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Banana Chocolate Chip Bran Muffins

3 Mar

I recently stumbled upon the best banana chocolate chip bran muffins! I love the fact that this muffin favorite can be changed only slightly and become a healthy treat. Who doesn’t like banana chocolate chip muffins? And now I can eat one each morning for breakfast guilt free! I have made them the past two weekends for a quick and healthy on-the-go breakfast throughout the week. They keep very well in an airtight container for up to 7-10 days which makes enjoying these delights each morning a breeze. A banana chocolate chip bran muffin will make any morning better.

banana choch muffins


Banana Chocolate Chip Bran Muffins (Adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe blog)

Makes about 2 dozen muffins

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 16 – 18 minutes per muffin pan


  • 2 tbls. butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 medium ripe bananas, coarsely mashed
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 4 cups bran flakes
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl combine butter, applesauce and sugar. Mix until smooth.

Add the eggs, coarsely mashed bananas and buttermilk. Mix well.

Add the flour, baking soda, salt, bran flakes and chocolate chips. Mix to fully combine, lumpy batter is to be expected.

Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups 2/3 full of batter. Bake 16 – 18 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick comes out clean. Transfer muffins to a cooling rack.

Cool completely before storing. Can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for a little more than a week.



Chocolate Dipped Double Ginger Cookies

18 Feb

Happy President’s Day and Valentine’s Day weekend! The past few days we have had a bit of a thaw here…if you can call 30 degrees a thaw 🙂 but unfortunately it sounds like we are in for another cold snap the rest of the week. There is not much to do other than stay inside and make the best of it when it’s practically below zero out. Just another excuse to make something sweet and indulge.

Double Ginger Cookies 1

If you like ginger cookies these are positively addicting! The dark chocolate compliments the crystalized ginger perfectly and they stay chewy long after they come out of the oven. I start making these around the holidays and usually don’t stop until the spring. They are a versatile cookie recipe that is sure to please. In December alone I made four batches of them for various get togethers and gifts. These are a fantastic sweet treat to enjoy while waiting for the weather to warm up.

Double Ginger Cookies 2

Chocolate Dipped Double Ginger Cookies (adapted from a William Sonoma recipe)

Makes 3-4 dozen

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 – 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hr. 15 min.


  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 2/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup dark molasses
  • 1 whole extra-large egg, lightly beaten, plus 1 egg white
  • ½  – ¾ cup chopped crystallized ginger
  • ½ cup coarse sugar crystals
  • 1 bag of dark chocolate baking chips (I used Ghirardelli 60% cocoa)


Preheat oven to 325°F. Lightly grease 2 baking sheets or line them with parchment paper.

Over a sheet of waxed paper, sift together the flour, ground ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt. Set aside. (Not imperative that the dry ingredients are sifted)

In a large bowl, using a wooden spoon, stir together the oil, brown sugar and molasses until well blended. Add the whole egg and stir until blended. Stir in the flour mixture and the crystallized ginger.

In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg white (you may need more than one egg white). Spread the sugar crystals in a shallow bowl.

With dampened hands, shape the dough into 1-inch balls. Brush each ball lightly with egg white and roll in the sugar to coat. Place the cookies about 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheets.

Bake until the tops of the cookies are set and crackled, 15 to 18 minutes.

*NOTE* I check them at 12 min and go from there. I like them chewy as opposed to crispy so I usually take them out a little before 15 minutes is up.

Let cool for 5 minutes, then transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool completely. The cookies will firm up slightly as they cool.

While the cookies are baking (and then cooling) melt 1 package of dark chocolate baking chips in a double boiler. When fully melted, remove from heat. After cookies have cooled, dip half of each ginger snap in the melted chocolate and place on wax paper to allow chocolate to set. They will set quicker if you put them in the fridge. Makes about 3-4 dozen cookies.

Make-Ahead Tip: These cookies keep well. Store between layers of waxed paper in an airtight container.


Cheesecake with Raspberry Coulis

21 Feb

Happy (Belated) Valentine’s Day!

I had some extra time this weekend and was able to make my sweetie something sweet for a little Valentine’s Day celebration. I decided I was going to make cheesecake with a raspberry/strawberry coulis, however as I was gathering up the ingredients I quickly realized I didn’t have exactly what I needed. I had already gone to the store so I was determined to use what I had which is how I ended up with so many pecans in my crust and pomegranate liqueur in my coulis… Right as I was about to start I had the idea to make the cheesecake in more of a bar form and cut little hearts out using a cookie cutter (super corny I know…but I just couldn’t help myself hehe).

Thankfully the final product turned out and I now have a new crust and fruit coulis recipe to experiment with in the future.



  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 1 cup crushed graham crackers
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 tbls brown sugar
  • 8 tbls melted butter
  • 1 lb. cream cheese (room temp)
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp flour
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
Fruit Coulis
  • 1 1/2 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen strawberries
  • 1 tbls PAMA liqueur (pomegranate liqueur)
  • 1 tbls freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/8 cup granulated sugar


Serves: 6-8

Time: 30 min (prep) & 65 min (cooking)

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

To make the crust process the pecans and graham crackers in a food processor and then add the flour, brown sugar and the butter. The dough should start to come together soon after the butter is added. Press the crust dough into a 9×13 pan and bake for 15 minutes.

Increase the oven temp to 400 degrees. For the filling mix cream cheese, vanilla and eggs until blended. Add sugar and blend, add flour and blend, add heavy whipping cream and blend until the mixture is very smooth. This could take a few minutes. Pour onto the crust and bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes and then turn the oven down to 250 degrees and back for 30 more minutes. The middle of the cheesecake should look like it has just set. Turn oven off crack the door and let cool in oven for about 60 minutes (this prevents cracking). Refrigerate for about an hour before cutting out the hearts.

The fruit coulis is quite easy. Put all ingredients into a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.If desired, push the coulis through a fine mesh sieve to catch the raspberry and strawberry seeds. The fruit coulis can be made up to two days in advance and kept in an airtight container in the fridge.

To serve, garnish cheesecake with fruit coulis and fresh raspberries and strawberries.