Tag Archives: chocolate
27 Sep


Tuesday was my second blogiversary.

Can you believe it? Two years!

Since two years of blogging deserves a special treat, I thought long and hard about what I wanted. After all, who do you think does all the work around here?

I’ve seen far too many extravagant and not to mention time-consuming layer cakes and other fancy desserts styled, photographed, and posted on other food blogs on their blogiversaries to know that that’s not the direction I wanted to go.

I love thinking up new recipes, testing them, and then sharing them here with you when they turn out well. However, I always try to keep things as simple as possible.

Let’s face it, if I post a recipe that contains twenty ingredients, requires special equipment, and takes all day to make, the likelihood that anyone is ever going to try that recipe out in their own kitchen is well, zilch.

So I thought about how I could make something that was special but also simple at the same time. It also had to contain the flavors I love the most (salted caramel, coffee, and chocolate).

After much consideration, I finally settled on these:

Salted Caramel Mocha Cookies

The reason that it took me so long to get this post up for you guys is because it took me all week to figure out what to call these cookies.

On their own, the shortbread cookies taste just like a cappuccino. If you fill them with chocolate and/or add a chocolate drizzle on top, they taste just like a cafe mocha. However, if you take it a step further (and you totally should) and add the salted caramel, the finished cookies taste like a Salted Caramel Mocha from Starbucks, only not as cloyingly sweet. So that seemed like the logical choice.

I love this shortbread recipe because the finished cookies are so buttery and light that they melt in your mouth. If you’ve ever had a Pecan Sandie, you’re already familiar with the texture. You could actually leave the espresso out and add chopped, toasted pecans and you’d have the best homemade Pecan Sandies you’ve ever had in your life.

You can also tailor the filling to suit your taste. You can go heavy on the chocolate and light on the salted caramel or vice versa, or you can leave either one out all together. Honestly, they’ll be delicious either way. Just make sure you let both the chocolate and salted caramel cool and thicken a bit before you fill your cookies or your tops will just slide off and you’ll have a mess.

These cookies are made in three parts but I’m going to break everything down for you. Don’t worry it’s easy. If you like cappuccino, salted caramel, and chocolate, you will love these cookies!

Salted Caramel Mocha Cookies


Cappuccino Shortbread Cookies

2 sticks of unsalted butter – at room temp

1 egg yolk

1/2 cup sugar

2 cups AP flour

1/4 tsp salt

2 tsp instant espresso

1 1/2 tsp vanilla


The secret to these cookies is all the beating you’re about to do but don’t skip it! I’m telling you, it’s worth it.

Beat the butter using your hand or stand mixer on medium speed until it’s very light and fluffy. Should be about five minutes.

Add the egg yolk and sugar and beat for another five minutes. I know, just do it.

Add the salt and flour in one heaping spoonful at a time, making sure your mixer is on low so you don’t fling it all over your kitchen. Once all the flour is incorporated, beat another couple of minutes on medium speed for good measure.

Now add the remaining ingredients and continue beating until well combined.

Cover and refrigerate the dough for about an hour until chilled and firm.

Scoop the dough using a teaspoon measure, roll into balls, and place about an inch apart on a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet.

Cover the dough balls lightly with plastic wrap and use the bottom of a glass to gently flatten each one a little. You want them all to be about the same size because you’ll be matching them up later. Don’t stress about it though.

Gently peel off the plastic wrap and bake the cookies for 7-9 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven.

The cookies are done when they are firm on top but have only browned a little around the edges.

Let the cookies cool on the pan for a few minutes before you move them to a cooling rack or they will fall apart.

While the cookies cool, you can make the caramel.


Salted Caramel Sauce

adapted from Domino Sugar

2 tbsp butter

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp vanilla


In a deep microwaveable bowl or a measuring cup that holds at least 2 cups, melt the butter in the microwave completely.

Gently whisk in the heavy cream and sugar and microwave for two minutes, stirring gently after the first minute.

When the caramel sauce is amber-colored and there are no grainy bits of sugar left, add the remaining ingredients and set aside to cool.


Chocolate Filling

1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

1/4 cup heavy cream


Heat the cream in the microwave until it is scalding hot but not boiling.

Add the chocolate chips to the cream and let sit for a couple of minutes so that the hot cream can begin melting the chocolate.

Stir gently until the chocolate is completely melted and combined with the cream.

Put in the refrigerator to cool and thicken for a few minutes.


Once your salted caramel and chocolate filling have cooled a bit and thickened, you can assemble the cookies!

Spread some salted caramel or chocolate filling (or both) on the bottom (flat side) of each cookie and set aside. Be sure to leave a little room around the edges so that when you put the tops on, your filling doesn’t squish out.

Now this part is totally optional but I heartily encourage you to add 1/4 tsp of instant espresso to about 1/4 cup of melted semi sweet chocolate and then drizzle that over your cookies. This really puts the flavor over the top!

You can either leave the cookies out at room temperature until the chocolate sets or if you’re impatient like me, you can set your cookies on a tray and put in the fridge for about five minutes and they’ll be perfect.

You could also just shove them right into your mouth. Your call.




2 Aug


The weekend is here!

Well, almost.

To be honest, all the days seem to run together when you’re a housewife. Especially during the summer when the kids are ALWAYS home so it’s kind of hard to get excited about the weekend.

Thursday is the day that I get excited about. That’s the day that I grocery shop.

Yes… grocery shopping is the highlight of my week.

I just read that last sentence out loud and I can see where it might seem pretty sad.

But don’t cry for me Argentina… I get a whole half of a day all to myself to walk around my two favorite stores, latte from Starbucks in hand.

No one is yelling at me to hurry up, or complaining of boredom, or messing around with my cart making it impossible for me to push it in a straight line, or whining about how I should probably be feeding them, or begging me to buy them candy.

It’s heaven.

It’s like a micro vacation that I get to take every week under the guise of procuring food and other essentials for my family.

And then as soon as I’m back at home, the kids are all up in my business to see what I bought.

What did you get me?

Did you get cookies?

What’s for lunch, I’m hungry!?

Vacation over.

I had to run back out this morning for a few things. Tax free weekend for us starts today and I wanted to grab a couple pairs of jeans for Cam while they were tax-free… and on sale… and I had a coupon. There was no way I was passing up that super savings situation.

So if you’re keeping count, that’s a total of two times out of the house, sans kids in one week.

And it’s not even my birthday.

I felt so refreshed from my little shopping excursion this morning that I decided to make donuts for the kids.

I like donuts. They like donuts. Everybody wins!

Then I pulled out my donut pan that makes cutesy little mini donuts and all that ambition went right out the window.

The idea of meticulously spooning tiny spoonfuls of batter into a donut pan just didn’t appeal to me at that moment. Piping them wasn’t happening either so I switched up my game plan and made muffins instead.

It totally worked. The muffins were delicious and way easier (and less tedious) to get into their pan.

If you wanted to make donuts you totally could, and should. They would be awesome. Similar to those chocolate glazed donuts we all love from that donut place we all love.

In fact, if you do make donuts out of this batter, you should probably also glaze them.

Just add a teaspoon of vanilla extract to 2 cups of powdered sugar and then add 6-8 tablespoons of milk and whisk to combine. If it’s too dry, add a teaspoon of milk at a time until you get the consistency you want. Then dunk your donuts or drizzle the glaze on top.



In a large bowl add:

1 cup flour

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

Whisk to combine and to remove any lumps.

In a separate bowl add:

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of yogurt

1/4 cup chocolate milk (I use chocolate almond milk)

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whisk to combine.

Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and mix just until everything is incorporated. Do not over-mix.

Fold in a handful of chocolate chips, chocolate covered espresso beans, or small chocolate candies.

Bake for 20 minutes or until the tops spring back when pressed gently.

Avocado Brownies

2 Jul

When I discovered that black bean brownies were a thing that existed in our universe, I was instantly intrigued.

The black beans actually replace the flour called for in the brownie.

What the what!?

I’m not even going to begin to try to understand how that whole situation works because chemistry seems hard.

But I’m all for making things healthier so I spent a good chunk of my Thursday afternoon searching the internets for “the best black bean brownie recipe” and do you know what I found?

The same recipe over and over with a slight variation here and there.

With so many people using this recipe and proclaiming it to be “delicious” over and over I figured that it must be a winner.


It most definitely was not. I’m not even going to post it here.

If you’re really curious, do a quick search and you should easily be able to find that recipe and be well on your way to a pan of chocolate flavored pureed black beans.


After that epic kitchen fail I searched one of my favorite online resources (aka Pinterest) for more baking substitution ideas and found this:

Helpful no?

Check out the fats section.

See where it says you can substitute butter with avocados?

I totally did that.

Science is crazy.

I used a really simple brownie recipe that I love because it uses cocoa powder instead of melted chocolate.

It’s great in a pinch, there’s no melting of anything involved, and it’s so easy my kids can make it.

I pulled a switcharoo on the sugar as well, trying to get away from the refined white sugar called for in the recipe.

What’s the verdict?

My kids ate every bite of their brownies and then asked for seconds.

And they ate them the second day too.

I was able to detect a slight avocado after taste but I’m also one of those super-taster people who can’t stand bitter things that other people can’t even taste and I can tell when there’s coconut oil or food coloring in something without ever reading the ingredients so don’t go by my highfalutin’ opinion.

If you’re really craving a brownie, go for the version made with butter and sugar because nothing beats that.

But… oh I don’t know, maybe you have some extra avocados lying around, or maybe you want something a little healthier, or maybe you want to try something a little different, or maybe you just want to mess with your kids by sneaking produce into their dessert, I won’t pretend to know your life.

For any of the above mentioned reasons, this one’s for you. šŸ˜‰


1/2 a ripe avocado – mashed really well

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup honey (or maple syrup)

2 eggs

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup flour


Add the first five ingredients to a large bowl and whisk well to combine. Make sure there are no avocado lumps. The mixture should be smooth.

Add the remaining dry ingredients and whisk until combined.

Pour into a greased 9 inch pan and bake at 350 for 20-25 until done.

Chocolate Avocado Frosting:

In a medium-sized bowl add:

3 Tbsp mashed avocado

3 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa

1 Tbsp honey

1-2 tsps vanilla extract

1 cup powdered sugar

1-2 milk (I used almond milk)

Whisk together until smooth and shiny. If it’s too thin, add a tablespoon or two of powdered sugar, if it seems too dry, add a tablespoon or two of milk.

Spread on top of the brownies once they’ve cooled and add sprinkles if you want ’em.


brownies 032

Gralowly Bars

13 Jun

gralowly bars


These are the granola bars that I give to my kids.

They don’t come individually wrapped in a box.

There’s nothing hydrogenated, high fructose, or artificially flavored about them.

They’re just little bars of oats, nut butter, honey, a little sugar, and whatever seeds and dried fruit I happen to have in my pantry thrown in for good measure.

They got their name from Camryn (naturally). She couldn’t say granola when she was little and “gralowly” was about as close as she could get. Over the years, the cuteness factor caused the name to stick.

Gralowly bars are a bit different from regular granola bars in that they don’t have any puffed rice or sweetened coconut that so many other granola bars have but if you like those things you can certainly throw them in as well.

These bars are dense yet chewy and surprisingly filling.

Making them is easy, there is no baking required, and you can pretty much put anything you want in them.

And because they don’t require refrigeration, they’re great to wrap individually in wax paper or small baggies and throw in your purse for a quick snack when you’re out with your kiddos.

They won’t keep your little ones from screaming their faces off for happy meals but at least you’ll feel better about offering them a healthier option.

Mom win.


3/4 cup honey

1/2 cup natural peanut butter or any other nut butter (yay protein!)

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp sea salt

3 cups quick-cooking oats

1/4 cup seedsĀ  (I used my chia/hemp seed mix – use anything you like)

1/4 cup wheat germ

1/4 cup sliced almonds or other nuts (optional)

Dried fruitĀ  (I used goji berries and cherries. I don’t measure. I just throw in a handful or two)

Chocolate chipsĀ Ā  (I don’t measure here either. I just throw in a couple of handfuls)


Combine the honey, peanut butter, and brown sugar. This can be done two ways:

In the microwave: Put honey, PB, and brown sugar in a microwave safe bowl & microwave on high for two minutes. Stir halfway through and again at the end of the second minute.

On the stove top: Add all three ingredients to a sauce pan and stir over medium heat until combined. You shouldn’t feel any sugar granules when you stir.

Take off the heat and add the vanilla, cinnamon and sea salt.

In a large bowl add all of the other ingredients. Seriously, just throw all that other stuff in and stir to incorporate everything.

Pour the liquid mixture over the rest of the ingredients and stir to combine.

Dump mixture into a lightly greased 8×8 pan and pack it down to make everything even.

Let the mixture cool completely before turning out and cutting into bars.

Store at room temp in an air tight container for about a week.

* If you prefer puffed rice cereal in your granola bars, reduce the amount of quick-cooking oats to 2 cups and add 2 cups of puffed rice cereal.

* For a cheaper/vegan friendly option, feel free to substitute honey with corn syrup. The consistency is similar so it should work just fine.