Tag Archives: Dark Chocolate

Mocha Banana Pecan Overnight Oats

I’ve noticed lots and lots of recipes for overnight oats in the last few years and have been wanting to try making some. I finally got around to doing that after receiving some complimentary breakfast coffees from Community Coffee. They sent me one of their new products, Amber Sunrise Blend, along with their tried-and-true Breakfast Blend.

Amber Sunrise Blend has a smooth, bright, pleasant flavor and smells wonderful as you’re brewing it. As one of my friends said, “It’s a coffee you want to wake up to.” The light roast Breakfast Blend also has a nice smooth, mild flavor–a great coffee to start your day with.

So what do overnight oats and coffee have in common? Well, I came across an overnight oats recipe on the blog at the Community Coffee site that includes coffee as one of the ingredients–along with oats, cocoa powder, banana slices, and other yummy ingredients. I made a few tweaks to the recipe and added some chopped dark chocolate on top. It’s a special mocha-flavored treat for breakfast–or you can have it later in the day as a healthy snack!

MOCHA BANANA PECAN OVERNIGHT OATS by NancyC, adapted from Community Coffee

Makes 1 serving

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup vanilla Greek yogurt (or substitute the same amount of milk)
  • 1/4 cup strong brewed Community Coffee (I used the Amber Sunrise blend)
  • 1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 banana, sliced
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped pecans (toasted or untoasted)
  • 1/2 Tablespoon chopped dark chocolate (72% Cacao works well in this)

In small jar or bowl with tight-fitting lid, combine oats, yogurt or milk, coffee, honey, cocoa powder, vanilla, and cinnamon. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Top with banana, chopped pecans, and chopped dark chocolate just before serving.

I used 72% Cacao dark chocolate when I made these overnight oats–it gives the oats a good rich cocoa flavor without making it too sweet. I can see now why overnight oats are such a popular breakfast item–they’re so easy and convenient to make! Have you tried making overnight oats yet?

Sharing at Fiesta Friday, Meal Plan Monday, Inspire Me Monday, Weekend Potluck.

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Yogurt with Mixed Berries, Walnuts, and Dark Chocolate

This is such an easy and healthy recipe for breakfast, a snack, or dessert! it’s from a new book called The SirtFood Diet. Before I received my review copy, I had never heart of “Sirtfoods.” In a nutshell, what I read in this book was that polyphenol nutrients from certain plants are good for us. And plants that have “noteworthy amounts” of sirtuin-activating polyphenols are called “Sirtfoods.” I know this sounds pretty technical, but the book gives a good explanation about all this. It also provides information about the top 20 Sirtfoods, along with other foods that are beneficial. I found that I actually like a lot of these foods, which include Arugula, Garlic, Green Tea, and even Cocoa!

This book explains that Sirtfoods, rich in special nutrients that help activate the same “skinny genes” in our bodies that fasting triggers, can help in effective weight loss–and so the Sirtfood Diet was created by nutritionists Aidan Goggins and Glen Matten. I haven’t tried the diet, so I can’t endorse it, but I’m sharing what the book says about it. The diet includes a plan for losing 7 pounds in seven days, along with keeping the weight off. There’s a recipe section that includes a good variety of healthy dishes–some even include chicken and beef. The authors also recommend having a good juicer to get the most benefits from this diet.

After looking through the recipe section, I decided to try this yogurt recipe because I loved all the ingredients and it was so simple to make. Simple as it is though, I actually made this recipe the wrong way! I put the berries over the yogurt instead of the yogurt over the berries! it does work better to put the yogurt over the berries as the recipe says, so be sure to layer the ingredients right! Even though I made this wrong, it does look pretty, doesn’t it? 🙂

YOGURT WITH MIXED BERRIES, CHOPPED WALNUTS, AND DARK CHOCOLATE from the SirtFood Diet

Makes 1 serving

  • 1 1/3 cups mixed berries (I used some organic fresh strawberries and frozen blueberries)
  • 2/3 cup plain Greek yogurt (or vegan alternative, such as soy or coconut yogurt)
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons dark chocolate (85 percent cocoa solids), grated

Add the mixed berries to a bowl and top with the yogurt. Sprinkle with the walnuts and chocolate.

That’s all there is to it! I’m so glad dark chocolate is good for you, even if it’s the 85% cocoa solid kind; I actually like the really, really dark chocolate better than the sweeter varieties.

Are you a healthy eater and have you heart of Sirtfoods?

Sharing at Fiesta Friday, Meal Plan Monday, Weekend Potluck, Inspire Me Monday, Full Plate Thursday.

Dark Chocolate Chip Granola Cookies

Dark Chocolate Chip Granola Cookies @ NancyC

I’ve been in a chocolate chip mood lately! I recently posted a recipe for some Chocolate Chip Scones and then I thought I’d make some breakfast-type cookies, but with chocolate chips in them, too–I call them Dark Chocolate Chip Granola Cookies. A cookie made with ingredients that I usually put in granola, like honey, coconut flakes, old-fashioned oats, wheat germ, ground flaxseed, chopped nuts, raisins or dried cranberries, and a good amount of dark chocolate chips!

These cookies brown a little more around the edges because of the honey, I think. I read somewhere that baked goods made with honey brown faster, so that’s true of these cookies. They’re a good, slightly chewy cookies that make a great snack or quick breakfast if you like sweet things for breakfast!

DARK CHOCOLATE CHIP GRANOLA COOKIES by NancyC

Makes about 26 cookies

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups sweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup wheat germ
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed (you can substitute wheat bran or oat bran for the wheat germ or flaxseed)
  • 1 cup golden raisins, dark raisins, or dried cranberries (or a mix of 2 or 3 of these)
  • 1 1/4 cups dark chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In large bowl, cream butter and sugar, until smooth, then add honey, vanilla, and eggs, blending well.

In medium size bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add this mixture, half of it at a time, to the butter/sugar mixture; mix until everything is blended, but don’t overmix.

Fold in, a few ingredients at a time, the coconut flakes, oats, wheat germ, flaxseed, raisins or cranberries, chocolate chips, and nuts, stirring to blend everything evenly into the batter (batter will be thick).

Using a measuring cup, drop dough by 1/4 cupfuls, 2 inches apart, onto parchment-lined cookie sheets (you should be able to fit 6 cookies per sheet). Bake at 350˚F for 12 to 13 minutes or until edges are browned. Cool on cookie sheet for 2 to 3 minutes, then move to wire rack to cool completely.

It’s nice eating cookies that have some healthy ingredients in them–I guess it helps justify eating cookies, right? 🙂 Do you have any healthier cookie recipes you like to make?

Sharing this recipe at Fiesta Friday, Meal Plan Monday, Weekend Potluck.

Dark Chocolate Almond Shortbread Squares

Dark Chocolate Almond Shortbread Squares @ NancyC

Dark chocolate and shortbread are two of my favorite sweets, and I discovered that they make a great combination as a cookie bar! Several years ago, I had found a recipe on the Eagle Brand® site and made it as directed, but was a little disappointed because my shortbread crust and the chocolate layer did not turn out as nice and thick as their recipe photo. But they had tasted good, so I decided to revisit the recipe, using dark chocolate instead of semi-sweet chips, and making them in a 9×9″ pan instead of 9×13.” I was hoping using a smaller pan would give me a thicker crust–and it did. I liked the way these turned out in the 9×9″ pan so much better!

Be sure to chill these bars for three hours before you try cutting them, because they’ll cut easier. The shortbread base will crumble some, so you need to cut them carefully.

DARK CHOCOLATE ALMOND SHORTBREAD SQUARES by NancyC, adapted from Eagle Brand®

Makes a 9 x 9″ pan

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (omit if you are using salted butter)
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 1 (10-ounce) package dark chocolate chips
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease or spray a 9 x 9″ baking pan with cooking spray.

Mix butter, powdered sugar, and salt in large bowl until fluffy (you can mix by hand or with a mixer). Add flour; mix well. Press dough evenly in prepared pan with floured hands (dough will be sticky). Bake 20 to 23 minutes or until lightly browned; remove from oven.

Melt dark chocolate chips with sweetened condensed milk in heavy saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth and creamy. Remove from heat; stir in almond extract. Spread chocolate mixture evenly over the shortbread in the pan. Note: You can also melt the chocolate mixture in the microwave–heat for 30 seconds, stir, heat another 30 seconds, stir, and repeat until mixture is smooth and creamy, which takes about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Be careful not to overheat!

Garnish with toasted almonds,* pressing them down firmly on the chocolate mixture. Chill 3 hours or until firm. Cut into bars.

Note: To avoid scratching my non-stick pan with a cutting knife, I removed the shortbread from the pan first. I did this by loosening the shortbread and chocolate layers from the edges of the pan and carefully inverting the pan. I had a parchment paper-covered hand on the shortbread, to catch it as it came out upside-down, then I inverted the shortbread again onto my other parchment paper-covered hand so it was right-side up on the second piece of parchment paper, ready to cut. You could also try lining your pan with parchment paper and just lift the shortbread out of the pan when it’s ready to cut, but the sticky shortbread batter may be a little difficult to spread on the parchment paper.

*Toast almond slices by placing in a dry nonstick skillet and cooking over medium heat, shaking pan until almond slices are lightly browned.

I love the thick dark chocolate top layer and the thick shortbread bottom crust on these bars! And the light almond flavoring adds just the right touch. I’m glad I revisited this recipe. Do you have a recipe you’ve revisited with good results?

Sharing at Cookie Plan MondayFiesta Friday.

Salted Dark Chocolate Coffee Bark

Salted Dark Chocolate Coffee Bark @ NancyC

On chilly mornings, I like to have a hot cup of coffee to start my day. With cream. I don’t like black coffee or sugar in my coffee, but I love having cream in my coffee! But cookingwithcoffeeapparently you can do so much more with coffee, as I discovered when I received a review copy of Cooking with Coffee by Brandi Evans. It’s a hardcover book with 60 recipes and lots of color photos.

The book begins with a brief history of coffee, benefits of coffee, different brewing options, and popular ingredients to use with coffee. Then you’ll find recipes for baked goods; homemade coffee creamers; drinks and smoothies; sauces, dips, and toppings; savory foods; and sweets and snacks. Recipes include:

  • Espresso Banana Muffins
  • Coffee and White Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake
  • Salted Chocolate Coffee Creamer
  • Peanut Butter Mocha Smoothie
  • Chocolate-Coffee Gravy
  • Coffee Maple Vinaigrette
  • Chicken Enchiladas with Quick Coffee Ranchera Sauce
  • Triple Chip Espresso Cookies

I decided to try the Salted Dark Chocolate Coffee Bark, because I thought it would be a great recipe to keep in mind as a food gift for the holidays. It’s easy to make and only has 3 ingredients, so you can whip it up easily and quickly. You just need to give the bark enough time to harden, at least an hour, before you break it up into pieces. It makes a great sweet treat for coffee and dark chocolate lovers! The recipes says to use 10 ounces of 60% dark chocolate, so I used one 10-ounce bag of dark chocolate chips and that worked perfectly!

SALTED DARK CHOCOLATE COFFEE BARK from Cooking with Coffee

Makes about 2 cups pieces of bark

  • 10 ounces 60% dark chocolate or semisweet
  • 1/4 cup whole coffee beans
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons large flake sea salt (I used less salt-more like 1 teaspoon, and that was salty enough for me!)

Over a double boiler or in a microwave-safe bowl, melt the chocolate until it’s just warm enough to completely melt when you stir (a few minutes over the double boiler or 1-2 minutes in the microwave, checking every 30 seconds).

Pour the chocolate onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and smooth out into an even layer.

Sprinkle the melted chocolate with the coffee beans and the sea salt.

Let the chocolate set at least 1 hour, then break into bite-sized pieces.

Like I mentioned earlier, this bark makes a great homemade food gift. Or you may want to give the book itself to a coffee-loving friend. Are you a coffee-lover yourself, and do you use coffee in any recipes?

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