Tag Archives: Coffee

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



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! 

Chocolate Chip Churro Biscotti (Or Chiscotti con Chocolate)

20 Jun

Happy Father’s Day!

Right now, summer is making me think of one thing, and unfortunately, it’s not a vacation.  Two words:  summer school.  Two more words:  major ugh.  Naturally, all my sadness and devastation, instead of being channeled into something productive, and let’s just face it, realistic, turned into wishful thinking about a summer abroad.  And, just to be responsible about the whole thing, I threw in some sort of learning experience…mostly to justify my wild aspirations.  Study Italian…IN ITALY!  Or, study Spanish abroad!  Like, IN SPAIN!

Ya, right.  Since I’m a student, and not, well, made of money, that dream will have to keep me going through months and months of boring old summer school right here, not abroad.  Then, in a completely logical progression of thought, my mind turned to biscotti and churros.  Maybe it was already there.

It’s really not hard to understand why churros are such a popular treat.  The warm, fluffy, cinnamon-sugary Spanish answer to donuts obviously transcends cultures, not to mention the Atlantic Ocean, because I dare you to find anyone in the world who doesn’t love a churro.  Especially dipped in hot chocolate thick enough to stick a fork in.  Ya, they’re doing it all kinds of right over there in Spain.  And biscotti?  If baking a cookie twice is wrong, then you won’t ever find me being right (don’t take that one out of context, please)!  The Italians and French are no slouches when it comes to their pastries, though, so I’m guessing biscotti is in fact, all kinds of right.  In which case, then I’m always right.  Still with me?

Anyway, inspired by the potential fusion of churro cinnamon-y pillows of goodness, and the sweet cracker-crumbly-ness of biscotti, I got to thinking about a delicious hybrid: the result of Spanish Churros meeting up with Italian biscotti…for an afternoon mocha.  Because that’s like…coffee + chocolate.  Get it?  Churros are dipped in hot pudding chocolate, and biscotti is dunked in coffee…So you can see why I had to add chocolate into the mix.  As if the thick hot chocolate churro dip is mixed right in.  And here you have it, chocolate chip cinnamon-sugar churro biscotti.  Affectionately dubbed Chiscotti con Chocolate, since I’m super creative, and everything needs a cute name in my world. 🙂

Chiscotti con Chocolate
Adapted from Joy the Baker

* 2 cups flour
* 1 1/2 tsp saigon cinnamon
* 1 tsp baking powder
* 1/4 tsp salt
* 1 cup granulated sugar
* 6 Tbsp unsalted butter
* 1 egg + 1 egg yolk
* 1 tsp vanilla extract
* 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used Trader Joe’s brand)

* 1/4 cup granulated sugar
* 1 tsp saigon cinnamon
* 1 egg yolk, for brushing top of biscotti

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F.
Mix together the butter, sugar, vanilla, egg, and egg yolk in a bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer until light and fluffy.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Slowly add the dry mixture to the wet mixture, mixing until combined. The dough will be sticky. At this point, you can stir in the chocolate chips if you’d like, or press them into the top of the biscotti before baking, like I did.

Lightly flour a Silpat or parchment paper-lined pan. Flour your hands a bit, and shape the dough into a log on the pan. flatten the log a bit so it takes up most of the length of a regular cookie sheet, and is about 1/2″ thick. If you want slightly smaller biscotti, you can divide the dough in two, and form two flattened logs on the same baking sheet. Just leave enough room between the two, since the dough will spread and grow a little as it bakes. Press chocolate chips into the top of the dough if you did not stir them in, and then brush with the egg white. Sprinkle your sugar-cinnamon mixture generously on top.

Bake 25 minutes. Rotate the pan in the oven, and bake for another 20-25 minutes, or until slightly golden brown.
Remove the pan from the oven, but leave the oven on. Let the biscotti become just cool to the touch.

Slice the biscotti log diagonally into 1/2″ wide pieces with a serrated knife. Lay each piece cut-side down on the pan. Bake 10 minutes.
Flip the biscotti slices to the other side, and bake an additional 5-10 minutes, until golden brown.
Savor the yumminess with a hearty cup of hot chocolate, a mocha, or a plain ol’ cup of black coffee…whatever gets you going! Or in my case, whatever makes me temporarily forget I’m not summering abroad.  Probably going to need to make it a double.  Just saying.

The chiscotti will be gone long (long) before my dreams of a summer abroad.  Some day, Europe.  Some day!