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My Eggland’s Best Birthday Brinner, Bacon Devilled Eggs & a Giveaway!

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Last month, Eggland’s Best contacted me to see if I would like to participate in the “Eggland’s Best Double Dozen” in honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness month, to help raise awareness and funding for the fight against breast cancer.  To participate, I would host a brunch or brinner party using their eggs and blog about it.  Well, Dennis’ Aunt Dorothy is a breast cancer survivor and so I would have agreed simply because they offered to make a $100 donation in my name to Susan G. Komen for the Cure, but they sweetened the deal even more by sending me a box of goodies, including free egg coupons, and a gift card to pay for all my ingredients!  It was an offer I couldn’t refuse. :)

I decided to host a brinner party for my birthday with the money and free eggs they supplied me.  I got enough coupons to give to all my guests, and to make all my egg-y dishes.  Since the weather has been so nice, I decided to have an outdoor dinner and though it rained the day before, the weather behaved itself in honor of my birthday and was quite nice the day of the celebration!

The only problem was that I started dinner too late, forgetting the sun sets earlier in fall, and we ended up eating most of the meal by moonlight!  Learn from my mistake, and be prepared with candles if your outdoor dinner party runs late.  I have to say, though, it was a relaxing and unique experience.  You will see from the photos that I had less and less daylight as they become more and more terrible. I apologize for that!

The first thing I made was poppy seed crescent rolls, which calls for four eggs.  It’s a recipe I’ve been holding onto for a few years which comes from the recipe box of none other than my heroine, Laura Ingalls Wilder.  Did you know she has a cookbook?

I’m sorry to report they were disappointing. Everyone said they were “good,” or “OK,” and I agreed.  If I hadn’t put a lemon glaze on them, they wouldn’t have been worth eating.  They weren’t bad, but they weren’t good enough to share the recipe.  But they did turn out pretty!

I got the hashbrown casserole and two spinach-ricotta quiches in the oven and while they were baking, I shot some pics of my birthday “cake,” a Chocolate Oblivion Truffle Torte, which I topped with good-quality raspberry preserves because I adore the combination of dark chocolate and raspberries.

I’ve made this once before for Dennis’ birthday long before I was blogging, and I’m happy I finally made it again so I could take pics and share the recipe. It is just outstanding.  Creamy, melt-in-your mouth rich chocolate, the texture lightened with whipped eggs (6 of them, which is why I chose this for my brinner–because I could use so many of the Eggland’s Best eggs in it!) and butter.  And those are the only ingredients!  This is for the serious chocolate lover.  It’s like eating a slice of chocolate truffle or mousse.

I did a fall tablescape because of the time of year, and I saw this cornucopia and had to have it in honor of my blog’s name. :)

After shooting this, we added two more chairs, just in case you counted the plates and were wondering why the chairs didn’t add up.  :)

And in honor of my blog’s Thankful Thursdays feature, I just had to have this pumpkin too!

I am thankful that breast cancer does not run in my family, and that my husband’s aunt survived it with flying colors!  She seems even healthier now than before the cancer and she is an inspiration.

While we were waiting on the food to finish baking, my nephew, Owen, and I posed for some silly photos with the plush egg that Eggland’s Best sent me.  Someone please warn me if those are gang signs he’s making!  lol It’s so funny because his mama used to do the same crazy things with her hands in photos that he does now.

By the time the quiche was done, the sun was nearly set so the following photos are awful!  Here is the spinach-ricotta quiche,which I wasn’t overly impressed with anyway so I don’t regret not having great photos to blog the recipe with.

The hashbrown casserole (à la Cracker Barrel) was another story!  This was my favorite dish of the evening.  It’s been a long time since I’ve had it at Cracker Barrel, so I’m not sure how close this was in taste but without comparing the two, I thought this was incredible.  So creamy and cheesy.  Oh, yums.  Thankfully there was a tiny bit leftover so I was able to snap a picture at home the next morning in better light for when I share the recipe!

I don’t know if I’ve ever shared a picture of Owen’s mama, my sister, Lacey, so here she is for the curious, digging into her food:

I didn’t bring the veggies out until later, so here is a picture of my plate before they were added.  You can see I also have meatballs on my plate, and they’re the same ones I bring to almost any party.  I have the recipe here.  The cups, though not filled yet, later housed iced coffee with sweet cream, which I made by combining a can of sweetened condensed milk with a cup of heavy cream. Yums.

I finally took off my apron so you can see my shirt.  I wore my hot pink tank top underneath an Aerosmith (who just happens to have a song called “Pink!”) net shirt in honor of breast cancer awareness month and the purpose of the party.

The crazy thing is that I wore this exact same shirt on my birthday last year for my 80s themed party!  This is me and my sisters at my party last year (Lacey is in the middle-she was a redhead last year-and Danielle on the right):

http://a8.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/65795_480086506479_541706479_7296860_3623895_n.jpg

Here is the only photo which hints that we ate vegetables!  I just nuked some Green Giant steamers and we poured them out onto our plates.  We couldn’t see anything anyway, and we were kind of like barbarians in the dark, as you can see from the devastation of the table. LOL!


After all these photo shenanigans, I realized I forgot to serve the bacon devilled eggs!  I ran in and brought them out and forced everyone to take them, despite their full stomachs.  Although I was sure these would be the winning dish of the evening, I guess devilled eggs are either a love ’em or hate ’em thing, even if they have bacon in them.  I love devilled eggs and along with the others present who did too, I loved these!  The bacon and cheese really made the filling good enough to eat with a spoon as a meal.  :)  I took this photo of the leftovers in better light:

Bacon Devilled Eggs

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

10 eggs
1 cup mayonnaise (I used homemade Miracle Whip)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (I used regular)
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (I used 1)
8 slices bacon, fried crispy and crumbled into tiny pieces (um…I used a lot more :) )
1 cup cheddar cheese, finely shredded
Salt, pepper and Tabasco sauce to taste
Smoked paprika for topping

Hard boil the eggs and cool completely. Once cooled, peel them, then slice in half, placing the yolks in the bowl of a food processor. Plate the egg whites on a serving platter. Add the mayonnaise, mustard, and vinegar to the egg yolks, and process until smooth. Add the bacon and cheese and process until combined. Season to taste.

Transfer to a small Ziploc bag and snip off the corner to use as a piping bag. Squeeze filling into each egg white half. you will have a lot of filling so be generous with it. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Sprinkle with paprika just before serving.

Recipe source: Cairns Manor

OK, now the moment you’ve all been waiting for.  As the title of this post suggests, I have a giveaway for you!  Eggland’s Best is offering to award one of my readers with a prize pack which includes:

  • 2 Free EB Dozen coupons (Any variety- classic, cage-free, or organic)
  • 1 Free EB Hard Cooked and Peeled variety coupon
  • 4 EB ramekins
  • 1 EB apron
  • 1 EB whisk
  • 1 EB spatula
  • 1 EB egg timer
  • 1 EB eco bag
  • 1 EB plush egg

If you would like to enter to win, leave an inspiring comment below, or share how you contribute to raising awareness or funding for breast cancer.

For additional entries you can do one or all of the following, and be sure to leave a separate comment for each, letting me know you did (or already do) it.

Drawing will end Friday at 11:59 PM, and winner will be announced Saturday along with the winner for this week’s Postcard Project prize.  Good luck!

Update: This giveaway is now closed. Congrats to Britany!

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Choco-Cherry Cheesecake Cookie Bars

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*Update 10/4/11: I won the editor’s choice award for these bars. Whee!

Editor's Choice: Choco-Cherry Cheesecake Cookie Bars

It’s Secret Recipe Club time again!  Members of the club are assigned a secret food blog each month and they can pick any recipe(s) they want to make from the blog.  On reveal day, nobody knows what other blogger was assigned their blog so I find it really fun.

This month I was super stoked to get assigned to Big Bear’s Wife, because Angie (who also happened to be my group’s host this month) has plenty of dessert recipes to choose from.  I think you all know by now that dessert is both my strength and my weakness!

I thought of Dennis when I saw these bars because he loves cherries and chocolate.  Chocolate-covered cherries (aka cherry cordials), black forest ice cream sundaes, cherry mudslides (layers of ice cream, cherry pie filling, and hot fudge), black forest cake.  He loves it all.  And I think I’ve mentioned my little cheesecake problem.  So yeah, I pretty much had to make these.  And then I pretty much had to get them out of the house as soon as possible so I didn’t eat the whole pan.  I managed to inhale two rows before he got them out the door to bring to work.  Doh!

I never buy packaged cookie dough (perhaps it’s hypocritical to be for cake mixes but against premade cookie dough-lol), so I adapted the recipe with homemade, but you can use a package of store-bought to save time.

Be sure to check out all the other secret recipe club blogs at the bottom of this post! ***Something is up with the linky thing so there may be no links at the bottom. While it is getting figured out, you can go to Big Bear’s Wife at the bottom of her post to see all the links.***

Choco-Cherry Cheesecake Cookie Bars

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

Sugar Cookie layer:
½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened to cool room temperature
½ cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 large egg
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon almond extract
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt

Filling & topping:
1 egg, separated
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
2 eggs
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated)
¼ teaspoon almond extract
3 drops red food color
1 jar (10 oz) maraschino cherries, finely chopped, drained on paper towels
1 (12 oz) bag semisweet chocolate chips (2 cups)
½ cup butter or margarine
½ cup whipping cream

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars for 3-4 minutes, until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the egg and extracts and mix until blended. Add half the flour, baking powder and salt. Mix. Add remaining flour and mix just until flour is incorporated and the dough is smooth and soft. Spread and press dough into the bottom of a 9”x13” baking dish. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until light golden brown. Meanwhile, in small bowl, beat 1 egg white until frothy. Brush egg white over crust. Bake 3 minutes longer or until egg white is set.

Meanwhile, in large bowl, beat cream cheese with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add egg yolk, 2 eggs, the condensed milk, almond extract and food color; beat until well blended. Stir in chopped cherries. Pour cherry mixture evenly over crust. Bake 20-25 minutes longer or until set. Cool completely, about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, in medium saucepan, heat chocolate chips and butter over low heat, stirring frequently, until melted and smooth. Remove from heat. Cool 20 minutes. Stir whipping cream into chocolate mixture until well blended. Spread over cooled bars. Refrigerate about 30 minutes or until chocolate is set. For bars, cut into 8 rows by 6 rows. Store in refrigerator.

Recipe source: adapted from Big Bear’s Wife



Raw Double Chocolate Brownie Bites

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I joined The Secret Recipe Club at the end of May, which was too late to participate in June, so I was super eager to finally get my assignment for July.  In this club, each month the participating bloggers make a recipe from another participant’s blog.  The blog is assigned secretly and at random, so no one else knows who’s making something from their blog that month.  I found the whole idea really fun and exciting!  (Don’t judge me.)

I was assigned to make a recipe from Ginger Lemon Girl’s blog, and my first reaction was a mixture of both trepidation and anticipation.  Carrie follows a gluten-free diet, and since I don’t have any dietary restrictions, I wasn’t sure if the recipes would appeal to me, but I knew I could adapt them if necessary and was ready for the challenge.  Once I started browsing her archives, I quickly realized that her recipes were good, wholesome foods that anyone could enjoy, and some of them were naturally gluten-free because no flour was involved.  Like this one!

When I came across Carrie’s recipe for Raw Chocolate Brownie Bites, I immediately thought of my love for Fudge Babies, and knew it was the one I’d have to make.

I made the recipe as it was written the first time (pictured above) and really liked it (maybe that’s an understatement, seeing as how I ate half the batch the first day!), though adding as much agave nectar to sweeten them as I liked (2 T) made them too soft for me. I wanted them chewier and a little sweeter (i.e. more dates!). I also wanted more of the chocolate dough so that it would completely cover the bottom of a loaf pan. The first batch, spreading it to the thickness I wanted, filled only 2/3 of the bottom of the pan. So I took Carrie’s rockin’ recipe and tweaked it a bit, and couldn’t help adding some mini chocolate chips to make them doubly chocolatey!  The chocolate chips only add 16 calories per Brownie Bite and don’t change the points, so I really recommend you put them over the top to make these bites, well, over the top. :)

For those unfamiliar with raw desserts, they are a lot like Larabars, but better (at least I think these are).  If you’ve never had those either, now’s your chance to see what all the fuss is about.  This isn’t like eating a candy bar or any sort of processed sweet, because it’s all-natural, raw, and much healthier (not to mention allergy-friendly), but they are very good!  I bet even your kids will love them.  Give them a try and see if you don’t agree.

Raw Double Chocolate Brownie Bites

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

1 cup pitted dates
1 1/3 cups raw nuts (I used 2/3 cups each almonds & pecans)
¼ cup cocoa powder
½ teaspoon Fleur de Sel or kosher salt
~or ¼ teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips

Soak the dates in a bowl of hot tap water for five minutes; drain well. (Skip the soaking step if you are using Medjool dates.) In a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, grind the nuts until very fine. Add the drained dates, cocoa powder, and salt. Process for a minute or two, until nuts are very fine and the mixture sticks together quite easily, if it’s not already coming together in the bowl. With the food processor running, add the vanilla through the feed tube and continue processing until the mixture starts to form a ball. Just run it for another 10-30 seconds and if it doesn’t form a ball, check the consistency and see if it will stick together when pinched. If not, add a teaspoon of water and continue processing, adding more water if necessary (it shouldn’t be) until the mixture is sticky. Pat the chocolate dough into a loaf pan. It is OK if oil separates a little and forms a layer on top; it will soak back down into the brownie dough while it sits in the refrigerator.   Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top and pat them down into the surface so that they will stick. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2-3 hours. Cut into 18 squares (6 rows x 3 rows) and enjoy cold.

Makes 18 Brownie Bites

Per Brownie Bite: 107 calories; 7 g fat; 1.1 g saturated fat; 1.6 g polyunsaturated fat; 3.8 g monounsaturated fat; 0 g cholesterol;  33.2 mg sodium; 151 mg potassium; 12 g carbohydrates; 2.4 g fiber; 2.1 g protein; Vitamin B-6 2%; Vitamin E 8%; Calcium 2.2%; Copper 10%; Iron 4%; Magnesium 8.4%; Manganese 21.3%; Phosphorous 5.6%; Riboflavin 3.6%; Thiamin 3.3%; Zinc 3.6%      3 Points Plus

Recipe source: adapted from Ginger Lemon Girl



Vegan Dark Chocolate Cake Pops

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Chocolate Covered Katie will be doing a “Hug A Vegan Dessert” post featuring all vegan dessert recipes submitted to her (click here for details!), and while I’m not vegan, I do enjoy vegan foods quite often, and I took this on as a challenge to create something fun and so delicious that anyone, regardless of dietary choices or restrictions, could enjoy.

Since I’ve had cake pops (and cake balls and cupcake bites) on the brain lately, I decided that’s what I would veganize.  It needed to be done, don’t you think?  Who says we need butter and eggs to make a delicious cake pop?  This recipe proves you don’t!  And you don’t even need any strange or fake ingredients to get your dairy and egg-free cake pops groove on.  This recipe consists of common, every day ingredients, or those that you can easily find at any supermarket without looking in any special sections.

And.

They are delicious!  In a side-by-side comparison I have to admit I do slightly prefer the taste of regular cake pops, but I donated most of this vegan batch to be served at a sister’s housewarming to non-vegan guests and they were none the wiser, all enjoying them thoroughly.  These have more of a homemade taste and aren’t as sweet, but there was nary a complaint and I even overheard the children begging for seconds.  I ate six of them myself, so that should give you an idea of how much I liked them since I pretty much blew my entire weekly Weight Watchers Points Plus allowance on them.

One reader recently left a comment on my cake pops post asking if they were any good because I failed to mention that in my post.  What?  Me, forget to rhapsodize about how great cake pops are?  How did that happen?  I couldn’t believe it!  Well, let me ameliorate that omission right here and now.

They. are. so. good.  The center is more dense than cake and the frosting, being mixed in, gives it a little bit of a truffle-like consistency (but still with the taste of cake), and the chocolate shell gives it more of a candy feel.  A cake pop is like the perfect blend of cake and candy.  And that is just what these are.  Cake-candy perfection.

Need I say more?  Let’s do this!

Vegan Dark Chocolate Cake Pops

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

1 recipe Wacky Cake, prepared with Dutch process cocoa powder
1 recipe Shiny Chocolate Icing, prepared with Dutch process cocoa powder
1 (12 oz) bag Ghirardelli semisweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon coconut oil
Sprinkles/nonpareils/cookie crumbs/other decorations of choice
50-70 lollipop sticks
Foam board

Optional packaging supplies:
50-70 clear treat bags
Curling ribbon or twist ties

**Veronica’s notes: I used only 2/3 of my Wacky Cake for this and still got more than 50 cake pops, so unless you need enough to feed an army, feel free to enjoy some of the cake before making it into cake pops.  If you do use the entire cake, you may need a second bag of chocolate chips.  Also, many canned frostings are naturally vegan, so if you prefer, you can save yourself a step and purchase a can of dark chocolate frosting to use in this recipe.  **

Pull off chunks of cooled cake and process them in a food processor in batches until fine crumbs, putting the crumbs in a large bowl.  Add 1 cup of the icing and mix up with your hands until the icing is completely incorporated.  You will most likely need more, but it is better to start with less than to add too much right off the bat. I added more after taking this photo, using about a cup total, and I should have used a little more–the dough was a little stiff and should have been less thick.

Roll into balls the size of walnuts (a small cookie scoop works well for portioning–mine fits a tablespoon of dough) and place on a cookie sheet.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate two hours or overnight.

Gently melt chocolate with the oil in a double boiler or in the microwave.  If using the microwave, stir every fifteen seconds after an initial 30 seconds.  Once chocolate is mostly melted, remove from heat and stir, stir, stir, until the residual heat melts the rest of it.  Don’t overheat your chocolate or it will become too thick to dip your pops.

Check out the ingredients-Ghirardelli semisweet chocolate chips are naturally vegan and have a delicious chocolate flavor with underlying floral notes.

Remove cake balls from refrigerator and dip one end of the lollipop sticks into the chocolate, then insert half way into each ball.  Once there are sticks in all the balls, place the tray in the fridge and take them out one by one to dip so they stay cold during the dipping process.

Take each by the stick and dip into the chocolate, tapping off excess, apply sprinkles if you wish, then insert into foam block to set up.  Repeat until all pops are dipped.

I was multitasking on Saturday. Behind the cake pops are two round cakes, wrapped until I had the time to frost them, two sticks of butter waiting to be turned into frosting, and cake tops in a small bowl, waiting to be turned into more cake pops once the icing was made. I never waste cake!

Most sprinkles are naturally vegan. I checked the labels on my entire sprinkles collection and found no animal products listed in the ingredients, inlcluding in the mini candy-coated chocolate drops in the Chocolate Accents jar.

Place your foam block in the refrigerator or freezer to set the chocolate. Once it’s hardened, you can arrange them on a platter or package them individually by slipping a small plastic treat bag over the top and tie it with a ribbon. The chocolate coating on these melts at a lower temperature than regular candy coating, so store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

OK, Katie, I’m reluctantly posting a picture here of me hugging my vegan dessert, just for you! I even kept my face makeup free because I’m lazy in keeping with the all-natural theme here.  :)

Wacky Cake {Vegan}

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Wacky Cake (also called Crazy Cake), so named because it uses vinegar and no eggs, is perhaps the first cake I ever baked, and the only recipe my Mom really passed on to me.  The first time she told me about it I was a little girl, and she fondly recalled baking it when she was a little girl at a time when I was lamenting the lack of eggs in the house.  I immediately asked if she still had the recipe, because anything that had chocolate in it and had such a cool name had to be good.  I was the designated family baker even at the age of nine, and I baked up this cake that night, much to my family’s delight.

It became popular during the depression, when eggs and butter were rationed and hard to come by, and many of us continue to enjoy it today because it is economical, delicious, and easy to make!  I’ve made this cake many times over the years, including as the base for my vegan Mounds Cake, and was just about to use it as the base in another recipe when I realized I should probably give it a post of it’s own so I can link to it each time I post a recipe that uses it, rather than typing it out each time.

Many recipes for Wacky Cake make an 8×8″ pan, but this one will give you a 9×13 pan (or two 9″ round layers) full of chocolatey goodness.  I’m also going to include a yummy vegan frosting recipe that goes really good on this cake.  The cake is great just with a dusting of powdered sugar (I really like to eat it a little warm like this), but the shiny chocolate icing really puts it over the top.  Enjoy!

Wacky Cake

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with pic

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon baking soda
½ cup cocoa powder*
¾ cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
2 cups cold water

*I use Dutch process cocoa powder because it makes a darker cake with more intense chocolate flavor, but you can use any kind you wish.  Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder is available in most supermarkets, which works well here.

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray and set aside. Sift all dry ingredients together into a large bowl.

Make three wells and put the oil in one, the vanilla in another and the vinegar in the last. Is this really necessary?  I don’t know, I’ve never disobeyed the recipe.  I like to think of it as keeping history alive.  Our foremothers made Wacky Cake this way, so who am I to change it now?

Pour water over it all and mix until well blended.  Look at all the bubbles as the vinegar interacts with the baking soda! This is the kind of science I can get behind.

Pour into prepared pan and bake 30-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool completely on a wire rack.  Frost or sprinkle with powdered sugar to serve.  I love how dark it gets while baking–the magic of Dutch process cocoa!

You wouldn’t believe how moist and delicious a vegan cake can be!  This is one of my hubby’s faves.

Now let’s frost Dennis’ piece…

Shiny Chocolate Icing

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with pic

1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons cornstarch
¼ cup cocoa*
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup water or nondairy milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix sugars, cornstarch, salt, and cocoa in a medium sauce pan. Whisk in the coconut milk. Stirring constantly, heat over medium until it gets thick and starts to boil. Continue stirring and boil for 1-2 minutes or until very thick. Remove from heat and stir in oil and vanilla.  Allow to cool to room temperature, then spread over the top of your cooled cake.

*Again, I used Dutch processed cocoa, but regular is fine.

Recipe source: I apologize to the originator of this recipe! I did not copy the source and since I changed it, I couldn’t locate it by entering the recipe words into Google.  The original was very similar but called for water instead of milk.  Both work great but I like using coconut milk.

Usually it’s a little thicker like real frosting, but I made this one a little thinner like a glaze, plus I put it on a slightly warm cake which made it run a little more.

Chocolate Torte


*A note before the blog: I have updated my cherry cordials recipe with notes on how to make sure the centers liquify and included a new picture from my latest batch with liquified centers.

Without realizing it, I scheduled a sandwich bread recipe to post today, Valentine’s Day, which included no mention of love or chocolate, or even an apology for giving a bread recipe on the international day of love.  So I hurriedly snapped pictures of our dessert today so that I could atone for my sins.  ;)

Usually I steer clear of desserts that don’t include real butter, sugar (preferably more than one kind), and white flour.  But I’m discovering that not all sweet treats need to be loaded with fat and processed sugar and flour to taste good.

I made this chocolate torte for our Valentine’s Day dessert and we both loved it with a little whipped cream on top.  It is soft, moist, and almost fudgy because of the dates.  The recipe was born of a mistake, having used dates instead of the prunes it originally called for.  I really liked the result, but will be trying it with prunes next time, which I think will give it more of a cake consistency.  With the dates, it’s somewhere between and a brownie and a cake.  It definitely tastes healthier than regular full-fat and full-sugar desserts, but not in an off-putting way.  It is probably my favorite diet-friendly dessert to date!  That it has natural, whole-food ingredients like dates and whole wheat flour is as an added bonus and makes me feel like I’m almost eating health-food.

Chocolate Torte

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

1/3 cup cocoa powder, plus 1 tsp for dusting
1 cup dates, pitted and chopped
1/2 cup strong, hot coffee
1/3 cup whole-wheat flour
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tbsp egg substitute or 1 egg white
2 tsp vanilla extract

Heat oven to 350˚. Coat a 9″ tart pan with cooking spray. Dust with 1 tsp cocoa. Set aside. Combine dates and coffee in a large bowl. Set aside to cool. Sift remaining 1/3 cup cocoa, flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a small bowl and stir. To the date mixture, add sugar, applesauce, egg substitute and vanilla and stir until combined. Pour dry mixture into the wet and stir until combined. Pour into prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out mostly clean, about 25 minutes. Cool completely before removing and slicing. Serve with whipped cream.

Serves 8. Per slice: 153 calories; .7 fat; 43 g carbohydrates; 4 g fiber; 3 g protein

Recipe source: adapted from Self

Ghirardelli Sinful Chocolate Truffles


Perhaps two posts on truffles in a row is a bit excessive, but it’s the holidays and if I can’t be excessive now, then when can I?

Needless to say, I adore truffles.  This is the recipe I’ve used most because it’s simple and reliable, but feel free to change it up by adding extracts or liqueur, or rolling the centers in different things (nuts, coconut, toffee), or by dipping them in chocolate.  As with any good truffle recipe, this one yields a deliciously soft, creamy, satin-smooth, and deeply chocolate center that is sweet enough to offset the coating’s bitter edge.  If you’ve never made truffles before, try this recipe–you won’t be disappointed!

Ghirardelli Sinful Chocolate Truffles

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 pound semisweet chocolate
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa

In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a simmer. Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate and butter. In a medium sized skillet, bring 1/2 inch of water to a slow simmer. Set the saucepan in the skillet over low heat. Stir mixture just until chocolate has completely melted. Remove from heat. Pour the chocolate mixture into a pie plate. Cool, cover and refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours.
Pour the cocoa into a pie plate. Line an airtight container with waxed paper. Dip a melon baller or small spoon into a glass of warm water and quickly scrape across the surface of the chilled truffle mixture to form a rough 1-inch ball. Drop the ball into the cocoa. Repeat with the remaining truffle mixture. Gently shake the pie plate to coat truffles evenly. Transfer truffles to the prepared container, separating layers with additional waxed paper. Cover tightly and refrigerate up to 2 weeks, or freeze up to 3 months.

Recipe source: slightly tweaked from Food Network

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