Sunday, February 11, 2018

Homemade Chocolate Pudding

Homemade Chocolate Pudding: Sweet, simple, and satisfying

I've been on a chocolate pudding kick the last couple of weeks. I modified a chocolate cream pie filling recipe, and since this is the third time in two weeks I've made this pudding, I figured it was time to commit to putting it in a blog post here. 

This pudding probably tastes similar to what you could buy at the store in those little plastic cups, or what you could make with Jell-O pudding powder, but this feels healthier because I know and can pronounce every ingredient I put into it.

It's just a simple, relatively easy to prepare sweet treat that makes me happy. Try it and see if it makes you happy too.

Homemade Chocolate Pudding

  • 1/6 cup (about 2 3/4 tablespoons) white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups milk (2% is best, I think)
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup Dark Chocolate Chips (I like Nestle's Dark Chocolate Chips)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whipped cream, optional
  • Place 6 glass cups on a plate or small tray. (Each serving will be a little less than half a cup, so pick your size accordingly. I used my Pampered Chef 1-Cup Prep Bowls)
  • Place sugar, cornstarch, and salt into a medium size heavy bottomed saucepan.
  • Whisk together the milk and the egg yolks, and then whisk the liquid into the saucepan with the dry ingredients.
  • Turn the heat to medium, and cook until liquid has thickened, stirring constantly with the whisk. It will take about 3-5 minutes to thicken to a gravy-like consistency. 
  • Turn off the heat, add the chocolate chips and unsalted butter. Whisk to melt chips and butter, and add the vanilla. Continue whisking until smooth.
  • Use a silicone spatula to stir/scrape the corners to make sure everything is incorporated.
  • Carefully pour about a scant half cup of pudding into each dish.
  • Cover each dish with a bit of plastic wrap, making sure the plastic wrap is in direct contact with the pudding.
  • Place in refrigerator until completely chilled (at least two hours).
  • Top with whipped cream, if desired.
Makes 6 servings
Recipe is easily doubled 

Just poured--a little messy
Ready to go into the fridge

Gluten Free Cinnamon Muffins

Gluten Free Almond Flour Muffin

This is a complete experiment, as I am still attempting to go mostly gluten free and still bake delicious things. 

As I was looking for muffin recipes using almond flour. I really just wanted a rich, sweet muffin without the gluten, but all I could find were paleo recipes that called for stevia, honey, and almond milk. I don't want a healthy muffin--I want a delicious gluten free muffin.

So, I found a basic recipe on, and made some modifications.

I have no idea if you can sub any kind of gf flour (I used Better Batter Gluten Free All Purpose Flour). I suppose you could use all almond flour instead of using the 1/4 cup gluten free flour. I was just afraid of making something like this with only almond flour, as some of the photos I saw on Pinterest of almond flour muffins looked kind of dense and small.

So, did I end up with a delicious gluten free muffin? Well, yes. Yes, I did. They are just sweet enough for me--the crumb topping makes up for the 1/4 sugar I omitted from the batter. These muffins are very moist and crumbly when warm, and you'd never know they're made with mostly almond flour. 

Alright. There you go, a delicious, not-so-healthy almond flour gluten free muffin. Enjoy.

Gluten Free Cinnamon Muffins
    adapted from

  • 1 1/4 cups almond flour/meal
  • 1/4 cup gluten free all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar (original recipe calls for 3/4 cup)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg, room temperature 
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup gluten free all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon almond flour
  • 3 tablespoons butter, cold and cubed
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Line or grease about 8 muffin cups (the original recipe says it makes 6 muffins; reviews say it makes 12; I got 8).
  • In a large bowl, combine the 1 1/4 cup almond flour, 1/4 cup gluten free flour, 1/2 cup sugar, salt, baking powder, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon.
  • Whisk together the buttermilk, vegetable oil, egg, and vanilla.
  • Combine the wet with the dry ingredients and spoon or otherwise distribute batter into the muffin cups.
  • With your fingers, mix the 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup gluten free flour, 1 tablespoon almond flour, butter, and 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon in a small bowl until butter is evenly distributed and you have crumbles.
  • Place as much of the crumble mixture over each muffin as you can (I had abut 2 tablespoons left over).
  • Bake muffins at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 18-20 minutes*.

Makes about 8 regular size muffins

*I may try baking them longer at a lower temperature, or maybe in a darker pan, as come of them were a little underdone in the middle. I thought they tasted fine, but my husband did not care for the underbaked center. They were just a little moist and dense toward the middle, but they were cooked all the way through.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Dark Chocolate Almond & Toffee Clusters

Dark Chocolate Almond & Toffee Cluster

In August I went back to work full time since becoming a mom seventeen years ago. I’d worked part time for about 12 years, but full time teaching requires a LOT more time than part-time. Makes sense.

At any rate, I’ve not had the time, energy, or inclination to blog very much lately. I mostly blog just to keep the recipes I do make/write in a location where I can access them easily. The fact that other people still use my blog and that I still make about $30 a month via AdSense is just icing on the cake.

So today was my first snow day as a full time teacher, and I have to say, it’s been awesome. I woke up at my usual 5:00 AM and went through my morning routine, pretty much expecting a snow day to be called—which it was.

I went back to bed and slept a couple more hours, made pancakes for breakfast, focaccia for future lunches, worked on some actual work on the computer, and made these chocolate almond clusters.

Yes, it’s been a great day.

After I posted a pic of these on Instagram, a friend said she’d like to see the recipe on my blog. I don't know if she realized how involved I'd make the recipe...

Well, it’s a throw-together kind of recipe, and I’m the crazy person who has homemade toffee and the other ingredients on-hand, so what you see below may not be super accurate.

But considering the fact that the three ingredients are chocolate, almonds, and toffee, whatever you end up with will likely be delicious no matter what.

If you prefer milk chocolate to dark, you can use that. Just be aware that if you’ve never tempered chocolate before, milk chocolate is a little fussier than dark.

So here you go, Mindy. I know you're going to get going on making these immediately.

Dark Chocolate Almond & Toffee Clusters


  • 1 bag (8.87 ounces) Dove Dark Chocolate Promises, unwrapped
  • 1 ½ cups roasted unsalted almonds
  • 1/3 cup toffee bits (packaged or homemade—see *recipe below)


  • Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper and set aside.
  • Put a medium pot half filled with water over a medium flame, and bring the water to a simmer.
  • Place all but four of the Dove Dark Chocolate Promises in a medium size metal or glass bowl.
  • Place the bowl containing the chocolate on top of the simmering water.
  • When the chocolate appears about 2/3 melted, remove from the heat and stir with a silicone spatula. Keep stirring until the chocolate is completely melted. If, after 3-4 minutes of stirring, the remaining solid chocolate is still in pretty large chunks, return the bowl to the simmering water and stir over the heat for another 30 seconds to 1 minute. Turn the heat off, but leave the pot of water there. You may need it later.
  • Remove and continue stirring.
  • This is where it gets a little complicated: If the chocolate melted quickly as you stirred it off the heat, and the bowl feels warm, add 3 pieces of the reserved chocolate. If the chocolate melted slowly off the heat, only add 1-2 pieces of the reserved chocolate.
  • The idea is to stir until the added chocolate stops melting into the rest of the chocolate. This is how chocolate gets into temper and will have that nice shiny exterior after it solidifies. Plus, it won’t melt immediately when you touch it, and it will have more of a snap when you bite into it. This is what you want.
  • When chocolate is in temper, and the added chocolate is still a chunk, remove the chunk to the prepared parchment/wax paper. You can eat it later.
  • Add the almonds and toffee; stir with silicone spatula to incorporate.
  • Using a small spoon, scoop out 2-3 almonds at a time. Use the silicone spatula or another spoon to scrape the chocolate and almonds off onto the parchment/wax paper. Repeat until all of the mixture has been used.
  • If you’ve tempered your chocolate correctly, about halfway through the scooping and dropping process, the chocolate in the bowl will begin to solidify. Return the bowl to the pot with the hot water and stir until the chocolate is liquefied enough for you to continue scooping and dropping. Repeat as needed if chocolate firms up in the bowl.
  • Allow clusters to set before eating. If the chocolate has been tempered well, this should only take about 10-20 minutes.

Makes about 2 ½ cups almond clusters

*English Toffee Bits


  • 1/4 cup packed C & H Light Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 cup C & H White Sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter Directions
1. Line a square Pyrex pan (8X8) with parchment paper or non-stick foil.
2. In a heavy saucepan heat butter and sugar to boiling over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil over medium heat until it reaches 300° on a candy thermometer. Pour into prepared pan and evenly spread with a silicone (not rubber) spatula. Allow to cool completely.
3. Break toffee up into big chunks with your hands and then on a clean cutting board, chop into smaller bits. Be sure to taste some to see if it's good.
Makes about 1 1/2 cups of toffee bits. Use the extra to make some toffee chocolate chip cookies or use as an ice cream topping. They'll keep in a zip top bag for a few weeks as long as you keep them in a cool, dry place.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Gluten Free Coconut Pecan and Toffee Cookies

Gluten Free Coconut Pecan and Toffee Cookie

Here's another favorite recipe of mine that I've turned gluten free. I really just took my Coconutty Cookie recipe ans swapped out the King Arthur flour for Better Batter GF flour. And I just stuck with pecans instead of my three-nut mixture.
The main difference I've noticed so far is that these cookies baked up lighter and fluffier than the other. That's probably because I baked them a little longer than I should have. 
I'll be sure to slightly underbake the next sheet to go into the oven.
For now, these are still great: sweet, nutty, and satisfying. You'd really never know they were gluten free.

Gluten Free Coconut Pecan and Toffee Cookies

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup margarine
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar (light or dark)
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 1/4 cups Better Batter Gluten Free All Purpose Flour
  • 2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 cup chopped pecans
  • 3/4 cup toffee bits (use Heath Toffee bits or recipe below)
1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2.  Cream butter, shortening and sugars.  Beat in baking soda and salt.  Beat in vanilla extract and eggs.  
3.  Mix in flour just until blended.  Then stir in coconut, nuts and toffee bits.
4.  Scoop by tablespoons onto parchment-lined baking sheets, leaving two inches between cookies.  (If you want a flatter cookie, like the one in the bottom pic, flatten the tops of the dough balls so you have a dough disk that's about a half-inch thick.)
5.  Bake at 350 for 10-11 minutes, or until cookies are puffed and start to brown around the edges.
6.  Allow to cool on pan for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes about 3-4 dozen cookies

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Chex Mix--Classic Gluten Free

Gluten Free Classic Chex Mix
This is the third time I've made this mix in the last three weeks. 
There's really not that much to tell, except that it's an easy, delicious, versatile, and gluten free version of a classic.
The main reason I'm blogging about it is because I want to have the recipe handy for myself since I seem to be currently addicted to it.

Gluten Free Classic Chex Mix
     --adapted from and

  • 4 1/2 cups Rice Chex
  • 4 1/2 cups Corn Chex
  • 2 cups gluten free pretzels (I like Glutino GF Pretzel Twists)
  • 4 tablespoons margarine
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (I used canola)
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons seasoned salt 
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder (not garlic salt)
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder (not onion salt)
  • Preheat oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Measure Rice Chex, Corn Chex, and gluten free pretzels into a large roasting pan and gently mix.
  • Place margarine in a medium sized microwave safe bowl, cover, and microwave on high for about 20-35 seconds, or until margarine is melted.
  • Add vegetable oil, Worcestershire sauce, seasoned salt, garlic powder, and onion powder to the melted margarine and stir.
  • Drizzle the seasoned liquid all over the Chex and pretzels, stirring the mix every once in a while.
  • When all of the liquid has been drizzled, stir the mix completely.
  • Bake the mix for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes. 
  • Allow mix to cool completely before placing in an airtight container or zip top bag.
  • You can also enjoy it warm.
Makes about 11 cups of Chex mix

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Granola with Honey & Almonds

Granola with Honey & Almonds

It finally happened. After several (four? five?) years of eating popcorn and a fruit smoothie for breakfast almost every work day, I felt it was time for a change. I don't know how long I can sustain this change, but for now, my breakfast involves homemade granola and yogurt. (If you want to know the truth, the yogurt and granola will be my lunch tomorrow and the popcorn and smoothie will probably be my breakfast. I know--I'm a weirdo.)
Of course, I can't allow myself to eat store-bought granola, so I turned to my good friend Pinterest, and got a recipe. But not this one. I can't find the first recipe I used because I neglected to use Pinterest in the way it was actually intended and did not pin the recipe.
So I combined what I remembered from that recipe with my friend Christie's Cranberry and Walnut Granola recipe and got this.
It's a good, basic granola with a good hearty crunch and just enough sweetness. There are some larger chunks and some bits of chia seeds and individual oats that are on the bottom of the bag, but it's all delicious mixed up with some yogurt and berries.
Good stuff. I think I'll keep on having it for breakfast for a little while.
Granola with Honey & Almonds

  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1 cup almonds, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Line a sturdy rimmed cookie sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the egg whites, canola oil, honey, vanilla extract, kosher salt, and brown sugar.
  • Add the oats, almond meal, chopped almonds, and chia seeds. Stir to combine.
  • Pour mixture onto parchment lined cookie sheet and spread evenly. Press down slightly with a silicone spatula.
  • Bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour, removing from oven and stirring every 15 minutes. After each stir, press down slightly again to evenly distribute the granola.
  • When done, remove from oven and allow to cool completely before eating or storing. Store at room temperature in an airtight container or large zip-top bag. 
  • Try to enjoy within about two weeks.
Makes about 5 cups

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

These are the best gluten free chocolate chip cookies I've made so far. I made them crisp, because that's what I like--so I can't say that I know how these taste when baked to a soft consistency. These just tasted like great chocolate chip cookies: sweet, buttery, chocolatey--perfect.
I used  Better Batter Gluten Free All Purpose Flour, and that's important to note, because all gluten free flour is different. Better Batter is the brand I use most, as it contains xanthan gum, which is something I've had to add when using other brands. It is what worked for this recipe. 
Feel free to use whichever brand of GF flour you like, but know that you may get different results. 
This recipe also uses a unique mixing method that I discovered when I found my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe. I think that the mixing method makes a difference too.
So, there you go. Another gluten free recipe that's not healthy at all, but at least it doesn't have any gluten!

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 2 1/2 cups Better Batter Gluten Free All Purpose Flour
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar (I used dark brown)
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) margarine, softened
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups dark chocolate chips (I like Nestle Dark Chocolate Morsels)
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Mix the four, sugars, baking soda, salt, and baking powder with a whisk in a medium bowl and set aside.
In a stand mixer or in a large bowl using a hand mixer, cream together the margarine, butter, egg, and vanilla. It may take a few minutes for the mixture to come together and emulsify, but mix until this happens.
Stir in the dry ingredient mix until completely incorporated with the creamed mixture.
Add the chocolate chips and nuts. Stir to combine.
Scoop dough by the tablespoon and place on parchment-lined pan, spacing cookies about 2 inches apart.
Bake at 350 degrees for 10-11 minutes for soft cookies, 12-14 minutes for crisp cookies. 
Remove from oven and allow to cool on pan for about 3-4 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes about 5 dozen cookies

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Gluten Free Cheese Crackers

Gluten Free Cheese Crackers
I'm trying to delete gluten from my diet as much as possible because of inflammation issues I seem to be having as a result of eating wheat products. I love crackers--all kinds--and today I finally took the time to make some gluten free cheese crackers. 
I'm glad I did. I looked at several recipes, and decided to go with one of my favorite recipe sources: King Arthur Flour. They never let me down, even if I am trying to give up most of their products.
The original recipe called for 8 tablespoons of butter, but with the cheese I thought that would be too much butter and result in greasy crackers. I do enjoy greasy crackers sometimes, but knew I didn't want to make that today. So I cut the butter in half, and the crackers turned out fabulous anyway. 
They have great flavor and crispness, and I think they sort of taste like Goldfish Crackers. My boys think they taste like Cheese-Its. Either way, they're a success. I strongly recommend you use a sharp cheddar, as opposed to medium or mild, and you'll get a better cheesy taste from these.
Enjoy! (Gluten free!)

Gluten Free Cheese Crackers
     Adapted from

  • 1 1/2 cups Better Batter Gluten Free All Purpose Flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (you can add more if you want a stronger bite)
  • 1/2 teaspoon roasted garlic powder (regular garlic powder will work)
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, sliced or shredded
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons water
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Gather two baking sheets.
Place the dry ingredients in a food processor and pulse a couple of times to combine.
Add the butter and process until butter is incorporated. Add the cheese and process until mixture looks like cornmeal.
In a small bowl or glass measuring cup, whisk the egg and vinegar until frothy. Add the water to the egg & vinegar, and mix. 
Add the wet ingredients all at once to the dry ingredients. Process until you have a cohesive dough. If it seems very dry, add a teaspoon of water at a time until it is cohesive.
Place a sheet of parchment on a flat surface, sprinkle with some flour. Divide dough in half; set one half aside.
Try to form the dough into a rectangle and flatten slightly with an open hand. Sprinkle with a little flour and top with a piece of plastic wrap. 
Roll dough to about 1/8-inch thickness.
Remove plastic wrap and then using a pizza cutter, cut dough into 1 to 1 1/2 inch squares. Either pierce squares with a fork, or make a slight imprint with a very small cookie cutter.
Slide parchment sheet with unbaked crackers onto a baking sheet, and try to separate pieces a bit if you can.
Repeat with the other half of dough.
Bake at 400 degrees for 12 to 16 minutes, rotating pans halfway through. Remove from oven and remove the ones that are done on the edges. Spread remaining crackers evenly over their pans and place back in the oven to bake until browned to your liking, about 3-5 more minutes probably. Keep an eye on them.
When crackers are all baked, cool completely on the pans or a wire rack. When completely cooled, move to an airtight container or zip top bags to store.

Makes quite a few crackers. 
(Sorry I forgot to count--they filled a gallon size bag about 2/3 full. I ate so many though, perhaps it would have been up to 3/4 full if I'd restrained myself more.)

Dry ingredients with butter and cheese processed in
After wet ingredients have been incorporated
Dough has been rolled, cut, and semi pierced with that little cookie cutter.
I removed the dark ones from the bottom after 13 minutes in the oven. Then I baked the rest for 4 more minutes.
Many different sizes and shapes, all equally tasty
Hey! It looks like a cracker inside there!

01 09