Category Archives: chocolates

Chocolate Pudding Surprise

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When my grandmother passed away years ago, I was given her recipe box.  To say I was honored was an understatement.  She was the best cook and baker I knew, and instilled in me a love of baking.  I was rummaging through her recipe box and came upon a recipe that my aunt have given her in the mid-70s.  (Pudding and jello desserts were all the rage then, apparently.)  What caught my eye was that it appeared similar to a recipe that I received in my inbox a week prior.

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So, I decided I would combine the best of both and create something new.  This is now my favorite, easiest dessert ever.  It has a cookie dough base, then it’s layered with cream cheese, pudding, and cool whip, and topped with toasted nuts and chocolate curls.  And then you put it in the fridge to chill overnight. What could be easier than that?   Continue reading

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Chocolate Chip Cookies

IMG_3344My family and I just came back from camping–in 90 degree weather.  In the Pacific Northwest, we usually see temperatures this high late in July or early in August, and it normally lasts about a week.  Well, the heat spell here started towards the end of June and lasted almost 3 weeks.  I can’t remember a 4th of July watching the fireworks in shorts and a t-shirt.  We are usually in jeans and a sweatshirt!  I was planning on making chocolate chip cookies to snack on while camping, (and use to sandwich a s’more or two) but I didn’t for two reasons–one, we have no air-conditioner in our house, and two, I had no way to keep the cookies from melting once we arrived at our campsite, and for those of you who tent/cabin camp, you know how valuable cooler space is!  In fact, we only had a campfire twice because it was so hot.  The last night of camping we started the fire early so our kids could have s’mores.  My two-and-a-half year-old daughter had never had s’mores before and I was excited for her to try it.  I thought she’d love it as much as my son.  Unfortunately, the only thing she liked was the chocolate squares, as you can see in this picture. Continue reading

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Truffle Cupcakes

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This month is literally flying by! I can’t believe that Spring Break is right around the corner.  This means spring is almost here.  This also means my maternity leave ends.  Which is sad for all.  But, it will be nice to get back to work, see my students, and think academically again.  When I left my students in mid-November, I told them I was returning on April 1st, and it wasn’t an April Fool’s Joke.  (My high school students didn’t get it–ahh, the humor is lost on them.)  At the time, it seemed like my break would be for so long, but that too has flown by. 

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I actually made these truffle cupcakes around Valentine’s Day, but between preparing lesson plans, working on a quilt for baby Grace’s nursery, (I’ll post that when I finish), and taking care of the ins-and-outs of two little cherubs, these yummy cupcakes didn’t make it out on the blog in time for the big romantic day.  That’s fine; they’re good any time of the year.  To make things easier, I used store-bought truffles, but you can make your own.  Continue reading

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Chocolate Revel Bars

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Hi Long Lost Friends! Since it’s been a little while since I’ve written, I thought that such a salutation was appropriate.  The last time I wrote, I was pregnant.  Well, not anymore! Grace joined our family on November 16th, and Eric and I couldn’t have been happier.  Okay, not happier at those 4 A.M. feedings, but other than that, Grace has been such a blessing.  Matthew has adjusted pretty well too; being all of 2, it’s hard to ask for more.  But other than trying to poke her in the eyes, (what is up with little ones fascinated by eyes??), he has been a good older brother–alerting me when she cries, laying down next to her and giving her hugs, and sharing his toys or food with Grace, because “Gracie wants it Mommy,” as he says.

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GraceBecause I have been doing most of the feedings, and taking care of a toddler while Eric is at work, baking has not been high on my list.  (I didn’t realize how easy taking care of one kid was!)  But, oh, how I missed it.  I would fantasize about all that I wanted to bake during late night feedings, clip out recipes of every kind from anywhere I could find them, and journal in my notebook of what I wanted to make and how I wanted to tweak it.  (Yes, I’m weird like that.)  My dry spell ended a few days ago, even though half of me wanted to take a nap.  The kitchen was calling my name and it was too strong to resist.  Continue reading

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Chocolate Heart Sandwich Cookies

Valentine’s Day used to be my least favorite holiday.  I used to feel, way back when, that it was another excuse for the candy, card, and entertainment industry to suck money out of you, but deep down, it was most likely that I didn’t like Valentine’s Day because I didn’t have someone special to share it with.  I don’t mean family and friends, because that’s different.  (My wonderful dad would give my sisters and me little treats he’d made, from chocolate shaped like teddy bears to chocolate cups with ice cream inside, and my mom would always write cute, little love notes.  And for many years, my single friends and I would pick a fun restaurant in town and dress up and enjoy a nice time out.  We’d then go home, rent some non-sappy movie, and eat milkshakes.  So I wasn’t deprived in the love department.)

When you’re single, and you don’t want to be, you tend to dread this holiday and are reminded of what you don’t have.  But I don’t want this post to be about that.  I feel that I’ve grown up a bit, and while I still don’t feel the urge to buy a sappy love-letter, or make a romantic dinner on this particular day, (or feel entitled to a dozen roses by my hubby), I do really like the idea of Valentine’s Day being shared with the ones you love, no matter how you love them.

This is such a simple dessert to make for someone special in your life.  All you need is heart-shaped cookies, ganache, and sprinkles.  Simple, right?  Exactly.  That’s what I thought.  (I’m not being sarcastic, really. I promise it is easy.)  I make my chocolate sugar cookies from a recipe in the book Cookie Craft, (which is why I’m not posting it on the blog), but there are some good recipes on-line if you so choose.  Using a heart-shaped cookie cutter, (mine were 1 1/2 inches, but you could use any size), bake and fully cool the cookies.  (Half are flipped in this photo to make creating the sandwich really easy.)

Ganache sounds like a really scary word, and until the other day when I made these cookies, it was.  But I found it pretty easy, even though the recipe I decided to try, from Martha Stewart Living, had confusing directions.  (I will do my best to de-mystify this in the instructions below.)  And normally, I alter recipes, but since I had never done this before, I thought it best to stick to the directions.  Anyway, that was a bit of a side note.  But this isn’t any kind of ganache–it’s whipped ganache, and it’s lighter, fluffier, and fudgier.  Once the ganache is made and whipped, scoop it into a pastry bag with a #12 tip. Continue reading

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Top 10 Desserts [for holiday baking]

How is this holiday season treating you?  I hope amidst the stress this season can bring, you’ve found time to gather with family and friends and be reminded what this season is really about.  In an effort to try to help bring calm to this time of year, I’ve created a list of my top 10 favorite desserts that are great to bring to a holiday party or gathering.  So, in no particular order, here they are.

Christmas Cake Balls

They are such a hit at every party I’ve gone to, and the ease of this dessert is not only in the creating of it, but the eating as well.  You don’t need any silverware, just maybe a napkin.

Chocolate-Peppermint Cupcakes

I love peppermint, and paired with chocolate, you can’t go wrong with this dessert.  I’ve topped the cupcakes with crushed peppermint candies and Andes mints.  Either tastes fantastic.

Sugar Cookies

If you have a little more time on your hands, or want others involved, decorating sugar cookies is a fun way to go.  Even kids can join in.  (You can always make a buttercream frosting–check the end of the post–and color with food coloring for an easy way for kids to decorate.  Add some sprinkles or jimmies, and you’re golden!)

Pecan-Oreo Fudge Bars

What’s not to love about this dessert?  Nuts, fudge, and Oreos.  Need I say more?


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Sugar Cookie Sandwiches

I have a problem.  Maybe you have the same problem too.  When I bake sugar cookies, to decorate them, I bake too many.  And most of the time I don’t feel like decorating 30+ cookies.  (Not only does my hand cramp at that point, but it takes up most of my afternoon.)  Usually, I just leave the “leftovers,” and my husband and I munch on them.  But I thought that turning them into little sandwiches cookies sounded like a fun idea and a good way to use these leftover cookies.

I was out the other evening at our yearly “Back to School Night” at the high school where I work, and when I walked in the door at 9 PM, my husband asked what I had done to the cookies.  Not sure if this was a good thing or a bad thing, I asked him to clarify.  He went on the tell me that he ate the other half of a cookie I had left, (inadvertently, mind you, as I was trying to be on-time), another one from the cookie jar, and was going to share the last one with me (which usually means I get one bite).  Apparently they were a bit addicting.

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