Tag Archives: Chocolate

Mocha Banana Bread Muffin Cupcakes with Banana Buttercream Frosting {Dairy-Free}

17 Aug

I’m not one of those people who are heavily into the semantics of muffins vs. cupcakes and the like.  I mean, I’ve heard some swear you can’t have a muffin with a cupcake paper, and others that you can’t have a cupcake without.  Sure, cupcakes are well, to state the very overly obvious, CAKE…clearly not to be eaten for breakfast…right?

But then what about the chocolatey, cakey-sweet, sugar crumb topping-smattered “cupcakes” parading around under the guise of the muffin moniker?  I know better.  We ALL know better.  So can we please just call the portable, little cupcake/muffins whatever we dang well want once we pop them out of those cupcake/muffin tins, wrappered, frosted, dessert or breakfast bound?  I’m sure there are other specifics involved, like texture, crackly vs. smooth top, etc., but when it comes down to it, I’ll call it a cupcake if I plan to frost it.  I’ll call it a muffin if I plan to eat it for breakfast, especially if it has “mocha” in its description – that’s definitely breakfast.  Maybe I’d skip the frosting in that case, and then call it a cupcake when I pile on the lightly banana-y buttercream frosting.

Life is so much more versatile when you let a muffin be a cupcake every now and then or bake a cupcake without the paper, right!

Mocha Banana Bread Cupcake Recipe

More chocolatey than coffee flavored, these little gems are more muffin-like in the way the tops puff and crack slightly, but more cupcake-esque in texture.  I highly recommend frosting, but you absolutely don’t HAVE to.  But you should!


1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup non-dairy margarine

1 1/2 cups mashed very ripe bananas (about 3 medium-sized)

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 Tbsp instant coffee granules


Preheat oven to 350*F.  Grease or line wells of a standard size muffin tin.

Cream together the margarine and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer.   Add in the vanilla extract and the eggs, beating between additions.  Beat in the bananas until mixed well.

Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a separate bowl.  Slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet mixture, mixing between additions.  Add in the coffee granules and mix until incorporated.

Scoop batter into muffin tins until almost full.  Bake about 15-18 minutes depending on your oven, until a toothpick comes out clean.  Allow to cool before frosting.  While cooling, make the frosting.

Hint-of-Banana Buttercream Frosting


2 sticks non-dairy margarine (1 cup)

1 yellow banana, pureed

5 cups powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract


Beat the butter in the bowl of a stand mixture until smooth and fluffy.

Add in the pureed banana and vanilla and beat again until smooth.  Add in powdered sugar 1 cup at a time until you reach desired thickness.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

I’m not trying to steal any mocha banana bread cupcake thunder here, but keep an eye out for what might very well be the most amazing carrot cake recipe ever.  It’s also vegan.  And gluten free.  No biggie.  It’s coming up soon!

Enjoy your weekend!  I have some Santa Monica beach time to look forward to! <3



Mint Chocolate Pudding Parfaits

28 Dec

If you’re anything like me, you love the holidays, but by the time the week before New Year’s Eve rolls around, you really just want a dessert that’s sweet, simple, and to the point. No messing around with mixers and ovens, and all those other complicated kitchen appliances. Enough already! Cookies have been done, pies were for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and don’t even get me started on cake. Puhleaseeee…

I don’t want to bake. I don’t want to sift. Love me some chocolate, but I don’t want to see a brownie right now. Brownies have got NYE’s number for sure.

Jell-o. Pudding, if you will. Now that’s something I can handle right now. Bowl, whisk, milk, stir. And I’m guessing you may have a few crumbly Christmas cookies leftover from last week that you just might be brave enough to crush & sprinkle on your creamy smooth pudding. Whipped cream on top. Don’t forget the sprig of mint, I think I can speak for everyone when I say it’s probably the only green thing any of us have seen in the last week and a half or more of holiday boozing, partying, and sugar coma inducing. You don’t have to eat it, it’s just there to look pretty. Or, you can eat it. I won’t tell!

Mint Chocolate Pudding Parfaits

* 1 box Candy Cane Jell-o pudding
* 1 box Chocolate Jell-o pudding
* 4 Cups cold Milk
* Crumbly Christmas Cookies of choice (I used chocolate mountain top cookies)
* Whipped Cream (From a can…this is supposed to be simple, remember?!)
* Mint Sprig (Optional, but suggested)

Make chocolate and candy cane pudding in separate bowls as directed on the box (2 cups cold milk for each, stir with a whisk until it sets up)

In a cute parfait glass or whatever you have on hand, layer candy cane and chocolate pudding.

Sprinkle with crumbled Christmas cookies. Dollop with whipped cream. Add sprig of mint.

Simple! Enjoy!

I’d never seen Jell-o brand (or any other brand for that matter) candy cane flavored pudding before, and the fact that it’s pink practically made me feel like it was calling my name. Is there a novel pink food that I can resist? That was a rhetorical question. Anyway, naturally mint pairs perfectly with chocolate. It was destiny really!

What’s that? Mint pudding isn’t being sold anymore? It’s flown off the shelves so quickly you couldn’t get your hands on any? You’re in luck since chocolate classically plays nice with both vanilla and butterscotch! You’re covered. Obviously it won’t be pink, but crisis mostly averted!

OMmmm NoMmm nommm….

Sometimes you really just want a dessert you can sink right in to! Jell-ooooooooo

Mocha Chocolate Chip Candy Cane Cookie Bars

28 Nov

If someone said Christmas cookies, I’m on it!  I love the Christmas season so much that I like to start packing in the cheer as early as possible for maximum enjoyment.  I’m not ashamed to admit I had white and colored Christmas lights strewn around my room several weeks ago, and Christmas tunes on my ipod even before that.  I thought once or twice about starting in on Christmas baking before Thanksgiving, even though I clearly have a thing for Thanksgiving pumpkin, cranberry, and pecan creations.  I contained myself.  I do love Thanksgiving, afterall!

However, now that Thanksgiving has come and gone, has been lived and enjoyed to the fullest, and the turkey leftovers have been devoured, I feel absolutely no guilt whatsoever adding candy canes to cookies.  No problems belting out Christmas music while working off holiday dinners at the gym, and slim to no issues with getting my hands on as much Soy Nog as humanly possible.  I actually have zero to slightly fewer than that problems with Nog.  I love the stuff!  Also, these cookies smell amazingggggg…..

Cookie?  Brownie?  Chocolate cookie? Cookie brownie?  Semantics.  Regardless of the fact that these bars owe their rich chocolate color to cocoa powder and mocha cappuccino mix, the texture is much more like a cookie bar than a brownie.  Just to make things right in the world, I laced them with candy cane peppermint goodness, a dash of holiday cheer (not THAT kind!) and called it a day!

Get with the holidays!  Get your tree, hang as many lights as you can find, hand-write Christmas cards to loved ones, guzzle Nog, sing Christmas carols way off key, watch made for tv holiday specials over and over until you can’t handle it anymore, and make these cookies! =)

Mocha Chocolate Chip Candy Cane Cookie Bars


* 2 1/4 Cups All Purpose Flour
* 1/4 Cup Cocoa Powder
* 1/4 Cup Mocha Cappuccino Mix
* 1 tsp Baking Soda
* 1 tsp Salt
* 1 Cup Butter Flavored Shortening
* 1 Cup Packed Brown Sugar
* 1/2 Cup Sugar
* 2 Large Eggs
* 1 tsp Double Strength Cooled Coffee (I used french pressed Starbucks iced coffee blend)
* 1 Cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
* About 6 Peppermint Candy Canes, crushed


Preheat oven to 350*F. Line an 8×8″ baking pan with parchment paper or a panpat.

Beat together the shortening, brown sugar, and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer until light and fluffy.
Beat in eggs one at a time. Mix in the coffee.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir in the cocoa powder and mocha cappuccino mix.

Slowly add the dry to the wet, mixing and scraping down the sides of the bowl as you go.

Stir in the chocolate chips and crushed candy canes. Smooth into prepared pan, leveling the surface.
Bake about 25 minutes, depending on your oven, but DON’T over bake! Allow to cool before cutting and serving.

Happy Holidays! 

Gluten Free Bizcocho con Chocolate

30 May

I really need a food scale, I’ll tell you what.  I had to do wayyyy more math today than I ever thought I’d have to again after having finished calculus.  And now my head hurts. 

See, it’s not that the metric system is annoying in baking; in fact, if I could have weighed out all of my ingredients, it would actually have been much more accurate!  I’ve learned from Alton Brown that this is true in general: it’s something you don’t normally think about, but different flours, sugars, and various other ingredients differ so much in their density, mass, and volume that a cup of one flour might be very different from a cup of another type of flour…and totally throw off your recipe! 

Luckily, along with the stoichiometric skills I learned in none other than chemistry class, this recipe seemed to be very forgiving and turned out great, regardless!

Now that I’ve got that discussion out of the way, can we talk delicious chocolate and cinnamon cake?  I thought you might like that.  I found this recipe over on my new friend, Nuria’s blog, and instantly knew I had to make it!

Actually, to be honest, I instantly fell in love with every recipe, dessert or not, that I laid eyes on- and that doesn’t happen often since I tend to naturally gravitate towards all things sweet, if you know what I mean! Her photos are so vibrant, colorful, and yummy-looking, I just can’t help myself! Not to mention, Nuria is one of the sweetest people I have met in the blogging world thus far!

I adapted the recipe to fit the ingredients I had on hand, and to make it gluten and dairy free (not vegan, though, I’m afraid- I have to draw the line somewhere!)  It’s so delicious and perfectly chocolatey and cinnamony!   My version definitely turned out more like a dense quick bread than a cake or even a sponge cake, which I think is the English translation of “Bizcocho”…please forgive me if I’m a little off, I know maybe 2 words of Spanish! 🙂 

In any case, I’m just guessing here, but I think it would be great for dessert, breakfast, a snack, or maybe all of the above…I won’t tell!  Just make sure you enjoy it with a creamy cup of dark-roast coffee or maybe some chai tea.  You will thank me!

You can find the original recipe for Bizcocho Con Chocolate here

Bizcocho con Chocolate (gluten free, dairy free)


* 1 cup Bob’s Redmill sorghum flour
* 1/2 cup white rice flour
* 1/4 cup Bob’s Redmill millet flour
* 1 tsp baking powder
* 1/4 tsp salt
* 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
* 4 oz. individual serving of applesauce + Earth Balance spread to make just shy of 3/4 cup
* 3 eggs
* 3/4 cup brown sugar
* 2 Tbsp cocoa powder
* 1 Tbsp cinnamon
* 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
* 2 Tbsp coffee liquor
* 1 cup chocolate chips


Cream together the Earth Balance, applesauce, and brown sugar in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, mixing between each addition.
Sift together the flours, baking powder, xanthan gum, and salt in a separate bowl.
Mix the wet ingredients with the dry until combined. Divide the batter in half. To one half, add the cocoa powder, coffee liquor, and half of the chocolate chips. To the other half, add the cinnamon, vanilla extract, and the rest of the chocolate chips.
Spray or line a loaf pan with parchment paper and pour in the cinnamon batter. Pour the chocolate batter on top of the cinnamon batter, and swirl the two together slightly with a knife.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 30-40 minutes, depending on your oven. My oven runs VERY hot, so I ended up overcooking mine a little (oops!) just make sure you check it at the 30 minute mark and keep an eye on it. Generally, gluten free flour breads require less cooking time, but make sure a toothpick comes out clean when you test it.

Muy delicioso! (I hope I just said “Very delicious!” and not something really inappropriate!) 😀

Brownie Truffles

4 Apr

I’m only a couple of posts in to my newborn blog, but I am getting the feeling that something isn’t right. No, smarty-pants, it’s not the fact that I only have 3 posts so far! =p I scrolled through {all 3 of those posts} and couldn’t help but notice: a cookie, a fruit spread, a pastry….but only a smattering of chocolate! How could this be? Chocolate is a prominent, daily occurrence in my life, so I surprised even myself when it didn’t immediately come to mind. Fortunately, not all my faculties failed me, because like a 6th sense {not like the movie} my intuition nagged me until it became obvious. Thank you, faculties and nagging intuition!
These brownie truffles are ridiculously simple to assemble, and ridiculously tasty to eat! The texture inside is definitely reminiscent of a creamy truffle rather than a chewy brownie, but the chocolatey brownie flavor is certainly in full-force. I made a classic chocolate-chocolate-chocolate truffle, but these are infinitely adaptable if you want to create a whole different flavor profile! I can imagine these being amazing with a vanilla (or any other flavor!) frosting brownie center, a cream cheese brownie center, or even a Nutella-brownie filling. You could also dip these in white chocolate instead of dark chocolate for a different flavor and look! These are sprinkled with confectioner’s sugar, but I wouldn’t stop you if you wanted to go a little heavy-handed with some sprinkles!

Brownie Truffles

* 1 box brownie mix (+ eggs, oil, water and whatever is required for the recipe), or your favorite brownie recipe
* 1/2 cup chocolate frosting (or any other type of frosting you like)
* ~6 squares chocolate almond bark
* Confectioner’s sugar, for sprinkling


Bake brownies according to the box mix directions, or your favorite brownie recipe directions. Let cool in the pan.
Once cooled, scoop the brownie out into a large mixing bowl, and stir in the frosting, cream cheese, or Nutella until smooth.
Use a cookie scoop or spoon to scoop out equally-sized brownie blobs, and roll in the palm of your hand to shape. Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet and place in the freezer to firm up, at least 1 hour.
Once brownie blobs are firm enough, take them out and let them sit for about 15 minutes to take a little of the freezer edge off.
Melt your almond bark in a microwave safe bowl according to melting instructions on the package. Roll each brownie blob in the melted almond bark, and place on another sheet of parchment paper or a silpat to set. Make sure you sprinkle them with powdered sugar or sprinkles quickly, they set pretty fast!
Once finished, place in the freezer or refrigerator to firm up. These are best stored in the fridge since they get a little soft if left out.

Ya, I feel much better now that my blog has its chocolate fix!

I think it’s best you found out I’m a chocolate addict early on.