Tag Archives: chocolate

Guest Post from Neighbor Food: S’more Cake Pops

It’s only Tuesday, but T.G.I.C.: Thank goodness it’s Courtney from Neighbor Food!

This girl is a lifesend and a lifesaver, period. It has been nearly one–count it, one–full month since I’ve last had a chance to bake. Cue brief flickers of bloggy unease, followed by a 9.6-magnitude shock of panic, immediately assuaged by the soothing tones of Courtney’s calm, smiling (I imagine) assurance that she could write this guest post for me.

You’ll see why I love her, her blog, her recipes, and just everything about her so much once you read on! Plus, since I haven’t had time to do baking of my own, I had my face plastered to the screen as I attempted to lick the pixels clean off while writing a coherent introduction. The results are disappointing, but that’s why I’m handing this space over to Courtney, who has her stuff together way better than I do today.

So without further ado–here’s Courtney!

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Hey Wallflour friends! I’m so excited to be visiting today from my little cozy Internet home, Neighborfood. The World Wide Web can be a royal World Wide Pain at times, but it’s things like this that make me incredibly thankful for its existence. Thanks to Ala for inviting me to share this virtual space with all of you today!

S'more Cake Pops- An easy bite-sized treat!

Let’s talk about cake pops. Are they out of style? I seem to always be about 8.5 months behind the food trend curve. I’m just now getting into donuts, and I feel like everyone’s already moved on to ice cream sandwiches. Don’t mind me. I’ll just be the one raving about the cronut two years from now, when I’m sure some other bizarre hybrid food (pizztacos? waffleburgers?) will have taken the blogosphere by storm.

Frankly, the reason I never got into cake pops is because I simply didn’t like them. I always thought they were sickly sweet and required way more work than their taste was worth. But sometimes you bake too much cake, and as much as I’m not a fan of cake pops, I’m even less a fan of wasting cake. So there I was with a big ol’ bowl of yellow cake crumbs and nothing to do but craft a cake pop.

s'more-cake-pops-7

Friends, I’m happy to tell you I’ve had a change of heart. These cake pops are different. Easy to make. Not overly sweet, and covered in chocolate. They’ve got a lot going from them.

Let’s start with the cake itself. The typical cake pop is made with a combination of crumbled cake crumbs and canned frosting. Until a few weeks ago, I hadn’t questioned this formula, but since I don’t normally stock canned frosting, I found myself scrambling for another option. They say necessity is the mother of invention, and I’ve found this to be absolutely true in my kitchen endeavors. It’s amazing the creative juices I can work up when it means I can avoid an extra trip to the store.

A little pantry searching led me to a half opened jar of marshmallow creme just begging for its time to shine. I snatched it up and added it to the cake crumbs until they adhered to each other and could be rolled into balls.

S'More Cake Pops

Of course, the moment the marshmallow creme hit the crumbs, these cake pops were destined for smoredom. After being rolled into balls and frozen so they stayed together, the balls got dipped into melted chocolate then rolled into crushed honey grahams. Of course, you can use regular graham crackers as well, but the honey grahams stayed crunchier, which I liked.

Now this is a cake pop I can’t resist. The marshmallow creme and chocolate keep these from becoming overly sweet, and the grahams add a nice unexpected texture I appreciated. These disappeared at my work, and when coworkers requested the recipe I was happy to tell them it was only 5 ingredients and easy peasy.

S'more Cake Pops

If you’ve never made cake pops before, here are my suggestions. Cake pops are made more on feel than precision. What I mean is, don’t get caught up too much in specific amounts, especially when it comes to the crumbs and the marshmallow creme. You can easily adjust this based on the amount of crumbs you have. The important thing is to add just enough creme to get everything to stick together.

My second tip? Always, always freeze the balls before dipping. I usually put the sticks in them then freeze for at least a half an hour. A little shortening in the melted chocolate will help keep it nice and smooth and make it easier to dip.

And finally, I find the easiest way to store these is to punch the sticks through an empty egg carton once they’re dipped. They’ll be able to dry without touching. Recycling is awesome isn’t it?

S'mores on a stick!

I really hope you’ll give these summery treats a try! And if you’re not a cake pop lover, I think a change of heart might be in your future.

S’more Cake Pops
Prep time:
Total time:
Serves: 20
Ingredients
  • 4 cups yellow cake crumbs
  • 1/4-1/2 cup marshmallow creme
  • 12 ounces milk or semi sweet chocolate
  • 2 Tablespoons shortening
  • 1 cup honey graham cereal, crushed
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, combine the cake crumbs and marshmallow creme. Add just enough marshmallow creme to get the mixture to stick together. You should be able to roll it into a ball without it falling apart.
  2. Roll the mixture into 1-2 inch sized balls and place on a baking sheet. Place the popsicle sticks three quarters of the way through the balls then freeze for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate and shortening together in the microwave (in 30 second increments) or in a double boiler. Place in a deep bowl for dipping. Place the graham cracker crumbs in another bowl.
  4. When the balls are frozen, dip them into the chocolate, making sure it overlaps the stick slightly. You can use a toothpick to get rid of excess dripping chocolate. Immediately roll the balls in the crushed graham crackers then place right side up in an egg carton or foam core board to dry. Store in a cool, dry place.
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I am 11005% behind Courtney on this one–I’m not usually a cake ball fan either, but with this killer s’mores combo, how could anyone resist? My choco-graham-mallow senses have been set ablaze with the fire of a really big flaming star called da Sun. And luckily, this s’mores-inspired recipe doesn’t require a single flame in this godforsaken hot weather. Win-win? I think so!
Thank you, Court, for guest posting today–ISN’T SHE LOVELY FOLKS?

Loving what you read today? Connect with Courtney!

Blog: http://www.neighborfoodblog.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/NeighborFoodie

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Neighborfoodblog

Instagram: http://instagram.com/neighborfoodie

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Filed under Cakes & Cupcakes

Guest Post from Blahnik Baker: Hazelnut Macarons with Chocolate Ganache

Folks, I haven’t felt this excited since I heard that these brand spankin’ new episodes of Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon would be hitting the screen after nearly a decade of muffled silence. I told Zainab I’ve been crazy busy lately doing Grown-Up World things–like maniacally hurling homemade spiky shells at my fellow street-sharers on a FIVE-hour commute–but really I’d rather just lock myself in my dust-infested closet with my laptop and gorge on unhealthy amounts of Sailor Moon.

And maybe try like the moron I am to eat the pixels right off these gorgeous macaron photos Zainab sent me.

Have you met the stunning Zainab from Blahnik Baker? She’s the grad student baker blogger who knows what’s up. As a crazy Legilimency expert As a crazy someone who read Zainab’s post before posting it (duh), I know what she’s going to say about me and would like to add that I say the same about her, except times about a bazillion and forty. I admire her work, her dedication, and most of all her ability to excel as a fellow grad student while somehow managing to keep her marbles all where they belong: in her brilliant noggin of Nogginness.

So before I get carried away by my effusive praises (which are, by the way, super deserved), I’m turning over the floor to the lovely lady herself!

Hazelnut Macarons with Chocolate Ganache via Blahnik Baker_3

Hello everyone!! My name is Zainab and I am so excited to be here today. I am a HUGE fan of Wallflour Girl and she is one of my favorite blogs to read. I’m sure she is one of yours too because you are here :) I blog over at Blahnik Baker where I love sharing easy but creative desserts.

Hazelnut Macarons with Chocolate Ganache via Blahnik Baker_1

I just recently met this wonderful lady through a guest post she did over on Nancy’s blog. That post resonated so much with me that I spent all morning checking out her blog, writing and recipes!! Only to discover she is a PhD student like me and a passionate, honest and intelligent lady!! On her guest post, she wrote about her “Wall of Smiles” and I’m in love with her idea. I struggle very much with finding the happy moments in my daily life being a graduate student (it’s really hard) but ever since I read her post, I’ve been trying hard every day to pause and notice the little things. And at the end of every night, I think of one thing, event or person that made me smile and write it down in a notebook (or make a mental note if I am really tired and in bed already. I really need to move that notepad to my nightstand).

Thank you Ala! You inspire me daily :)

Hazelnut Macarons with Chocolate Chambord  Ganache

Anyway enough small talk, on to the sweets now. Macarons!!! I love making macarons and have fallen madly in love with these French delicacies. I make them just for fun most times and I experiment a lot with flavors, texture and fillings.

Funny thing, when the husband walks in and I am making macarons, he can almost assume I had a long hard day at work and just need some peaceful baking time. And macarons do that for me. I know people think they are temperamental and hard to make, but to be honest they are actually very easy cookies to make.

Hazelnut Macarons with Chocolate Chambord  Ganache

These hazelnut macarons were an attempt to make macarons with hazelnut flour instead of the traditional almond flour. The macaron shells are pillow-y soft and are filled with a sweet chocolate ganache spiked with Chambord.

I hope you enjoy these macarons! And thank you for having me today. Let’s all take a page from Ala’s book and enjoy the small things and moments in life. (Including these cookies!!)

Hazelnut Macarons with Chocolate Ganache via Blahnik Baker_5

Hazelnut Macarons with Chocolate Chambord Ganache

Ingredients

    For Macarons
  • 125g hazelnut flour
  • 175g powdered sugar
  • 105g egg whites
  • 75g sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • For Chocolate Chambord Ganache
  • 1⁄2 cup bittersweet chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream (plus more if needed)
  • 1 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons Chambord (raspberry liqueur)

Instructions

  1. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper. I used a 11⁄2-inch round cookie cutter to draw circles on the parchment paper and flip over the paper (drawing side down). Prepare a pastry bag with a round tip. I used Wilton 2A.
  2. Using a food processor, pulse the powdered sugar and hazelnut flour into fine powder. Sift several times until there is less than 2 tablespoons of hazelnut bits left. Add these to the mixture.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, combine the egg whites and sugar. Whip on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form, about 5-7 minutes.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the meringue and fold with a rubber spatula. Gently fold to deflate the meringue by pressing against the side of bowl and scooping from bottom until batter is smooth and shiny; about 20-25 folds. To check consistency, drop a spoonful of batter and it should have a peak that quickly relaxes back into the batter. Start checking the batter after 20 folds.
  5. Transfer batter into pastry bag and pipe the batter into the pre-traced circles on the baking sheet. Tap baking sheet hard on counter to release any air bubbles trapped in the batter. Let shells sit on counter for 20-30 minutes to dry, until a slight skin forms.
  6. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until shells hard, rotating cookie sheets halfway through baking time. You should be able to peel off the macaron from the parchment. Cool completely on cookie sheets before peeling from the parchment.
  7. For the Ganache:
  8. Combine the chocolate and heavy cream in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 30-45 seconds and stir until chocolate melts. Remove from microwave and stir in butter until melted and chocolate is smooth. Whisk in Chambord with butter. Match same size cookies; pipe a little mound of buttercream onto flat side of one cookie and top with another. Store refrigerated for at least 24 hours before serving.
http://www.wallflourgirl.com/2014/07/07/guest-post-blahnik-baker-hazelnut-macarons-chocolate-ganache/

I’ve never made a macaron in my life–commitment issues are the least of my problems–but you can bet your holy eggbeaters that I’m going to make this recipe ASAP. Thank you, you wonderful lady!

As if we needed more proof that Zainab is Wonder Woman in civilian disguise, I’ve taken a leaf out of her book by recruiting quite a few lovely guest posters for July and some of August. With life spinning out of control faster than a Mario Kart hit by ten red shells in succession, I’m up to my nose in sleepless work and am incredibly grateful for this wonderful crew that will be helping me survive. Look forward to meeting them all over the next few weeks–you’re going to love them all!

Oh, and for the record: Zainab, you totally made my Wall of Smiles today. Just FYI. ;)

Loving what you read today? Connect with Zainab!

Blog: www.blahnikbaker.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/blahnikbaker

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BlahnikBaker

Instagram: http://instagram.com/blahnikbaker

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/zmansaray/

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Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Cookies

Simple Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Abstract: To show how my dad–through his humbly-led life and unwavering, silent support of all we do–has kept my faith in family, dreams, and life alive. This one is for my dad: my biggest, silent fan.

Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting 2--061414

For the record: I wanted this to be a super elaborate, praise-to-the-heavens post to celebrate Father’s Day, much like I did with my Mother’s Day Post last month. However, my dad (summed up in 3 words) is a real practical man and dislikes reading anything that is longer than a page. So here’s me suppressing all my natural instincts and writing to the point for you, Dad.

Also, sorry in advance for already making this post too long, but you’d better be reading more than just the abstract (which I included anyway for you, just in case you don’t read beyond it).

Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting 5--061414

When I was 7 or 8, I went to a Father’s Day dance at the local YMCA and danced with my dad to Bob Carlisle’s “Butterfly Kisses.” My dad told me that letting go of his hand instead of holding on tightly was the easiest way to make sure my hand didn’t get all twisted up while he was spinning me around.

When I was 10, I got out of the car for summer camp one day and said I didn’t want to kiss him goodbye because my friends might see.

When I was 13, I told him that I couldn’t wait to grow up and do big people things, like driving a car. He told me to wait.

When I was 15, a close friend was critically hospitalized following an incident at home. I debated whether or not to visit the hospital that night and my dad told me quietly that I should. I did. We attended her memorial a few days later.

When I was 22, my dad introduced me to this song, Cats in the Cradle.

When I was in the cafe writing this post yesterday afternoon, I cried and had to get up to go to the bathroom so my friend wouldn’t see.

Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting 7--061414

My dad–like most human beings–is not a perfect person. He is an amazing man, and he is also wonderfully, delightfully flawed. I love him just the way he is.

He can be grumpy, yes. We joke about his grumpiness all the time, and though he can be even more so now that I’m no longer around, I wouldn’t change him for the world, any more than I would change my mom or my brother or anyone else dear to me.

If I had to be stuck on a desert island with one other person, it would probably be my dad. He’s innovative and fearless–he once fought off a guy in a huge wolf costume who was scaring my brother and me at the Universal Studios House of Horrors….at least, until the worker supervising the area said to him a loud voice, “Sir, PLEASE DON’T TOUCH THE ACTORS.”

Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting 21--061414

My dad is the world’s most incredible sideline supporter. More importantly, almost nobody knows or appreciates this fact because he doesn’t tell anybody about it. He never complains, even when he has to drive an hour-and-a-half home and back to bring the case of cupcakes I had left behind on my last day of work.

So this is my declaration to the world that thinks my dad is just your average, matter-of-fact, serious, tech industry guy: my dad happens to rock, thank you very much.

Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting 10--061414

When I told him I had gotten into my English grad school program, all he said was, “Well, good job.” No fanfare, no streamers, nothing that would have made you think he was saying anything more exciting than, “I’ll have the Peking duck.”

But if you know anything about my dad, there’s a little inflection to his tone that makes you feel as warm inside as if he had shouted his felicitations off the roof of the Empire State Building for the city to hear. My dad is proud of us, but he’s not a bragger, and I learned early on in life that that was one quality towards which I would always aspire.

I’ve mostly fallen short–I still like talking a lot about my achievements with friends and family–but there he is, always: unwavering, silent, strong, and a supporter to beat all the rest.

Vanilla Cupcake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

My dad is an extreme pragmatist, but I would also call him a positivist. Even though the two terms don’t always go together, he always emphasizes the importance of living for the moment–as long as you know that your choices won’t leave you or your family without bread on the table at the end of the day. My dad may be in the tech industry, and like all Asian parents he’s a realist when it comes to getting a solid job. Oddly enough, though, I felt comfortable enough pursuing my PhD in English because he never questioned me about my motives–he accepted that I would need to explore on my own (though he entertained his share of private concerns, I’m sure) and simply let me do the things I had always wanted to try.

I am 110% grateful for his ability not to grow hysterical when I am, his knack for listening without saying a word in a way that I would never be patient enough to do, and–probably most of all–his willingness to put everything down at the most trivial phone call from us and drive right over.

Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting 16--061414

The world deserves to hear everything about him, but I know I can’t write everything–anyway, he wouldn’t want to read it. But this is the man who will wait for 4 hours outside after driving me to meet up with a friend without once complaining; in fact, he’ll joke about being my “personal chauffeur” (our shared, extremely DRY sense of humor is another topic for another time, but we are so related). In many ways, he lives for his family, and I can’t ever, ever thank him enough for teaching us that.

So I’ll end this already beyond-the-limit post by just saying this as I finish up:

Dad, I don’t care if you never share this post with anyone, because you probably won’t. But there’s one thing you should know.

I may not be silent. I may not be patient. And sometimes it may feel like I need your support more than you need mine.

But I am also–and always–your very biggest fan. I love you!

Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting 13--061414

Even though I don’t think he’d go out of his way to eat these cupcakes (he’s not a big sweets fan), they’re not overly sweet–just simple, fluffy vanilla cupcakes with an easy chocolate buttercream frosting. But this unassuming pairing is one of the most amazing things I have made in a long while, and so it’s the perfect treat to be posting for my dad today. Since I was delivering these cupcakes long-distance, I also created these styrofoam cut-out cupcake holders to protect them from jostling against each other–something I thought my innovative dad might find amusing. All you have to do is cut out the bottom of the cup and slip in a cupcake–and push it up from the bottom when you want to eat it. Neat, huh? I hope you guys love this recipe as much as I do!

Happy Father’s Day, Dad, and to all of the fathers out there who are celebrating today!

Love, your baby dragon and Daddy’s girl.

Ala

Simple Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Yield: 1 dozen cupcakes

The perfectly light, fluffy, and classic vanilla cupcake that makes delicious simple. Perfect with a class chocolate buttercream frosting, too! Original cupcake recipe via Sally[http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2013/04/20/very-vanilla-cupcakes/}.

Ingredients

    For the vanilla cupcakes
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 egg whites, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 3/4 cup vanilla soy milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • For the chocolate buttercream frosting
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon Kahlua (can substitute with vanilla)
  • 1 tablespoon soy milk or milk, as needed

Instructions

    For the vanilla cupcakes:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 12 muffin tin cups with cupcake liners.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together melted butter and sugar.
  3. Stir in egg whites, yogurt, and soy milk. Add vanilla extract and mix in.
  4. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Fold in very gently until mixture is just incorporated into wet batter.
  5. Divide batter between 12 liners, filling each liner approximately 2/3 of the way up. Bake for 17-19 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out mostly clean with moist crumbs clinging to it. Allow to cool completely before frosting with chocolate buttercream frosting (instructions below).
  6. For the chocolate buttercream frosting:
  7. In a medium bowl, cream together butter, cocoa, and confectioners' sugar. Add vanilla and Kahlua (if using). To thin out your frosting even more, add milk as needed, up to 1-2 tablespoons.
http://www.wallflourgirl.com/2014/06/15/simple-vanilla-cupcakes-chocolate-buttercream-frosting/

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Two-Toned Red Velvet & Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

As I’ve grown older and the weary years have coated my hunched back like a film of unwanted snail slime, I’ve come to the wary conclusion that there are two sides of me: the one that you know, and the one that you wouldn’t want to know for all the holy flying bats in the world–though what you would want to do with a colony of holy flying bats, I haven’t the faintest idea. You tell me.

Two-Toned Red Velvet Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting 5--051614

Of course, unless you’re my mom and have witnessed the stormy tantrums I still throw all the time used to throw as a kid in the Polly Pocket aisle of Toys R Us, I’m pretty much an “As Seen in Stores” kind of girl. Peppy, extroverted, painfully enthusiastic at times, and totally predictable.

But at rare little moments of extreme environmental stress or unceasing irritation, my trigger–like any normal human being’s–will trip. And boy, you don’t want to be the person standing in front of it when it does. If you’re the one who tripped it up, all the bleaker for you. My judging glare is not something you want to experience from the receiving end. Nor is my adult, I-will-smack-you hands-on-hips gesture when I appear, glowering, in your doorway.

Two-Toned Red Velvet Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting 8--051614

On the latest battlefront, my neighbors have been demons from the darkest depths of Dante’s nine circles of hell. Zac Efron (who, by the way, visited us for the premiere of Neighbors last month) has got nothing on my. Freakin’. Neighbors. Continue reading

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Filed under Brownies & Chocolates, Cakes & Cupcakes

Coffee Cheesecake Stuffed Chocolate Cupcakes with Kahlua Biscoff Frosting

Every once in a while, a truly remarkable event happens that reminds you appreciate in life. The day I met K was one such moment. Coffee Cheesecake-Filled Chocolate Cupcakes with Mocha Biscoff Frosting 2--042914 In reality, the first time we met was at the Edible Book Festival at our school’s library, though I wouldn’t have recognized her face with all the nice folks streaming in and out of the rotunda. We reconnected after K entered my From My Kitchen to Yours care package giveaway–she found my blog through cards I had been giving out at the festival and, by some crazy chance, decided to start reading. Who says that serendipity can only happen to John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale? Coffee Cheesecake-Filled Chocolate Cupcakes with Mocha Biscoff Frosting 7--042914 For those of you who follow me on Instagram, you might have seen the photo and story I posted. I hope you don’t mind if I repeat myself here, but this is definitely a story worth sharing. Continue reading

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Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Cakes & Cupcakes

Healthy Peanut Butter-Stuffed Chocolate Date Balls (Vegan; GF and Raw Option)

Don’t forget to enter the Cuppow giveaway via our Eat Clean Challenge at the end of this post!

Dreams do come true.

I know because yesterday I shook hands with a Disneyland Imagineer for the first time. A real, living, breathing, down-to-earth Imagineer!

Okay, so maybe the “real living breathing” part isn’t that impressive–even I’m capable of those–but an Imagineer. Ohmygosh. Somebody get me my paper bag because I take back what I just said and I suck at breathing right now.

Healthy Peanut Butter Stuffed Chocolate Balls (Vegan, Optional Raw) 2--050214

My brain gets crazy addled every time I talk to someone for whom I have the highest respect. Same thing happened when I ate popsicles once with Gail Carson Levine at my literary agent’s annual party, i.e. I died from sheer joy and shredded through about ten paper bags in a two-hour period.

As it happened, K the Imagineer was incredibly illuminating (hah appropriate, considering he is responsible for designing and producing the fixture lights in all the Disney parks around the world!) and really inspired me to keep pushing towards my dream of show writing or envisioning creative concepts for Disney. It was kind of an amazing and extremely humbling (in the best way) experience.

Healthy Peanut Butter Stuffed Chocolate Balls (Vegan, Optional Raw) 5--050214

Now here’s the problem. Of course, there has to be a problem. Continue reading

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Filed under Healthy/Clean Eating Challenge, Snacks

Healthy Raw Vegan Fudgy Bars (Gluten-Free, V)

It’s gif season!

(Pssst–if you like this gif, maybe you should consider following my shiny new Twitter account for the latest WG updates. Also, have you entered my personalized care package giveaway yet?)

Healthy Raw Vegan Fudgy Bars Gif 1

I know what you’re thinking. 

Actually, I’m just saying that. If I really knew what you were thinking, I wouldn’t be hanging around my toybox apartment scrounging up pennies to pay the rent. I’d be out there investing in a get-rich scheme that would involve a crystal ball, inch-thick spectacles, and tons of foggy incense.

But. I still know what you’re thinking.

“YUM.”

Healthy Raw Vegan Fudgy Bars 11--041914

Pretty close, right? It’s hard to believe these bars are vegan, raw, gluten-free, and fudgy to the max.

I’m pinning them to the Eat Clean Challenge Pinterest board this week, so go check it out! And while you’re there, why not check out Wallflour Girl on Pinterest, too? (;

So what’s the Eat Clean Challenge? Let me tell you while we both drool over some more in-your-face fudginess…… Continue reading

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Filed under Brownies & Chocolates, Healthy/Clean Eating Challenge

The Chocoholic Bomb Cookie

You are never going to need another thick, chewy, fudgy, bomb, sink-your-teeth-in rich chocolatey cookie recipe again, so before you read on, you’d better Pin/share/print/make this. Because I’ll be honest, just looking at these photos makes me want to ditch you all right now and hightail for the kitchen. But I won’t because #readerlove.

Done? Good.

The Chocoholic Bomb Cookie 2--030914

This is the chocoholic bomb cookie. As in, this cookie will explode any attempts to recover from chocoholism, so you’d better watch out.

The Chocoholic Bomb Cookie 5--030914

I am not kidding. Part of me almost wishes I was, because my chocolate cravings have gotten 10.85743 times worse since I started researching my dissertation prospectus two weeks ago. Continue reading

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Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Cookies

Scrumdiddlyumptious (Caramelized Banana & Toasted Coconut) Banana Bread

This recipe is brought to you by INSOMNIAbecause when you’re single and have the biggest exam of your life scheduled for Valentine’s Day 2014, this is as wild as the nights around here are gonna get.

Scrumdiddlyumptious Caramelized Banana and Toasted Coconut Banana Bread 11--013014

Thank goodness I stumbled across a simply scrumdiddlyumptious banana bread recipe that can make even 4 AM sleeplessness taste amazing. More about this bread in a second. (FUN FACT: The appellation ‘scrumdiddlyumptious’ was inspired by a friend who tasted some of this insanely moist and flavor-packed banana bread, but it’s also a nod to my first attempt to join the blogging world three years ago <–check it out if you’re interested…It’s almost crazy to think how far this blog has come since those days of phone food photos!)

Scrumdiddlyumptious Caramelized Banana and Toasted Coconut Banana Bread 18--013014

With my brain constantly kicked into over-over-overdrive these days (like, headache-and-insomnia-inducing overdrive!), it’s almost ridiculously comforting to do something that requires zero thinking. Just me, the Frozen soundtrack drifting in the background, and the therapeutic rhythm of your hand as it slowly swirls fragrant coconut and chocolate chips into a bowl of thick, creamy, chunky banana bread batter.

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Since I moved back and the time crunch has gotten crunchier than a jar of chunky peanut butter, life around here has been one huge mind-brain  (wow, I can’t believe I just typed that) mind-body disconnection. For example, as I was taking a post-dinner break and writing this blog post, I was simultaneously trying to spread peanut butter on a baby carrot. No biggie, right? I had just managed to get a sizable chunk of peanut butter out of the jar (think golf-ball-size per baby carrot–hey, these are stressful times! And stressful times = more peanut butter) when, by some trick of I-know-not-how, my spoon pressed down on the carrot and it shot out of my hand into the air. Before I knew what was happening, my hand flew at it with all the lightning speed of, well, lightning and stuff, snatched it out of the air like Peter Parker in this scene, and  all the while my other hand just went on spreading peanut butter on that damned carrot like nothing ever happened. And I just stood there for a full two minutes staring at my hands without processing what had just happened, while the little mound of peanut butter on my teeny carrot steadily expanded into the size of a tennis ball. And then at 2 minutes and 1 second, it suddenly hit me and I was all like, “Oh! That was REALLY COOL. Did anybody see that?!

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Why am I telling you all this? Beats me. I don’t even know if any of what I just typed  up there warrants comment. I just thought I’d share. Kinda like FYI in case you haven’t noticed, my brain is really scrambled up right now, guys. Your morning plate of eggs have got nothing on my brain–word.

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I suspect my scatterbrained-ness is partly because I took my first mock exam last week and my second one this morning, and I am absolutely pooped. Like, pretty happy to be done with that, especially since it went better than expected, and de-stressed enough to finally write another entry, but still so pooped. Pooped-er than dog doo-doo on your front lawn. Sorry.

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That leaves me with the one (hopefully) coherent point of this post: this scrumdiddlyumptious, unlike-anything banana bread. Because let’s be honest: there’s banana bread, and then there’s…sort of cannibalizing banana bread by caramelizing the bananas first, toasting coconut, throwing in a handful of dark chocolate chunks, and then smothering the top in a generous oat and brown sugar streusel. It may well be one of the BEST BANANA BREAD recipes/variations I have ever tried, period, and the Greek yogurt and oil combo keeps it incredibly moist. This bread is the one thing that has made any number of sleepless nights worth it, and I hope it’ll find its really special way into your life soon, too!

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^ If I could actually manage to fall asleep once in a while, I’m pretty sure that’s what would be happening. #truth

Ala

Scrumdiddlyumptious Caramelized Banana & Toasted Coconut & Dark Chocolate Banana Bread

(Adapted from Half-Baked Harvest)
Ingredients:

For the caramelized bananas:

  • 4 medium bananas, the riper the better
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. On a foil-lined cookie sheet, lay out your peeled bananas and drizzle them with honey, cinnamon, and brown sugar.
  3. Roast bananas in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, until they begin to caramelize and turn a deep golden brown. They should be very soft and easy to mush.
  4. Remove bananas from oven and mash them. Set aside to include in banana bread recipe, Step 4.

For the banana bread:

  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt (I used 0%–you may use any type of Greek yogurt OR canned coconut milk)
  • 1/2 cup canola oil (you may use melted coconut oil)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cups dark chocolate chips (you may sub any type of chips you have on hand)
  • 1/2 cup coconut flakes, toasted

Directions:

  1. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9×5-inch baking pan and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs and brown sugar.
  3. Mix in Greek yogurt and oil.
  4. Stir in mashed bananas (see Caramelized Bananas recipe, above) and vanilla.
  5. Add flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix in until just incorporated.
  6. Gently fold in chocolate chips and coconut flakes.
  7. Top with oat streusel (recipe below).
  8. Bake in preheated oven for 50-60 minutes. Check your banana bread for doneness with a long toothpick that will reach all the way to the bottom of your loaf pan–it should come out with moist crumbs attached, at which point your bread will be ready to come out of the oven! (Note: be sure to double-check if your toothpick encounters chocolate–the chocolate will be melty, but your batter may already be cooked through.) Allow to cool in pan for 15 minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack.
  9. Scrumdiddly-slice and serve it up!

To make oat streusel: 

  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup cold butter or margarine
  1. In a medium bowl, mix together all ingredients except butter.
  2. Cut in cold butter with a fork, until your streusel consists of many pea-sized lumps of sugary-floury-buttery goodness. Use to top banana bread batter in banana bread recipe (Step 7).

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Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Bread

Epic Dulce De Leche Brownies

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It’s that time of the year again. You know, December: the month of Christmas lights, good cheer, the smell of warm apple pie wafting around every street corner, the murmur of family chatter over holiday feasts, and the universally-acknowledged wish that we all had the metabolic capacities of high school swimmers again.

Yeah, that time.

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These fudgy, rich, and not-a-dry-crumb-in-sight brownies made me wish really, really hard for that metabolism. Ditch the woolen socks (although after these I could use a roomier pair of jeans) and come onnnn, Santa!

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In our extended household, holiday dinners are always something of a battlefield. Imagine the Spartans meeting the Huns meeting Napoleon Bonaparte, then imagine them getting squished into an itty-bitty little corner by Brobdingnagian knocking elbows and clattering plates. Stretchy pants are the phrase of the day, and chopsticks are our surprise weapon of choice here.

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I like to think we burn off all of our food just by fighting for it–but I may or may not have majored in Wishful Thinking in college.

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So as you sit there at your computer regretting all the extra stuffing, strudel, and sausage you shoveled onto your plate this lovely weekend-after-Thanksgiving (for all you Americans out there, at least!), I am going to sit here at MY computer–completely blameless, thumbs twiddling–and introduce you to these Epic Dulce de Leche Brownies. Please enjoy the photo-music I have prepared for you while you wait…

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La la la la lots, and to all a good–no, amazing, awesome, EPIC brownie! And you can feed them to the people around you so you feel better about yourself, ha ha. <– But seriously, this actually works…have you tried it? Then don’t talk until you have.

These are, hands down, unlike any brownie I have ever made–and I say that having made all of these uh-mayzing variations. You saw the “Dulce de Leche” in the title and thought these were just normal dulce de leche brownies, didn’t you? Oho, not so, my fast friends. Here’s the secret to these incredibly fudgy, and possibly most flavor-packed brownies ever: the dulce de leche goes straight into the batter. Not swirled, not drizzled. IN.

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Although I have recently taken to creating my own recipes (including my all-time favorite Best Chewy Biscoff Blondies recipe–have you checked it out yet?), I have Sommer from A Spicy Perspective to thank for this recipe. She even goes to the trouble of diagramming the epic proportions that make up this extra-thick, ultra-fudgy brownie! Talk about dedication. I was sold faster than a Black Friday Playstation 4 combo set (which, sadly, I have not yet been gifted).

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But really, you need to make these to believe these–they will have your family and friends caroling your praises all season long! And with New Year’s resolutions galore right around the corner, you’ll want to make these NOW. There’s no time like the present–and what better present than gifting yourself a batch of the best brownies ever?

Happy holidays!

Ala

Epic Dulce de Leche Brownies

Yield: 1 9×9-inch baking pan; 16 large squares

Adapted from A Spicy Perspective, who is basically a genius

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. (or approximately 1.5 cups) dark chocolate chips–semi-sweet will work in a pinch
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter or margarine
  • 7 ounces dulce de leche OR homemade dulce de leche (Recipe below)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 5/6 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons instant coffee granules, crushed
  • 1.5 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (other add-ins, such as nuts or chopped candy, may also be added)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×9-inch baking pan with lightly greased foil and set aside.
  2. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt butter, chocolate, and dulce de leche together in 30-second intervals, stirring vigorously between each interval.
  3. Beat white sugar into melted chocolate mixture.
  4. Add vanilla and egg, then mix until combined.
  5. Add flour, cocoa powder, salt, and coffee granules. Stir in until just incorporated.
  6. Gently fold in 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips and other desired add-ins.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, until toothpick comes out MOSTLY clean–trust me, your brownies will be ready to party at this point! Remove the pan from the oven and immediately sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips. Wait 5 minutes, then spread the melted chocolate over the tops of the brownies.
  8. Allow to cool completely on stovetop before cutting brownies into fudgy, delicious squares of epic proportions.

Dulce de Leche Recipe

There are many ways to make dulce de leche at home. I used the oven method, which is simple and requires 1 (16 oz.) can of sweetened condensed milk–for the recipe above, you will only require half of this amount, or 8 oz.

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Pour the condensed milk into a baking dish and loosely cover it with foil.
  3. Place this baking dish in a roasting pan or a larger baking pan; fill the large pan with hot water until it reaches halfway up the sides of the smaller pan. Then slide both pans into the preheated oven.
  4. Bake for approximately 80-90 minutes, stirring at 15-minute intervals. Your dulce de leche will achieve a rich golden caramel color and should be fairly thick. For more visual and detailed instructions, see the Wiki page for How to Make Dulce de Leche.

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Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Brownies & Chocolates