Dark Chocolate Coconut Flour Brownies

My sweet tooth got the best of me yesterday. I had another healthy baking date with my sister-in-law on Saturday and I think that started the downward spiral that led me to bake an entire pan of brownies late last night while watching the Broncos do their thing. But they were paleo brownies … so I don’t feel quite as guilty as maybe I should. I realize that I’ve shared a healthy(ish) brownie recipe before, and I still stand by that recipe, but this one is even easier than that one (which is always a plus) … and I do think they might be a little more chocolicious.

I’ve been playing around with a few different brownie recipes using coconut flour lately and this is the result of my tweaking this and tweaking that. I feel like it’s finally good enough to share and I hope you do too!

 

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DARK CHOCOLATE COCONUT FLOUR BROWNIES (and no, they do not taste like coconut)

 INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate cocoa powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon butter (melted)
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon honey

 DIRECTIONS 

  • Preheat oven to 300°F.
  • Grease 8×8 baking dish.
  • Mix together all ingredients in a large bowl.
  • Pour into baking dish and bake for 30 minutes (or until toothpick inserted in center of pan comes out clean).
  • Let cool before cutting.
  • Try not to eat the entire pan 🙂

 

 

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Happy Eating!

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Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

Surprise! It’s a mid-week post! At some point today I’m going to be baking up several loaves of this pumpkin chocolate chip bread, so I thought … why not share the recipe? If anyone out there is looking for a last minute, simple, delicious dessert for Thanksgiving (in addition to everyone’s favorite pumpkin pie), here’s your solution. Lord only knows when I’ll actually get around to baking today … I’m home with my adorable yet curious toddler, and I’ve got cleaning, packing, and errands on my agenda as well. So rather than making you wait for pictures of my baking experience, I’ll just leave you with the recipe and a picture of my dining room table from about this time last year, when I baked up a storm of things including 4 loaves of this deliciousness.

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PUMPKIN CHOCOLATE CHIP BREAD {makes (2) 9×5 loaves}

INGREDIENTS ~

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 15 oz canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup oil
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 1/4 cups chocolate chips

 

 DIRECTIONS 

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Grease (2) 9×5 loaf pans.
  • Mix together both flours, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg & salt in a large bowl.
  • In a separate bowl, mix together pumpkin, oil, eggs & water.
  • Stir pumpkin mixture into bowl of dry ingredients.
  • Stir in chocolate chips.
  • Divide batter between (2) loaf pans.
  • Bake about 60 minutes (or until toothpick inserted in center of loaf comes out clean).

 

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

 

Cast Iron Cobbler

How is it already Monday? I don’t feel quite prepared to take on the week, but it has begun so I guess I have no choice. So many things happened over the weekend and it just flew by too quickly. On Friday, my adorable sister-in-law, Jillian, and I had another “healthy” baking night, which happened to be very successful so be on the lookout for some of those recipes in the near future. On Saturday my husband and I had a very special outing at Staplehouse restaurant in Atlanta GA with some of our very best friends. Check out their website to find out what they’re all about (it’s pretty cool) – www.staplehouse.com. When my dad passed away in 2013, these special friends of ours purchased a brick with his name on it to be used during the construction of the Staplehouse patio. So not only did we get to enjoy a great dinner with great friends, but we got to see my dad’s brick, which was pretty amazing. And last but not least, we had my husband’s family over yesterday evening for an early Thanksgiving/double birthday celebration – talk about killing THREE birds with one stone, because we sure did.

My family travels for Thanksgiving so it’s become tradition for us to host an early Thanksgiving for my husband’s side. In addition, my mother-in-law and sister-in-law both have birthdays right around Thanksgiving, so we just throw those in there as well and have a grand ole celebration. We had ourselves a feast this time, with smoked turkey, shrimp cocktail, grilled potatoes, green bean casserole, wild rice, pineapple casserole, rolls, and my favorite part of any meal … dessert. For this celebration I made your typical pumpkin pie and one of my favorites – my cast iron cobbler, which I’ll be sharing with you below.

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CAST IRON COBBLER (serves 8)

INGREDIENTS ~

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 4 1/2 cups berries (I recommend a combo of blueberries, raspberries & blackberries)

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 DIRECTIONS 

  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Mix together flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder and salt in large bowl.
  • Cut in butter in small pieces and lightly mix with hands until mixture resembles coarse crumbs, like so.

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  • Stir in boiling water until mixture is evenly moist. Now you’ve got your dough.

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  • In a separate bowl, dissolve corn starch in cold water.

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  • Mix in remaining 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar, lemon juice and berries. I could have easily stopped here and taken a bite, but I refrained.

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  • Transfer berry mixture to a cast iron skillet and bring to a boil on the stove top (stirring frequently).

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  • Drop dough mixture by small drops into the skillet.

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  • Bake for 25 minutes or until dough is golden brown.

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Enjoy eating this for dessert, snack time, breakfast time, whatever … it’s that good! Possibly even better with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top 🙂

Pumpkin Cheesecake Trifle

I had planned on posting about a fun craft project today, but the craft project never happened. I then thought I might be able to share some of my awesome shopping finds in regards to our den redesign, but there were no finds to be had this weekend. Don’t you hate those days when you know exactly what you want but nobody has it? Well I had three of those days this weekend. Those are the days I tell myself I should have been a designer because nobody can seem to create the things I envision. I get this specific image in my mind and think to myself … yes, that would be perfect! And then when nothing I see comes close to that specific image, I go empty-handed for a while until finally deciding that there are other things that will work. So that’s where I’m at right now, which is part of the reason our den redesign is still pending and I have nothing to share with you in regards to that.

So I’m sharing a recipe with you instead. I always feel like I’m cheating when I share a recipe. I don’t know why – I seriously only share the recipes I truly love and that others have truly enjoyed as well. Trust me, I have a lot of baking/cooking disappointments that I do not share, and you’re welcome for that.

I found a Pumpkin Cheesecake Trifle recipe on Pinterest last year and it was such a favorite among my friends/family that I ended up making it four times within about three months. I’ve made it once this Fall but I imagine it will be made at least two more times. It’s so easy, no-bake, and seriously delicious. Plus it has pumpkin in it, which I think is considered a super food in some people’s books, so there’s that. And lastly, what’s Fall without a fun recipe spin on your traditional pumpkin pie?

PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE TRIFLE (serves 16)

(recipe adapted from momontimeout.com’s Pumpkin Cheesecake Trifle)

INGREDIENTS ~

  • 2 Sara Lee pound cakes (angel food cake would be a lower-calorie alternative, but who’s counting?)
  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 16 ounces cream cheese
  • 15 ounces canned pure pumpkin
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (plus some for dusting the top)

DIRECTIONS 

  • In a small bowl, beat together powdered sugar and heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Set aside. This is your whipped cream. As you may or may not be able to tell from this picture, I accidentally used heavy cream instead of heavy whipping cream – BAKING FAIL – not really. My whipped cream was definitely on the light and runny side, but it still tasted delicious. My pics just weren’t very pretty 😦

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  • In another bowl, beat cream cheese until light and fluffy.
  • Add pumpkin, brown sugar, vanilla extract & pumpkin pie spice and continue beating until thoroughly combined.
  • Fold in 1/3 of the whipped cream to the pumpkin mixture.

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  • Cut pound cakes into small pieces and line the bottom of your trifle dish with 1/3 of your pieces.

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  • Layer with 1/3 of the pumpkin mixture and then 1/3 of the remaining whipped cream.
  • Repeat these layers 2 more times, ending with the remaining whipped cream.
  • Sprinkle top with additional pumpkin pie spice.
  • Refrigerate until ready to serve. I personally think the longer it sits, the better.

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Hope you enjoy! And hope you all have a wonderful week!

For the Love of Figs

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I think I’ve mentioned before that this was not our best gardening year. The heat and lack of rain over the summer, combined with me not making the garden a top priority (or really any priority), led to frequent grocery store runs in order to get the fruits and veggies we desired. We did eventually get some tomatoes after having to plant a second batch due to a couple of dogs having a nice dig. A few okra and berries blessed us with their appearance as well, but neither provided us with enough to do anything worthwhile. Unfortunately everything else in our backyard garden was a no-show.

I was beginning to think our beloved fig tree wasn’t going to do anything either, but lo and behold it finally decided to give us some figs at the very end of August. I picked what I’m pretty sure will be our final harvest last week and even though they were tiny, you better believe I was going to do something with them. I should mention here how much I love figs. I never knew this until we planted a fig tree simply because I thought the tree was “really pretty”. I knew I liked fig newtons, but who doesn’t like sugar-laden fruit cookies? I’ve collected a pretty good number of fig recipes because there’s actually a lot you can do with them. Who knew? I only pulled 16 tiny ones this last time though, so I was a little limited as to what I could make.

We just so happened to be hosting a small dinner party Friday night so I decided to use the figs for an appetizer which I have made several times because it is just that good. The recipe came from a 2010 Southern Living magazine which was handed down to me from my mom, because as much as I love some Southern Living, Lord knows I haven’t been domesticated for that long. I highly recommend this one for a quick, easy, and unique app.

BAKED FIG CROSTINI (makes 12)

(recipe adapted from Southern Living, August 2010)

INGREDIENTS ~

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  • 12 figs
  • 4 ounces cooked bacon, chopped
  • 4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1 tablespoon pecans, finely chopped and lightly toasted
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 French Bread baguette, sliced

DIRECTIONS ~

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Place pecans in single layer on baking sheet and toast for about 2-3 minutes.
  • Place baguette slices in single layer on baking sheet and bake until lightly toasted (about 5-6 minutes).
  • Stir together bacon, goat cheese, pecans and thyme. Look at that deliciousness.

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  • Cut figs in half. Aren’t they just so pretty inside?

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  • Press back of small spoon into centers of fig halves to make small indentations.
  • Spoon mixture into indentations.
  • Place figs on baking sheet and bake for 7 minutes.
  • Carefully place 2 fig halves onto each baguette slice.
  • Drizzle slices with honey, serve immediately, enjoy thoroughly, and go back for seconds.

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I realize many of you probably can’t get your hands on any more figs until next year, so I apologize for the teaser recipe, but I promise you it’s worth saving 🙂

By the way, can we discuss how pretty a fig tree really is? Just look at those leaves and that fruit …

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Hope everyone has a great week!

Healthy(ish) Cookies

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I figured since I shared a healthier version of a brownie a few weeks ago, it was due time for me to share a healthier version of a cookie. To be perfectly honest I was hoping to have two recipes to share with you, but considering the house was almost set on fire while attempting to make the apple pie meringues, I only have one. This latest baking experience proved to be way more exciting than my last, in part due to almost setting the house on fire, but also because it involved my sister-in-law (Jillian), pizza & wine … a pretty awesome Friday night if you ask me. These cookies I’ll be sharing with you are seriously good, end of story, and I give full credit to two people – Jillian for finding the recipe and thesmoothielover.com for coming up with the recipe.

I’ll go ahead and warn you that these cookies are made with avocado BUT I promise they don’t taste like avocado. I actually swear, which is even better than promising, so I hope you’ll trust me. I had made lemon pudding in the past using avocado and dates and it turned out to be quite delicious, so the avocado didn’t deter me at all, but I can imagine it might make some of you a little hesitant.

These cookies were so tasty that I quickly whipped up another batch the following night. I mean, I had 1.5 avocados left and they were just going to go bad so what was I to do? I’ll admit that I added a few more dark chocolate chips the second night AND I let them cool longer, and I swear they were even better … so good that I may have even had a couple for breakfast.

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HEALTHY AVOCADO CHOCOLATE COOKIES (makes 10 cookies)

(recipe adapted from thesmoothielover.com)

INGREDIENTS ~

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  • 3/4 cup avocado flesh (very ripe, but not brown) ***
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup dark cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips (or maybe a few more)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

DIRECTIONS ~

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Using a hand mixer or food processor, mix together avocado and coconut sugar until smooth.
  • Add egg and mix until combined.
  • Slowly add dark cocoa powder & baking soda while mixing (mix until combined).
  • Stir in dark chocolate chips.
  • Line baking sheet(s) with parchment paper and place spoonfuls of batter onto sheet. The batter’s pretty sticky so you probably won’t get perfect drops of dough on your sheets (I surely didn’t as you can see in the pic below. A little funky looking maybe, but definitely not funky tasting).

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  • Flatten each with back of spoon.
  • Bake for 8-10 minutes (cookies should come off parchment paper pretty easily at this point).
  • Let cool. It’s recommended that you store them in the fridge in an airtight container overnight, but who’s that patient?

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*** My local grocer didn’t have very ripe avocados at the time, so the ones we used were still pretty firm. This made it really difficult to blend the avocados up completely since we were using a hand mixer. I even ended up with some unblended avocado in one of my cookies (see pic below). I promise it was still delicious, it just startled me for a minute.

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As for those apple pie meringues, I’ll leave you with a picture that pretty much sums up why I’m not sharing that recipe with you (this was the good pan too; the other one was so burned that I had to get the Scrub Daddy out and it basically ruined him). I determined that I might need a little practice making meringue, as well as a little practice with oven chemistry. Jillian & I may tackle the recipe again though, so I might be able to share it with you someday 🙂 Hope everyone has a great week!

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Healthy(ish) Brownies

Disclaimer – I wouldn’t consider these brownies to be quite as healthy as your fruits and veggies.

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With that disclaimer out of the way, I have to say that for my first “healthy” baking experience I was pretty impressed with the way these brownies turned out. I have pinned God knows how many gluten-free and paleo dessert recipes on Pinterest, but up until yesterday I had yet to actually try one out. I am not gluten-intolerant, nor do I stick to a strict paleo way of eating, but considering how very large my sweet tooth happens to be, I thought it wise to at least try to be as healthy as possible when baking stuff that’s not meant to be good for me. By the way, why do people refer to it as a sweet tooth? I’m pretty confident that my entire mouth is full of sweet teeth. Anyways, this recipe definitely satisfied my sweet whatever and I hope it does for you too. I typically like my brownies gooey and maybe even a little under-cooked (Salmonella anyone?), but these definitely ran a little on the drier side – not too dry, just a little drier than I tend to normally like. I think maybe next time I’ll try baking them a little less, but I’m not sure how much of a difference it will really make. These also tasted a little more bitter than I’m used to (I’m guessing due to the lack of a crazy amount of refined sugar), but I have to say it was quite a nice change for my taste buds.

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HEALTHY(ISH) BROWNIES (serves 12)

(recipe adapted from thesweet-toothlife.com’s better than box brownies)

INGREDIENTS ~

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  • 1/3 cup Enjoy Life semi-sweet mini chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup expeller pressed coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup unrefined coconut sugar
  • 1/2 cup almond meal/flour
  • 1 tablespoon coconut flour
  • 3/4 cup (sifted) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda

DIRECTIONS ~

  • Preheat oven to 325°F and grease 8×8 baking pan.
  • Melt chocolate chips and coconut oil together in microwave safe bowl for about 35 seconds. Stir to combine.

I should mention here that this was my 1st time using coconut oil so I wasn’t expecting it to look the way it did (like a big gloppy mess). However, once it’s mixed and melted with the chocolate chips, it looks pretty normal (see pics below).

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  • Let chocolate chip/coconut oil mixture cool and then pour into blender or food processor (I used the Nutri Ninja and it worked great).
  • Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.
  • Scrape batter into greased baking pan and smooth with spatula.
  • Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.
  • Let brownies cool, cut into squares, and enjoy your healthy(ish) treat!
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Now that my pantry is stocked with these “wholesome” ingredients, be on the lookout for more healthy(ish) recipes 🙂

Triple Berry Trifle

With it being in the 90’s once again in the metro Atlanta area (ugh), I thought it fitting to share another mini pie in a jar recipe – because what is more refreshing than that? Actually I can think of several things that are more refreshing than a mini dessert, but I’m going to share anyway because I thought it turned out to be pretty darn tasty and worth sharing.

A few weeks ago we had some friends over for dinner and although the day leading up to the dinner was extremely busy, I refused to serve a store-bought dessert. I don’t know why. Probably because the rest of the meal was so simple I wanted to prove myself somehow, or more likely it was probably so I would have something to blog about one day. I needed it to be relatively simple though as I didn’t have a lot of free time on my hands. My mind quickly drifted to one of my absolute favorite summer-time desserts – a strawberry cheesecake trifle that is seriously to die for. I’ve yet to meet someone who doesn’t want to eat approximately 6 servings of it (besides my niece who for some odd reason doesn’t like strawberries). I’ve made that dessert too many times though so I couldn’t do that again. Thinking of that trifle got my creative juices flowing though and I decided to come up with some sort of a berry trifle and serve it up in a fun way – which can only mean serving it up in my favorite piece of serveware ever … the one and only mason jar.

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MINI TRIPLE BERRY TRIFLES IN A JAR (serves 4)

INGREDIENTS ~

  • 2 2/3 cups berries (I love the combination of blueberries, raspberries & blackberries)
  • 1 1/3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 5 oz cream cheese (room temp)
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 oz plain greek yogurt
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 oz Cool Whip (thawed)
  • 1/3 pound cake, cut in small pieces (I personally love the Sara Lee pound cake found in the freezer aisle)

DIRECTIONS ~

  • Toss berries with granulated sugar and set aside.
  • Combine cream cheese and powdered sugar in a mixing bowl and beat with electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy. Beat in greek yogurt and vanilla extract.
  • Fold Cool Whip into cream cheese/sugar mixture using a rubber spatula.
  • Fold pound cake pieces into mixture using a rubber spatula.
  • Alternately layer mason jars with cake mixture then berry mixture all the way to the top (I ended up with 2 layers of cake mixture and 2 layers of berry mixture in each jar).
  • For picture purposes, I threw some extra blueberries on the very top of each jar to make them even prettier … and who doesn’t need a few extra blueberries in their life?

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Hope you enjoy as much as I did 🙂

Heaven on Earth (aka mini key lime pies in a jar)

007I had planned on doing one more post about my son’s nursery this morning, but after making these key lime pies in a jar over the weekend I felt utterly responsible for sharing the recipe as the crowd they were served to said they were the best things they had ever tasted. Okay I made that part up, but I am pretty sure they were very thoroughly enjoyed. Besides what’s a Monday without a dessert-in-a-jar recipe?

I have toyed around with key lime recipes over the years but have never been truly satisfied with my creations. Store-bought always tasted better. I do not claim to be a mastermind baker, so that could be part of the problem, but the stuff I made was never lime-tasting enough for my liking. I remember making key lime squares once and my husband asked me (immediately after he scarfed one down) what they were supposed to be. I mean, really?

After a few adaptations to some of the (many) key lime pie recipes out there on the web, I think I finally came up with something that satisfies my taste buds. Hopefully it will satisfy yours as well.

The 8oz Ball jars I ended up using can be purchased at your local Target or Walmart. I debated between the 4oz and 8oz jars for a minute, but then decided that 4 ounces isn’t quite enough dessert AND who doesn’t want extra room for whipped cream?

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MINI KEY LIME PIES IN A JAR (serves 8)

CRUST ~

  • 2 cups crushed graham crackers
  • 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 5 tablespoons melted butter

FILLING ~

  • 2 – 14 oz cans sweetened condensed milk
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon lime zest
  • 1.25 cups lime juice (bottled or squeezed)

I had intended to fresh-squeeze enough limes to make the entire 1.25 cups of lime juice, however after squeezing 8 key limes I gave up and used regular bottled lime juice for the remainder … maybe that’s the secret!

DIRECTIONS ~

  • Preheat oven to 350 F and place jars in baking dish or on baking sheet.
  • Add crushed graham cracker crumbs and sugar to bowl and stir with fork.
  • Add melted butter to graham cracker/sugar mixture and stir with fork until combined.
  • Divide graham cracker mixture among jars and press gently into bottom of jars.
  • Add sweetened condensed milk, egg yolks, lime zest and lime juice to bowl and whisk until combined.
  • Divide filling mixture among jars evenly.
  • Bake for 15 minutes or until filling is set.
  • Cool at room temperature for 45 minutes, then cover with lids or foil and refrigerate for a few hours.
  • Before serving, top with whipped cream. Garnish with more lime zest and a lime wedge to make it really pretty! You’ll see in the pictures I failed to do that – I had the best intentions though.

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