Blog Brulee + Dark Chocolate Ginger Creme Brûlée

Disclosure: My attendance at Blog Brûlée is  partially sponsored–I have received a discounted registration to the event in exchange for writing this post.  Opinions expressed are my own and I was not compensated for my time.

blog brulee

Exciting news to share, friends! I’ve been invited to attend the inaugural Blog Brûlée hosted by some amazing ladies! Regan Jones, Deanna Segrave-Daly, Gretchen Brown and Robin Plotkin have combined their powers to create a weekend that is sure to be educational, fun, and filled with great food. In less than a week, I’ll be travelling to the Smuggler’s Notch resort just outside of Burlington, Vermont to learn from experts in food photography & styling, online storytelling, branding, building a virtual community & much more. I’ve never been to Vermont so I’m delighted to go, especially this time of year! Yay for fall weather and trees!

I’m thrilled to finally meet the inspirational dietitians/healthy foodies I’ve connected with online and through my affiliation with the Recipe Redux. I feel like a lucky gal :) There’s still a lot for me to learn in the world of food blogging so I’m excited to hear from the experts behind Meal Makeover Moms, Spicy RD Nutrition, All Day I Dream About Food, fANNEtastic Food, kumquat, Robin’s Bite, Teaspoon of Spice, and Healthy Aperture.

It only felt appropriate to try my hand at creme brûlée before heading to Blog Brûlée. Traditional creme brûlée would never be my first choice, or even second choice on a dessert menu, but something less traditional like this Dark Chocolate Ginger version is right up my alley. This recipe is meant for two people, but I totally ate both. No shame.

Oh, and if you don’t own a kitchen torch you can still join in on the creme brûlée fun. I just used the top rack in my oven and turned the broiler on high. Voila!


Dark Chocolate Ginger Creme Brulee for Two

Adapted from Martha Stewart
1 cup light coconut milk
2 Tbsp + 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp fresh grated ginger
1/4 cup dark chocolate baking chips
4 egg yolks

For serving
2 tsp granulated sugar

2 ramekins (mine hold 4 oz. of liquid)
Casserole dish
Kitchen torch (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 250°F. Boil enough water to fill the casserole dish you’ll be using in step 4.
2. In a small saucepan, heat coconut milk, 2 tablespoons of sugar, vanilla extract and ginger over medium heat until the milk begins to simmer. Remove pan from heat and add dark chocolate, whisking until chocolate is melted.
3. In a mixing bowl, whisk together egg yolks and remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar. Slowly pour custard mixture into yolk mixture, whisking constantly to temper the eggs.
4. Set ramekins inside the casserole dish. Fill each ramekin with custard mixture, then add boiling water to casserole dish until it reaches halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake custards until set, about 90 minutes. Carefully remove ramekins from water and let cool. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour prior topping with sugar. Do not keep in refrigerator more than 24 hours.
5. Once ready to serve, top each brûlée with 1 tsp of sugar. If using a kitchen torch, hold torch at a 90 degree angle to the top of the custard about 3-4 inches away. Move flame back and forth until sugar is caramelized. If you do not have a kitchen torch, broil custards on the top rack of the oven for 1-2 minutes, until sugar is caramelized.

Finally, thanks to all of the awesome sponsors of the first Blog Brûlée, including Cabot Cheese and Smuggler’s Notch Resort. Looking forward to a memorable weekend! I’ll be tweeting and posting to Instagram with #BlogBrulee if you want to follow the action!


{Recipe Redux} Green Tea & Goji Grahams

goji grahams

This month’s Recipe Redux theme is all about tea–bubble tea, flavored teas, baking/cooking with tea. It’s TEA TIME!

I’m always down for a good cup of tea, but I’m partial to green teas. And my favorite variety of green tea of all time? Matcha! There seems to be a Matcha madness going around at the moment. Just read Janet Helm’s post about food trends at the National Restaurant Association show that took place last weekend on her blog, Nutrition Unplugged.

Matcha has a strong, vegetal flavor and when it’s whisked with hot milk, is just absolutely heavenly. Starbucks serves Green Tea Lattes, which are made with Matcha powder, but I would suggest requesting half the amount of simple syrup to spare yourself from a sugar-overload.

Have you tried Matcha or used it in baking? I think this will be my next Matcha mission. For more tea-infused treats, click the blue frog below to see the full collection of Recipe Redux creations!

You can make as many of these guys as your heart desires and add the berries and Matcha to your liking, so there are no exact servings or measurements for this recipe. Just have fun with it!

Green Tea & Goji Grahams

Graham crackers
Dark chocolate chips
Dried Goji berries
Matcha Green Tea powder

1. Break or cut the graham crackers squares into halves and chop the dried Goji berries into small pieces. Set aside. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Set up a double boiler by placing a small glass bowl on top of a small saucepan filled with water. Water should not be touching the bottom of the bowl. Heat water to a simmer, allowing the steam to keep the glass bowl evenly heated.
3. Doing one graham cracker at a time, dip half of the graham into the chocolate and smooth out the chocolate with a spatula. There is no need to coat the underside of the graham.
4. Sprinkle a few Goji berries on the chocolate and set the graham on the parchment paper, allowing chocolate to cool before sprinkling with Matcha powder.
5. Keep in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

The Pistachio Love Triangle

Pistachios + dark chocolate pomegranate seeds + port wine = Love Δ

An indulgent, sophisticated love triangle. But, indulgence is okay every now and then. And to be honest, this indulgent pairing comes with health benefits, so don’t feel guilty about treating your taste buds.

In-shell Pistachios: a heart healthy nut, provides your body with antioxidants and unsaturated (healthy) fats
Dark Chocolate & Pomegranate Seeds: both contain antioxidants, which attack free radicals in the body that are responsible for heart disease and other diseases
Port Wine: contains resveratrol, which can help lower bad cholesterol levels and reduce inflammation

One ounce of in-shell pistachios equals approximately 49 nuts, which is more nuts per serving than any other snack nut. For a 100 calorie snack, just reduce your serving to about 30 in-shell pistachios.

If you’re looking for a more indulgent treat, or the perfect Valentine’s Day pairing to impress your sweetie, try this sophisticated combination. The chocolate covered pomegranate seeds were purchased at Trader Joe’s, but if you aren’t able to find any, dark-chocolate covered cherries would be a nice substitute.

In-shell Pistachios + Dark Chocolate Covered Pomegranate Seeds + Port Wine

How do you like to pair your pistachios?

By posting this pairing I am entering a contest sponsored by Pistachio Health Institute and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

Sweet Tater & Apple Sonker-Cobbler

Disclosure: I received free samples from Cumberland Packing Corp., maker of Monk Fruit In The Raw. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Cumberland Packing Corp. and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.


I honestly have no idea what to call this dessert. It’s kind of a cobbler/sonker/pandowdy hybrid. Never heard of a sonker or pandowdy? I hadn’t either prior to trying to name this recipe, but this article from the New York Times is a fun read on regional names for similar desserts. All I know is it tastes good and satisfies a sweet tooth. But you can call it whatever your heart desires!

This month, Recipe Reduxer’s were asked to create delicious baked goods using the hottest, new alternative sweetener on the market, Monk Fruit in the Raw. A 100% all-natural, zero-calorie sweetener, Monk Fruit in the Raw works beautifully in baked goods and tastes great, too! If you’re like me, you avoid sugar alternatives because of the unpleasant after taste. Well, Monk Fruit in the Raw can be your new best friend because there is no after taste…hooray! Now you can cut back calories and sugar in your favorite desserts without sacrificing flavor, texture, or appearance.

Have you tried Monk Fruit in the Raw yet? I’d love to hear how you have used it at home!


Sweet Tater & Apple Sonker-Cobbler

Serves: 8

2 medium-sized sweet potatoes, sliced 1/4 inch thick and cut in half
1 Golden Delicous apple, peeled, cored and sliced thin
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup Monk Fruit in the Raw
1 Tbsp. orange juice
1 tsp. orange zest

1 1/4 cup AP flour
1 Tbsp. Monk Fruit in the Raw
1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
5 Tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1/3 cup milk
1/2 tsp. orange juice

1. Preheat oven to 375°F and butter an 8×8 inch baking pan.
2. In a large bowl, mix together the sweet potatoes, appple slices, cranberries, monk fruit sugar, orange juice and orange zest. The fruit should be well-coated in the sugar. Set aside.
3. In a seperate bowl, add flour, monk fruit sugar, granulated sugar, baking powder, salt and butter. Using a pastry blender, cut butter into dry mixture until it becomes a coarse crumb.
4. Add milk and orange juice to the dry mixture gradually, mixing the dough with a fork until dry ingredients just become moistened.
5. Pour fruit into prepared baking pan. Using your hands, place small pieces of the dough on top of the fruit until mostly covered. Slightly flatten the dough with your fingers, pressing down into the fruit.
6. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until topping is golden brown and the sweet potatoes can be easily pierced with a fork.

Strawberry Shortcake Skewers

Try saying that three times in a row. Not so easy, huh? I promise preparing this dessert skewer is a whole lot easier. This twist on a classic dessert is perfect for a party with lots of people because there is no assembly involved! The guests get to have all the fun making their own Strawberry Shortcake Skewers and you won’t even have to wash dessert plates! Are you wondering if this could possibly get any better? strawberry shortcake skewers Because it does. Homemade whipped cream takes this basic dessert to the next level. Again, super easy but it will knock your guests’ socks off. You could also add a few more elements to this sweet kabob like brownies, other fruits, marshmallows, and even some melted chocolate for drizzling!

Strawberry Shortcake Skewers

You will need:

pound cake

Strawberries, washed and quartered

Pound cake, cut into 1/2 inch squares (I purchased my cake from Whole Foods)

8 oz. heavy whipping cream, chilled

2 Tbsp. granulated sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

Homemade Whipped Cream

1. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, mix together heavy whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla on medium speed until firm peaks form.

whipping cream

The cream is still frothy here, but after a couple minutes, the magic happens….

whipping cream2

The cream becomes firm, forming ripples.

Food on a stick is just so much more fun! Have you made any unusual skewers or kebabs that work well for parties?

Recipe Redux: Chocolate-Cranberry Clusters

Happy 1st Birthday to the Recipe Redux! I’ve really enjoyed being a Recipe Redux-er this past year, and look forward to celebrating many more birthdays with this awesome group of bloggers! Thanks to Regan Jones, Serena Ball and Deanna Segrave-Daly for all of their hard work to make Recipe Redux so great!

To celebrate, we are bringing you “Small Bites to Celebrate a Big Event” with a focus on small bite desserts….YUM! I love it when dessert is involved :)

This month I’m reaching back into my recipe library for one of the simplest recipes on my blog, Chocolate-Cranberry Clusters

I hope you’ll enjoy this small bite dessert and all the others from my fellow Recipe Reduxers!


Recipe Redux: Coconut Ice Cream with Strawberry Puree

This month’s Recipe Redux is frozen desserts….yummmy! I know we could all use some tasty frozen desserts considering the abnormally high temperatures this summer. I love making use of my Kitchen Aid ice cream maker, so I decided to attempt coconut ice cream again (my first attempt was no bueno). I lightened up a coconut ice cream recipe I found on and added a strawberry puree…because you gotta have some fruit with your dessert! The ice cream is creamy and smooth, you’d never know it was a low-fat version! Be sure to check out the other Recipe Redux links for frozen desserts at the bottom of this post. And in the words of Conan O’Brien, “Keep cool my babies!”.

Coconut-Ice Cream with Strawberry Puree

Ice Cream:
1 cup low-fat milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup light coconut milk
3/4 cup coconut flakes
4 egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
Pinch of salt

Strawberry Puree:
1 cup frozen strawberries


  1. Bring milk, cream, coconut milk and coconut flakes to simmer in a saucepan for 10 minutes. Allow to steep for 10 minutes.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk egg yolks, sugar and salt until combined.
  3. Slowly pour hot milk mixture into egg yolks to temper the egg mixture, whisking continuously. Once the two mixtures are combined, pour back into saucepan over low heat. Continue to stir mixture until it starts to thicken and coat the back of a spoon.
  4. Strain mixture into a clean bowl to remove coconut flakes, pressing to release any liquid from coconut flakes.
  5. Chill in refrigerator.
  6. Once completely cooled, churn in a standard ice cream machine.
  7. Blend frozen strawberries in blender and drizzle over coconut ice cream!

Need more frozen dessert ideas? Pop over to these RD blogs!

Lime Bars with Coconut-Pignoli Crust


Zesty, refreshing, tart, and tangy! If you like lime, this recipe is for you!
Once warm weather starts rolling in, I’m ready to taste the refreshing flavor of citrus, especially lime. These lime bars were packed with the zesty, tart lime flavor I was craving. And the crust…WOW. I will definitely be trying this crust recipe with other desserts!

Lime Bars with Coconut-Pignoli Crust

Recipe adapted from: Food Porn Daily Cookbook

Zesty-Lime Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. lime zest

Coconut-Pignoli Crust
1 stick butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
zest from 1 lime
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup pignolis (pine nuts), toasted and roughly chopped
1/2 cup sweetened coconut flakes, roughly chopped
1 cup flour

Lime Filling
3 eggs
1 egg yolk
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp. lime zest
1/3 cup lime juice, freshly squeezed
1 Tbsp. limeade concentrate
1/3 cup flour

Lime zest, for garnishing

Zesty-Lime Whipped Cream
1. Combine heavy whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla into chilled mixing bowl. Whisk on medium speed until cream holds stiff peaks.
2. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Coconut-Pignoli Crust
1. Preheat oven to 375° F.
2. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter until fluffy. Add brown sugar, lime zest and salt and beat until fully incorporated. Add remaining ingredients and beat until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
3. Pour crust mixture into a 9×13-inch pan. Using your hands, pack the shortbread crust mixture into a compact, even layer across the bottom.
4. Bake on a sheet pan for 15 minutes or until crust is golden around the edges. Let cool completely before adding the lime filling.

Lime Filling
1. In a medium mixing bowl, beat whole eggs and egg yolk with a whisk. Add sugar, salt, and lime zest, mixing until fully incorporated. Whisk in lime juice and limeade concentrate. Add flour and mix until smooth and completely incorporated.
2. Pour filling onto cooled crust and bake for 10-15 more minutes, or until filling is firm. Remove from oven and cool completely before proceeding.
3. Pour whipped cream over cooled filling and spread into an even layer. Sprinkle remaining lime zest over whipped cream topping as a garnish. Chill for 2 hours or until ready to serve.

Chocolate-Cranberry Clusters

They’re sweet, slightly salty, and super tasty.

And man do people love them. I made these for a diabetes support group meeting (there’s only 13 grams of carbohydrates per cluster!), then took some to work the following day…and I think I’ll be expected to bring more back soon!

Chocolate-Cranberry Clusters

Recipe adapted from:

12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
1 cup chopped walnuts
3 Tbsp. sunflower seed kernels


  1. Melt chocolate chips in double-boiler over simmering water.
  2. Combine remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Add melted chocolate to the bowl and mix well to coat.
  3. Using a tablespoon, scoop mixture onto a wax paper-lined baking sheet.
  4. Chill clusters in fridge for at least 30 minutes. Serve at room temperature for best flavors.


Cupcake Adventures

I’ve always wanted to enter a recipe contest. So, when my mom mentioned the Scharffen Berger Chocolate Adventure Cupcake contest, I knew it was my time. After recruiting my cupcake-fanatic friends, we set out on our cupcake adventure.

The rules of the contest were as follows:

  • Use a Scharffen Berger product
  • Make use of at least one of the 14 adventure ingredients (we tried adzuki beans, Sumatra coffee beans, buttermilk, molasses, chili peppers, ricotta cheese & stout beer)
  • The recipe must be original

After several hours of baking, we had created 25 cupcake/frosting combinations and a giant mess in the kitchen. But it was so much fun and I think we came up with some pretty adventurous cupcakes!

Mild and Hot Chili Pepper Chocolate Cupcakes

Chai-Chocolate Cupcakes

Molasses Cream Cheese Frosting & Chocolate Stout Frosting

In the end we submitted our favorites (see one recipe below) and now we will just hope for the best! Until then, I think we’re all going to cut back on the cupcakes for awhile….maybe:)

The damage…

Chai-Chocolate Cupcakes with Sumatra Coffee Frosting
Makes 18 cupcakes + 3 cups frosting

3/4 cup Scharffen Berger unsweetened cocoa powder
1.5 cups AP flour
1.5 cups sugar
1.5 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp Saigon cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 large eggs
1/2  cup Tazo Chai Tea Latte concentrate
1/4  cup warm water
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp pure vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners and set aside.
  2. Mix together cocoa powder, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large bowl.
  3. To the dry ingredients, add the remaining ingredients and mix until smooth, about 1 minute, scraping the sides to make sure batter is mixed well.
  4. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full. Bake approximately 20 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.
  5. Let sit for 5 minutes, then move to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Sumatra Coffee Frosting

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened and cut into chunks
2 Tbsp heavy cream
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
3 Tbsp strongly brewed Sumatra coffee (3Tbsp. ground coffee per 1 cup water)
3 Tbsp low-fat ricotta cheese
3 cups confectioner’s sugar


  1. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter, heavy cream, vanilla, and salt with an electric mixer on medium-high speed for 1 minute. Add coffee and ricotta and mix until smooth, 1-2 minutes.
  2. Reduce speed of mixer and gradually add the confectioner’s sugar, beating until smooth, about 4-5- minutes. Once well-mixed, increase mixer speed and beat frosting until well-incorporated, about 5 minutes. (If not mixed long enough, the frosting will appear oily).