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Entries in chocolate (34)


S’mores and Rice Krispie Treats, sittin’ in a tree…

Ki--ss--ing!   And just look at what that led to!

S'mores Rice Krispy Treats Collage

Those crazy kids--one thing led to another, and before you know it, we had a big old plate full of Rice Krispie S’mores Bars!   *sigh*  It’s ok, though--I’ll be happy to look after all the little ones.   What kind of girl would I be, to just toss them out to the curb, all alone to fend for themselves?  No, they can stay here in the warm kitchen--and heck, they can even stay for dessert!  mwahahaha!!!

How great would these be for the upcoming grilling and backyard barbeque season?  I mean, fire pits are a load of fun, but you all know it--ONE kid will spot the s’mores supplies and tell every single kid at your party that they found the loot in the kitchen.  Before you know it, you have a constant chorus of “When are we toasting marshmallows?”  “When are you starting the fire for the marshmallows?”  “When can we have s’mooooores?”  “Do we have sticks for the marshmallows?”  “Can I have twoooo?”

If it’s the same for any of you, you know that this barrage of questions can start as soon as the first guest is through the door.  And last. All. Day. Long.

So be prepared this time, and toss a plate of these at the kids!  They’ll be so busy chewing that they’ll forget all about the fire for toasting marshmallows.  The big kids will like these, too, in case you’re wondering.

These are easy, but do involve a small amount of construction work.  Small!  Basically, it’s two batches of Rice Krispies Treats, and we’re going to sandwich them together with a layer of melted chocolate, graham crackers, and Marshmallow Fluff.  If you can’t find Marshmallow Fluff, this site has substitutes for it.  They say:

marshmallow creme = marshmallow fluff  Shopping hints:  Kraft is a well-known brand.   To make your own:  Gently heat 16 ounces of marshmallows plus 1/4 cup corn syrup in a double boiler, stirring constantly.

If you look at the typed out recipe, it seems complicated, but it seriously isn’t!  Just read through it first and you’ll see.  It’s two super easy batches of Rice Krispies Treats, you put a few things in between, and stick them together.  So simple!


There are naked Hershey Bars somewhere in my kitchen!


Here is the layer with the chocolate, salt and grahams…



The second batch, on a parchment covered sheet pan, then spread with Fluff…



The goal--two layers, sandwiched together…


S'mores Rice Krispies Squares 
makes a 9x13 pan

For the two batches of Rice Krispies Treats:
6 tbsp butter, divided in half
2 (10 oz) bags regular marshmallows
1 (10 oz) bag mini marshmallows
12 cups Rice Krispies (divided in half)

For the filling:
1- 6 pack (or 10 oz) Hershey Bars, or milk chocolate bars
kosher salt
graham crackers
Marshmallow Fluff (I didn't measure this, just enough to make a thin-ish layer)

Make the Rice Krispies Treats:

* I suppose you could do this in one large batch and divide it between 2 pans, but that seemed like it might be hard to work with, so I made them separately.  So...

Either lightly grease, or line a 9x13 pan with greased parchment paper.
In a large mixing bowl, add 6 cups of the Rice Krispies, and set aside.
Melt 3 tbsp butter in a large sauce pan over medium low heat. 
Add one bag of the regular marshmallows, PLUS an extra 1/2 cup of the mini mallows.
Stir until completely melted. 
Remove from heat, pour over the cereal, and mix well. 
Pour into the prepared pan, and press in firmly. 
Set aside.
Make the second batch, following the same procedure.

Start Construction!

Break the chocolate up into pieces and place in a microwave safe bowl.  (Or melt it any other way you like.)  This took about 2 minutes, stirring after the first and second minutes. 
Spread the chocolate over the first pan of Rice Krispies bars, to within about an inch of the edge.
Sprinkle with a bit of the kosher salt.
Working quickly, cover the still wet chocolate with graham cracker squares.  (I broke them into pieces to make cutting a bit easier.)
Set that aside to let the chocolate set.

When the chocolate has set, take the second pan of RK Bars, and take them out of the pan.  (Just run a knife around the edge, lightly lifting the edges as you go.)
Place them on a large baking sheet covered in a sheet of parchment paper, then spread some Marshmallow Fluff over them, again--to about an inch from the edge.
Carefully remove the chocolate and graham covered RK Bars out of their pan, flip them over, and place face down on the Marshmallow Fluff Covered bars.  You want the grahams meeting up with the Fluff.
Lightly press them together, and let them sit for 10 minutes or so.

Cut into squares for serving.


  • Are these good?  Hell, yes!  Even better the second day.  They're chewy, crunchy, chocolaty, everything you want in a S'more.
  • Are these good for you?  Well, no, not really.  But they’re not for everyday enjoyment, either.  Special occasions and parties, right?  And cut them kind of small.  I left a few large-cut ones for photos, and made them smaller right after their photo shoot.
  • Easy?  Yes. 
  • Good for upcoming summer parties and barbeques.  Someone always needs a dessert at the last minute!




Choco-nana Muffins with PB Filling and PB Crumble


Another mouthful of a recipe!    Chocolate Banana Muffins with Peanut Butter Filling and PB Crumble.  I just love the sound of “PB Crumble!”  Your brain just knows good things are coming when it hears PB Crumble.  Maybe it’s just my brain?

I don’t know if there’s anyone out there that doesn’t like the combination of chocolate and peanut butter.  Is there?  What if we add banana to the mix?  Well then, maybe we’re channeling Elvis or something…

I wanted to make chocolate muffins with a peanut butter filling.  Another craving, I suppose.  Whenever I want to make chocolate muffins, I always go straight for these--only, without the filling.  They’re truly a family favorite.  Easy, chocolaty, moist--a never fail recipe.  It always makes the kids happy when they see I’m making them!  You may be forced to hide some bananas so they can get nice and ripe, though.   I always have to.  The kids always make a beeline for the spotty bananas.  Find a spot in a high cabinet or in the back of the pantry--just don’t forget them there!  I don’t want to hear any stories of “Now my kitchen is a 24 hour vacation spot for fruit flies.”  As a side note, if you find yourself with too many brown bananas on your hands, peel and mash them, measure how much you have--and put them in a Ziploc bag.  Flatten them out, seal and label the bag, toss it in the freezer--and the next time you want banana bread or muffins, you’re all set!


I knew I needed a filling that would hold up to baking.  Peanut butter, sweet, and kind of firm.  Remember those Reese’s Peanut Butter Bars that everyone was making a few years back?  Yep--that makes the perfect filling.   Peanut butter, butter, sugar, graham cracker crumbs, and a touch of salt.  I could eat that with a spoon!  Hell, forget the spoon--just hand me the bowl!

These don’t fit into the healthy or good for you category.  They’re not vegan, they’re not sugar free...  But they’re so freaking good.  And sometimes, that’s just what you need.  A special treat that we all need occasionally.   Good for your soul.  Don’t laugh, I’m serious!   The muffins are moist and tender, but sturdy enough to hold in the filling.  The filling is rich and peanut buttery.  As the days go by, the very edges of the peanut butter ball that’s tucked inside start to soften up a bit more and sort of melt back into the muffin surrounding it.  Don’t worry, the filling is still there, just the edges of it get sort of melty, but in a totally good way!  I promise.


Chocolate Banana Muffins with Peanut Butter Filling, Topped with PB Crumble

Makes 18 muffins

1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
2 cups powdered sugar
3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
couple pinches of kosher salt

3 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup baking cocoa
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 2/3 cups mashed ripe banana
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs


Prepare the filling:
Mix the melted butter and peanut butter in a medium bowl.
Add the sugar and cracker crumbs, and salt, then mix well until everything's incorporated. 
Roll the filling into 18 balls, a little smaller than a walnut, and set aside.  You should have some of the filling leftover to crumble over the tops of the muffins later.

Prepare the muffins:
In a large bowl, combine the first six ingredients.
In a small bowl, combine bananas, oil and egg.
Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. The batter is quite thick, but keep folding it gently, making sure to get the batter on the bottom of the bowl, and it'll all come together.
Grease 18 muffins cups. You can use paper liners if you like, but I never do.
I used a small ice cream scoop (3 tbsp capacity) to fill the bottoms of the muffin cups.  Then place a peanut butter ball in each one, centered.
Use the same scoop, or 3 tbsp worth of batter, and cover each peanut butter ball completely.
Use the remaining peanut butter filling and crumble it over the muffins.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until muffins test done.

Cool on racks for about 10 minutes, then carefully remove the muffins to the racks to cool completely.


Now go, feed your soul!  Or, maybe just feed the kids.  You decide.   Either way, someone's going to be thanking you!



I also want to keep up with my VYY Project.  The current recips is Aloo Mattar.  This one was definitely a favorite!  It's not difficult to make, but is packed with flavor.  The author recommends that you go ahead and invest a small amount in the whole spices.  Look for places that sell them in bulk, so you can buy just a little bit, or check out your local ethnic markets. 

Speaking of the whole spices, it's also said in the recipe that they don't need to be removed before eating.  Well, I may be old school, but I had to remove the bay leaves.  Gagging on one of those didn't appeal to me.  I did leave the whole cloves and cardamom pods, though.  Cloves=ok.  Cardamom pods?  BIG mistake!  I bit into one of those and I swear it tasted like a bar of soap.  So I went through and took out the rest.

All in all, a fantastic dish.  A red curry with potatoes and peas, served over rice.  Hearty and so good. 

Click here to check out Renee's version at Flamingo Musings! 




Raspberry Chocolate Chip Blondies

Blondies, brownies--brownies, blondies…I’m not fussy, I’ll happily dig into either!  I’m sure many of you would, too.  Right?  Riiiight?   I thought so…but today we’re talking blondies!  Vegan Blondies, to be exact.


My husband bought me this super popular vegan cookbook last weekend.  It’s full of great sounding recipes!  One in particular caught my eye right away.  For--you guessed it--vegan raspberry chocolate chip blondies.  Since I’ve been sick for over a month, yes--over a month, I decided that would be a good and easy place to start cooking again.  My two favorite pastimes while sick were sleeping and doing absolutely nothing on the sofa.  Thankfully I have an understanding family.  I think while I was sick, that the only thing I “cooked” was canned soup.  And tea, haha!  I also completely lost my voice for about two weeks.  I could only whisper, and I wasn’t even supposed to do that.   Do you know how hard it is to yell at kids when you can’t even talk?  It’s very difficult, and they know it.  ;)

But I digress!   The blondies, which, by the way--spellchecker thinks I should capitalize.  But it doesn’t want me to capitalize brownies.  Hmmm, not fair to the brownies, in my opinion.  I’m an equal opportunity capitalizer.   All or none, I say. 


I bought the few things I needed for the recipe, and then looked it up online.  I wanted to see if the author had posted it already, so I could just link back to it instead of posting the whole thing.  I didn’t find that.  What I did find, though, were mixed reviews.  Sigh.  Some said too cakey, which as you know, for the perfect blondies or brownies, isn’t right.  You want chewy and gooey.  Some said the cooking times were wrong, too.  I didn’t want to risk it and waste ingredients, so I decided to find another recipe for blondies and dress them up with the raspberry and chocolate myself.

I went right to King Arthur Flour.  I feel like their stuff is tried and true.  They never steer me wrong!   I used this recipe and veganized it--very easy to do.   Then I added the raspberry and chocolate to it.  You don’t have to make them vegan if you don’t want--just use eggs and butter.   My egg substitute of choice this time was 1/4 cup of coconut milk in place of each egg.  


Raspberry Chocolate Chip Blondies

2/3 cup Earth Balance Sticks, melted
scant 2 cups brown sugar, light or dark
scant 1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon white vinegar
3/4 cups coconut milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 3/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
3/4 cups chocolate chips (divided into 1/2 and 1/4 cups)
1 cup seedless raspberry preserves
kosher salt, for sprinkling over the top
pecan halves, optional

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9" x 13" pan.

Combine the melted Earth Balance, sugars, salt, and vinegar, and stir well.
Add the coconut milk, vanilla, and baking powder, mix well again. Stir in the flour, mixing thoroughly, then the 1/2 cup chocolate chips.
Set aside 1 cup of the batter.
Spread the rest of the batter into the greased pan--a rubber spatula makes this easier, or slightly wet hands. 
You can soften the preserves in the  microwave for a few seconds if you wish, but I didn't see the need to.  Just drop it in dollops around the pan and carefully spread to within an inch or so of the edges.
Take the 1 cup of batter you've set aside, and drop that in dollops, about a tbsp at a time, around the pan.  Don't spread it out, you're going for a cobbler-ish type look.
Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup chocolate chips over the top, and if you're using the pecans, gently press those in over the top. 
Sprinkle the entire pan with a bit of kosher salt--this helps offset the sweetness.
Bake for about 38 minutes.  The top should be golden brown and sort of shiny, and the center just barely cooked through.  A knife inserted in the center (in a spot where you've got a dollop of blondie batter) should be damp but not raw.  
Resist the urge to over bake, or you'll have dry, rock hard blondies--and oh, what a waste that would be!  You want them still sort of chewy and gooey in the center. 

Will I make these again?

  • Hell, yes!  They’re everything I want in a blondie.  Chewy, gooey, a bit of chocolate and salt, and some crunchy nuts on top, too.
  • They’re even better the next day.  Of course, a warm blondie straight out of the pan is great, too--but the flavors really developed overnight.


Sorry about my absence and lack of posting lately!  I’m feeling better everyday and actually have recipes in a queue to get posted here--just a few yet, but still, a step in the right direction.  Thanks for sticking with me! 

Stacks of blondie goodness…

Raspberry-Blondies-6 Raspberry-Blondies-5    




Chex Mix Bars


My name is Elle, and I have a confession to make…

I love Chex Mix!   Doesn’t even have to be homemade--just toss a store bought bag at me and I’ll go to town.  And to make it even better?  I toss some peanuts and chocolate chips into the mix.  Because yeeeeah--that hits the spot!   Sweet?  Salty?  Crunchy?  Got it all covered--in one bag.

While at the store the other day, I saw a box of Chex Mix Bars and thought…”Well, geez, I can do that.”  So I bought the stuff to make them and headed home.  I knew, without question, that my add-ins had to be included.  So far?  We have Chex Mix (Traditional flavor!), peanuts--lightly salted, and chocolate.  To hold them together?  Marshmallows, all melty and gooood. 

Don’t leave anything out of the Chex Mix when you make these!  Those little crunchy toasts?  The ones coated in salty goodness?  Leave them in--just break them up a bit.  So easy, too.  I just followed the recipe for Rice Krispies Treats, using Chex Mix and peanuts instead of Rice Krispies. 

Chex Mix Bars

3 tablespoons  butter or margarine
1 package (10 oz., about 40)  regular marshmallows
   OR  4 cups  miniature marshmallows  (I used these)
5 cups  Traditional Chex Mix
1 cup lightly salted peanuts
about 3/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips (save these for later when the bars are cooled and cut)

In large saucepan melt butter over low heat.
Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat.
Add Chex Mix and Peanuts.
Stir until well coated.
Press mixture into lightly greased 11x7 pan, set aside to cool. (To make this easy, spray your hands with a bit of cooking spray.)
When cool, remove from pan and cut into squares.
Melt chocolate chips and pour into small zip top bag, snip off a tiny bit at the corner.
Drizzle chocolate over the bars, and set them aside for the chocolate to set up.
(I drizzled the chocolate on the bars over parchment, for easy clean up.)

How do they taste?  So good!  There’s crunchy from the Chex Mix and peanuts, a bit of gooey from the marshmallows, some salty goodness, and some sweet in there, too.  I think it’s the perfect snack bar.  It’s got it all.



Raw Food, Part 3: Raspberry Ganache Fudge Cake

You are all going to LO-V-E this one.  If this is the first time you dip your toe into the raw food waters, then let this recipe be the one you try.   You will not believe how good this is.   It’s from Ani Phyo’s new book, Ani’s Raw Food Desserts: 85 Easy, Delectable Sweets and Treats.


Think of the most fudgy, chocolaty, rich cake, covered in a delicious, dark ganache.

Are you thinking of it?  It’s a nice thought, right?  Now, think of all of the cream and chocolate, butter and sugar.  Do you really want to eat those things?  I’ve got to be honest, if you’re like me, you do!  But you don’t want to feel the guilt after you do.  You also most likely don’t want all of the empty calories and bad fats.  Here is an excerpt from an interview with Ani Phyo, by way of Crazy Sexy Life:

“Let’s take my Raspberry Ganache Fudge Cake as an example. The cake is made with walnuts, considered a super food by the FDA for it’s high levels of omega-3. Walnuts provide amino acids, vitamins E, A, calcium, iron, and have been found to keep our blood cholesterol levels in check. Walnuts are mixed with raw cacao powder, which is defined as a superfood by the FDA for it’s high levels or antioxidants, which fight free radical damage, premature aging and illness. I use dates, a whole food fruit, to sweeten and to bind together the nuts and cacao powder into a flourless cake texture. Dates are full of fiber, potassium, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. All of the ingredients in my cake are good for you super foods.

On the other hand, the baked version uses bleached white flour that’s been stripped of any nutrient value. It’s sweetened with refined white sugar and empty calories, and uses eggs and butter, which contribute to high cholesterol levels. The baked version doesn’t offer much nutritional value.”

Plus, avocados are good for you.  So you don’t have to feel one bit of guilt eating this icing!

I only had to make one substitution, and that was in the icing.  I had just enough cacao to make the cake, and had to use regular cocoa for the icing.  But the rest of this cake is completely raw.  In the recipe, they don’t specify raw walnuts, but that’s what I used.   If you don’t use raw, it’ll still be delicious, but technically not raw. 



Do you remember that dark, rich chocolate cake covered in ganache that I asked you to think about?  Guess what?!  You can have that cake!  And you can eat it without an ounce of guilt, because Ani’s version is packed with things that are good for you.  But when you’re eating it, you may feel that “knee-jerk guilt” reaction like I did.  Because it’s that good.  I’m serious! 

This recipe got eight thumbs up from the kids, and four more from my husband and I.  I hope you’ll try it!  You won’t be disappointed. 


Oh!  For easy serving, and no messy cake slicing, I made this recipe into eight cupcakes.  Just divide the “batter” into about eight equal portions, and press into a cupcake pan.  A little chill in the fridge (about 5 minutes), and a nudge with a knife, and they easily come out.  And while we’re on the subject, when mixing this up in the food processor, let it go until you can’t see bits of the nuts anymore.  You may see some of the walnut oil coming out, but just go with it, and press them into the pan, or into 2 cake layers. **For these photos, I stacked two cupcakes like a layer cake, with icing between. And in case you’re wondering, you can’t taste the dates, or the avocado.

This is the most decadent chocolate cake you’ll ever “uncook!”


Raspberry Ganache Fudge Cake by Ani Phyo
Fudge Cake:
3 cups dry walnuts
2⁄3 cup unsweetened cacao powder or carob powder
1⁄4 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup pitted Medjool dates
1⁄3 cup semi-soft pitted Medjool dates
1⁄4 cup agave syrup
1⁄2 cup ripe avocado flesh (from about 1 medium avocado)
1⁄3 cup cacao powder
1⁄2 cup raspberries
To make the cake, combine the nuts, cacao powder and the salt in your food processor and pulse just until coarsely mixed. Don't overprocess it. Add the dates and pulse until mixed well. Shape into two stackable cake layers and set aside.
For the frosting, combine the dates and agave syrup in the food processor and process until smooth. Add the avocado and process until smooth. Add the cacao powder and process until smooth.
To serve, frost the top of one of the cakes with half the frosting and top with the raspberries. Stack the second cake on top and frost the top and side. Serve immediately, or place in the refrigerator for a couple hours to firm up.
The cake on its own will keep in the fridge for a few weeks. The frosting will keep separately in the fridge for 1 week. The assembled cake with raspberries will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.


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