almond butter brownies

almond butter brownies

almond butter browniesALMOND BUTTER BROWNIES!!!  Yes, you heard me right, almond butter brownies, not chocolate fudge brownies, so I apologize for those of you that were looking for something chocolately, next time!  These are a bit of a healthier brownie, if there is such a thing as a healthy brownie. These brownies are made with 6 simple ingredients, almond butter, honey, an egg, vanilla, salt, and baking soda.  Yep, there’s not flour or sugar in these brownies and you honestly won’t miss the sugar or flour, as these brownies are gooey on the inside and a bit crusty on the outside. They’re super simple to whip up, (only takes 1/2 hour) super tasty, kid and co-worker approved (yes, my kids and co-workers loved these) and gluten-free to boot!

My friend Kimber introduced these brownies to my girlfriends and I on our recent girl’s trip.  We all absolutely loved them, and we agreed as we literally devoured the pan, that I needed to get this recipe posted on my blog sooner than later. I was super excited to bake these up and share the recipe with all of you, but I wasn’t excited to photograph them because although they taste great, they’re not the most attractive things to photograph.  So before I get to the recipe I thought it would be fun to show you two of the photographs that did not make it to the cutting room floor.

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pumpkin sheet cake with cream cheese frosting

pumpkin sheet cake with cream cheese frosting

pumpkin sheet cake with cream cheese frostingThanks to everyone for voting this week on which recipe you wanted to see posted next.  As you can see from the comments, this pumpkin cake won hands down.  I’m totally not surprised because it’s fall and everyone has pumpkin and cake on their minds. It really wasn’t a fair competition, was it?  I mean salad vs cake?  I knew who the winner was before I finished the post, but I just wanted to double-check and make sure that’s what you all wanted.  So thanks :)

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homemade almond joy and mounds bars

homemade almond joy and mounds bars

homemade almond joy and mounds barsI teased some of you late this summer on Instagram and Facebook with photos of these homemade Almond Joy and Mounds bars.  Many of you were asking for the recipe like NOW, but I couldn’t give it out just then because I was photographing and getting it ready for Marin Magazine.  Well, the magazine called me this afternoon and told me that the issue is out digitally and going to be in stores tomorrow!  Yippee!  So that means that I can finally share this recipe with you all.  Double Yippee!  How cool is it that Marin Mama is in the Marin Magazine?  I think it’s pretty cool!  You can check out the article here or pick up a magazine at your local Marin store!

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chocolate Oreo ice cream

chocolate Oreo ice cream

chocolate Oreo ice creamThis chocolate Oreo ice cream tastes like my favorite ice cream from Sebastian Joe’s in Minneapolis. It’s pure, creamy, full of big chunks of Oreo cookie, and it’s oh so chocolaty.  It’s not too rich tasting nor too bland, it’s just perfect.  I know some of you are intimated by the thought of making homemade ice cream, but please don’t be, it’s seriously one of the easiest desserts to make. You just stir a few simple ingredients together over the stove top, let it come to a boil and then whisk in the rest, throw it in a blender for 30 seconds, let it chill for a bit and then let your ice cream maker churn it into ice cream.  You can’t go wrong.  The hardest and longest part is waiting for the ice cream to freeze up, so this is not one of those make it and eat it right away desserts. This is one of those make it in the morning and then eat it after dinner desserts.

chocolate Oreo ice cream

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frozen s’mores

frozen s'mores (1 of 1)

frozen s'mores (1 of 1)I was going to post these bad boys next week, but I received so many emails and comments from friends wanting the recipe for these, that I decided to post the recipe a bit early. See, I really do listen to you all!  Here’s the perfect summer s’more for those hot summer nights. These s’mores are a twist from the traditional s’mores because the chocolate is on the outside and they’re frozen. Yes, they’re frozen, am I tempting you yet? The best part is that they can be made year round, as they are cooked under a broiler instead of roasted over a campfire. So for those of you that don’t have a backyard fire pit, you’re in luck. These s’mores can be made up in your kitchen and ready in under 30 minutes (they take 5 minutes to assemble, the freezing time is the longest part).  How awesome is that? It’s the perfect after dinner no fuss summer (or anytime of year) dessert.  You can eat them as is, (which is John’s, Zoe’s and my favorite way) or break them into smaller bite-sized pieces and top them on your favorite ice-cream (which is Eli’s favorite way).  Your friends will be impressed when you pull out these bad boys for dessert, because they’re a pretty unique twist on the old fashioned s’more. I will warn you that these are super addicting and you can’t just stop at one piece, you will find yourself breaking off another piece and then another, until you just have to walk away and commit to being done.  Life is about moderation folks, so it’s ok to have a sweet here and there.

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the best chocolate chip skillet cookie

the best chocolate chip skillet cookie

the best chocolate chip skillet cookieWhy am I calling this the best chocolate chip skillet cookie? I mean thats a pretty bold statement, right? Well, I have tested this cookie out on my family and friends and we think this cookie rocks. I took my absolute favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, threw it in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet, topped it with a bit of sea salt, and oh my,  it turned into this delicious PARTY cookie. Yes, you heard me right, party cookie, because you will want to throw a party when you make this cookie. The chips are all gooey and melty and you feel like you’re eating a slice of the best cookie pie. Top it off with a scoop of ice-cream and some hot fudge, and you have the best cookie sundae ever!

the best chocolate chip skillet cookieThis is now one of the most requested desserts in the house and I’m happy to make it at anytime because it’s super simple to throw together. What I love most is that you can throw it together at the last minute because you don’t have to bring any of the ingredients to room temperature first. Just grab everything out of the pantry and fridge, mix it together and throw it into a skillet to cook, easy peasy.

This cookie is the perfect and unique dessert for your next potluck, summer picnic, birthday or school party or summer sleepover, as it serves a crowd and then some. People are always impressed with a big cookie. Bring this to a party and your friends will think you’re the bomb. If  you don’t have a cast-iron skillet, you have to get one because it will become one of the most used pans in your house. You can get a pre-seasoned 12-inch skillet for under $20. I seriously use this pan all of the time from cooking eggs, to sautéing chicken and pastas to making cookies. So what’s holding you back?  Go out and purchase one or take yours out from the cupboard and make this cookie!

the best chocolate chip skillet cookie

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peanut butter and chocolate rice crispy bars

peanut butter and chocolate rice crispy bars

peanut butter and chocolate rice crispy barsI know, don’t these look amazing? I’ve never been a huge rice crispy bar fan, as I’m more of a cake or cupcake sort of gal, but this particular recipe caught my eye. I just love the combination of peanut butter and chocolate and to throw it together in a crispy and crunchy treat, yum! These bars were a total hit in my house, and I was sort of surprised because as I said before, rice crispy bars are not our go-to choice for dessert. John and I kept sneaking back in the kitchen for seconds and even attempted to share a third. I even think we liked these more than the kids, which is funny because I usually associate rice crispy bars as more of a kid kind of dessert rather than an adult one.

These bars are so simple to make and something that your kids might even be able to do on their own.  I thought of having Zoe whip up these bars for a cooking with kids post, but honestly, that girl has been too busy to do a post for the blog. I’m hoping to get her back on here this summer though!

These bars, like any rice crispy bar, taste best day one or two, so eat them up.  I’m warning you that these are not an instant gratification treat because you have to wait a few hours for the chocolate to harden a bit. It doesn’t have to be rock solid, but just firm enough that you can cut into the bars. The bars actually taste amazing when the chocolate is still a bit soft on top.

peanut butter and chocolate rice crispy bars

peanut butter and chocolate rice crispy bars:

recipe adapted from Everyday Food magazine

  • 1 package (12 ounces) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips – I used Ghirardelli 60% cacao bittersweet chips
  • 6 cups puffed-rice cereal, such as Rice Krispies
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for the baking dish
  • 4 cups miniature marshmallows
  • 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • non-stick baking/cooking spray for the spatula

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salted caramel brownies

salted caramel brownies

DSC_0036What do you get when you take your absolute favorite brownie recipe and add caramel and sea salt to it?

IMG_3287You get a masterpiece, I’m saying a brownie lovers dream. These brownies are not your typical cake-like brownies, they’re more fudge-like in consistency, but fudge-like in a good way, like mouthwatering lick your fingers and plate sort of way.  I absolutely love these brownies, hence the name, Robert’s absolute best brownies.  Zoe and I have been talking about making caramel and sea salt brownies for sometime, so I decided to surprise her one day after school. I didn’t research another brownie recipe because these are our family’s favorite recipe, so why re-invent the wheel, right? I’m so glad that I added the caramel and sea salt, because not only do we have one favorite brownie recipe, but we now have two. I must warn you that these brownies are not low in calories and they’re not for the faint of heart.  These brownies are decedent, rich, and oh so fudgey, but so worth the indulgence. You will be licking your fingers, plate and fork after eating not one, but possibly two of these brownies.

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chocolate chunk cookies with sea salt

chocolate chunk cookies with sea salt

chocolate chunk cookies with sea salt I saw this recipe in the most recent issue of bon appetit and knew I had to make it. When I opened up the magazine and saw these cookies and the words salty and chocolate in the title, they had me. I’m one of those gals that loves salty and sweet combinations. Chocolate covered pretzels are my weakness.  I will admit that I was a bit hesitant to try a new chocolate chip cookie recipe, because I have my absolute FAVORITE chocolate chip cookie recipe already on this blog.  If you haven’t tried those chocolate chip cookies, you must!

OK, so lets move onto these cookies. I quickly made up a batch of these cookies one Sunday afternoon and posted a photo of them on Facebook and Instagram.  My readers saw the photo and asked me to post this recipe ASAP.  I didn’t take any pictures the first time around (besides that one quick shot) because I was just making them up for the family.  I made them up a second time so that I could take photographs and get the recipe down for you all. I followed the directions given in the magazine perfectly, and to tell you the truth, I didn’t like the cookies very much. They were almost meringue-like in texture and very crispy. I was stressed because I had promised these cookies to you all and I wasn’t feeling to great about them. I wondered what had happened between the first time I had made then up and the second time to make them taste so differently. I decided to make them up the way I did the first time, (by not following the directions too much) and they turned out perfectly  The original recipe called for whipping the batter for 4-5 minutes and by doing this, the texture of the cookies changed and became something entirely different.  I’m sure that people like their cookies that way, but we like ours to be a bit chewy and not so crisp and dry tasting. So after baking 3 batches of these cookies, I’m literally cookied out.

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chocolate cupcakes with cream cheese frosting

chocolate cupcakes with cream cheese frosting

chocolate cupcakes with cream cheese frosting (1 of 1)I sincerely apologize for all of those crazy emails you received yesterday. I did an update on word press (still getting use to word press) and at the same time I was working on the draft to this post. For some strange reason the post then got published and thus the emails instantly went out to you all. I’m glad that my email notification is so efficient, but at the same time, it’s a bit too efficient.  The post was obviously not fit to be published, as it was in total draft form, but now at last it’s all ready, so here it is.

So, lets move away from the hassles of computers and technology and onto these cupcakes or should I say happy cakes.  Zoe used to call cupcakes happy cakes when she was little, and I really think it’s a fitting name, don’t you? Cupcakes make people happy, at least everyone I know. I can still her cute little raspy voice and see her big grin every time we went to a birthday party and she saw cupcakes.  She would jump and down saying, “happy cakes, happy cakes.”

These are the ideal party or celebration cupcakes. They’re moist and chock-full of rich chocolate flavor.  The cream cheese frosting is the perfect accompaniment to the cupcakes, making them not too sweet.  I took my family’s favorite chocolate cake recipe and transformed it into cupcakes.

chocolate cake with cream cheese frostingI initially made the cupcakes using the whole cake recipe and ended up with 24 cupcakes. Ummm, 24 cupcakes are perfect for a party or event, but a bit too much to pawn off on the family, so I decided to cut the recipe in half, and now it’s perfect. I was worried that the cupcakes would be a bit dry or loose some of their moistness (I know, I hate that word) being reduced down to cupcake size, but they didn’t loose either of those qualities. They honestly taste like mini versions of my cake.

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chocolate chip pumpkin bundt cake with chocolate ganache

chocolate chip pumpkin bundt cake with ganache

chocolate chip pumpkin bundt cake with ganacheHappy Holidays everyone! I’m not doing my normal weekly menu post this week because it’s a holiday week, so I’m taking a holiday.  I’m actually going to take an extended 2 week blogging holiday so I can just “be” and enjoy time with my family and friends.  I plan on hiking, skiing, reading and cooking tons with the kids.

I didn’t want to leave you all high and dry so I’m finally posting this recipe from my friend Averie, that I have made at least 5 times.  Averie did an amazing update on the chocolate chip pumpkin bunt bread.  She took the bundt bread recipe and turned it into a bunt cake. This is dessert guys, no longer an afterschool snack.  If you haven’t checked out Averie’s site, Averie Cooks, you must.  Averie has been blogging for years and she has it down. If you have a sweet tooth, then she’s your gal. She has over a million desserts on her blog as well as some great bread recipes that I can’t wait to try. Over the past year she has become a great blogging friend, and she’s taught me so much about blogging, so thanks Averie!

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