Tag Archives: chocolate

RECIPE: Strawberry Chocolate Chip Loaf

The time has finally come! Not only is June birthday month, but it’s also the end of the school year (for all you high school kids), the official start to summer, and my personal favourite–strawberry season! The weather has been hotter than Hades in my neck of the woods, yet I still felt the need to bake a little something tasty. Hot ovens don’t do too well with small un-air-conditioned homes, but I just had to do it. I’ve got lots on my mind and baking is one of the best ways to avoid the chaos. I opted to make something that had a bit of freshness to it in honour of the summer so when I found some strawberries in my fridge, I knew that the result was inevitable.

I adapted this recipe from one that I found on Sweet Pea’s Kitchen. I had to compensate for my limited supply of strawberries, but the result was, in my opinion, perfect. From the original recipe, I omitted the cup of pureed strawberries and the three-quarters cup of sugar. Instead, I used three-quarters cup of freezer jam that I had on hand. The loaf isn’t too sweet but the bursts of chocolate and strawberries added a hint of deliciousness. It is moist on the inside and crunchy on the outside. This recipe could easily be adapted into muffins if you prefer. It is fairly straight forward, making it the perfect recipe for a breakfast treat or easy entertaining.

One thing that is important to remember is to not over-mix loaf or muffin batter. It’s a thick batter so it’s tempting to keep mixing it, but this causes uneven rising while it bakes and prevents the goods from being light and fluffy. Also, be sure to cool the loaf completely before cutting into it.

Easy enough, right? Just to quickly take care of some business: I want to apologize for my lack of activity on the blog recently. You know how summer is supposed to be a relaxed time of sipping sodas on the beach, playing pick-up games of baseball in the park, and falling asleep on your patio chair? Well, that’s all a lie. I have been a busy girl lately and I’m afraid that it won’t be slowing down any time soon. I want to apologize for not staying up-to-date on my thrifting and crafting. Be patient with me…I’ll get to it as soon as possible! Until then, eat some of this loaf. It will tie you over for a while.

So there’s one way to make use of all the delicious strawberries that are currently in season. What are some of your favourite ways to enjoy the delicious summer berries? Any suggestions of something I should try?

Happy first official day of Summer, everyone!

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A Quick and Easy Sweet Treat: Chocolate Pretzel Bites

As I mentioned in the previous post, I have had a fairly busy weekend. One of the things that took a lot of my attention and time was a Coffee House/Open Mic Night/Bake Sale fundraiser event that I helped to organize. I love a good cup of java, I love great music and time spent with friends, but, perhaps most of all, I love baking delicious treats (well…and eating them too)! Earlier in the week, I made a brief list of a few recipes that I have been dying to try. I decided that I would bake quite a few treats from my list to be sold on the special evening.

One of the things that I was eager to try was Chocolate Pretzel Bites. I didn’t actually have a recipe for them, but I had seen an image on Pinterest. One of my favourite flavour combinations is “salty” and “sweet” so chocolate pretzels have always been a favourite treat of mine. I liked this version because it could be customized for personal preferences. They were so easy to make which is good because they don’t last long (at least not in my house).

Perhaps this is not the way that the original “inventor” created these easy treats. But this is what I did and it worked very well. There is not a set amount of ingredients needed. Simply put, you will need the same number of Hershey Kisses as you will need pretzels. I purchased my ingredients in bulk (Bulk Barn=treat-lover’s heaven) but you could just as easily buy a bag of pretzels and a bag or two of Hershey Kisses.

You will need: pretzels, Hershey Kisses, and peanuts.

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Lay the pretzels out in a single layer.

Unwrap all of your “kisses” and place one on top of each individual pretzel. Do your best to ensure that they are in the center of the pretzel (otherwise the melt slightly off the edge). Carefully place the baking sheet on the center rack in the oven and “bake” for 5 minutes. In the meantime, crush up some peanuts.

When the 5 minutes are up, remove the pretzels from the oven and immediately sprinkle with the crushed peanuts. Quickly sprinkle with a little salt as well. Allow to cool for half an hour and then transfer the tray to the fridge. Re-fridgerate for at least one hour. Remove from the tray and place in a container. Store in the fridge.

That’s it! You can definitely experiment with different variations. The original photo from Pinterest had an M&M pressed into the chocolate instead of peanuts. You could try different types of nuts, toffee bits, dried cranberries, or coconut. There are also a variety of different Hershey Kiss flavours to experiment with as well. Try different kinds and see what combinations you can come up with. I made another batch with Hershey Hugs (a white and milk chocolate mix) and sprinkled with chopped pistachios. Those were delicious as well! What combinations do you think would be worth trying?

To finish off, I thought I would share a few of the photos from the Coffee House/Open Mic/Bake Sale night. Thanks for reading and I hope you try this deliciously sweet and salty treat. Let me know if you come up with any unique combinations that are worth trying!

These are a couple young ladies practicing some songs.

These are a couple of the first prints purchased from a series created by Landon Wideman. He is an incredibly talented graphic artist and even has a rockin’ blog going. If you are interested in checking out his work (and I strongly suggest that you do), you should check out The Seam. Trust me…you won’t regret it.

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Bake Night Bliss: holy baby cakes!

Tonight, my sister and I embarked on a slightly unexpected adventure. Tomorrow we are hosting a get-together at our house so we decided that we were going to bake a few treats. Our parents went out for the night, so it was just the two of us. What began as a couple treats turned into a huge explosion of baked goods and chocolate all over the kitchen! I’m pretty sure that every single thing we made either contained chocolate, got dipped in chocolate, or was drizzled with chocolate. Not complaining.

At first, I intended on making Raspberry Macaroons (which are absolutely deliciously-to-die-for, by the way) and my sister intended on making some Butterscotch Squares (a family classic). Those two recipes didn’t take long and we had them whipped up in no time. Then, for some reason, I suggested that we should take on some cake balls. My sister has an awesome little machine called a Baby Cake that makes adorable little balls of cake in a breeze. So we decided to pull it out!

But then we realized that we needed to decorate the balls. I began to melt some chocolate but much to my dismay, it got way too thick and was useless. My quick problem solving skills suggested adding a can of sweetened condensed milk to turn the (what would have been) wasted chocolate into fudge. Note that we now have four desserts instead of the initial two.

My sister found a few lolly sticks so we decided to make a dozen cake pops instead of just plain cake balls. These made me pretty angry but we’re hoping they taste great. They got a bit messy (as I’m sure you can tell), beginning the crazy mess that became our kitchen. With the cake pops, we now had five different desserts instead of the intended two.

After all the cake balls and pops were covered in their chocolate coating, we had quite a bit melted chocolate left over. I suggested that we dip some of the fresh blackberries we just got at the store in it. But we found something better in the fridge–strawberries! So of course we had to dip them as well. Now we had Butterscotch Squares, Raspberry Macaroons, Chocolate Fudge, Cake Balls, Cake Pops, Chocolate-Covered Blackberries, and Chocolate-Covered Strawberries. You heard it right…seven desserts instead of the initial two!

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I’m complaining. I just think it is a wonderful example of what results when my sister and I get together with some delicious treats in mind and some Jukebox Oldies playing in the background. We had such a blast preparing the treats for tomorrow’s party and can’t wait to serve them up to our friends and family. We hope they enjoy them as much as we enjoyed creating them!

Our parents haven’t made it home yet. My mom is probably going to be pretty shocked and will most likely say “What are we going to do with all these treats!?”. As for my dad, well, he’s the answer to my mom’s question. He will be in treat heaven (and will surely “taste-test” for us). Thanks for stopping by and reading!

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Tested and Tried: Coca-Cola Cupcakes with Salted Peanut Butter Frosting

Holy cow. That is all I can say. I just died and went to heaven after eating one of these babies.

I’ve never really been a “cake” person. But I have recently discovered why. What I have been considering “cake” are those dried out Costco-bakery cakes or ready-in-a-flash-powder-in-a-box-just-add-eggs cake mixes. But now that I have been exposed to home-baked-from-scratch cakes, I am proud and excited to say that I am a cake person.

I’ve been on a major craze for making “from-scratch” baked goods. Sure, it’s convenient to grab a box of cake mix and whip up some cupcakes in a flash. But the reality (which I have come to discover) is that home-baked cupcakes are fantastic. A week or two ago, I quickly posted about my experience making Triple-Salted Caramel Cupcakes. I could have sworn that those would forever be my new favourite kind of cupcake. But today, I took on a new recipe and I think those caramel ones are beat out of the park.

These, my friends, are no dry Costco or box-mix cupcakes. These are incredibly delicious, moist, chocolatey, sweet, and fan-cakin’-tastic Coca-Cola Cupcakes with Salted Peanut Butter Frosting.

A while back, I came across a fantastic blog called Sprinkle Bakes. If you read my post, you may remember that I used the Triple Salted Caramel Cupcake recipe from this blog. As soon as I made those, I started following the blog because Heather’s creations are truly unique looking and delicious sounding. Just the other day, she posted this recipe and the unique and almost un-heard of (at least in my neck of the woods) combination was captivating. I decided that these were the next cupcakes on my “to-try” list. My sister and I spontaneously planned a movie night tonight with some of our girlfriends, so I decided that it would be the perfect opportunity to test it out!

The cupcakes are chocolate cupcakes made with one of my brother’s favourite things–Coke! You heat the Coca-Cola in a saucepan, add the cocoa, butter, and sugars until all of the ingredients melt into a chocolatey syrup. Then, a small amount of flour and other dry ingredients are added, along with one egg. It really doesn’t take very long to make them. They are then topped with a fantastically delicious peanut-butter buttercream frosting. Honestly, what is better than peanut butter and chocolate? Heather suggests topping the cupcakes with chopped peanuts and chocolate sprinkles but I had neither in my cupboards so I improvised with some chopped cashews, chopped chocolate, and a sprinkling of salt.

I give full credit to Heather from Sprinkle Bakes on these ones. If you are interested in trying the recipe, you can access it by CLICKING HERE. Even if you aren’t interested in making them, head over that way to check out some of the awesome photographs and adorable story that goes along with them.

I’m off to enter another treat-coma. Thanks for stopping by and reading. What are your thoughts? Coca-Cola, chocolate, and peanut butter–good or gross? You might want to bite your tongue until you try these ones…

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Coconut Skor Bars

Ready for the sweets?

Hello out there to all you blog readers, do-it-yourselfers, and lovers of deliciously sweet treats! I know it has been a while since I have posted, but recently making a batch of these crowd-favourites has inspired me to blog and share another simply delectable recipe with you!

Are you ready for this one?

This recipe is a personal adaption of a recipe that I once came across in one of Martha Stewarts food magazines. I’ve made my own skor bars before using saltine crackers but they were never quite right…

However, when I came across this recipe and tried it for the first time, it was instantly a new favourite. The graham crackers stay slightly crunchy, which is a welcomed difference from the saltine versions. Affirmation of their deliciousness was quickly given by all those lovely people who kindly test my baking experiments. Now, it is a recipe that I use in a quick fix when something sweet is needed in a jiffy. All I can say is…these are the perfect combination of SALTY and SWEET (and what can get much better than that!?).

INGREDIENTS

  • Graham crackers (approximately 26 single squares)
  • 1 bag of Hershey’s toffee bits (can be found in the baking section of most grocery stores)
  • 1/2 cup of shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of butter
  • 1/2 cup of chopped pistachios
  • 1 cup of semi sweet chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, or dark chocolate chips (or some of each!)
  • salt

PROCESS

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet that has rimmed edges with tinfoil. Grease the tinfoil with either cooking spray or butter.

2. Lay the graham crackers out flat on the greased tinfoil-lined baking sheet. You may need to break some of the crackers down smaller to fill in the cracks. Be sure that the entire sheet is covered with graham crackers.

3. Sprinkle some of the toffee bits on the crackers, followed by half of the coconut shreds.

4. In a small saucepan, melt the butter and sugar together and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once the mixture begins to boil, reduce the heat to low and occasionally swirl the pan. Let the mixture simmer for 2 minutes or until it is slightly thicker–like a syrup. Immediately pour the mixture over the graham crackers and spread it evenly with a spatula, ensuring that the entire surface of crackers is covered.

5. Place the cookie sheet in the oven for 12 minutes.

6. Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle on some salt, the chopped pistachios, more toffee bits, the rest of the coconut, and the chocolate chips. Return to oven for 2 minutes to allow the chocolate chips to slightly melt. Remove from oven and allow it to cool.

7. Once the pan is no longer hot, place the cookie sheet in a refrigerator or in a cool space (such as a cold room) until the skor bars are completely cooled and the chocolate chips have re-hardened. Peel off the tinfoil and break up the pieces. Store them in an airtight container.

This recipe is guaranteed to tickle your fancy and your taste buds. It is easier than pie (I’ve always wondered who thinks pie is actually that easy…) and can be adapted in whatever way to include your favourite things. Try sprinkling M&Ms, seeds, different kinds of nuts, or your favourite type of chocolate–the possibilities and the combinations are endless.

Enjoy the treats and Happy Thursday!

To see the original post on my baking blog, CLICK HERE.

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