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15 notes &

Mini Turtle Cheesecakes


I swear I don’t consume as much sugar as this blog seems to indicate. It just happens to be that when I do, it turns into a post….or diabetes.


Salted caramel cheesecake with a chocolate praline crust and topped with MOAR CARAMEL!




MOAR SUGAR!!! Diet starts…tomorrow. Cheesecake today.


Mini Turtle Cheesecakes:
Makes roughly 1 dozen 

(You’ll have some left over in case you want to pour on top of cheesecakes, or you know, eat from a spoon)

  • 2 cups Sugar (just don’t look while you pour it and it won’t seem so bad)
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 1/4 cups butter
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
  1. In a small saucepan, heat water and sugar over medium-low heat. Swirl (not stir!) the mixture every now and then. It’ll become a clear liquid once the sugar all dissolves/melts and then slowly, very slowly, it’ll get some color and bubble up. Keep swirling.
  2. Once it’s a nice amber, turn the heat to low and add the butter in increments, swirling the pan to melt after each addition.
  3. Add the cream and swirl (you can stir some now) until it’s a homogeneous mixture. (If the sugar is sort of hardening and not incorporating the butter and cream, turn the heat back up to medium until it does.) 
  4. Salt to taste. Remove from heat and transfer to a glass jar and let cool at least to room temp (preferably chilled in the fridge).

Candied Pecans

  • 1 1/2 Cups Pecans
  • 2 tbs Butter, melted
  • 1 tsp Stevia
  • 1 tsp Salt
  1. Combined last 3 ingredients and then pour over pecans, mixing and coating well. Bake in a single layer in a 350 degree oven (or toaster oven) for 8 minutes or until they start to smell roasted. Be careful not to burn them. Let cool.


  • 34 graham crackers (1 sleeve or about 2 1/2 cups ground)
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted
  • Candied Pecans from above
  • 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Caramel (I don’t remember how much, maybe a cup?)
  1. Grind the graham crackers to crumbs (I use my blender and just pulse in batches) and mix with the butter. Press crumb mixture into muffin tins or ramekins (or these wicked awesome silicone baking cups that I loooove), pushing crumb mix up the sides.
  2. Mix together candied pecans, chocolate chips, and enough caramel to lightly coat everything. Evenly spread this mix among the bottoms of the prepared crusts, set aside.


  • 2 8 oz packages of cream cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup caramel
  1. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and then add the eggs, beating until sort of fluffy. Fold in the sour cream and caramel. Pour into prepared crusts. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes or until done. 
  2. Top with additional caramel and pecans. EAT!!!

Filed under food recipe cheesecake caramel chocolate sweet dessert pecan candied homemade caramel mini turtle praline

3 notes &

Dark Chocolate and Pecan Macaroon Bites

Remember my awesome boyfriend? He’s still awesome.

A couple of months ago, his teacher submitted one of his essays to something. Apparently that something was an undergraduate essay competition for the Women’s Studies Dept, and apparently he won. Wuh-wuh.

So, to thank the teacher for submitting his essay, I made macaroons. (Yep, that’s “macaroons” with the double “O,” because I’m not good enough for that single “O” culinary feat just yet.)

I grated my own coconut because unsweetened grated coconut is nearly impossible to find around here and death by sucrose isn’t my thing. Plus, cracking open a coconut, drinking the water, and grating the fresh meat—so worth it. If you’re not anti-sugar and don’t want to go through the 5 extra minutes of effort of grating your own, this recipe will work fine with flake sweetened coconut (just omit or decrease the stevia).

I’m not even sure if you would call these macaroons. It’s just something I started making a few years ago and figured that’s the closest thing to what they were. Tasty either way and they’re the perfect size to just pop 3 million into your mouth.

Lazy Man’s Dark Chocolate and Pecan Macaroons

Makes 1-2 Dozen (depending on how big you make them)

  • 2 tbs maple syrup
  • 2 tbs Whipping cream
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp stevia (to start with, add more to taste)
  • Meat from 1 large coconut, grated (or 3 cups grated/flake coconut)
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips/chunks/pieces, chopped up if not already pea-sized
  1. Mix everything but the bottom three ingredients, then add them. Combine well.
  2. Form macaroons with hands (press tight) and drop onto a greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes or until the coconut starts to toast up.

Filed under coconut macaroons chocolate food healthy sweet dessert stevia pecans dark chocolate recipe

13 notes &

Turtle Pretzel Cheesecake

Fact: I have the best boyfriend. Ever.
Doubt me? Bring it on. Come at me, bro. (Please don’t really, I would lose, badly—I have the physical prowess of an injured pygmy tarsier).

(Sorry for the absurdly long post. I got a little over-zealous with the camera.)

So, this awesome boyfriend of mine was recently nominated for and won a scholarship for outstanding work in anthropology. Wuh-Wuh.

I’m showing my pride in the best way I know how—cheesecake.

Specifically, a caramel cheesecake layered with candied pecans on top of a salty pretzel crust, and slathered with a semi-sweet chocolate ganache.

If I were pro, I’d top it with that supah fancy fleur de sel stuff. But I’m not, so this will have to cut it.

Oh and I finally mastered good caramel. When I’ve made it in the past it always turned out a little bitter. The ultimate trick? A little bit of water with the sugar. Picked that up from A Pastry Affair. I have no clue how the chemistry works but it seems to slow the cooking process so the sugar caramelizes more evenly and becomes a gorgeous amber without burning. Oh and butter. Lots of butter. But that goes without saying.

This cheesecake has a lot of parts to it. You could take shortcuts, but I guarantee it’ll be better if you don’t.

Is this cheesecake healthy? No. Is it vegan, gluten-free, and sugar-free? No. Is it a “healthier” cheesecake and damn tasty? Yes.

Although I’m normally very anti-sugar, I don’t know of an alternative way to get to caramel. Plus, this is a once in a blue moon kind of thing. And aside from the caramel and the graham crackers and the pretzels and the chocolate there’s no added sugar, just stevia and a touch of some good ‘ole maple syrup.

Saturday night, he was so frustrated with me because I ditched him all day for work and then when I got home, I headed straight to the kitchen to cook up this surprise cheesecake. “It’s for the blog” was not a good enough excuse for not watching a movie with him. The next morning, when he woke up I told him to come downstairs because I needed help with something. Surprise cheesecake breakfast date ensued.

Pretzel Crust

  • 1 1/2 cups pretzels (I used mini) (about 3/4 cup ground)
  • 10 graham crackers (about 2/3 cup ground)
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted
  • extra salt shaken from the bottom of the pretzel bag (you know what I’m talking about), to taste
  • generous pinch of stevia
  1. In batches, blend the pretzels and graham crackers into crumbs
  2. Mix crumbs with butter, salt, and stevia.
  3. Press into 9” springform pan (up the ingredients for a larger pan)

Candied Pecans   

  • 2 tbs maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp stevia
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbs butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
  1. Combined top 4 ingredients and then pour over pecans, mixing and coating well. Bake in a single layer in a 350 degree oven (or toaster oven) for 8 or so minutes.


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tbs water
  • 3/4 cup butter, cut into cubes or slices
  • 1/2 cup heavy (full) cream
  1. In a small saucepan, heat water and sugar over medium-low heat. Swirl the mixture every now and then. It’ll become a clear liquid once the sugar all dissolves/melts and then slowly it’ll get some color and bubble up. Keep swirling.
  2. Once it’s a nice amber, turn the heat to low and add the butter in increments, swirling the pan to melt after each addition.
  3. Add the cream and swirl/stir until it’s a homogeneous mixture. (If the sugar is sort of hardening and not incorporating the butter and cream, turn the heat back up to medium until it does.) Remove from heat and transfer to a glass jar and let cool at least to room temp (preferably chilled in the fridge).


  • 2 8 oz packages cream cheese (softened)
  • 2 eggs
  • Caramel
  • 1/2 the Candied Pecans
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp stevia
  1. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and then add the eggs and stevia, beating until sort of fluffy. Fold in the sour cream, caramel, and 1/2 the pecans.

Ganache (make after the cheesecake is cooked and cooled)

  • 10 oz semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  1. Melt the chocolate. Mix in the cream. Set aside.


  1. Sprinkle the remaining half of the pecans over the pretzel crust.
  2. Pour the filling over that.
  3. Bake for about 50 minutes in a 350 degree oven over a pan of water. Turn off the oven when you think it’s about done (knife will not come out clean and it will still jiggle a little in the middle, like some other things in life—but that’s okay) and let it sit until the oven’s cooled.
  4. Refrigerate for a few hours at least, preferably overnight so the flavors have time to mate develop.
  5. Remove from springform pan. Top with warm ganache. Return to fridge so the ganache can harden a little. Eat copious amounts with a loved one.

PS: Did I mention how amazing my bf is?

Filed under caramel cheesecake chocolate dessert food pecans pretzel sweet turtle cheesecake bunting

1,063 notes &

Golden Snitch Truffles

I’ve got 99 problems but a snitch ain’t one.


I guess this post is about a year late. The series may technically be over, but I’m having trouble letting go.

I originally made these for an HP party right before Deathly Hallows Part II. (Butterbeer, chocolate frogs, treacle tarts, and a few other wizard treats may have also been present). I finally got around to recreating them and doing a step-by-step. (If you don’t want to make them and are just looking for some snitch porn, scroll to the bottom.)

Golden Snitch Truffles
Makes 32 Snitches


  • 2 cups (12 oz) semi-sweet chocolate chips (or dark chocolate)
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 2 tbs Kahlua or vanilla extract or flavor of choice
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2-1 cup dark chocolate, 60% or higher

*I swear I tried to measure everything but inevitably there were unforeseen changes along the way, so these are sort of guesstimates of the amounts I used. If you’ve got a go-to truffle recipe, by all means, use that instead)


  • Wax Paper
  • Edible Gold Powder (I used Wilton’s Pearl Dust, about $4)
  • Edible Gold Spray (I used Duff’s Cake Graffiti, $4)
  • Decent paint brush that’s small enough to fit in the Wilton tube
  • Pastry bag or a ziploc


  1. Whip the cream and Kahlua/vanilla until stiff peaks form. Melt the chocolate in the microwave or over a double broiler and let cool. Fold in the whipped cream. The mixture should resemble a dense mousse.image
  2. Chill the mixture in the freezer or fridge until it’s a manageable consistency. You’re gonna use the cocoa powder like you would flour here. Mix in as much as you need to be able to roll balls smoothly without sticking. Return to freezer if they’re giving you too much trouble.image
  3. Transfer truffles to clean wax paper. I know that you’ve just rolled perfect, beautifully rounded balls, but perfect spheres don’t sit well with wings attached. You’re going to want to flatten the bottoms a little bit to make them sit nicer. You can either squish them down—which I don’t recommend because you’ll mess up their shape—or you can do what I do and drop them. While transferring to the clean wax paper, drop your truffles from about a foot over the surface and let gravity do its thing. 
  4. Bust out your gold. (I always thought the brand was “Buff” not “Duff” because of that oddly placed heart logo. Am I alone in that?)image
  5. Using the paint brush, dust the truffles one at a time with the gold powder. (1 tube of powder covered 32 truffles with a little leftover). You can also give them a quick spray with the Duff if you want to seal them. image
  6. Remove the gilded truffles from the wax paper and set aside (store in the refrigerator until you need them). Don’t even think about tossing that beautiful, golden wax paper they were sitting on. You’re gonna use it in a sec. Give it a quick spray with the Duff if you haven’t already.


  1. Load your dark chocolate into a pastry/ziploc bag and seal it. Heat the bag in a double broiler water bath (alternately, melt the chocolate and then bag it, but I’m way too messy for that). Snip a small hole in the corner. Drizzle the chocolate onto that gilded wax paper you saved, making wings about 1 to 1 1/2 inches long. Like so: image
  2. This design is just what I’ve found that works. Feel free to play around with the pattern as long as you maintain a feasible level of stability. (This is why using dark chocolate is so important. I tried using white chocolate and semi-sweet, but only dark really held up).image 
  3. Once you’ve filled your wax paper, freeze the wings to set them (about 2 minutes). To figure out how many wings you’ll need to make, count your truffles, multiply by 2 and then add 5 or so extras because you’ll inevitably break a few or make some duds.image
  4. Spray gold on set wings, thoroughly coating but not drenching. Freeze to set. image
  5. Gingerly remove wings from the paper—more like removing the paper from them. The gold should stick to the bottoms and come up when you lift the wings, so both sides are golden. (You’re looking at the backside of one).image
  6. Set finished wings aside and repeat on the same wax paper until you’ve made enough wings. For round two, drizzle chocolate on the spaces in between the old wing sites so they pick up the gold backing.image


  1. To assemble, you’ll need one truffle and two wings. Try to match the wings—something I clearly need to work on.image
  2. Gently press the wings into the sides of the truffle. If your truffles are the right consistency, the wings should stay in place. image
  3. Voila, done.image
  4. Repeat until you have a small Snitch army. imageA note of caution: these babies are a little fragile so they don’t travel well. I recommend storing them separately and assembling at the destination if you need to. Store in refrigerator.

    imageWhy yes that is my homemade infinity Ravenclaw scarf. How kind of you to notice. imageI started out making these as a classic chocolate and cream truffle, but they were just too dense for my liking. I think whipping the cream adds a lightness and silkiness to the truffles. Mmmm.imageimageMy little sister kindly modelled for me. Oh and not that I’m horribly jealous or outraged at the injustice or anything, but she, having never been interested in Harry Potter, got to go to the Wizarding World in Orlando with a friend. For a week. I have never been and will likely never get a chance to go. She even has a robe now. So. Not. Cool.image

    On a side note, can someone close to JK Rowling kindly suggest that she write a prequel? Either focusing on the Marauder days or going way back to the founding of Hogwarts, or even a side story of some of the Wizarding communities in other countries. Plz plz plz???

Filed under Golden Snitch Harry Potter food chocolate dessert food harry potter how to quidditch truffles tutorial recipe cooking golden wings

10 notes &

Gluten-Free Oatmeal Brownies

I’m interrupting the 12 consecutive Days of Soup to bring you some delicious oatmeal brownies. Why am I calling them brownies and not oatmeal “squares” or “blondies”? Because “brownies” sounds better, that’s why.

Made with steel-cut oats and packed with raisins and chocolate chips, they hit the spot without inflicting too much guilt. I whipped these up the other night in response to a wicked after-dinner sweet tooth.

And why yes, that is my homemade tea-cup-and-plate cake stand. It’ll be all the rage in a few years, just watch…

I first starting making these as cooking a few years ago largely as a test. I couldn’t find any existing recipe that used entirely steel-cut oats without added flour or regular oats. Experimentation revealed that it’s totally possible; the trick is to cook the steel-cut oats before-hand.

CAUTION: These are gluten-free in the sense that I didn’t add any gluten-containing products, however, oats can sometimes contain trace amount of gluten contamination so be careful if baking these for someone with an allergy.

Gluten-Free Oatmeal Brownies* (recipe by Mua*)

Makes about 9 or so brownies depending on slice size

  • 1/2-3/4 cup uncooked steel-cut oats
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup apple juice (optional)
  • 2 tbs coconut oil
  • 1 tbs butter (could omit, but WHY???)
  • 1/2 tsp stevia
  • 2 tbs maple syrup and or molasses
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips
  1. Bring the oats to a boil in the apple juice (or in water if not using juice) in medium pot then reduce and simmer on a medium low heat until mostly tender (about 15 min). You want to use just enough liquid to cook the oats—it should be almost a paste.
  2. Once the oats are cooked, turn off the heat and mix in all of the ingredients except for the chocolate chips—wait for the mixture to cool before adding those or they’ll melt.
  3. Bake for 15-20 min at 350.
  4. Cool and cut. CONSUME!!!

*Please don’t kill me if the measurements are off, these are guesstimates since I didn’t think to measure while cooking. Fortunately, this recipe is pretty forgiving and will come out fine as long as the batter/dough is reasonably thick. You can add/omit whatever little extras you want, such as pecans or other kinds of chips or coconut flakes.  

*Also works as cookies, but easier to make as brownies.


Filed under oatmeal brownies twine chocolate raisins gluten-free steel-cut oats