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  • 4 Chocolate Recipes To Celebrate Mom

    4 Chocolate Recipes To Celebrate Mom

    ** This post contains affiliate links and any purchases help continue my coffee enjoyment.

    Mother’s Day 2020 will be one for the memory books and more than ever your chocolate loving Mom needs some extra celebration. With work, homeschooling and balancing family life, Moms out there would love to enjoy a chocolate treat made by you and her kitchen helper(s). Bonus points for making the recipes that contain espresso and coffee beans. This is why I put together my 4 Chocolate Recipes to Celebrate Mom. You will find easy to more challenging recipes to fit your culinary experience and what she would love the enjoy the most.

    If you are a novice when it comes to baking in the kitchen with kids, I have a few tips to set you up for success. Check them out here and keep in mind the goal to your baking adventure. Don’t give up!

    If you are new to making homemade desserts then the Chocolate Coffee Bark is the recipe for you. It couldn’t be easier, just melt the chocolate, add in your espresso beans and have it set in the refrigerator. If you have mastered making cookies, then the Salted Caramel Dark Chocolate Cookies recipe will be one of your best creations. The surprise of the caramel inside the cookie will have your “Mom” wondering how you managed to make them.

    The Flourless Chocolate Cake and the Dark Chocolate Espresso Madeleine recipes require pans that you may or may not have, so if you are taking on these two recipes have the pans secured first. The Flourless Chocolate Cake utilizes a 9″ Springform Pan and a Madeleine Pan is needed for the Madeleine Cookies.

    Chocolate Coffee Bark

    Salted Caramel Dark Chocolate Cookies

    Dark Chocolate Espresso Madeleine

    Dark Chocolate Espresso Madeleine Cookies

    Flourless Chocolate Cake with Espresso

  • Small Batch Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins

    Small Batch Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins

    I made these muffins last night and know you will love these too. If you are in search of a muffin to feed your family that isn’t overly sugary (no refined sugar, uses honey) and provides them with a healthy snack, this is for you. During these times of quarantine, I feel like I’m eating more snacks throughout the day than normal so these Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins were a welcomed change.

    This Small Batch Blueberry Oatmeal Muffin recipe is based on Sally’s Baking Addition recipe. I cut her recipe in half, but if you are in need of 12 muffins check out the link. She makes so many amazing recipes so her site is worth looking over. Since we are just a family of three, the thought of having 12 muffins in the house seemed a bit overwhelming and I try to portion out my baked goods.

    The recipe is an easy two bowl process and your kitchen helper(s) will be happy to pour all the ingredients into the two bowls and mix together. I always prepare the ingredients in kid-friendly container first, so there is a reduction of mess and stress. The biggest recipe tip from Sally was SO right, soak the oats in the milk for 20 minutes. This will be your first step and once you complete the remaining steps of the recipe, you will be ready to incorporate the oats/milk mixture. Additionally, I always have an egg substitute container in the refrigerator to supplement my eggs I have for breakfast, so I used 1/8 cup of the egg substitute in this recipe and it worked great.

  • A How-To Guide For Making Your Family Cookbook + Video

    A How-To Guide For Making Your Family Cookbook + Video

    (** This post contains an Affiliate link any compensation will go to support my next cup of coffee)

    There is no question that right now in April 2020 people, including myself, are home baking and cooking more with our families. For me baking is a source of comfort during these uncertain times. I’ve made childhood favorites, family staples and even taken a few items off my baking bucket list. As a photographer I document almost everything. Our neighborhood walks, new milestones, homeschooling work and of course what we make in the kitchen. It’s time to start documenting this unprecedented time in history and create the family cookbook you always wanted to make.

    I have made cookbooks and photo books as personal projects for over 10 years. I wanted to share my creative process with you to minimize the stress around tackling such a project, which is why I created the below 5 Steps to Success. These steps can be applied to any online book service you prefer and will make the project a success. To help you further I have created the below video of me making a family cookbook and outlined my steps for success once you are in the building phase.

    The biggest obstacle in making a cookbook is time, which hopefully you have a little more of these days. View my list of steps as their own mini project. By doing so, the process of actually laying out the book online will be faster. These steps will provide you with a framework of what your cookbook will ultimately be. Have all the images ready to go in a central file on your desktop and recipes in a word document. I have found that books can take around 2 weeks to arrive at your home after ordering, so if you have a deadline for completion, you can factor in that timing. If not, and this is your first book, I would take a few days on each step, especially if you plan on take photos of old family film images and/or you have a new recipe you haven’t made yet and need to take images of.

    Lastly, I love to include a collage of family images to mark the time of making the cookbook and some vintage images to highlight those special people in your life. You will see how I include these collages in the video.

    Please let me know if you have additional questions and enjoy this family treasure.

    35% Off Photo Books AND Free Shipping with code: APRILBK35

  • How To Make Your First Sourdough Bread + Video & Worksheet

    How To Make Your First Sourdough Bread + Video & Worksheet

    If you have ever wanted to bake bread but fear that it’s too difficult or you don’t have enough time, I’m here to tell you that after following the below steps in this post you will feel more confident in making your first sourdough bread. Let’s just get one thing out of the way first, yes there are many steps along the way to cutting into your first loaf of bread, but the amount of time per step is minimal, some are as quick as 15 seconds. Yes, 15 seconds! If you have the desire, determination and time you will succeed in baking your first sourdough bread. If you are like me and always like additional resources, our inspiration for making Sourdough Bread came from watching Joshua Weissman make his. Here is the link, he has some amazing recipes and videos: Joshua Weissman’s Sourdough Bread

    Last week I posted Sourdough Starter Recipe + Worksheet and if you made your own, or even purchased a starter, you have completed the first critical step. Now it’s time to make the dough.

    Tips For Baking Bread With Kids

    Since this recipe will have you weigh the ingredients, your older kitchen helpers (6yrs+) will enjoy spooning the different flours and salt into the bowls and watching the scale reach the target amount. If you are working with a little kitchen helper (ages 3-5) you may want to use oversize bowls and spoons, that will make it easier for them to scoop and make their target.

    Bread Baking Equipment

    There are a few items that you will need to begin your bread baking adventure. I have been using these products and have had great success. They are all not necessary, like the proofing box, but given our kitchen environment (not ideal temperature) we needed to make sure we had the exact proofing space. We, my husband and I, started our bread baking using a dutch oven and used parchment to lower the loaves into the pots. We have since transitioned to a Lodge Combo Cooker and haven’t looked back. For us, it was easier to turn out the dough on the flat cast iron and then place the lid on top. The design also allows the bread to steam inside causing some great oven spring. Here are the items I recommend. These are affiliate links so any purchases will support my coffee habit, thank you.

    Large Scale
    Banneton Proofing Baskets (2) Bench Scraper and Lame Package
    Glass Jar
    Proofing Box
    Combo Cooker

    Flours needed for this Sourdough Bread Recipe.

    Time to Start Baking Your First Sourdough Bread!

    To make this process as organized and as stress free as possible, I have created this: My Sourdough Bread Schedule (See below for your free download) . Use this sheet as your steps to follow along to time out proofing and folding your bread. On the morning of your bake, preheat your oven to 500°. You will bake the bread, lid on, for 20 minutes. You will then reduce the temperature to 450° and remove the lid and bake for an additional 20-30 minutes or until a mid-deep brown color (I like to go for an internal loaf temperature of around 208 degrees). I have also created a video to watch the process in action.

    Grab Your Free Check Off Sheet and Start Baking!
  • Easy 7 Day Sourdough Starter Recipe + Worksheet

    Easy 7 Day Sourdough Starter Recipe + Worksheet

    Ready, on your mark, get set, GO! If you love starting your morning off with a perfect slice of homemade sourdough toast, then it’s time to get your starter going. Search for or purchase a glass jar that is around 34oz in size. You will also need All-purpose or Rye (your preference) flour and water. That’s it. Oh yeah, how do you make a starter anyways?

    I have created the below Sourdough Planner worksheet to keep you on track and organized. This specific sourdough is a 7 day 100% hydration starter. Once you have this one mastered you can start researching different types of hydration starters and when to use them in your baking.

    There are a few key tips when jumping into the world of sourdough starters.

    1. On Day 1 when you are weighing your glass jar. Weigh the jar without the lid on. If you didn’t, it would add to the overall weigh and throw off your percentages when adding flour and water.
    2. Keep your starter on the counter of the kitchen or another warm place in your home
    3. One you have used your sourdough starter for your first sourdough you can keep the remaining starter in your refrigerator (just the metal disc, do not screw the lid down). When you want to revive the starter you remove it from the refrigerator two days before using it and start the feeding process again. (refer to day 6 on the planner worksheet to know how much flour and water to add)
    Pro Tip: Weigh your jar without the lid.
    You will keep the starter with a loose lid (or just metal disc on) to allow for gasses to escape.
    Shown here is a 34oz glass jar
  • Easy Patriotic Sugar Cookies

    Easy Patriotic Sugar Cookies

    These cookies not only represent the American flag colors but they also marks the first school bake sale item for my kitchen helper and I. Now that he is in school full-time we can participate in fun activities such as this. With a packed schedule I knew I wanted to make something Red, White and Blue but also did not have time to have hours of chilling dough in the fridge. I decided to utilized my easy no-chill sugar cookie recipe and transform the dough into different colors with just a few drops of food coloring.

    The one bowl recipe is simple to mix up, just have the butter softened before starting. I did not have a star cookie cutter, nor time to run out and buy one, so I cut out a star template and cut the designs. If you do have a star cookie cutter I would recommend using it as it will save you time and ensure cleaner edges. Now for the color. Once the dough is made I transferred it onto wax paper and formed a square shape. That way I could divided it into three equal parts. I placed one section back into the bowl and added 3 drops of food coloring, mixed and then made any necessary adjustments to the color. I did the same for the other portion of dough.

    This recipe does not need to be chilled, so once you have your desired colored sugar cookie dough ready, start rolling and cutting out your stars. After baking for 7-8 minutes you can cool and then package into the cutest patriotic bake sale item.

    Happy Voting Day!

    sugar cookies
    Easy Patriotic Sugar Cookies
    Patriotic Sugar Cookies
  • Molasses Halloween Cookies

    Molasses Halloween Cookies

    A Lunchbox Treat

    Halloween is such a fun holiday for kids. My kitchen helper is especially into all the things Halloween this year, so I wanted to make a fun, fast and easy cookie together. This recipe for Molasses Halloween Cookies is actually adapted from my Homemade Animal Crackers recipe. Not only did we create some fun one-eyed monsters, but we utilized our letter cookie cutters to make different sayings.

    These cookies are easy to make with a food processor and your kitchen helper will love seeing all the ingredient spin around to form the dough. No refrigeration is needed, just roll out the dough and start cutting out your spooky cookies. Bake for only 8-10 minutes and you have an egg-free, nut-free cookie treat for your kids lunchbox or after school activities.

    Oh and yes, my kitchen helper is sporting a light up candy corn necklace we spotted at our local craft store. Here’s to a fun Halloween season to you and your family.

  • Small Batch Boston Creme Pie Cupcakes

    Small Batch Boston Creme Pie Cupcakes

    A Gift of Gratitude

    Over the summer I started a new tradition with my 6 year old kitchen helper, a Gratitude Journal. I simply used a clipboard and sheets of printer paper to write down what we were grateful for each day. We would discuss what we did and if there were any moments of gratitude no matter how big or small. It was this daily routine that sparked the idea of making these Small Batch Boston Creme Pie Cupcakes for a dear friend to say Thank You.

    I wanted to express my gratitude to my friend Meghan for helping me achieve a professional photography goal I set for myself. I knew she loved Boston Creme Pie anything, so why not bake a small batch of Boston Creme Pie Cupcakes that she could share with her family. I love the challenge making a custard and ganache for a cupcake and based on Meghan’s feedback, they are worth making for any Boston Creme Pie enthusiast.

    As seen in the below images, your kitchen helper will love to be involved, pouring and mixing all the ingredients. Of course be prepared to bake another treat once they find out these delectable cupcakes are heading to another family’s kitchen.

    Recipe Source: Chocolate Moosey

  • Baking With Kids: Mini Chocolate Cake With Vanilla Frosting

    Baking With Kids: Mini Chocolate Cake With Vanilla Frosting

    Just in time for your next chocolate craving or a small celebratory gathering, this mini chocolate cake with vanilla frosting will not disappoint. Last week my kitchen helper and I traveled to California to visit family. My 3 year old nephew was so excited that we were going to bake a cake. (His request) I knew he was a fan of chocolate cake so this recipe by Dessert For Two was a perfect match. Our version had vanilla frosting and rainbow nonpareils, which was definitely kid approved. There was a total of 4 of us (2 adults and 2 kids), so a 6″ cake was a great size and we wouldn’t have a lot of leftovers.

    Baking with kids tips:

    • Having a 6″ cake pan will be a great addition to your bakeware, especially if your family is small in number. I purchased this pan at a local restaurant supply company which is a great resource for restaurant quality equipment at lower commercial prices.
    • My first step when baking with kids is to pre-measure the ingredients in kid safe containers.
    • Not only do the containers needs to be unbreakable, but having a handle is ideal. As you can see in the photos below, the 3 year old can easily grip the plastic measuring cup and pour out the ingredients.
    • Now for your baking tools. The larger the bowl, the larger the target for you little kitchen helper. A small size whisk and silicone spatulas are also kid approved and best when baking. Have all your tools out and ready before you start working with the kids. You don’t want to be running back into the kitchen or looking through a drawer and not supervising the baking session.
    • Everything, even the pan, was prepped before I called the kids over to the large dining room table. A large island or kitchen table is a great amount of space for kids when they are baking or cooking.

    This cake is easy enough for even your beginner baker at home. No mixer necessary, just two bowls, cake pan and a spoon. Have fun with frostings and toppings. Kids, at any age, will be so proud of what they created. Enjoy this sweet treat and making memories in the kitchen.

    Does your kitchen helper have a favorite sweet treat to make with you? Leave a comment below

    Recipe Source: Dessert For Two

  • Mini Vanilla Whoopie Pies

    Mini Vanilla Whoopie Pies

    A Pot of Gold for St. Patrick’s Day

    Whoopie Pies are a classic New England treat with origins in Maine and some would also argue Pennsylvania Amish. Traditionally they are a chocolate cake with a marshmallow based filling and are a terrific treat to have any time of the year. We had fun making our own version of chocolate mini whoopie pies and transformed them into edible spiders for Halloween. Check out that post here: Mini Chocolate Whoopie Pies Post. With St. Patrick’s Day a few weeks away I wanted to do a twist on the traditional whoopie pie and make mini vanilla whoopie pies and how fun to make them the gold found at the end of the rainbow.

    My kitchen helper’s school had a scheduled half day and we planned to have a friend visit for the afternoon, it was a perfect reason to make these mini vanilla whoopie pies. These two energetic 5 year olds always request vanilla cupcakes with sprinkles, so I modified my small batch vanilla cupcake recipe to create these whoopie pies. I also made a vanilla frosting for the center, so in a way it was a deconstructed cupcake, which was a huge success.

    Two Tips For Baking With Kids (5+)

    • Make the cake batter ahead of time. I made the batter before picking them up for school. I also baked 12 cake rounds so I could show them an example of what we were making since this was something new. They would make the remaining cake rounds with the refrigerated batter.
    • Pre-Measure all the ingredients. This is my number one tip for baking with kids as young as 2. I knew my two helpers would be excited to bake but also equally excited to run around and play, so this session had to be fast. I pre-measured ingredients for the filling so all they had to do was pour and mix.
    Mini Vanilla Whoopie Pies
    Mini Vanilla Whoopie Pies
    Mini Vanilla Whoopie Pies
    Mini Vanilla Whoopie Pies