Truffles & Bark
After finding the dark chocolate roasted pistachio toffee at Trader Joe’s over the holidays I have been a bit obsessed with the combination. First I annihilated that toffee, then I baked mini pistachio cupcakes with a dark chocolate ganache, and now made my own version of that toffee using the saltine cracker toffee recipe as the base.
Crispy crackers are topped with crunchy toffee, a layer of dark chocolate, and sprinkled with chopped pistachios. If you thought the original saltine cracker toffee was hard to resist, just wait until you get your hands on these. And as a side note, feel free to be amazed at the fact that I was able to make these without a trip to the grocery store. I wasn’t kidding when I said my pantry was stockpiled, needing to be used up before moving.
One year ago: Meyer Lemon Curd
Two years ago: Peanut Butter Cinnamon Raisin Apple Bars
Did you know that this coming Monday, October 28th, is National Chocolate Day? I’m here to tell you to not just celebrate it with any old chocolate, but try something new. Bar & Bean is an online marketplace for small-batch craft chocolate (less than 250 tons annually). The makers of the chocolates they stock are working to reintroduce and redefine a flavor that has been dominated by large producers.
I was sent Bar & Bean’s Baker’s Set which is a mix of 5 craft chocolate bars:
(2) Poco Dolce – based in San Francisco, CA and started by Kathy Wiley. “Poco Dolce” literally translates from Italian as “not too sweet”, which aligns with the company’s mission of staying on the “savory side of sweet”. Bittersweet with Sea Salt – light sprinkling of Grey Sea Salt.
(3 & 4) Escazu – based in Raleigh, NC and started by Hallot and Danielle. Uses an antique roaster and stone grinder to make chocolate in a more traditional method to bring out flavor complexity. Chipotle Chili & Vanilla – 74% dark chocolate that is complemented with a spicy kick of chipotle chili. Pumpkin Seed and Guajillo Chili – 73% dark chocoloate with roasted pumpkin seeds and guajillo chili.
(5) Dick Taylor – based in Aracta, CA and started by two college buddies Adam Dick and Dustin Taylor. Dick Taylor uses only organic cacao and organic cane sugar in its bars. They roast their beans in their modified Royal #5 coffee bean roaster. Aged for at least 2-4 weeks to further develop and stabilize flavor. Fleur de Sel – 74% Dominican Republic with hand harvested sea salt.
The first bar I tried was the Escazu Pumpkin Seed and Guajillo Chili Dark Chocolate bar, and it inspired me to incorporate pumpkin seeds into the pumpkin peanut butter cups I had been planning to make for today, which is National Pumpkin Day (and also the usual PB+Choc Saturday). Then I went after the two sea salt bars because that’s one of my favorite things in special chocolate. And as a result the pumpkin peanut butter cup with pepitas then got a sprinkle of sea salt on top as well!
Unfortunately, I did not leave enough leftover to make these cups completely out of the chocolate I was sent, but the recipe was inspired by all the craft chocolate I got to try. These little cups are the perfect combination of pumpkin, chocolate, and peanut butter in order to fully celebrate. To make the celebration even better, be sure to find the Rafflecopter widget after saving the recipe in order to enter to win your own set of craft chocolate.
As for the PB+Choc portion of today’s celebration, today Ohio State plays Penn State which means many people in my life are enemies on this day. Hopefully it will only last the day. Penn State is coming back after a 4OT win against Michigan, so it should be a really good game. They are still not eligible to play in the B1G or National championship games, so it’s really to the benefit of the conference as a whole if we win O:-). However, I don’t particularly want to go to the Championship game either because as good as I do believe we are, I am not sure we are at the same level as Alabama or Oregon. As much as I hate to admit it.
For today’s Peanut Butter and Chocolate Saturday I am sharing an easy recipe for fudge. Oddly enough I was not a big fan of fudge until I discovered the kind with peanut butter. Just proves how much I am NOT a true chocolate lover. I like it as a contributing flavor instead of the star.
In other news, we may be playing Iowa but I am attending to more important things today – being a proud bridesmaid in my friend Amber’s wedding! I am actually wearing a red/maroon dress which was completely unintentional (I actually was originally hoping to find an olive colored dress).
One year ago: Guacamole Seasoning
I’ve made red velvet and other color velvet cake ball truffles in the past, and even though I mixed cream cheese frosting into them I still felt like something was missing. I finally decided it was a distinct separation of the flavors of red velvet from the cream cheese frosting, because what’s red velvet cake without cream cheese frosting? Just a red cake if you ask me.
Therefore, in addition to mixing cream cheese into the truffles themselves, I stuffed them with it! Go ahead and take a bite to see for yourself. Fun right? Maybe is the post-defense giddy-ness but I am already envisioning different colored centers for holidays and other color-specific events. Yea, this “I refuse to admit the fall and winter holidays are coming” girl is caving at last.
After the success I had making healthier cookie dough fondue, I decided to apply those healthier adaptations to my favorite truffle/candy = buckeyes! And a good thing I made these babies healthier because with the stress I am afflicting upon myself this weekend in anticipation of my defense on Monday, I am shoveling more of these into my face than usual. I used coconut oil instead of the butter and dark chocolate instead of semi-sweet. I didn’t substitute the powdered sugar but I did reduce it by 1/2 cup as the coconut oil hardens more than butter when cold.
I also purposely didn’t dip these perfectly in order to emulate the true irregular characteristic of the buckeye nut. You see, not all truffles need to be perfect and pretty, so long as they taste awesome, which these do. I didn’t miss the butter at all and I’m already a big fan of peanut butter and dark chocolate together. Whether you are a buckeye fan or just a pb+c fan you’ll definitely enjoy these, and their sneaky healthier attributes.
No matter how busy you are, I bet you have time to make this recipe today. Heck I had time to make it which says a lot if you’re been keeping up with my hectic life lately. It’s a fun layered chocolate bark with semisweet chocolate on the bottom and white chocolate on the top. (Said in a infomercial voice) but wait there’s more – dry cake mix was mixed into the white chocolate too and then loaded up with sprinkles! That is how you jazz up simple treats.
With all this dissertation writing I’ve been doing, I asked for some help from my foodie friends to help with some food blog writing as I have less and less time to dedicate to it. Even though the only other things I have to take care of besides me is a cat and a basil plant, it seems like I barely have time to take of the things I need to do on a daily basis. Which is why I am so impressed by people like Stephanie. Not only does she have a blog where she posts delicious recipes (such as chocolate peanut butter frozen pudding pie and quick and easy mongolian beef), but she also puts together work out routines, and organizes a baking exchange called Bakin’ Friends. Oh and I forgot to mention that most important thing – she’s a new mom! I don’t know how she does all and look after her little man but she really does rock. And today she’s guest posting with the perfect recipe for today’s Single Serving Sunday.
P.S. College football begins in 6 days, AaahHHh!!!! Going to take serious discipline to write on Saturdays.
Two years ago: Petri Dish Cookies
Hi guys! My name is Steph and I blog over at Steph’s Bite By Bite. I am so excited to be guest posting today for Erin…girl has some school work to do! So I’m glad I could help ease some stress by sharing a scrumptious single serving treat with you today.
So, I recently became a new mom. My little man is now 4 ½ months old and things around my house are ca-razy [but in like the best, most funnest, good way, ever]. Being a stay at home mom means that I wear many hats. I am an entertainer, a maid, a doctor, a babysitter, a cook, a teacher, and a sleep institutor, just to name a few.
Now that I stay at home and spend lots of time with just me and the baby, I have moments where I want.need.crave a quick SWEET snack [you know, to boost my energy]. But don’t want to make something that is going to give me more than one serving, because for me, that means trouble. Too many cookies, candies, brownies laying around my house is never a good thing. And since I have like 5.6 minutes of non baby duties, not really, I have longer, but sometimes it seems that short, I don’t want to waste my precious “free time” on a recipe that takes an hour to put together.
They are the perfect little afternoon baby-meltdown mama pick me up. Ok, even if you’re not a mama, these little things will turn any bad day into a good day in no time! And they take mere minutes to make. Plus, like the title says, they require no sharing. Who doesn’t love that…wait…I’m supposed to be teaching my little guy how to share right…oh this is gonna be a problem.
My cousin’s shower the day before her wedding had a spa theme. We put on face masks, make our own lip gloss, and enjoyed veggie dip cups and fruit skewers with dip. But of course no event is complete without dessert! Since I was in charge of the edible portion of the event, I naturally had a difficult time narrowing down my options. In the end I decided upon recreating the white chocolate cookie dough fondue I shared recently, continuing the dip theme for the day. But this time I made it with a healthier spin so as to not bust anyone out of their dresses the next day!
For starters, the cookie doughs contain zero butter. Instead I used coconut oil and then added a little butter extract so that no one would miss that buttery taste necessary for cookie dough. Then I cut back on the caloric intake of sugar by substituting the regular sugar for the only zero-calorie sugar sweetener I have ever liked (Swerve). However, I did keep the regular brown sugar and peanut butter – couldn’t bring myself to modify those. Then I used white whole wheat flour and finally almond milk instead of regular milk.
Then there is the fondue. Last time I made it with store-bought sweetened condensed milk. This time I made my own out of almond milk and honey. I also used dark chocolate for half the chocolate and again substituted the butter for coconut oil, as in the cookie dough. Wait, I forgot to tell you the best part. I didn’t use just any honey, but CHOCOLATE honey. I bet you have never heard of that before, have you? It just so happens my family runs their very own honey company called Winter Park Honey and they sell it! My aunt and uncle gave me some to use since they know how much I love to bake and thought this fondue was a great way to use it, especially since I was going to be able to share my creation with them in person!
Life without dessert is blasphemy. However, in an effort to get ready for all these weddings in which I am a bridesmaid I have recently been making slightly healthier options for dessert and then distributing the not-so-healthy treats you see on this blog to labmates and friends. Today I am sharing a healthier dessert option! It is actually one of the ways I suppress cookie cravings. Not that I don’t still eat cookies on a regular basis, but this is one way I resist having multiple cookies (or other baked buttery goodness) every single day – raw cookie dough balls made from ground nuts.
I have shared a couple other versions of these before such as chocolate chip cookie dough and s’mores cookie dough, and now I present peanut butter complete with traditional fork hash marks! The first time I made these bites they were a bit greasy so the second batch I reduced the raisins by 1 tablespoon and then added 2 tablepoons oats to absorb the oil from the ground up raisins and peanuts. If you are gluten-intolerant you can easily make these using gluten-free oats which can be found in the health food section of most groceries. I think dates would work in place of the raisins as well if you prefer. Allergic to peanuts? Try almonds and almond butter.
One year ago: Red Velvet Cake Batter Dip
Two years ago: Chocolate Covered Sunflower Seed Cookies