Tag Archives: chocolate

Chocolate: Good For You

Oof. I just wrote this WHOLE POST for you and lost it. I am not happy (I should probably eat some chocolate). I am also not going to retype everything, so now you’re getting the shorter version. Sorry.

Anyway!

I think you guys are probably aware that I’m a huge Harry Potter fan. I’ve written about it a fair amount.

And, I mean, duh. Who isn’t a Harry Potter fan?

Anyway, while I’m not silly enough to believe all of that magic really exists (or, at least, I’m not silly enough to admit that on the internet…), there is one little bit of magic from those book in which I totally believe: chocolate reallycan heal.

(source)

I’ve recently increased my chocolate intake and have told myself it’s for stress. However, I’ve also learned that it’s good for me and that maybe I’m doing it subconsciously for healthy reasons!

Let me have it. Sometimes you just need a win, right?

Here’s a sampling of some of the chocolate we have around the office.

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Don’t worry. I never have that much at once.

Usually.

I recently read this article in Eating Well Magazine (November/ December 2011 edition) and liked it so much, I thought I’d share it.

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Last time I typed up this post, I re-typed the whole article for you. Not gonna happen again.

The bottom lines:

1. It makes you smile.

2. It helps you see better.

3. It’s a diet food.

That’s enough for me!

But, just in case it isn’t enough for you, you can check some other articles out:

I love it when these things work in my favor.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to eat some chocolate!

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Chocolate Granola for Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day, friends!

I hope you all have loved ones with whom to celebrate. If you do, I think you should be starting your day off with chocolate.

You know, to celebrate.

And if you don’t… you should definitely be starting your day with some chocolate.

To… make yourself feel better. Or, hey, to celebrate being single. Whichever.


It’s because I love you guys that I spent part of my weekend creating a recipe for chocolate granola.

Definitely not because I knew I’d need some chocolate on Tuesday morning.

Not telling you which of the above scenarios has me needing chocolate in the morning, though. 😉

Anyway, I thought this might be a nice Valentine’s Day recipe to wake up to. Healthy, but not too healthy. Chocolate-based, but not wildly caloric (the cocoa makes it taste decadent without being coated in melted chocolate). A good balance. A perfect start to the day.

Chocolate Granola

makes about 2 1/2 cups worth… whatever that means to you, serving-wise 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups oats
  • 1/2 cup agave
  • 2 tbs vegetable or canola oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup slivered or sliced almonds (I actually switched to sliced after I took the above picture)
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips

Directions:

Set oven to 300 degrees.

Pour all ingredients into a bowl. Mix, preferably with a wooden spoon.

Try really hard not to eat some with a spoon.

Fail. There’s no raw egg in there. Fail happily.

Spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray.

Spread (remaining) granola mixture evenly across the baking sheet.

Bake for 30 minutes, tossing the granola every seven-ish minutes.

Voila! That’s it. I love easy recipes.

Serve however you want.

So far, I’ve tried it with milk…

Almond milk…

(soooo good)

And in a delicious yogurt bowl for Valentine’s morning. 🙂

Delicious. Decadent. Still healthy.

And totally holiday-appropriate.

Happy Valentine’s Day! Did you have chocolate in your breakfast today? Share!

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Homemade Whipped Cream

So, remember that Chocolate Bundt Cake I posted about the other day? Well, it’s damn good, but the homemade whipped cream that goes along with it takes it over the top.


I was originally going to post the recipe for this whipped cream  in my own words (you know, as usual), so I emailed my mom and asked her to send me the recipe (since she’s the one who made it and this recipe is her’s).


Then, I read her email and I realized how funny it was and also that you’ll be able to see that I get both my writing style and my sense of humor from her, so I thought I’d just share it exactly as she wrote it. Enjoy.

From my mother’s lips (well, fingers, I suppose):

Homemade Whipped Cream

Oh boy, this is a tough one. Kidding.

Use cold whipping or heavy cream – usually one pint is plenty.
I also use a cold bowl and cold beaters. It helps beat the cream. Put them in the fridge for 15 minutes. Be sure to have the beater UNPLUGGED when you attach the cold beaters.
Beat the cream on high until stiff peaks form. Once stiff (yeah, I know), add powdered (confectioner’s) sugar to taste. Try a little at first – maybe an 1/8 of a cup, and add more as desired. Depending on what you’re serving it with, you may want it sweet or not so sweet.
I simply shaved dark chocolate on top. I had Ghiradelli dark chocolate squares but use what you have – although, it does have to be a firm/hard (yeah, I know) chocolate to be able to shave it.
That’s it. It’s simple. If for some reason you have to make it far in advance (not recommended though), a chef I saw said to melt one marshmallow for each cup of cream used  to keep it stiff (yeah, I know). Add it at the end, but keep in mind that it’s sweet, so you may need to cut your sugar down. I would put them in first, and then add the sugar.
Don’t over beat, but I like it very stiff (yeah, I know).
Love you 
Mummy”
So… now you see where I get it.
Anyway, this cake with this whipped cream? Divine.
Make both. Together. You’ll thank me (and my mom).

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Happy Thanksgiving! Praline Spice Cookies (Vegan)

Happy Thanksgiving, friends!

Today, I am thankful for so much. My life is rich and full. I have an amazing family, a huge circle of incredible friends all around the world, a base of readers that I see coming back day after day (I really love you guys), a job I love, and so much more. I am a lucky girl.

I know I was supposed to share these with you yesterday (sorry about that), but it’s better late than never, right?

Plus, these are some of the best cookies I’ve ever made. Seriously.

And now you can be thankful for that. 🙂

(And maybe just ignore how awful the pictures are since they were taken in my garage at night. I did my very best without a lightbox!)

Oh, and this is actually an adaptation of my own recipe — for my Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Praline Spice Cookies

makes 2 dozen cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tbs cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup coconut oil (liquified, at room temp or higher) (use unrefined — trust me on this)
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 cup vegan chocolate chips (Ghiradelli makes really good ones!)
  • 1 cup pecan pralines (I get the amazing ones from Trader Joe’s)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Sift flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt together. Set aside.

In a separate bowl blend white sugar, brown sugar, liquified coconut oil and vanilla extract. Add flour mixture and blend again.

Set mixer aside, add chocolate chips and pecan pralines, and use a wooden spoon to mix the chips and nuts into the dough.

Spoon tablespoon-sized balls of dough into your baking trays and leave them rounded. You can even round them with you hands,if you want, as they will keep their shape.

Bake for 12-14 minutes.

And then you’ll get these babies.

Yup.

These are also the closest to cookie dough balls that I’ve ever made by accident. They are hard on the outside while being crumbly, doughy and chewy all at once on the inside.

Plus, the pecan pralines add an incredible sweet/ salty aspect to them!

So, back to Thanksgiving — aside from this awesome recipe (I kid, I kid)…

… What are YOU thankful for today?

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Candy Corn Cookies

You may remember that I posted about making Candy Corn Cookies the other day.

Yes, those Candy Corn Cookies.

I made them for the LA Galaxy Game because, even though it was definitely implied that I was only expected to buy cookies, I like to bake my way into peoples’ hearts.

I also made them because I bought candy corn on a whim the other day and needed to use it up so I wouldn’t eat it by the handful (candy corn is so addicting).

I also made them because I’ve been craving oatmeal chocolate chip cookies like whoa.

Finally, I also made them because I decided it was high time for a Halloween-themed cookie recipe. Holiday recipes are the best, don’t you think?

Obviously, I combined all of these elements for this recipe.

And, if I do say so myself, this recipe is a keeper.

Candy Corn Cookies

makes 2 dozen cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups oats
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter (at room temperature)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup candy corn
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Sift together flour, oats, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, use an electric mixer to combine brown sugar, white sugar, butter, eggs and vanilla.

Use a spoon to stir dry mixture into wet mixture.

Stir in candy corn and chocolate chips.

Spoon rounded tablespoons of dough onto greased cookie sheets.

Bake for 14-16 minutes or until golden brown.

These cookies were a pretty big hit with everyone, so I think I can call them a winner. They were chewy and packed with flavor — everything I think a cookie should be.

Happy Fall! Serve these for Halloween and make friends. 🙂

I created this post as part of Frigidaire’s Talk Turkey Campaign. Share your own recipes and tips at Frigidaire’s Make Time for Change site. For every recipe or tip that’s shared, Frigidaire will donate $1 to Save The Children’s U.S. Programs, which creates lasting change for children in need.

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Cheese & Chocolate Night

As a part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program, I’m pretty lucky. I get sent samples of some really cool things sometimes. Most recently, one of these cool things was a $25 American Express gift card to participate in the Sargento Taste Test.  Another was a box of samples from Ghiradelli Intense Dark Chocolate.

The offer from Sargento was meant for an educational cheese tasting experience, in which we were to compare Sargento natural cheese to any processed cheese. We also were given enough money to also buy cheese pairings of our choice.

Along with the Sargento cheese you see above, I bought:

Processed Mild Cheddar, Swiss, Colby Jack and Pepper Jack…

Woven Wheat Crackers, Butter Crackers and dried apricots…

A Mixed Red and a Merlot…

And a baguette, which Mark modeled beautifully.

Adorable.

Our friends Ryan and Chris were able to join us for the cheese tasting experience.

Sargento guided us through this experience.

1. Look at the cheeses. Natural cheeses, like cheddar, come in many different colors, but in general an understated and non-glossy appearance. Processed cheeses, however, have a luster or shine to them, even after their plastic is removed.”

2. Touch the cheese and feel its texture. Bend the cheeses. Natural cheese texture can vary by cheese variety, but will normally break in an authentic fashion when you do this. Processed cheese is characterized by a smooth, rubbery and artificially pliable texture, and often can bend and fold without breaking… It can sometimes even feel ‘mushy.'”

3. Smell the cheeses like you’d smell a glass of wine. Natural cheeses’ aroma will vary by cheese type, and the range of smells span adjectives like earthy, nutty, and fruity. Processed cheese is usually lacking in a strong aroma, but can have cooked milk notes due to its heating process.”

4. Taste the cheese. Natural cheeses have an incredible array of flavors — from savory to fruity to spicy and sharp. The dominant characteristic in processed cheese is often described as salty. Take note of the characteristics of the cheese, the intensity of the flavor, the saltiness, sharpness or fruitiness of the cheese.”

The way we used the Sargento cheese, specifically, was to create our “main course,” if you will. I think I’ll call them… pizza dippers.

We used the bread and the shredded cheese…

… along with some olive oil, salt and pepper.

Basically, we sliced the baguette, then toasted those slices for about 5-10 minutes at 400 degrees. Then we took the toasted slices out, drizzled them with olive oil and topped them with salt, pepper and cheese, and then put them back in the oven for a few more minutes (until the cheese was melted).

Once they were out of the oven, we dipped them in warm roasted garlic & sweet basil tomato sauce.

It was very popular. We finished the entire baguette between the four of us!

Once we finished that baguette, the dessert portion of the evening came about.

It was Ghiradelli Intense Dark Chocolate time!

You might not be able to tell in the picture, but… Mark and I had already made a serious dent in the Sea Salt Soiree bar before the party.

Oops.

We tried the (rest of the) Sea Salt Soiree, 72% Cacao Twilight Delight, and the 86% Midnight Reverie.

Each of them was delicious. but I’m particularly fond of the Sea Salt Soiree. I love sweet and salty!

This was a perfect end to the evening!

“Ghiradelli Intense Dark chocolates deliver luxuriously deep and velvety chocolate in a variety of cacao percentages… and sophisticated flavors… This line of 100% all natural chocolates delivers unrivaled chocolate intensity in a delicately thin chocolate, allowing the chocolate to melt slowly in your mouth.”

I actually think these rich bars offer the perfect dessert. I could absolutely be satisfied with just one square.

Pretty nice night, right? I had so much fun and loved the guidelines given by each brand!

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Whoa. No post yesterday. What happened? The day just flew by. Sorry about that.

Good thing I have a cookie recipe to make it up to you.

It’s a good one, too.

Once again, however, I’m going to have to give the credit to Mark. Truth be told, he’s just better at coming up with cookie recipes than I am.

I’m woman enough to admit it.

Anyway, on our very married Saturday, as I mentioned, Mark and I made cookies.


Peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, to be specific.

Yes, they were as good as they look.

We didn’t look as good, but that’s no big deal.

Noooo big deal at all.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

makes 2 dozen cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/3 sticks butter at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease a baking sheet.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars. Add egg and cream again. Add peanut butter. Cream again.

In a separate bowl, sift together all dry ingredients.

Add dry mixture to wet mixture and mix until just combined.

Stir in chocolate chips.

Form dough into balls, then press into circles. If desired, press fork into tops.

The cookies will not spread.

Bake 10 minutes and cool on a cooling rack.

Yum.

They might even be impress-a-boy-worthy.


You know, if you were trying to do that sort of thing.

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