Tag Archives: chocolate

Chocolate Espresso Cookies

CEC4Spring is just around the corner.  And honestly, I can’t wait.  We’ve had some snow flurries the past two weeks, and that put my kids in a tizzy.  Matthew was jumping around the house saying, “No school! No school!”  I think in his head, just a few drops of snow equals schools closing.  To be fair, this winter in the Pacific Northwest has been quite unusual, and every time it snowed, school was either cancelled or delayed.

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I think I told you about this crazy puppy we decided to adopt.  He has been fun, but, he is, well…a puppy.  Potty accidents have become a daily ritual, kid stuffies have been mauled, and my dining room furniture has turned into a chew toy.  And this is after having him sectioned off to just the kitchen.  My happy place is currently not so happy, as I can’t turn my back to him because I need to constantly self-direct.  Sigh…it’s okay.  This too shall pass and he’ll grow up, and the vigilance I am trying to do now should pay off down the road, right? Continue reading

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls

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I know I’m being cliche here, but one of the best food combinations in the whole world is chocolate and peanut butter.  In fact, I have been known to take a square or two of chocolate and dip into a jar of peanut butter.  Lazy,  I’ll admit it, but oh so good.

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This recipe is almost as easy as that, but there are a few special ingredients that make it that much better.  I made these to take over to a friend’s New Year’s Eve party, you know, before all the diets started, and they were gone in seconds.   They’re crunchy and sweet on the inside, and melty and smooth on the outside.  A perfect combination of salty and sweet.  I sprinkled some chopped peanuts on the top of some of them to add a little extra crunch.

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You can make these balls all in one go, or separate it out over a few days.  If you choose to make it in two days, you can make the dough on the first day, separating the dough into 2 large discs, covering it in plastic wrap, and placing in the fridge until you are ready to coat in chocolate.  On the second day you can roll the discs into balls of any size (I like larger so I don’t have to roll 80) and dip into chocolate.  Whatever you do, just give yourself a little bit of time,  as the balls need to chill in the fridge before you dip them in the hot chocolate. Continue reading

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Homemade Hot Chocolate

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I’m in a minor panic mode.  Weather forecasters predicted a possibility of 1-4 inches of snow Tuesday night.  I don’t mean to sound pessimistic, but in the Portland area, there’s much hype from the media when it comes to snow and little is delivered.  So I didn’t think too much about this particular forecast.  Saturday morning I went to the grocery store in a mad panic because the ice/snow/wind storm was supposed to come around 9 AM bringing 1-2 inches of ice.  The storm did materialize, but it was closer to a little more of a dusting of snow and 1/2 inch of ice.

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I decided to smite the weather forecasters this time and not panic.  When I woke up this morning, we had 11 inches of snow.  Yikes! Now I am kicking myself that I should have listened to the meteorologist, and therefore gone to the grocery store on my way home from work yesterday because I am almost out of fruits, veggies, and milk.  But more importantly, I am almost out of flour and butter.  And when you’re cooped up inside, warm baked goods sound better than ever, hence the minor panic mode I have induced upon myself.  This picture is the nature park by our house.  I have to admit, snow is beautiful.

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This one is of our backyard.  Oh my poor Japanese maple! Continue reading

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Linzer and Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

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It snowed an inch in Portland yesterday.  For those of you who live in areas where lots of snows is normal in the winter, one inch is probably a dusting to you; but out here, it shuts down the city.  And that is what it did yesterday afternoon, today, and most likely, tomorrow.  As a teacher, they ended school early yesterday, and cancelled school today and tomorrow.  It was nice having a “day off” today, but I am actually quite bummed that I don’t have school tomorrow.  December, as a teacher, is my second favorite month.  (And in case you’re wondering, September is my favorite.  I LOVE the beginning of the school year!)  All the winter festivities, merriment, excitement, and joy that accompanies this month is contagious.  And I just wanted one more day of it with the students before they go on their merry way to Christmas Break.

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Anyway, because today was a snow day, I thought, what better way to spend the afternoon than baking?  I was out of a few ingredients, so Eric and I trekked a mile to the grocery store with kids in tow.  They had so much fun tromping around and kicking up the snow, not one of them complained that it was too far (like they usually do when we take walks).  Grace even made up a song and sang it the whole way there–something about how she was snowboarding.

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The cookies I was making was to take in to co-workers tomorrow, but since I have no school, I guess I’ll have to eat them all myself.  Darn.  The sugar cookie recipe comes from the book Cookie Craft and if you don’t have the book, I highly suggest you do buy it.  It’s chalk-full of great advice on decorating sugar cookies, especially if you’re a newbie.  I use this recipe every time I make decorated sugar cookies, and I used them in these sandwich cookies too.

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Frozen Hot Chocolate

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“I can resist anything except temptation.” Oscar Wilde

As an English major in college and an English teacher these past 12 years, I have read my fair share of great classic literature.  Oscar Wilde wrote my favorite play, The Importance of Being Earnest, and if you have not read it, I suggest you do.  I dare you to not laugh out loud as you read this!  (Don’t ask me about the movie adaptation as I haven’t seen it.  This is mainly do to the fact that I may not like it and then it will forever taint my view of this beloved play. Please tell me this isn’t weird.)

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This quote is not from that play, but every time I read it I laugh.  Out loud.  And quite honestly, I can resist many things, but this dessert…Nope. Nada. Negative Ghostwriter.  I have been making this for 6 years now, and every time I offer it to others, they can’t resist it either.

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The best way to describe this dessert is that it is a cross between a slushie and a milkshake.  I make it in summer; I make it in winter. I make it when I have have a craving for chocolate; I make it just because.  And you should too. Enjoy! xoxo Continue reading

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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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Raspberry Truffle Brownie Bars

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We went on a short camping trip this past weekend, albeit the weather was windy and a bit drizzly.  For me, camping is a time to relax, be with family, and eat a bunch of junk food we normally don’t eat.  In fact, I take the kids with me to the grocery store and choose candy from the bin and fill up a plastic bag.  It’s honestly the highlight of the kids’ summer.

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Four “note-worthy” things happened while camping:

1. Matthew learned to ride a bike with no training wheels.

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2.  Grace learned to sort-of throw a Frisbee.  It’s like a tomahawk throw, actually.  The kids are finally beginning to get the concept of Frisbee golf.

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3.  Eric finally beat my dad at corn-hole.  It’s a silly game if you ask me, but they love it, even though their shoulders are very sore the next day.

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4.  Matthew lost his front tooth.  It was the 5th tooth he’s lost, not a huge deal, but how he lost it was pretty funny.  He and Grace were playing tag and he accidentally rammed his tooth into the backside of Grace’s head.  He came back crying (not Grace, surprisingly) and 5 minutes later, out popped the tooth.  However, the tooth fairy couldn’t bring him anything that night, because she didn’t know that he was camping.  (Thankfully he fell for it! We made up for it when we came home the next day and he received an extra coin under his pillow.  “She remembered! She remembered!” he kept saying.)

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I decided to make these brownies to take camping with us.   Continue reading

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