No More Burned Marshmallows

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like S’mores, do you?  I was first introduced to them when I was a young girl at Girl Scout Camp where we roasted the marshmallows on a stick over a camp fire.  It seemed like mine always caught fire, and I ended up with a charred, blackened marshmallow while everyone else’s marshmallow was golden and perfectly toasted.  I usually insisted that I made it that way on purpose because I loved them burned.  😦

roasting a marshmallow

roasting a marshmallow (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now-a- days, I’ll gladly eat a S’more if someone else will toast my marshmallow, because I still can’t seem to get it right!   That’s probably why I think these bars are so fabulous.  There is no toasting of marshmallows involved—what’s used here is marshmallow fluff out of a jar.  While it’s a little sticky to spread, I’m better with that than I am with an open fire.

S'mores Bars

S’mores Bars

I found this recipe hidden away at the bottom of an ad from my Mazda dealer.  Sneaky little devil, thought I wouldn’t see it!      Well, I did see it, and I made it for us all to enjoy.  People,  you will be so happy that I’m sharing it with you.  No longer will you need to go camping, or build a fire to toast marshmallows,  just make these ooey, gooey, chocolatey, bars and you will have the best without the mess.  🙂




Yield:   Makes 16 bars

Graham crackers, chocolate and marshmallow fluff.

Graham crackers, chocolate and marshmallow fluff.


  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2   (3.5 oz.) bars dark chocolate
  • 1/2 cup marshmallow fluff

1.  Preheat the oven to 350*F.  Line an 8 x 8 inch baking pan with parchment  paper, leaving an overhang at the sides.

2.  In a mixer bowl, beat the butter, sugars, and vanilla together until light and fluffy.

3.  In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, graham crumbs, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.  Stir into the creamed mixture until well combined.  Batter will be crumbly.

Batter will be crumbly.

Batter will be crumbly.

4.  Spread 2/3 of the batter onto the prepared pan and press into an even layer.  Lay the two chocolate bars in an even layer across the dough.

5.  Spread the marshmallow fluff over the chocolate, and crumble the remaining dough evenly over the top.

All layered up and ready for the oven.

All layered up and ready for the oven.

6.  Bake until puffed and set, about 25 to 30 minutes.  Cool completely.  Remove the square from the pan using the paper overhang and place on a cutting board.  Cut into 16 squares.

So good.  After one you will want s'more!

So good. After one you will want s’more!

We All Scream!

A non-dairy ice cream that is rich and creamy.

A non-dairy ice cream that is rich and creamy.

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream, but not everyone can eat the traditional dairy version of ice cream.

Even though we love the full-fat dairy ice-creams, I have been experimenting with using other non-dairy ingredients to still get a creamy satisfying frozen dessert, with less fat and sugar.    I had not been aware until recently how many products are available and how rich and satisfying a dessert can be when using them.  This recipe today is for a wonderful chocolate hazelnut ice cream using coconut milk.  It also includes cocoa powder and maple syrup as a sweetener.  The hazelnut flavor can be intensified through the addition of about 1/4 cup Hazelnut liqueur, but that is optional.



Yield:   Makes about 4 cups or 1 quart


The main ingredients.

The main ingredients.

  • 2 cans full fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • pinch salt
  • pinch cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted and chopped
  • 1/4 cup Hazelnut liqueur, such as Frangelico, optional

To make:   Pour all the above ingredients, except the nuts and Hazelnut liqueur,  into a blender container and process till smooth.  Pour into a covered bowl and chill overnight.

The next day, pour into the canister of an ice-cream maker and process as per directions.  In the last couple of minutes add the nuts and the liqueur, if using.   Alcohol products are added at the end of processing time so they do not interfere with the freezing process.  Freeze in an ice-cream container until firm.



Black and White Bars

Black and White Bars

Black and White Bars

Black and white, the classic color combination;  found in so many places.  In the fashion world with black and white you can’t go wrong.  I always feel as though I am well put-together when I wear it.  Any season, any reason it’s always right.  Think of a piano keyboard, another perfect example of this combination, and nothing can improve upon it.   Well, in this recipe for black and white bars, the same is true.  White chocolate with bittersweet dark chocolate make beautiful music together.  I can’t think of one thing to make them better.

So good!

So good!

They are pretty simple to make requiring one large bowl, a smaller one, and a hand mixer.  The recipe calls for baking them in a 9 – inch square pan, but I made a mistake and used an 8 – inch pan.  They came out quite thick, but for me, thicker is better, and more chewy.  So use what you have, remembering that if you use a smaller pan you need to bake them at least 5 minutes longer.  (test with a toothpick). You will not be disappointed in these bars, except maybe at how fast they disappear.  Be sure to get yours before they’re all gone!


YIELD:  16 squares


  • 1 cup chopped white chocolate, or white chipsIMG_3617
  • 1/4 cup ( 1/2 stick ) butter
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1  1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup bittersweet chunks or large chips

1.  Preheat the oven to 350*F.  Lightly grease a 9 – inch square pan

2.  Place the white chocolate, butter, and sugar in a heatproof bowl.  Heat at low power in the microwave for 1 minute intervals, or over simmering water, until the chocolate softens.  White chocolate is sensitive to to scorching, so watch carefully.

Melting the white chocolate, sugar and butter over simmering water.

Melting the white chocolate, sugar and butter over simmering water.

3.  When the butter is melted and the white chocolate looks soft, stir in the vanilla, nutmeg and salt.  Let the mixture cool to lukewarm,  then beat in the eggs.

Beating in the eggs.

Beating in the eggs.

4.  In a separate medium bowl whisk together the flour and baking powder; stir into the egg mixture.

Stir in the flour and baking powder.

Stir in the flour and baking powder.

Stir in 3/4 cup of the dark chocolate chunks.

Stir in the dark chocolate chunks or chips.

Stir in the dark chocolate chunks or chips.

Spoon the batter into a greased 9″ square pan, and sprinkle the remaining chocolate chunks over the top.

In the pan, ready for the oven.

In the pan, ready for the oven.

5.  Bake the squares for 25 minutes,  ( 30 minutes for a smaller pan), until light golden brown and the edges pull just slightly away from the pan.  Remove from the oven and cool before cutting.

It was hard to wait for them to cool.

It was hard to wait for them to cool.

I cheated a little and cut them before they were completely cool, so the chocolate is still warm and melty-like—nothing wrong with that–except you don’t get a nice clean cut.  Who cares when they taste this good!

SOURCE:  King Arthur

Nutella Crackles

Nutella Crackle Cookies

Nutella Crackle Cookies

Does the thought of Nutella make you swoon?  It does me.  I love the stuff, but I tend to forget about it hiding there in the back of the cupboard.  Then when I see the jar it’s like meeting up with an old friend, picking up just where we left off.  You might say we have an “on and off” relationship.

Wouldn't you like to taste one?

Wouldn’t you like to taste one?

I had that same reaction when I saw George Clooney recently in the movie, The Descendants.  He was so good in that role.  I had forgotten how much I like him, until I saw him again.  The same for Rosemary Clooney,  she is one of my all-time favorite singers.  There is nobody who can make you feel a song like she could, and I love to dance to her music.  It’s so romantic, dreamy, jazzy, and cool.  Isn’t it odd that I have such strong feelings for the two of them?  They both make me swoon. You could say that I get swooney for Clooney.  Did you know that Rosemary was George’s aunt?  Yes, his father’s sister.  Such a talented family.

Likewise, just a taste of Nutella is all it takes to make me swoon for it and want to create something sinfully delicious.  I think this recipe for Nutella Crackles has what it takes on all counts:  crispy sugary exterior, crunchy with nuts;  a surprisingly chewy interior, the perfect blend of hazelnuts and chocolate.  Try them, you might get “swooney”, too.



YIELD:   about 4 dozen cookies


Beat up the Nutella, butter and sugar.

Beat up the Nutella, butter and sugar.

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 – 1/4 cup Nutella spread
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 – 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon instant expresso powder
  • 2 large eggs,
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 – 1/2 cups hazelnuts, chopped fine
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar

1.  Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.

2.  With electric mixer on medium speed, beat Nutella, butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Add vanilla, expresso powder, and eggs and mix until incorporated.  Reduce speed to low.  Add flour mixture and milk, and mix until just combined.  Fold in 2/3 cup hazelnuts.   Refrigerate dough until firm, about 1 hour.

3.  Preheat oven to 375*F.  Line baking sheets with silpat or parchment paper.

4.  Place remaining hazelnuts in a shallow bowl. Place confectioners’ sugar in another shallow bowl.   One at a time, roll dough into 1-inch balls, roll in nuts, then in confectioners’ sugar.  Place balls 1 1/2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets.  Refrigerate the first sheet while preparing the next sheet.  Bake the first sheet and all others for approximately 8 minutes.  As each sheet is baking, chill one while you make up the next.

Cooling Cookies.

Cooling Cookies.

5.  Transfer to wire cooling racks to cool completely.  Repeat with all dough.

Crispy, chewy, deliciousness

Crispy, chewy, deliciousness

SOURCE:  Taste of Home Baking

Funfetti Truffles

Funfetti Truffles for Valentines Day.

Funfetti Truffles for Valentines Day.

It’s that time of year again when the church we belong to hosts a Chocolate Festival.  This will be our 16th. year doing this, and over the years it has grown and become known and looked forward to by many people.  In fact we get visitors from out of state who come every year.  Of course a chocolate festival would not be complete without a candy booth.


Since the very first year, a group of us makes truffles that we package in pretty boxes.  They sell “like hotcakes”.  Since I first began making truffles I have made quite a few different kinds, and this year I found this recipe for Funfetti Truffles.  They were different from anything we’ve had before and I thought that with their white chocolate coating they would look really pretty in amongst the dark chocolate ones.

This is another of those recipes that starts with a cake mix, and turns into something else.  In this case, candy.  They were very easy to make, and lend themselves to different holidays by changing the sprinkle colors that you use.  This recipe makes about 24 truffles.  I doubled everything and got a total of 54 truffles.  One box of white cake mix is enough to make a double recipe and still have some cake mix left over.   Here’s what you do:


YIELD:   about 24

Just a few ingredients needed.

Just a few ingredients needed.


  • 1 cup of white cake mix
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 Tablespoons milk
  • 1 Tablespoon sprinkles (match color to holiday or occasion )
  • 1 1/2 cup white chocolate chips or vanilla almond bark for coating

In a large bowl, whisk together the cake mix, flour, and sugar.  Stir in the melted butter, vanilla, milk, and sprinkles.  Mix well so all the dry ingredients are moistened.  It should stick together and hold its shape when formed.  If necessary, add milk in small amounts until this is achieved.

A dough that  sticks together.

A dough that sticks together.

Use a small cookie scoop or teaspoon to form even balls.  Roll between hands to shape.  Place on a wax paper lined baking sheet.  Refrigerate for 20 – 30 minutes.

Roll  into balls and place on lined baking sheet.

Roll into balls and place on lined baking sheet.

Meanwhile, melt white chocolate or almond bark, in a double boiler.  Drop each truffle into the chocolate and roll around to coat.  Tap off the excess.  Place on a wax paper-lined baking sheet.  Top with a few sprinkles,  the same ones used in the dough.

Dip into melted white chocolate, decorate with sprinkles.

Dip into melted white chocolate or almond bark, decorate with sprinkles.

Place in a cool place to harden.  These will keep for a long time if kept cool.  Makes a nice addition to a plate of cookies or by themselves in a candy dish for Valentines Day.

Pretzels dipped into white chocolate and decorated.

Pretzels dipped into white chocolate and decorated.

I had enough melted white coating left after dipping the truffles, so I also dipped some pretzels and decorated them with sprinkles and M & M’s.


Sweets for your sweetie!

Sweets for your sweetie!


Chocolate Fudge Zucchini Cake

This past holiday weekend we had two pot-luck cookouts to go to.  Since I haven’t been baking for Mr. D. and me, I took this as the perfect opportunity to make a baked dessert, and have just one piece.   When I chose this recipe I didn’t foresee  how difficult it would be to have just one piece.   Holy Moly!  Every word in the name of this cake is so true;  it’s definitely chocolate, very fudgey, and there is zucchini (and chocolate chips) in it.  I thought,  I’ll just whip up this easy cake in no time, bake it in a bundt pan, and it will travel well, which it did.

Putting all the ingredients together and making the batter was no problem.  Where I got into difficulty was when I licked some of the batter off my finger.  Ok, Ok, I went a little further and licked the beaters, what can I say, I do that sometimes!  This batter was so thick and creamy,  like chocolate pudding, that I wanted to eat it with a spoon.   I forced myself to scrape it all into the pan, and put it the oven, and was rewarded with a high, beautiful cake.  The recipe suggests an oven temperature of 325 degrees for 40-50 minutes.  My cake took the full 50 minutes before it tested done.   I just know that if you make this cake you will love it.  Besides, it uses up some of that zucchini.



  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 Chocolate Fudge Cake Mix with Pudding in the mix.
  • 1 medium zucchini, shredded  ( about 1 & 1/2 cups)
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped nuts, optional


1.  Grease and flour a 12 cup bundt pan or 10-inch tube pan.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  ( 350 degrees for light colored pan ).

2  In large mixer bowl, beat butter till light and fluffy, beat in eggs one at a time, then flavorings.  Beat in sour cream and cinnamon, then slowly beat in cake mix.  Remove from mixer.

3.  Stir in zucchini, chocolate chips, and nuts if using.

Ready for the oven.

4.  Spoon into prepared pan.  Bake for 40 – 50 minutes, until tester comes out clean.  Cool on cooling rack for about 15 minutes.  Invert onto serving plate to cool completely.***  Frost or dust with confectionery sugar.

Just out of the oven.

***This cake is likely to break if you try to remove it from the pan while it is still warm.  Ask me how I know!    I made a simple frosting of cream cheese, confectionery  sugar and milk, in a thin consistency to drizzle over the top.  I first used some to glue the cake together where it broke, and then poured the rest over the top and let it run down the sides.

SOURCE:   Duncan Hines website:  Cakes

Raspberry Cream Cheese Brownies

This recipe was developed out of boredom with plain ole brownies.  Not that there’s anything wrong with a good brownie!  I’ll never turn away from one especially if served with a dab of ice cream.  But on this particular day I needed to bake something to bring to a pot-luck get-together, and since brownies are always a popular choice, I decided to dress these up  with the addition of a cheesecake swirl using cream cheese and some raspberry jam.  They turned out to be very moist and chewy, and somewhat decadent .


Servings;   16 brownie squares


  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 4 0z. 1/3 -less- fat cream cheese, softened
  • 2 teaspoons flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 large egg


  • cooking spray
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 Tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 Tablespoons raspberry preserves
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray bottom only of an 8 inch square baking pan.
  2. To prepare filling, place filling ingredients in a medium mixer bowl; beat at medium speed until well blended.  Set aside.
  3. To prepare brownies,  combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl and whisk together lightly.  Combine sugar, cocoa, melted butter, water, vanilla, and eggs, and stir well with a whisk.  Add the flour mixture, stirring just until moist.
  4. Pour/spread two-thirds of batter into prepared pan.  Pour filling over batter, spreading evenly.  Carefully drop the remaining batter and preserves by spoonfuls over filling;  swirl together using the tip of a knife to marble.
Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out almost clean.  Cool on a wire rack.
 SOURCE:    This is the fusion of two recipes from Better Homes and Gardens The Complete Book of Baking

Red Velvet “Soda Can” Cupcakes

The end of June and beginning of July has been a very busy time with parties to celebrate various milestones within our family and  with friends.  I’ve already told you about my granddaughter’s graduation party and what I baked for that.  Today’s blog is about cupcakes that I made for a friend’s 20th anniversary in professional practice; and  since it is right around the Fourth of July, I went with the Patriotic theme.

I have been reading recently in some of the blogs I follow about a quick way to make a cake or cupcakes using nothing more than a boxed cake mix and a can of soda.  Really?  That’s what I said!  So I tried it and found out they come out really moist and kind of chewy;  The texture is not as fine as a cake’s, but for a cupcake I really liked that.  The cake and soda combo I used was Red Velvet Cake Mix and Cherry Coke.  I think it will be fun to try some other flavor combinations such as lemon cake with Sierra Mist or lemon and lime soda. So many possibilities.  If you haven’t heard about this until now, try it.  It’s a novel idea whose time has come.

For the frosting on my cupcakes, I wanted white, so I made a simple cream cheese and butter cream frosting, piped on with a large star decorating tip.  Then I sprinkled them with a “stars and stripes” sprinkle mix and topped each one with a tiny flag.  So Cute!

This is all you need:  a boxed cake mix and an 8 oz can of room temperature soda.  I poured that amount from a full-size bottle, because I couldn’t find the cans.

This is what it looks like when you start to mix it up.

Use a whisk to mix it up, working out most of the lumps.

Line muffin cups with liners and fill 1/2 – 2/3s full. Do not overfill.

After baking. I got a total of 17 cupcakes, could have gotten 18, by making them a tad bit smaller.


4 ounces cream cheese

6 tablespoons butter

2 cup confectioners’ sugar

To make the frosting, put the cream cheese and butter in small bowl of mixer and blend together to cream.  Sift in the sugar and continue beating until smooth and creamy.  If you plan to pipe it on with a decorating tip, it needs to be quite stiff.   I refrigerated my frosting a bit after mixing just to get it stiff enough to decorate with.  Unless you are serving the cupcakes right away, it is wise to refrigerate them to prevent frosting melt in this warm weather.

Really Cute! They tasted as good as they looked.

SOURCE:  Thanks to

Have a happy and safe Fourth of July, everyone.

Mississippi Mud Bars

I think I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again:  I.  Love. Chocolate.  It is always my first choice in desserts.  So if there’s chocolate in it, on it, around it, or anywhere close by, you can be sure I’ll find it!   When I was asked to bring a “finger-type” dessert to an end-of-year picnic, this recipe came right to mind.  What else but chocolate could produce Mississippi Mud?  (As a food, that is.)

The recipe was published in the Winter 2012 Baking Sheet, from King Arthur Flour.  I am a faithful subscriber to this little recipe-filled periodical many of which have turned down pages for recipes I want to try.

Mention Mississippi Mud and like the ice cream, I think of chocolate chips, nuts and peanut butter.  These bars have not one, but two kinds of chocolate:  dark and white, plus pecans – a Southern touch.  Pure deliciousness in one little cookie bar.  Since they are eaten with your hands it’s OK to lick your fingers!


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup white chocolate, coarsely chopped, or white chips
  • 2 cups semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips or chunks, divided
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans, divided

A word here about pan size:  You may choose a 9”x13″, a 9″x9″, or an 8″x8″ pan. The smaller pans will produce 16-20 bars that are thick with a thick layer of chocolate on top.  The 9″x13″ pan will produce 24-32 bars, but only about an inch thick.  That’s the size I used to bake the bars pictured here.

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Select your pan and grease generously with non-stick spray.
  2. Cream the butter and brown sugar in a large bowl until smooth.  Beat in the peanut butter followed by the egg and vanilla.  Mix well; scrape the bowl.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, and salt.  Stir the dry ingredients into the butter mixture.
  4. Add the white chocolate, 1 cup of the semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, and half of the pecans.
  5. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan.  Using a spatula works well to spread it to the edges.  Bake for 40-45 min. for 8″ or 9″ square pans;  30-35 min. for the 9″x13″ pan. The bars should be golden brown all over.
  6.   Remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle the remaining chocolate over the top of the bars.  Return to the oven for 1 minute to soften the chocolate, then take the pan out of the oven and spread the now-melted chocolate evenly over the top.  Sprinkle with the remaining pecans, pressing them lightly into the chocolate.  Allow to cool before cutting into bars.

SOURCE:  The Baking Sheet, Winter 2012,  from King Arthur Flour

Chocolate Peanut Butter Milkshake

The heat of summer has arrived !  In winter I wish for the warmth of summer, and in summer I’m looking for some relief from the heat.  One day last week when I was out doing a few errands I noted on the  time and temperature clock at the bank that the temperature was 106.  Yikes!!!  What am I doing out in this heat?   Let me get home quickly to some air-conditioning and a cold drink.

There is nothing so satisfying as unwinding with a frosty cold milkshake.  However most of the milk shakes I’ve ever known carry a lot of calories–hidden way down there at the bottom of the glass.  So,  I decided to put my milkshake on a diet by seeing if I could cut some of the calories and still maintain its cold, satisfying goodness.  Here’s what I did:  for half of the ice-cream I substituted vanilla non-fat Greek yogurt, which still made it creamy and thick.  For the milk I used non-fat milk and added  2 tablespoons of chocolate syrup, and then I also added 2 tablespoons of peanut butter.  All the flavors of a peanut-butter cup candy.  HMmmm!  How about if I add one or two. My first instinct was to throw them in the blender with the other ingredients, but I restrained myself and settled for garnishing the glass with one candy and biting off little pieces in between refreshing sips.   Pretty darn good if I do say so.


1/2 cup cold non-fat milk  (plain or chocolate)

1/2 cup low-fat vanilla or chocolate ice-cream

1 6oz. cup vanilla fat-free Greek yogurt

2 tablespoons chocolate syrup

2 tablespoons peanut butter

1-2 mini peanut butter cups

Chill a tall glass.  Place milk, ice-cream, yogurt, chocolate syrup, and peanut butter in a blender container.  Process until its thick and creamy.  Pour into chilled glass and sprinkle with crushed candy or slide one over the edge of the glass to garnish.

Make one—-you won’t be sorry!