Graham Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies

Graham Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies

How is it possible it’s December already? This year has just flown by! This time of year I start thinking about baking Christmas goodies. Lex and I took an unexpected trip to Tennessee on November 27th due to my father having a transient ischemic attack, which leaves the victim with stroke like symptoms for a period of time. He said we didn’t have to come, but I told him as his daughter it was my prerogative to come anyway. We ended up staying until Wednesday morning of this week and then headed back to Maryland. All of that to say I haven’t had much time for baking.

Jamison is teaching a class at work this week so yesterday I decided to whip up some cookies and send them in with him. Alexis loved these. I didn’t tell her until AFTER she had eaten one that they had coconut in them. Guess she doesn’t hate coconut as much as she thought! ;oP

These cookies are extremely easy to make, and they are also eggless. If you have a coconut lover on your Christmas list this year then these are the cookies for you!

What You’ll Need:
1 sleeve of graham crackers, crushed
1 1/3 cups coconut
1/2 cup unbleached all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1 – 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 package semi-sweet chocolate chips

In a large bowl stir together graham cracker crumbs, coconut, flour, baking powder and sea salt until complete incorporated. Add sweetened condensed milk and butter and mix until “dough” forms. Stir in chocolate chips.

Place cookie dough in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Using a tablespoon measuring spoon, scoop out balls of dough and place on a baking sheet that has been lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Bake 8 to 10 minutes until cookies are slightly brown.

Remove bake cookies from oven and let cool on cookie sheets before placing in to air tight container for storage.

Makes roughly 36 cookies.

Notes: You can add in nuts if you like. You could also use other types of chocolate chips or a mix of several different kinds.

Pumpkin Dulce de Leche Swirl Brownies

Pumpkin Dulce de Leche Swirl Brownies with Chocolate Chips

I love pumpkin! It’s one of my all time favorite things and this time of year I love to make sweets and treats, not to mention savory dishes like soup or ravioli with pumpkin. It seems in the fall I always have pumpkin on the brain and these brownies popped in to my mind when I saw a recipe for a chocolate/caramel type brownie and my imagination just went crazy from there!

These brownies are brownie like, all while having a slight essence and texture of pumpkin pie. The caramel gives the brownie a subtle hint of something wonderful, without overpowering the whole and the chocolate chips give it just the right oomph to finish off the dish. It’s an all around perfect combination!

What You’ll Need:
1 – 14 ounce can of sweetened condensed milk
1 – 15 ounce can of pumpkin
1/2 cup of organic cane sugar
6 tablespoons of butter, softened
1 teaspoon of vanilla
3 eggs
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1 cup of unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 of a bag of semisweet chocolate chips1 teaspoon of cinnamon

First you want to make your dulce de leche. There are a few ways to do this with a can of sweetened condensed milk. You can boil a can of sweetened condensed milk in a large stock pot for an hour and a half to two hours (the longer you boil it the thicker it is), making sure the can stays covered with water the whole time, or you can empty a can of sweetened condensed milk into a double boiler and simmer for up to 2 hours until the milk becomes caramely. I chose the double boiler method this go around. Once your dulce de leche is made you mix up the brownies.

Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a large mixing bowl beat together pumpkin, sugar, butter, vanilla and eggs until smooth. Add baking powder, salt, cinnamon and flour and mix until incorporated.

Pour mixture into an 12 X 8 inch baking dish that has been sprayed with nonstick spray. Add dollops of the dulce de leche to the top of the pumpkin mixture in the dish and use a spoon or knife to swirl into the brownie batter. Finally sprinkle the top of the brownies with the chocolate chips.

Bake for 22-25 minutes. Let cool at least 30 minutes before serving.

Notes: You can use a different kind of chocolate chips if you like, white chocolate chips especially would be good with this. You can also purchase dulce de leche to use in this recipe if you don’t want to make it yourself.

Pumpkin Trifle

Pumpkin Trifle

Every October my mom and my best friend Darlene come to visit for a week around my birthday. This year that week happened to be last week. We spend the week goofing off, laughing and generally having a fabulous time. Some years they are here on my actual birthday, other years like this year, they are not, but it’s a lot of fun and something I look forward to all year long.

The day after Mom and Darlene arrived I had a little lunch party after church so that a friend of mine here could meet Darlene and my sister could come pick up my mom to spend a few days with her in Virginia. Given it was fall I decided I wanted to make a pumpkin pound cake that I love to make around this time of year.

I mixed up my pound cake, put it in the oven and baked it. I left it turned upside down in the pan on a plate after it cooled, so that it wouldn’t dry out overnight. When I removed the pan it stripped the sides of the cake with it. My OCD couldn’t handle serving my guests something that looked like someone, or something, had torn in to the sides of the cake, so my mind started working on an alternative and a few minutes later I had the perfect solution…A Trifle!

This is a very simple thing to put together, but it’s impressive all by itself. I decided to spice up the whipped cream a bit too and this really turned out to be the quintessential autumn dessert!

First Step: Bake your pumpkin pound cake and let cool.

Next Step: Make your Cinnamon Brown Sugar Maple Whipped Cream!

What You’ll Need for the Cinnamon Brown Sugar Maple Whipped Cream:
2 cups of heavy cream
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/3 cup natural brown sugar
1/4 cup of maple syrup

Dump all ingredients in to the bowl of a mixer. Beat on high until soft peaks form.

Set aside to use for your Pumpkin Trifle. (See below.)

And Then: Assemble your trifle!

What You’ll Need to make the Pumpkin Trifle:
Pumpkin pound cake
Cinnamon Brown Sugar Maple Whipped Cream (see above) Caramel sauce (Note: You can make your own or use pre-made from the store. I used store bought this go around, but you could use the caramel sauce from this recipe instead.)

Once cake is cooled cut it into chunks. (Note: You might not need all of the cake, depending on the size of bowl you put your trifle in. I like to cut the chunks for each layer as I go.)

Place a layer of pound cake chunks in the bottom of a clear glass trifle dish or bowl. Once you have your layer of pound cake add a layer of your whipped cream and spread it out evenly over the pound cake chunks. Repeat these steps until you reach the top of your bowl

Top the last layer of pound cake with a generous mound of whipped cream. Drizzle the top generously with caramel sauce and let sit for at least 30 minutes before serving so the flavors meld a bit.

Last Step: Eat and enjoy!

Store unused portions of the dessert in the fridge.

Notes: You could use this method with regular pounds cake and top it with any number of topping/whipped cream varieties of your choice. I have a blueberry version floating around in my head that you may see soon.

Triple Chocolate Ganache Cake

Triple Chocolate Ganache Cake

Ok let’s get this out of the way…This cake is not a healthy alternative to anything. This is a calorie nightmare, not something you would eat everyday, loaded with sugar, chocolate and butter sort of dessert. In short it’s the kind of dessert that probably makes your mouth water just looking at it! As I said you aren’t going to eat this everyday, you wouldn’t want to eat this everyday. This is a special occasion sort of cake, with plenty of cake to share with many of your closest friends!

One thing I really like about this cake is it doesn’t have to be perfect. Let’s face it, we aren’t Martha Stewart, and quite frankly I wouldn’t want to be. I have enough OCD tendencies without taking things as far as she would. You don’t have to smooth out the buttercream to perfection. The ganache is going to run down the side of the cake. It’ll happen. These are good things. Embrace your messy diva!

This cake has many steps, but trust me it’s worth it! So break out your fork and let’s talk a little chocolate cake!

Triple Chocolate Ganache Cake: Layers

What You’ll Need for the Cake:
Three layers of a really good chocolate cake (Note: I used this one, tripled.)

Bake your three layers of cake and let them cool completely.

Once cool make and apply the chocolate buttercream. (See below.)

Triple Chocolate Ganache Cake: Butter Cream Layer

What You’ll Need for the Chocolate Buttercream:
2 cups of double chocolate chips
4 egg whites
1 1/2 cups of superfine sugar
1 1/2 pounds of butter, softened
1 tablespoon of vanilla

Melt the chocolate chips in a glass bowl in the microwave at 20 second intervals until melted with no lumps. Set aside to cool slightly.

For this next step you’re going to need a double boiler. If you don’t have a double boiler they are easy to “make”. Simply find a glass bowl that will sit on top of one of your pots and not go all the way down in so that the water does not touch the bowl. Viola…You’ve got a double boiler!

Place egg whites and sugar over medium heat in a double boiler until the mixture is warm to the touch and the sugar is completely dissolved. Turn off heat and add the melted chocolate stirring to mix thoroughly. Let this mixture sit until cool.

When chocolate/egg white mixture is cool add your butter and vanilla and beat until fluffy. Spread the buttercream in between the layers of your cake and then cover the entire cake in buttercream.

Place the cake in the fridge for at least 2 hours:

Triple Chocolate Ganache Cake: Buttercream Layer Setting in the Fridge

I usually leave this stage in the fridge overnight.

Once the buttercream is set you’ll need to make your ganache. (See below.)

Triple Chocolate Ganache Cake

What You’ll Need for the Ganache and Top of the Cake:
2 cups of heavy cream
2 tablespoons of butter
4 cups of semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup of powdered sugar
Shaved milk chocolate

In a large saucepan add heavy cream and butter and cook stirring often until the butter melts. Do NOT let this boil.

Once the butter is melted add the chocolate and stir constantly until chocolate is melted. Remove from heat and stir in powdered sugar and mix until smooth.

Pour melted chocolate mixture over the top of the cake and then sprinkle the top with the shaved chocolate.

Next place the cake back in the fridge to chill:

Triple Chocolate Ganache Cake: In the Fridge

Let it chill at least 2 hours before serving. I also like to let it sit out for at least 30 minutes before serving.

How good does this look?

Triple Chocolate Ganache Cake: A Slice

This is a “messy” cake, but it still has a bit of wow factor. It’s the perfect, sometimes, lovely treat!

Triple Chocolate Ganache Cake: The Inside

Notes: You can mix up the kinds of chocolate you use. The next time I make this I think I make try to make a white chocolate buttercream and see how that turns out. This takes a little time, so make sure you take that in to account before you make it. I don’t make this often, but it is so worth it when I do!

Chocolate Covered Cheesecake

Chocolate Covered Vanilla Cheesecake With A Chocolate Chip Cookie Crust


Even the name makes me daydream. There is just something about a creamy, cold cheesecake that makes it the ultimate dessert for me. Give me cheesecake, Mexican food, goat cheese, Vodka and some good bread and I’d be perfectly happy on a deserted island. Oh and a cute cabana boy to wait on me hand and foot…Sounds like my kind of life! ;oP

What? Never mind! Where was I?

Those of you who have been readers of Dianne’s Dishes know I have somewhat of an obsession with Cheesecake. I mean cheesecake has an entire category on my blog all to itself! Cheesecake should be a food group, I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again!

This cheesecake takes the best of two worlds, cheesecake and chocolate chip cookies and marries them together to make a fabulous overall dessert. Top the cake with some chocolate ganache and you have rich sin on a plate! A little slice of this cheesecake is more than enough at one sitting, but oh what a slice it is!

What You’ll Need for the Crust:
10-12 Back to Nature Chocolate Chip Cookies
3/4 stick of butter, melted

Preheat oven to 325 F with the rack in the middle of the oven.

Now let’s talk about the chocolate chip cookie crust. For this crust you need a hard variety of chocolate chip cookie. A soft cookie will not work. I like the Back to Nature cookies because they are natural.

Chocolate Covered Vanilla Cheesecake With A Chocolate Chip Cookie Crust: Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chop the cookies until roughly the size of peas:

Chocolate Covered Vanilla Cheesecake With A Chocolate Chip Cookie Crust: Chocolate Chip Cookies Crumbled

Stir in butter until mixed:

Chocolate Covered Vanilla Cheesecake With A Chocolate Chip Cookie Crust: Crust Ready to be Pressed in to the Springform Pan

Press cookie mixture in to an 8 inch spring form pan that has been sprayed with non-stick spray:

Chocolate Covered Vanilla Cheesecake With A Chocolate Chip Cookie Crust: Crust

Set aside.

Notes for the Chocolate Chip Cookie Crust: When I make a graham cracker crust from scratch I usually add a little bit of sugar to the crust. When using the chocolate chip cookies that isn’t necessary unless you really just like things sweet. You could add in 1/4 to 1/3 cup of sugar if you wanted.

Chocolate Covered Vanilla Cheesecake With A Chocolate Chip Cookie Crust: Baked

What You’ll Need for the Cheesecake Batter:
2 – 8 ounce packages of cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups of organic cane sugar
3 eggs
2 tablespoons of vanilla
1/2 cup of unbleached all purpose flour

When making a cheesecake it is ESSENTIAL to make sure that your oven is preheated BEFORE you begin baking your cake so make sure your oven has preheated before you put in the cheesecake.

I like to bake my cheesecakes in a water bath, which helps keep the cheesecake from cracking that much (if at all) as it bakes. I usually just fill up my tea kettle with water and set it to boil as I’m making the crust and the filling of the cheesecake. You want enough water to come up the pan about half way when you place it in a baking dish.

In a large bowl beat cream cheese until smooth. Add sugar and beat until incorporated.

Next add eggs and vanilla and beat on medium for 2 minutes. After 2 minutes slowly add flour and mix until smooth.

Wrap the outside of your spring form pan that has the crust pressed in to the bottom with aluminum foil to keep water from seeping in to your cheesecake as you bake.

Pour batter in to prepared pan:

Chocolate Covered Vanilla Cheesecake With A Chocolate Chip Cookie Crust: Ready to Bake

Place pan in a deep baking dish and pour boiling water in to the dish being sure not to get any water in the cheesecake itself.

Bake for 1 hour. Turn off the oven and crack the door of your oven (Some call this the broil position) and let the cheesecake sit untouched for another hour.

Take the cheesecake from the water bath and set on a towel to absorb moisture. Next remove the aluminum foil:

Chocolate Covered Vanilla Cheesecake With A Chocolate Chip Cookie Crust: Baked

As you can see as the cake baked it pulled away from the sides of the pan a bit. Doesn’t it look great already?

Store cheesecake covered in the fridge for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.

Notes on the Cheesecake Batter: At this point, once it’s chilled you could dig in to the cheesecake right then as is, but who wouldn’t want a bit more chocolate? There’s no such thing as too much chocolate despite what Jamison might say! ;oP

Chocolate Covered Vanilla Cheesecake With A Chocolate Chip Cookie Crust: Ganache

What You’ll Need for the Chocolate Ganache:
1 cup of heavy cream
1 tablespoon of butter
1 package of semi-sweet chocolate chips

Remove the ring of the springform pan and place chilled cheesecake on a plate that is big enough to catch any overflow of the ganache. Place back in the fridge until ganache is ready.

In a medium sized sauce pan melt butter in heavy cream and then bring to a simmer. Stir in chocolate chips and stir constantly until they are melted and the mixture is smooth. This takes 1-3 minutes to melt.

Once the ganache is smooth pour the mixture over the chilled cheesecake:

Chocolate Covered Vanilla Cheesecake With A Chocolate Chip Cookie Crust: With Ganache

Chill cake for at least another hour before serving.

Notes for the Ganache: You could use milk chocolate or dark chocolate instead of the semi-sweet chips.

And as always this cheesecake is sous chef approved!

Chocolate Covered Vanilla Cheesecake With A Chocolate Chip Cookie Crust: Sous Chef Approved!

Notes Overall: This a very versatile cheesecake and you can change things here or there to your liking. Adding mini chocolate chips to the batter would be a great addition, or adding in 1/3 to 1/2 cup of cocoa to make a chocolate cheesecake would be fabulous too!

Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream and Hot Fudge Sauce

Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream With Hot Fudge Sauce

Yesterday we had some friends over to help celebrate Memorial Day. We decided to do the standard picnic fare, only our picnic ended up being inside due to heat and air quality, but that’s ok too. We had fun, so that’s all that matters.

I did most of the cooking on Sunday afternoon, except for cooking the hot dogs and hamburgers and setting the ice cream. On Monday morning all I had to do was organize and few last minute details and put everything together.

I decided I wanted to put a tablecloth on the table, but the problem is that I don’t actually have a tablecloth that fits our very long table, so I decided to make one! I took a piece of material that I’ve had for forever and could never decide what to do with the piece and used part of that. I was very happy with the results!

My handy, dandy tablecloth!

I thought it turned out really well! Martha has nothing on me! That’s my little sous chef in the background dancing away.

I had an assortment of drinks as well:

Ready to go

I had Virgil’s Orange Cream Soda, Izze Grapefruit soda, Old Dominion Root Beer (It’s made with honey! And it’s ironically listed on their beer list even though it’s non-alcoholic.), Sprite (Jamison’s drink of choice as of late), lemonade, unsweet green ice tea and of course water. We had some Corona, hard lemonade and hard limeade in the fridge, but we ended up not diving in to that.

We had a buffet style set up with fruit, veggies, hamburgers and toppings, hotdogs, potato salad, baked beans and chips:

Waiting on the hamburgers and hot dogs

And for dessert we had homemade ice cream and hot fudge sauce! Which are both just perfect on a hot, hazy day like yesterday! We had a very pleasant day. I hope your afternoon was as fabulous as ours!

Now let’s talk a little vanilla ice cream and hot fudge sauce!

What You’ll Need for the Ice Cream:
1 quart of heavy cream
1 quart of half and half
1 half gallon of whole milk
1 can of sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cups of organic cane sugar
1 tablespoon of vanilla powder
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
6 egg yolks

In a large stock pot stir together cream, half and half, whole milk, sweetened condensed milk, sugar, vanilla powder and vanilla extract. Cook over medium heat stirring often and let the mixture become hot. Be careful, you don’t want this to boil or scald.

When the milk is hot, ladle out some of the hot mixture into a bowl with your egg yolks whisking quickly to temper the eggs. Add this mixture back to the pot and whisk constantly until the mixture becomes slightly thick.

Remove mixture from heat and run through a sieve several times to make sure there are no lumpy egg bits. Cool mixture completely. Overnight is best.

Once mixture is completely chilled add to a large ice cream maker and set according to your ice cream makers instructions.

Notes: I had a bit of the custard mixture left over when I made the ice cream. I’m going to use my small Cuisinart ice cream maker to freeze the rest.

Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream With Hot Fudge Sauce

What You’ll Need for the Hot Fudge Sauce:
4 squares of unsweetened chocolate
4 tablespoons of butter
1 cup of evaporated milk
1 1/3 cup of organic cane sugar
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

In a medium sized pot melt chocolate and butter together until completely melted. Slowly add milk and sugar and stir until mixed.

Bring to a slow boil and cook stirring constantly for 3-5 minutes until mixture starts to thicken. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.

Use to top ice cream or any other way you would use chocolate syrup.

Notes: This is the hot fudge sauce that my mom used to make. It brings back so many memories of my childhood all with one little taste!

Salted Chocolate Meringues

Salted Chocolate Meringues

I love meringues. They are so light and airy and relatively speaking a fabulous little dessert or treat you can’t go wrong with.

A few weeks ago I needed egg yolks for something (right now I can’t remember what) so I decided to take the egg whites left over and make some Salted Chocolate Meringues instead of freezing them for later. I really loved the result!

The fun thing about things like this is you can switch them up a bit. You could add a bit more, or a bit less cocoa, as well as salt, and end up with something different each time.

Meringues get a bad wrap as being hard to make, but they aren’t. You simple beat your egg whites and ingredients until you have relatively hard peaks, pipe or spoon the mixture out on to a lined baking sheet and bake for several hours until the meringues are “dried” out. It’s simple, you just prepare and walk away, checking them here and there. I love easy treats!

What You’ll Need:
4 egg whites
2/3 cup of organic cane sugar
1/4 cup of cocoa, sifted (Note: One of the few time I actually sift anything.)
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoons of fluer de sel or other sea salt (Note: More if you like things really salty, less if you don’t.)
1/4 teaspoon of cream of tartar (Optional)

Preheat oven to 225 F.

In a large mixing bowl mix together all ingredients until incorporated. Beat mixture on medium to high until slightly stiff peaks form:

Salted Chocolate Meringues: Beaten

You don’t want to have this too soft or too hard. You want it where when you pull your beater(s) up you end up with a nice firm peak, but it’s ok if the tips droop a bit as well.

Now it’s time to get the “meringues” on a baking sheet!

I like to put the meringue in to a large pastry bag with a flower tip and squeeze them out into a flower like design:

Salted Chocolate Meringues: Ready to Bake

You can also place teaspoon or tablespoon sized dollops on to the baking sheet if you don’t want to mess with a pastry bag. Or how about using a round tip and piping out little meringue “bowls” and bake them to fill with fruit for an easy little dessert.

Bake in a preheated oven for 2-3 hours or until meringues have “dried” out and are not sticky to the touch:

Salted Chocolate Meringues: Baked

Let cool and then serve or store in an airtight container.

Notes: No notes for this one.

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

I love chocolate covered strawberries. I rarely have them though, and I had never made them. For some reason this was one of those things I had in my head as being difficult, but it couldn’t be further than the truth! They really are quite simple, and they take next to no time to actually make as well.

There are many variations you can do in terms of chocolate covered strawberries. You can make them really fancy and make them look like something, like a football, or a tuxedo, or even Santa, or they can be really simple and simply be dipped in chocolate and possibly drizzled with a little white chocolate for flare. Or how about some rainbow sprinkles added to give it a punch of color and whimsy?

Most of the time chocolate covered strawberries are considered a romantic gift, or a gift for a woman, but they could be given to anyone at anytime. Who wants to wait around for a special occasion when they are so simple and easy to make. Generally speaking they’re somewhat healthier than the average dessert as well, especially if you use dark chocolate. What are you waiting for?

What You’ll Need:
Ripe strawberries, washed and patted dry
1 cup of chocolate chips or chopped chocolate (Note: You can use milk, semi, dark, bittersweet, etc.)
1 tablespoon of shortening (Note: Look for a version without trans-fats.)
Bamboo skewers or toothpicks
A foam block to stick the dipped strawberries in

First you want to wash and dry your strawberries and pick out what kind of chocolate chips you want to use:

Chocolate Covered Strawberries: Chocolate and Strawberries

I like to use Ghirardelli chips or Green and Black’s baking bars chopped up into bits.

Place the chocolate chips and the shortening in a microwave safe glass bowl:

Chocolate Covered Strawberries: Ready to Melt

Microwave for 20 second intervals at half power, stirring between rounds, until chocolate is melted and smooth:

Chocolate Covered Strawberries: Dipping Choclate

Now it’s time to start dipping!

While the chocolate is melting, insert toothpicks or bamboo skewers in to the top of your strawberries:

Chocolate Covered Strawberries: Ready to Dip

If you want you can remove the strawberry caps, but I like to leave them on. They add a bit of pizazz!

Next dip the individual strawberries in to the chocolate to coat and stick toothpicks in a foam block so the chocolate on the strawberries can set or harden:

Chocolate Covered Strawberries: Chocolate Setting

You can make them set up quickly by placing the block in the fridge and it will harden within 5 to 10 minutes. Or you can leave them at room temperature until they harden in 20 to 30 minutes.

And now you’ve got some really fabulous chocolate covered strawberries!

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Doesn’t that look like the perfect dessert or snack?

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Indeed it does!

Notes: You can also fill chocolate covered strawberries by coring out the center and adding a filling of your choice. One of my friends on Twitter suggested cookie dough. You could do sugar cookie or chocolate chip! Or how about a cheesecake type filling? Or butter cream icing would be great too. Be creative!

Cream Cheese Swirled Brownies

Cream Cheese Swirled Brownies

I love brownies. I love cheesecake. Why not combine the two and make a swirled brownie? And that’s just what I did!

These are the perfect gooey brownie, with a hint of cheesecake. Couple it with a big glass of milk and you’ve got the perfect, decadent snack!

What You’ll Need for the Chocolate Brownie:
2/3 cup of butter
1 cup of bittersweet chocolate chips
1 3/4 cups of organic cane sugar
1 tablespoon of vanilla
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1 cup unbleached all purpose flour

What You’ll Need for the Cream Cheese Swirl:
1 – 8 ounce package of cream cheese, softened
1 cup of organic cane sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon of vanilla

In a sauce pan melt butter and chocolate chips stirring often until completely smooth. Set aside and let cool completely.

Place oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 F.

Mix together sugar, vanilla, eggs and sea salt in a mixer. Beat on high for 5 minutes until fluffy/creamy. Slowly add cooled chocolate mixture to the egg mixture and stir until mixed. Add flour a little at a time and mix until just incorporated.

Pour batter into an 8 X 12 inch baking dish that has been sprayed with non-stick spray. Set aside.

In another bowl mix together creamed cheese, sugar, eggs and vanilla until smooth. Drop dollops of this mixture on to the brownie batter and swirl around using a knife until mixed in, but not incorporated. You should be able to see the swirls.

Bake for 45 minutes until brownies are slightly crackly on top. Let cool and cut and serve.

Notes: No notes for this one. It speaks for itself! :o)

Grilled Peaches and Pound Cake

Grilled Peaches and Pound Cake with Peach Ice Cream

When my parents came to visit this past week they brought me their old grill. We used to use it when we camped out at the lake in the summers and it was just sitting in Mom’s garage collecting dust. I had hoped to bring it back with me when I was in Tennessee a few weeks ago, but both trips there just wasn’t room in the car. We killed two birds with one stone; Mom got the grill out of her garage and I finally have a grill again! My mom’s only request? “If you decide later you don’t want it you have to find somewhere else for the grill to live!” Deal!

I have to admit that charcoal freaks me out a bit, especially the kind that is drenched in chemicals to ignite. You know me, I’m not much of a chemical person and avoid them at all costs. I was thrilled when we found a natural charcoal that was made from hardwood charcoal and put together with a vegetable binder!


I was further thrilled when I realized by purchasing a charcoal chimney you didn’t need lighter fluid!

My New Charcoal Chimney

There’s a bit of a learning curve with this apparently and this go around wasn’t perfect, but I got it smoking!

My New Charcoal Chimney

And then we really got it going!

My New Charcoal Chimney

Next time I’ll put more charcoal in the chimney and put the paper underneath it instead of the in the chimney itself! You live, you learn! But no lighter fluid! Woot!

Overall this really is a simple, yet delicious summer time treat that gives you a bit of wow factor, yet doesn’t take a ton of time or a lot of effort. I love fresh, simple desserts like that!

What You’ll Need:
Peach ice cream
Peaches, cut in half and pitted
Pound cake, sliced (Note: You can buy one at the store like I did this go around, or you can make one. This is my favorite.)

Obviously you’ll want to make your ice cream ahead of time and have it ready to go.

Next up grill your peaches:

Peaches and Corn Grilling

I actually grilled the peaches with our dinner and then let them cool off before we ate them. They were fabulous! It’s simple to do, just cut the peach in half, remove the pit and place it face down on the grill. Grill for about 5 minutes or until tender.

How easy is that?

Next grill the pound cake!

Slice your pound cake and place the slices on the grill:

Pound Cake Grilling

This process basically just toasts the pound cake and deepens its flavor! Toast each side about 1-2 minutes until golden:

Pound Cake Grilling

Now you’re ready to put your dessert together. A slice of pound cake, a grilled peach and a scoop of peach ice cream and voila…Dessert is served!

See easy peasy!

Notes: You can grill many fruits. Apples, bananas, pineapple, plums, nectarines, etc.