Banana Chocolate Blueberry Muffins

Banana Chocolate Blueberry Muffins

Everyone likes blueberry muffins, almost as much as they do banana chocolate muffins. So combining the two seems like a bit of a no brainer. Banana chocolate blueberry muffins you say? It’s may be a mouthful, but a ridiculously delicious one at that. Complete with not just any blueberries, or any chocolate, but rather Marich chocolate covered blueberries, they’ve got just enough fruit in them to qualify as breakfast, and just enough chocolate to make for a satisfying dessert. That’s all the convincing you need right there.

Banana Chocolate Blueberry Muffins
 
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Serves: 6 large muffins
Ingredients
  • 1 cup AP flour
  • ¾ tsp. baking powder
  • ¾ tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 2 very ripe bananas
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup neutral oil (like canola or grapeseed)
  • ¾ cup Marich chocolate covered blueberries, roughly chopped
  • granola, to garnish (optional)
Instructions
  1. Mash up the bananas until there aren't any lumps remaining.
  2. Stir in the brown sugar and egg, mixing until incorporated.
  3. Gently fold in the remaining dry ingredients until there are no longer any bits of flour visible. Do not over-mix or you run the risk of the muffins becoming tough and tunnelled.
  4. Pour the batter into lined muffin cups and sprinkle the tops of granola.
  5. Bake at 350F for about 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of them comes out clean.
  6. Cool and enjoy!

**The chocolate used in this recipe was graciously provided by Marich chocolates, however the opinions are my own.

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Miso Blondies

Miso Blondies

I admit, it has been awhile, but these miso blondies are a recipe worth coming back for. Inspired by the current trend toward more savoury desserts (like the miso éclairs at Libertine Bakehouse here in Montreal) and a recent trip to Japan (which I should probably get around to writing about at SOME point), they are the perfect combination of delicious and fool proof. Even chef said that they were some of the best baking he has tasted in a long time, period. Perhaps he knew there would be hell to pay if his review was anything less than positive, but all of that aside, I encourage you to make them and decide for yourself whether or not they are worth adding to your staple baking rotation.

Other than the miso itself, which adds both necessary salt and a touch of je ne sais quoi to these blondies, the real kicker is the addition of Marich Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Cashews baked into the batter. I’ve baked with Marich chocolates in the past and they are easily the best chocolate-coated confections I’ve ever tried. They don’t skimp on the coating and they also use good chocolate, not the crappy stuff that tastes and feels like wax. In a recipe with such few ingredients, it really pays to use only the best quality products you can get your hands on. Marich chocolates fit the bill.

I can’t really think of any negatives when it comes to these miso blondies. You only need one bowl, they take less than 45 minutes to make, all in, and they’re loaded with sweet salty decadence in every bite. I guess the only downside is that you’ll eventually run out and have to make more… Is that really such a bad thing?

Miso Blondies
 
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Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 8 blondies
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. mugi miso
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup AP flour
  • pinch salt
  • ¼ tsp. baking powder
  • ¾ cup chopped Marich dark chocolate sea salt cashews
Instructions
  1. Whisk together the warm melted butter and miso until incorporated. Whisk in the olive oil. Let stand for about 10 minutes to let all the flavours meld together.
  2. Whisk the egg and brown sugar into the melted butter miso mixture.
  3. Whisk in the flour, salt, and baking powder.
  4. Finally, stir in the chopped chocolate covered cashews.
  5. Pour into a lined or greased loaf pan and bake at 350F for about 25 minutes.
  6. Cool, slice, and enjoy.
Notes
If you make a double batch it is enough to fill a 9X9 pan. You will just have to cook them a bit longer.

**The chocolate used in this recipe was graciously provided by Marich chocolates, however the opinions are my own.

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Chocolate Pudding Cakes

Chocolate Pudding Cakes

Molten chocolate cakes are about as old-school a dessert as they come, but there’s something about them that gets me every time. With Valentine’s fast approaching, if there’s one super-simple chocolate dessert to have in your repertoire when you need to pull out all the stops, this is it.

I decided to call these chocolate “pudding” cakes, rather than “molten” cakes, because they don’t have a clear distinction between a clearly set, cooked-through exterior, and an under-baked, molten centre. This isn’t a bad thing, in fact, it is a very good thing, because the entire cake is the consistency of warm, baked pudding. It’s not quite raw, and not quite cooked, but decadent and satisfying to boot. If you’re in need of comfort food in the dead of winter, make this (or get someone to make it for you and it will taste even better).

Choosing the chocolate you want to use for a dessert that is pretty much entirely comprised of chocolate is always an important step. I opted for Green & Black’s Organic 85% bar, because I love chocolate and when I make a chocolate dessert, I want to taste chocolate. If that sounds too dark for you, their 70% bar is also a perfectly good option.

These cakes come together in a flash, so regardless of whether you are meticulously planning your Valentine’s meal, or are just craving chocolate after a long day, you can get them on the table in 30 minutes or less. In fact, I might just make another batch tonight.

Chocolate Pudding Cakes
 
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Serves: 2 cakes
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • pinch salt
  • 100g (1 bar) 70% or 85% Green & Black's dark chocolate
  • 3 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 3 tbsp. whole wheat flour
Instructions
  1. Heat your oven to 350 F and grease and sugar two ramekins.
  2. Melt the chocolate and coconut together in the microwave or over a double boiler.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, brown sugar, and salt.
  4. Once the chocolate mixture has melted and cooled slightly, gradually mix it into the egg mixture.
  5. Whisk in the flour to combine.
  6. Distribute the batter evenly between the two ramekins.
  7. Bake for 12-13 minutes, or until the cakes appear set around the edges and slightly tacky in the centre.
  8. Allow them to cool slightly before unmolding.
  9. Serve with cranberry sauce, ice cream, or the garnishes of your choice.

*The chocolate for this post was provided by Green & Black’s Organic Chocolate but the opinions and recipe are my own.

Izard Chocolate

Izard Chocolate

San Francisco, Brooklyn, and Portland are all places that come to mind when I start thinking about makers of bean to bar chocolate. Little Rock, Arkansa though? I can’t say it even crossed my radar, until I found Izard Chocolate, that is.

Nathaniel Izard founded Izard Chocolate in 2014. At the time it was the first chocolate company, of any sort, ever, in Little Rock. He’s set the bar high for anyone who wants to follow. His lineup of single origin and flavoured bars are stellar, and I was fortunate enough to get to review a selection of them right before Christmas of all festive times.

I tried bars from the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Belize, as well as a flavoured Icelandic Sea Salt bar.

Forget leaving the best for last, let’s start with it right off the bat. Now that’s not to say that all of the bars weren’t amazing, but the Dominican one was just so unique I fell in love with it immediately. Imagine a blueberry pie-flavoured chocolate bar and that’s what you get with this one. Vanilla bean is one of the ingredients and it does wonders to accentuate the characteristics of the dark berry flavoured Dominican cacao. You wind up with notes of baked goods and actually have to remind yourself that you’re eating dark chocolate. Two thumbs up.

The tasting notes on the Haitian bar describe it as, “tasting like you’re eating a brownie without actually eating a brownie.” It’s a pretty apt descriptor. This bar is pure cocoa and fudge. As it lingers in your mouth, it is nostalgically reminiscent of Tootsie Rolls. Very low acidity and not a much fruitiness with this one. It’s pure chocolate chocolate.

I’ve tried quite a few Maya Mountain cacao bars from Belize and this one is definitely up there. It was super smooth and melted gorgeously on the palate. Notes of raisin and dried cherries came through on the forefront, with a pleasant acidity on the back end. The Icelandic Sea Salt bar tasted quite similar (I neglected to snap a pic because I was too eager to get it into my mouth given my affinity for salted chocolate).

If any lessons were learned from my Izard Chocolate tasting, it’s that you don’t always have to go for the big guns if you’re looking for incredible chocolate. Some of the best bars are being made in places you’d never expect. Be thorough in your searching and you never know what you’ll find.

*As always the opinions here are my own and I thank Izard chocolate for graciously supplying the chocolate for tasting.

Cultura Chocolate

Cultura Chocolate

Cultura Chocolate

Need some stocking stuffers for the chocoholic in your life? Look no further than Cultura Chocolate‘s small single origin bars. At only 23g a pop, they pack a punch. They are small but mighty, some might say.

Cultura is a company out of Denver, Colorado, producing bean-to-bar chocolate with cacao sourced from Belize, Guatemala, and Haiti.

Cultura Chocolate 5

The 75% Belize bar is figgy and rich, with hints of smoky tobacco. It’s definitely best suited for that dark, mysterious friend who you never know what to buy for.

Cultura Chocolate 4

Cultura offers two Haitian bars, one at 70% and the other at 85%. Both have nostalgic notes of malt that evoke memories of childhood chocolate consumption. Such qualities make them ideal for anyone you know who’s a kid at heart (go for the 85% if they’re an especially mature kid with a well developed palette).

Cultura Chocolate 3

Last but not least, the 70% Guatemala is probably the fruitiest of the bunch, with notes of raisin and citrus. For lovers of the acidity of Madagascar cacao, this is definitely a bar to broaden their horizons. It’s for that person in your life who can be a bit sour at times, but is really a sweetie deep down.

Cultura Chocolate 2

Cultura has single origin bars for the entire spectrum of chocolate loving people in your life, but let’s face it, the best gift is getting to taste-test all of them.

*Cultura graciously provided the chocolate for this review but the opinions here are my own.