Stuff and Nonsense: chocolate

Showing posts with label chocolate. Show all posts
Showing posts with label chocolate. Show all posts


Cookbook Club: Chocolate

March's cookbook club theme was all things chocolate. White, dark, milk, savory or sweet -- as long as there was chocolate in it and the recipe cake from a library resource, anything was fair game. As expected, club members brought choco-fabulousness to the meeting and we all had a good time. Yes, turnout was low (7 people registered, 3 people attended. IDKY), but everyone who turned up was keen to talk about their recipes and share their baked goods, so whatevs.

"Kickin' Chile Brownies" from Cool: Cooking Up Chili: Beyond the Basics for Kids Who Cook by Lisa Wagner (sweet, caky, and spicy)
"Black Magic Chocolate Espresso Cookies" from Deep, Dark Chocolate by Sara Perry (four kinds of chocolate! Black magic, indeed)
"Truffle-Filled Cookie Tarts" from Taste of Home Cookies, Bars & More (crispy cookie + fudgy filling = craveable)

Of the three recipes used, only one came from a print book. The others came from ebooks available through OverDrive and EBSCO's enhanced ebook collections. My patrons are learning. I am so proud.


Baking With Coffee Flour

When last I ordered from, I threw a bag off coffee flour in my cart because ... I don't know ... it sounded interesting. I'd been doing a lot of baking with chocolate and wondered if adding coffee flour to a chocolate cake or whathaveyou recipe would enhance the chocolate flavor the way adding brewed coffee would. But then I stopped baking -- my culinary life is all fits and starts these days -- and the flour languished in the baking cupboard.

I know. You're wondering what the heck coffee flour is, right? What would you do with it? Why would you want it?

Coffee flour is a food with a mission. Every year, billions of pounds of coffee fruit are discarded as a byproduct of coffee production. Instead of leaving the fruit to rot as waste, coffee flour was created to convert the leftover fruit into a tasty, nutritious flour that can be used for baking, cooking and making beverages. High in fiber, protein, and antioxidants, coffee flour is a non-GMO food that is naturally gluten-free. Not only is our coffee flour a perfectly versatile ingredient, it also helps create jobs for farmers and protect the environment.

It's feel-good flour.

But, how do you bake with it? says you can use 30% coffee flour in place of all-purpose or gluten-free flours in your recipes, but other sources say 10, 15, or 25%. I would guess start with the smallest amount and increase if successful?

I have not yet been brave enough to try using it in any of my favorite chocolaty recipes (I just feel, since it's a coffee byproduct, it should be paired with chocolate even though I know it doesn't need to be), but I have tried a two recipes specifically formulated to use coffee flour and had good results.

The first recipe I tried was "Coffee-Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies" from the February 2017 issue of the print magazine Rodale's Organic Life. I made the recipe exactly as written, going with weighted measures where provided, and ended up with 41 extremely yumptious cookies. Neither The Husband nor I enjoy coffee or coffee-flavored things, but these cookies do not taste at all coffee-like!

They are dark cookies, yes, with a hint of dates and a slight bitterness that put me more in mind of black tea tannins than coffee. That dark, slight bitterness worked well, though, balancing the general sweetness of the cookie and the insipidness of the milk chocolate morsels I used (forgot I was out of semisweet).

They have crisp-but-yielding exteriors with soft, almost cake-like interiors, and melt in the mouth. Definitely a cookie I'd make again. (I brought a third of the batch to work and everyone liked the cookies so much that I brought in another third the next day ... and The Husband was very unhappy about that so, yeah, it's a good cookie).

For my second attempt at baking with coffee flour, I used gluten-free "Chocolate Coffee Flour Muffins Recipe" recipe one snowy afternoon as I had all the ingredients on hand already. While this was my first time baking gluten-free, the recipe was simple with straight-forward instructions and I had no trouble preparing it. The only change I made to the recipe was to use Hersheys Special Dark chocolate cocoa, because that's all I had on hand.

The muffins baked up beautifully -- light and fluffy with a delicate crumb (perhaps more cupcake than muffin?). Perhaps a little dry, but I've certainly had much worse. The Husband enjoyed his muffins with a cup of tea and, frankly, that's always a good pairing. Flavor-wise, the muffins are a very dark chocolate with that slight, bitter coffee flour edge.

When I portioned the batter out into the muffin cups, I thought the batter smelled a lot like a Bounty/Mounds bar and, if I made this recipe again, I would top the muffins with shredded coconut instead of hazelnuts and, maybe, also add a little coconut extract to the batter.

I'll probably bake the CoffeeFlour® "Coffee Cherry Flour Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars" next, because everyone likes chocolate chip cookie bars. I really want to bake the "Coffee Cherry Flour Chocolate Zucchini Bread," but zucchini season is months away and it seems wrong to buy out-of-season zucchini!


Improv Challenge: Chocolate & Chillies

It's Improv Challenge Cooking reveal day for February, and this month's theme let us all get really creative with chocolate and chillies (aka chilies or chiles). Yum! I immediately knew I wanted to make some kind of cookie so it was merely a matter of thinking and experimenting until I found the recipe that seemed perfect for the challenge.

These cookies are loosely based on the memories of a bite-size chocolate and chili shortbread cookie I ate last year, but I went big with soft palm-sized drop cookies. I want rich, almost fudge-y, dark chocolate goodness, with just a touch of heat and spice. Something that would pair perfectly with an ice cold glass of milk and leave you feeling like maybe you'd been a little bit naughty. I wanted to flirt with decadence without crossing the line into chocolate overload. I think I mostly succeeded with this.

Chopping chocolate is a recommended stress reliever

Dark Chocolate & Chili Cookies

Yield:About 4 dozen


  • 1¼ cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour [King Arthur Flour]
  • ¾ cup baking cocoa [King Arthur Flour Triple Chocolate Blend]
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3.5 oz bar dark chili chocolate, chopped [Lindt Chili Excellence Bar]
  • 3.5 oz bar dark chocolate, chopped [Lindt 85% Cocoa Excellence Bar]
  • Cinnamon sugar, if desired


  1. In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Whisk together the flour, cocoa, cayenne, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Stir in chopped chocolate.
  2. Drop cookie dough by rounded tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto greased baking sheets. Bake at 350°F for 8-10 minutes, depending on how gooey you like your cookies. Immediately sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, if using.
  3. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. Let cool completely before eating ... if you have the patience! (The warmer the cookie, the more fragile it will be so handle with care).
  4. Cooled cookies will keep in an airtight container

Don't be surprised if these are gone in a day

The Husband thought these tasted a bit like "Mexican" hot chocolate, because they're very dark with just a hint of heat and spice, and was happy to scarf them down with mugs of tea. However, if you would like a properly spicy cookie, feel free to double the amount of cayenne. Also, these are fairly soft and crumbly cookies. Brilliant to nosh on (very morish -- so if you have a weakness for cookies, be forewarned) but not suitable for dunking in a cup of tea.

For anyone new to my blog, the Improv Cooking Challenge is a monthly blog hop where two ingredients are assigned, participants must make a new-to-their-blog recipe using both ingredients, and publish a blog post about it on the third Thursday of the month. If you think that sounds like fun, click on the Improv Cooking Challenge logo below.


Berry & Chocolate Nibbles

I was going to post this during Choctoberfest, but decided the nibbles were too similar to the chocolate bark recipe I shared and stuffed it back in my drafts folder at the last minute. However, now that I've eaten almost all of these little chocolate nibbles, I feel they're too good not to share ... even if they're not fancy!

Basically, instead of making a sheet of bark, I made little circular splodges of melted chocolate and decorated them with dried fruits and nuts. They taste a treat, are perfectly portioned, and (imho) present a little nicer than the bark.

Berry & Chocolate Nibbles

Yield: Depends on how much you like chocolate!


  • 4 oz good quality dark chocolate morsels
  • Dried fruit and nuts, as desired


  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Use a spoon to make bite-sized chocolate circular splodges on the paper. Then scatter a few dried berries across each circle.
  3. Place in the fridge to harden, about 20 minutes.

If using freeze-dried fruit, these are best eaten within a day or two as the freeze-dried fruit will "plump up" and become less crispy. Nibbles made with "regular" dried fruit keep at least a week in the fridge.


Improv Challenge: Halloweeny Orange & Black Marble Cake

October's Improv Challenge theme is orange and black so I baked a cake ... a marbled cake which is a cake I'd never attempted before because artistic swirls and flourishes are not really my thing. And by "not my thing" I mean "a thing I've never tried, because it looks fancy and I'm bound to mess it up." But what's the point of doing a challenge if it doesn't encourage me to move outside my comfort zone?

This marbled cake is based on a classic sponge cake and is light, fluffy and totally yum (The Husband really likes it and that's no small thing) that I've tarted up with orange zest, cocoa powder, and gel colors. While my marbling isn't as awesome most of the marbled cakes you'll see on, say, Pinterest I'm still quite pleased with the results and have satisfactorily conquered my fear of marbling. Next time, though, I might try three colors and swirl the batter just a bit more vigorously.

Orange & Black Marble Cake

Yield: 8 slices


  • 8 oz unsalted butter, softened
  • 8 oz superfine sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 8 oz self-rising flour
  • 3 Tbsp milk
  • ½ tsp orange extract
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • Black and orange gel paste food colors


  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 8-inch square baking pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. Put the butter, sugar, eggs, flour, and milk into the bowl of your food processor and whizz around until everything is smooth.

  • Divide the cake batter evenly between 2 bowls. Stir the cocoa powder and vanilla into one of the batter bowls. Stir orange extract and zest into the other. Slowly whisk black gel paste into cocoa batter, adding a little at a time, until the batter is blacker than a moonless night. Repeat with the orange batter and gel paste, until that batter is as orange as The Great Pumpkin.

  • Using two spoons, plop batters into the baking pan in a checkerboard(ish) pattern. Gently tap the baking pan against your counter edge to remove any air bubbles and help spread the batters up against the edge of the tin. Swirl a skewer or knife through the mixture to create a marbled effect.

  • Bake the cake for 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove the cake form the oven and let cool it completely on a rack. When cool, cut into 8-pieces and serve with orange or vanilla infused whipped cream.


Choctoberfest: Chocolate & Berry Bark

Choctoberfest and a household divided. Shall I throw down the olive branch cocoa nibs of peace and work with more milk chocolate for my last #Choctoberfest post? The Husband prefers milk chocolate, you see, and I very much prefer dark (and the darker the better, baby). As I am the baker and cook in this house, I tend to bake with a lot of dark chocolate and then take my creations off to work with me, because I can't (shouldn't?) eat a whole pan of cookies or whatnot on my own and my coworkers are verrrry enthusiastic eaters. The Husband clearly feels left out and tends to get a bit ... complainy. If I loved him, really properly loved him, then surely I would bake chocolatey things he liked?

So I withheld snarky comments about unsophisticated palates and made this chocolate bark with The Husband's preferred flavors in mind -- milk chocolate, blackcurrants, strawberries, raspberries, and hazelnuts. Because I love him. Or I'm trying to give him diabetes. It might amount to the same thing.


Anyway, this was my first attempt at chocolate bark and it would probably never have happened were it not for #Choctoberfest! It turns out it's dead easy to make, albeit a bit time consuming, and I really wish I'd tried it sooner. My imagination is afire with possible flavor combinations and I suspect this is something I'm going make quite often through the fall and winter. At the very least, it's a delicious way to use up those dribs and drabs of dried fruit and nuts lurking in the back of the baking cupboard!

I'd read a little bit more about chocolate -- my library has some really helpful books, including The Ghiradelli Chocolate Cookbook -- by the time I decided to make this bark, so I was reasonably sure decent-quality milk chocolate morsels could be used instead of the "fancy" melting chips I used when I made the chocolate dipped glacé apricots.

Chocolate & Berry Bark


  • 11.5 oz package milk chocolate baking chips [Ghiradelli]
  • ⅓ cup freeze-dried strawberry slices
  • ⅓ cup freeze-dried blackcurrants
  • ⅓ cup freeze-dried raspberries
  • ⅓ cup crushed salted roasted hazelnuts


  1. Line a 13x9" rimmed baking sheet (quarter sheet pan) with parchment paper.
  2. Place milk chocolate morsels in a large microwave-safe bowl; microwave on High 30 seconds; stir well and repeat until wafers are smooth.
  3. Pour chocolate out onto parchment paper and, using an offset spatula, spread to form a rectangle of even thickness.
  4. Artistically arrange berries and nuts across the melted chocolate.
  5. Refrigerate until set, about 20 minutes. Break or cut into pieces. Store in an airtight container in fridge.
This bark is best eaten within a day or two of making as the dehydrated berries will soften and become more chewy as they are exposed to the moisture from the chocolate.

Don't forget today is THE LAST DAY to enter the giveaway for fabulous Choctoberfest prizes!


Choctoberfest: Barlean's Mint Chocolate Pudding

For Choctoberfest, the super awesome folks at Barlean's sent me the most delightful box of Chocolate Silk Greens and Chocolate-Mint Essential Woman Omega Swirl Supplement.
  • Barlean’s Chocolate Silk Greens, a new product, are great to use in smoothies, for hot chocolate, in coffee, and can be added in cookies, protein bars, and puddings. It has 5 servings of vegetables and antioxidants with important vitamins and minerals and no sugar. It’s dairy and soy free and has superfoods in it. There’s different flavors to chose from too, but since this is Choctoberfest we're obviously working with the chocolate-flavored Greens!
  • Omega Swirl is a blend of Organic Evening Primrose Oil and Organic Flaxseed Oil and contains essential Omega-3, 6, and 9 fatty acids. While it tastes all sweet and chocolaty, Chocolate-Mint Essential Woman Omega Swirl is sweetened naturally with xylitol so it's actually sugar-free and contains fewer calories and carbohydrates than regular table sugar.
I'm already familiar with both Barlean's Flaxseed Oil and Orange Cream Total Omega Swirl 3-6-9 Supplement and unflavored Flaxseed Oil, so I was excited to try the Chocolate-Mint Omega Swirl ... but I wasn't sure about the Greens! I had zero experience with the greens and, to be honest, my "cooking" with the Omega Swirl was limited to stirring it into yoghurt, pudding, and oatmeal. How was I going to combine these ingredients with others in a way that was tasty and didn't make the folks at Barlean's regret they'd ever sent me anything?

While I was pretty sure no-one wanted a recipe for a mint chocolate milkshake (simply because it's too obvious to need a recipe) I thought a pudding -- a mint chocolate pudding fortified with Silk Greens and flavored with Omega Swirl -- might fly with you all. There's actual cooking in pudding-making, after all, and I'd made enough puds in the past that I (probably) knew what I was doing and (probably) wouldn't create a horrible mutant pudding that would make Barlean's come to my house and repossess my container of Greens.

Anyway, I think this pudding turned out really well! Dark and rich (but not heavy) with a beautiful color, it was dead easy to make and keeps well, covered, in the fridge. If you prefer a sweeter, more mild pudding (more like the instant mix stuff), feel free to boost the sugar and/or use milk chocolate morsels.

Barlean's Mint Chocolate Pudding

Serves 4


  • 2 cups plain almond coconut milk blend
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • ¼ cup dark cocoa powder
  • ¼ semisweet chocolate morsels
  • 2 Tbsp granulated white sugar, such as Imperial Sugar
  • 1 tsp espresso powder
  • 2 scoops Barlean's Chocolate Silk Greens
  • 1 Tbsp Barlean's Chocolate-Mint Essential Woman Omega Swirl Supplement
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • Raspberries and fresh mint, for garnish


  1. Whisk together ½ cup milk and cornstarch in small bowl. Set aside.
  2. Add remaining 1½ cups milk, cocoa, chocolate morsels, sugar, espresso powder, and Greens in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cook, whisking regularly, over medium heat until the morsels have melted.
  3. Whisk in cornstarch slurry and cook over medium-low heat, whisking regularly, until pudding thickens and begins to boil.
  4. Remove pan from heat and quickly whisk in Omega Swirl and vanilla.
  5. Divide pudding evenly between four small bowls or dessert dishes. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours. Serve garnished with raspberries and mint, if desired.

If you're feeling inspired to try cooking with Barlean's Greens, you should consider subscribing to Barlean's Better Life newsletter which is full of product information, tips, offers, and coupons!

Don't forget to enter the giveaway for fabulous Choctoberfest prizes!


Choctoberfest: Chocolate-Raspberry Meringue Cookies

The generous folks at Imperial Sugar sent me a case of their extra fine granulated pure cane sugar for #Choctoberfest. In case you're not impressed by that, let me point out that a case of Imperial Sugar is forty pounds of sugar. Think of all the things I can create with that amount of sugar! Think of all the cups of tea The Husband can sweeten with the bits he "borrows!" Seriously though, The Husband likes his black tea sweet and too often I have gone to bake something only to find the bottom of the sugar canister coated with the merest scraping of sugar as "someone" has drunk up the rest. That's not going to happen now. Even he can't use that much sugar in his tea!

Astounded by Imperial Sugar's generosity, I decided to bake meringue cookies with their sugar as it's such a simple recipe -- not much more than eggs and sugar -- and I thought it would give the sugar a chance to shine. Sugar doesn't just make these meringue cookies sweetly delicious, but it binds with the egg proteins, increasing their strength and elasticity, creating the fluffiest meringue. Science!

While I've made meringue with regular ol' granulated sugar, it can give the meringue a grainy texture which is not terrible in something like Eton Mess, where the meringue is smashed up and mixed with many other ingredients, but I didn't want gritty cookies. Imperial Sugar doesn't seem to make a superfine sugar, so I just whirred the Imperial Sugar granulated white around in my food processor until it resembled fine beach sand. This doesn't take long to do and allows me to feel even more smug about my kitchen skills.

These cookies are a trifle on the large size -- I like a generous cookie -- so you might want to use teaspoonfuls instead of tablespoons if you prefer a more delicate and ladylike cookie. Also, you could mix some cocoa powder in with the chips and raspberries for a more chocolaty meringue.

Also, feel free to use semisweet or bittersweet (yessss) chocolate in these cookies. The Husband does not enjoy dark chocolate and I love The Husband and want him to be happy, so I stuck with milk.

Chocolate-Raspberry Meringue Cookies

Yield: Approximately 2 dozen cookies


  • 2 large egg whites at room temperature
  • ¼ tsp cream of tartar
  • pinch salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 4 oz white granulated sugar [Imperial Sugar]
  • 1 oz freeze-dried raspberries
  • 5 oz milk chocolate morsels


  1. Preheat the oven to 200°F. Position racks in upper and lower thirds of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Using your fingers, gently break the raspberries so none remain whole, being careful not to crush them into dust. Set aside.
  3. Pour white sugar into your food processor and whir around until it resembles fine beach sand. Set aside.
  4. In the scrupulously clean and dry bowl of your stand mixer, use the wire whisk attachment to whip egg whites with cream of tartar, salt, and vanilla until the whites form soft peaks.
  5. Slowly add sugar, beating until stiff peaks form and mixture becomes very white and glossy.
  6. Gently fold in the crushed raspberries and chocolate chips, taking care not to deflate the batter.
  7. Drop mixture by tablespoonfuls on to the parchment paper.
  8. Bake for 1½ hours, rotating the pans from top-to-bottom and front-to-back halfway through baking.
  9. Turn off the heat and let the meringues cool completely in oven, about 2 hours.

If the cookies stick to the paper when you try to remove them then they are not baked properly. Reheat the oven to 200°F, put the cookies back in, and then turn off oven. Leave for about 2 hours and they should be fine.

These cookies will keep well in an airtight container on your kitchen counter for several weeks ... if they last that long!

Don't forget to enter the giveaway for fabulous Choctoberfest prizes!


Choctoberfest: Dark Chocolate-Cherry Oatmeal Cookies

For today’s #Choctoberfest with Imperial Sugar recipe, I’ve used dried tart cherries, toasted slivered almonds, and bittersweet chocolate morsels in a scrumptious crisp-yet-slightly-chewy oatmeal cookie. Warm, crispy-on-the-outside-with-slightly-chewy-inside oatmeal cookie are my weakness. Freshly baked chocolate chip? Peanut butter? Snickerdoodle? Sugar? They’re all fine, but I don’t feel I NEED to eat them. But a warm oatmeal cookie? I go full Cookie Monster.

These cookies use a combination of brown sugar and white granulated Imperial Sugar. Brown sugar tends to make baked goods more moist and white makes them crisp so I thought using the two I might give me the combination of crisp-yet-chewy combo I craved. In this, I think I was quite successful and may try combining brown and white sugars in other chewy cookie recipes.

If you’ve not toasted almonds before, fear not for it is quite easy! Just heat your oven to 350°F. Lay the nuts on a cookie sheet in a single layer and bake 5 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the nuts are fragrant and golden. You do need to keep an eye on them, because they will burn, but stirring every few minutes seems to help with that. You can also toast almonds in a skillet, but I tend to burn them when I try the skillet method!

If you don't have access to white whole wheat flour, all-purpose is a fine substitute. I use white whole wheat simply because it makes me feel more virtuous and no-one I bake for can tell the difference between cookies baked with white whole wheat and all-purpose. They can spot "regular" whole wheat recipes from a mile away, though, and turn their noses up every time. Ugh. Picky people.

Anyway, to the cookies!

Dark Chocolate-Cherry Oatmeal Cookies

Yield: 2 dozen cookies


  • ⅓ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • ¾ cup white granulated sugar [Imperial Sugar]
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1½ tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup + 3 Tbsp white whole wheat flour
  • 1 Tbsp dark cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp espresso powder
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • ¾ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ⅓ cup bittersweet chocolate chips
  • ⅓ cup dried tart cherries
  • ⅓ cup toasted slivered almonds


  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Beat butter in a medium bowl at medium-high speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Add sugars, beating at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and egg, beating until blended.
  • Whisk together flour, cocoa, oats, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture, beating at low speed just until combined. Stir in chips, cherries, and nuts.

  • Drop dough by tablespoonfuls, 2 inches apart, onto parchment paper-line baking sheets.

  • Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool on baking sheets 2 minutes. Transfer to wire racks, and let cool completely.

Don't forget to enter the giveaway for fabulous Choctoberfest prizes!


Choctoberfest: Chocolate Dipped Apricots

Munson's Chocolates, a Connecticut chocolate company that's been around since 1946, makes the most decadently delicious chocolates and chocolate-based confections. Their stores are a kind of dangerous paradise for chocolate lovers, I tell you, because it's so very easy to leave with so much more than you intended. During the bitter give-me-all-your-comfort-foods-now winter months, I like to nibble my way through a box of chocolate brickle -- a delectable blend of brown sugar toffee, almonds, pecans, and walnuts drizzled with milk, dark, and white chocolate -- but the chocolate covered apricots are my hands down favorite year-round. Plump, juicy glacé ‎apricots enrobed in rich dark chocolate ... yum!

Chocolate + glace apricots = superdelicousyumwithknobson

It should be no surprise then that I thought #Choctoberfest would be the perfect time to try my hand at chocolate covered apricots! I knew I didn't want to use the regular ol' dried apricots you find at the grocery store, but the posher (and more correct) glacé ‎apricots. I found a tin at Williams-Sonoma, but the price just about made me cry, so I ended up purchasing them online from for a much more reasonable price. The apricots are beautiful -- plump, luscious fruit -- and taste just lovely all on their own. Obviously, as they're preserved in a sugar syrup (that makes them glacé), they're a bit more like eating apricot candy than, say, a health food and you might not want to eat more than one at a time lest you find yourself buzzing around like a hummingbird.

Superduper awesome glacé apricot on the left & boring ol' regular dried apricot on the right

I'm just saying glacé apricots are a bit sweet. But totally crave-worthy. It's like some cunning soul took a regular ol' apricot and infused it with a mixture of honey and liquid sunlight. It's the kind of thing you need to eat in the darkest, bitterest heart of winter.

Delicious chocolate of melting ... and nibbling!

For chocolate, I used Ghiradelli's dark chocolate melting wafers. I considered using bittersweet chips, but worried the chocolate would be too brittle when it set. I'd never made chocolate dipped fruit before, you know, and I didn't want to mess it up. The melting wafers are advertised as the "trusty recipe go-to for consistent baking and candy-making results" and that sounded pretty good to me! Maybe one day, when I'm all into home chocolate-making, I'll splash out for some couverture chocolate, but melting wafers are just fine for this pessimistic noob. (I mean, I'm not sure where I thought I could go wrong with this recipe -- maybe, blow up the microwave? -- but I was all full of trepidation the first time through!)

Dark Chocolate Dipped Apricots


  • 5 oz dark chocolate melting wafers
  • 12 oz glacé ‎apricots


  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
  2. Melt chocolate chips in a microwave-safe glass bowl on High 30 seconds; stir well and repeat until wafers are smooth.
  3. Working one at a time, dip about ¾ of an apricot into the melted chocolate, allowing excess chocolate to drip back into the bowl. Place on baking sheet.
  4. Repeat with remaining apricots and chocolate.
  5. Place in refrigerator until set, at least 20 minutes.
  6. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

You will note that some of my apricots are ¾-dipped and some are wholly enrobed in chocolate. This is because, as I came to the bottom of the chocolate bowl, it became harder to dip the apricots so I ended up laying them in the bowl and spooning chocolate over them before moving them to the tray.

Ignore my Christmas cupcake papers ... but these would make a nice Christmas gift ...

While I am mostly pleased with my endeavor, I must say that the chocolate wasn't dark enough for me the first time 'round -- especially considering the sweetness of the glacé apricots -- so, the second time, I used 4 oz dark chocolate melting wafers and 1 oz bittersweet chips. This was a definitely closer to what I had in mind!

I can imagine doing this with other glacé fruits like pineapple or peaches. Or figs! Mmm ... glacé figs!

Don't forget to enter the giveaway for fabulous Choctoberfest prizes!


Choctoberfest: Bittersweet Raspberry Blondies

My first recipe post for #Choctoberfest with Imperial Sugar and I'm telling you how to make blondies when you're probably all expecting some decadent ooey-gooey chocolate explosion of a brownie. Well. Here's the thing -- I prefer blondies to brownies. Yes. I know. WEIRD. But, seriously, these blondies are vastly superior to your standard brownie, don't take any more time to make, and are just so fine! They're the perfect combination of a sugar cookie and a brownie -- dense and fudgy like a brownie, but the flavor is pure sugar cookie. The addition of almonds and raspberries make them seem extra fancy -- rich and decadent -- but they really are so easy to make and go down a treat with a cold glass of milk. Or big mug of sugary tea. Or tiny glass of dessert wine ...

Baking chips. Some for the blondies, some for my belly.

While I love blondies, I don't like them too sweet so when I threw this recipe together one afternoon I opted for bittersweet chocolate morsels instead of white (which is what I usually find in blondies) to try to balance the sweetness of the brown sugar and berries. I think I was successful, but these bars are still very rich, so feel free to cut them smaller than I did!

These are most delicious served warm so the chocolate is a bit gooey.

I used King Arthur Flour's white whole wheat in this recipe, but the same amount of all-purpose would work just as well. White whole wheat adds an air of virtuousness to these blondies, legitimatizing my tendency to scarf them down like nobody's business! Also, if you want to play around with it, I'm betting blackberries and pecans would make a tasty variation.

I did not line the pan with parchment the first time & it was pretty much impossible to remove the baked bars.

Bittersweet Raspberry Blondies

Yield: 16 bars (cut 4x4)


  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour [King Arthur Flour]
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp baking spice mix [Penzeys]
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste [Nielsen-Massey]
  • ¾ cup bittersweet chocolate baking chips [Ghirardelli]
  • 4 oz fresh raspberries
  • ⅓ cup flaked almonds


  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease 8x8 baking dish and line with parchment paper so that there is a bit of overhang -- this will make it MUCH easier to get the baked blondies out later.
  2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
  3. In bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, or in large bowl with hand-held mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until fluffy.
  4. Add egg and vanilla. Beat until blended.
  5. Add flour mixture to egg mixture. Beat on low speed until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips.
  6. Spoon batter into prepared pan. Scatter raspberries and almonds evenly over batter. Bake until edges are golden brown and center is set, about 35 minutes.
  7. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack, about 1 hour. Remove blondies from pan, cut into 16 pieces (4 rows by 4 rows) and serve.

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