Gluten Free Chewy Oatmeal Cookies

Related image

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.

Related image

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!

 

 

Valentines Made By Hand

Related image

 

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:

1heartcookies4_zps7ec2b8c5

 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.

1heartshapedchocolatechipcookies

Melt Your Heart Lava Cakes:

Image result for valentine lava cake

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.

moltenlavacake-1

Chocolate Fantasy Cheesecake:

Image result for valentine chocolate cheesecake

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.

Image result for chocolate cheesecake with chocolate sauce topping

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

cocoa-mill-staunton

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.

bigheart-ad

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!

2wordpressheart.png

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.

03 part bite

 

 

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.

03party bites

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

 

03parties bites

 

Stuffed Apricots

Apricots-Honey2-585x585

 

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!

apricot-in-halves

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.

cinnbun5

 

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.

Cinnamon_Rolls03_large

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.

cinnamon-rolls-5-l

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.

cinroll cut

 

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.

       CinnamonRoll-03

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.

 

birdnest22

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.

Cocoa Mill’s Hot Chocolate

Every time it snows my children have come to expect that they will be served hot chocolate after they return indoors from their winter excursions. Not just any hot chocolate mind you, but homemade concoction using their Father’s chocolate; Cocoa Mill’s milk and dark chocolate.  I can guarantee when I place the warm cups of cocoa in front of them they will ask: “Did you make this with Daddy’s chocolate?” the answer is always “Yes.” and there are smiles all around.

Being that it is 3 degrees outside today (but no snow) I thought it would be fitting to share this homemade hot chocolate recipe.

 

What you will need:

4 cups of whole milk

3 oz Cocoa Mill Dark Chocolate

3 oz Cocoa Mill Milk Chocolate

3 Tbsp granulated sugar*

3 tsp. vanilla

6 Tbsp powdered sugar*

1 pint heavy whipping cream

Chocolate shavings

You will also need a mixer capable of whipping cream.

Process:

1. Warm milk in a sauce pan over low heat, (be careful not to boil the milk). When steam begins rising from the milk add your 2 types of chocolate, 1 1/2 tsp of vanilla and 3 Tbsp of granulated sugar. Continue cooking over low heat until chocolate is melted and well blended with the milk.

 

2. Place whip cream in a bowl and add 1 1/2 tsp vanilla and 3 Tbsp of powdered sugar whip with a beater until the cream forms stiff peaks when the beater is removed. Cover and place in refrigerator.

whipcream

There are so many ways you could adjust this recipe, add Bailey’s Irish Creme for an adult beverage, add 3 Tbsp of coffee (or more) for a mocha-chino, add some caramel syrup on top of the whip cream just for an added yum. Let us know what variations you come up with!

*You can also substitute  truvia for sugars or another sweetener to decrease caloric/carbohydrate in take.

You can save the additional hot chocolate mixture for up to a week in the refrigerator and reheat as needed.

Easy Chocolate Chess Pie

My Family loves homemade desserts and I am up for the task as long as it is not too labor intensive. I had never made a chocolate chess pie before but remembered enjoying it a few years ago. Lucky me I had all the ingredients on hand and the pie making began, (and was all gone within 3 days!)

This pie is quick and easy and if you are chocolate lovers like my family then this is the dessert for you!

Filling Ingredients:

3/4 cup sugar

5 oz dark chocolate

2 tablespoons flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup milk

3 large eggs

1/3 cup butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 9″ pie crust

 

 Crust Ingredients:

2 cups ground oatmeal

1/4 cup sugar

5 tablespoons of softened butter

 

Instructions:

Place the oatmeal in a blender and chop until finely ground (you can also use nuts or cookies that have been crushed). Pour the oatmeal 1/4 cup of sugar in a 9″ pie pan and mix. Add the 5 tablespoons of butter and mix thoroughly, press mixture until flat and it covers the base and walls of the pie plate.

In a sauce pan over medium heat melt the butter and chocolate stirring constantly. When completely melted remove from heat and add the sugar, salt, and flour stir until well blended. Let this mixture rest about 5 minutes then add the vanilla, milk and heavy cream, stir vigorously for 2 minutes. beat the eggs and slowly add one at a time until completely incorporated into chocolate mixture. 

 

Pour the mixture into the pie crust and bake at 325 for 45-50 minutes. Let cool before serving. Top with homemade whipped cream and Enjoy!

 

 

Thanksgiving Carrot Cake

Thanksgiving Carrot Cake

carrotsraisin

pecans

white choco chunks

In the fall my family longs for the taste of spiced goodies, this cake fits the bill. It is quick, easy and I feel good knowing that all the ingredients were placed in the mixing bowl out of pure love. I hope that you too will find that this recipe brings the taste of Fall to your family’s table and will remain a staple for years to come.

Carrot Cake

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups of sugar

1 cup olive oil

½ cup butter (room temperature)

4 eggs (well beaten)

3 tsp. blackstrap molasses

2 cups of unbleached flour

2 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

3 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. nutmeg

1 tsp. allspice

1 tsp. ginger (ground)

1 cup chopped pecans

1 cup raisins (multi-colored)

4oz white chocolate chopped into chunks

3 cups grated carrots

Instructions:

Pre-heat oven 325 degrees

Mix sugar, eggs and molasses, add the oil and butter blend well. Combine the dry ingredients in another bowl and mix. Once blended add to the wet mixture and blend well. Add the carrots, raisins, pecans and white chocolate blend well until all is mixed thoroughly.

Place into 3 greased 9” cake pans for about 30 minutes.

Once baking is complete let cool and remove from pan.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

2 sticks of butter soften

2 packages of cream cheese

2 cups powdered sugar

1 tsp. lemon juice

1 Tbsp. heavy whipping cream (can use milk instead)

Blend the butter and cream cheese until well blended. Add the powdered sugar, lemon and heavy cream. Whip until light and fluffy.

Frost the layers of the cake, placing one on top of each other. Frost sides, and top. Store in the refrigerator to keep fresh.

carrot cake

Happy Fall & Enjoy!