Showing posts with label semi-sweet chocolate chips. Show all posts
Showing posts with label semi-sweet chocolate chips. Show all posts

Monday, September 28, 2015

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins #MuffinMonday

No nuts, no extraneous ingredients. Just some rich chocolate muffins with semi-sweet chocolate chips. Because my baby is leaving on Sunday and I’m going to miss her.

Everybody loves plain things. Or so says my younger daughter. That doesn’t mean she’s not an adventurous eater or unwilling to try new things. But, on the whole, she’d rather if you didn’t add raisins or nuts to her baked goods, thankyouverymuch.

I’ve been blessed to spend this summer with her, while she waits for a visa that will allow her to live and work in the United Kingdom. We’ve filled out forms, amassed documents and the packet has now come back twice because they want something else that wasn’t asked for initially or want us to send it somewhere other than where we were first told to ship it. I’m sure that many governments have this issue where the right hand doesn’t know what the left is doing, so I am not singling out the British here, but I wish they could all get their acts together!

Meanwhile, I have enjoyed having her at home since her graduation from RISD in June. I've even put her to work, designing our new Muffin Monday badge. And I finally got the needlework she made for my fiftieth birthday framed! Only took me two years.

A quote from the fabulous Julia Child.

She’ll be heading back the States now to look for gainful employment (Send any interesting offers for entry level jobs in textiles her way, please!) while she continues to wait for official word from the UK.

This plain, but delicious muffin is for you, sweet thing. Thanks for your patience, your sense of humor and your good company this summer. I’m going to miss you!

3/4 cup or 180ml milk
2 teaspoons vinegar
1 3/4 cups or 220g flour
1/2 cup or 50g dark cocoa powder (I use Hershey's Special Dark.)
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1/3 cup or 80ml canola or other light oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 cup or 150g semisweet chocolate chips, plus 1/4 cup or 50g for sprinkling on before baking

Preheat the oven to 350°F or 180°C. Prepare your 12-cup muffin pan by greasing it or lining it with paper muffin cups.

Add the two teaspoons of vinegar to the milk in a measuring cup. Stir and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a smaller mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil and vanilla, along with the slightly curdled looking milk/vinegar mixture.

Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, until just combined. There may still be some flour showing and that’s fine.

Fold in the larger pile of chocolate chips.

Use a scoop or large spoon to fill the prepared muffin cups. They are going to be pretty full.

Sprinkle the tops with the remaining chocolate chips.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Mine took only 20 minutes. You do not want to over bake these and dry them out.

Put the muffin pan on a wire rack to cool for about five minutes.

Remove the muffins from the pan and continue to cool on the wire rack. You can eat these warm but be prepared to lick melted chocolate chips off of your fingers.


I’m delighted today to have eight additional delicious muffins to share with you! Many thanks to all my muffin baking friends!

#MuffinMonday is a group of muffin loving bakers who get together once a month to bake muffins. You can see all our of lovely muffins by following our Pinterest board.

Updated links for all of our past events and more information about Muffin Monday, can be found on our home page.


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Uncle Hector's 100 Cookies #CreativeCookieExchange

Chocolate is essential in these cookies, as are eggs, sugar, butter, oil and flour, but the rest of the ingredients can be mixed and matched, adding cereals, nuts, seeds, coconut or whatever you’ve got on hand to mix in.

We were living in Balikpapan when our elder daughter was born almost 25 years ago. I’d gone home to Houston to have her but we returned to Indonesia when she was but three weeks old, her passport photo just a tiny baby face, days old, swaddled in that ubiquitous pink and blue hospital blanket, with her eyes squeezed shut tight against the camera flash. Try as he might, her father couldn’t get a photo with her eyes open, as normally required. The passport lady took pity on him and processed it any way.

I’ve written about Balikpapan before, the small oilfield town on the southeast corner of Borneo without much to recommend it but the good friends we made there. There was no system in place in case of an emergency – no 911 or 999 to call in case of trouble or an accident, so I never felt comfortable leaving our baby with anyone, until she was one year old and we were being transferred away from Balikpapan. The person I finally entrusted her to, to attend our company going-away dinner, was my dear friend Margaret, also known as MJ. She is a teacher by profession and by nature, one of the best women, in every respect, who I am blessed to know. If you've reading along with me for a while, you'll know she is the reason I got involved with supporting the elementary school in Uganda.

One of the most challenging aspects of expat life is parting from dear friends who are moving on or moving away. I left Margaret once in 1992 and now, after almost three years together in Dubai, she’s leaving me, headed back to Canada after 25 years overseas. As she prepared to depart, she gave me the candy apple red Kitchenaid her own dear friend Carol bequeathed to her when she left Dubai last year. There’s no adequate way to thank someone for such a gift but I offered to use the mixer to bake whatever she’d like.

Isn't she a beauty?

She sent me this recipe for Uncle Hector’s 100 Cookies, so called because he said they could be made 100 ways.

Uncle Hector was her father’s brother, a doctor who had moved south from Canada to sunny California. After working all day at a stressful job, he’d come home and cook or bake to relax. These cookies were one of his specialties. When our Creative Cookie Exchange theme of Chips, Chunks or Bits was announced, I knew I had to ask permission to share this recipe. I am delighted to honor Uncle Hector and my friend, Margaret, by sharing them here, with her kind permission.

Ingredients for about three dozen cookies
1 cup or 200g white sugar
1 cup or 200g brown sugar
1 cup or 225g butter
1 cup or 240ml oil
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups or 440g flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup or 90g Grape Nuts cereal (original, not flakes)
1 cup of 100g quick cook oats
2 cups or 400g semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup or 65g freshly grated coconut
1 cup or 60g bran flakes

This is what I actually used because it’s what I had on hand. Margaret says nuts are good too but she avoids them because of allergies. Have a look at the screenshot above for other suggestions.

Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C.  Grease a cookie sheet or line it with baking parchment or a silicone mat.

Cream the sugars and butter together in your mixer.

Add in the egg, oil and vanilla and beat well.

 Now add in the flour, baking powder and salt and mix again.

Here’s where things get interesting. You can use the combination of ingredients I did or mix and match your own. Once again, take a look at the screenshot above for other suggestions. Plus nuts. As Margaret says, the only essential is chocolate, which I doubled. I think Uncle Hector would probably approve.

I added the chocolate, oatmeal and coconut first. And mixed well.

Then I added my two cereals and mixed well again.

Do not taste the dough or you may not bother to bake it. It's delicious as is and, as a bonus, also freezes beautifully.

Scoop your cookie dough out on the prepared pan.

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown on the bottom, in your preheated oven. Remove to a wire rack to cool.


Many thanks to our Creative Cookie Exchange host this month, Tara from Noshing with the Nolands. Check our all the wonderful cookies with Chips, Chunks or Bits!

If you are a blogger and want to join in the fun, contact Laura at thespicedlife AT gmail DOT com and she will get you added to our Facebook group, where we discuss our cookies and share links. Please be patient though, as this month Laura is traveling in Italy and will not be checking email quite as often!

You can also just use us as a great resource for cookie recipes--be sure to check out our Pinterest Board and our monthly posts (you can find all of them at The Spiced Life). You will be able to find them the first Tuesday after the 15th of each month!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Mocha Porter Quinoa Loaf #BreadBakers

A slightly sweet loaf made from ground quinoa, mocha porter beer and brown sugar, with semi-sweet chocolate chips rolled up inside, this bread would be perfect for breakfast or an after school snack. 

It has been my privilege for the last week to be the stay-at-home mom for a dear, darling friend whose wonderfully wisecracking husband underwent surgery to remove a cancerous lung. My presence allowed her to be where she needed to be without worrying unduly about her children. I can’t express the delight it gave me to bake chocolate chip cookies for after school snacks again! As involved as I was in volunteer opportunities and gratifying community service way back when, my favorite time of the day was always when my daughters arrived home from school and told me about their days while munching on a couple of warm cookies, fresh out of the oven. I miss those days.

I am pleased to say that our patient is out of ICU and on the mend and I am back home again but I left behind this high protein loaf, made with quinoa and tasty mocha porter beer, and slightly sweetened with brown sugar. The semi-sweet chocolate chips are optional, but I highly recommend their addition.

Many thanks to Jenni from Pastry Chef Online for her oatmeal porter bread recipe which I adapted to create this loaf and to Mireille from Chef Mireille's East West Realm for hosting this month’s edition of Bread Bakers. And an extra thank you to my Bread Bakers co-creator, Renee from Magnolia Days for creating the initial link list. We have a great bunch of quinoa breads for you today so make sure to scroll to the bottom of my recipe to see the links.

A note about quinoa: From what I have researched, quinoa is very high in protein but for our bodies to access the protein, it has to be either cooked or ground to open the seeds. If the seeds are used whole, they will pass through us just as they went in and we miss out on the benefits of the protein contained therein. The more you know!

For the dough:
1/4 cup or 60ml whole milk, plus 1-2 tablespoons more for brushing on the loaf before baking
3 1/2 cups or 440g flour plus a little extra for rolling the dough out
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/4 cup, packed, or 50g light brown sugar
1 cup or 200g quinoa (I used black quinoa but any sort will do nicely.)
1 cup or 240ml mocha porter (Mine had a strong coffee flavor with a background of slightly sweet stout. Imagine a coffee Guinness.)
1/4 cup or 60ml canola oil plus a little extra for greasing the bowl and bread pan
1/2 teaspoon salt
7/8 cup or 145g (or more - you could put a whole cup but that's all I had) semi-sweet chocolate chips

Warm your milk in a microwave or on the stovetop until it is quite warm to the touch but you can still hold your finger in it for several seconds comfortably. For those who like to use a thermometer, you are looking for between 125-130°F or 51-55°C.

Put one cup or a little less than a third of the flour into the bowl of your stand mixer, along with the sugar, and spoon the yeast into the middle.

Pour in the warm milk, right on the yeast. Give the bowl a little swish to mix in some of the flour and sugar. Allow to rest for about five minutes. The milk should activate the yeast and become frothy. If it doesn’t, start over with fresh yeast.

Starting to bubble up. It's a good thing.

While the yeast is proving, grind your quinoa using a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder, if you have one.

Add the rest of the flour to the yeast bowl, along with the ground quinoa, salt and oil then pour in the porter. The extra four ounces are for the baker.

Mix well with your bread hook and keep mixing until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Scrape the dough off of the bottom of the bowl and flip it over. Continue mixing with the bread hook for another 3-5 minutes, scraping the bowl occasionally and flipping the dough over.

Scrape the dough into a ball in the bottom of your bowl and drizzle in a little oil around the ball. Turn the ball in the oil to coat lightly.  Cover with a towel and put in a warm place for the first rise of about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, grease your standard loaf pan with some oil.

Punch the dough down and turn it out onto a clean, lightly floured surface. Use your hands to pat it into a small rectangle. Sprinkle on the chocolate chips.

Roll the dough up lengthwise and put it seam-side down into the prepared loaf pan.

Cover very loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm place for about half an hour. When the half hour is almost up, preheat your oven to 400°F or 200°C.

When you are ready to bake, remove the plastic and brush the loaf lightly with the milk.

Put the loaf in the oven and immediately turn the temperature down to 350°F or 180°C.

Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Cover with foil if it is browning too quickly but isn’t cooked inside. Once again, if you are a thermometer using type, and I highly recommend you become one, you are looking for an internal temperature between 195-200°F or 90-93°C for doneness.

Allow the loaf to cool for a few minutes in the pan and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.


Have you ever baked with quinoa? If not, we hope you will give it a try!

BreadBakers#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.

If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send an email with your blog URL to

Monday, September 23, 2013

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Muffins for #MuffinMonday

What makes an American American?  Is it the color of your passport, the way you were raised or to be a true American do you have to grow up in the United States?  Can an immigrant arriving in the US become as American as someone who grew up there?  Or can an American living overseas lose their essential American-ness?   When you are raising third-culture kids,  these are the questions you ask yourself.  You want to take advantage of learning about foreign cultures and countries and expand your worldview – and we certainly did that – but you also want your child to have a feeling of belonging somewhere.  From the very minute our first daughter was born, we knew that in all likelihood, she would go off to university in the United States.  After all, we were living in a place where English was not even spoken.   So we started to save for out-of-state tuition – way out of state.   But I began to prepare her in other ways.  I didn’t want her, or her sister when she came along, to be a complete outsider to US customs and culture.  I wanted them to know what a peanut butter and jelly sandwich was so I hauled jars of Jif in my suitcase, along with Nestle Quik and Aunt Jemima syrup, and chocolate chips and marshmallows and many other “essentials” of an American childhood.   Barney and Sesame Street videos, every Disney movie every made, cassette tapes of Raffi’s wonderfully silly songs and Tom Chapin singing This Pretty Planet.

 I loved that one – This whole planet is our home, a holy place. 

Our ever-increasing home library of children’s books introduced them to my favorite classics and we made some new favorites together.  When they got old enough, I organized Trick-or-Treat in our little Brazilian neighborhood, culminating in a party with apple-bobbing and cupcakes and sweet punch at our decorated house.  I’ve been known to bring frozen turkey and yams and Karo and pecans on an airplane, to make sure Thanksgiving was right.  We had a potted Norfolk pine as a Christmas tree in a couple of different places, because that was as close as I could get to a real tree, and we hung our stockings from a bookcase (Indonesia) or the staircase (Brazil) or the radiator (Paris) or the piano (KL and Singapore.)  And when it came time for the rite of passage called drivers’ ed, I made sure they were able to take the classes and get their licenses during the summers in the States.  Because I didn’t want them to be the only ones who couldn’t drive when they went off to college.

They are both living in the US now and while I know they feel “outsider” sometimes, because that can’t be helped, it is part and parcel of being a third culture kid.  Despite my best efforts, I know that other third culture kids and expats will always be their true tribe, but I like to think that I eased the transition at least a little bit by passing on some of the traditions I grew up with.  Like baking with peanut butter and chocolate chips.

What traditions are you passing on to your children?  Please leave me a comment.  I’d love to hear.

2 cups or 250g flour
1/4 cup or 60g sugar
1/4 cup or 50g dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2/3 cup or 200g creamy peanut butter
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 eggs
1 cup or 240ml milk
1/2 cup or 75g roasted peanuts
1/2 cup or 100g semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C and prepare your muffin pan by greasing it or lining it paper muffin cups.

Chop your peanuts roughly and mix them together with your semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Separate about one quarter of the mixture to sprinkle on the muffins before baking.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, two sugars and baking powder.  Make sure to break up the brown sugar.

In another bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, butter, eggs and milk.

Pour your wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and fold them together until just mixed.

Fold in the bigger pile of chopped peanuts and chocolate chips.

Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups.

Top each muffin cup with a sprinkle of nuts and chips.

Bake in the preheated oven about 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Cool on a rack for a few minutes and then remove the muffins from the pan to cool completely.


Muffin Monday is an initiative by Baker Street, a culinary journey of sharing a wickedly delicious muffin recipe every week. Drop her a quick line to join her journey to make the world smile and beat glum Monday mornings week after week.

Plus learn all you ever need to know about muffins at Muffin 101.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Just Chocolate Chip Muffins for #MuffinMonday

Pay no attention to the lady behind the curtain grating zucchini!  She is most definitely not putting it in these delicious chocolate chip muffins.

Okay, I get it.  Children, for the most part, don’t like zucchini.  I didn’t either, way back when.  But the truth is, if you grate the stuff small enough and don’t divulge that it has been added, the muffins get eaten relatively quickly and with great enjoyment.  As you are probably guessing, this week’s Muffin Monday ingredient is zucchini, which lends itself to both savory and sweet batters.  Since I was bringing this up to Lake Livingston to share with my sister and her family of three hungry boys, I decided to go sweet and just not mention the zucchini at all.  Worked like a charm!

1 medium zucchini or courgette
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups or 190g flour
1/2 cup or 115g white sugar
1/2 cup or 100g brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 eggs
1/3 cup or 80ml milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup or 80ml canola oil
1/2 cup or 100g semi-sweet chocolate chips plus another handful to poke on top as camouflage before baking, if desired.

Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C and prepare your 12-cup muffin tin by greasing it or lining it with muffin papers.

Grate your zucchini with the small holes of your grater and spread it around in a colander to drain.  Sprinkle with the 1/2 teaspoon of salt.

In a large mixing bowl, combine your flour, sugars, cinnamon and baking powder.

In another smaller bowl, whisk together your eggs, milk, vanilla and oil.

Use the back of a spoon or rubber spatula to squeeze moisture out of the grated zucchini.   Add it to the wet ingredient bowl and whisk.

Pour your wet mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until they are just combined.  There should be some dry flour still showing.

Fold in the chocolate chips.

Divide the batter evenly between the muffin cups.

Add a few more chocolate chips to the top, if desired.  Remember, we are trying to sell these as just chocolate chip muffins.

Bake for about 20 minutes or until the muffins are golden and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes.

Remove the muffins from the pan and cool further on a wire rack.


A side note to Communicating Across Boundaries readers:  Welcome, welcome!  I was thrilled when Marilyn asked if she could share my Muffin Monday posts with you all.  You can find her blog in my Favorites list (up there in the left column) because, as you know, she is a rare gem and a gifted writer.  I am honored by her link.   

Muffin Monday is an initiative by Baker Street, a culinary journey of sharing a wickedly delicious muffin recipe every week. Drop her a quick line to join her journey to make the world smile and beat glum Monday mornings week after week.

Plus learn all you ever need to know about muffins at Muffin 101.