Tag Archives: chocolate

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

This is one outrageous zucchini bread.  The batter will have your eyes rolling to the back of your head.  I can honestly say the first time I tasted the batter I seriously considered not baking the bread at all and , instead, simply eating it all…one generous, sloppy spoonful after another until there was no more.   I first began baking zucchini bread for my son, James, when he was a toddler but I never called it zucchini bread.  I’m pretty sure he would have turned his cute little Greek nose up at it, but how about “tea bread”?  He loved Mama’s “tea bread” and even helped me bake it.  Many a morning he suggested we invite his grandmother, Mimi, over for a tea party with “tea bread”.  Little scamp.  I covered his small, round child’s table with a linen tablecloth and set places for James, Mimi and his two best friends, Bert and Ernie.  I prepared cafe con leche or James’ favorite tea, Constant Comment and served the guests while they chatted politely about Curious George, which day that week they would go feed the ducks or the latest happenings on Sesame Street…”Mimi! Did you know there is a number 9?”  We have some lovely memories.  I hope this recipe makes it to your next tea party!

Baking day circa 1993-94. Someone was in charge of sprinkles:)

This wonderful recipe I found in the booklet of directions and recipes which came with my Cuisinart food processor.  I made no changes except for the addition of vanilla extract.  The recipe is that perfect.  It does state milk chocolate chips may be used as well but I’d rather have a sharp chocolate presence so I’ll stick with semi-sweet chips.  If your food processor is another brand I’m pretty sure it will be just fine.  (But I DO adore my Cuisinart!)

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

  • Servings: one 9-inch loaf
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 1 3/4 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch of nutmeg (I used almost 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated)
  • 1 large zucchini (about 12 ounces)
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract (this is not part of the original recipe)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet)
  1. Pre-heat oven to 325°F.  Lightly coat a 9-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.  Reserve.
  2. Combine the flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, baking soda and nutmeg in a medium bowl.  Reserve.
  3. Insert the shredding disc with the medium side facing up.  Shred zucchini.  Add to the bowl with the reserved dry ingredients.
  4. Put the sugar, eggs and oil into the large work bowl fitted with the large chopping blade.  Process on high for 30 seconds.  Add dry ingredients and pulse, to just combine, about 8 to 10 times.  Remove blade.  Fold in chocolate chips.  Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.
  5. Bake until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour.
  6. Let cool in pan and serve warm if desired.

http://www.theirreverentkitchen.com

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Maida Heatter’s Palm Beach Mint Brownies

Sometimes chocolate is the best last resort.  You’ve apologized, prayed, fretted and worried, yelled, torn your cuticles and had one too many drinks.  Maybe chocolate is the answer.  Not as a long-term solution but this recipe will certainly smooth ruffled feathers and ease worried minds for the time being.  These brownies were created by baking maven, Maida Heatter, and are classic world renown treats.  If you served brownies at a wedding, these are the ones you want.  If your precious angel is going through a rough time at college, these are the brownies to pack in an empty shoe box.  I made a few changes in the way I bake them.  I sprayed the tin foil lined baking pan with non-stick cooking spray as opposed to applying the melted butter process.  Worked fine.  I used pecans in place of walnuts because I adore pecans and I find walnuts to be bitter…I don’t know…I’m just not a fan.  The final change I made was rather than purchase 2 bags of York Peppermint Patties I used 2  7.7-ounce bags of Ghiradelli Chocolate Peppermint Brownie Squares I found on clearance after the holidays.  I had started actually dipping into one of the bags for an occasional treat and that’s never good.  I had no business buying more chocolates.  Boy howdy, do I love these brownies!  It is imperative you chill these overnight for the best results.  Somehow it all works together and makes this dessert well worth the wait.

Maida Heatter's Palm Beach Mint Brownies

  • Servings: 32 large brownies
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 8 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 8 ounces unsalted butter
  • 5 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 3 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 2/3 cups sifted unbleached flour
  • 2 cups shelled walnuts, broken into large pieces
  • 2 15-ounce bags chocolate covered peppermint patties
  1. Pre-heat oven to 425°.  Line a 9″ X 13″ x 2″ pan as follows: Invert the pan and center a 17″ length of aluminum foil, shiny side down, over the pan.  With your hands, press down on the sides and corners of the foil to shape it to the pan.  Remove the foil.  Turn the pan right side up.  Place the foil in the pan and very carefully press it into place in the pan.  Now, to butter the pan, place a piece of butter (additional to that in ingredients) in the pan, and put the pan in the oven.  When the butter is melted, use a pastry brush or a piece of crumbled plastic wrap to spread the butter all over the foil.  Set the prepared pan aside.
  2. Place the chocolate and the butter in the top of a large double boiler over moderate heat or in a 4- to 6-cup heavy saucepan over low heat.  Stir occasionally, until the chocolate and butter are melted.  Stir to mix.  Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the eggs, vanilla and almond extracts, salt, espresso powder and sugar at high-speed for ten minutes.  On low-speed add the chocolate mixer (which may still be warm) and beat only until mixed.  Then add the flour and again beat on low-speed only until mixed.  Remove the bowl from the mixer and stir in the walnuts.
  4. Pour half the mixture (about 3 1/2 cups) into the prepared pan and smooth the top.  Place a layer of the mints, touching each other and the edges of the pan, all over the chocolate layer.  Cut some mints to fill in large spaces on the edges.  (You will not use all the mints.  There will be some left over.)  Pour the remaining chocolate mixture into the pan and smooth all over.
  5. Bake for 35 minutes, reversing the pan front to back once during baking to ensure even baking.  At the end of 35 minutes the cake will have a firm crust on top  but if you insert a toothpick in the middle it will come out wet and covered with chocolate.  Nevertheless, it is done.  Do not bake any longer.
  6. Remove the pan from the oven; let stand until cool.  Cover the pan with a cookie sheet and invert the pan and the sheet. remove the pan and the foil lining.  Cover the length of the cake with a length of wax paper and another cookie sheet and invert again, leaving the cake right side up.  Now, the cake must be refrigerated for a few hours or overnight before it is cut into bars.
  7. When you are ready to cut the cake, use a long, heavy knife with a sharp blade, either serrated or straight-try both.  Cut the cake into quarters.  Cut each quarter in half, cutting through the long sides.  Finally, cut each piece into 4 bars, cutting through the long sides.  (I think these brownies are better in narrow bar shapes than in squares.) Pack brownies in an airtight box or wrap individually in clear cellophane, wax paper or foil.  They freeze perfectly and can be served very cold or at room temperature.

http://www.theirreverentkitchen.com

Classic Tiramisu

Tiramisu is the Italian creation which will save your ass when the 3:00 slump hits you at your desk, stove, steering wheel or washing machine.  Tiramisu literally means “pick me up” and with the coffee and sugar called for in the recipe, it will!  I first made this dessert in 1991.  I had decided to have an Italian Thanksgiving as I’ve never been a huge fan of turkey and the traditional “fixin’s”.  Our guests were family plus one of Jimmy’s students from MIT, Laura Duenes, and her boyfriend, Forest McKennie.  When Laura decided to pull up stakes and move to Fort Lauderdale, Jimmy immediately offered her a plum job.  She knew all of us…my entire family.  We loved her and she loved us.  Laura was young, smart, beautiful… the quintessential cheeky, sassy Chicana.   While she flew all over the country standing up to banks, my little sister, Pamela, kind of ran the office… answering the phones, filing, etc.  Nothing made them happier than when they were both in the office together.  One afternoon Jimmy returned to the office from a meeting.  Walking in, he found the office surprisingly quiet.  Turning a corner he found Laura’s and Pamela’s eyes riveted to the television set and his desk had been somewhat reorganized.  They were both doing their nails; his desk was covered with cuticle sticks, base coat, polish, top coat, nail files and all manner of hand creams.  As Jimmy exclaimed, “What’s going on here?   This is a business, ya know!” both girls, without moving a muscle, answered, “SHHHHH! We’re watching our story.  It’s General Hospital.  It’ll be over in a minute.”  Can you imagine saying that to your boss, never mind giving yourself a manicure at work!  Knowing he was outnumbered, Jimmy just shook his head and muttered, “Girls!”.  Laura was family.  We had a superb Thanksgiving that year.  I found the menu and have to say, it was pretty great.

The wine flowed and laughter rang out all afternoon.   The tiramisu was a huge hit, smooth, rich and cool on a hot south Florida day.  Laura and Forest eventually married and accepted positions in D.C., then south Africa and back to D.C..  Those were some good days and every single time I make tiramisu I think of that girl.

Tiramisu is a glorious make-ahead treat.  Granted, there are several steps in making it but, boy, is it worth it!  It can be prepared in a 9X13 inch dish, individual pots or wine glasses.  Some folks make their own ladyfingers but I find store-bought are fine.  Because the bags of cookies in my store are 7 ounces, I try to make a somewhat double layer of ladyfingers on the bottom of the dish.  One bag isn’t enough for this recipe and the extra cookies give the dish added structure.  There’s quite a bit of liquid in the recipe and the cookies soak it up in a most delicious way.  Tiramisu should be served as cold as you can get it, so feel free to chill your dishes if you’re inclined.  The set, chilled texture is not even as firm as Jello although it is not runny either.  If you prepare this dessert in one large dish it’s best to serve it up in the kitchen.  And be assertive with your serving spoon and spatula.  The tiramisu will lose its shape, fall over and slide around making serving a bit of a challenge but it’s not meant to be pretty.  It’s meant to be spectacular!

Classic Tiramisu

  • Servings: 14-16
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 14 ounces ladyfingers
  • 1 cup espresso
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons rum, dark or golden, divided
  • 4 tablespoons Gran Marnier
  • 1 pound mascarpone cheese
  • 5 large eggs, separated
  • 6 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • unsweetened Dutch processed cocoa, to cover top of dish
  1. Set a 9X13 inch baking dish aside.
  2. In a large shallow bowl mix the espresso, 2 tablespoons of rum and Gran Marnier.
  3. Working quickly, dip each ladyfinger, one at a time, into the espresso mixture, moistening each side then placing on the bottom of the baking dish.  Continue until the bottom of the dish is completely covered.  I make a second layer of cookies, completely optional, with about 1″ in between each ladyfinger.  Reserve enough cookies for a final layer in between the mascarpone mixture.  Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl place the remaining rum and mascarpone and beat until smooth.  Set aside.
  5. In a small double-boiler over medium-low heat, beat the egg yolks with 3 tablespoons of sugar until light and foamy, about 4 minutes.
  6. Pour the hot yolks into the mascarpone mixture, mix well to combine and set aside.
  7. In a separate bowl, whip the cream with the  vanilla extract until soft peaks are formed  when the beaters are lifted.
  8. Add 1/3 of the whipped cream to the mascarpone mixture and gently fold in.  Fold in the remaining cream adding 1/3 at a time.  Set aside.
  9. In a separate bowl and using a hand mixer with clean beaters, whip the egg whites until foamy.  Slowly add the remaining sugar and continue beating the egg whites until the peaks hold their shape.  Do not over beat.
  10. Add the egg whites to the mascarpone mixture and gently fold in until there are no streaks of egg white.
  11. Pour half of the mascarpone mixture over the ladyfingers in the baking dish.
  12. Lightly dip the remaining ladyfingers, one at a time, in the espresso mixture and layer evenly over the poured mascarpone.  Break the cookies to cover any holes.
  13. Pour the remaining mascarpone mixture over the cookies, smooth the top and refrigerate uncovered overnight.
  14. Prior to serving, cover the top of the tiramisu with a thick dusting of unsweetened cocoa powder.
  15. Serve immediately.

http://www.theirreverentkitchen.com

Deep South Co-Cola Cake

This past weekend was the annual oratorical competition for the regional at Saint Demetrios church here in Fort Lauderdale.  Middle schoolers and high schoolers from Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Louisiana, Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi came for the weekend each hoping to take home the gold, a chance at the national competition to be held this June in Boston.  Although it is voluntary, “the oratorical” was a mandatory exercise for our son James; mean, demanding parents that we are.  But James did well.  Extremely well and, I have to say, the competition certainly honed James’ public speaking skills.  To this day he has no self-doubts, fears or hesitation taking a microphone and making a presentation in front of any one, no matter the number of people gathered.  Representing the southeast region, James competed the last three years of high school traveling to New Orleans, Knoxville and Clearwater.  It was in Clearwater, his senior year, that I met a girl who made such an impression on me.  We were drawn to each other like magnets and the more we talked the more we found in common with each other.  Her name was Harriet, born and raised in Rome, Georgia, a sassy, stunning Southern belle through and through.  At the Saturday night celebratory dinner in Clearwater, I invited the moms at our table for a late night drinking and gab fest in the lobby of the hotel where all of us were staying.  Any mom could join us the only caveat being was you had to wear your pajamas and bring your own hooch, every Southern girl’s dream.  The kids all knew each other, the Greek network is positively astounding, and had planned a midnight pool party.  Sippin’ and sassin’ in the lobby also allowed us to keep one eye on the kids.  It goes without saying, we had a blast!  All of us tried to outdo the others with tales of our husbands and children.  We screamed and cackled with laughter until tears came out of our eyes.  At some ungodly hour the bottles of booze were empty and we all stumbled back to our rooms but not before Harriet and I exchanged emails and cell numbers.  By then we were solid, blood sisters.  Back in our home towns we texted and emailed frequently, learning about each other and liking each other more and more.  She lived in Warren, Georgia, a rural town, with her husband and two hunky sons on a working farm.  They had a lake or stream where the boys brought home tons of freshly caught fish all neatly strung waiting for Harriet to fry ’em up.  Harriet’s role on the farm besides wife and mom was raising baby lambs.  All this was straight up my alley but this was the clincher…she, also, had a blog.  We gave each other shout outs on our posts, commiserated one with the other frustrations we encountered,  encouraged and  supported the habit of daily writing .  We shared intimacies only lifelong friends divulge.  Serious stuff.  And we laughed.  Boy, did we laugh.  Harriet had been published several times in different local publications, her forte being daily life in rural Georgia.  I recall one Thanksgiving article she wrote dealt with the most shameful fact that she, the only living Southern woman, could not, to save her life, make gravy.  She crept into the local Piggly Wiggly, surreptitiously grabbed a couple of jars of ready made gravy and casually ambled up to the check out line.  Her heart was pounding like a rabbit on crack as she looked around to see if anyone she knew had seen her.  Didn’t matter.  She knew she was dead meat…small town like Warren an’ all.  Sure enough, the jars wouldn’t scan.  The sweet check out girl took one look at them and asked, “Miz Jacobs, you shore you wont that gravy stuff in the jar?  Whah don’ chew jes make it?”  In spite of Harriet’s protests the check out girl reassured her saying, “Now don’t chew worry, Miz Jacobs, ah kin git that price fir ya.”  Harriet hissed, “No!  No!  Ah don’t wont it!  Stop!  It’s okay.  Ah don’t wont it.”  Too late.  BobbySue, the check out girl was on the microphone an’ you know what she was sayin’.  “Price check own aisle 4.  Ah don’ know wah, but Miz Jacobs wonts some a that store bought gravy an’ ah don tole ‘er is B-A-D, bad but she wonts it so could somebody puhleeze check the price?”  The manager replied on HIS microphone, “Miz Jacobs wonts that? Joo tell ‘er it ain’t as good as homemade?  Wale, okay…ah guess.  Tell ‘er tuh hang own an’ ahl check.”  Harriet and I howled with laughter.  “Oh, my stars! Whad joo do?”, I asked.  “Ah jes threw some money down, grabbed the gravy and ran.  I had to have gravy fer Thanksgiving!  My boys get hungry an’ wont all the fixin’s!”  Oh, my goodness, but that girl could tell a story.  Tragically, she died in the Fall of 2014 and I miss her terribly, as I would blood.  I still cry for her in the privacy of my bathroom, where I do my best crying.  I wasn’t able to attend the kid’s presentations at the oratorical competition yesterday.  Brings back too many memories.  But I made this cake.  An old-fashioned, Southern, country cake, sinfully sweet made in her honor.  Meanwhile, Harriet, I know you’re in heaven showin’ everybody just how Southern sassy’s done!

This is probably the sweetest cake I’ve EVER tasted!  Consequently, a little goes a long way.  All the recipes I have call for 2 cups of sugar.  I cut it back to 1 1/2 cups.  Also, most of the recipes list 1 1/2 cups of miniature marshmallows to be mixed into the batter.  I’m not a fan of marshmallows so, like Cracker Barrel, I chose to spread Marshmallow Fluff over the still hot out of the oven cake followed by a chocolate coca cola frosting.  Some recipes call for a scattering of toasted, chopped pecans either in the cake batter or on the icing and I happen to embrace this idea.  The savory pecans offset the wallop of sweetness each bite delivers.  It’s best to let the cake cool for a few hours prior to serving so that the icing can set.  Wrapped tightly with tin foil and left in the pan, this cake will keep for a good 3-4 days out of the refrigerator.

Deep South Co-Cola Cake

  • Servings: 15-20
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup Coke
  • 1/2 cup whole buttermilk
  • 2 eggs, well beaten
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 7-ounce jar Marshmallow Fluff

Second icing:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa
  • 6 tablespoons Coke
  • 4 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Cover a 9×13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Pre-heat oven to 350°.
  3. Toast chopped pecans in oven for 7-10 minutes and set aside.
  4. Pour flour and sugar in a medium size bowl and sift together.  Set aside.
  5. In a heavy bottom pot melt the butter then add the cocoa powder and Coke and bring to a boil stirring well.  Take off the heat.
  6. To the pot add the flour sugar mixture and stir well.
  7. Add the buttermilk, eggs, baking soda and vanilla extract mixing thoroughly until all ingredients are combined and the mixture is smooth.
  8. Pour into the prepared baking dish and bake for 30-35 minutes until the middle of the cake springs back when touched.
  9. Remove the cake from the oven and, using all the Marshmallow Fluff, immediately drop four or five dollops (the entire jar) on the top of the hot cake.
  10. With a spatula or the back of a spoon gently spread the Fluff taking cake not to tear the cake.
  11. While the cake and topping cool a bit, prepare the second icing.
  12. In a medium saucepan melt the butter and add the cocoa and Coke.  Stir until completely combined.
  13. Remove from the heat and add the confectioners sugar and vanilla extract to the pot.
  14. Mix until smooth and there are no lumps.
  15. Spoon the icing over the Marshmallow Fluff stirring the icing all the while.
  16. Allow the cake to cool at least 2-3 hours before serving to allow the cake and icings to set.

http://www.theirreverentkitchen.com

Thickest, Richest Hot Chocolate

 

Nothing better than breakfast in bed for yourself and your lover!

Do you recall your first truly spectacular cup of hot chocolate?  Not the kind that comes out of a packet but the first cup you ever had that was so thick and luxurious you almost had to eat it with a spoon?  Well, I remember mine.  It was on my first trip to Europe with my parents and we were in Germany where Daddy had to do some business.  We stayed at a beautiful bed and breakfast which served a typical European breakfast, i.e. croissants served with jam and butter and all the water, coffee, juice or hot chocolate you can drink.  Mama was always a chocolate addict…she didn’t care if it was a 25¢ candy bar from the corner gas station or a sumptuous, elegantly ribboned box of bonbons straight out of a fashionable Parisian confection shop.  It was all great  to her and she loved every bit of it.  Mama and I went down to breakfast, Daddy was already off with his people, and sat outside at a pretty little table on a patio surrounded by a riot of Old Garden Roses, all in bloom, sharing their heady perfume to our surprised pleasure.  Being on holiday we ordered a pot of coffee and one of hot chocolate with plans to enjoy several cups of each.  I only remember the chocolate which came out hot, steam pouring out of the spout.  Mama poured then we settled in to plan our day.  At first sips our eyes met and widened with astonishment.  This was not like any hot chocolate we had ever had before, dense and smooth with none of the watery, chalkiness the powdered stuff always imparts.

Layer after layer of mysterious but most pleasing flavors went on and on overwhelming our senses.  This hot chocolate was silky and velvety yet earthy.  And, get this, it came with a side of freshly whipped cream.  Oh, man!  After that there was no stopping us.  We ordered hot chocolate at every breakfast, in every country we visited and not once were we disappointed.  Back in the States I promptly forgot about our newly found breakfast drink and it has remained in the deep, dark recesses of my forgetful mind.  Probably safer that way.  It’s not exactly slimming.  For me, this is a once-a-year extravagant indulgence.  This hot chocolate is a dream of creamy, chocolate joy.  It’s like The Moldau symphony in a cup.  Evocative and enigmatic, it will transport you.  I wish you a magnificent journey!

Dark and rich, this drink is worth every calorie.  It’s very easy to prepare but because there are so few ingredients you really should try to use the best chocolate available to you.  I have been able to locate only one whole powdered milk at the grocery store.  I don’t want non-fat powdered as it takes away from the full-flavor you’re working towards.  On the boxed milk aisle you’ll find a yellow labeled tin of powdered whole fat milk called “Nido” by Nestle Corporation.  Dark chocolate is a must but be adventurous an experiment with different kinds.  You get what you pay for so if this hot chocolate is made with cheap chocolate chips, well, that’s just what your drink will taste of…chemicals, fillers and artificial “things”.  Trader Joe’s has a super 1 pound block of 72% cacao dark chocolate that is not only loaded with flavor but super inexpensive.  I believe it’s $5.00.  The bar is huge and you’ll get quite a bit of baking out of it.  A small whisk is needed to ensure all the lumps are taken out.  If you don’t have a whisk, grab two or three forks, place them back to  back, wrap a rubber band tightly around the handles and whisk away.  It can also be gently reheated the following day by placing in the microwave on the defrost level and warmed in 2 minute increments, stirring between each increment.

Thickest, Richest Hot Chocolate

  • Servings: 3 1/2 generous cups
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 1/2 cup whole-fat powdered milk
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 8 ounces dark chocolate, roughly chopped
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together powdered milk, sugar, cornstarch and espresso powder.  Set aside.
  2. In a heavy bottomed pot bring the milk to almost to a boil, whisking often.
  3. Add the dark chocolate a little at a time, continually whisking.
  4. When the chocolate is almost completely melted, take off the heat and whisk in the powdered milk mixture.
  5. Continue whisking to desired thickness.
  6. Serve immediately.
  7. Cover any remaining hot chocolate with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

http://www.theirreverentkitchen.com

A Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookie

My father is 94 years old.  He lives at home, in the house I grew up in.  He takes no medications.  None.  His preventive regimen consists of vitamins, little or no red meat and more green, leafy vegetables than one can imagine.  And it’s all organic.  His Achilles heel is his sweet tooth.  He has commanded no more cakes or pies to be baked for him.  He has no self-discipline.  These cookies are different.  Not too sweet and pretty clean.  I believe he’ll embrace and enjoy the fruits of this recipe.  I’m almost certain I’ve developed a wheat allergy so I’ve been trying to figure out how to have the occasional treat without sneezing and coughing.  I’m done with red, watery, old-lady eyes and a constant, bothersome post nasal drip.

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I fashioned these based on my breakfast cookie.  That said, these cookies rock.  Made with dark chocolate, they satisfy  sweet cravings at first bite.  Even Daddy loved them.  I replaced conventional white, bleached, wheat flour with almond and coconut flours.  In lieu of white sugar, (so bad for you!), I used coconut sugar.  The result is a thick, chewy, healthful cookie studded with gorgeous, dark chocolate chips all gooey and soft.  I don’t bake them often, they may contain good fats but they’re still fats, however, these make a wonderful occasional indulgence.  And my family loves them.  Hope ya’ll do, too!

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A Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookie

  • Servings: 25 cookies
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips, I use dairy-free “Enjoy Life” brand available at grocery and health food stores
  • sea salt to taste
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350° and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.  Set aside.
  2. In a medium size bowl add coconut flour, coconut sugar, almond flour and baking soda.  Mix well so all ingredients are thoroughly combined and set bowl aside.
  3. In a large bowl combine eggs, coconut oil and vanilla and mix well.
  4. To the egg mixture add the flour mixture and the chocolate chips.  Mix well until all the chips are evenly distributed.
  5. Use a melon ball scooper to measure out 25 equal portions of dough.  My scooper is 1 1/2″ in diameter and holds 5 teaspoons.  I pack each scoop firmly.
  6. Place each ball of dough on the parchment paper lined baking sheet and gently flatten the top of each cookie with your hand.
  7. Bake for 17-20 minutes or until bottoms are golden in color.
  8. Remove from oven onto a cooling rack and immediately sprinkle with sea salt.
  9. Allow to cool completely before storing.

http://www.theirreverentkitchen.com

Peppermint Bark

It’s hard to stay away from holiday treats and Peppermint Bark is no exception.  Williams-Sonoma features a Peppermint Bark during the holidays that has to be, if not the best, one of the top two or three.  But at $29.00 per pound, well, I have to say, I can’t afford it.  Neither can my waistline so it’s probably better that way.  Between eggnog, coquitos and peppermint bark, December is usually the time of a losing battle for me.  I tried my hand at making my own bark and after quite a few attempts have come to a few conclusions.  Since most days in south Florida range from the high-70’s to the mid-80’s, chocolate is NOT going to firm up on your counter.  And if there is any humidity what so ever, and here there always is, the crushed peppermints will weep, bleed and stick all over everything.  I yearned for the “snap” of commercial chocolate when broken apart and learned that tempering chocolate is not enough.

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Tempering chocolate produces glossy, flawless chocolate that when bitten into breaks off with a snap.  Essentially, you’re raising and lowering the temperature of the dark, milk or white chocolate in order to make it behave properly…melt in your mouth not in your hand.  I tempered chocolate all day long yesterday and between the rain and heat of the day let’s just say ain’t no “snap” in MY chocolate!  That said I will move forward and skip the tempering process.  I also discovered that a decent quality white chocolate must be used, one high in cocoa butter.  White chocolate chips do not melt.  At least not for me.  Not in the microwave, over a double boiler or in the oven.   So.  Get thee good quality chocolate bars, for instance Guittard, not chips, especially when melting white chocolate.  When melting the chocolate make absolutely certain that not one drop of water comes into contact with it as it will seize up and become unworkable.  Take your time melting it.  Chocolate is delicate and can become grainy and lumpy if melted too quickly over high heat.  The water in the double boiler should be kept at a simmer and should never touch the bottom of the chocolate bowl as it can scorch easily.  As the chocolate begins to melt, stir frequently with a rubber spatula.  Take the bowl off the pot when the chocolate has almost completely melted and only a few small lumps remain.  Continue stirring off the heat until smooth.  I also found leaving the candy cane crumbles in a closed baggie will keep it from weeping and sticking to everything like all your fingers, the counter and the floor instead of the darn bark.  And last of all move fast.  Have your tray or large baking sheet well covered with parchment paper.  Pull out a wooden skewer and keep it close to the baking sheet alongside the crushed candy cane.  Merry Christmas!

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Peppermint Bark

  • Servings: 2 pounds
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 1 pound semi-sweet chocolate, chopped or broken into pieces
  • 1 pound white chocolate bars, chopped or broken into pieces, NOT chips
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup crushed candy canes
  1. Place 1″-2″ of water in the bottom of a  double boiler or pot and bring to a boil.  When the water comes to a boil drop the temperature and let water simmer.
  2. Place the semi-sweet chocolate in a bowl which fits snugly over the top of a pot or sauce pan.
  3. With a rubber spatula stir the chocolate until almost completely melted.  Take off of the heat, add 1/4 teaspoon of peppermint extract and continue stirring until shiny and smooth.
  4. Pour the melted chocolate onto the parchment paper and smooth to the thickness and shape you desire using an offset spatula.
  5. Melt the white chocolate in the same manner.  When the white chocolate has melted completely, add 3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract, mix in well and spoon over dark chocolate leaving space in between the chocolates.
  6. Using the blunt end of a wooden skewer, make designs and curlicues in the two chocolates by dragging the skewer from the middle of the candy to the outer edges.
  7. Sprinkle the crushed candy canes evenly over the bark and chill uncovered in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours or until hard.
  8. Break the bark slab into pieces and chill until serving.

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