Tag Archives: chocolate

Raw Ambition: Fudgy Raw Brownie Bites

Raw Ambition: Fudgy Raw Brownie Bites

What would you say if I told you that these fudgy gems (see photo) were not only utterly delicious but also incredibly good for you? They’re also quick and easy to prepare, plus there’s no heat involved in their creation — they’re raw!

These brownie bites are chock-full of chocolatey goodness, and bonus: they’re gluten-free, vegan and filled with beneficial vitamins, minerals, healthy fats and protein — thanks to superfoods like nuts, dates, raw cacao and coconut.

I know some of you might be wondering how can I give you a dish swimming in cream and cheese one week and then turn around and offer a recipe for what some would consider “earthy, crunchy hippie food” the next. It’s because life is about balance. And just because you have to get healthy foods into your diet doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice flavor.

To further sell you on these, let’s break down the health benefits in the ingredients: Medjool dates have a rich flavor and act as both a natural sweetener and a binder for these brownies. They’re used in many raw desserts and are a great replacement for sugar or honey, plus they have high levels of potassium, magnesium, copper and manganese, and are a great source of fiber. Nuts — in this case pecans — are ground up and serve as the “flour” for the brownies. Nuts contain both protein and contain healthy unsaturated fats and omega-6 fatty acids (particularly pecans and walnuts), which aid in the prevention of vascular diseases.

Powdered raw cacao is the pure, ground form of the “meat” of the cacao bean, also known as the “nib.” This is the raw form of chocolate before it has been mashed into a paste and melted down. Not only does cacao contain a natural chemical which acts as an aphrodisiac (aka: theobromine), it also has more antioxidant flavonoids (cancer and cardiovascular disease fighters) than any other food, and has up to four times more antioxidants than green tea. As for the coconut, it is rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals and healthy fats.

If I’ve sold you on these brownies’ salubrious benefits (or haven’t scared you off with all this healthy talk), be sure to give them a try. You’ll wonder why you ever wasted the empty calories on those standard baked ones.
Read the rest of this entry

Do you fondue?: How to whip up a three-course fondue feast

Do you fondue?: How to whip up a three-course fondue feast

Photo: 663highland via Wikimedia Commons

Fondue isn’t just a cheesy throwback culinary trend that your parents used to participate in at parties in the the ’70s, it’s a fun, easy and interactive way to share a meal with family and friends.

You don’t even need fondue pots to enjoy it at home. All you need are a few pots and a working stove top. Also, if you’re fondue pot-less and don’t feel like eating it in your kitchen, small slow cookers also come in handy as they can hold the items inside at a constant temperature.

Here are some basic, solid fondue recipes — both sweet and savory — to enjoy. Feel free to play around with the ingredients and make it your own. And if you’ve got a larger crowd to feed, simply multiply ingredients accordingly.
Read the rest of this entry

It’s the bomb: Get a sweet buzz from this Chocolate “Bomb” Stout Float

It’s the bomb: Get a sweet buzz from this Chocolate “Bomb” Stout Float

Believe it or not, beer and chocolate make a great pair. Better yet, beer and chocolate ice cream make an amazing pair. The inspiration for this boozy treat came from a drool-worthy photo of a similar recipe in Bon Appetit of a tall glass oozing over with ice cream, stout and chocolate syrup. But never being able to follow a recipe, I decided to put my own spin on it. Thus the Chocolate “Bomb” Stout Float was born.

I’m sure many of you are familiar with the libation often knocked back at (American) Irish pubs, the “Irish Car Bomb” — the drink and its inappropriate name being an American invention, of course. It’s served as a glass of Guinness draft and a separate shot glass filled with Irish whiskey and Bailey’s Irish Cream. The drinker drops the shot glass into the beer and quickly guzzles it down until the drink is gone — and before the Bailey’s curdles.

Then it hit me: Guinness plus chocolate ice cream plus Irish whiskey could potentially equal something awesome. And sure enough, this float is great when first served but gets even better when the ice cream melts and mixes with the roasty stout, the toasty whiskey and the rich chocolate sauce.

If Guinness is too bitter for your tastes, I recommend using Young’s Double Chocolate Stout, Brooklyn Brewery’s Black Chocolate Stout (though watch out for the 10% ABV) or any stout or porter brew with notes of chocolate and/or espresso. As for the ice cream, I prefer using a rich, chocolatey one, like Blue Bell’s Dutch Cocoa, but you could also experiment with coffee ice cream as well as it would mingle well with the flavors in the beer.

As for the liquor, I’d advise a sweeter whiskey, like an Irish style, over a smoky or peaty-flavored one. You could also use bourbon, espresso liqueur (Patron XO is amazing in this) or blackberry brandy for a take on the traditional “Guinness and Black” drink.
Read the rest of this entry

Move over Godiva!: Easy and decadent homemade Chocolate-Rum Truffles

Move over Godiva!: Easy and decadent homemade Chocolate-Rum Truffles

Forget buying overpriced chocolates and goodies for your sweetie or friends this Valentine’s Day. Why not give them a more personal way of saying “You’re Special” by making them a sweet gift yourself? These rich and decadent chocolate truffles are sure to please any chocolate lover.

Believe it or not, chocolate truffles are not difficult to make. I decided to take on the challenge for the sake of this post and prove that it can be easily accomplished (you’re talking to Miss Anti-Pastry, remember?). So what if they don’t look as perfect as those expensive Godiva ones? They taste amazing and they’ve got a whole lot more love in them than anything you could buy in the store.

For this recipe, I decided to flavor mine with dark rum. I suggest using good quality chocolate (for taste) and chocolate chips in a bag will suffice just as well (go for Ghirardelli or other fancy brand, if you do). Indulge, enjoy, and have a happy Valentines Day!
Read the rest of this entry

Sweet recipe inspirations for National S’mores Day

Sweet recipe inspirations for National S’mores Day

Heather Katsoulis via Flickr

Seeing as today, August 10th, is National S’mores Day (yes, they’re so fabulous that they get their own holiday), it’s a great excuse to indulge in this ooey, gooey, graham and chocolaty treat. Think about it: When was the last time you’ve had a s’more (unless you went camping last weekend)?

But being one who almost never sticks to an original recipe, I perused some foodie sites to find fun variations on traditional s’mores. So, check out my recipe roundup below for some seriously sweet inspiration.
Read the rest of this entry

Yoo-hoo isn’t just for kids anymore: The Hooville Martini

Yoo-hoo isn’t just for kids anymore: The Hooville Martini

yoohoo_martini

While thumbing through an in flight magazine on the red-eye to San Antonio a few years ago, I stumbled across this fabulous cocktail recipe — the Hooville Martini. Whoever thought of using Yoo-Hoo as a mixer is a genius.

The Hooville was created for the bar menu at the trendy Ketchup restaurant in L.A., which features classic comfort food dishes with a gourmet twist. Their drink list also features other memorable kid beverages, like Sunny D and Kool-Aid, updated into playful and creative cocktails. “The Hooville takes on the creamy and chocolatey Yoo-Hoo, but with added almond flavor, since what goes better with chocolate than almond? It’s a nutty, rich tasting cocktail that makes a really good after-dinner drink,” says Ketchup’s bar manager, Darius Karsas.

I also think this would make a great breakfast or brunch drink, like an adult chocolate milk with a little ‘hair of the dog’.

Recipe after the break:

For a fun flavor variations, why not use Kahlua or your favorite flavored liqueur in place of the amaretto? Or try it caffeinated by using espresso-flavored vodka, thus giving it a mocha-like taste.
Read the rest of this entry

Is this what heaven looks like?: Bacon-dark chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting

Is this what heaven looks like?: Bacon-dark chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting

Here’s an oldie but a goodie from my recipe arsenal that I created a few years ago (and please excuse the bad pic, as it was before I knew anything about food photography). These bacon-dark chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting are one of my most requested recipes, so here it is. It’s also one of the recipes I made during one of my regular cooking spots on Studio 10 (watch the video here titled “A Birthday Treat with a Twist”).

I will confess that I cheated a bit on this one — I used cake mix from a box. (Gasp!) Baking cakes and pastries completely from scratch has not always been my forte (actually, my worst subject in school). They’re so fussy to make and easy to screw up, and I hate measuring out ingredients. I take the Rachael Ray approach to cooking: a palmful of this, a pinch of that, etc. Bottom line: you can’t mess up with cake mix and I had my reputation relying on these — no room for error. At least I made the peanut butter frosting from scratch, thus redeeming my honor.

The rich chocolate and smoky bacon marry beautifully and are enhanced even more by the sweet and salty peanut butter frosting. This is definitely a ‘must try’, whether it be in cupcake, cookie, or bar form. And if you don’t eat bacon, your loss.
Read the rest of this entry

Chocolate + bacon = candy bar heaven

Chocolate + bacon = candy bar heaven

What is it about bacon that we love? It seems the food world has had an obsession with it lately, from bacon vodka, to Bacon Salt, to the infamous Bacon Explosion. But have you ever thought of pairing bacon with something on the sweeter side? What about bacon in candy?

I dared to go there when I purchased the Mo’s Bacon Bar. I had read about it before on the trusty food porn sites that I peruse and salivate over daily, but had never seen it in stores. “Bacon and chocolate?”, I thought, “What a great combination!” I love the pairing of sweet and salty in food – like SnoCaps and popcorn at the movie theater – and I am a bacon fanatic. This was also the item that spawned the idea for my Chocolate Bacon Cupcakes. I was bound and determined to find this candy bar.
Read the rest of this entry