Entries Tagged as 'chocolate'

Chocolate & Toasted Coconut Olive Oil Cake [with vegan option]

Posted on: April 14, 2014

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Every year our local radio station puts on an all day music event in the park. To me, it always marks that first day of true spring in Bloomington. It is often times the first Saturday that its warm enough to grill out and enjoy a picnic in the park while listening to some wonderful local and national music. It also usually lines up with being the first Saturday that the outdoor farmer’s market is in full swing.

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This year’s event was this past Saturday and the spring fever did not disappoint. I started the day with a walk to the farmer’s market and enjoyed smelling all the budding trees along the way. The sun was out and we welcomed temperatures above anything we’ve felt in 6+ months. I spent the afternoon planting wildflowers and playing around in the kitchen with the sun streaming in (oh what a difference it makes!).

We grilled out for dinner and I whipped up a cake for our guests. Ha, I know – a cake for a grill out? You can tell I’m rusty since a well disciplined griller would have found something that could be made over the hot coals. Unfortunately, it’s still a little early for berries and our citrus bounty has long since disappeared so cake it was! Delicious, moist, chocolatey cake – I must add!

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Chocolate & Spiced Chai Biscotti

Posted on: December 24, 2013

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MERRY CHRISTMAS [EVE] (or, to all of you who don’t celebrate Christmas, HAPPY TUESDAY!). I love Christmas eve just as much as I love Christmas day. This is because, growing up, my parent’s were divorced so we always had Christmas with my Father ‘s family on the 24th and then had ANOTHER Christmas with my mother’s family on the 25th. I never could relate to those kids who were so excited to get to open ONE present on Christmas Eve to hold them over – I always received DOZENS of gifts on Christmas eve followed up lots more gifts on Christmas day. As I’ve aged, I’ve toned down a little (just a little!) on my excitement for a double dose of gifts but have learned to find joy in so many other wonderful aspects of having two Christmases in a row. Double the santa cookies. Double the Christmas movies. Double the Yule log playing in the background on your tv (speaking of that, I’ll be playing Lil Bub’s yule log video this year – if my family doesn’t think thats too weird).

But, to be completely honest, this biscotti has nothing to do with Christmas and I really just chatted about Christmas Eve because I’m just so darn excited its finally here. This biscotti is actually about having 11 days off of work in a row – which is the longest vacation time I’ve had in 2013. It’s about finally having lazy mornings after lazy mornings of sipping coffee in bed and enjoying a favorite magazine while munching some biscotti. It’s all about mastering the technique of getting the biscotti soggy enough in your coffee that it doesn’t crumble all over your sheets but firm enough that it’s still crunchy when take that first bite. But don’t worry, it’s okay if it takes you a few days to master this technique – we’ve still got loads more days off ahead of us!

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Dark Chocolate Cappuccino Thumbprint Cookies with Maple Pumpkin Butter

Posted on: December 15, 2013

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Have you started counting down yet? 9 days! That means only 9 more days of being able to listen to your favorite festive Christmas vinyl. And 9 more nights to get in all the must-watch Xmas movies starring Chevy Chase and Will Ferril. 9 more days to make every cookie recipe you see on Pinterest. We must hurry, guys! No time to waste here!

Christmas is known as a holiday to bring people together but it has built a barrier between my boyfriend and me. Instead of growing more cheerful the closer it gets, I notice him retreating more and more into an annoyed and irritated state. I’m not sure why or how but he hates Christmas decorating, making cookies, festive music, and holiday themed movies. I know, I know – I don’t understand either. This last month has been a battle for the radio, where in the house I can squeeze in a tree without him moving it back into the closet, and a struggle for who is going to put a movie on first.

I want to watch Christmas Vacation, he wants to watch Dune. I want to listen to Sufjan Steven’s Christmas boxset, he wants ambient new-age noise. I want a fragrant and fresh wreath, he wants to use that money to go out to brunch. I wear ugly sweaters almost all December long, he only wears black.

 

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Vanilla Bean & Espresso Granola

Posted on: November 3, 2013

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Keeping it simple for today’s post. Sometimes you have the energy to make a 20 step breakfast recipe and other times you just want to be able to throw something together in five minutes, stick it in the oven, and crawl back into bed with your coffee for another hour. Yeah, I don’t care if that makes me sound lazy. You think I’m lazy now, just wait until the frigid months of January and February roll around. Ha, no but on a serious note – I’ve just been super busy getting some really great guest posts together for the month of November (more on that in the coming weeks).

I actually made this granola recipe back in September and am just now getting around to posting it. I originally had made it for my stepdad’s birthday (I made him a bunch of baked goods and sent out a little care package). However, I had been putting off posting this because I really wanted to make my own coffee extract first. Have you ever made coffee extract? I’ve only ever made vanilla but it seems silly to not experiment with other ones. Unfortunately, so far I’ve been pretty un-enthuised with the end results for my coffee extract. I really wanted to be able to make an extract out of leftover coffee grounds but have been unsuccessful as of now. So, for the time being, I am sticking with using part of an espresso shot in the recipe below.

 

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VV Turns 2 /// Spicy Double Chocolate Cookies with Cappuccino Frosting

Posted on: August 17, 2013

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Yay – today Vegetarian Venture’s has officially been around (and active!) for two years! It seems both unreal and yet two years doesn’t seem that long. I can’t remember my life without this creative outlet and can’t imagine what I did with all my time before baking, cooking, photography, styling, and playing with food?

The world as I know it has changed drastically since 2011. Two years ago, this guy didn’t exist:

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And I didn’t live in our blue house with this guy:

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Two years ago I was going to school part time and working at a local co-op grocery store. The co-op had this wonderful shelf in the fridge called the ‘chump shelf’ and was filled with any sort of unsellable item that were up for grabs – day old baguettes (perfect for french toast), pints of berries with one moldy piece, two day old tabbouleh (everyone know it’s better after it’s aged a bit), blemished organic produce, bulk bags of grains that people bagged up and then decided against buying, etc. As a student trying to live cheapily and still obsessed with food, this was the most amazing shelf for me. I would come home beaming every night with bags full of free food and feed my entire house full of college roommates. The food I brought would often times be a weird mix of ingredients and that was what sparked searching through recipes and blogs and eventually starting VV to document my adventures.

Two years later and I do not still work at the co-op (but still live right down the street from it and shop their almost everyday), have graduated college, and don’t have a house full of roommate to feed. I do, however, still love blogging and spend most of my free time cooking for my boyfriend / boxer.

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Maple Almond GORP // The Adventure’s Food

Posted on: May 31, 2013

As mentioned on Tuesday, we spent last weekend exploring the forest wonders of Wisconsin. We went hiking and can0ing and swimming (Yes, Wyatt’s brother has cheetah hair)…

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It was a beautiful and relaxing adventure. However, traveling with a group of Midwestern families, I was nervous about the eating situation. There are still many places that don’t realize ‘vegetarian’ means not eating fish or chicken. And Midwest fast food doesn’t necessarily cater to vegetarians with their bland ice burg lettuce salads and sugar drenched parfaits. I decided to take the situation into my own hands by whipping up some homemade chex mix, stuffing as many sparkling water cans into my purse as possible, and baking a pan of GORP.

Why GORP? I don’t have fond memories of preparing it at summer camp or munching on it during Girl Scout outings. We never backed it during family road trips or enjoyed a big bowl at 4th of July. I guess this lack of GORP in my childhood made me curious of what I was missing out on. Plus, a friend told me that my Cinnamon Quinoa Granola reminded them of GORP – portable, high-protein granola? I’m in.

Say hello to my new favorite road trip snack. This stuff lasted me the whole four days since a big scoop is pretty filling. I would suggest this for anyone going on a long car ride, camping trip, hiking, or anyone in need of a high-protein snack. I put coated chocolate in this recipe (hey, I was on vacation after all) which I found helped the chocolate from melting. Feel free to adjust this anyway you see fit. For me, I’m not a big raisen person so I snuck dried cranberries in there instead.

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MAPLE ALMOND GORP

  • 1 1/2 cups oats
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1 cup cranberries
  • 1/2 cup coconut flakes
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 vanilla bean, sliced in half
  • 1 cup candy coated chocolate or chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place the maple syrup with the split vanilla bean in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let the vanilla bean steap for ten minutes. After ten minutes, remove vanilla bean.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the coconut flakes, almonds, oats, cranberries, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Pour maple syrup mixture over everything and stir to combine. Transfer to a baking sheet and cook for 15 minutes.
Let cool completely before folding in chocolate. Store in an airtight container or plastic bag and adventure away!

 

 

Dark Chocolate Chunk Angel Food Cupcakes with Brandied Strawberries

Posted on: April 20, 2013

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If you are a regular around here you may have noticed my usual ‘Searchable Saturday’ post missing these last two weeks. I am currently re-vamping that weekly column and will hopefully have it back in the coming weeks. To hold you over until it’s back, feel free to find my weekly inspirations over on Pinterest.

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I learned all my baking techniques backward. Instead of learning the basics right off the bat – I dove right into vegan baking after moving into my first kitchen. This means I can whip up a Vegan Chia Latte cupcake like no one’s business but often times still feel lost when trying to make a traditional cake…like one that involves 4 sticks of butter and 3 pounds of powdered sugar (do people actually put that much butter in a single recipe?!).

I’ve begun working backwards and am try to get a grasp on as many aspects of baking as possible (branching out from vegan and gluten free). So, while wondering through the bakery section of my co-op the other day, I realized I’ve never made angel food cake from scratch. It’s something that has always been so easily accessible to me going up that I never really gave a thought to where it came from. Perhaps from a box? Or from the grocery store bakery? But what about homemade – had I ever really had homemade angel food cake? I was beginning to doubt I had. And something needed to be done about it.

I began doing research (AKA searched google) and discovered my challenge for making angel food cake would be whipping the egg whites until ‘soft peaks formed‘. I had read that term before and only accomplished it one other time – when making The Butterscotch Roll Up Cake for this little blog’s birthday. I remember being SUPER intimidated by this term and watching many youtube videos before trying it myself. I had successfully accomplished making those ‘soft peaks’ but had pretty much steered clear of any recipe with this step in it since. However, the rest of making angel food cake seemed SO simple with its few ingredients and minimal steps that I knew I could shy away no longer.

In the end, the soft peaks term was nothing to fear. I used this handy visual guide from TheKitchn to make sure my egg whites were whipped properly and boom – the cupcakes turned out light and fluffy! Oh, and delicious. The chocolate chunks sank to the bottom because of the light batter but it made an amazing angel food sandwich – with dark chocolate on the bottom, boozy strawberries on top, and angel food cake in the center.

 

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Dark Chocolate Chunk Angel Food Cupcakes with Brandied Strawberries

Brandied Strawberries:

  • 1/2 pint strawberries, sliced
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 Tablespoon brandy

For the cupcakes:

  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 5 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 dark chocolate chunks (or regular chocolate chips)

For the frosting:

  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 Tablespoons milk

 

Slice the strawberries and place them in a bowl with the brown sugar and brandy. Cover and place in the fridge while you prepare everything else (try to let them sit in their for at least an hour).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and slightly grease a 12 muffin pan.

In a small bowl, combine the flour and 1/4 cup powdered sugar. Set aside.

Add the 5 egg whites to your stand mixer bowl and beat until foamy. Next, add the cream of tartar and salt and turn the mixer up to high. Gradually add in the remaining 1/2 cup of powdered sugar and then vanilla extract. Beat until soft peaks form.

Next, fold in the flour mixture in three additions. Try to keep the batter as light and fluffy as possible and doing it in three additions will help not to weigh it down. Keep folding until everything is incorporated.

Transfer batter to the prepared muffin tins and bake for 15 to 18 minutes. You can tell they are done if the center is browned and bounces back slightly when you touch it.

Remove from heat and transfer to a cooling rack (I’ve read that you should place them face down on the cooling rack so they don’t sink – I didn’t have a problem with them sinking but would recommend you do this step just in case).

To make the frosting: Use a mixer to beat the butter until creamy. Next, add in the powdered sugar and vanilla and continue beatings on medium speed. Add milk a tablespoon at a time until the desired consistency is reached.

Drain the strawberries of any excess sugar liquid (or reserve it to drizzle on top).Once the cupcakes are cooled, frost them and top with brandied strawberries.

 

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Searchable Saturdays

Posted on: March 23, 2013

Hello Weekend! The sun shining outside is tricking me into thinking it’s warmer than 20 degrees out. Oh spring – where are you??! Ah well. Here are some inspirational links from the week..

 

   

 

1. CRAVING /// I am starting to feel the spring cleaning urge coming on but refuse to do anything until it’s warm enough to open my windows and let the fresh air in. More than cleaning, I am looking forward to ‘freshening’ up the look of our house. I have thoughts of new wall artwork, more more more hanging plants, and new rugs.

2. INSPIRATION /// Most of my food inspiration came from looking at menus last week when we were traveling. It’s wonderful to see what crazy combinations restaurants have come up with. Since I’ve been back from Florida, I’ve been scoping the internet looking up menus from all over the world. This picture is of a place in Seattle called Hot Cakes Molten Chocolate Cakery. There menu is a mouthwatering list of boozy shakes, chocolate cakes, and seasonal items.

3. CREATING /// Even though it’s still super cold here, I am hoping to start planning my seeds indoors this weekend. In addition to my usual herb and vegetable seeds, I am planning to try growing ginger and potatoes from already grown produce. Why not? I’m still rather new to gardening so I plan to do lots of experimenting this time around.

4. LUSTING /// I’ve fallen head over heels for the blog My New Roots. Every recipe sounds so refreshing and delicious, I cannot wait to cook my way through her website!

Butterfinger Bites

Posted on: February 15, 2013

I know, I know. Yesterday was Valentine’s Day and how could you possible want more chocolate in your life? Well, I meant to post this ON Valentine’s Day but thing got busy (I’m sure you can relate). These little bites were my V-day gift to Wyatt. We play this little devilish game – we both WANT to eat fresh and organic but have our vices. Mine are those little booty puff popcorn things…do you know what I’m talking about? They have the texture of Styrofoam but are REALLY addicting regardless. Wyatt’s vice? Butterfingers. And like clockwork, every time I polish off a bag of those puffs within 20 minutes, I get that disapproving look from Wyatt. And every time we take a walk to the gas station and he picks up a butterfinger, I have to give my ‘you are going to get THAT?’ comment.

In turn, I just couldn’t bring myself to buy him a butterfinger for V-day. I could just imagine that ‘oh..you got me THIS’ comment when I handed it to him. So I made a Plan B – make my own. I have never really made candy before…mostly because I’m scared of the whole baking with corn syrup. But, after much research, I’ve come to the conclusion that corn syrup is NOT the same thing as high-fructose corn syrup that you find in packaged candy bars and that I will not be turning to the dark side if a put a small amount into a treat.

These little bites turned out wonderful. I mix between a Butterfinger and a Reese’s cup…how could it be bad? You will need a candy thermometer for this because it’s super essential that you get the sugar heated high enough so that it hardens but not so much that it burns. Makes sense? Cool. Let’s get candy-making!

 

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Butterfinger Bites

adapted from Not Without Salt
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup water

 

  • 1 18 ounce bag of chocolate chips
  • 2 Tablespoons milk

Grease a  9×6 pan (I used my bread pan) and set aside.

In a small saucepan, add the sugar, corn syrup, and water. Turn onto medium-high heat and let cook until the temperature reaches 290 degrees.

While that temperature is rising, place the peanut butter, vanilla, and salt in a double boiler. Let water simmer under the bowl while the peanut butter creates a creamy, smooth paste.

Remove the sugar mixture from heat AS SOON as it reached 290 and stir in the peanut butter mixture. Pour into prepared pan and let chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Remove from fridge and cut into bit side pieces. Heat the chocolate and milk in a double boiler until melted and combined. Dip the butterfinger bites into the chocolate and coat all sides. Transfer to wax paper and repeat with the rest of the bites.

Let cool in the fridge for another 30 minutes. Enjoy cold or let them come to room temperature.

 

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Chocolate Chai

Posted on: February 11, 2013

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Hello, Monday. I can’t say I was entirely prepared for you. Can’t say I’m really that crazy about you in general. Sooo….how to make Monday a little less gloomy? How about adding some chocolate to our morning chai? WOAH, what a magnificent way to treat yourself! If I do say so myself…I’d have to call this a ‘YOLO’ moment. I can feel a new Monday tradition coming on…

 

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Chocolate Chai

  • 2 cardamom pods, slightly crushed
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 3 teaspoons cocoa powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon black peppercorn
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 inch of peeled ginger, thinly sliced
  • 2 bags of black tea (or loose leaf black tea)
  • 3/4 cup milk (I like to use unsweetened almond milk to keep it vegan)

Place cardamon pods, cinnamon sticks, cocoa powder, black peppercorn, cloves, anise, and ginger in a small saucepan with 2 cups water. Bring water to a boil and then let simmer for about 15 minutes (more or less depending on how strong you like your chai). Remove from heat and add the tea bags. Let tea steep for about 5 minutes.

Strain liquid into a mug and discard leftover spices (or save them for a later use). Rinse out the saucepan and add milk to it. Let the milk come to a simmer and use a whisk to make the milk frothy. Top off the chai with milk and serve warm.

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Feeling a little bratty this morning:

Salted Dark Chocolate & Almond Butter Bites (Vegan)

Posted on: February 7, 2013

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These are what I call the ‘I just did my taxes and need some chocolate’ cookies. They were a little ‘guilt free’ reward that was needed after sifting trhough document and papers and receipts and bank statements. It’s a shame really…I went to yoga right before sitting down to do my taxes in hopes that it would leave me in a state of calm. But after all questions after questions about loans / checks / wages…I needed some chocolate.

I decided to go the healthy and lazy (no bake) route with these. A whole lot of protein with a bit of sweet (from the dates) and some natural fats (from the nuts). They are totally indulgent but not in a ‘oh shit, I’m going to have to spend an extra 3 hours on the treadmill’ sort of way. They are rich and gooey but also filling and…dare I say, practical? As a vegetarian, I can pretty much convenience myself that anything with 5+ grams of protein is an acceptable snack / breakfast / lunch / dessert.

 

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Salted Dark Chocolate & Almond Butter Bites (Vegan)

Inspired by The Sprouted Kitchen and Oh, Ladycakes
  • 1 cup nuts (I did 1/2 cup pecans and 1/2 cup almonds)
  • 1 cup dates, pitted (soaked in water for 10+ minutes)
  • 1/2 cup almond butter (or peanut or sunflower or cashew, whatever you are feeling)
  • 1 ounce dark chocolate, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Sea Salt, to garnish

 

Throw everything into a food processor and pulse until a thick dough forms (if its crumbly then add a tiny bit of water). Roll dough into tablespoon size balls and place on waxed paper. Smash the dough balls down slightly with clean fingers or a fork. Sprinkle with  sea salt . Stick in the fridge for an hour or enjoy them right away [in their prime gooeyness].

Caramelized Banana Scones with Whiskey Chocolate Drizzle

Posted on: January 22, 2013

If you follow VV on facebook then you heard me lusting over scones yesterday. I LOVE LOVE LOVE scones and am always finding new inspiration for flavor combinations. Last time I made those [drool] Dark Chocolate Raspberry Espresso Scones and this time I continued with the chocolate /// fruit theme. We’ve got chunks of sugary and melt-in-your-mouth caramelized banana s topped with boozy dark chocolate drizzle. Think of these as a fantastic mix between your favorite morning banana pancakes (you know that texture – where the bananas start to caramelize on the bottom of the pancake) and that chocolate covered banana that you always crave after watching Arrested Development. Oh.. and then throw a warm and flaky scone into the mix [and maybe some coffee on the side]. BOOM. So amazing.

 

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Caramelized Banana Scones with Whiskey Chocolate Drizzle

basic scone recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen
  • 2 bananas, peeled and cut into chunks + 1 Tablespoon sugar + 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar + more to sprinkle on top
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 Tablespoons cold butter, cut into chunks
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg

For the drizzle:

  • 2.5 ounces dark chocolate
  • 1/4 cup milk (+ a few more tablespoons to thin it to desired consistency)
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons whiskey

Start by caramelizing the bananas: Melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium low in a small skillet. Roll the bananas in the tablespoon of sugar and transfer to skillet. Let the bananas caramelize until they start to brown and break down but remove from heat before they become mushy.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt, sugar, and baking soda. Use your hands or a pastry knife to incorporate the butter until a coarse dough as formed. Mix in the egg and milk until just incorporated (don’t overmix!). Fold in the bananas and transfer dough to a floured surface. Flatten dough and make an inch thick dough. Cut the dough into 6 pieces (like a pie!) and transfer to a greased baking sheet. Sprinkle with coarse sugar and cook for 30 minutes or until firm.

 

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To make the drizzle: In a double broiler, melt the chocolate, milk, and sugar. Whisk constantly until everything is combined and remove from heat. Let cool to room temperature and whisk in the whiskey. If too thick to drizzle, add a little milk (a teaspoon at a time) until your desired consistency is reached. Drizzle over warm scones.

 

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Track of the day:

Festive Rum Balls

Posted on: December 17, 2012

…And I’m officially feeling behind on holiday prep. When did Christmas become a week away? Yikes! Is it okay for me to admit that I have not started my Christmas shopping yet? Okay, let’s not talk about it.

Instead. let’s talk about these little balls of chocolate. We had our annual holiday party for work over the weekend and it was…I mean this politely…a shit show. Every year, we have a combined party with the three record labels that work in our building and a manufacturing company that manufactures our vinyl. We had three alcohol companies sponsor the event this year which meant cases of liquor and several kegs. Did I mention all the people who I work with LOVE to drink? Go figure. Well, I decided that these rum balls would go with the ‘alcohol’ theme of the party. And they did. They lasted a whole 15 minutes.. A success? I’d say so.

These rum balls have a texture somewhere between a super moist brownie and cakey fudge. And then there is the ever-so-slightest tint of rum flavor which makes it fancy (adding booze to anything classes it up, right?). I rolled mine in red sprinkles and cocoa powder but feel free to experiment and try any sprinkles you have on hand, coarse sugars, chopped nuts, etc.

 

 

Rum Balls

Adapted from Martha Stewart Living
  • 3/4 cup butter (1 and a half sticks)
  • 8 ounces of semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup spiced rum
  • red or green sprinkles

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 13 by 9 baking pan. In a double boiler, heat the butter and chocolate over simmering water. Stir constantly until melted and remove from heat.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, brown sugar, salt and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl. Next, add in the chocolate and whisk until smooth. Finally, fold in the flour. Transfer dough to the prepared baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes or until a tooth pick comes out clean from the center. Remove from oven and let cool.

Once cooled, break up the cooked batter into chunks and transfer to a mixing bowl with a paddle attachment. Turn mixer on low and slowly add in the rum. Turn the mixer up to medium and continue to beat until the batter comes together and forms a large ball.

 

 

Use your hands to roll batter into one inch thick balls and dip in sprinkles or cocoa powder. Repeat with the rest of the batter and transfer balls to a wax paper lined baking sheet. Stick in the fridge for at least an hour before serving. Done!

 

Looking for other Christmas cookie options? Try these Peppermint dipped Brown Butter Shortbread cookies or check out my Winter inspiration board on Pinterest

Boozy Stout Brownies

Posted on: November 28, 2012

I was soooo excited to receive the newest edition of Chickpea Magazine in the mail last week that I instantly had the urge to start cooking out of it. I could have chose the healthy Wild Rice Stuffed Acorn Squash or the hearty Butternut Squash Fennel Lasagna but instead I was drawn to these Boozy Stout Brownies. Alcohol and chocolate? Go figure.

These vegan gems were extra rich and gooey. I’d suggest munching down on these with a big glass of Homemade Soy Milk and plan on sharing them with your friends. These are perfect for that Holiday vegan potluck coming up or to bring in to work (Am I the only one who works with handful of vegans? I bet not!).

 

 

Boozy Stout Brownies

  • 1 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup dark cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup canola or coconut oil
  • 1 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup soy yogurt
  • 1/2 cup stout beer
  • 1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips

 

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and line a 8×8 pan with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt, and cocoa powder. In another bowl, combine the brown sugar, oil, yogurt, and beer. Make a well in the center of the dried ingredients and add in the wet ingredients. Fold dry into wet until a thick batter has formed. Lastly, fold in the chocolate chips.

Pour mixture into prepared pan and cook for 30 minutes or until the center has set.

Let cool slightly and serve warm!

 

 

VV’s Thanksgiving Suggestions

Posted on: November 15, 2012

Okay. So I’m not gonna lie. I am starting to get REALLY excited about Thanksgiving. Not only does it mean a  5 day weekend (!!!) but also implies copious amounts of amazing food. My mother emailed me the final menu for the big day this morning and now all I can think about is mushroom gravy, purple mashed potatoes, and Cappuccino chocolate cheesecake. I helped curate the menu (with recipes from some of my favorite blogs like Love & Lemons, SpoonForkBacon, and JoyTheBaker) and cannot wait to spend an entire day cooking in the kitchen.

Anyhow, while my spirits are high on Tofurkey, I thought I’d share a few VV recipes that would be perfect for your big Thanksgiving day!

 

     

1. Oatmeal Molasses Rolls – Soft, gooey, and irresistible when fresh out of the oven

2. Glazed Honey Mustard Brusses Sprouts - tangy and crunchy will help bring variety to your meal

3. Cranberry Pecan Goat Cheese Pops – perfect little appetizer when entertaining guests! Super mobile, bite size, and delicious!

4. Roasted Carrots with Hazelnut & Rosemary - cooking with wine always makes things fancier, right? And these colorful carrots will for sure stick out on your holiday table!

 

 

Also, if you feel like adventuring outside of VV, I highly recommend checking out some of these thanksgiving recipes:

Collard Greens & Blue Cheese Salad (The Healthy Foodie)

Honeycrisp Bourbon Cider (SpoonForkBacon)

Parsnip Gratin with Gruyere (Feasting at Home)

Autumn Brittle (Adventures in Cooking)

Bailey’s Salted Caramel Chocolate Pie (She Wears Many Hats)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Espresso Scones

Posted on: November 12, 2012

Morning, Morning! Let’s start out by having me fill you in on a few things, shall we? If you are an avid read of VV then you may have noticed the inconsistency of VVs’ regular columns as of lately (Moody Mondays, Searchable Saturdays, etc). This is because this whole redesign has triggered us stepping back and re-evaluating our style around here. As I was updating the Recipes/Archives page (man, I’m only about 1/5 done with putting in our back catalog of recipes! HTML is a TEDIOUS process…), I noticed that a lot of the pictures were all over the place and VV does not necessarily have a specific ‘style’ or ‘branding’ technique (does branding sound too official? Yeah, I think so too. Maybe this is all just an excuse for me to start another pinterest board…). So, as I spend more time on the redesign of VV, I am also going to try to develop more of a signature style/aesthetic. This may mean eliminating some regular columns or adding some or doing the exact same thing we have always done around VV [who knows at this point? I certainly don't]. Anyhow, just wanted to fill you guys in on all the shifting happening around here.

Oh! One last thing, tomorrow is the last day to sign up for the Country Crock Giveaway so don’t forget to hop on over and leave a comment. I mean, let’s be real, who DOESN’T want free kitchen bake ware?!

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Saturday I woke up to the sun shining through the blinds, a warm breeze, and the birds (!!!) chirping. This morning, I woke up to pitch black and snow. What. Is. Going. On?! I’m not complaining about being able to hang out at the lake in November but my body is in shock. All that sun-induced serotonin needs a replacement ASAP or else I might find the winter blues coming early this year. Answer to it be being cloudy? Chocolate. Answer to it being coldy and cold? Dark Chocolate with raspberry chunks. Answer to it being cloudy, cold, and snowy? Dark Chocolate Raspberry Espresso Scones lathered in butter. Check.

These little scones are the answer to any weather-induced-bummer-mood. They are warm, speckled with caffeine, and bursting with chunks of chocolate/raspberry. I feel like I don’t even need to say anything else. But if I really must, they are so flaky and buttery that they even melt in your mouth when fresh from the oven.

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Espresso Scones

 

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar (+ more for sprinkling on top)
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground espresso
  • 6 Tablespoons butter, chilled
  • 3 ounces of dark chocolate with raspberry chunks (or any flavor you like), chopped into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup Almond milk (any milk will do)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I used my homemade kind)

Preheat oven to 400 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and espresso. Cut the butter into the dry mixture until it resembles coarse meal (I just use my hands to do this and work the butter between my finger tips until everything is combined). Next, fold in the chocolate.

In a small bowl (or just use the measuring cup you poured the milk into), whisk together the milk, egg, and vanilla.

Make a well in the center of the dried ingredients and pour wet ingredients in. Fold dry into wet until everything is combined (don’t over mix!).

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to about an inch thick (make it thinner if you like them crispier and thicker if you like them big and fluffy – just keep it consistent with whatever you do!) and use a biscuit cutter to cut circular shapes. Place on the prepared parchment paper and repeat with the rest of your dough. Sprinkle the top with coarse sugar.

Cook for about 20 minutes or until the top has browned.

Serve warm with butter or jam or by themselves while watching the snow fall.

Apple Latkes

Posted on: October 17, 2012

Latkes for dinner?! Yes, please! My family is very German and every December we go up to the German market (Christkindlmarket) which takes place in downtown Chicago. The market runs for the whole month of December and people from all over Germany fly in to sell authentic goods which include candies, food, music, and decor items. To me, Christkindlmarket consists of warm mulled cider, loads of German chocolate, and potato pancakes lathered in apple sauce or sour cream (also known as latkes!). And although the chocolate is…well chocolate (need I say more?) and the cider is alcoholic enough to warm you from the inside out…it’s the latkes that get me oh so excited every year. There is nothing better than warm, fried potatoes lathered in apple sauce (this may sound weird to non-Germans but have you tried it? It really is amazing!).

Okay, that is enough day dreaming about winter already (yuck, what was I thinking?!). Not my fault though…I totally got the new ‘Thanksgiving’ edition of the Food Network Magazine in the mail today. Too warm out to be thinking about Mushroom Gravy and Stuffed To-furkeys? I’d say so. But, a craving is a craving so in an attempt to cool down my potato latke need…I made a fall version! Apple latkes! What a perfect idea! I, of course, did not top them with applesauce (wayyy too much apple in there) but did lather them in butter and maple syrup (since anything in pancake form has the right to be enjoyed with maple syrup. period.)

These little pancakes were awesome. They were flavorful, moist, fluffy, and full of fall spices. I would recommend these for a crisp fall breakfast served up with a batch of mimosas (or if it’s too early for you to start drinking then why not some sparkling cider?).

 

PS I had never been to the Christkindlmarket website until today – woah! I promise there are no giant fairies in wigs or bad typography to be found! Just lots of chocolate, alcohol, and fried foods.

 

 

Apple Latkes

  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cups plain yogurt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • dash of nutmeg, cloves, and allspice
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup grated apples, about 2 apples (peeled and grated) – spritz a little lemon juice to keep from browning if you peel ahead of time
  • Vegetable oil

Whisk together the eggs and yogurt. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices, and sugar. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add in the egg/yogurt mixture and apples. Fold everything together until incorporated.

Oven medium heat, warm enough oil so that there is a thin layer of oil in your skillet. Add about a 1/4 cup of mixture into the hot oil (I cooked 3 at a time but it will depend on how big your skillet it) and make the latkes in batches. Let them cook for about 4 minutes on each side (this will completely depend on how hot your oil is so watch them closely and adjust accordingly). Repeat with the rest of the batter.

Serve warm with lots of butter and maple syrup!

 

Pumpkin Swirl Cocoa Brownies

Posted on: October 5, 2012

I was doing so good in September…constantly cooking with fresh produce, little butter, and smaller portions. And the yoga…2…3….4 times a week! It was excellent. But then my fall taste buds kicked in. The first time I gave into the apple crisp because it was my way of welcoming in Fall. But then I made those pumpkin cinnamon rolls…and then the persimmon pudding. And here I am again with ANOTHER sugary, buttery, delicious fall dessert. It’s like my taste buds are saying ‘yeah…that summer eggplant was good…but now it’s time for mounds of sweets disguised as fall.’ Ah well, I own a food blog for goodness sake…can I really beat myself up for cooking [baking] delicious treats? Oh..I’m going to use that excuse more often!

 

 

All guilt aside, these brownies are super rad. I LOVE chocolate (Hey, I am a girl…) but these brownies give chocolate a whole new meaning. They aren’t the over dense, gooey bars that force you to slurp down a giant class of soy milk afterwards. They are airy, melt-in-your-mouth, and the pumpkin keeps them from becoming overbearingly sweet. AND they are seasonal so it’s totally acceptable to make them now before it’s not fall anymore! Plus, it’s Friday. Who doesn’t want to treat themselves with a big batch of brownies on their Friday night? Have I convinced you to pull out your baking supplies yet? Come on, seriously, what are you waiting for?

 

 

Pumpkin Swirl Cocoa Brownies

Adapted from YumSugar

  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
  • 1 cup chocolate chips, divided
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • dash of cayenne (optional but highly recommended!)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar + 2 Tablespoons
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable or coconut oil
  • 1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9 by 9 inch square baking pan.

In a small saucepan, heat 1/2 cup chocolate chips and butter over medium-low heat until it is melted and smooth (stir frequently to make sure the chocolate doesn’t burn). Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cayenne, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of your mixer [I know, we are using LOTS of dishes for this one], combine the eggs, vanilla extract, and sugar. Beat until incorporated (about three minutes). Turn mixer down to low, slowly add in the dry ingredients, and then turn back up to medium for another minute.

Divide the batter in half and split it among two bowls. First, add the chocolate mixture into one bowl and add the pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, and oil to the other bowl. Mix each batter until everything is incorporated.

Alternate between the two batters by pouring a combination of both bowls into the prepared baking pan. Use a toothpick to “swirl” the pumpkin into the chocolate and then sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup chocolate chips.

Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out of the center clean.

Serve warm with ice cream or apple cider.

 

 

 

 

 

Dark Chocolate Zucchini Muffins // My 23rd Birthday

Posted on: September 4, 2012

And we are back with ANOTHER zucchini bread recipe (if you missed them, check out my Savory Feta Zucchini Muffins from last week here) but this time we are covering them in chocolate! Not so bad, eh?

It’s my 23rd (yikes! Weird!) birthday today so Wyatt and I took the day off to do whatever we please.  So far we have just laid around in bed, I did some yoga, and then I made some delicious chocolate muffins. We are going on a picnic this afternoon at Hoosier National Forest so I thought these muffins would be perfect to bring along. I mean, what could be a better way to spend my birthday then baking and exploring outside with my boyfriend and puppy? Not much, I’d say. Here are a few new pictures from our lazy weekend around the house (since it rained so we couldn’t go camping like the original plan):

 

Tuko’s new hang out spot // Bruschetta // Lazy afternoons with Wyatt // New birthday outfit from my Ma // …more bruschetta // Kitchen Cacti Garden // Lazy morning with Wyatt // Citrus Plant from Wyatt for my birthday

 

 

And now onto the recipe! Hope everyone has a fantastic Tuesday. I’m off to go bake more for our afternoon picnic!

 

 

Dark Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk (I made my own with this recipe)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup agave or honey
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut oil (vegetable will work fine if that is what you have)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large very ripe banana, mashed
  • 1 cup grated zucchini (about 1 medium zucchini)
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips (semi-sweet is fine too)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 12-muffin pan. Wrap the grated zucchini in a clean kitchen towel and ring out any excess juice.

In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. In another bowl, whisk together the egg, honey/agave, buttermilk, oil, mashed banana, zucchini and vanilla.

Make a well in the center of the of the dry ingredients and and add the zucchini mixture. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ones until combined.

Fill each muffin tin 3/4 full and bake for 15 minutes or until a toothpick can be stuck in the middle of the muffins and comes out clean.

Enjoy warm or save for tomorrow’s breakfast.

Baked Chocolate Cake Donuts

Posted on: August 31, 2012

 

I can’t believe I managed to forget about these donuts! I made these a few lazy Saturdays ago and even showed a sneak preview picture of them in my Moody Monday post and then never followed through with the recipe! Sheesh, silly me! However, don’t worry because here it is now.

We live down the street from the local donut shop and Wyatt stops there more than I even want to know. I sometimes give in and join him but still felt a bit guilty about it. The whole concept of eating fried something for breakfast never appealed to me; however, as soon as I discovered I could BAKE donuts, I wanted in! All I needed was a donut pan…seems easy enough, right? However, Wyatt promised to get me a donut pan for my Graduation last spring…which never happened. This meant we spent all Summer donutless (his loss!). And then, at last, we ran across some pans while browsing the local Kro-Gucci (not to be confused with our other disgusting Kroger…which happens to be Kro-Ghetto) so I threw them in the cart before Wyatt had an opinion about wanting to buy me them or not.

And so, since TECHNICALLY Wyatt did buy me them (even if he didn’t mean to), I decided to start my donut-making journey with his favorite kind: cake donuts. Cake donuts are pretty awesome because they are just are the best excuse to eat cake for breakfast. I mean if the cake is shaped like a breakfast food….it’s acceptable, right?

I topped my donuts with peanut butter (while they were still warm so the peanut butter melted into a nice, thick glaze) and then lathered them in colorful sprinkles.

These donuts are ridiculously easy to make so I would just suggest waking up 15 minutes before your boyfriend/girlfriend/hubby/puppy, getting the coffee making going, and starting on these. They will be ready in less than 20 minutes so you’ll have the whole rest of the morning to be lazy and eat warm donuts. These go perfectly with a big mug of hot coffee and a Saturday morning movie.

 

 

Baked Chocolate Cake Donuts

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (made my own with this recipe)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and grease a donut pan. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder. In another small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, egg, vanilla, and butter.

Make a well in the center of the dried ingredients and pour the wet ingredients in the middle. Use a spatula to fold the dry ingredients into the wet until just incorporated.

Evenly pour the batter into the pans. Cook for 10 minutes or until baked all the way through.

Enjoy with peanut butter and sprinkles or powdered sugar or a glaze or by themselves! Seeeeeee….how easy was that?

Lake Dinner Picnic

Posted on: July 18, 2012

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As I mentioned in a post a few days ago, we went on a lovely dinner picnic last Thursday. It was nice because we have been so busy with moving and getting our house organized that we haven’t been taking that much time to just chill out and enjoy summer. Plus, this heat wave has been making it awfully hard to want to hike to the lake when just standing in it makes you sweat and uncomfortable. That’s okay though because it’s made us get creative with our usual summer activities (like go at sunset instead of at midday). Anyhow, it was wonderful to just sit on the rocks and watch Tuko/Taco play in the water as the sun went down.

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This was an impulse picnic so we just packed up a few things that we had around the kitchen. I whipped up some deviled eggs (so simple yet such a perfect summer staple), backed an array of sliced strawberries, brie, and sliced baguette, and then had Wyatt whip up some Nutella and Strawberry sandwiches. I was a little stressed that I didn’t have more time to plan our a menu but it ended up being perfect finger food for an impromptu adventure!

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I am not even sure what we did for entertainment before we had Tuko. I really enjoy watching him love on the lake and get excited about being free to run and explore.

Hope everyone is making the most out of their summer and taking a little time to enjoy their food outside and stick their feet in the water!

Chocolate Almond Biscotti

Posted on: March 10, 2012


This recipe evokes fond memories of when I first started learning how to cook. When I was 19, I moved down to Nashville, TN for the summer to try to pursue my music business career. It was the first time I had ever lived on my own and I had a tiny apartment all to myself. It wasn’t much but it was all mine and that was what mattered. I had a lot of goals that summer (perhaps to help with the fear of moving to a city where I knew practically no one) and one of them was to learn how to cook.

Don’t get me wrong, my mother is an amazing person but she didn’t appreciate when I would bake and get half the ingredients in the bowl and the other half on the floor. In my kitchen, I was free to create whatever I wanted without anyone being able to judge me. If I failed (which I did, too many times to want to admit) I could chuck it and start fresh without any criticism. And if I succeeded, I had yummy baked goods to offer to the neighbors in my apartment complex and try to make friends (the people below me smoked far too much and were always more than happier to try out my concoctions).

Anyways, this is one of the recipes from that summer; I remember being blown away by the fact that I was capable of making something so delicious. It’s funny to look back on it because I was so strict about following recipes word for word back then and I’ve managed to play around with so many times since.

Today was a beautiful sunny Saturday so I whipped these up while my roommate made some Turkish coffee that she acquired abroad in Jordan last year. We had a cute little tea [coffee] picnic on the porch this afternoon with these delicious treats!

Also, can’t wait to spend my lazy spring break mornings laying around and munching down on these with coffee.

 

Chocolate Almond Biscotti

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 Tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • powdered sugar, for dusting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prep two baking sheets by buttering them and then brushing flour on top.

In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, salt, cayenne, and baking powder. Stir to combine.

In another mixing bowl, cream the sugar, vanilla extract, and butter with a hand mixer. Once smooth, add the eggs and beat until well blended.

Add the dry ingredients into the wet and mix until stiff. Then add in the chocolate chips and almonds and (preferably with your hands because the dough will be stiff) knead until everything is well incorporated. Slit the dough in half and make two long logs on each making sheet. Dust both with powdered sugar and then use a knife to pierce slices about an inch from each other.

Cook for 35 minutes or until firm. Remove from oven and let cool for five minutes. Use a knife to slip the pieces fully and turn them their sides. Put back in the oven for ten minutes.

Let cool completely and serve with warm, yummy coffee. Or have a tea party with your favorite pooch (like mine shown below).

 

Guiness Chocolate Cake

Posted on: March 7, 2012

Update 10/29/2012: Don’t forget to stop by and check out VV’s newest giveaway which ends 11/02/2012!

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I’ve been in a bit of a weird funk lately. I’ve been feeling overwhelmed with my school career coming to a closing and me having to enter into the “real world”. My usual solution to ridding any irrational overreaction is to bake. And what better to make than something that combines my other two problem solvers: chocolate and beer!

I made this cake for Wyatt’s birthday a few months back and still have craving for it ’til this day. The Guinness brings a whole new tint to the chocolate flavor that is just irresistable. And the moist cake pairs perfect with all your favorite ice cream treats or some refreshing green beer.

This would also be a perfect treat for St. Patrick’s day which is approaching at massive rates! Perhaps this cake is even an excuse for you to host a St. Patty’s Day Potluck (it is on a Saturday!) to share this treat with all your favorite people!

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PS next week is my last spring break ever (well…sorta a break for me. I have to work at the record label Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) so that means I have soooo many recipes planned to conquer on my time off. Expect great things coming ASAP!

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Guinness Chocolate Cake

  • 1 cup Guinness (guess you’re gonna have to dye the leftover beer green)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 and fill a round baking tin with parchment paper (or grease it if you don’t have paper handy).

In a small saucepan, heat the beer and butter over medium-low heat until the butter has melted and they are combined together. Remove from heat and stir in the sugar and cocoa powder.

In another small bowl, whisk together the eggs, sour cream, and vanilla. Slow mix into the beer mixture. Mix until smooth.

Cook for 40 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean in the center.

Let cool completely and lather with your favorite chocolate icing and loads of sprinkles.

Enjoy with a big glass of green Guinness!

Giant Chocolate Cookie Cake

Posted on: January 13, 2012

So it’s my roommate’s birthday tomorrow and she’s had this big party planned for weeks. My other roommate and I had this big cookie cake planned to make her until she informed us Monday that she has a chocolate cake picked out that she wants made (she’s a bit of an over planner, if you can’t tell) and since it’s her birthday we have to make what she wants. Soooo we decided to make her this cookie one yesterday as a sort of pre-game to tomorrow (a little overboard of us, I know) but either way we wanted it and her birthday sounded like the perfect excuse to make it.


Giant Chocolate Cookie Cake

For the Cookie:

  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 6 Tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda

For the Frosting:

  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
  • 2 cups confectioner sugar
  • 1 8 oz cream cheese package, softened
  • 1 cup chocolate chips, softened

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two pie dishes with wax paper.

Beat the butter and sugar together. Then add the eggs and vanilla. Next, blend in the flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda. Mix until well combined.

Divide the dough into two and press into prepared pans. Bake for 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before assembling.

To prepare the frosting, beat the butter and confectioners sugar until well incorporated. Next, add the cream cheese and melted chocolate chips. Mix until it becomes a light, fluffy texture.

Spread half the frosting on top of one of the cookies and then top with the other cookie. Spread the rest of the frosting on top and decorate with sprinkles/m&ms/butterscotch chips/chocolate chips/swedish fish/skittles/anything colorful you can find in your kitchen.


But be careful because you could even devour half of it before giving it to the birthday girl!



Ella Baby lovin’ her cookie

Vegan Chocolate Surprise Cookies

Posted on: January 2, 2012

Since yesterday was National Hungover Day (because who doesn’t drink on New Year’s Eve REGARDLESS of what commitments you have made for the following day), Abby (my wonderful, goofy, and hung over roommate) and I decided to spend the whole day baking. We had this vision of creating a cookie buffet (for no particular reason) that ended up consisting of sugar cookies, fruity pebble rice crispy treats, five layer bars, and these little guys. Although we baked dozens of cookies, these were the winners.

We decided to make these because we both have a fear of fillings. The idea of making a filling for a cookie, donuts, or pies just SOUNDS intimidating and after several minutes of discussing visions of turkey basters and jelly injecting,  we came to the conclusion that the cookie buffet would not be complete without filling. And luckily, these cookies did not demand either of those things.

The filling was actually really easy to tackle and it did not take much longer than a normal cookie would. The cookies were adapted from Isa Moskowitz’s Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar and I want to let you know that we used half sunflower seed butter and half peanut butter for the filling section but feel free to use all peanut butter if that is what you have on hand.

Chocolate Surprise Cookies

For the cookie:

  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons Almond milk (or soy milk)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For the filling:

  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup sunflower seed butter (or more peanut butter)
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 to 3 Tablespoons almond milk (start with 2 and add another if mixture is too dry)
  • dash of vanilla extract

Mix the oil, sugar, maple syrup, milk, and vanilla extract in large mixing bowl until it forms a smooth, caramel paste. Next, add in the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt and mix until it forms a thick, moist dough. Set aside.

In another bowl, use a hand mixer to cream the peanut butter, sunflower seed butter, powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla extract. The dough should be thick enough for you to form but still a little gooey so it has a yummy texture!

Now, preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease two baking sheets (or line them with parchment paper). Prepare the inside filling by forming 20 small balls using the palms of your hands. Place them on a small sheet of wax paper.

Now go back to the outer cookie dough and take heaping tablespoons of it at a time. Form a ball by using the palm of your hand and then flatten. Place the peanut butter filling in the center and fold the chocolate dough around it. Roll in your palm a bit more to reform the ball and place on the cookie sheet. Repeat with the other 19 balls and put them about 2 inches apart on the cookie sheet because they will expand.

Cook for 10 to 12 minutes (depending on how big you ended up making them). Let cool for at least five minutes so they will harden up and the cookie will have a crunchy shell with a soft, gooey center.

Munch down and share with all your grateful, hungover friends/roommates/boyfriends/pets (but hopefully your pets are not hung over!)

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