Tag Archives: chocolate

Dark Chocolate Banana Bread


This bread is not for the faint of heart.  It is rich, dense, and velvety to the extreme.  I had a few ripe bananas sitting on my counter and since I’m not one to waste good food, an immediate baking need was obviously in order.   It just so happened that I also had a chocolate craving (when do I not) so after a little plinking around my Pinterest board, I found a recipe from Joy the Baker that satisfied both needs.  Never one to leave well enough alone, a little modifying was performed and the resulting bread is just short of chocolate heaven.

I’m going on record to say this recipe is healthy as well.  It has a few of the major food groups (fruit, grain, dairy) and is made with dark chocolate.  Antioxidants people!!  I’m fairly sure it cancels out the calories.

Dark Chocolate Banana Bread
adapted from Joy the Baker

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened Dark Cocoa Powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 stick (8 Tbs) unsalted butter, at room temp
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
2 large or 3 small ripe bananas, mashed (approximately 1 cup)
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup dark chocolate chips

1.  Preheat oven to 350 deg.

2.  Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan and place it on an insulated baking sheet or stack two regular sheets together.

3.  Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt and baking soda.

4.  Beat the butter at medium speed until soft, about a minute.  Add the sugars and beat for 2 minutes.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating for a minute after each.

5.  Reduce the mixer to low speed and mix in the bananas.  Add the dry ingredients in three batches, only mixing long enough to incorporate it into the batter.  Add the heavy cream and mix until incorporated.  Stir in the chocolate chips and scrap batter into prepared pan.

6.  Bake for 30 minutes. Cover the bread loosely with foil and continue to bake for another 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Transfer the pan to a rack for 20 minutes before running a knife around the edges of the bread and unmolding it onto a second rack.  Let cool to room temp before slicing.

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Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chip Banana Bars


One of the best things I have found that has come about in the age of the Internet is the ability to reconnect with people from your past.  As a person who is a few *ahem* years past school age, I had grown out of touch with a number of high school friends.  Not that long ago, most people would only see those that they went to school with every 10 to 15 years at their high school reunion.  Now I’m wondering just what I’m going to talk to people about at my next reunion as we have all been Facebook stalking each other for years.

This recipe came from one of those reconnections to the past.  Erin posted this herself a while back and I knew that I had to try it.  I did make an addition of peanut butter chips simply because peanut butter and banana is a marriage made in heaven.  That mixed with the milk chocolate chips……  

I don’t know which is better, the soft slightly gooey center section or the lightly caramelized edges.

I dare you to eat just one.

Banana Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars
slightly adapted from The Flaming Toaster

3/4 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2-3 medium)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup peanut butter chips

1.  Heat oven to 350 degrees.

2.  Grease a 15x10x1-inch baking pan (jelly roll pan); set aside.

3.  In a medium mixing bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add the granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt; beat till combined. Beat in the egg, bananas, and vanilla till combined. Beat in flour till combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

4.  Spread in the prepared baking pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into bars.

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Filed under Chocolate, Dessert, Recipes

Baby Sleep Issues Update Pt. 2

When we last left off on The Young and the Sleepless, our heroine was disparately attempting to wrap her sleep deprived brain around a solution to rid her life of the dreaded Sleep Bandit.  She tried everything she could think of but to no avail.  Finally after a seemly random full night of sleep, she used her slightly fuzzy powers of reasoning to determine the most likely cause of the Sleep Bandits temporary absence……

So was it the Vit D or the absence of decaf coffee and chocolate in my diet.  The Vit D was easy to try.  Her wonderful day care provider made sure that Evelyn was out in the sun off and on most of next day.  That night, she did go down easier and had one three hour stretch of sleep but then was back up every 2 hours.  Check that one off the list.

That left the decaf coffee and chocolate.  I already knew that Evelyn was sensitive to what I ate.  A single glass of anything citrus (orange juice, lemonade, etc) will cause her to empty the entire content of her tummy on whoever is holding her at some point by the end of the day (or on your aunt’s beautiful hardwood floor. Sorry Gayle!).  I had seen charts showing the amount of caffeine in “decaf” coffee (25 mg) and tea (12 mg).  Dark chocolate is on there too (20 mg). While the numbers are smaller in comparison to regular coffee (75-120 mg), it’s nothing to sneeze at when you think I was drinking three cups per day with the occasional piece (or 3 pieces) of dark chocolate per day (hey, it’s free at work).  I might as well have been drinking a cup or two of regular coffee.  I did a little searching of the internet and found that apparently this is a known issue for babies under 6 months.  If fact it can be worse for people who avoided caffeine during pregnancy.  Dang me and trying to be healthy during pregnancy.

To test this theory, I cut out all coffee, tea and chocolate for two days.  Then took the pumped milk from the third day directly to daycare.  Halfway through the second day of exclusively caffeine free milk, Evelyn had a huuuge diaper and then was a changed baby.  She was more smiley, napped better and generally gave off happy baby vibes.  That evening she woke only once to eat at 3:30 and then again right before it was time to get up anyway.  Humph.  As the days went on, the happier baby continued to be stick around and the sleep continued to go well.  Yay?

To cap off the study, on Monday she went back to daycare and went back to eating the older caffinated milk.  During the day she was cranky.  Night time sleep, up twice.  Tuesday night sleep, every two hours.  Uggg. 

So the conclusion is that if you have a cranky colicy no sleeping baby it may be the caffeine in the milk.  Poop.

Luckily milk chocolate has very little caffeine or I might have to switch to formula.  (kidding!!)




Filed under breastfeeding, Evelyn, sleep issues, Teething, Tips

Smore Bars

You know smores, the ones where you need to build a fire, burn it down to coals, stick a marshmallow on a stick, put the marshmallow over the coals while turning your face left and right in an effort to provide some kind of relief to the burning heat, blow out your marshmallow that just caught on fire, create a sandwich with the now burnt marshmallow with graham cracker and chocolate, then make a huge mess trying to eat the thing as the chocolate is hard, the graham cracker is crumbly and the marshmallow is gooey.  But oh do they taste good!

Want in on a secret?  You can make smores at home without the mess and burned face.


Blend up two packages of graham crackers into a powder.  If you don’t have a food processor you can do this in a blender or put it in a large ziplock and whack at it with a rolling pin.

Mix in salt, sugar and melted butter.
Press the moistened graham cracker, withholding 1/2 a cup, into a pan lined with tin foil and sprayed with cooking spray then bake until lightly golden.Smore+Bar+4

Melt 3 cups of milk chocolate chips and spread them over the graham cracker layer.

Press 3 1/2 cups of mini marshmallows into the chocolate and sprinkle the withheld graham crackers over any visible chocolate.  Put the whole thing under the broiler for 20-30 seconds until the marshmallows are light to medium brown.  Seriously, watch those marshmallows closely.  My last batch of these literally caught on fire in under a minute.  🙂

Put the bars into the fridge for at least 2 hours to cool the chocolate.  Then lift out and cut into bars.

Patriotic Smores!


Smore Bars
adapted from Anne Thornton


  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
  • 18 plain graham crackers
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups milk chocolate chips
  • 3 1/2 cups mini-marshmallows


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom and sides of a 9 by 13-inch baking pan with foil. You want to leave about 4 inches of overhang on the 2 opposite sides. Grease the foil with cooking spray.

In your food processor, grind the graham crackers into a fine meal. In a large bowl, combine your crumbs with the sugar, salt and melted butter. Set aside a heaping 1/2 cup of the crumb mixture for the topping. Evenly press the remaining crumb mixture into the bottom the foil-lined pan. Put the crust into the oven and bake until it is golden brown,12 to 15 minutes. Let cool while you prepare the chocolate.

Melt the milk chocolate in a saucepan over low heat, stirring continuously until fully melted. Or, you can microwave the chocolate on low power, stirring after 2 minutes.

Pour the melted chocolate over the cooled graham cracker crust. Spread the chocolate evenly over the crust. Sprinkle the marshmallows over the chocolate and press them lightly into the chocolate. Sprinkle the reserved crumb mixture over and in between the marshmallows so that you cannot see the chocolate peaking through the marshmallows. Broil the bars 6 inches from the broiler until the marshmallows are golden brown, 20-30 seconds.

Refrigerate the bars until the chocolate is hard about 2 hours. Lift out of the pan and cut into 24 squares.



Filed under Chocolate, Dessert, Recipes

Black Bottom Cupcake Bites

I’ve always felt that black bottom cupcakes are a delicious juxtaposition of flavors.  There’s the dark, dense sweetness of the chocolate and the rich tartness of the cream cheese center.  I was a little wary of trying them at first since I’m not really a fan of cheesecake (I sin to many I know) and the white center sounded suspiciously like the stuff.  Luckily, I was at Steve’s parents house a few years ago and my then future mother-in-law offered me one she had baked.  Thank goodness for eating out of politeness and fear of insulting the mother of the man you love!
For my Christmas baking this year I made these into ‘bite’ form to fit easier into my gift boxes.  Two bites and these things are gone so its a good thing the recipe makes about 36.  Although, since they are so much smaller they have less calories, thus you can eat more of them right?  Right?


Black Bottom Cupcakes Bites
Adapted from the The Great Book of Chocolate

For the filling
4 ounces cream cheese, regular or reduced fat, at room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

For the cupcakes1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
5 tablespoons natural unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
1/3 cup unflavored vegetable oil
1 tablespoon white or cider vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Make the filling
1. Beat together the cream cheese, granulated sugar, and egg until smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips. Set aside.
Make the cupcakes
1. Adjust the rack to the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Spray a mini muffin tin with cooking spray.
2. In a medium bowl sift together the flour, brown sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, mix together the water, oil, vinegar, and vanilla.
3. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and stir in the wet ingredients, stirring until just smooth.
4. Divide the batter among the muffin cups, filling about 1/2 full. Spoon a teaspoon of the filling into the center of each cupcake.
5. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until the tops are slightly golden brown and the cupcakes feel springy when gently pressed. 


Filed under Dessert, Recipes

Pumpkin Banana Muffins with Chocolate Chips and Pecans

I know these are delicious because Rose can’t pass any where near them without frantically signing ‘please, food, please, food’ and pointing with a slight look of panic on her face.  I don’t know if it’s the banana, the pumpkin, the pecans or the chocolate that puts the big grin on her face when she gets a piece of it in her hand but whatever it is, it keeps me in the kitchen making more.
Pumpkin Banana Muffins with Chocolate Chips
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 cup butter, room temp
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup toasted pecans, roughly chopped
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 medium banana, chopped
Preheat oven to 375F.  Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and spices.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in eggs, one at a time, then the pumpkin puree and vanilla extract.
Gradually add the flour mixture into the pumpkin mixture, stirring just until everything is combined.  Fold in the pecans, chocolate chips and banana.
Divide batter evenly into prepared muffin cups.
Bake 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean.
Turn muffins out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
adapted from Baking Bites

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Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies

How cute are these?!  Yes, yes I know it’s past the Christmas season but with the crazy of the holidays I never got around posting them.  I just love the colors in these cookies with the deep brown of the chocolate to the stark white of frosting with that lovely deep red of the cherry.  It doesn’t hurt that they taste fabulous.
Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies
from Pillsbury.com
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 tbs brandy
1 cup powdered sugar
36 maraschino cherries with stems, drained
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 tsp oil
1.  Heat oven to 375 degrees F.  In large bowl, beat sugar, butter, vanilla and egg yolk until light and fluffy.  Add flour and cocoa, beat until well combined.
2.  Shape dough into 1 inch balls and place on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  With index finger, make indentation in center of each cookie.
3.  Bake 7 to 9 minutes or until set.  Immediately remove from cookie sheets.  Cool completely.
4.  Meanwhile, in medium bowl, beat the filling ingredients until smooth.  Spoon 1/2 tsp of filling into center of each cookie.  Press cherry into filling.
5.  In a small saucepan, melt the chocolate chips with oil over low heat, stirring constantly.  Spoon or drizzle melted chocolate over the cherry on each cookie.  Let stand until the chocolate is set.


Filed under Chocolate, Dessert, Recipes