Tag Archives: Dark Chocolate

S&B Holiday Recipe Ideas

21 Dec

Hey crew! If you’re anything like me around the holidays, you’re trying to come up with some new cookie recipes or find a new food to have out at the holiday spread. Or maybe you’re hosting a big group and you need some ideas for breakfast in the morning?

I wanted to have a short, but helpful post for you guys to help you find some great options within the Spatulas and Buttons archive. I would also LOVE to hear some of your favorites! Leave a comment below with one of the holiday classics that you enjoy making, I’d love to try out new ideas from you all!

Classic cookies that everyone will love…

You guys know my love for trying out and posting cookie recipes here on the blog, so we’ll start there. These are a few of my favorites…

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies:

These ARE my favorite and was my choice for cookie exchange contribution this year. They’re chewy and wonderful, not overly minty (unless you’re heavy-handed with the mint extract…I recommend to not be) and truly PERFECT for the holidays. Whenever I make these, they disappear FAST.

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Sugar Cookies:

This is a classic at the holidays, am I right?! This sugar cookie recipe is one that I personally prefer as it produces chewy wonderfulness. I got have ’em chewy! They’re wonderful when frosted but still tasty if eaten plain.

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Brownie Roll-out Cookies:

These look festive, they can be made into all sorts of shapes and when dusted with powdered sugar, well, let’s be real – it looks like snow. Perfect. No more explanation needed.

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Snacks to bring to that party you’re invited to…

It’s always great to have a few go-to’s for when you’re asked to bring something to the holiday get-together with family. Or, if you’re wanting to be creative and give a hostess gift that will double as snacks. Here are a few options that I’ve found to be delicious…

Chipotle & Rosemary Nuts:

Mixed nuts seem to be a staple at the holidays and this recipe just gives a little pizzazz to the mixed nuts bowl you put out on the table every year. It’s a little spicy, a little sweet with a great layer of rosemary throughout. Yum!

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Cake Batter Dip:

When trying to find a sweet dip to balance out all of their savory cousins (are dips cousins?!), this will win over anyone with a sweet tooth. It’s great with fruit or with plain cookies (e.g. Nilla Wafers).

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Fruity Dark Chocolate Bark:

A different approach to the ‘bark’ that always seems to be out on the dessert table at this time of year. This one uses dried fruit to give a sweet and tangy flavor and a little crunch. It’s also very pretty and would work perfectly as a hostess gift!

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Breakfast for a crowd…

Are you planning on hosting family and friends throughout the next few weeks? If so, when it comes to breakfast, it’s essential to have a few plans in your back pocket. These options would be perfect to feed pajama clad folks and will be a tasty way to start your day…

New York Breakfast Casserole:

This casserole is a twist on the New York bagel, with everything bagels, cream cheese and endless possibilities to add your meat of choice (lox, sausage or bacon anyone?!) and/or veggies. I love this with the classic tomatoes and red onion combo, but you could add in some bell peppers, green onions, etc. It can even be prepped the night before, leaving you more time to snooze in the AM.

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Baked Oatmeal:

A fancier oatmeal that will warm everyone’s stomachs as they wake up for the day. You can add in whichever fruit strikes your fancy (raspberries and blueberries have worked well in my previous experiments). This goes well when paired with bacon and/or sausage (and makes your kitchen smell like the best breakfast restaurant in town).

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Raspberry Scones:

Looking for a bread/pastry (that doesn’t require you to wake up at the crack of dawn) to feed warm to your guests?! These scones are a cinch to throw together and you could easily make a few batches at once. They’d be great paired with some eggs in the morning, providing a perfect item to soak up those runny yolks. Sigh. Now I want one. AND a runny yolk for dipping.

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I’m finally going to get to try out some new recipes over the holiday season, with a break from work and plenty of time to experiment in the kitchen. Can’t wait to share these adventures with you!

And guess what?! This girl finally got herself a DSLR camera! SO excited to capture better and clearer pictures for you all in future posts. I know my iPhone photos won’t win any awards. But hey, I did the best I could with the technology I had. Looking forward to learning the in’s and out’s of the new camera so I can bring more mouth-watering pictures to the blog.

Wishing you all a wonderful holiday season, with time spent relaxing with those you love most, enjoying delicious treats and sipping libations that warm your belly.

Cheers!

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Fruity Dark Chocolate Bark

19 Jan

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Happy Sunday! Although Sundays may not be my absolute favorite day of the week, there is usually an opportunity to do some baking/cooking to end the weekend. Hard to complain about that!

I was in the mood to try something new and different today, something not too dramatically unhealthy but yet, still sweet enough to satisfy a mini dessert craving.

I opened up my Pinterest board of Treats to see what leaped out at me. The cakes and pies I’ve posted in recent months were drool-worthy but not quite what I was looking for. Cookies weren’t really grabbing me. Then I saw this pin from “Love & Olive Oil” and was SOLD for the following reasons:

1) Dark chocolate gets an A+++ in my world (don’t A triple +’s exist in your world?!?!) and is by FAR my favorite type of chocolate.

2) Freeze dried fruit isn’t something I normally bake with so it would be a fun, new adventure.

3) The result wouldn’t be outrageous in unhealthiness.

4) This is VERY easy to make and doesn’t require a long list of ingredients.

Convinced this is a perfect Sunday night treat?! Good!

Thanks to Love & Olive Oil for the wonderful recipe! Looking forward to trying more on that blog…

Ingredients:

  • 8 – 11 oz of dark chocolate, using a good brand if you can (aim for 70-80%)
  • 1 cup of your choice of freeze-dried fruit (you can also do a mix like I did – raspberries, blueberries and cranberries)

*Note: I was completely unaware of where freeze-dried fruit would be in a grocery store. I asked a few perplexed folks at my local grocery store and was unsuccessful at that spot. However, I Googled and Trader Joe’s has LOTS of freeze-dried fruit! I recommend looking there if your usual grocery store doesn’t carry any freeze-dried fruit.

How to Make:

To get things started, you’ll need to melt down the chocolate. I went with Ghirardelli’s ‘Intense Dark’ chocolate bars for my bark. As they came in bars of 3.5 oz bars, I rounded up to get 3 bars for a total of 10.5 oz. The original recipe only calls for 8 oz, but I figured having more chocolate was the way to go. Obviously.

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You can finely chop this before melting if you so choose. I went with the broken chunks method over a double boiler. But mircowaving works just as well if you’re in a hurry. Regardless of method, be sure to stop regularly and stir.

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This also gives an excellent excuse to lick your spoon/spatula when it’s all said and done.

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Once all melted, pour the chocolate out on to parchment paper that’s been laid in a 9×13 pan. It will dry quicker if you evenly spread the chocolate out. I didn’t execute this as well as I hoped, but perhaps you’ll do better than I.

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Now, measure out your freeze-dried fruit. I bought 3 varieties so did 1/3 cup of each freeze-dried raspberries, blueberries and cranberries. But any freeze-dried fruit will work!

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Sprinkle your freeze-dried fruit of choice all over the chocolate. If you’re feeling extra bold, you could also try almonds or other nuts and perhaps sea salt? I may give both of those ingredients a go in my next batch of this!

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Gorgeous looking, right?!

Now, this needs 1-2 hours to dry at room temperature. However, I recommend popping the pan into the freezer if you’re noticing the bark is taking a bit long to dry. My apartment tends to be a little on the warm side so after 2 hours and still no hardened bark…into the freezer the pan went. 20 minutes later, it was all hardened up!

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Break into pieces and put out for consumption! I bet these will disappear quickly so perhaps make a double or triple batch if feeding a party of people. Or watch them fight it out…could be entertaining…

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I recommend keeping this stored in the fridge just so it doesn’t start to melt down. It’s supposed to last only about a week, but I truly doubt it will even last that long as it’s just so very tasty.

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Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chocolate Muffins (with a Healthy Spin)

4 Aug

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A few facts to preface this post. Fact #1: I thoroughly enjoy chocolate. Fact #2: I thoroughly enjoy muffins, cakes, cookies etc. However, maybe like some of you, Fact #3, my metabolism no longer allows me to consume these items as much as I’d like without some consequences. Which…is unfortunate.

Thus – I was on Pinterest one day trying to find some healthier (note not healthy…health-IER) recipes and found this little gem. There’s no flour involved – there’s applesauce and plain greek yogurt that help to keep the muffins together AND keep them moist. I was intrigued enough to give these a try.

Also, Fact #4 – my boyfriend Luke has quite an affinity for baked goods that come from my kitchen. So like most treats I make, the plan was to make a big batch, have a few myself and then feed the rest to Luke. Muah hahaha.

(He has yet to complain so I think it’s a win-win situation for both of us.)

Thus, another episode of Thursday evening baking happened this last week and the resulting muffins were quite delicious. I highly recommend!

I will say I changed up the recipe a bit because of the ingredients I had available. I’ve linked to the recipe I based these off of (and the blog post about that recipe links to the original recipe too) above for those who want to try the full-on healthier version or you can follow what I used below. I trust both will work out nicely for you. And regardless, you end up with chocolate muffins. 🙂

Recipe makes about 24 small muffins or 12 larger muffins.

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cup of oats
  • 3 egg whites
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder (the recipe calls for unsweetened cocoa but I had cocoa powder on hand so that’s what I used)
  • 1/2 cup applesauce (the recipe calls for unsweetened but I used normal applesauce and they still turned out wonderfully)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar (or 1-1/2 Tbsp. vinegar)
  • 1-1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1-1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 cup sugar (the recipe calls for a healthy substitute like I cup of Splenda granular OR 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp stevia but I had none of these options so plain white sugar it was for me)
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (or whatever other type of chips you’d like!) and an extra 1/4 cup for the muffin tops

How to Make:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grab a blender (or a food processor) as you’ll need no mixer or beaters to clean in this recipe. I know, I know…I was puzzled by this too. But trust me – it works!

Now – if you want smaller muffins for a crowd, this makes 24 muffins (thus you’ll need 2 muffin pans). If you want larger muffins for a smaller crew (1 pan) this makes 12 muffins. I did line my muffin tins but this recipe has a tendency to stick a bit. If you’d these to appear aesthetically pleasing with wrappers off (for any reason) you may want to simply spray the pans with a little Pam. Otherwise, I’m sure those you feed these to will not mind a bit licking of crumbs from the wrapper. I doubt they’ll mind.

Now prepare for this next part…you’re going to mix…

…everything. Ok, not the chocolate chips quite yet, but everything else goes right into the blender.

Yup, you read that right. Everything. Into. The. Blender.

Here we go…

In go the oats…
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…then the egg whites…

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…and applesauce…(note my oat measuring was exceptionally neat and tidy)

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…and then the cocoa (I wasn’t worried that mine was a bit clumpy as the blender would be blending it all together anyway)…

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…and vanilla…

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…and the plain Greek yogurt…

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…and the cream of tartar…and baking powder…and baking soda…

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…and the salt (which I plain forgot to take a photo of, but believe me when I say…it’s in there!)…

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…and the cup of hot water (which causes this fun, little effect)…

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…and then finally, the sugar or your sugar substitute.

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Now blend that concoction until the mixture is smooth (not chunky on the bottom but the same consistency all the way through). I was a bit concerned as the batter seemed to be a bit thin at first. But keep blending until the oats, applesauce and yogurt are consistently blended and that will really help to thicken it up. Trust me!

Now pour into a medium-sized bowl and stir in the 1/2 cup of dark chocolate chips.

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Then, time to pour into the pans. (I was a wee bit messy at this part so if you have the same problem, just dab the batter spots off the pan with a paper towel. No biggie!)

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Now the muffins get baked for 10 minutes. Then, pull them out…

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…and drop a few of the chips on the top of each muffin. Add as many as you’d like! Most of mine had about 3-6 chips as dark chocolate chips are bit bigger than the normal chocolate chip.

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Now pop these guys back into the oven for an additional 3-6 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. (I had to pop mine back in for about 8 additional minutes as they were still wet when I tested with a toothpick at 6 minutes. So watch these carefully and don’t worry if they take more than 3-6 minutes. It shouldn’t be TOO much more oven time.)

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Once the toothpick comes out clean from a the center of a few muffins, let them cool for a few minutes in the pan. Then place the muffins on a cooling rack or a cutting board to cool completely.

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I will share – these are delicious eaten while they’re still warm for the obvious melty-chocolate reason. But they’re also delectable eaten once fully cooled. I let them sit out to cool for a few hours and then kept them stored in Tupperware, separated into layers with some assistance from parchment paper.

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Feed these to your family, your friends, your significant other or spouse or maybe yourself for a snack. (I had a few snacks the night I made these…couldn’t…help…myself.) They’ll disappear REAL fast…

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Give these a try and let me know if they turn out as delicious for you as they did for me!

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Happy baking!

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