Hot Chai Cocoa

Cook’s notes: This recipe is brilliant. I’m now dreaming of different dark chocolate bars for different flavors of cocoa.

Place 8.5 oz milk (I used almond milk), 40 g chopped dark chocolate, and 1 chai tea bag in a small pot over medium-low heat. Simmer until chocolate is melted, stirring often. Remove tea bag and serve warm.

IMG_2971.JPGvia Chai Hot Chocolate + I Liked This // 10.07.2015 – erin made this


Almond Flour Brownies

IMG_2692Cook’s notes: I adapted this recipe to use a brownie pan from Wilton. I like the way it makes individual brownies with edges. If you don’t have one, use a 9-inch square pan. I was surprised by the divots in these brownies, but a friend pointed out it was perfect for whipped cream. The flavor is amazing. The maple syrup seems to deepen the chocolate flavor. I may not go back to traditional brownies after tasting these gems.

8 oz. semisweet chocolate chips (by weight)
1/2 cup virgin coconut oil
2 eggs
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1-1/4 cups almond flour
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly coat a brownie baking pan (with individual wells) with cooking spray.

Place the chocolate chips and coconut oil in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds on High. Stir after heating. Repeat two more times. Stir constantly until completed melted.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat eggs completely. Beat in maple syrup, salt, and baking soda. Blend well, then beat in almond flour. Add the melted chocolate mixture to the egg mixture and combine completely.

Scoop the brownie batter into the prepared pan. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Check for doneness with a toothpick.

Cool the brownies in the pan on a rack for a few minutes. Let cool on a rack for about 1 hour.

Source: Adapted from PCOS Health Coach

Best Recipe: Fudgy Cocoa Brownies

IMG_1934Cook’s notes: These are similar to the Best Recipe: Dark Cocoa Brownies but the preparation method is different (and flour reduced with cocoa increased). I was out of chocolate chips and wanted to make decadent brownies for a party. These are amazing and very rich. They bake at a slightly lower temperature.

Beating the eggs vigorously is the key to the crackly top. Beating the batter too much once the flour and cocoa powder are added will “create air in the batter, which will give you cake-like textured brownies.” That is not our goal, according to Cafe Delites.

Makes 16 brownies

1 stick (4 oz or 1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt

Heat oven to 325F degrees. Line an 8-inch-square baking pan with parchment paper and lightly coat with cooking spray.

Using a stand mixer, beat together the melted butter, olive oil, and sugar for 1 minute.

Add the eggs and vanilla, and beat on medium speed for 1 minute, one at a time. Eggs will lighten in color.

Add cocoa powder, flour, and salt. Beat on low only until dry ingredients are just incorporated. Stop stirring when no traces of flour remain, and do not beat too long. (Note: You may want to do this step with a rubber spatula.)

Pour into pan, and bake about 25 minutes, or until brownies are set and barely firm in the middle. Cool on a rack before cutting.

Source: Reduced the sugar and adapted recipe for a stand mixer from Bon Appetit and Cafe Delites.

Dark Chocolate Cookies with Pink Himalayan Sea Salt


Very dangerous

I reduced the sugar by 1/3 and these still came out just wonderful. I am curious to make them again with cinnamon instead of the espresso.

Makes 32 cookies.

6 oz semisweet chocolate chips, such as Guittard brand
8 Tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter

1 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch cocoa powder (we use Droste)
1 packet Starbucks via Italian Roast (instead of 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup cane sugar
2 large eggs, organic

Pink Himalayan sea salt

Heat oven to 325°F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper (or use foil and coat lightly with cooking spray). Set aside.

In a saucepan over medium-low heat, melt chocolate chips and butter, stirring until smooth. Stir in sugar. Let cool 5 minutes.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

Beat eggs into the chocolate mixture until smooth.

Add the melted chocolate to the dry ingredients, and beat on low until fully combined.

Use a Tablespoon scoop to place dough on cookie sheets, leaving room for spreading. Flatten slightly with your fingers. Sprinkle lightly with pink Himalayan sea salt.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, until center is set. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes and then transfer to a cooling tray.

Serve warm or store in an airtight container for up to a week.

Adapted from the With the Grains blog.

Best Recipe: Black Panther Brownies

Cook’s notes: I have a friend who is gluten free and cannot have dairy (but eggs are OK for him). I used margarine instead of butter to meet his dietary needs with this recipe. Since these brownies contain eggs, they are not vegan. I used a yeast spoon (2-1/4 tsp, not just 2 tsp) to measure the vanilla extract. I used Ghirardelli unsweetened cocoa powder and high quality dark chocolate: a bar of Endangered Species brand natural dark chocolate with 88% cocoa (the “black panther” bar). This chocolate is certified vegan, gluten-free, and kosher.

RAWWRRR…is how panthers say “amazing brownies”

More importantly, these brownies are awesome. You can’t taste the beans, but they add to the texture. They are my new favorite, even beyond conventional brownies.

(I did try to make a second batch vegan with 2 oz unsweetened applesauce instead of the egg, and they just didn’t set up right. Even after 90 minutes in the oven, they were still goopy. This technique is not recommended.)

Yield: 16 squares
Gluten free, dairy free (but not vegan)

15 oz cooked black beans (1 can, rinsed and drained)
3 eggs
1/3 cup Earth Balance margarine, melted
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2+ teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
3 oz bar dark chocolate with 88% cocoa, diced fine (chocolate chip size)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat an 8×8-inch glass baking dish with cooking spray.

In a blender, puree the black beans, eggs, melted margarine, cocoa powder, vanilla, and sugar. Blend until mixture is as smooth as possible.

Pour the brownie batter into the greased dish. Sprinkle chocolate pieces over the top. Use a spatula to push them down into the batter just a little (they will sink some while the brownies bake).

Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes, until brownies are set in the middle — check them at 45 minutes. Watch the edges for excess browning if you’re not sure they’re done.

Cool and then chill before serving. Store in fridge in covered container.


Source: Adapted from Tammy’s Recipes for Fudgy Black Bean Brownies (link). Tammy’s notes: “Sweet and chewy gluten-free brownies made with black beans (but you’d never know it from the taste). So simple and amazingly delicious!”

Estimated nutritional information: 1 brownie = 59 g (149 calories). Fiber 2.4 g, 17.7 g carbs (1.2 servings), and 3.5 g protein (0.5 serving)

Chocolate Guinness Bundt Cake

Update, 08/24/2014: Reduced the butter and sugar and it still turned out well — I used 10 Tablespoons butter, instead of 16 Tbsp [2 sticks] and 1-1/3 cups sugar, instead of 2 cups I really like it with the lesser amount of sugar. It is still a very moist, dense cake. I also found a new glaze recipe, which is listed below. The order of steps have been revised so that you melt the butter first, giving it time to cool.

Cook’s notes: This cake is so good that I once made it 3 times during a two-week period. It fetched $55 at a silent auction for charity. It is very similar to a Nigella Lawson version baked in a spring-form pan, but a Bundt pan is easier to deal with. The cake is so moist that it doesn’t need a ganache glaze, cream cheese frosting, or even a sprinkling of powdered sugar. It tastes wonderful served plain.

Best chocolate cake ever


Butter-stout mix

10 Tbsp unsalted butter 
1 cup stout (such as Guinness Extra Stout)
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process; preferably Double-Dutch Dark Cocoa by King Arthur) — to make the cake extra-dark, use 1/4 cup black cocoa by King Arthur and 1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa

Flour mix

2 cups all purpose flour
1-1/3 cups white sugar
1.5 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt

Egg mix
2 large eggs
2/3 cup light sour cream


Heat oven to 350F. Coat a Bundt pan with cooking spray or melted butter well; make sure you get in all of the nooks and crannies, especially the center cone.

Butter-stout mix: Melt the butter and bring it to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Gently stir in the stout. Whisk in the cocoa powder until mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.

Flour mix: Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and 3/4 teaspoon salt in large bowl to blend.

Egg mix: In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat eggs and sour cream to blend. Pour in the cooled butter-stout mix and beat just to combine. Add flour mixture in two batches, and beat briefly on slow speed after each addition.

Using rubber spatula, fold batter until completely combined. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Transfer cake to rack; cool completely in the pan, then turn the cold cake out onto a rack.

Adapted from smitten kitchen



Optional glaze

Combine 1 Tablespoon black cocoa, 2 Tablespoons Dutch-process cocoa, 2 Tablespoons melted butter, and 1 cup powdered sugar. The mixture will be pasty. Stir in 2 to 3 Tablespoons hot water and stir to form a smooth glaze. Spoon over the top of the Bundt cake.

Nutty Clusters

Cook’s notes: No baking required. These almond bark clusters combine sweet and salty flavors with crunchy and soft textures. They are a nice addition to the holiday cookie platter. Note: One cup of chocolate chips equals 6 ounces.

1 cup slivered almonds
2 heaping cups puffed rice cereal (such as Rice Krispies)
1 cup dry roasted peanuts
1 cup miniature marshmallows
3 cups white chocolate chips – 1.5 x 12-oz bags (I like NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Premier White Morsels)
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

Line 2 or more rimmed cookie sheets with wax paper.

Place almonds in a dry skillet and warm over medium-high heat, stirring often, until they are toasted.

In a large bowl, combine the toasted almonds, cereal, peanuts, and marshmallows. Stir well to combine.

Heat the chocolate chips and peanut butter in a saucepan over low heat until melted, stirring often.

Pour the melted chocolate over the nut and cereal mixture. Stir well to combine.

Using a teaspoon scoop, drop mounds of the mixture on wax paper and let dry. You may wish to refrigerate the clusters for 20 minutes until firm. Package in an airtight container.

Makes a large batch (at least 8 cups of mixture).

Source: Adapted from a recipe at Tips on melting chocolate: see