Archive for the ‘Chocolate’ Category


We have a jar of Nutella in the pantry that I bought to make Nutella Croissants. Last weekend I was making banana muffins and thought it would be fun to put a dollop of Nutella in the center before baking. It was a good idea. Especially warm. So next time you make your favorite banana muffins, try layering a teaspoon of Nutella in the batter. You won’t be disappointed!

Banana Nutella Muffins
(Recipe source Cooking Light and Bakin’ and Eggs)


2  cups  all-purpose flour
3/4  tsp  baking soda
1/2  tsp  salt
1 /2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4  cup  butter, softened
2  large eggs
1 1/2  cups  mashed ripe banana (about 3 bananas)
1/3  cup  plain low-fat yogurt (can sub non-fat yogurt, greek yogurt or sour cream)
1  teaspoon  vanilla extract
3/4 cup Nutella
Muffin liners or cooking spray


Preheat oven to 350°. Line muffin tins with liners or coat with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt, stirring with a whisk. In a separate bowl, combine banana, yogurt and vanilla.

Beat sugar and butter with a mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy and well blended, about 1 minute. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add banana mixture and beat until blended. Add flour mixture and beat at low speed just until moist.

Fill muffin tins about 1/4 of the way full with the batter. Place 1 teaspoon of Nutella in the center of each muffin. Fill muffin tins with remaining batter. They should be about 3/4 full.

Bake for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on wire racks – but remember – these are best enjoyed warm!

Yield: 12 muffins



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Brandon is a huge Nutella fan. I saw this recipe for Nutella Croissants a few weeks ago and sent the link to Brandon. He pretty much demanded that I get the ingredients for it the next time I was at the grocery.

This is a very easy recipe and a very yummy treat for breakfast or dessert. We had them for breakfast this morning with fresh fruit and cafe au lait. Gotta love Sunday mornings!


Nutella Croissants
(Recipe source Vintage Victuals)


Refrigerated croissants (any size, just follow cooking directions on tube)


Preheat oven as directed on the tube of croissants.

Pop the tube and unroll the dough. Place a dollop of Nutella in the middle of the wide half of the croissant. Roll up the dough, starting at the wide end and rolling towards the small end. Place on a cookie sheet.

Follow baking instrutions on your tube of croissants. Remove from oven when golden brown.

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It’s official – we have a new favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. I was looking to try a recipe other than my old Tollhouse standby. I ended up going with Alton Brown’s “The Chewy” because of the great reviews. Brandon and I loved these cookies and he requested that this become our new go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe.

I love how fast chocolate chip cookies come together – you can whip up a batch in no time. The only time consuming part is preparing and baking the batches. I see no reason to buy cookies when you can make something this delicious at home!

The recipe calls for bread flour and melting the butter – both different from your average chocolate chip cookie recipe. I followed the directions with no modifications and suggest you do too. Whatever you do, be SURE to chill the dough for at least 30 minutes before baking. Also, watch the baking time. I like my cookies soft and usually undercook them by a few minutes (they will not look done when you take them out).

Try these now! And let me know what you think. Better than Tollhouse???

The Chewy
(Recipe source Alton Brown)


2 sticks unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips


Melt the butter in a heavy-bottom medium saucepan over low heat. Sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda and set aside.

Pour the melted butter in the mixer’s work bowl. Add the sugar and brown sugar. Cream the butter and sugars on medium speed. Add the egg, yolk, 2 tablespoons milk and vanilla extract and mix until well combined. Slowly incorporate the flour mixture until thoroughly combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes.

Heat oven to 375 degrees. (My oven is hot and I had to turn it down to 350 after the first batch)

Scoop onto baking sheets, 6 cookies per sheet (pretty decent sized scoops). Bake for 14 minutes or until golden brown, checking the cookies after 5 minutes. Rotate the baking sheet for even browning. They may be done in 10-12 minutes – watch them!!! Cool completely on racks before storing in an airtight container.

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Chocolate Pudding


I had a lot of leftover half-and-half in the fridge so I decided to browse through some cookbooks to look for ideas on what to do with it. I ended up settling on Chocolate Pudding from Joy of Cooking. Brandon is a huge chocolate lover so I thought he’d be happy to have this for dessert.

This is a thick and rich pudding. Brandon commented that the texture was in between pudding and a mousse. It was a breeze to put together before dinner and later that night there was a great dessert waiting for us in the fridge!

Chocolate Pudding
(Recipe source Joy of Cooking)


1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
1/3 cup warm water
1 oz semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (optional but I recommend!)
2 cups half-and-half, divided into 1 3/4 and 1/4 cup
3 tbsp cornstarch
1 1/2 tsp vanilla


Have ready a 3-cup bowl or 4 to 5 ramekins. If unmolding the pudding, oil the bowl or ramekins.

In a heavy saucepan, mix together sugar, cocoa and salt. Gradually stir in warm water to make a smooth, runny paste. Stirring constantly, bring to a boil over medium heat, then remove from heat. Stir in chopped chocolate until melted. Then stir in 1 3/4 cup half-and-half.

Place cornstarch in a separate bowl. Very gradually add the remaining 1/4 cup half-and-half, making a smooth paste. Stir cornstarch paste into the chocolate mixture. Turn heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture begins to thicken. Reduce heat to low and continue to stir briskly. Bring mixture to a simmer and cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.

Pour the pudding into the bowl or cups. If you don’t want a skin to form on the top of the pudding, immediately press plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the pudding. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.

If desired, serve with whipped cream and grated chocolate.

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Operation Baking Gals


Over the holidays I heard about a great organization called Operation Baking Gals. Here’s an overview from their site on the organization:

“Baking GALS (GALS stands for Give A Little Support) is a group of volunteer bakers who bake and ship homemade goodies to our heroic troops that are currently deployed.  Each soldier is “Hosted” by a blogger, and potential bakers are “recruited” from the bloggers own site as well as the GALS site.  Each Host recruits between 20-25 bakers, meaning LOTS of goodies get delivered to our soldier…so many, in fact that he or she has plenty to share with their fellow troops!”

I responded to a call for bakers from Beth at Someone’s in the Kitchen with Brina. I joined the “Go Team Terps” team. We baked for Spc. Brett Dibbern. He’s 22 years old and from Wood River, Nebraska. Brett attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and was in the ROTC program there.  He joined the Army Reserve right out of high school and completed basic training at Fort Jackson.

I can’t imagine how hard it must be to be deployed overseas – especially during the holidays. As soon as I heard the call for bakers for Brett, I knew I had to participate.


We were instructed to bake and ship anytime between December 5-19. I decided to bake Eggnog Cookies (for a seasonal treat!), Chocolate, Chocolate Chip Cookies and Apple Spice Bars. I really enjoyed spending a day in the kitchen baking for our troops. I followed all the packaging instructions carefully to insure that everything made it over safely and in one piece and also threw a lot of extra goodies in the box as well.

Here’s a picture of my box all ready to go.


I was really excited a couple weeks later to receive an email from Brett thanking me for the package. I’m definitely planning on joining another Baking Gals team in the future.

And for the recipes…

Eggnog Cookies
(Recipe Source: Mrs. Fields Best Ever Cookie Book)


2 1/4 cups all-purpose four
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 1/4 cups grandulated sugar
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 c.) salted butter, softened
1/2 cup eggnog
1 tsp vanilla
2 large egg yolks
1 tbsp ground nutmeg

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon and 1/2 tsp nutmeg. Mix well with a whisk and set aside.

In a large bowl, cream sugar and butter. Add eggnog, vanilla and egg yolks, beating at medium speed until smooth. Add the flour mixture a little at a time, beating at a low speed until combined. Do not overmix.

Drop by rounded teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheets, one inch apart. (I had to chill my dough before I could shape it into teaspoons – it was too sticky.)  Sprinkle lightly with nutmeg. Bake 23-25 minutes or until bottoms are light brown. (I only baked mine for around 18-20 minutes.) Transfer immediately to a rack to cool.

Chocolate, Chocolate Chip Cookies
(Recipe Source: allrecipes.com)

These were really, really good. I will be making these again for sure.


1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In large bowl, beat butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt; stir into the butter mixture until well blended. Mix in the chocolate chips and walnuts. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or just until set. (I always go towards the lesser side of baking time for cookies. I like mine super soft.)  Cool slightly on the cookie sheets before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

Apple Spice Cookie Bars
(Recipe Source: Good Things Catered)


2 c. plus 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp allspice
small pinch ground cloves (I omitted, I did not have any cloves)
1/2 c. butter, melted
1 c. packed brown sugar
1 c. white sugar
2 eggs
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
2 apples, cored and diced (a little less than 2 c.)
cinnamon sugar for sprinkling


Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 9×13 pan with foil and baking spray.

In medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves. Whisk to combine well and set aside.

In bowl of stand mixer, combine sugars and butter and beat on medium high until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well to combine. Add vanilla extract and beat to combine. Turn mixer on slow and fold in flour mixture a little at a time until just combined. Fold in apples.

Spread mixture evenly into prepared pan and sprinkle top generously with cinnamon sugar. Place in oven and bake until cooked through, when top slightly bounces back to the touch, about 30 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool completely before removing from pan, cutting and serving. (Bars will be very soft.)

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