Gluten Free Chewy Oatmeal Cookies

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The weather has a crispness to it and that can only mean one thing… Fall is here! Sure this Autumn weather tricks us with cold mornings, warmer afternoons and cooler evenings but it is my favorite time of year, and it is actually quite beautiful despite the all the trickery. The leaves have started to change color and are softly floating to the ground. The days are shorter, the nights are longer and suddenly a warm blanket and a good book sounds incredibly inviting. With all these changes I long for meals with subsistence, something that will stick to your bones, like a hot bowl of chili, homemade macaroni and cheese or even a cup of hot chocolate or hot tea.

In my longing for hearty meals I have come up with a wonderful recipe for Gluten Free Oatmeal Cookies. These are the perfect soft, chewy and sweet snack that a fall day, much like today, calls for.

I hope you enjoy this recipe, it gets rave reviews every time I make it. Gluten eaters can’t tell the difference, and I bet you won’t be able to either.

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Gluten Free Oatmeal Cookies:

You will need:

1 sticks of butter softened

1 cup of coconut oil room temp

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup of packed brown sugar

3 eggs

1 oz. Milk

2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1.5 cups Gluten Free All Purpose flour blend

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

1 Tbsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. ginger

1 tsp. nutmeg

1 tsp. allspice

pinch of ground cloves

4 cups Old Fashion Oats

1 cup Cocoa Mill Bittersweet Chocolate Chunks   or raisins.

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Mix butter, coconut oil and sugars until well blended. Add the eggs, milk and vanilla, mix again. Add flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice and cloves, blend well. Add the oatmeal and mix until all the ingredients are properly incorporated. Add cocoa mill’s bittersweet chocolate chunks or the raisins, mix until well blended.

On a greased cookie sheet place 12, 2.5 inch rounds of cookie dough and bake for 10-12 minutes. This recipe makes about 24 cookies , minus a couple bites of cookie dough. Let cool on a wire rack and enjoy!

 

 

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Valentines Made By Hand

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Valentine’s Day has always been special, when I was a little girl my father would always be sure to give me a special gift on Valentine’s Day. He always made me feel loved and appreciated with chocolates, flowers and cards. When I grew older and more responsible he gave me some beautiful pieces of jewelry. Valentine’s Day has become sweeter to me as I’ve grown. I am married and as the years have passed we’ve had children. The depth of love I feel for my husband, children, family and friends continues to grow as I age and  I now see things through different a light.

“Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.”
– Aristotle

When my husband and I met, we were soulmates, best friends and inseparable. Neither of us had ever felt anything like this before yet alone ever loved that deeply, we were always together. 1 to 2 days apart was not an option for us because he really does complete me, I am whole when I am with him. He and I truly were made for each other. We fell in love as teenagers and as the days continue to pass and we get a little older every year I can honestly say that we are more in love now than ever before. I am not saying that our lives are perfect or without flaw, but despite hard times we’ve grown closer. we appreciate each other and the beautiful creation that each of us was created to be. We were brought together for a common purpose, to spread light, love, blessings and peace. It started in our hearts, grew when we met and has spread as our family grows and our children get older, they now are spreading light, love blessings and peace wherever they go. It fills my soul to know that love prevails in our family and in our home.

“Young love is a flame; very pretty, often very hot and fierce, but still only light and flickering. The love of the older and disciplined heart is as coals, deep-burning, unquenchable.”
– Henry Ward Beecher

When I was young and in love, I have to admit that I viewed Valentine’s Day a little selfishly, “What will I get” I thought, or “Will the gift show how much he loves me or how important our relationship is to him.” I would try to get things that would impress him and show how much I cared. I wanted to be impressed and to see just how much we loved each other by the measure of material things. I now have a completely different view and to think back on those times gives me sick feeling in my stomach to think that I was that shallow. The bumps and bruises that life hurls at you makes you realize that none of the material things matter. What truly matters are the intentions of the heart. A smile, a warm embrace, a shoulder to lean on when you’ve had all you can take, a sweet gesture, the smile of an innocent child, or even the greeting of your pet after a long day. Love in it’s true form is innocent; “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (NIV 1 Corinthians 13:4-8)

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”
– Lao Tzu

After we were married and had children the materialistic views and longings faded away, rather quickly, and those longings were replaced with gratitude, thankfulness and love, lots of pure, sweet love. As our family grew and life took its toll on us with struggles, triumphs,  losses, broken and mended hearts, we were brought closer together. These trials revealed the depth of love that  we couldn’t have imagined or felt without all the peculiarities life had in store for us.

“Love makes your soul crawl out from its hiding place.”
– Zora Neale Hurston

This Valentine’s Day the truth remains that the love shown, felt, given and received is the beauty just for you and it is pure and natural and old as time itself. This love is meant to fill up your soul so you can reconnect with the purpose of life, to love and be loved.

If you want to spread love and care to those who are close to you, here are some sweet ideas to help you achieve that.

Heart Shaped Chocolate Chip Cookies:

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 Ingredients:

2/3 cup of butter (or shortening)

1/2 cup of granulated sugar

1/2 cup  of brown sugar

1 egg

1 tsp. vanilla

1  3/4 cups of all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. of baking powder

1/4 to 1/2 a tsp. of salt (depending on how sweet you like your cookies)

1/4 lb shaved bittersweet chocolate

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F.

Cream butter and sugars together, add egg and vanilla, mix well. Add flour, baking soda and salt, mix well. Add the Chocolate shavings and mix well one more time. Roll out onto a floured surface and cut using heart shaped cookie cutters.

Bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes. When golden around the edges take out and cool on a wire rack.

After the cookies are cooled place in a clear cellophane bag and tie with a pink, red or white bow. Viola! Gift completed.

These cookie freeze well, this allows you to pull them out and enjoy them whenever you wish. They also make a beautiful and delicious gift for loved ones this Valentine’s Day.

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Melt Your Heart Lava Cakes:

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Ingredients:

Cooking spray, for spraying custard cups
1 stick butter
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2 ounces semisweet chocolate
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
2 whole eggs
3 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Spray the four custard cups with baking spray and place on a baking sheet.

In a saucepan melt the butter. Whisk in the chocolate until it is also melted. Stir in the sugar until well blended. Whisk in the eggs and egg yolks, then add the vanilla. Stir in the flour.

Divide the mixture among the four custard cups.

Bake until the sides are firm and the centers are soft, about 13 minutes. Let stand 1 minute. Invert on individual plates, serve while warm. Top with fresh raspberries, whipped cream and a mint leaf.

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Chocolate Fantasy Cheesecake:

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Chocolate Cookie Crust:

22 Chocolate Sandwich Cookies Crushed

3 Tablespoons of melted Butter

In a small bowl stir together the crushed cookies and melted butter until well combined. Press the crumb mix evenly on the bottom of a greased 9-inch springform pan.

Double Chocolate Filling:

19 ounces cream cheese, softened

2/3 cup granulated sugar

5 eggs

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 cup whipping cream

1/4 cup chocolate syrup

1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract

10 ounces Cocoa Mill Bittersweet Chocolate

3 ounces Cocoa Mill Milk Chocolate

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl combine cream cheese and sugar. Beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, beating well with each addition.stir in the sour cream, whipping cream, chocolate syrup, bittersweet and milk chocolates . Pour the cream cheese mixture over the crust.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes. Lower the temperature to 200 degrees F and bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until the center no longer looks wet and shiny. Remove the cake from the oven and run a knife along the edges of the pan. Turn the oven off and return the cake to the oven to sit for an additional 2 hours. Chill uncovered, overnight.

The next morning make the chocolate sauce topping:

2 Tablespoons Melted Butter

6 ounces Cocoa Mill Bittersweet Chocolate, chopped

4 Tablespoons Heavy Cream

To serve, place chocolate, remaining 2 tablespoons butter, and cream in the top of a double boiler or a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir  until melted. Remove he sauce from the heat and let cool slightly.off a bit. Pour chocolate glaze over cheesecake and spread into a circle, leaving a bit of a  border. Chill just until chocolate has set, about 10 minutes.

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If you don’t want to make something or don’t have time:

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Directions:

Go to Cocoa Mill Chocolate Company in Lexington or Staunton Virginia or go online to www.cocoamill.com  and pick up one of many selections of Valentine Chocolates. All made by hand using pure, simple and the freshest ingredients.

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While any of these ideas are sure to impress and show how much you care the greatest gift of all is to love and be loved.

 A Very Happy Valentine’s Day To You!

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Easy Holiday Bites

Quick & Easy Holiday Bites

This is a super quick and easy recipe that has been adapted from Adrienne. In about 15 to 20 minutes you can have a fantastic yet easy, easy, easy, party treat.

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With the help of a set of fun shaped ice cube trays or candy molds, a simple recipe like chocolate bark looks so much more festive.

What you will need:

2 fun shaped ice cube trays:

1/2 pound of Cocoa Mill White Chocolate to melt

½ tbsp. of butter

8 Cocoa Mill Dark Chocolate Toffee

1 oz. Dried Cranberries

toffee_17503cranberries

white choco chunks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chop the Dark Chocolate Toffee and mix with the Dried Cranberries, set aside.

Over medium heat in a saucepan melt the butter and white chocolate. Stir constantly until silky smooth, DO NOT OVERHEAT!

 

You can spoon your melted chocolate into the ice cube sections, filling almost ½ to ¾ full. Your toppings need to have room to stick on top of the chocolate.

 

Place your toppings on top of the white chocolate, press them in just a little, to make sure that everything sticks.

If you’d rather mix it altogether first and then spoon it all into the cube spaces, go for it, either way will work!

Now, just cool your bark until it’s solid.

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Tap the chocolates out of the trays, serve on a pretty plate & enjoy!

 

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Stuffed Apricots

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These are sweet & savory little snacks that will make a beautiful and eye-catching addition to any dinner party. Besides being lovely to look at they are delicious and easy to make!

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What you will need:

1 cup softened cream cheese

4 Tbsp of milk

1 Cup finely grated sharp and mature cheddar cheese

4 ounces melted, slightly cooled white chocolate

salt and ground black pepper

10 apricots (cut in half equaling twenty)

Garnish:

Any type of chopped nuts

paprika (if desired)

honey to drizzle

apricots halvedwhite choco chunksfeta

1. Beat the cream cheese in a bowl with a wooden spoon, gradually beat in the milk and cheddar, when the milk and cheddar are completely mixed in add the white chocolate, mix again. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

2. Spoon the cheese mixture into the hollow side of each apricot half.

3. Arrange the filled apricots onto a serving platter and sprinkle the chopped nuts on top of each apricot, dust with paprika and drizzle with honey.

Apricot Recipes

Enjoy!

Cinnamon Rolls With Chocolate Icing

Cinnamon Rolls just got better by adding Cocoa Mill’s white chocolate to the icing. There are several ways to make cinnamon rolls varying from making your own biscuit dough to using prepared biscuit dough that you can find in your local supermarket’s refrigerated section. It depends on how much time you would like to spend prepping before the baking begins.

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Here are some links to a basic biscuit dough recipe (note: you only need the dough, do not cook them, turning them into biscuits).

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/basic-biscuits/

http://www.finecooking.com/recipes/buttermilk-biscuitdough.aspx

 

You can also purchase prepared dough made by various brands.

 

What you will need for the Filling:

1 Stick Softened Butter (room temperature)

Dark Brown Sugar

Cinnamon

Allspice

Pre-heat your oven to 350F.

Once you have your dough ready you will need to clean a surface that can be used for rolling. Dust the area with flour and roll your dough into a 1/4 inch thick rectangle. Spread the softened butter onto the dough covering it completely. Sprinkle the brown sugar until you have a nice layer (as little or as much as you want), sprinkle brown sugar with cinnamon and allspice.

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After you have the dough covered in the sweetness of sugar and spice begin to form the rectangle into a rolled cylinder shape. Starting at one long end, roll the edge over, again and again until the whole thing is a cylinder.

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After you have rolled it up gently pull from the center of the cylinder out to the ends extending the length of the dough. Cut into 1/2 inch circles and place in a 13 x 9 baking dish.

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After you have filled your baking dish place the rolls in the oven and cook for about 20 – 30 minutes until tops are just beginning to turn brown, but are still primarily white. You will begin tho smell the sweetness of the rolls and this is how you know they are done. Take them out of the oven and let them rest for 5 minutes. Ice while the rolls are still hot.

 

What you will need for the icing:

1 Package Cream Cheese Softened

1/2 Stick Butter Softened

6 oz. Cocoa Mill’s White Chocolate  melted and slightly cooled

1 Tsp. Vanilla

Beat 2 Cups Powdered Sugar,  cream cheese and butter in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended.

Add melted chocolate and vanilla; mix well.

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Enjoy!

 

Bird’s Nest Cookies

easter basket

Every holiday Cocoa Mill Chocolate Shop is bustling as we hurry to make the appropriate seasonal chocolates that so many people have come to incorporate into their holiday traditions. This Spring we are busy making custom Easter baskets filled with Peanut Butter or Coconut Eggs, Chocolate Bunnies and many more fabulous confections. The smell of melting chocolate never gets old; it is howeegg2 (3)ver our job, so finding time and energy for fun Holiday activities and special time making memories with our children takes planning and preparation. Of course we will dye our Easter eggs and prepare for the Easter bunny to visit our house, as well as learn about what Easter truly means to our family, but this year I thought that I would do a little extra, a little more.

 

I know that this is an easy and simple recipe but I thought that it would work perfectly for and added Easter activity. We will be making The tried and true Bird’s Nest cookies, the only difference is we will be sprucing it up with Cocoa Mill’s gourmet white chocolate. So step aside chocolate or butterscotch chips, this isn’t your grandmother’s bird’s nest cookie (although I know grandma would enjoy them too :)ha ha ).

 

 

 

Bird’s Nest Cookies

 

What you will need:

 

white chocolate chunks

peanutbutter

 

How to make the cookies:

    1. Line a baking sheet with waxed paper.
    2. Place White Chocolate and peanut butter in a microwave-safe container. Heat on 50% power for 1 minute. Stir, and repeat, until chocolate is melted.
    3. Stir in chow -mein noodles until fully coated.
    4. Drop by tablespoonful onto prepared baking sheet.
    5. Use your thumb and press down in the center to form a nest shape.
    6. Place a few candy robin’s eggs in the center of each nest for eggs.
    7. Refrigerate until firm.

 

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Enjoy!

 

Chocolate & Weight loss

Chocolate and weight loss don’t seem like they would go hand and hand, but more and more studies are finding that regularly consuming high quality (not quantity) chocolate can help you reach your desired weight loss goal without depriving yourself. Keep in mind not all chocolate is created equal. Cranberries, Almonds and Chocolate, Oh My

“Real chocolate is like no other substance on earth. For years scientists have tried to duplicate its characteristics without success. They have come very close,  but the very best is still a pale comparison. The main difference between real chocolate and a ‘chocolate flavored’ substance is its most basic ingredient, cocoa butter. When you pick up a candy bar in the grocery store, look at the ingredients label on the package. If it does not contain cocoa butter, it is not real chocolate. Chocolate is more expensive than its artificial counterpart and is well worth the extra coins to treat your mouth and body to a taste of heaven.

Chocolate has been found to lower blood pressure and it is a potent antioxidant according to the Aug. 27 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association. Not only does it taste good but it is good for you ~ Cocoa butter melts completely at 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Body temperature is 98.7. Coincidence? I don’t think so.” – RCI

Research shows that chocolate’s health benefits  not only include reduction in blood pressure and cholesterol, but it also contains antioxidants like epicatechin, which other research has shown appears to boost the energy-producing elements of the body’s cells.

Chocolate also release endorphins in your brain. A secretion of endorphins leads to feelings of euphoria, modulation of appetite, release of sex hormones, and enhancement of the immune response. With high endorphin levels, we feel less pain and fewer negative effects of stress. Endorphins have been suggested as modulators of the so-called “runner’s high” that athletes achieve with prolonged exercise.

“For the study, published in the March 26 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, researchers examined more than 1,000 healthy men and women who were free of heart disease, diabetes and cholesterol problems. They were all enrolled in another study that measured the effects of cholesterol-lowering statin drugs, but for this study researchers assigned them questionnaires that gauged how often participants chowed down on chocolate.

The researchers found that the participants (who were an average age of 57) ate chocolate for an average of twice of week and exercised roughly 3.5 times per week… But those who more frequently ate chocolate retained a lower BMI (a ratio of height and weight that’s used to measure obesity).”  –CBS News

“The findings suggest that the health benefits of chocolate may be linked to how many times in a given week chocolate is eaten rather than the total amount consumed in that week,” says the study’s lead researcher, Beatrice Golomb, an associate professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of California, San Diego. “Eating a small amount of chocolate each of five days during a week was linked to a lower BMI, even if the person ate more calories overall and didn’t exercise more than other participants.”

These studies bring good news that chocolate and weight loss can happily coincide.