Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Lemon Cupcakes—Baking Chez Moi—Tuesdays With Dorie

Lemon Cupcakes--TWD, BCM

These cupcakes were so fun to make and were a hit with everyone who ate one.  Wish I would have doubled the recipe.  It made exactly twelve cupcakes and the frosting was the perfect amount.  Dorie’s recipe was for Limoncello Cupcakes and since that is an alcohol, I made them just using fresh lemon juice in place of the limoncello.  An option was to put lemon (or orange) marmalade in the middle of the cupcakes, but I decided not to do that.  The cupcakes out of the oven are brushed with a lemon syrup.  To make sure the lemon flavor was kicked up enough, I poked holes over the tops of each cupcakes with a toothpick while they were still hot so the syrup seeped into the cupcakes more. 

The frosting was simple and delicious.  Again, I replaced the limoncello with lemon juice and also used a little milk to get the consistency I wanted. 

Lemon Cupcakes

The cupcake batter has a bit of cardamom added, which was a great little addition.  Dorie also suggested in place of that some black pepper.  Both just make you ask, “Hmm, what is in there?”  I received quite the compliments on these cupcakes and even though I didn’t taste them and they didn’t have chocolate (ha), I will use this recipe when I need lemon cupcakes again.

Want the recipe?  Get Dorie’s book, Baking Chez Moi.  I’m loving being a part of Tuesdays With Dorie again.  Good times.  Great recipes and yummy treats to share.  Check out the Tuesdays With Dorie link to see everyone else’s cupcakes this week.

Lemon Cupcakes

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Healthy Peanut Butter Caramel Chocolate Truffles

Healthy Peanut Butter Caramel Chocolate Truffles

Another pretty darn healthy treat!  Underneath that Enjoy Life chocolate is some pretty darn tasty peanut butter caramel—all natural, no sugar added.  Did you know if you blend dates in a food processor long enough, it becomes like a paste, or even better—like caramel.  No joke.  Sure you might think it’s not the same caramel you’re used to, you know, the kind made with lots of sugar, cream, butter and some kinds even high fructose corn syrup and other unmentionables.  And while it’s not just like your favorite caramel, it’s a darn good and much healthier substitute.

So next you’re thinking, “Ew, dates, I don’t like dates.”  Well, I’m being honest here and telling you if I gave you one of these truffle candies and didn’t tell you what was in it, you’d never know!  I’m super happy about this.  I’d seen a few other places on the internet that have made “homemade refined sugar free caramel” and just used my own decided measurements until I was happy with it.  I’m so happy I might need to forego this post right now and go make some more candy!

Oh, okay, I’ll share it with you first.  So first I made the caramel.  Then I knew I wanted peanut butter involved with the candy, so I added some natural, organic peanut butter.  Then just threw in a little salt, vanilla and coconut flour.  The coconut flour probably wasn’t necessary, but I wanted to make sure it would all bind together and I’d just be able to form the dough into balls.  I am happy with the results, so I plan to just leave it as is.  After the peanut butter caramel balls were formed, they spent a little time in the freezer just to make sure they were good and ready for a quick dunk in a chocolate bath.

Healthy Peanut Butter Caramel Chocolate Truffles Healthy Peanut Butter Caramel Truffles, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!

1  1/4 cups pitted dates, soaked in water (not cold, but doesn’t have to be hot) for 30 minutes, then chopped (save the water)

1/2 tablespoon coconut oil

1/2 tablespoon water

4 tablespoons natural, unsweetened peanut butter

1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon coconut flour

4 ounces Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips (or chocolate of your choice)

1 teaspoon coconut oil

Put the soaked, then drained and chopped dates in the bowl of a food processor.  Let the processor go for about 2 minutes.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Turn it on again and let it keep chopping up the dates.  Add the coconut oil and water and let it process for another couple minutes.  You’ll know when it is a paste caramel-like texture.  (It is not quite as smooth and liquid runny like some caramel, but it’s good!)  Add the peanut butter, salt, vanilla and coconut flour.  Pulse until well combined.  Remove the blade from the processor bowl and scoop the filling into balls.  (I used a small cookie scoop, it’s probably about 1 tablespoon.)  Lay them on a waxed paper lined plate or small baking sheet and put it in the freezer for 20-30 minutes. 

Melt the chocolate in a microwave safe glass bowl in 30 second intervals on 7-8 power.  Stir after each 30 seconds, it only takes about 1  1/2 minutes, add the coconut oil before the last time.  Stir until smooth.  Let it sit for a few minutes before dunking the candy into it.  Using a fork, set the candy on the fork and dunk it into the melted chocolate.  Spoon chocolate over the top until it is all covered.  Tap the fork on the edge of the glass bowl, letting the chocolate smooth over the surface.  Using another fork, push the chocolate covered candy onto a wax paper lined plate.  They start to harden immediately but once you have the all coated, put the plate in the refrigerator for a few minutes.  Makes about 16.  Keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  They are great cold, but you can have them out of the refrigerator before serving for a while, too.   

Healthy Peanut Butter Caramel Chocolate Truffles

Make yourself a healthy treat for Easter this weekend—or anytime year round!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Crispy Topped Brown Sugar Bars—Baking Chez Moi—Tuesdays With Dorie

TWD-BCM Crispy Topped Brown Sugar Bars

I missed the last TWD post.  It was two weeks ago.  I actually just forgot about it until late the day it should have been posted.  Good thing we have a rewind week next week—I plan to make up the lemon madeleines I missed.  Dare I try to make them gluten free?

Anyway, today we get to tell you about the Crispy Topped Brown Sugar Bars in Baking Chez Moi (pages 324-325).  These were a fun, simple treat to make for my family.  First off all, they are topped with some caramelized Rice Krispies cereal.  While I think I made them just a tad crispy, I still think those are really fun.  Dorie mentioned they would be great as a crisp topping for ice cream and I agree.  They couldn’t be easier to make.  Put some sugar in a skillet, let it begin to color, add the cereal, stir it until the cereal is all coated in the caramelizing sugar and let it cook another minute or two.  Spread it on a sheet to cool.

Caramelized Rice Krispies 

I love that for these bars, she talked about a lot of different toppings you could use, including granola, coconut, caramel popcorn, nuts, endless options.  I might need to play with this recipe some more.

The boys mentioned that even the cookie layer on the bottom was a bit crispy, so I will just make sure to not bake them quite as much next time (I only baked them for 16 minutes when the recipe suggested 22).  I used milk chocolate just to please the boys, but would love to make these with a bittersweet chocolate as Dorie suggested. 

Crispy Topped Brown Sugar Bars 2

Chocolate is spread on the hot-out-of-the-oven bars and it melts pretty quickly and is spread evenly.  Then the Krispies are added and pressed into the top.  Cool and cut into squares.  Love trying new recipes!

Crispy Topped Brown Sugar Bars 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Healthy Almond Joy or Mounds Coconut Candy

"Healthy" Almond Joy Candy

We all know the tune—“Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don’t.”  It’s just too perfect.  Not trying to steal from the real candy company, but it really is a perfect statement.  I’m so happy to have made these and to have a treat stashed away for me to enjoy!  I originally was just making another treat I could have with dates, but then decided after adding some coconut to try to form them into an egg-like shape and dunk them in melted chocolate.  I’m brilliant, I say! ; )  Okay, I have no idea if something similar has ever been done before, I didn’t even look, just was happy that I came up with this all on my own.  I’m such a big girl nowadays.

I love making different sweet treats with dates.  Like these Raw Brownies with Walnuts or these Chocolate Peanut Butter Grain Free "Granola" Bars.  I love them all and they are sure easy to make.  Can’t forget these Chocolate Hazelnut Bombs or these Healthy Fudgy Brownie Bites.  The possibilities with flavors are almost limitless.  Whatever will I decide to make next?

Healthy Almond Joy/Mounds Candy

Healthy Almond Joy or Mounds Coconut Candy (Grain Free, Refined Sugar Free, Dairy Free), by Katrina, Baking and Boys!

1  1/4 cup dates, pitted and cut into smaller pieces, soaked in warm water for 30 minutes

1 cup raw almonds

5 tablespoons cocoa powder

1 tablespoon date water

1 tablespoon raw honey

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

pinch of salt

1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1/4 cup unsweetened flaked coconut, these are the bigger pieces (or another 1/4 cup of shredded)

2 tablespoons Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips (dairy, grain, soy, egg free chocolate)

Chocolate coating (enough for half the bars, double if you want to coat all of them):

1/2 cup (3 ounces) Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips

1 teaspoon coconut oil

Presoak the dates, drain and reserve the water.  Cut them on a cutting board (even if you have pitted dates, you should always cut them to check for pits!).  Cutting them into pieces also makes them grind up in the food processor easier.  Put the dates and almonds in the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse until coarsely ground.  Add the cocoa powder and pulse a few times.  Add the water, honey and salt and let it grind until it all clumps together almost forming a ball around the bowl (it will take a couple minutes).  Add the coconut and chocolate chips and pulse just a few times to combine.  Line a 9x5 inch bread pan with waxed paper.  Press the mixture evenly into the pan.  Refrigerate for an hour (I happened to make mine one day and didn’t get to dip them in chocolate until the next day.)

Melt the chocolate chips and coconut oil in a microwave safe glass bowl in 20-30 second intervals, stirring after each one.  It should only take a minute or so.  Stir until smooth.  Remove the pan from the refrigerator and lift the sides of the waxed paper.  Set it on a cutting board and with a 1  1/2 inch round cutter, cut out circles of the date/nut mixture.  You can leave them in circles or form them into oval shape with your fingers.  It was super easy!  If you feel like a nut, dip one side of an almond into the melted chocolate and place it in the center of the candy oval.  Let the chocolate for those harden in the fridge for a few minutes.  Put each piece of candy on a fork and dip it into the melted chocolate, also spooning excess chocolate over the top.  Tap the candy on the sides of the glass bowl, letting the excess chocolate smooth out and drip down.  Place the candy on a wax paper lined plate.  When finished dipping the candy, put the plateful in the refrigerator until the chocolate is hardened (5-10 minutes).  (I only covered half the date candy in chocolate, but the rest is still sitting in the fridge waiting to be eaten plain—still good! or cut and dipped in more chocolate.)  The 3 ounces of melted chocolate was enough for about 8 candies.   Store candies in the refrigerator.

Healthy Date Coconut Candy 2You don’t HAVE to dip them in chocolate and they are still really good.  I like the bigger, flaked coconut in these.  But these are certainly delicious WITH the chocolate coating—just remember, “sometimes you feel like a nut…….sometimes you don’t”.  (And remember, no matter which way you do them, there’s almonds in the date mixture.)

I think I hear one calling my name right now……………………………




Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Gluten Free Banana Bread

Gluten Free Banana Bread

I heard that yesterday was National Banana Bread Day.  Whether it was or not, I didn’t confirm it, but I did get in the kitchen and make some banana bread.  Don’t really need excuses here, we always have bananas ready to eat, almost always have overripe ones needing to be taken care of and by taken care of I mean turned in to something banana-yummy. 

Four bananas who have been screaming at me for days now, became this banana bread last night.  I’ve actually made it many times, always just a little different, but enough the same that it comes out every time.  I love that I make a gluten free (and refined sugar free!) treat that I can enjoy.  Bananas are one of my favorite fruits.  Probably one of my favorite foods.  They are cheap, readily available, sweet and tasty and can be used in so many things.  What is not to love?  (Don’t answer that, Deborah.) ; )

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Banana Bread, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!

3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

1 tablespoon water

1/4 cup raw honey

1/4 cup coconut sugar

2 large eggs, room temperature

2 tablespoons almond milk, room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup mashed overripe banana (about 4 small bananas)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1  3/4 cup gluten free all-purpose flour (with xanthan gum)

1/2 cup Enjoy Life chocolate chips (optional) add nuts instead if you’d like

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a 9x5 inch baking pan with foil.  Brush the foil with coconut oil.  Set aside.  In a large bowl, whisk together the coconut oil, water, honey and coconut sugar.  Add the almond milk, vanilla, and mashed banana and whisk together until combined.  Next add the salt, baking powder, baking soda and flour and stir together with a spoon.  Fold in the chocolate chips.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly.  Bake for 45-50 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.  Let sit on wire rack for 5 minutes then using the foil edges, remove the bread from the pan, peel off the foil and let the bread cool completely on a wire rack. 

Gluten Free Banana Bread

If you don’t want chocolate in your banana bread (crazy!), you can add walnuts or pecans instead or just have it as good ol’ plain banana bread.  I’ve done them all.  This has a great outside crust and is nice and soft and moist inside just the way banana bread should be.  I love having a slice of this with a little peanut butter spread on it.


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Marquise au Chocolat—Baking Chez Moi—Tuesdays With Dorie

Marquise au Chocolat--TWD

Marquise au Chocolat (Frozen Chocolate Mousse), Baking Chez Moi, Tuesdays With Dorie

You might not realize what this is (which is why I put it in parenthesis in easy terms) and might not even think it looks too terribly good, but let me tell you, this frozen chocolate mousse is divine!  I even kind of like the lines in it from lining my heart-shaped mold with plastic wrap and it not being perfectly smooth.  It’s rustic and heart-warming and hello, it’s frozen chocolate and it’s definitely smooth going down the hatch.

I’m so glad I buckled down and made this, though it was last minute (the weeks sure fly by, not sure how I used to do TWD way back when, when we posted weekly)!  My seven year old woke up early, early Monday morning (the middle of the night) with the stomach flu and was sick all day yesterday.  I even dragged him to the store so I could get some chocolate and cream, which was in my plans before he was sick.  It worked well for me to tell him we needed to get some Sprite and saltine crackers for his upset tummy.  We got to the store and they were out of the chocolate I needed/wanted.  SIGH. 

Never fear, we went back home and I decided I had enough of everything to quarter the recipe and make a small serving.  Then I decided it would be fun to make it and put it in heart-shaped molds (this was before I even read Dorie’s suggestion to do that if desired).  She and I, we’re so smart.  So while my son lay on the couch trying to rest and not be sick, I got out the things I needed to make the quarter recipe for this chosen delight, Marquise au Chocolate (Frozen Chocolate Mousse), from Baking Chez Moi, pages 357-359.  Don’t let seeing that it’s three pages in her book make you think it’s too much.  A lot of it is all her background about the dessert and a great photo.  This was really so easy to make!  It took a couple steps, um, most recipes do, but if you plan it out and get everything together before starting, it’s pretty simple!

Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips

I used Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips, they are dairy, nut and soy free and made with evaporated cane juice.  They taste great!  Love the fun-shaped chocolate flower that showed up in the mix here.

The chocolate and butter were melted in a double boiler.  Since I made only one-quarter of the recipe, I beat the egg yolk and sugar with my hand mixer, then added that to the cooled melted chocolate and in another small bowl beat the heavy cream.  That was folded in to the chocolate mixture, then I put it in a small heart-shaped ramekin and a small heart-shaped metal mold that I’d lined with plastic wrap. 

Marquise au Chocolat (2)

 I put the molds in the freezer for only about four hours (recipes says six), but since they were smaller, I thought it would be okay.  Had to taste (and photograph) it right after an early dinner.

Marquise au Chocolate--(Frozen Chocolate Mousse)--TWD

I ate about 2/3 of this little dessert (and gave Kevin the rest), it was rich and delicious and perfectly creamy.  I’m so excited that the bigger heart is still there for me in the very near future.  This was pretty simple to divide (especially with the gram measurements).  I’m sure I’ll make this again, maybe, just maybe I’ll try it with coconut cream and honey for the sweetener.  I’m not afraid. ; )  I would like this with some raspberry coulis or fresh raspberries next time.  If I make it that way, I’ll post it with the recipe for you.  Go get Dorie’s book!

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Nutella Caramel Swirled Brownies—World Nutella Day

Nutella Caramel Swirled Brownies 2-4-15

It’s World Nutella Day today!  You might remember back in August (or you might need this reminder), when I made and posted a bunch of recipes from Shelby’s blog, The Life and Loves of Grumpy's Honeybunch for The Secret Recipe Club.  Normally, we were just to make one recipe for the blog we were assigned that month, but Shelby and her blog are one of my favorites and we are good friends, so just for fun, I spent that whole month after getting my assignment, making as many recipes from her blog that I could during that time.  Here's that post—look for something with Nutella among all the deliciousness. 

One of the recipes I made from her blog then were my version of her Peanut Butter Caramel Swirled Brownies.  After getting things measured and ready to make her brownies, I realized I was out of peanut butter, so I did what any smart person would do—I made the caramel with Nutella instead.  These brownies are so good.  You might be thinking that you thought I don’t eat sugar and gluten anymore.  Well, I don’t, mostly.  These brownies became an occasion where it was necessary (for quality control purpose, you understand) that I taste the caramel AND then ultimately a bite of the brownie that I then topped with vanilla ice cream, drizzled with chocolate syrup (next time save some Nutella caramel for the brownie sundae!) and some hazelnuts.  I only took a small bite….see….

Nutella Caramel Brownies 8-18-14

Don’t be intimidated by the idea of making caramel, this is so easy, even more so if you measure out the ingredients first and have everything ready.  When I made these brownies last August, I made a full batch, which is a 9x13 inch pan.  For the remaking of them today, I halved the recipe—the ingredients are all perfectly easy to halve, so you decide how much Nutella caramel you want and how many brownies.

Nutella Caramel Swirled Brownies 

Nutella Caramel Swirled Brownies, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!

Nutella Caramel Sauce:

½ cup heavy cream

¼ cup granulated sugar

¼ cup water

½ cup (148 grams) Nutella (chocolate hazelnut spread), warmed slightly

1 tablespoon corn syrup

Pinch of salt

¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

Heat cream on low heat in a small saucepan (or in a microwave safe measuring glass) until hot (just barely simmering). In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water and heat over medium-high heat. Do not stir it. Let it cook until amber brown (2-3 minutes). Slowly whisk the hot cream into the sugar until smooth and let it cook for 1 minute. When you stir the cream into the caramelized sugar, it will bubble a lot. Don’t worry, just keep stirring. After 1 minute, remove from the heat and whisk in the warm Nutella (it combines better when it is heated up a bit—just microwave it in a small bowl for 20-30 seconds and stir), corn syrup, salt and vanilla. Stir together until well combined and smooth. Set it aside to cool while you prepare the brownie batter.


1 cup unsalted butter, melted

3 cups granulated sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

4 large eggs

1 ½ cups unbleached all purpose flour

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a 9x13 pan by lining it with tin foil (I prefer nonstick foil). Spray lightly with cooking spray. Set aside.  In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the melted butter and sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing until well combined. Add vanilla extract. Set aside.  In a separate bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder and salt. Whisk together. Fold dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Pour into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Drop spoonsful of the Nutella caramel in dollops over the brownie batter. Drag a knife through the batter and the caramel to swirl. Don’t do it too much or you’ll lose the swirled effect. Bake the brownies for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with crumbs on it and not wet batter. Cool completely before cutting. Serve individually or as a base for brownie sundaes with ice cream, chocolate syrup (or more of the Nutella caramel if you didn’t use it all) and some toasted hazelnuts.

Nutella Caramel Swirled Brownies

I mean, come on, don’t these look like great brownies?  If you are a Nutella lover, like so many, you will love this caramel and these brownies, they stand alone great, but also make an awesome brownie sundae.

Nutella Caramel Brownies

Thanks to Sara at Ms Adventures in Italy and Michelle from Bleeding Espresso for their inspiration and the start up of World Nutella Day.  Check it out for hundreds of mouth-watering Nutella recipes!


Check out all the Nutella goodness on my blog!