Mexican Chocolate Snow Caps

These delicious little bites were waiting for Hayley, Sloan, Stella and I when we arrived at big sister Meghan’s house – you can’t have just one!  She made them as peppermint, and they are fabulous.  Gluten free too!



8 oz semi sweet chocolate, chopped

2 tbsp butter

1 1/4 cup ground almonds

1/4 tsp salt

2 large eggs (room temperature)

1/2 cup white sugar

1 tsp ancho chile powder 

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Sifted icing sugar to roll cookies

In a heatproof bowl (over pan of gently simmering water) melt chocolate and butter, stirring until smooth.  Remove from heat.  Stir in almonds and salt.

in a mixing bowl, whisk eggs and sugar until pale and thickened, about 2 minutes.  Add in chocolate mixture and spices.  Fold until well blended.  Cover and put in the fridge until very firm – about 3 hours.

Preheat oven to 350.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.  Form dough into 1 1/4″ balls.  Roll balls in icing sugar.  

Place 2″ apart on trays.  Bake until puffed, starting to crack on top and the edges are firm – about 12 minutes.

So easy to switch these up and make them into Peppermint Caps – substitute the chile powder and cinnamon for 1 tsp peppermint extract.

Backstrap Venison ….. Thai style!

We had the good fortune to have backstrap venison grilled at our good friend Rob and Mandy’s ….Rob being the hunter … and further good fortune as they sent us home with the leftover, rare grilled venison.  It was amazing the first time, and just as fabulous as a “leftover”  … repurposed as a Thai style salad.

The instructions for this are VERY loose.  It involved what I call creative cooking, or clean out the fridge.
Thai Style Backstrap Venison

Pan roast some peanuts, and if you are fortunate enough to have a mortar and pestle, grind them up a bit with about 1 tsp chili flakes (obviously to your taste).  Add tamarind, palm sugar (2 tsp?) freshly squeezed lime juice, light soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, roasted sesame seeds and even a bit of peanut oil.  A little of this, a little of that.  Keep doing that until your taste buds sing and you can hardly wait to dress your salad.

Thinly slice red onion, and pour boiling water over.  10 seconds later, yes, TEN SECONDS, pour the water off – add a bit of kosher salt, a few chili flakes, and cover with freshly squeezed lime juice …. (if you run short top it up with regular vinegar)

Cook up a few ramen noodles, or rice noodles, or whatever you have on hand.

Lay the cooled noodles over a serving platter, and build your salad on top of that with whatever strikes your fancy. (and is in your fridge)   Add some thinly slivered protein – i.e. the venison, or you could use cooked chicken, steak, and prawns.  Again – totally up to you!  (and if you are looking for a vegetarian option – do some tofu!)

Top with the quick pickled red onion, some of your roasted peanuts, sesame seeds – and although I didn’t have any today – I would have loved some bean sprouts and fresh cilantro over it all …..

Chocolate Butter Cream Icing

Pictured here on a moist delicious chocolate cake made with applesauce and buttermilk, it is a perfect (not too sweet) topping. Go ahead and mix it up though – instead of chocolate use raspberry jam for flavoring!

Chocolate Butter Cream Icing

1 cup salted butter

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

3 one ounce squares of melted semi sweet chocolate (make sure to cool it!)

1/2 tsp instant coffee

1-2 tbsp cream

3 – 3 3/4 cups icing sugar

Melt chocolate squares in microwave carefully, until they are smooth – stir and set asdie to cool

Whip the butter until light anf fluffy

Add cocoa powder, beating well


Add instant coffe to 1 tbsp cream, then add to butter mixture

Now, add in enough icing sugar, 1 cup at a time until you have reached the consistency you are looking for – fabulous!

Chocolate Cake (your new favorite!)

This cake is enough on it’s own, so moist and delicious with the buttermilk and applesauce – with a little chocolate butter cream icing on top, but if you are feeling fancy, go ahead and dress it up!  I have photos of this cake a couple of ways – always a hit!


Moist Delicious Chocolate Cake
2 cups butter milk (If you don’t have any buttermilk use regular milk, adding 2 tsp vinegar per cup)

1 cup apple sauce

2/3 cup oil

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla

Blend well and set aside

In a separate bowl sift together:

2 cups flour

2 cups sugar

1 cup cocoa powder

2 tsp baking soda

Gently stir dry ingredients into wet, do not overmix.  When combined, pour into prepared (greased and floured)  baking dish –  9 x 13 baking pan, or 2 layer cake rounds.

Bake at 350 for 35 minutes – check to make sure it is well set before removing from oven.

When I want to fancy this up and make a special occasion cake, I like to use a vanilla cream in between the layers, and also pipe it on top with fruit and a dusting of icing sugar. (Vanilla cream is featured on my Boston Cream Pie recipe) 

I was really fortunate to get this recipe from Gayle – our office works closely with hers, and as a treat, she dropped off this cake to us one day … we were all hooked!

Peanut Butter Cookies

This is THE ONLY peanut butter cookie recipe you will ever need – deliciously addictive!  My good friend Jean gave me this family recipe, from her Aunt Grace, and we have always called them “Jean’s Aunt Grace’s PB Cookies” … 

Peanut Butter Cookies

1 cup butter (or margarine)

1 cup crunchy peanut butter

1 cup white sugar

1 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

2 cups flour

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

Beat butter, peanut butter and sugars until light, fluffy, creamy and smooth.  Add eggs, vanilla and beat until a little frothy.

In a separate bowl mix dry ingredients together.  

Combine dry ingredients with butter sugar mixture and incorporate – you may have to work the last bit with your hands until the batter is smooth and holding together.

Form small balls and place on cookie sheet. (I like to use parchment paper) Press a fork (dipped in flour) both ways on the cookie to create a cross pattern.

Bake at 350 for 10-16 minutes.

Chocolate Molten Lava Cakes

Warm desserts are perfect on cold nights, and warm chocolate oozing out of these cakes with a bit of vanilla ice cream are a real treat – add a few raspberries for a bit of tartness.

Chocolate Molten Lava Cake

4 ounces semi sweet baking chocolate

1/2 cup butter

1 tbsp good red wine (I like Cab Sauv)

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup icing sugar

2 eggs

1 egg yolk

6 tbsp flour

1/4 tsp ground Saigon Cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground ginger

1/8 tsp ground cloves

Preheat oven to 400

Butter 4 6 oz custard cups and place on baking sheet

Microwave chocolate and butter in bowl at 30 second intervals just until butter is melted and you are able to melt the chocolate into it smoothly.  Stir in wine, vanila, and icing sugar until smooth.  Stir in eggs and yolk.  Add flour and spices.  

Pour batter into custard cups.

Bake for 13 minutes (until sides are firm but they are soft in center).  Let stand 1 minute.  

Carefully loosen edges (with knife if necessary) and invert onto serving plate.  Sprinkle with icing sugar and serve with fresh raspberries and a small bit of vanilla ice cream.