Mini Valentine’s Chocolate Cake (Cheat)

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I went through so much to get this cake to work (none of which should discourage you from making it! You’ll see…)

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So Valentine’s Day is coming up, and I figured I’d find a mini chocolate cake to bake in my heart-shaped cake pan and share that with you guys!

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I found the perfect recipe. I precisely measured out all my ingredients and mixed them together, only to find that the batter had turned into a thick dough instead of a silky cake batter. In my state of despair, I added in a splash of milk to thin the batter, but no luck. I was utterly confused. Everything was perfect…right?

I decided to take a look at the recipe again, reading the first ingredients and – oh. It called for 1/2 cup of flour, but because I’m so used to making full-sized cakes, my mind automatically processed it as 1 1/2 cups. uGH. Unfortunately, I had to discard that batter (after eating a bit of it, of course), and starting over. You can observe this failure here:

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Also, the cake is meant for a 6-inch circle pan, but mine is heart-shaped so it’s smaller. I had a little bit of leftover cake batter, which I made into a cute little bear cake! I was planning on drawing on it’s little eyes and nose and mouth with melted white chocolate, only to find that I don’t have white chocolate at home. Since when is that a thing?? What happened to my emergency stash of 3 white chocolate bars?

And lastly, lighting was not my friend today. I must’ve tried taking photos in at least 6 different locations around the house, hence the inconsistency with backgrounds in these photos.

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Despite all that, the cake itself turned out amazing. Look at how fluffy it rose! It’s so fluffy and has the perfect chocolate flavor to it. If you wish, a chocolate ganache would pair beautifully with it, but a dusting of icing sugar works just fine as well.

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Mini Valentine’s Chocolate Cake

Adapted from Dessert for Two

Makes one 6-inch round cake

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (70g) all-purpose flour
  • 5 tablespoons (37g) cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup (100g) sugar
  • 1/3 cup full-fat sour cream or yogurt
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon warm coffee
  • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
  • Powdered sugar or chocolate ganache (optional)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees Celsius or 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, sugar, sour cream or yogurt, egg, vanilla extract, and coffee
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips
  5. Transfer the batter into a lined and greased 6-inch round cake pan and bake for 29-32 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean
  6. Dust with powdered sugar or drizzle with chocolate ganache (optional)

Banana Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies (Clean)

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Happy New Year, everyone! (yes, I know, it’s been like two weeks but still).

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I hope that you all had an amazing Christmas and New Year’s. I definitely did. I spent the first Christmas at home for as long as I can remember. It was full of good food and good times and was probably one of the best ones ever.

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Now, it’s back to school. To be fair, workload was alright in the first week back, but I’m also training for a swim meet, which requires waking up early sometimes and leaves me tired all the time. So, you could probably guess (and if you follow me on Instagram, you’d know) that I’ve been pretty lazy with breakfast and food in general these days. I’ve just grabbed a Squarebar and a couple bread rolls for breakfast, but also – these cookies!

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I’ve always had my doubts with making healthy cookies. Cookies are just so technical, but these turned out beautifully. They aren’t super sweet, so they make a perfect on-the-go snack. I’d definitely want to have a batch of these in my fridge at all times. They’re healthy and delicious and studded with chocolate and they’re perfect.

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These cookies are soft, but hold their shape very well. They’re also slightly chewy thanks to the added oats.

And of course, chocolate makes everything better, so there’s that…

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Banana Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Adapted from Ambitious Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 large overripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 1/4 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/4 cups rolled oats
  • 2/3 cup chocolate chips

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 190 degrees Celsius or 375 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt and baking soda
  3. In another bowl using an electric hand mixer, or in the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the coconut oil, coconut sugar, vanilla extract, and egg together until smooth
  4. Mix in the mashed banana
  5. Fold in flour mixture until just combined, before folding in the oats and chocolate chips
  6. Use a cookie scoop to drop dough onto prepared baking sheet, flattening them down slightly
  7. Bake for 10-13 minutes until edges are golden brown

Chocolate Chip Almond Ice Cream (Cheat)

Summer is coming to an end (nooo), but that doesn’t mean you have to stop eating ice cream. I have so much ice cream in my freezer, I’ll probably be eating it all the way to October.

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I’m back from South Africa, and it was seriously amazing. God, I love animals. The highlights of my summer vacation were volunteering for a sea turtle conservation project in Sri Lanka and going on game drives in South Africa. Both such unforgettable experiences. I didn’t go to summer camp or write my Extended Essay (because I accidentally lost all my data oops), but nevertheless, it was a summer well spent.

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I’m quite devastated that summer vacation’s coming to an end. School starts tomorrow and I’m not academically prepared to be hit with the workload sitting around the corner. I’m not physically ready either, and by that, I mean I literally had just one night to adjust to a 6-hour time difference. Waking up at 7am will be equivalent to waking up at 1am. Welp.

But of course – I’m incredibly excited to see my friends and teachers again. Hi Anna. Hi Rebecca. Hi Bill. Hi Mr. Lugt.

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Back to the ice cream, though. This chocolate and almond ice cream is amazing. Based on the opinions of others, this recipe, and a recipe for mint chocolate chip ice cream (yet to be posted), are the best ice creams ever. That being said, they haven’t tried all the ice creams I’ve made (sometimes I’ll finish it all before anyone else can get to it – oops), but still, I stand by their opinions. This ice cream is really damn good.

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The ice cream base is a simple one – creamy and perfectly sweet. Then as the ice cream churns, you add in your chopped, aromatic almonds and the best part – the chocolate.

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I used to love making nana ice cream and pouring melted chocolate over the top, watching it set. This is the same. As the ice cream churns, you pour in a thin stream of melted chocolate, which sets instantly when coming in contact with the cold ice cream. Thus, you end up with chocolate distributed throughout all the ice cream, with chocolate in every bite, pairing beautifully with the full crunch of the chopped almonds. It’s a perfect combination, really.

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Note: Feel free to double the recipe if you wish. I made a smaller batch because my ice cream machine is quite small and I’d have to make the ice cream in two batches otherwise.

Chocolate Almond Ice Cream

Adapted from Lovely Little Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cups whole milk
  • 1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips or chunks
  • 1/4 cup roasted, salted almonds, chopped

Method

  1. Freeze your ice cream maker ahead of time (according to manufacturers instructions)
  2. In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the milk and sugar together until the sugar has dissolved
  3. Add in the heavy cream, vanilla extract, and almond extract, and whisk until combined
  4. Pour the mixture into the ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturers instructions
  5. While the ice cream is churning, melt the chocolate in the microwave at 10-second intervals, stirring in between, until the chocolate has completely melted
  6. When the ice cream has reached a soft consistency, pour 2/3 of the melted chocolate in a thin stream over the churning ice cream
  7. Add in 2/3 of the almonds to the churning ice cream
  8. When the ice cream has finished churning, transfer it into a storage container, and sprinkle on  the remaining almonds, and drizzle the last of the melted chocolate over it
  9. Freeze for at least 3 hours. Allow to thaw before serving.

4-Ingredient Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough (Clean)

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I’ve been making cookies a lot these days, and I’ll admit that I’ve been eating a lot of the raw cookie dough as well (*gasp* salmonella!), but hey – I’m not sick yet!

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Anyways, you can stop making excuses for eating the raw cookie dough (“I’m making sure the cookies will taste good…”). Instead – you may as well just make an entire batch of safe-to-eat cookie dough. Wait, no…sorry, I meant an entire batch of safe-to-eat healthy cookie dough!

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I swear, this healthy cookie dough is healthier than any baked-cookie dough you’ve ever had, but it tastes just as good. It has the same sweetness and flavor and texture and it’s studded with plenty of chocolate chips. Except, with this one, you don’t need to worry about raw eggs or raw flour or any other bad stuff.

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All you need is to grab 3 ingredients, throw them all into a food processor, throw on some chocolate chips, grab a spoon, and dig in!

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4-Ingredient Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

Ingredients

  • 1 (400g) can white beans or garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter, crunchy or smooth
  • 2 tbsp honey (can sub with any liquid sweetener of choice)
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)

Method

  1. In a food processor, process the beans, peanut butter, honey, and vanilla extract until fully combined and smooth
  2. Stir in the chocolate chips
  3. Eat! Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.

No-Churn Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream (Cheat)

IT’S BEEN TOO LONG SINCE I’VE POSTED ICE CREAM!

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I’ve started keeping ice cream in my freezer for a few months now, even though it only recently started warming up. Nevertheless, I figured most people wouldn’t be appealed to an ice cream recipe until it was ice cream weather. Two months ago, I got all prepared to write this post, when I checked Snapchat and opened a snap from my dear friend in the US and found out – it’s snowing?? Then, a month later, I checked my Snapchat again and SORTED Food’s story claimed that it was snowing in the UK….But now, I think it’s safe to say that it’s ice cream weather.

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I’ve been currently obsessed with ice cream. Every time my friend and I stay after school to study, we always go to the grocery store and get ice creams first. It’s a bad habit that I don’t plan on breaking anytime soon.

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The ice cream recipe I’m sharing today is an easy one. It’s the kind that takes 4 ingredients and 5 minutes to put together. Yup, you heard me right. 4 ingredients. 5 minutes. (FYI – 5 minutes to throw together. That doesn’t include chilling time, but still, that’s pretty awesome.)

And you don’t even need an ice cream machine!

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No-Churn Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 14oz sweetened condensed milk
  • ½-1 teaspoons peppermint extract, to taste
  • 4-5 drops green food coloring (optional)
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Method

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a regular mixing bowl using an electric hand mixer, whip the cream on high speed until stiff peaks form
  2. Gently whip in the condensed milk, peppermint extract, and food coloring, until fully combined
  3. Fold in the chocolate chips
  4. Pour into a container and cover with plastic film/aluminum foil. Freeze for at least 6 hours
  5. Allow to thaw for 10 minutes before serving

Chocolate and Walnut Breakfast Cookies (Clean)

I usually try to keep things from being repetitive on this blog, and by that, I mean I never post two muffin recipes without at least 4 other types of recipes in between. Yeah….that’s changed. It’ll probably be a one-time thing, but nonetheless, I’m guilty.

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Two posts ago was the recipe for these AMAZING cranberry and dark chocolate oatmeal cookies. In that post, I told you guys that my new favorite go-to snack were cookies, and I still stand by that. I am literally eating one of these cookies as I type.

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These cookies have the classic chewy texture of any other oatmeal cookie, with a slightly crispy exterior, especially when you re-heat them in the oven. When heated, they get so aromatic thanks to the walnuts, and the chocolate chunks melt and go all gooey and you will find yourself eating more cookies than you planned, but that’s okay, cause they’re pretty damn good for you.

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Chocolate and Walnut Breakfast Cookies

Adapted from Half-Baked Harvest

Makes 25 cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter or almond butter
  • 2 medium ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips or chunks
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees Celsius or 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, flaxseed, baking soda, and salt
  3. In a microwave safe bowl, microwave the coconut oil and peanut butter together for 30 seconds, then whisk to combine. Add in the mashed bananas, egg, honey, and vanilla extract and whisk until combined
  4. Add the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until the dough comes together. Fold in the dark chocolate and walnuts until well combined
  5. Scoop out a heaped tablespoon of the cookie dough and roll into a ball. Place onto a greased or lined baking sheet and flatten into your desired shape. They will not spread while baking. Repeat this for all of the dough
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes

Cranberry and Dark Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies (Clean)

Healthy oatmeal cookies are my life right now! My old go-to snack were healthy muffins, but now, cookies have undoubtedly taken first place (sorry, muffins, I still love you).

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Where do I start with these cookies?

They’re gluten-free, and aren’t insanely sweet like your average cookie, which means that you can eat two (or three!) without feeling sickly full. Nevertheless, they’ve definitely got that comforting oatmeal flavor, which pairs beautifully with the subtle, fruity flavor of cranberries and the undeniable richness of the dark chocolate chunks.

Gotta say – the dark chocolate chunks are probably my favorite part. Chocolate chunks in any recipe will be my favorite part.When it comes to chocoholics like me, it’s inevitable, and when I say chocoholic, I mean chocoholic. I can’t (okay, rarely) go a day without eating chocolate. I just indulged in a decent bunch of chocolate truffles, the ones with the crispy little pieces inside. They’re so good, and apparently each one is over 100kcal but that didn’t stop me from eating 5. You see where I’m going with this? If I ever decided to do a calorie-restricting diet (FYI: never happening), I’d insist that chocolate doesn’t count towards my daily calorie count. How could it? Chocolate is a joy in life that must not be denied.

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But moving on from the chocolate, these cookies are seriously the perfect snack. They’re filling, and satisfy your sweet tooth. I actually like to stick them into my nana ice creams, mostly because aesthetics, but I’m always incorporating these cookies into my nana ice creams and it’s become an obsession. I can’t get enough. I’ve been luxuriating in nana ice cream with cookies and the weather’s still hanging around the negatives. See? I’ve been willing to sacrifice my scarce warmth for the sake of nana ice cream with these amazing oatmeal cookies. I hope you’re convinced – these cookies are the s**t.

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Oh, and LEO WON AN OSCAARRR!

Fun fact: He’s a vegetarian

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One last side note – be gentle when chopping up cranberries. They do not go down without a fight. As I was chopping them up, I had to gently squish them with the knife. If I dared to get aggressive, they would too, shooting out streaks of deep red juice, leaving every object within a 2-meter radius (including me) covered in red dots. Lesson learned: cranberries like to die a slow, gentle death.

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(Update Mar 8. 2016:  I made another batch of those cranberry and dark chocolate oatmeal cookies three days ago, and now there’s only one left. They’re that good. That’s like, 5 cookies a day. I have no regrets.)

Cranberry and Dark Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

Adapted from Amy’s Healthy Baking

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (100g) quick-cooking/instant oats (gluten-free, if necessary)
  • ¾ cup (90g) whole wheat or gluten-free flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons (28g) coconut oil, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup (120mL) maple syrup or honey
  • ½ cup (55g) cranberries, chopped*
  • 3 tablespoons (42g) chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chips
*You can also use frozen cranberries that have been thawed
Method
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the oats, flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the coconut oil, egg, vanilla extract, and maple syrup. Fold in the flour mixture until just combined, before folding in the cranberries and 2 tablespoons of the dark chocolate
  3. Chill the cookie dough in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit or 160 degrees Celsius
  4. Place the cookie dough in 12-15 rounded scoops onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and flatten them into desired thickness and size. The cookies won’t spread much or change shape as they bake. Press on the remaining chocolate pieces on top and bake for 9-12 minutes
  5. Cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two weeks