine with lite coconut milk but you could use almond milk if you’d like and even use a different fruit besides mango.  Very versatile!  And DELICIOUS.  Great guilt-free treat!

Enjoy!

Coconut Mango Chia Seed Pudding 2

Recipe Source:  Skinny Taste

Coconut Mango Chia Seed Pudding
 
Ingredients
  • 2 c. Lite Coconut Milk
  • ¼ c. Chia Seeds
  • ¼ c. Unsweetened, Shredded Coconut
  • 1T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2 T. Agave (or honey/sweetener of choice)
  • 1 Ripe Mango, chopped
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Cover and let sit in refrigerator for 5-6 hours or overnight. Serve chilled.
Notes
Serves 2.

 

 

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Campfire Treats for Memorial Day Weekend

Cast Iron Skillet Brownie by Simply Food Love
Cast Iron Skillet Brownie by Simply Food Love

Hi friends!  Well, I’ve been just slightly busy lately with the new little person in our home and haven’t had much time for baking, unfortunately.  Sigh.  So I decided to go online and find some fabulous camping recipes that would be perfect for Memorial Day festivities.  Love all these…the skillet brownies and cherry cheesecake both look AMAZING.  Hope everyone has a GREAT weekend and eats some delicious food!

Peach Cobbler

 

Peach Cobbler

Grilled Banana Boats

 

S'more Banana Boat

Campfire Cones

 

Campfire Cones

Tin Foil Pineapple Upside Down Cake

 

Tin Foil Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Strawberry S’mores

 

strawberry+smores

Orange Blueberry Muffins

 

Campfire Orange Blueberry Muffins

S’MOreos

 

smoreos

Cast Iron Skillet Brownies

 

 Cast Iron Skillet Brownie

Dutch Oven Cinnamon Rolls

 

dutch-oven-cinnamon-rolls

Campfire Cheesecake

 

Campfire Cheesecake

 

 

 

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Banana Cream “Pie”

 

Photo by Southern Living (Not what this recipe will look like when done, but I didn't have a photo of the one my sister made!)
Photo by Southern Living (Not what this recipe will look like when done, but I didn’t have a photo of the one my sister made!)

This is a fabulous layer dessert that my sister has made for several years and my family absolutely loves it, especially my hubby.  It really is delicious….cool, creamy, chocked full of bananas and not overly sweet.  Oh and SUPER simple to make.   If you love banana pudding or banana cream pie, you’ll love this dessert!  Perfect for Mother’s Day!  Hope your family enjoys it as much as ours does.

(Homemade Whipped Cream recipe here.)

Banana Cream "Pie"
 
Ingredients
  • 8 oz. Cream Cheese
  • 1, 14 oz. Can Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 1 Large Box Vanilla Instant Pudding
  • 2 c. Whole Milk
  • 3 Medium Bananas
  • 8 oz. Cool Whip or Homemade Whipped Cream
  • 1 Regular Size Box of Vanilla Wafers (few crushed for garnish)
Instructions
  1. Beat cream cheese in bowl of an electric mixer. Add sweetened condensed milk and beat thoroughly. Add instant pudding and milk and beat 1-2 minutes until thick. Fold in sliced bananas and ¾ of Cool Whip/homemade whipped cream. Layer in 9x13 pan--layer of wafers, pudding, wafer, pudding and then spread remaining Cool Whip/whipped cream on top. Garnish with crushed wafers. Let sit in fridge overnight or 8-12 hours before serving.
Notes
Serves 8-12

 

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The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

I think it has finally happened.  I may have found the PERFECT chocolate chip cookie.  I’ve searched high and low and my journey may be over!  I’ve always struggled to find the ideal chocolate chips cookie which in my mind is thick, soft and slightly chewy.  This N.Y. Times Chocolate Chip Cookie was good, but a little flat for my preference and didn’t quite hit the mark.  Then, I saw this recipe by Sally’s Baking Addiction and had to give it a try.  I had made her Soft Baked Monster Cookies which were PHENOMENAL so I had full confidence she knew what she was doing when it came to cookies and was excited to try her recipe.  And I was NOT disappointed.  Seriously, the perfect thickness and so soft and chewy at the same time.  Amazing.  I was SO happy, I think my search for the perfect chocolate chip cookie is over!

The Perfct Chocolate Chip Cookie

Enjoy!

The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie
 
Ingredients
  • ¾ c. (1½ sticks) Unsalted Butter, softened
  • ¾ c. Dark Brown Sugar
  • ¼ c. Sugar
  • 1 Large Egg, room temperature
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2 c. All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 t. Cornstarch
  • 1 t. Baking Soda
  • ½ t. Salt
  • 1 c. Bittersweet Chocolate Chips (I used Ghirardelli)
  • ½ c. Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugars together on medium speed until fluffy and light in color. Mix in egg and vanilla. Scrape down the sides as needed. On low speed, mix in flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt. Stir in chocolate chips.
  3. Roll dough into 1½" balls with the palms of your hands and place about two inches apart on cookie sheet. Bake for 8-9 minutes (I did 4 minutes, rotated pans and switched racks and did 5 more minutes) until barely golden brown around the edges. Let cool for 2 minutes on cookie sheets and transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely.
Notes
Makes 2 dozen cookies.

 

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