Dark Chocolate Raspberry Mocha Cheesecake

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Mocha Cheesecake

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Mocha Cheesecake

Hey everyone. Sorry about the rather long hiatus from here. I’ve been ill. Nothing earth shattering. You’re not getting rid of me that easily. Just been having some “I had a stroke a few years ago and it likes to come back and bite me in the arse at times” issues. So you’re still stuck with me. I was just too drained to be cooking and couldn’t balance well, which could have caused trouble, lol.

I tried making a cheesecake anyway while I was down and oh my, talk about a disaster. I have been making cheesecakes since my oldest son, now almost 29, was an infant. SO I have a wee bit of experience. But oh….my….heavens. I put what was a delicious batter in the oven and it wouldn’t cook. It puffed and overflowed all over my oven. It was greasy, grainy, watery; you name the bad adjective when it comes to cheesecakes and that cheesecake wore that adjective proudly, like a badge of honor. Once it overflowed, I had hopes that it would at least be salvageable for the family, since it certainly wouldn’t work as a post. But…ummmm…no. Totally…and completely…disgusting. I scraped the sodden gritty mess into the garbage and tried not to whimper like a 3 year old denied a chocolate bar. Or a 50 year old who just had to trash about 12 dollars worth of ingredients *whimpers*

Then today I tried again. I think I turned the oven light on 72 times and peeked into the oven to see what was happening. And lo and behold, I haven’t lost my skills. WooT!! Yay for non disgusting cheesecake! So, I’ve mentioned before that I’m not a huge coffee drinker. When I drink it, it has to be highly flavored and creamed. I’m one of those “I like a little coffee with my cream and sugar” people. But strangely enough, I love coffee flavored desserts. Coffee ice cream, tiramisu, anything mocha flavored. I’m all over them.ร‚ย  So I decided to play with that flavor idea in the cheesecake. But I wanted a mild coffee flavor, not an in your face caffeine punch from cheesecake. So I made a raspberry mocha… in cheesecake form. ๐Ÿ˜€

This is a pretty wonderful cheesecake. Creamy, rich, but not heavy. It has a mild chocolate/coffee flavor on first bite. Then you get some of the raspberry preserves with those flavors and that explosion of tart berry. THEN some of the chocolate curls and fresh berries;so good! Talk about happily confused taste buds. ๐Ÿ˜€

Don’t freak at the long instructions here. It’s mostly me jabbering on with some cheesecake tips that will help ANY time you make a cheesecake.

You know the drill… ๐Ÿ™‚

Mrs. Cupcake… who wants more cheesecake and then NEEDS five hours on my exercise bike.

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Mocha Cheesecake

  • Crust-
  • 2 to 2 1/2 cups vanilla wafers
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • Filling-
  • 2 8 ounce packages cream cheese, room temp
  • 1 8 ounce package mascarpone cheese, room temp (can use another cream cheese instead, but the mascarpone is decadently creamy)
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs, room temp also
  • 1 10 to 12 ounce package chocolate chips (I used bittersweetร‚ย Ghirardelli’s ), melted according to package directions
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee granules or espresso powder (use a teaspoon or so more if you want a heavier coffee flavor)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup raspberry preserves
  • Boiling water for the water bath
  • Fresh raspberries and chocolate curls for garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Wrap a 9 inch springform pan in two layers of heavy duty foil, each layer going in a different direction to make sure the whole pan is well covered. Lightly grease the pan and place inside a large baking dish. In your food processor, pulse the cookies until they are fine crumbs. Add in the sugar and 6 tablespoons melted butter. Pulse until well combined. Alternately, you can crush the cookies in a ziploc bag and then combine the ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Press the mixture over the bottom and a little bit up the sides. Bake at 325 for 8 minutes; just long enough to set the crust. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese, mascarpone and sugar. Beat at medium speed until creamy.ร‚ย  Add in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, scraping the bowl as needed.
  4. Add in the melted chocolate and beat on low speed just until combined.
  5. Pour the instant coffee granules into the cream; stir to dissolve. Whisk the cream and the melted butter into the batter. Trust me on the whisk. You use the beater and you’re going to be wearing cream.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Microwave the preserves for about ten second, just enough to thin them out a bit. Dollop the preserves onto the top of the cheesecake batter. Use a butter knife to drag through the preserves, spreading the preserves decoratively through the batter.
  7. Place the baking dish with the pan in the oven and carefully pour boiling water around the springform pan, going about an inch up the sides of the pan. Carefully push the rack in, being careful to not splatter water into the cheesecake pan.
  8. Bake at 325 for between 65 to 85 minutes (I have gone to both extremes for some reason; cheesecakes are finicky). When it is looking set up to about midway into the cheesecake, stick a instant read thermometer carefully into the middle of the cheesecake. You are looking for a temp of about 150 degrees. If it is that, turn the oven off, prop the door open with a dishtowel or something, and leave the cheesecake completely alone to finish cooking in the turned off oven. The final temp needs to be between 160 to 165. Any higher and you will most likely end up with a huge crack down the middle of the cheesecake. Plus, letting it sit in the slowly cooling oven helps protect from quick temp changes which can also cause it to crack. When the oven has completely cooled, take the cheesecake out and let it come to room temp. Then chill until cold, preferably overnight. They slice sooooo much better that way.
  9. When ready to serve,ร‚ย  garnish with fresh raspberries and chocolate curls. Slice with a sharp knife dipped in hot water and dried in between cuts.

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Raspberry Chocolate Amaretto Streusel Muffins

Raspberry Chocolate Amaretto Streusel Muffins

Raspberry Chocolate Amaretto Streusel Muffins

Mannnn, I’ve mentioned before that I hate wordy recipe titles. I prefer straight to the point and concise. But sometimes, you just need to make sure the title lets people know about all the yummy goodness in the food.

It’s funny that I am the same way with recipe titles as I am with life in general. I’ve always told my husband not to assume I fit the stereotypes of how women are “supposed” to act. If I ask you, “do I look fat in these pants?”, and I do, tell me I do. I can’t stand it when some women use phrases like that as a trap for a guy and when he answers honestly, they go on a rampage. Don’t ask the question if you don’t want a straightforward, honest answer! Point being (yes, somewhere in there there was a point) that I like people to be just as straightforward as I like my recipe titles. ๐Ÿ˜›

And no, I have absolutely no idea where that all came from. Chalk it up to being incredibly tired and as I wrote it, there seemed to be some vague connection lol. Now? Not so much. But it’s there, so…

These muffins are quite yummy if I do say so myself. I had found some fresh raspberries at the grocery store for, get this, 50 cents a pint! I was in shock but not so dumbstruck that I didn’t go ahead and grab six pints. My original thought was to make preserves, but lately, I’ve been unbelievably tired for some odd reason and the thought of making preserves just kind of died out. So I went to muffins. Nice, easy to throw together muffins lol.ร‚ย  And I’m glad I did. The original recipe for the raspberry and chocolate part of these came from Sallys Baking Addiction which is a blog I love. But I wanted to do them a bit differently. Imagine that…me…changing a recipe. Whoda thunk it?

I have always loved the combo of chocolate and raspberry and the combo of chocolate and almond. Knowing that almond also goes with raspberry made this an easy decision as to what to do. Add in some streusel and these are wonderful dessert muffins, though you can of course still eat them for breakfast. Because…muffins! There is no actual Amaretto in these. I used almond flavoring but didn’t want the title to make it seem that there were nuts in here, so amaretto sufficed as a description. These are soft and tender, fairly high rising with a lovely almond flavor amidst bites of raspberry and chocolate. The original recipe called for an oven temp of 425 for the first five minutes, but I did it at 400 instead; hot enough to yield a quick rise, but not so hot as to burn the outside if ones oven runs hot, as many do (cause ovens are finicky pains in the…) Also, since I used more raspberries and more chocolate than Sally’s, I got more muffins. She got six jumbo. I got six jumbo and five regular sized.

You know the drill… ๐Ÿ™‚

Raspberry Chocolate Amaretto Streusel Muffins

  • 3 cups flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs, room temp
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup milk, room temp
  • 1/2 cup neutral oil (I used vegetable)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon almond extract
  • 1 12 ounce bag semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 dry pints fresh raspberries (about 2 cups)
  • Streusel-
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, chilled
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.ร‚ย  Spray 6 large and 5 regular muffin cups with no stick spray.
  2. Make your streusel and set aside- in a medium bowl, combine the streusel ingredients. Cut the butter in using a pastry blender. You can also slice it thin and work it in using your fingers. You want small chunks, about the size of a pea.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt). Scoop out about 3 tablespoons of the flour mixture and toss it with the chocolate chips in a small bowl. This helps prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the muffins. Set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar and brown sugar. Add in the oil, milk and extracts. Dump the wet ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients and gently stir just until combined. It’s ok, good actually, if there are some small lumps. Over beaten muffin batter makes for tough muffins.
  5. Fold in the chocolate chips, then carefully fold in the raspberries, trying your best to break them as little as possible.
  6. Divide the mixture evenly among the prepared cups, filling each to the top. Sprinkle with streusel topping, gently pressing it down onto the muffins. If you have streusel left over, just put it in a ziploc bag and freeze it. It’s wonderful to have on hand when you need some. Place in the oven on the middle rack.
  7. Bake at 400 for five minutes, then, without taking the pans out of the oven, reduce the heat to 350. Bake for about 25 minutes for the large muffins, 18 or so for the small ones, or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. let cool in the pan for three minutes, then carefully remove to a rack to finish cooling. These are even more delicious spread with some raspberry jam!

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Raspberry Amaretto Poundcake

Raspberry Amaretto Poundcake

Raspberry Amaretto Pound Cake

Not a fancy looking cake, is it? Trust me; you won’t care. I’ve never been a huge fan of layer cakes, even with the sweet tooth I have. I make them for birthdays and whenever I get a strange craving for one, which isn’t often. Then I eat one slice and no more, reminded of the fact that I don’t care for them. Too messy, too darn sweet. But give me a pound cake and I can chow down on that bad boy… or girl. I’ve never been proficient at identifying the gender of my pound cakes.

Totally off the subject of pound cakes and gender, I had a…fun…experience the other night. My husband and I were checking the pool the other night (we haven’t yet opened it for the year) because my son Jordan had said that it was full of tadpoles. Went up there with a flashlight and yep, our pool has become a froggie resort. I am pretty sure I heardร‚ย some lively Caribbean style music and saw one frog with a Mai Tai. Well, we looked, we got sad thinking of all the tadpoles who were going to have to die for the sake of cleaning the pool and then we left. Russ went first down the stairs. No problem. Then me. I got two stairs down the five stair deck, hit the third and “CRAAACCCKKK!!”. Suddenly, I was half airborne. I say half because as I was flying, I was also falling as that crack was the sound of the old poorly made staircase breaking. The stair went down, I followed, my bottom half slamming into the side of the stairs, my top half slamming into the next stair down as I tried to prevent myself from hitting head first into the next stair. Talk….about…pain. My R.N. husband was convinced for a bit that I had broken my leg. But it’s not. I do however have one whopper of a huge bruise on my right thigh and I walk like someone who has been hit by a bus… or a staircase. I feel about 95 years old right now lol.

So what’s my cure? Back to cake ๐Ÿ˜€ I had seen an Amaretto Pound Cake on Southern Living and wanted to try it. But I also love using fresh fruit any chance I get this time of year. I have a MAJOR love of Blueberries and Raspberries. Blueberries aren’t quite there yet in the stores; still expensive and still being imported from Chile. Raspberries are looking pretty good, though still not quite up to par in the way of sweetness. Baking takes care of that though (and pigging out on pound cake makes me forget that I am in pain). Baking fruit concentrates the sweetness plus you have the added sweetness of whatever is with it, in this case a moist, love almond scented and flavored pound cake. The raspberries do tend to break down in the batter, leaving holes, but again, you won’t care. This isn’t a fancy party cake, not something to serve to the Queen. This is a homey, comforting sort of cake to have with coffee, tea, as a midnight snack, after school treat, you name it. This is a nice densely crumbed cake, very moist and the almond flavor is wonderful.ร‚ย  Then you run into a nice tart raspberry with that almond flavor and oh my gosh, it’s yummy.

My changes from the original are the almond extract, the Fiori Di Sicilia (which I list as optional), the raspberries and the original called for scattering almond slices on the bottom of the pan before baking, but I didn’t want those, so I skipped it. I also changed the amounts for the glaze as when I made it, it made far too much and a good portion ended up dumped.

You know the drill…. ๐Ÿ™‚

Raspberry Amaretto Poundcake

  • 1 1/4 cups unsalted butter, room temp
  • 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 tablespoons Amaretto
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon Fiori Di Sicilia flavoring (optional)
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 cups fresh raspberries
  • Amaretto Glaze-
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons Amaretto liqueur
  • 1 tablespoon water
  1. Preheat oven to 325. Grease and flour a 12 cup Bundt pan and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the butter and cream cheese. Beat at medium speed until creamy, scraping down the bowl once if needed.
  3. Gradually add the sugar, beating at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the Amaretto and the extracts, beating well afterward. Gradually add the flour to the mixture, keeping the speed at low speed so you don’t end up looking like Casper The Ghost. Beat just until blended.
  4. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating just until blended after each one. GENTLY fold in the raspberries. You can’t avoid crushing some, but you can minimize the damage. Gently spoon batter into the prepared pan. When you have it in the pan, firmly bang the pan on a countertop to help remove any air bubbles.
  5. Bake at 325 for 65 to 95 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  6. When the cake is almost done, make the glaze- in a small pot, combine the glaze ingredients. Bring to a boil over medium heat and set aside until the cake is finished.
  7. Set the cake on a rack. Spoon the glaze over the top, a little at a time, letting it soak in each time. Use about half the glaze. Let the cake cool completely on the rack, then turn out onto a serving dish. Reheat the glaze and spoon the rest of it over the cake, again letting it soak in each time before adding more.

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Raspberry Coconut Sweet Rolls With Orange Cream Cheese Icing

Raspberry Coconut Sweet Rolls With Orange Cream Cheese Icing

Raspberry Coconut Sweet Rolls With Orange Cream Cheese Icing

What kind of idiot bakes in 90 degree weather, while living in a house with a central air unit that hates to go below 80 degrees inside when it’s hot outside!!? What kind of idiot I ask you!!??

Erhmmmm *looks sheepish*, that would be me.

I can’t help it! It’s a sickness. Many many food bloggers have it. We tell you and ourselves that it is all because we love you and want to create yummy things for you to drool over but in reality we’d bake anyway. Like I said, it’s an illness.

And ill is what I’m going to be if I keep shoving these sweet rolls into my chubby mouth. But oh my gosh, I’m rather proud of myself here. These are delicious! You get a tender sweet roll with a touch of coconut flavor in it, then the raspberry/coconut filling with it’s tang and mild crunch, then the rich creamy orange cream cheese icing. When this idea first came to me (lying in bed, trying to get to sleep. Many ideas come to me then. I’m strange.), I wasn’t sure how it would work. I was afraid that all of the flavors would clash with each other but they don’t do that at all. As a matter of fact, this will be going down as one of my favorite ways to make a sweet roll.

You know the drill. Git to cookin’.

Raspberry Coconut Sweet Rolls With Orange Cream Cheese Icing

  • Sweet Roll Dough-
  • 2 packages dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water (about 110 degrees)
  • 1 cup milk, warmed (about 110 to 115 degrees)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons coconut extract
  • 2/3 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temp
  • 3 eggs
  • 5 1/4 cups to 5/12 cups flour (you can use bread flour or all purpose- I use bread flour when making almost any yeast dough)
  • Filling-
  • 12 ounces raspberry preserves
  • 12 ounces fresh raspberries, rinsed, drained and gently blotted dry
  • 1 7 ounce bag sweetened grated coconut, toasted at 350 degrees until light brown
  • Icing-
  • 1 8 ounce package cream cheese, room temp
  • zest of one large orange (about 3 tablespoons zest)
  • 4 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange extract
  • 2 to 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 150 then immediately turn it off. The purpose is to have a nice warm oven to proof the dough in but not to have it too hot. Butter 2 9 inch round cake pans (or one 13×9 inch baking pan) and set aside.
  2. ร‚ย In a small bowl, combine the yeast and warm water. let sit for about 5 minutes to activate the yeast.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle hook (can all be done by hand but it makes it a bit more work and work scares me ๐Ÿ˜› ), combine the milk, extracts, sugar, salt and butter. On low speed, mix just until combined.
  4. Pour in the yeast mixture and again, mix just until combined. Change over to the dough hook, then add 2 1/2 cups of the flour. Beat on low speed until it is a shaggy mass. Add another 2 1/2 cups of flour and mix on low speed for about 2 minutes. Feel the dough and if it it is still very sticky or tacky, add about another 1/4 cup ofร‚ย  flour. You want the dough to be just a tiny bit sticky, not enough that it sticks to your hands or fingers. By the same token, you don’t want dry dough because that equals dry finished product. Either way, beat on low speed until the dough is smooth, silky and has come away from the bowl in a solid mass, about 5 minutes.
  5. Dump the dough out onto a lightly floured board. Knead for just a minute (that is the reason you did all this in a stand mixer, so you didn’t have to knead by hand) then put into a greased bowl, turning it so that all sides are greased.
  6. Cover with a damp cloth and put into the previously preheated, now nicely warm oven. Let rise until it has doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes.
  7. Punch dough down and then turn out onto a lightly floured board or counter. Roll it into a rectangle that is roughly 28 by 12 inches.
  8. Spread the dough with the raspberry preserves. Then sprinkle all but 2/3 of a cup of the toasted coconut on top of the preserves. Then place the fresh raspberries on top of that.
  9. Starting at one of the long ends, carefully roll up the dough into a tight log. Don’t squeeze too hard though or you’ll squeeze out the preserves.
  10. Cut the log into 16 large rolls. Place them in the prepared pan(s) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Again allow the dough to rise in a warm place (NOT the oven) until doubled in bulk, about 30 to 45 minutes.
  11. Meanwhile, make the icing- In a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese, orange zest and orange juice. Beat at medium speed until smooth.
  12. Add in the 2 cups powdered sugar and at LOW speed (unless you like being covered in sugar), beat until smooth and creamy. Addร‚ย  in another half a cup sugar if the icing is too thin to spread. Cover and set aside.
  13. Bake the rolls at 350 degrees until they are golden brown, about 25 minutes. Set on a wire rack to cool completely.
  14. When cool, frost with the cream cheese icing (if you haven’t already eaten most of it straight from the bowl ๐Ÿ˜€ ) then sprinkle with the reserved toasted coconut.

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Berry Mascarpone Cheesecake Bars

Mascarpone Berry Cheesecake Bars-001

I have decided to build an ark. Yep. An ark. Because I am pretty sure it is never ever going to stop raining here in my part of Kentucky. Usually here in mid May, we are hovering around the 80’s and already worrying about drought. This year however, it has rained almost every day for almost 2 weeks and the temp, while pleasant, is most certainly not hovering near the 80’s. Right now it’s 62.

But!!! Being me, I will not be filling my ark with two of every animal. Nope. Noah already did that and I don’t want to be a copycat. There will be animals of course. I’ll have monkeys. I like monkeys. And cats. And platypus for comic uses. But no elephants unless one of you wants to offer poop scooping services. And you’d darn well better believe I’m leaving mosquitoes behind. And centipedes. Those things ick me out. They have got to be the most prehistoric bug ever. If some director wanted to make a killer horror movie, he/she would only need to have a few scenes with centipedes crawling over the tied up heroine. *shivers*

So what will my ark be filled with? Duhhhh man, this is ME. What do YOU think? CANDY!! Twelve (why stop at two) of every kind of chocolate, lemonheads and of course my current craze, fruity gummi candy. I may also throw some cheetos on the ark just cause.

But, if you’re one of those weirdos who wants their fruit with no preservatives and actually *gasps* REAL, try these cheesecake bars. I based them off of the ubiquitous blackberry pie bars that you can find everywhere online, including right here on my blog . The pie bars originally came from The Pastry Queen cookbook. These cheesecake bars are based on that recipe. They use the same crust but the filling is changed up. These are quite yummy. The crust is sweet and buttery and the filling is creamy, tangy and sweet all at the same time. Plus- they have crumbs on top. Butter, fruit, mascarpone and crumbs. Need I say more? They couldn’t be any easier to make so you know the drill… get to cookin’!

Berry Mascarpone Cheesecake Bars

  • Crust and crumbs-
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, cold
  • Filling-
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 8 ounces mascarpone cheese, room temp
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temp
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • ร‚ย 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 16 ounce bag frozen raspberries, thawed and drained well
  • 1 16 ounce bag frozen blackberries, thawed and drained well
  • Fresh berries to scatter on top (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 13×9 inch pan then line it with parchment paper and butter the paper.
  2. Combine the 3 cups flour, 1 1/2 cups sugar and the salt in a large bowl. Using a pastry blender, cut in the cold butter until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Set aside 2 cups of the mixture. Press the rest into the bottom of the prepared pan.
  3. Bake crust at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes or until it is golden brown. Let rest while you prepare the filling.
  4. In a large bowl, using a hand mixer, together the mascarpone, cream cheese and sour cream. Add the sugar and beat just until well combined. Add the eggs, vanilla extract and almond extract and beat well. Mix in the flour. Gently fold in the drained berries.
  5. Spoon the mixture over the prepared crust. Sprinkle evenly with the crumbs that you held back earlier.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees about 55 minutes. You want the top to be firm but still to have a little jiggle in the center third of the bars, just like with any other cheesecake. The crumbly top will be a nice light golden brown. This will firm up as it cools so don’t overcook it.
  7. Let this cool for at LEAST an hour or so before cutting, but it’s preferable to cover it and let chill overnight. Use a sharp serrated knife that you’ve heated under hot water if you want to get clean cuts.

Change Is Good??




Alternately titled “Eating My Words” ๐Ÿ˜›

More than once in past posts, I have mentioned various foods I don’t like. Liver, Hazelnuts, peanut butter (well, peanut butter is a sometimes thing in the occasional PB&J sandwich but not the great love that I know it is of many bloggers *suddenly hears a ghostly voice saying “Get me a beer and a sammich, bi***!”).

Most the these hates are come by honestly and not just the odd prejudice. Peanut butter is something I didn’t really even care for as a kid; even the smell bugged me. Liver…well, I was brought up when the mothers of our generation were still doing the “you will sit there at that table until you eat every bite of your food” so many was the time I found myself gagging down cold liver *shudders*. As for hazelnuts, I was blessed to be able to live in Germany for 3 years during the time my ex husband was stationed there and it seemed like every….single….piece….of….chocolate…was infused with either a hazelnut paste or just the flavor. I grew to hate hazelnuts lol.

This led to me not really able to get into the current Nutella craze. You know what I mean…. every day you can come across 25 blogs sporting nutella recipes ๐Ÿ˜›

But you know how your tastes change over time? Well, one fairly recent day, I was in the store and saw one of those nutella snack packs with the little breadsticks and bought it on a whim as my husband looked at me as though I had lost it because he knows I hate the stuff. What can I say? I was shopping while hungry. Liver probably would have looked ok. I opened it for a snack later that night and tentatively took a taste. And fell in nutella love. And then had myself voluntarily committed because I hate hazelnuts. Now, mind you, it’s not something I eat every day and it’s never going to be on my top ten list of favorites but I do enjoy the snack packs now and a periodic spoonful of nutella.

So today I had an idea. I was going to make raspberry muffins and then thought to myself “Self… you’re freaking boring” So I thought I’d add chocolate. Then myself said to…well, myself… “self, this is looking better but you’re still not quite there. Try again”. At that point, I slapped myself around a few times to shut me up because it was getting a bit freaky in my head what with myself talking to myself. After a few slaps, the idea to put nutella in the muffins came to mind. I blame the temporary insanity on the slaps…and copious amounts of caffeine…and genetics. Continue reading

Shakin’ Things Up A Bit

If you look back through my blog, you’ll discover that I kinda like drinking. No, not that kind of drinking. Welllll, not often anyway. I’m too old and wimpy and can’t handle booze well. I start giggling like a 16 year old girl out on a hot date with the football team captain. Then I fall asleep. And drool.

But I mean… just…drinking. I am a tea addict and happy about it ๐Ÿ™‚ I love pop even though I am aware of how bad it is for me. To my credit, I only consume about 2 cans worth a week usually. I also love milk shakes and any creamy drinks as evidenced by the key lime shake I have posted and the coconut mocha frappuccino wanna be I posted. I also don’t have them often because I’d like to keep my weight UNDER a ton. This is the same reason I don’t eat much of what I make for the blog as much as I’d love to because it’s yummy! If I did, we’d have to reinforce the bed frame. And the house. And quite possibly the earth. I’d tilt it off of its axis or something and we’d all end up on Venus with all of you giving me dirty looks.

But I can not tell a lie (just call me George). The shake that I made tonight? I drank it all. Well, almost. The boys are staying the night at friends across the street & Zach (my 14 year old) came in when I was drinking it & I kindly let him have the dregs from the blender. hey; there was enough left for him! And I was proud that I didn’t just tell him no and hide myself somewhere safe with the blender cuddled to my chest.

I had some raspberries and a peach that I needed to use up and the dessert Peach Melba popped into my head. But that was way more trouble than I felt like going to. I’m lazy; what can I say? I wanted my fruit and ice cream NOW dammit! So I made a shake! Yep. A nice creamy oh so bad for me shake. But wait! It has fruit in it… REAL fruit… not just fruit flavor and chemical dye number 3000. So I can tell myself that it’s good for me right?

This is nice and tart from the fruit (thus why you have to add a touch of powdered sugar or it’s TOO tart) and while I usually prefer really thick shakes, I was quite happy with the fact that this one isn’t so thick. It made it easier to drink quickly ๐Ÿ˜€

Peach Melba Shake

(Peach Raspberry)

  • 1/2 cup fresh raspberries
  • 1 medium peach,ร‚ย  chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 cup milk (soy milk, cream, whatever trips your trigger)
  • 1 cup peach ice cream or peach frozen yogurt (can sub vanilla)
  • splash vanilla extract
  • whipped cream and fruit for garnish
  1. Obviously this is pretty easy. Put it all in the blender and..well… blend ๐Ÿ˜› then garnish with whipped cream and more fruit.
  2. This direction is for nothing. I just felt like it looked empty without more directions.
  3. This one too. Ok, that should be enough now. ๐Ÿ˜€





Courtin’ The Volcano

You know how there are some things you just don’t ever make for whatever reason? Some people are fearful of working with yeast (that’s one that never bothered me. I think I was so young and inexperienced when I started using it I didn’t even realize I was supposed to be nervous lol), others don’t like grilling (I do it but I can understand the fear… I was there the day my two oldest boys and my son in law almost set the back porch and back wall on fire “lighting” {translate- using far too much lighter fluid and loving it} the grill.) Still others hate working with puff pastry (I still get nervous with it myself), others hate baking cakes (that’s why God let us invent box mixes ๐Ÿ˜› ) and so on and so forth.

One of my things has always been the Lava Cake. I wasn’t scared of it in the least. I had read many recipes for it and for some reason it just didn’t appeal to me so I never tried it. But today, trying to figure out what to do for the blog, I was looking in the cabinets and saw that I had some bittersweet chocolate I needed to use before the boys decided my 3 dollar and fifty cent bag of Ghirardelli’s chocolate was perfect to make the “trail mix” they love to use odds and ends to make. Then I would be minus two teenage boys for a while as I hung them by their toenails off of the roof. Hmmmm, thinking about it, that sounds like it could be fun just for general purposes ๐Ÿ˜€

Moving on (titters and knows regular readers know why I am)… bittersweet chocolate to use. I also had some Raspberries and Strawberries that were beginning to look a bit peaked. So I decided that ok, it was time. I would make a Lava Cake and try to figure out what all the fuss was over a half cooked cake (cause really… that IS all it is if you think about it.) I figured I’d make a berry couli with it and if nothing else, how bad could ANYTHING be with smooshed berries and whipped cream with it. ๐Ÿ˜€

All I have to say is this… WHY THE HELL DIDN’T SOMEBODY MAKE ME ONE OF THESE AND FORCE IT INTO MY MOUTH YEARS AGO??! Shame on all of you for not writing me, say a decade ago (not knowing me then is no excuse darn it!) and telling me that I just HAD to try a Lava Cake.

Erhmmm, that was my way of saying I kinda liked it. Admittedly, I can’t lie, the berry couli was a big draw too but the gooey chocolate (aka the half cooked cake; I can’t lie to myself about that either) with the slightly crispy edge of the cooked part was…ummm… ehhh, it was ok I guess, if you’re gonna pin me down. FINE!! It was good! Happy now? I said it. Sheesh; some people. ๐Ÿ˜›

So try this. Right now. Go. Shoo. Get to the kitchen. Well, copy and print out the recipe first. But THEN… go. Cook. Eat. Drool. This recipe (the cake part anyway) comes from Paula Deen.

Chocolate Lava Cake


A Double Berry Couli

  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped if needed
  • 2 ounces semi sweet chocolate, chopped if needed
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter (NAHH!!! Not butter from a Paula Deen recipe ๐Ÿ˜› )
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons orange liquor (Optional. I didn’t use it since I was using the berry couli)
  • For the couli-
  • 1 cups raspberries
  • 1 cup capped and sliced strawberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Grease 6 6 ounce ramekins. Melt the butter and chocolates in the microwave (took a minute and 15 seconds in my 1000 watt microwave).
  3. Add the flour and sugar to the chocolate. Mix well.
  4. Add the eggs and egg yolks. Stir well until smooth (I used low on my mixer; worked fine) Stir in the vanilla and liquor if using.
  5. Divide the batter evenly among the ramekins
  6. Bake at 425 for 14 minutes. Do NOT over bake. The edge should be firm but the middle still goopy (yes, I said goopy ๐Ÿ˜› )
  7. Loosen the edge carefully with a butter knife then invert onto a dessert plate.
  8. For the couli-
  9. Mix berries, sugar and lemon juice in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium high heat, stirring frequently, until mixture is slightly thickened. Strain through a fine mesh strainer, pushing down on it to get all the juice.ร‚ย  Let cool. Serve the cake in a puddle of couli with lightly sweetened whipped cream or serve the couli on the sides for people to put on the amount they want. If the cakes cool down too much and the inside thickens up, just microwave it for 20 seconds or so.