Category Archives: chocolate

Chocolate Fix: French Silk Pie

Wow, it’s been a long time since I indulged in a Chocolate Fix here on the ol’ blog! It’s been crazy busy with the release of my book Blood and Shadow AND my short story collection, Obscurely Obvious. Book 2 of Sherakai’s tale is also in the works. Whew!

My after-Christmas “break” has included (more) shopping and some wall painting. More work! It’s about time we had some chocolate, don’t you think? I’m going to tempt your taste buds with a spectacular and wonderfully decadent French Silk Pie.

I got the recipe from Creations by Kara, and it is perfect. It is, as Kara promises, “smooth, rich, and creamy—a dessert of epic proportions!”

Yeah, all that and then some. YUM.

French Silk Pie

Go here for the fantastic recipe: French Silk Pie by Kara.

Images by Boyd Lythgoe, copyright 2016

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What are some of your favorite chocolate recipes?
Share below!

French Silk Pie
Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Chocolate Fix: Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

I love when Chocolate Time rolls around… And guess what?? It’s time. Making up a menu for a Family Gathering (a.k.a. Reunion),  my sister-in-law (Hi, Maren!) and I decided on a breakfast of muffins. Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins, to be specific.

Mmm… muffins.

Tasty. Portable. Perfect (when they have chocolate in ‘em!).

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

1 cup butter, softened
¾ cup firmly packed brown sugar
3 cups mashed banana (about 6)
½ cup milk
4 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 375°F.

In large bowl, beat butter until pale and creamy. Add sugar and mix well.

Add mashed bananas, milk, and eggs; beat until well blended.

Add flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder, stirring just until blended.

Add chocolate chips (and nuts if used).

Line muffin tin with paper baking cups, spoon 3 Tbsp batter into cups. Bake for 15–18 minutes. Remove from pans immediately.

YIELD: 2 dozen

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Need more chocolate? Check out other recipes I’ve shared: The Chocolate
What kind of chocolate have you been creating in your kitchen?

Send me your pictures and recipes! There is never enough chocolate.

 

Chocolate Cake for Two

Chocolate Fix: Chocolate Cake for Two

Mmmm… chocolate.

Chocolate figures heavily in my life. I could give it up, but I’m no quitter! This time, I’ve got a tiny, tasty chocolate cake to tease your taste buds.

Being empty-nesters, my hubby and I really don’t need an entire cake sitting on the counter tempting us. How delightful to learn that I could make an adorable little cake-for-two! And it’s kind of romantic, too, don’t you think? Continue reading Chocolate Fix: Chocolate Cake for Two

Luscious Chocolate Mousse

Chocolate Fix: Luscious Chocolate Mousse

It’s chocolate time! This luscious chocolate mousse is one of my favorite ways to get my chocolate fix. It’s rich and creamy, and it doesn’t require an official chef’s hat. Big bonus in my world of quick-and-easy.

ChocolateMousse2Luscious Chocolate Mousse

1 pkg unflavored gelatin
2 Tbsp cold water
¼ cup boiling water
1 cup sugar
½ cup cocoa
2 cups (1 pint) heavy cream
½ tsp vanilla
Additional cream, whipped, for garnish (optional)

Sprinkle gelatin over cold water in small bowl; stir and let stand one minute to soften. Add boiling water; stir until gelatin is completely dissolved (mixture must be clear).

Stir together sugar and cocoa in a mixing bowl. Add cream and vanilla. Beat at medium speed until stiff peaks form. Pour gelatin mixture over cream and fold in until well blended. Spoon into individual serving dishes and chill for about half an hour.

YIELD: 6 servings

Images: “Luscious Chocolate Mousse” © 2016 Boyd R. Lythgoe
Go forth and get your chocolate fix.
Send me your pictures!

Chocolate Fix: Cocoa-Coco Muffins

I don’t know about you, but I think it’s time for another chocolate fix!

Wait. Belay that! It’s always time for a chocolate fix!

Cocoa-CocoMuffins_smLast time we made Black Bean Brownies. This time, it’s muffins! Hurrah! I love muffins, and the only “healthy” addition we’re making to these is coconut. This recipe has been in my collection for a long time, and the recipe card should probably be replaced is well used. We make them for breakfast, but sometimes we have them for dessert. They’re always good. My kids love them, and it’s one of the recipes they requested for the official family cookbook. (It’s so handy that we can share that online!)

These muffins are light, chocolate — and blessed with additional chocolate (chips) and just a sprinkling of coconut.

Yum.

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Cocoa-Coco Muffins

3 cups flour
1 cup sugar
½ cup nonfat dry milk powder
½ cup cocoa
1 Tbsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup flaked coconut
2 eggs, beaten
1 ½ cups water
½ cup cooking oil

Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease or line muffin pan.

In large mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients, chocolate chips, and coconut. Make a well in the center.

In a small mixing bowl, beat the eggs, water, and oil. Add all at once to flour mixture and stir just until moistened. (Do not overheat, or your muffins will be tough!) Spoon batter into prepared cups, filling each three-fourths full. Bake about 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean. Cool in muffin cups on wire rack for 5 minutes. Remove from pan.

YIELD: 18 muffins

Images: “Cocoa-Coco Muffins” © 2015 Boyd R. Lythgoe

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Go forth and get your chocolate fix.
Send me your pictures!

Chocolate Fix: Black Bean Brownies

I’m a little excited. It’s time for another Chocolate Foray, and I looooove chocolate. (In case you hadn’t figured that out yet.)

Black Bean Brownies.

I know, I know, they sound weird and suspiciously healthy. I can’t really vouch for the “health” quality except that there is chocolate in them and chocolate is the other food group. Beans are good for you. There is also applesauce. The original recipe didn’t call for it, but the original also turned out very, very dry. Eww. Applesauce makes these kind of gooey and fudgey. And there’s chocolate, of course.

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Black Bean Brownies

1 15oz can black beans, well rinsed and drained
½ cup unsweetened applesauce
3 large eggs
3 tbsp vegetable or canola oil (Or be brave and use coconut. Yum!)
¼ cup cocoa powder
⅔ cup white sugar
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp instant coffee (or your favorite coffee substitute) — optional
½ cup semisweet chocolate chips

Put all ingredients except chocolate chips in blender.

Blend until very smooth. Stir in half the chocolate chips. Pour into greased 8-inch square baking pan and sprinkle with the remaining chocolate chips. Bake at 350°F for 30-35 minutes.

Chocolate Fix: Any-Nut Torte

Do you know what time it is??

It’s chocolate time!

This time we’re doing a cake. It’s yummy and it’s easy. (Okay, putting the nuts on the sides is a little challenging, but well worth the effort. Don’t let it intimidate you!) When you make it—you know you want to!—be sure to let me know how it turned out. Send me pictures!

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Any-Nut TorteAny-Nut Torte

1 cup flour
1 tsp. Baking powder
Dash salt
½ cup butter, softened
½ cup sugar
½ tsp. Vanilla
4 egg yolks
⅓ cup milk
4 egg whites
⅛ tsp. Cream of tartar
1 cup sugar
¾ cup finely chopped nuts
¾ cup sugar
⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa
1 ½ cups whipping cream
1 ½ cups chopped nuts

Great and lightly flour 2 8” round cake pans.

Mix together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In large mixing bowl beat butter on medium speed 30 seconds. Add ½ cup sugar and vanilla; beat till fluffy. Add egg yolks one at a time. Alternately add flour mixture and milk, beating on low just till combined. Spread evenly in pans.

For meringue layer, in a medium bowl beat egg whites and cream of tartar on high speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add 1 cup sugar, beating until stiff peaks form. Fold in ¾ cup chopped nuts. Spread the mixture over the batter. Bake at 300°F for 1 hour or till toothpick comes out clean. Cool cake in pans on wire rack 10 minutes. Remove and cool.

For frosting, in a chilled medium bowl stir together ¾ cup sugar and cocoa. Add whipped cream; beat on low till soft peaks form. DO NOT OVER-BEAT.

To assemble, place one cake layer, meringue side up, on plate. Spread with thin layer of frosting. Top with second cake layer, meringue side up. Frost top and sides, reserving some for piping if desired. Press the 1 ½ cups chopped nuts onto sides. Put remaining frosting in decorator bag with large star tip. Pipe around bottom edge and into rosettes on top. Cover and chill up to 24 hours. To serve, cut with knife dipped in water.

YIELD: 12 servings

Chocolate Fix: Chocolate Magic Custard Cake

When I was a little girl my mom spearheaded an annual Baking Campaign that started in October or November and came to a glorious, beautiful, tasty finale at Christmas. She set up a long, narrow table covered with a red tablecloth and decorated with gold tinsel. A basket shaped like a sleigh held old-fashioned, don’t-touch-it, fiberglass “snow” and some of her antique ornaments. She made a beautiful gingerbread house. There were fancy bowls of ribbon candy. But the best part was the cookies. Two shallow, rectangular baskets held rows and rows of cookies. Each row was different, and it was so exciting to be given the task of going out into the garage to the big chest freezer that held a veritable treasure trove of goodies so the baskets could be reloaded. Sometimes with even more different cookies.

Sometimes I snitched. There were a few varieties that were perfectly acceptable straight out of the freezer.

Mom—and the siblings old enough to participate in the baking frenzy—used to keep track of what cookies were made each year and how many of each. The very biggest year of all was a record 160 dozen cookies, not to mention the candies and breads that were also a part of the feast.

I almost don’t remember any turkeys…

Even so, all of us should have walked away from Christmas with a distinct waddle. Or maybe we should have rolled! But no, none of us were roly-poly. I continued the tradition (in a more restrained manner) when I grew up and married. My kids loved it. My husband is more of a fan of FRESH baking. And now that the kids have all flown the coop I don’t do much Christmas baking at all. But …

Over the New Year’s weekend I had to bake. I found a recipe—chocolate, of course—that severely tempted my tastebuds at the same time it (mostly) catered to my desire for something easy to prepare. It’s not hard to make, but it is just a little bit involved. (Hey, if it requires more than one bowl, it’s “involved”!) I tweaked the recipe very slightly, but the original can be found at Give Recipe.

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Chocolate Magic Custard Cake

Yield: 8 servings

4 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla powder or extract
1 ¼ cup sugar
½  butter, melted
½ cup all purpose flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups milk, lukewarm
1 tablespoon powdered sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 320°F (160C).

Grease an 8in x 8in baking pan well.

Separate egg whites and yolks.

Beat egg whites in a bowl until stiff and put aside.

Whisk egg yolks, vanilla powder and sugar until creamy.

Add melted butter and mix for half a minute.

Add the flour and unsweetened cocoa powder. Mix with a spatula until incorporated well.

Pour the milk in gradually and continue beating gently.

Add the egg whites, one third at a time, and gently mix with a spatula. Pour this liquidy batter into the baking pan and bake for 60 minutes.

Let it cool and when it comes to room temperature chill for an hour. Slice and dust with powdered sugar just before serving. Keep in refrigerator.

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My husband is not a great fan of custard, but he loved this. I love it. Make some. Tell me what you think! And, as always, if you have a terrific chocolate recipe to share, DO IT!


NaNoWriMo 2014!

Greetings, dear readers!

It’s the first Friday of the month, and time for A Drift of Quills to get together and chat about books and writing.

You may also have noticed that it is November, and November means NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). While Patricia is off flitting about the countryside, Kristie and I are knee-deep into the crazy, wonderful writing frenzy that is NaNoWriMo.

Do you know what that means? Hundreds of thousands of people around the world leap headlong into the challenge of writing a novel (50,000 words long!) in thirty days. (Though if I wrote through Thanksgiving Day, I would probably be stuffed and roasted!)

Writing is a passion. A passion driven by voices we hear in our heads. Driven by stories that need to be told.  Don’t be afraid to let them out. Nurture them like they are your children and let them blossom into fruition. Most of all—live your dream.  

~Vivienne Courtoise

I love writing—and yet I struggle to write. Last year I let someone convince me not to participate in NaNoWriMo. “You can set your own thirty days any time of the year,” he said. So I did.

And I didn’t.

As a result, I wallowed for a long time in a stinking pit of discouragement and gloom and doom.

The thing is, I like the challenge of that goal, and I like the little competitions between buddies. I like the Pep Talks and the camaraderie and the sense of excitement. So here I am again, pushing up my sleeves and leaping into the frenzy of thirty days of literary abandon.

You might see me around, but then again you might not. The effort is a little intense.

Not for the first time,
I’ve found that my best writing time is at night. I can’t blame Hubby for objecting, so I’m trying my best to reroute my productivity and do most of my writing in the morning. So far, no luck! If anyone has any helpful ideas about reprogramming the ol’ gray matter, let me know!

In the meantime, here are some good ways to get some work accomplished, whether you are a morning person or a night owl:

  1. Schedule your time, whether it’s five minutes or five hours. Own it.
  2. Turn off the distractions (tv, phone, husband—I mean internet, radio, etc.…). Some days I write better with music playing in the background, some days not so much!
  3. Make sure you’ve got a supply of chocolate within easy reach. And a beverage. I’ve heard water is good for you.
  4. Do some warm up exercises. Jumping jacks are great if you can handle it, but ten minutes of free writing are also recommended. Try WriteOrDie, if you dare. Or just open up a blank document, set a timer, and write as fast as you can. Content, grammar, and logic don’t matter. It’s very … freeing.
  5. Take breaks. I know it sounds counterintuitive (“I just HAVE to finish this one scene/word quota/whatever!”), but your body needs to move and that movement can actually provide you with time to work through a scene or come up with something wildly awesome. Mindless chores are the best for that kind of thing.
  6. When you must stop, leave off in the middle of a scene. Or even as sentence. You probably already know which direction it’s going, and it’s easy to pick up again.
  7. Before you start a scene, make a quick sketch of what it needs to include. Again, you’re not striving for a Pulitzer here. Just get down the bare bones.
  8. I haven’t had much success with this, but I like Chuck Wendig’s advice to “Write with your internal editor gagged and shoved in a box.” I need to find a nice, roomy box for my inner editor to kick back in.
  9. Celebrate your progress, no matter how small. Kristie says so, and I trust her.
  10. What, you were looking for a nice, even number of suggestions? Ha!
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PATRICIA REDING
Author of Oathtaker

I admit I’ve never participated in the event known as NaNoWriMo. I can’t even pronounce it, and I have to check other sources for how to spell it every time I need to use the word, or acronym, or whatever it is. Suffice it to say, I don’t know much about it. Still, from what I’ve heard, it sounds like an amazing venture …

The closest I’ve ever come to a NaNoWriMo effort was during a summer week when the rest of my family went camping. Blissfully alone (and, I confess, not lonely), I set out to write the opening of my new story …

… (Read more!)

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KRISTIE KIESSLING
Author of the short story, Sanguis Dei and a poetry collection, Light and Dark

NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month is upon us! If it’s possible that you’ve never heard of it, the NaNoWriMo website says this:

“National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing on November 1. The goal is to write a 50,000-word (approximately 175-page) novel by 11:59:59 PM on November 30.”

Sound crazy? You bet! But it’s wonderful, too. Why? 

… (Read more!)

Stay Tuned!

Next week (November 10-14) I’m participating in the Blogger Book Fair. All week long! What’s in it for you, you ask? Why … BOOKS! And… GIVEAWAYS! What could be more important than that?
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Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this year?

What do you like best about it? Hate most?

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever heard for a marathon writing stint?


Chocolate Fix: Cinnamon Toasties

There is a bag of chocolate chips in my pantry in severe danger of being exterminated. Or… I might break down and make a family favorite. Cinnamon Toasties.

Now, they’re not 100% chocolate (I know, shocking isn’t it?) but they are just so darned good it’s hard to eat just one. And they have chocolate chips IN them. In the world of “almost chocolate,” these little items are hard to beat. And they’re ridiculously easy and quick to make. Always a bonus.

photo by Boyd Lythgoe

Once upon a time this recipe had no chocolate chips. It had raisins.

You should have seen the horrified expressions on the faces of my children when I shared that little historic tidbit…

My big sister used to make it (with raisins) when I was little. I don’t remember when she decided to use chocolate chips instead, but it was a game-changer. When I moved out on my own—and out of state—I could not get the recipe to turn out right. It wanted to be flat and dry, so I experimented, and now it is wonderfully cake-y. And cinnamon-y. And, of course, chocolate-y.

Enjoy.

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Cinnamon Toasties


3 cups flour
1½ cups sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1½ cups milk
1 tsp. vanilla
3 Tbsp. melted margarine
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 15x10x1-inch jelly roll pan.


In a large bowl combine dry ingredients. Blend in remaining ingredients. Turn into prepared pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.


Drizzle with an additional ¼ cup melted margarine. Combine ½ cup sugar with 1 tsp. cinnamon. Sprinkle over cake. Bake 10 minutes more. Cut into squares and store in air-tight container.