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      Recipes — chocolate chips

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      fudgy festive brownies

      fudgy festive brownies

      Need to bring something to a Halloween party? Everyone likes brownies. Can I just say… please don’t ever bring brownies from a box! You know what brownies from a box says? It says…you’ve given up! There are so many super simple scratch brownie recipes out there.  Just turn on your computer and you’ll have a zillion in seconds. Pick one and it will be better than anything in a box!

       But these brownies, are special. They are dense, fudgy and rich. They are slightly chewy at the edges and incredibly moist and fudgy underneath. It’s made with a little less sugar and whole wheat flour, and you can’t taste the difference!!  Something you can’t get from a box. Can you tell I really dislike boxed brownies?!

      Use this as your standard go to brownie recipe. You won’t be disappointed.



      • 1 cup butter melted
      • 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar 500g
      • 1 tbsp VanillaPura Madagascar/rum vanilla extract.
      • 4 eggs
      • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour or sub all-purpose (about 195g)
      • 1 cup cocoa about 80g
      • 1/2 tsp salt
      • chocolate chips for sprinkling on top or to mix in, optional
      • basic white frosting
      • candied eyes from the baking isle at the grocery store.


      • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
      • In a large bowl, combine butter, sugar and vanilla with a whisk until smooth.
      • Whisk in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
      • Stir in flour, cocoa and salt until combined.
      • Line a 9x13" pan with tin foil and spray with non-stick spray. Spread batter in prepared pan. Bake for 26-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
      • Add the frosting and googley eyes for the mummy effect, or leave them plain, they are just as good.

      Thanks to the recipe rebel for sharing!

      pumpkin Bread

      pumpkin Bread

      It’s officially fall and my favorite season:). Going outside is a treat! The air is cooler and crisp, but not cold…yet.  The colors of fall are warm and inviting and I find myself being pulled outside to just soak it all up before its all gone. Pumpkins are starting to pop up at the stores and onto front porches. Advertisements are reminding us of pumpkin pie, pumpkins lattes, pumpkin bread….

       My oldest son is a sucker for all things pumpkin.  He’s sending in his college applications, and I find myself wanting to make all his favorites before he leaves! Just thinking about it makes me teary eyed.  It seems like yesterday that we were planning awesome Halloween costumes. This momma hen is going to get it all in!  I’m jumping onto the pumpkin wagon and I’m going to spoil him with all his favorite pumpkin goodies before he flies the coop.

      Jenn Segal over at once upon a chef has shared her grandmother’s recipe that she grew up eating as a girl. I love recipes that have stood the test of time. They invoke a memory just by the aromas coming from the oven. This recipe is super easy and simple to make. Something you can whip up before the kiddos get home from school. Add in some semi-sweet chocolate chips if you are a chocolate lover. It's delish!

      She also includes freezer friendly instructions.  If you don’t have time to bake, just pull it out of the freezer and its just as good.  Happy Autumn! 



      • 2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off
      • 1/2 teaspoon salt
      • 1 teaspoon baking soda
      • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
      • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
      • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
      • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
      • 1 teaspoon of Mexican vodka VanillaPura extract
      • 1-1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
      • 2 cups sugar
      • 2 large eggs
      • 1 15-oz can 100% pure pumpkin



      1. Preheat the oven to 325°F and set an oven rack in the middle position. Generously grease two 8 x 4-inch loaf pans with butter and dust with flour (alternatively, use a baking spray with flour in it)
      2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cloves, cinnamon,nutmeg,and vanilla. Whisk until well combined; set aside.
      1. In a large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until just blended. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Continue beating until very light and fluffy, a few minutes. Beat in the pumpkin. The mixture might look grainy and curdled at this point -- that's okay.
      1. Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until combined. Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until combined.
      1. Turn the batter into the prepared pans, dividing evenly, and bake for 65 –75 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the loaves cool in the pans for about 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
      1. Fresh out of the oven, The loaves have a deliciously crisp crust. If they last beyond a day, you can toast individual slices to get the same fresh-baked effect.

      Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The bread can be frozen for up to 3 months. After it is completely cooled, wrap it securely in aluminum foil, freezer wrap or place in a freezer bag. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.




      Worry Free Cookie Dough

      Worry Free Cookie Dough

      Ok, do I have any cookie dough lovers out there?  Who doesn’t, right? I made chocolate chips cookies last week for the boys for a little after school sweet surprise.  The funny thing was, the first thing they said when they got home wasn’t, “hey Mom thanks for the cookies!”  It was,“ Is there any cookie dough left?” Of course they ate the cookies too, but their first thought was, cookie DOUGH!  They know I always have left over cookie dough, because I make a double batch, so I have enough to scoop up the rest in my cookie scooper and freeze. This is great for those last minute late night chocolate cravings.

       I’m not a cookie dough Nazi. If they want to snitch some dough from the bowl, I’m good.  We collect our eggs everyday from a cute little coup in our backyard. The eggs are fresher than fresh.  Although, if they prefer to eat more cookie dough rather than cookies, maybe I need to re-think this and find a recipe without eggs.  But wait, not only are the raw eggs potentially harmful,  I just learned that raw flour is too. What?! I can’t tell you how many undercooked rolls I’ve eaten in my life.  Not to mention, the bowls and bowls of cookie dough. So, even though I’ve never fallen deathly ill, it may be a good idea to find a safer recipe option without eggs and raw flour and try it out.  But...I'll never give up my vanilla!:)  



      Toasting flour in a 350F oven for just 5 minutes we kill off any harmful bacteria, allowing us to eat this edible cookie dough without fear.

      To make it:

      1. Preheat your oven to 350F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper (this will make transferring the flour so easy).
      2. Measure out your flour and evenly spread it over the parchment paper.
      3. Bake in your preheated oven for 5-7 minutes.

      To ensure that the flour is really safe, I recommend using an instant read thermometer to verify that the temperature is at least 160F. Allow flour to cool before proceeding with recipe. During the heat treating process, I found that some of the flour has the tendency to clump or bake together.  To keep these clumps out of your cookie dough, run the flour through a sifter before stirring it into your edible cookie dough.  Also, make sure you let it cool!  It cools quickly, but too-hot flour can melt your other ingredients, leaving you with nothing but an edible mess.


      • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour (215g)
      • cup unsalted butter softened to room temperature! (226g)
      • 1 1/4 cups brown sugar, tightly packed (250g)
      • 1/4 cup sugar (50g)
      • teaspoon VanillaPura Madagascar rum vanilla extract
      • 1/2 teaspoon salt
      • 1-2 Tablespoons milk optional*
      • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips I recommend using a mix of mini and regular sized (85g)

      Optional Mix-Ins:

      • creamy peanut butter
      • colored sprinkles
      • crumbled Oreos


      1. Preheat your oven to 350F.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and spread flour in an even layer over the parchment paper.
      2. Bake on 350F (72C) oven for 5-7 minutes**
      3. Allow flour to cool, then run it through a sifter to break up any clumps that may have formed while baking.  Set aside.
      4. In a large bowl (preferably a stand mixer), combine softened butter, sugar, vanilla extract, and salt. Use an electric mixer to cream together until very creamy and very well-combined, 1-3 minutes.
      5. Gradually add cooled, sifted flour, stirring until completely combined. If dough is too stiff after thoroughly stirring, add milk, one tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached.
      6. Stir in chocolate chips (and any additional add-ins you might like!)
      7. Store cookie dough in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week. Cookie dough will firm up some in the refrigerator, so for best enjoyment let it sit at room temperature for 10-15 minutes before enjoying leftovers

      Homemade Vanilla Infused Hot Chocolate

      Homemade Vanilla Infused Hot Chocolate

      It's getting cold outside and my boys keep asking for hot chocolate. I stopped buying the store bought mix after reading what's in it.  Who would have thought all those preservatives were in hot chocolate mix. I like knowing what we're actually eating, and in this case, drinking. This recipe is so rich and smooth. My boys won't even touch the store bought stuff.  I guess I'm raising a couple of hot chocolate snobs:). I just have to make it once and it lasts all winter!


      • 4 cups granulated sugar
      • ½ split crosswise Mexican Vanillapura bean.
      • 1½ pounds high-quality semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
      • 8 ounces milk chocolate, coarsely chopped
      • 2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch process
      • sprinkle of cinnamon 



      1. Place sugar in large bowl. Split half vanilla bean lengthwise, scrape seeds into sugar, and add pod. Work seeds in with your fingers. Cover snugly with plastic wrap and let stand overnight at room temperature.
      2. In food processor fitted with metal blade, process semisweet chocolate and milk chocolate until finely ground.
      3. Remove pod from sugar. Add ground chocolate and cocoa powder to sugar and whisk to blend.
      4. Store mix airtight at room temperature for up to six months.
      5. To serve: heat 2 cups of milk over the stove
      6. Top with whipped cream or a sprinkle of cinnamon

      recipe shared from





      Double Chocolate Berry Muffins

      Double Chocolate Berry Muffins
      My kids love (and I mean love) chocolate muffins! They are great with a variety of VanillaPura Extracts. Check out one of my favorite recipes.

      Read more