chocolate

Chocolate-Covered Strawberries

Happy Valentine’s Day! Today is the day we show our love… I love my husband… I love my kids… I love chocolate-covered strawberries! They are little, red, sweet, and fruity gifts wrapped in chocolate packages. The best part is, well, eating them. But the second best part is that they require very little skill. I don’t know if you’ve made them before, but I want you to know that it is so easy a four-year-old can do it.

As organic as possible:

2 pints (16-18) fresh Strawberries

1 bag (approx 11.5 oz.) Milk-Chocolate chips

1/2 bag (approx 6 oz.) Semi-Sweet Chocolate chips

1/2 bag (approx 6 oz.) White Chocolate chips (optional)

I know in a lot of professional dessert shops, they don’t rinse the strawberries. They actually use a soft brush and clean them like you would a mushroom. I understand the reasoning: you don’t want the extra moisture content to separate the berry from the chocolate. I get it. That said, I’m a little weird about not rinsing my fruit off.

I do use organic strawberries; which is important to me, not eating all of the toxic pesticides, not to mention GMO’s… But this is about Valentine’s Day -so let’s not go there! All I’m saying is that I rinse off my berries. Then pat them dry with a paper towel and let them sit until they are dry again. (I also realize that for someone who cares about the earth I use way too many paper towels.)

Now that we’ve got the dirty part out of the way, let’s get back to those clean berries. When they’re dry, all you need to do is melt your chocolate.

 

If you have a heavy bottomed saucepan, you could put the heat on low and let the chocolate slowly melt. However, it’s a more subtle and foolproof way to do the traditional double broiler method. Just put about an inch of water in the bottom of a sauce pan and set a glass bowl on the top (not touching the water) and set the heat on med-high letting the water come to a boil. Stir often until the chocolate is melted through, and no more chocolate lumps are visible. Carefully move the bowl to your work station (most likely the counter top).

Next, simply hold the berries by their green tips and dip and roll the fruit around in a chocolate bath until the berry is mostly covered with chocolate.

Let the excess drip off and then place them on a wax paper lined baking sheet.

It’s a simple as that, and you can totally stop there and eat your berries -and be happy. But my sweetheart happens to like white chocolate so I took it a step further and melted a little more goodness. This time because of the small amount, I microwaved the white chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl for 30 seconds, then 15 second intervals, stirring in between, until the chocolate was smooth.

Because I am not a pastry shop I just used a Ziploc baggy with a hole cut in the corner for my drizzle.

Using a back and forth zigzag motion, draw the white lines across your chocolate-covered berries. Let the kids help, this doesn’t have to be perfection! (Unless you’re selling them, then you need to be meticulous… please refer to another blog.)

The work is done! Let the berries set for a while until the chocolate cools and hardens. If you have a refrigerator large (and sparse) enough to hold the trays… Lucky you! Just kidding. It can help the chocolate set faster.

And if you have a little extra chocolate that you don’t want to waste… Consider dipping in cookies, or graham crackers!

 Or of course, cleaning out the bowl yourself is always a viable option.

I hope your day is full of LOVE! (and chocolate)

Loving Lately ☃️

It’s no secret that I’m off my game lately. It was cold season, then the holidays… I wrote a children’s book. I can’t believe I missed my Thursday edition of Loving Lately! I’d like to say it was because I was doing laundry.

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No, but really… I’d like to say it’s because I’ve been sampling all of the hot chocolate recipes I can find. For example, the Nutella Hot Chocolate pictured above from Café Delights. I whole-heartedly wish I was chewing on one of those marshmallows this very moment. Or the Champurrado (Chocolate Atole)  from Muy Bueno Cookbook in the epitome-of-cocoa-greatness featured image. I don’t believe I’ve ever had hot chocolate thickened with masa harina (corn flour) before… but oooh, the cinnamon, star anise and brown sugar make it sound like it’s just the right thing to do.

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And I really wouldn’t mind having a cup full of this French Hot Chocolate by wellplated.com. I don’t think an explanation is necessary. But, I’ll tell you why… because someone (I assume one of my children) turned the heat off in my house. They just flipped the switch on the thermostat to off! It is literally freezing outside, and I am inside with numb toes and numb fingertips… so numb that it is difficult to type. (Because as I already admitted I am off my game, and it literally took frozen toes for me to check the thermostat.)

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What would I give to be the person in this picture right now holding that warm London Fog Hot Chocolate with Maple Whipped Cream wearing an oversized sweater? (Courtesy of The Kitchen McCabe) …Let’s just say I would give A LOT!

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I can pretty much guarantee that I WILL be making this Crockpot Coconut Hot Chocolate from Rachel Schultz this afternoon. Look at the crushed graham crackers on that rim! I want in.

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Of course, if you’re feeling experimental, you could try the Jalapeño Hot Chocolate by The Pioneer Woman. I like a little heat in my hot cocoa now and then, but I’ve only tried chile peppers. Who am I to limit your heat options? Go for it!

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And if you want to make it cute for the kiddos, you could always add the marshmallow snowman taking a soak in a chocolatey hot tub (which sounds amazing). I’d love to give this genius credit… but to no avail, I will just credit Pinterest (also genius).

Cheers friends!

Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies

In general I thinks kids young and old love chocolate chip cookies. And nothing compares with fresh baked, warm out of the oven, homemade chocolate chip cookies. My oldest son is always asking me to make them. Actually he is always asking if he can make them; which I know means that I will be making them. Making cookies from scratch seems like a large task until you start- and realize it’s basically throwing all the ingredients in one big bowl, mixing it up and dropping spoonfuls of batter on a baking sheet. We got this. It’s so worth it.

As organic as possible:

From the Better Homes & Gardens New Cook Book:

1/2 cup Shortening

1/2 cup Butter, softened

1 cup packed Brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated Sugar

1/2 tsp Baking soda

2 Eggs

1 tsp Vanilla

2 1/2 cups Flour

1 – 12 oz. package (2 cups) semisweet Chocolate chips

 

In a large mixing bowl beat shortening and better with an electric mixer for 30 seconds.

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Add brown sugar, granulated sugar, and baking soda. Sadie tip: I always round the granulated sugar! 😉

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Beat until mixture is combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in eggs and vanilla until combined. Sadie tip #2: I always splash in a little more vanilla! 😉

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Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour.

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Stir in chocolate chips.

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Drop dough by rounded teaspoons 2 inches apart onto an uncreased cookie sheet. I like to use an ice cream scoop, because we like big cookies. 🙂

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Bake a 375° oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.

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Transfer to a wire rack and let cool. Woot woot! Eat ’em warm. Or whenever you want.

Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Shortening
  • 1/2 cup Butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed Brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Baking soda
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups Flour
  • 1 - 12 oz. package (2 cups) semisweet Chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. In a large mixing bowl beat shortening and better with an electric mixer for 30 seconds.
  2. Add brown sugar, granulated sugar, and baking soda. Beat until mixture is combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally.
  3. Beat in eggs and vanilla until combined.
  4. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour.
  5. Stir in chocolate chips.
  6. Drop dough by rounded teaspoons 2 inches apart onto an uncreased cookie sheet.
  7. Bake a 375° oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.
  8. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.
http://sadiesnest.com/classic-chocolate-chip-cookies/

 

Aunt Kimbo’s Brownies

This is a perfect recipe for a beginner baker. If you can read, you can make delicious brownies. This is also a perfect recipe for anyone who wants to make a fantastic chocolatey dessert for their friends and family. It’s foolproof. This is just a perfect recipe. Not that long ago I mentioned I had received a recipe card with a wedding shower gift from a family friend. I actually grew up calling her Aunt Kimbo, although technically we are no relation. She is my real aunt’s sister, and we didn’t discriminate. I love that about my childhood. I also love that she took the time to write this down for a young bride-to-be. It is one of, if not the first dessert I made as a newlywed… and still make today.

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1 cup Butter (2 sticks)

4 oz unsweetened Chocolate

2 cups Sugar

4 Eggs

1 cup Flour

2 tsp Vanilla

1 cup Nuts

1 cup Chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°.

Grease a 13 x 9 inch pan, set aside. I love using a paper napkin (or paper towel) and a pat of butter for stuff like this. There are times when spraying a baking dish with non-stick spray makes more sense… to me, now is not one of those times.

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Heat butter and chocolate squares until melted. Using all of your strength, try not to add cream and drink the mixture. (That’s really a note to myself).

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Remove from heat and stir in sugar. Take a big whiff of that chocolate goodness. There are few things that smell this outstanding, and a good portion of life is making sure you enjoy those simple pleasures. Plus, smelling doesn’t actually add calories, so awesome.

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If you have to lick your finger dipped in batter now would be the time, because we are about to add eggs and then it will be too late. Ok, add the eggs, one at a time, beating until blended.

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Stir in the flour, followed by the vanilla and nuts. Now, everything inside of me wanted to add some chopped walnuts this time. (Because really you can add your nut of choice.) And I love balancing all that sugar with some protein and a little Omega 3… But my kids act like I am poisoning them if they see nuts. Ugh. The sacrifices we make for our kids!

Pour the gooey batter into the prepared baking dish.

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 Now spread this glossy goo in an even layer.

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Ok, here is where it gets a little iffy. My organic chocolate chips (which do not expire for months) have started to get a little white coating. I have no problems with this as I know it is completely harmless and edible. I also know that once baked, you won’t see a thing. But if this bothers you… please turn your head away for the next picture(s)! But do note you are going to miss my cute little helpers.

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Bake for 40 minutes. Let cool slightly, or completely before serving… with milk or coffee or hot cocoa…

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Aunt Kimbo’s Brownies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (8 oz.) Butter
  • 4 oz. Unsweetened Chocolate
  • 2 cups Sugar
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1 cup Flour
  • 2 tsp Vanilla
  • 1 Cup Nuts
  • 1 cup Chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Grease a 13 x 9 inch baking dish, set aside.
  3. Heat butter and chocolate squares until melted.
  4. Remove from heat.
  5. Stir in sugar.
  6. Add eggs, beating until blended.
  7. Stir in flour, vanilla and nuts.
  8. Pour into prepared baking dish.
  9. Top with chocolate chips.
  10. Bake for 40 minutes.
http://sadiesnest.com/aunt-kimbos-brownies/

Pumpkin Chocolate Swirl Bread

I love it when friends and family members send me recipes to try for my blog. For one, that’s what it’s all about for me- trying new things and sharing good recipes. For two, I love the connections- the new ones being made and keeping in touch with friendships of the past. I cherish those things. Coincidentally, I think this recipe embodies both too! I’ve been making pumpkin bread for a long time. It’s a fall standard in my home. I’ve never tried mixing it with chocolate… and why not? Chocolate makes everything better! And what is it about making swirls that is so much fun? Anyway, thank you Jenny for sending this my way, and enlightening me to Harmon’s Grocery videos in general. This bread smells delicious, tastes yummy and makes a beautiful presentation for the family table. Uh, yes please!

As seen on vimeo by Harmon’s Grocery or on their website at harmonsgrocery.com

And of course as usual from Sadie’s Nest, as organic as possible:

Nonstick cooking spray
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup canned pumpkin
3 ounces dark chocolate, melted
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9×5-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper and coat the parchment paper with nonstick cooking spray; set aside. Does everyone appreciate the marked parchment paper as much as I do? Thank you for giving me lines so I don’t have to get out a pencil.

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In a large bowl, whisk together flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside. Wow! There is nothing like pumpkin pie spice, or allspice if you prefer, to instantly make your kitchen smell like the peak of fall baking.img_7688

In a medium bowl whisk together eggs and sugar. Add melted butter, buttermilk, and vanilla. Whisk until combined. Fold in pumpkin. Liquid gold.

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Add the wet ingredients all at once to the dry ingredients and whisk just until no lumps remain. Or else… the world will explode… or you will have a lumpy batter, that will turn into not perfect bread.

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Divide batter in half. Add the melted chocolate and cocoa powder to half of the batter; you will want to dip your finger in the chocolate and have a little lick; but remember it’s HOT! Stir to combine.

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Add the two batters to the loaf pan, alternating between pumpkin and chocolate.

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Using a table knife, swirl through the batter. I’ll be honest, I could have swirled a little more.

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Repeat

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Bake for 55 to 65 minutes until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Remove and cool in pan for 20 minutes. Remove and cool completely on a wire rack.

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In a small bowl stir together the powdered sugar and milk. Spoon over cooled loaf.

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When icing has cooled slightly, slice and serve. Or serve it right away if you want to, it’s your bread and there is nothing wrong about eating icing while it’s warm.

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Pumpkin Chocolate Swirl Bread

Ingredients

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 3 ounces dark chocolate, melted
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Coat a 9x5-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  3. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper and coat the parchment paper with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
  5. In a medium bowl whisk together eggs and sugar.
  6. Add melted butter, buttermilk, and vanilla. Whisk until combined.
  7. Fold in pumpkin.
  8. Add the wet ingredients all at once to the dry ingredients and whisk just until no lumps remain.
  9. Divide batter in half.
  10. Add the melted chocolate and cocoa powder to half of the batter; stir to combine.
  11. Add the two batters to the loaf pan, alternating between pumpkin and chocolate.
  12. Using a table knife, swirl through the batter. Bake for 55 to 65 minutes until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
  13. Remove and cool in pan for 20 minutes. Remove and cool completely on a wire rack.
  14. In a small bowl stir together the powdered sugar and milk. Spoon over cooled loaf.
http://sadiesnest.com/pumpkin-chocolate-swirl-bread/

Farmhouse Rules’ Chocolate Toffee No-Bake Cookies

From the moment I watched Nancy Fuller make these cookies in her idyllic farmhouse kitchen I knew that I was going to replicate them in my pretend farmhouse kitchen. No-bake cookies are a family favorite, and the toffee addition just seemed like a stroke of genius! Of course I also tend to gravitate towards treats that I can make with my kids. So even if my garden is in reality a pool, and my cows and chickens are actually neighbors in my subdivision; by golly, I can eat like a fuller farmer! (I didn’t make that up, it’s the name of her blog 😉 )

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The original recipe can be found on FoodNetwork.com

As organic as possible:

3 cups quick-cooking oats
1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup toffee bits, plus more for sprinkling
2 tablespoons softened unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Combine the oats, peanut butter, bitter and semisweet chocolate chips, toffee bits, butter and salt in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the chocolate chips melt, 3 to 5 minutes.
Scoop heaping tablespoons of batter onto the baking sheet and sprinkle each cookie with extra toffee bits. Freeze for 15 minutes before serving. The cookies can be stored in the refrigerator in an air-tight container for 1 week.
Recipe courtesy of Nancy Fuller

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/nancy-fuller/chocolate-toffee-no-bake-cookies.html?oc=linkback

 

Isaiah’s Chocolate Dipped Peanut Butter Cookies

School’s out. So what do you do when your mom thinks she’s a home-ec teacher circa 1991 and you have a hankering for a chocolatey treat? You get out the measuring cups and mixing bowls so you can make yourself something awesome! I’m so proud of him, I’m beaming. And I’m eating some outstanding deliciousness. Chocolate and peanut butter are such a great combination. But don’t take it just from me, let’s hear Isaiah tell us about it: “They’re made with peanut butter, and they’re cookies.” (Cue the crickets)


Adapted from William-Sonoma’s The Cookbook for Kids

As organic as possible:

For Cookies

1/2 cup Butter

3/4 cup Brown sugar

1/4 cup Sugar

3/4 cup Chunky peanut butter

1 Egg

1/2 tsp Vanilla

1 1/4 cup Flour

1 tsp Baking soda

1/4 tsp Salt

 

For Chocolate Dip

1 1/4 cup Semisweet chocolate chips

1 Tbsp Vegetable shortening

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Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. In a large bowl, beat the butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and peanut butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until blended. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until blended. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt and beat on low speed until blended.

Shape the dough into 1 1/2 inch balls, placing 12 balls at least 2 inches apart on each baking sheet. Using a fork, press twice into each cookie to make a crisscross pattern. Bake the cookies until golden, 8-10 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the pans for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks and let cool completely.

Meanwhile, add the chocolate chips to a microwave-safe bowl. Add the shortening. Microwave on high for 1 minute, stir. Then microwave for 30 seconds longer or until melted.

One at a time, dip half of each cookie into the melted chocolate, then place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. When all the cookies are dipped, place the baking sheet in the refrigerator just until the chocolate is set, about 5 minutes. Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Warning! This may attract on lookers.

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Another Warning! This is messy.

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But they’re worth it.

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Loving Lately 🍫

Loving Lately: Dave’s Sweet Tooth Toffee

So when I started with my “Loving Lately” series I was certain I was going to share my favorite gadgets and ingredients. And I have to some extent. But I get so carried away with my enjoyment of pictures and places, that come Thursday it’s all I can think about… Until I’m struck (once again) by the best toffee ever. Let me reiterate. BEST. TOFFEE. EVER. I’ve tried a lot of toffee. Do you know my dad? And it’s not just because this toffee was made in Michigan (for which I am proud) or that it coincidentally share’s its name with my dad. I would have to acknowledge this toffee from anywhere, and with any name because it is AWESOME! And if you are not in Michigan or thereabouts, you can just B-line it for their website DavesSweetTooth.com. You’re welcome.

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Chocolate Chip-Cinnamon Muffins

It’s a well publicized fact (on my personal blog) that I am a breakfast person. I am also a coffee person, a baked good person, a chocolate person… I really enjoy a freshly baked muffin in the morning with my cup of joe. This hits the mark on a number of levels. And it’s so easy to whip up- to appease the craving. Please note: it’s very satisfying eating this warm, while the chocolate is still soft… The cinnamon adding just another little hint of depth. (It’s really like eating a cupcake. But don’t tell anyone.) So sit back and relax. You have my permission to take in the moment.

As organic as possible:

1/2 cup Butter, melted

3/4 cup Milk

2 Eggs, beaten

1 Tbsp Vanilla

2 cups Flour

3/4 cup Sugar

1 Tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp Salt

1/4 tsp Cinnamon

11.5 oz Milk Chocolate Chips

 

Preheat the oven to 350°. Using non-stick spray or butter, grease a 12 cup muffin pan. (Or line with pretty papers)

In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Remove about 3 tablespoons of the dry mixture and in a small bowl toss with the chocolate chips. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk the butter, milk, eggs, and vanilla. Slowly add the dry flour mixture and stir until combined. Gently fold in the chocolate chips.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared muffin pan, filling to the brim. Bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool slightly before indulgence.

Pour yourself a cup of coffee (or tea, or milk… or whatever you like to drink) and serve. Enjoy!

 

The Richmond Avenue’s Black Bean Brownies

I love how Jasmine at The Richmond Avenue can take something that usually holds very little nutritional value and turn it into health food. (That’s what I call it, with complete justification.) In this case incorporating the black beans added protein and fiber. I can honestly say the brownies were moist and tasted like chocolate. So much so that my chocolate lover approved of them, and I felt guilt-free saying he could have them for an after school snack.

As organic as possible (from me as usual)

1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp instant coffee
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup raw sugar
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp honey
1/4 cup coconut or olive oil
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 semi-sweet chocolate chips
Optional toppings: Chocolate Chips, Walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine all ingredients (except for toppings and chocolate chips) in a food processor and blend until smooth. Mix in chocolate chips. Pour batter into greased baking pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.

*Jasmine left this “1/4” chocolate chips up to personal interpretation and some might have opted for a 1/4 cup, but I knew it meant a 1/4 of the bag 😉

*As you can see I used walnuts on half, for the non-nut loving members of my family