Tag Archives: chocolate

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Hi, Autumn! Let me officially welcome you. You are my favorite season, and I'm fairly certain that a good portion of New Englanders (especially food bloggers!) agree with me.

But we feel that way at the start of every season, don't we? At the beginning of spring, we're so excited to have fresh vegetables and fruit, and we are re-encouraged to brighten up meals that had become so dull in the winter months.

Summer comes, and we are just so freaking happy to roll out the grill and throw some big, bloody meat onto it. It's also the season of watermelon, lemonade, ice-cream, and homegrown veggies.

Autumn arrives with that delicious, home-cooked aroma that reminds you of curling up with a blanket, playing in the leaves, breaking out your Northface and scarves (the iconic NE signal that fall has officially arrived). It smells like cinnamon and allspice, roasted poultry and heavenly sauces. It smells like delicious, savory desserts that are made with some of our favorite autumn staples: maple, apples, pumpkins...

And then there's winter. Typically I get all depressed because, for cooking, it's the season that arrives with a big fat tuba player behind it going "Womp womp." By the end of winter, you might scream if you have to eat roast anything. 

But back to Fall! Yay! (I am so not ready for winter) ...continue reading

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banana, bread, pudding, brioche, white, chocolate, chips, semi-sweet, delicious, bread, ramekin, dessert, fruit

Baking Bree has been available on Amazon for three weeks now, and while the reviews are slow to come in, the feedback has been wonderful. When I set out to write a book that centered around food, I knew that there must be a way to incorporate it into the blossoming romance between Bree and Simon, her cooking instructor.

For things to heat up outside of the classroom, I decided to use Simon's knowledge of baking and pastry making to whip up a delectable spread of desserts to tantalize Bree's tastebuds.

banana, bread, pudding, brioche, white, chocolate, chips, semi-sweet, delicious, bread, ramekin, dessert, fruit

Each dish had to jump off the page (ok, screen) and into the reader's mouth, making them crave the next bite as much as Bree was. To do this, I picked textural, aromatic, and flavorful dishes that, when paired with the right wines, work together to completely seduce the senses.

 Sound delicious? You can pick up a copy of the book on Amazon, and check out the scene for yourself (Chapter 15). And if you review the book (please please please!) and shoot me an email, I'll put you on a list to receive the sequel, Starting from Scratch, for free!

Of course I have to get around to actually starting that one, so in the meantime, let's start the seduction ;) ...continue reading

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I know, I know. I've been bad at blogging this year. But I've been great about everything else! I've been working hard at work, my book, some art projects, and oh yeah, a ginormous cake that totally blows away anything else I've ever made!!!

Star Wars, George Lucas, Empire strikes back, A new Hope, Return of the Jedi, Boba Fett, Helmet, Death Star, Fondant, birthday, marshmallow, sugar, buttercream, Starwars, Layers, chocolate, vanilla, nerd, geek, dork, cake

That's right. The most epic cake ever, and totally a surprise for Kevin's 26th birthday (he thought I was making a tardis cake! Could we get any nerdier?)

I started this on Sunday and finally stacked it on Friday. It consists of 12 separate cake layers (chocolate and vanilla alternating) with buttercream filling, and about six pounds of homemade marshmallow fondant. People seem surprised when they discover how expensive wedding cakes are. I will guess that this barely made it under $100, especially when I take into account all the extra tools and supplies from Michaels I needed. It's almost creepy how much butter and sugar is in that thing...

I designed it months ago, knowing that Kevin's birthday falls only three days after our one-year anniversary (we always joke about our poor planning). I of course knew right away that I wanted to do Star Wars, because I thought it would work perfectly for the ambitious, multi-tiered design I had in mind.  ...continue reading

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grilled, peanut butter, jelly, banana, strawberry, banana split, chocolate, honey, honey monkey, pineapple jam, jam, preserves, PB&J, grilled cheese, lunch, easy, fun, kid, children, weekday, weekend, toasted,

You know what? I think I'm getting way better at food photography and styling. 

Know how I know this? Because I have to spend WAY less time post processing my more recent photos, and when I look at the images I took, I am filled with an overwhelming sense of pride.

And hunger...

The recent additions to my photo "studio" (aka: dining room) have been my lovely macro lens, and two lowel ego lights. FINALLY I have a decent lighting set-up, and maybe, just maybe, one of my damn photos will make it onto food gawker. I'll tell you more about the lights and lens and how great they are later (probably by updating my Photography page), but now I want to talk about lunch.

If memory serves me right, I don't have any lunch recipes on my blog. Granted, I have a lot of meals that were reheated at lunch the following day, but never have I made and documented a dish specifically for the midday meal. Most of this stems from working 9-5 all week, but why not just make lunch on the weekends, Sarah?

Because I'm lazy. 

I've never been a sandwich person. I just haven't. You might try to tell me that sandwiches are the lazy man's ideal food, but from years of experience, I can assure you that a bowl of cereal provides an even faster way to fill your stomach. Bowl. Cereal. Milk. Spoon. Bam. Done.

None of this opening and closing refrigerator doors, aligning meat on the bread, spreading mayo and mustard and who knows what else, and to make matters worse, I rarely finish an entire sandwich. I have a tendency to get bored halfway through and walk away!

Now, you're probably thinking, Why are you telling us this? Because I found an amazing sandwich that will tempt even the pickiest, laziest eaters ever. I devoured mine, and then immediately had to stop myself from making another. There's always tomorrow though... ...continue reading

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dirty girl scout, cookies, chocolate, mint, boozy, alcohol, liquor, infused, thin mints, junior mints, drop cookies, espresso, 1920's, prohibition, gatsby, roaring, flappers, twenties

101st post! Yay!

So the weekend before my 24th birthday, I drove up to a friend's house for a Roarin' 20's party.

dirty girl scout, cookies, chocolate, mint, boozy, alcohol, liquor, infused, thin mints, junior mints, drop cookies, espresso, 1920's, prohibition, gatsby, roaring, flappers, twenties

Wow that's a large picture. 

Anyway, I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to try out some alcoholic cookies, you know, so I could sneak the booze past the coppers. They were also sort of inspired by the previews for the Great Gatsby, which will be released this coming Christmas. I thought that these chocolatey, minty, topped-with-candy cookies perfectly represented the 1920's. They are fun, flirty, easy to make, wonderful to share at parties, and best of all, liquor infused.

These turned out to be such a great success, and the best part is drinking the leftover alcohol! So grab your pearls and feathers, tuck your flask into your garter, and prepare to get tipsy.  ...continue reading

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chocolate, peanut butter, pretzels, chocolate dipped, salt, peanut butter dough, filling, creamy, peanut, chocolate, milk chocolate, melt, melted, snacks, treats, gifts, delicious, easy, simple

 There's something fantastic about snacks that are easy to throw together, taste delicious, and work as the perfect gift. Chocolate covered pretzels have always been my go-to holiday treat, along with peanut butter balls. It never really occurred to me to combine the separate elements into one mega-snack!

But I recently stumbled across Sally's Baking Addiction, a gorgeous blog overflowing with jaw-dropping recipes. And most of them combine several of my (let's face it, everybody's) favorite ingredients: peanut butter, chocolate, candy, sprinkles, cake batter, fudge...endless cavity-inducing combinations that you wouldn't have thought of.

chocolate, peanut butter, pretzels, chocolate dipped, salt, peanut butter dough, filling, creamy, peanut, chocolate, milk chocolate, melt, melted, snacks, treats, gifts, delicious, easy, simple

These peanut butter-stuffed pretzels are dipped in melted chocolate to create a dense treat that everyone will love. I made a double batch for father's day, packed them into cellophane candy bags, and presented them to my dad at his barbecue on Sunday. The other half of the batch went to Kevin's family, and everyone was raving about them.

The best part? They only take about 20 minutes to throw together! But you don't have to tell anyone that part... ...continue reading

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zebra cakes, Little Debbie, snacks, homemade cakes, cakes, cupcakes, valentines day, Valentine's day, romantic cakes, fun cakes

Since I embarked on my cooking adventure, I've noticed several changes in my life. The first being that I started losing weight, which was astonishing to me because I cooked relatively unhealthy things with absurd quantities of butter. The second change was that my cholesterol plummeted. Literally, I went from having the cholesterol of a 60 year old obese chain-smoker to a healthy number in the "low-risk" group.

The third change, and the one that really made the biggest impact, was that I stopped buying and eating so much processed foods. Before I cooked, everything I ate came out of a can, or from the freezer, or from individually wrapped packages. Granted, I still partake in the occasional can of spaghettios, but my consumption of Tyson frozen chicken and Little Debbie snacks has nearly been reduced to zero.

But man, do I miss those Little Debbie snacks. I have so many childhood (ok, and adulthood) memories of eating package after package of oatmeal cream pies, cosmic brownies, and zebra cakes, and then having a stomachache and berating myself for my lack of self control.

When Ken and I started this cooking thing over the summer, when both of us were trying to drop 5-10 pounds and get healthier, we agreed upon a rule:

No junk food unless you make it yourself!

This simple rule has proven itself time and time again. It gives you the freedom to cook and eat what you want, as long as you make it from scratch! Feeling like eating mac and cheese? Make it yourself. Want to eat an entire batch of brownies? No problem, as long as they didn't come from a mix. Craving those Little Debbie snacks? Figure out a way to make them yourself :) ...continue reading

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Merry Christmas everyone! 

I...can't think of anything else to say here. It's too early in the morning, and I'm already all hopped up on sugar and peppermint. And ginger cookies of course. Breakfast of champions.

I made these cupcakes from my brand new cupcake cookbook that my sister gave me, and I'm so excited that they worked! We all know I've had cupcake troubles in the past, so I was thrilled that not only did they poof nicely,  but they tasted pretty damn good too ;)

It's a simple chocolate cupcake recipe paired with a fluffy white frosting with crushed peppermint candies in it and sprinkled on top! And a few candy canes, in case they weren't minty enough. ...continue reading

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Looking for something super easy to throw together the night before that Christmas party or holiday potluck? Look no further! I made this for my nephew's first birthday party this weekend, and all the adults went nuts for it. They kept exclaiming how good it was, and I'm so talented, and how did I make it?

I felt a little dumb saying, "I melted chocolate, and then I melted more chocolate, and then I put candy on it."

You will need (here's where it gets tricky, so pay close attention):

  • white chocolate
  • milk chocolate
  • crushed peppermint

And that's it. It's up to you how much to add, it all depends on what ratios you want and how many people you're feeding! I used roughly a pound each of white and milk chocolate, and a few handfuls of the peppermint.

If you are not lucky enough to live by a Wegmans, or at least a grocery store that sells candy in bulk, you might have to melt down some chocolate bars and crush your own candy canes. I'm lazy though :)

First you line a cookie sheet with foil, and lightly spray with cooking spray. Then you melt the milk chocolate in a double boiler (or a metal bowl suspending over simmering water) stirring often to prevent it from burning.

When the chocolate is melted, pour it onto the cookie sheet, spread it evenly (again, how thick you spread it depends on how thick you want it!) and pop it in the fridge for half an hour.

When it's hard, melt the white chocolate in the same way. Add a few handfuls of the crushed peppermint, and then smear the whole mixture evenly on top of the chocolate layer. Sprinkle more candy to top it off, and then refrigerate for another hour before breaking into bite-sized pieces!

So there you go, minimal effort for maximum results. My favorite way to cook! :) You can throw it all in a bowl to serve at a party, or you could even wrap them up and give them as gifts, if you need a last minute present. Or go ahead and save it all for yourself, I won't judge you.