Harvest Beans

The day was cooler and I was really craving something comforting and filling for dinner. I had never made this recipe before but I thought I would wing it and see what happened. Turns out it was pretty good and I have made it several times since. These Harvest Beans are full flavored BBQ enhanced bean, the peppers, onions and dark chocolate give it nice complexity that leaves your palate wanting another taste. I hope you enjoy this recipe as the leaves change and a crispness enters the air.

leaves

Harvest Beans:

What you will need:

beef

1 15.5 oz Great Northern Bean

1 15.5 oz  Pinto Bean

1 15.5 oz  Black Bean

1 15.5 oz Kidney Bean

2 tsp. Onion Powder

3 tsp. Ginger

1 tsp. Chili Powder

2 tsp. Garlic Powder

1 tsp. Pepper

1 1/2 tsp. Salt

1/2 tsp. Paprika

4 slices of Ham (hand chopped)

1 1/2 pounds Ground Beef

1 Green Pepper

1 Orange Pepper

1 Medium Onion

5 tsp. Truvia

1/4 cup Molasses

1/4 cup BBQ sauce

1/4 cup Ketchup

1 Tbsp. Honey

1.5 oz Dark Chocolate

chocolate shavings

How to make it:

Pre-heat the oven 250 degrees.

In a sauce pan melt the dark chocolate over low heat, stirring constantly. After melted add the BBQ sauce, Ketchup, Honey, Truvia and the Spices. Stir until completely combined into a rich sauce. Set aside.

In a large baking dish place the beans and pour all the sauce over it set to the side and let the beans soak up the flavor for about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile chop the onion and peppers place in a skillet along with ground beef. Brown the beef until almost all the pink is gone, the onions are translucent and the peppers are soft and easy to cut. (You may want to begin cooking the onions and peppers 5 minutes or more before adding the beef.) Once done drain the grease and add the meat (ham and beef) and onions and peppers to the baking dish . Stir all ingredients until thoroughly coated.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 2.5 to 3 hours.

beans2

Enjoy!

Quick and Easy Chocolate Chili

The countdown to fall begins: school will be back in session, jobs back in full swing and life begins to pick up the pace. I always enjoy welcoming a new season with heartwarming recipes that are not only good for the body but good for the soul. This recipe will delight your senses and your appetite.

Welcome the change in season with me and try this Quick and Easy Chocolate Chili.

You will need:

A slow cooker

1 lb ground beef

1 28 oz cans of crushed tomatoes

1 green pepper chopped

1 onion chopped

1 14.5 oz can of corn

1 14.5 oz can of kidney beans or great northern beans

1 package McCormick chili seasoning (I know you may think this is a cop-out but it’s the easiest for me.  Obviously you can substitute your own spices for this step)

1 1/2 oz of Cocoa Mill Bittersweet Chocolate

(You can also add venison or other meats if desired. If you choose add additional meats use 2 packages of spice mix instead of 1.)

1. Place all ingredients in the slow cooker and stir until mixed. Cook on low heat all day (8am-6pm)

2. Stir well before you are ready to serve. Top with sour cream and cheddar cheese. Enjoy c:

Strawberry Christmas Tree

 Strawberry Christmas Tree

 

This is a wonderful and creative idea for Holiday Parties. It sure beats a vegetable tray and dip.

This ingenious idea was shared by Can’t Stop Making Things and I am happy to share it with you too! Of course it has been adapted to use Cocoa Mill Chocolates but that will make it that much better 🙂

01strwberry tree

 

So here it is, so simple, so easy and very impressive….

What you’ll need:

You can use either a Styrofoam tree or a Papier-mâché tree, it only needs to be about 13”, can be smaller too.

You’ll need an 8” inch round cardboard cake round and a doily to disguise to cardboard round.

3 – 4 pounds of strawberries

berries

4 oz. Cocoa Mill Dark Chocolate

chocolate shavings

1 Tbsp. butter

Waxed Paper and Tape

01papertree

 

Cover the tree with waxed paper, tuck the waxed paper ends under and secure with tape.

 

In a double boiler begin to melt the chocolate and butter slowly until it is liquid like and smooth. Place some chocolate under the doily and secure it to the cardboard cake round, let set.

Coat the bottom of the tree with chocolate and place on the doily 8” cardboard round, let cool and set again.

Separate the strawberries by size and remove the leaves. Dip the largest end of the strawberry in the melted chocolate and press into the bottom of the tree. Cover the whole bottom of the tree with dipped strawberries; continue up using the largest ones first and saving the smaller ones for the top.

01strwberry

Place a strawberry on top of the tree to finish this beautiful edible creation. (You can always add other fruits too if you like!)

01strwberry variation

 

Voila, you are done!

Easy Fun Fall Treats: Chocolate Turkeys

 

Fun Fall Treats:

Chocolate Dipped Turkey Pretzels

 


turkey pretzel

I love the idea of making Holiday crafts with my kids, but the truth is I rarely have time. When I do I need something fairly easy and straight forward so that everyone can have fun while creating the craft. Here is a cute Thanksgiving food craft that is easy and will be fun for the whole family!

Thanksgiving Turkeys

1 cup Cocoa Mill bittersweet chocolate chunks
1 1/2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
12 Oreo cookies
36 small pretzels
24 candy eyeballs
12 pieces candy corn

Parchment paper (for drying)

turkey pretzelsturkey oreoturkey ccorn

 

 

 

chocolate shavings

Directions:

  1. Melt 1/3 cup bittersweet chocolate chunks and ½ Tbsp. vegetable oil 30 seconds in a small microwave-safe bowl. Remove and stir. Continue cooking in 30-second increments until chips are melted.
  2. Assemble cookies using chocolate like glue; spread on back of Oreo and attach 3 pretzels in a fan pattern to look like feathers.
  3. Let the turkey dry allowing the chocolate to cool and bond the pretzel and Oreo together.
  4. Heat the remaining chocolate and vegetable oil in 30 second increments (stirring each time) until chocolate is melted. Once chocolate is smoothly melted dip the turkey full in the chocolate using a kitchen fork and allow excess chocolate to fall back in the melted chocolate bowl. Coat all turkeys and place on parchment paper to cool and dry.
  5. Dip backs of eyeballs and candy corn in chocolate and stick to the front of the “turkey” to make a face.
  6. Place finished turkeys on a plate and cool in refrigerator 1 hour to allow chocolate to set.

Yields: 12 cookies

 

If that is too much work you could always just dip the pretzels and decorate them with fall colored sprinkles 🙂

turkey easy prtzl

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!

Easy Danish – No Yeast

I don’t know why but avoid yeast recipes like the plague. I never have yeast on hand when I am baking, nor do I like to use it. I’m just odd I guess. Anyway my girls love danish and my mother makes an awesome danish for Christmas or Birthdays, however the day I decided to make a danish was neither of these occasions, it was a normal Sunday morning and I was up for the challenge of baking a new breakfast treat, and another recipe was added to my arsenal.

Cherry Jam Braided Danish

This danish fit the bill, it was quick, easy and yeast free. It was also sumptuous!

 

Danish

What you will need:

STRAWBEERY PRESERVES

3 to 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

3 tbsp sugar

1/2 cup butter, cold

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 cup vanilla yogurt

3/4 cup milk

Strawberry Jam or preferred jelly

3 oz cream cheese room temperature

3 oz melted white chocolate

flour for dusting

Sugar for topping

braid how to

Pre-heat oven to 400F.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and sugar.

Cut butter into several large pieces and add to flour mixture. Rub butter into the dough until it is nice and flaky looking. Do not over-incorporate butter. Mixture should resemble peas.

Stir in milk, yogurt and sour cream.

Place the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead several times until dough is smooth.

Dough should be soft and easy to handle. Split the dough into 2 separate pieces.

Roll each piece of dough into two separate rectangles.

Spread the cream cheese and then jam lengthwise down center of the dough.

Using a knife cut  1-inch slits along both sides of the dough.

Fold strips over filling in the middle so the slits meet, place the danish very carefully onto a foil lined baking sheet.

Sprinkle the danish with sugar.

Bake for about 25-30 minutes.

Take out of the oven and place on a wire rack to cool for about 20 minutes.

After the danish has cooled melt white chocolate and drizzle over the danish for a decadent morning treat.

strawberry danish

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 Salads

The other day I made the comment “The best way to eat a salad is to throw it away and get a chocolate bar out of the cupboard.”

Being that it is January people have made their New Year’s resolutions, a lot of them involved not eating sweets, exercising more and doing away with certain vices. It seems to be increasingly hard to keep these resolutions; temptations seem to be lurking around every corner. This is an attempt at finding a way to help indulge the temptations that are faced without crossing the line of over doing it. Hopefully these next recipes will bring a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment when tried.

Strawberry Salad with Chocolate Dressing:

choc salad

You will need:

1 bag spinach leaves
5 large strawberries cut in half
1/8 cup of feta cheese crumbled
½ of a purple onion
Handful of slivered almonds (sunflower seeds or your nut of choice)
3 oz. of dark chocolate
1 tbsp. of honey
1/8 tsp. of black ground pepper
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup of olive oil
4 tbsp. of water

Place the olive oil in a sauce pan over medium heat, add the chocolate continue to stir the oil and chocolate until it is melted then add the water, pepper and honey, stir until well blended. Remove from heat and let cool 8 minutes. After the 8 minutes add the balsamic vinegar, stir until well blended.

chocolate dressing

Thinly slice the purple onions and place in a skillet that has been drizzled with olive oil. Cook the onions until they become soft, limp and begin to lose their color. Remove the onions from the skillet and place in an airtight container. Take a portion of the dressing and coat the onions on all sides. Place the onions in the refrigerator to cool. Also place the chocolate dressing in a container to cool in the frig for about 30 minutes.

spinach berries feta

Remove half of the onions from the dressing and place on a salad plate. Add the spinach leaves (make sure they are washed and all water has been spun off) Add the feta cheese, strawberries and almonds. Drizzle the chocolate dressing in a zigzag motion over your salad and enjoy.

This next recipe I ran across on ABC Health and Well Being it looks pretty tasty so I am passing it along…

Orange Mint and Chocolate Salad:

orange salad
• 3 oranges, peeled and thinly sliced
• 2 sprigs of mint, washed and leaves picked off the stem
• zest and juice of 1 lime
• 2 tsp of honey
• 20g dark chocolate, grated

Place the orange slices onto a large plate and sprinkle the mint and lime zest over them. In a separate bowl, whisk together the honey and lime juice. Pour this over the oranges and then top with the grated chocolate. Sweet, Simple, Enjoy!