Super Rich, Chocolate Cocoa Recipe

I make a freakin' GREAT super rich, chocolate-y cocoa and when I had insomnia the other night I made myself a cup and posted the photo and recipe up on my Facebook.  So many people commented and tried it I decided I'd share here too!
It's kind of inspired by the way the Aztecs used to drink their cocoa, spiced up, however I like mine sweet so I added sugar which the Aztecs never used.
The whole key to this recipe is the DARK cocoa powder ... and the spices and booze. . .

Super Rich, Chocolate Cocoa
1 Tbsp. Hershey's Special Dark Chocolate Cocoa Powder
1 Tbsp. Scharffen Berger Cocoa Powder
2 Tbsp. Sugar (or to taste)
Pinch of Sea Salt
Pinch of Cinnamon
Pinch of Chili Powder
2 Tbsp. Water
1 Cup Milk
1/2 Cup Half & Half
Optional: 1/2 Oz. Godiva Chocolate Liqueur
Warm water over medium heat with cocoa powders, spices and sugar until a thick syrup is formed. Add the milk and half & half and heat until just scalding, don't boil!
Pour into your favorite cup, add the optional booze, and top with marshmallows or whipped cream. Garnish with some shaved dark chocolate curls and a dash of cinnamon.
Yes, that IS my Cool Beans Coffee Art at top!  I just photoshopped out the coffee beans and repurposed my original colored pencil drawing. Which you can also get on Prints for $15 (shipping included!)



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August 31st is National Trail Mix Day! 

Trail Mix, that ubiquitous, portable energy snack beloved of hikers and outdoor enthusiasts worldwide, is typically a mixture of dried berries, fruits, nuts and/or seeds. Some forms include dried meats and, in modern times, even chocolate and granola. The most common mixture is the simple combination of {Good Old} Raisins and Peanuts, possibly the root of the name GORP.

Despite there being multiple references to Trail Mix being invented by two California surfers back in 1968, there is an earlier reference to this hiking snack back in Jack Kerouac's 1958 novel "The Dharma Bums". Going back even further, native Americans made Pemmican, a mixture of jerky (dried meat), animal fat and berries, which lasted for months. 

Prior to that, forms of this highly nutritious and compact food was around in ancient cultures worldwide. Whether it's called Studenterhavre, Agil, Bwyd Dewey, Scroggin, Schmogle, Pemmican, Gorp or Trail Mix, some version has been sustaining humanity on the go for a very long time.     

Requiring no cooking, trail mix is a compact, high energy snack utilizing high protein nuts, seeds and/or meats and high carbohydrate dried fruits, which can be stored for long periods of time. This made it an ideal road trip nosh for everyone through history from the ancient Nomads, to Native Americans and explorers of the Old West, to today's surfers, students and even busy soccer moms and computer nerds.

No matter what you call it or what you put in it, Trail Mix is a delicious and nutrient packed finger food.


2 Cups of Walnuts, Pecans, Cashews
1 Cup Dried Cherries, Apricots
1 Cup M&Ms
1/2 Cup Pine Nuts, Sunflower Seeds

For camping and outside activities I leave out the M&Ms.

Happy National Trail Mix Day!

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Coconut Curry Chicken Soup

I was making chicken stock to replenish my supply and wanted to make something different with the chicken itself. I've been craving Asian and Middle Eastern flavors lately and thought a coconut curry soup would be nice. I don't care if it's summer or not when I'm craving comfort foods, all I care about is how it fills my tummy and makes my palate smile!

I didn't have all the typical ingredients but I found a couple of cans of yams and had some frozen bell peppers so decided to go with those for my main vegetable elements.

This turned out to be a really great tasting soup, so much so that I did something I rarely do, I made another pot immediately after finishing the first one!

Coconut Curry Chicken Soup Recipe:

4 Cooked Chicken Breasts, shredded
2 Cans Coconut milk
2 Cups Chicken broth
1 Cup Heavy cream or Half & Half
4 Tbsp. Curry powder
2 Tbsp. Turmeric
1 Tsp. Fresh ginger
2 -14 Oz. Can yams, with syrup
1 Onion, Chopped
6 Cloves Garlic, Crushed
1 Red Bell Pepper, Chopped
1 Green Bell Pepper, Chopped
2 Tsp. Lemon Zest

Bring all the ingredients except the cooked chicken to a boil in a stock pot then reduce the heat and simmer for around half an hour, or until the onions and bell peppers are tender.
Add in your chicken and continue to simmer for an additional 15 minutes.

Garnish with a dollop of sour cream or crème fraîche and a few rings of mini peppers or some chives and serve with a loaf of crusty bread or some naan. Feel free to add some cooked rice or quinoa to add heartiness!

By the way, this is one of those soups that tastes better the second day!

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I made this ridiculously easy and quick dessert using Kraft's recipe for Philadelphia cheesecake and then adding a few extra elements. I decided some dark chocolate decorations (gotta have chocolate) and a nice fresh strawberry would be a perfect pairing for my creamy cheesecake minis.

The Kraft Philadelphia cheesecake recipe is a decent and quick recipe for cheesecake, but it lacked that little touch of lemon I like in my cheesecake. I dislike graham cracker crust so I left that out when baking which meant I needed to add some texture to the dish as well. So my final addition to the dessert was some of Trader Joe's Meyer Lemon Cookies, crushed up and sprinkled as a base for the cookie cutter formed cheesecake minis. I could have made the lemon cookies as the crust but that would have added butter and more unnecessary calories plus taking away a fun plating element. Besides, I only thought of using them after the cheesecake was baked and i missed that lemon flavor!

I cut the cheesecake recipe in half and baked it in an 8x8 pan in less than half the full sized cheescake time so it would be a thin layer. After it was cool I simply cut out pieces with cookie cutters, lifting them out with a spatula while still in the cutter and gently pushed them out of the cookie cutters onto the lemon cookie dusted plates.

For the chocolate decorations I simply melted dark chocolate IN a small freezer bag, cut off one bottom tip of the bag, piped some designs on parchment paper and popped them in the fridge. The strawberries were sliced and fanned out.

All in all it took about an hour and a half to make and most of that was baking/cooling time! While the cheesecake and chocolate cooled I prepped the rest of my dinner!

P.S. I have cheesecake leftover and some beautiful chocolate tulip cups and I'm going to do something fun with those too!

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Today is National Fondue Day and I just happened to have the greatest idea ready to post! You see, a few days ago I was craving something chocolate and something a little fancy to treat myself after a long day of dealing with redecorating chaos.  Since my kitchen was pretty much in shambles from my current make-over plans I couldn't really do much in the way of baking. Heck, I couldn't even dig my oven out from under!

What I did have was access to my microwave, some really great dark chocolate from Trader Joe's and some strawberries, mini marshmallows, mandarin oranges and these great little lemon shortbread cookies.  It then occurred to me that a fondue didn't have to be this huge, complicated endeavor! Here's what I did:


Chopped the dark chocolate into manageable pieces.
Melted the chocolate by 30 second intervals in a microwavable container.
(enough chocolate for one serving took about 2-1/2 minutes)
Poured the smooth, creamy dark chocolate into a cute espresso cup.
Arranged my dippers around my warm, sexy chocolate.
Dug out a little cocktail pick.
Dug in.

That's it! Simple, fast, delicious and fun!


And try out my Chocolate Fondue Martini to accompany your little fondue party!

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"When the first baby laughed for the first time, its laughter broke into a thousand pieces, and they all went skipping about, and that was the beginning of fairies" Peter Pan, J.M. Barrie

Earlier this week I was sent a nice box of assorted brownies from Fairytale Brownies in Phoenix. I have plans to create some cocktail recipes using these delicious chocolate treats as inspiration, but my trifle addiction kicked into gear and I was momentarily sidetracked away from cocktail hour to the dessert course. 

I always keep instant jello on hand and either cool whip or whipping cream in the fridge. I had just made some peppermint bark and I now had some great brownies to use as the cake element so I was good to go and take some brownies onto Trifleland! Come away with me, it's the second star to the right . . .


1 Small Box of Instant Chocolate Pudding
1-3/4 C. Milk
4 Bite Size Original Fairytale Brownies
Whipped Cream (Cool Whip is acceptable)
Optional: 1 Oz. of Your Favorite Liqueur
(Chocolate, Coffee or Peppermint)
Peppermint Bark, Chopped Small

Prepare the pudding per the instructions on the box, using 1/4 cup LESS milk for a thicker custard.
Chill and allow to set in the fridge.
Prepare your whipped cream if you are making homemade.
Chop your peppermint bark into approximately 1/4" size pieces, leaving a few larger pieces for garnish.
To layer your trifle(s), crumble 2 brownies into each serving bowl.
If you're adding booze, drizzle it over the brownies. 
Top with a layer of pudding. 
Spoon on a good layer of whipped cream.
Sprinkle on a layer of the peppermint bark.
Repeat this for another layer of each ingredient.
Garnish with several larger chunks of the peppermint bark and a chocolate mint candy cane.

That's it. Simple and delicious and chock full of chewy, chocolate-y, brownie goodness kissed by a bit of cream and peppermint. Pretty perfect recipe for National Brownie Day and for the holiday season, huh? 

Makes me believe in fairies all over again!

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on Pan Fried Fingerlings
garnished with Cheddar and Bacon Crumbles

Baby Fingerlings, split in half lengthwise
1/2 Stick of Butter
Crisp Bacon, crumbled
Tablespoon of Shredded Cheddar
Fresh Rosemary Sprigs
Sea Salt & Pepper to taste

Cook your bacon crisp, crumble and set aside.
Turn oven onto warm setting.

Par boil your fingerlings, dry with paper towels then pan fry skin side up until fork tender with a crisp finish. Plate in the center of an oven proof plate and keep warm in the oven.

Melt the butter with a few sprigs of rosemary in a saute pan over medium heat. Do not let butter bubble. I start with a cold pan!

Remove pan from heat and gently add your egg. Lower heat then place pan back on the burner and spoon warm butter over the top until the whites are solid but the yolk is still runny. (About 2 - 4 minutes depending on how you like your egg).

Immediately remove eggs from burner, take your plate from the oven then slide egg gently onto the plated fingerlings.

Season with salt, sprinkle with the cheddar and the crumpled bacon.
Garnish with some fresh ground pepper and a fresh sprig of rosemary and enjoy!

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