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S’more Thanks – Healthy and Decadent Chocolate Recipe Hostess Gift Idea

By February 25, 2017 chocolate, Desserts, Dinner Party, General, Party Ideas, Recipies
home made chocolate recipe

Are you looking for a sweet DIY hostess gift to bring to a dinner party? I have created this fantastic recipe for healthy and decadent chocolates. Best of all this is an easy gift to put together. All you need is twine, a mason jar (found at Micheal’s), the ingredients (found in the recipe below), and the printable recipe card. Crafting a hostess gift from scratch is a wonderful way to make your host feel special. Handmade gifts are more personal, and the fact that they cannot be found in a store makes this a unique and memorable sentiment.

home made chocolate recipe

Once you have everything you need, tie the recipe card to a mason jar which has all of the dry ingredients layered on top of each other. Make a note to “just add wet ingredients” and add the recipe card to it with some twine or a ribbon. If your hostess loves red wine, pair the chocolate with a bottle of Pinot Noir and add it to your gift. Wrap the bottle with a matching “Thank You” wine sleeve (as seen in the image above) to tie the complete look together. You can even make these chocolates ahead of time and bring them for desert. Information on where to download a free “Just Add Wet Ingredients” card and “Thank You” wine sleeve can be found at the end of this article.

This decadent chocolate recipe uses all natural raw organic CACAO Nibs which is a Mayan super food that helps to boost energy and burn fat. No guilt there! In addition to the rich dark coco taste, they are high in antioxidants, magnesium and phenylethalaine. I like them because their texture adds an enjoyable crunch to this recipe.

Ingredients
1/2 cup CACAO Nibs (Found in health food stores)
3/4 cups almonds (or desired nuts)
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
1 tsp cocoa
2 cups grain sweetened non-dairy chocolate chips
1/4 cup hemp milk
Dried cherries or cranberries
30 mini paper cupcake liners

Directions
Pulse the almonds in a food processor. Add CACAO nibs, coconut, and cocoa. Pulse a few more times. Add brown rice syrup and pulse until completely blended, scraping down the sides as necessary.

In a double boiler melt chocolate chips. Add hemp milk and stir until completely mixed. Add about 1 tsp of melted chocolate to mini cupcake liners. Layer with about a tsp or less of almond mixture. Don’t worry if the almond mixture doesn’t spread evenly. No big deal! Then add another layer of melted chocolate until the almond mixture is completely covered. Top with a dried cherry (my favorite) or dried cranberry. Refrigerate for one hour. Then enjoy after a long day with a nice glass of red wine.

Makes 30 Chocolates

home made diy chocolate recipe

If you would like to download the recipe card used in this article it can be found on Etsy at VG Invites or by clicking on this link >> Home Made Chocolate Recipe Card

FREE printable “Just Add Wet Ingredients” card and “Thank You” wine sleeves can be downloaded at www.VGInvites.com or by clicking on this link and scrolling to the bottom of the article. >> S’more Thanks I have repurposed this article from my S’more Thanks Bridesmaid Gift Ideas because I thought that it would make a lovely hostess gift as well.

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Cheesecake Filled Strawberries

By February 16, 2017 breakfast, Brunch and Bubbly, Desserts, Dinner Party, food, General, Recipies

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The other day I made my Pineapple Coconut Carrot Naked Cake and I had some left over cream cheese frosting. If you have found yourself in the same predicament, then you will love this recipe. It is simple. First cut the tops and tips off your strawberries, scoop out the center, and fill with cream cheese frosting. You will want to sprinkle some graham cracker crust (or cinnamon works nicely as well. I am in love with cinnamon and cream together) over the top to finish it off. Arrange on a platter. I do a little volunteer work at my local art center. I brought these in to share with the group and they absolutely LOVED them! If you are making this recipe from scratch read on for directions on how to make the cream cheese filling.

cheese cake filled strawberries

Ingredients

1 bushel of strawberries
5 graham crackers crushed
1 package of Philadelphia Cream Cheese (or any cream cheese you like) softened.
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar (or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Directions

Cut the tops and the tips off of your strawberries so that they won’t topple over when placed on a serving tray. Scoop out their cavities.

Beat cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla extract together in a bowl until smooth. Spoon into a piping bag. Fill the cavities of the cored strawberries with the cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle with crushed graham crackers.

Arrange on a dish. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve. Bon Appétit!

Have you tried these? What do you think? Share your comments below.

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Pineapple Coconut Carrot Naked Cake

By February 12, 2017 Brunch and Bubbly, Desserts, General, Party Ideas, Recipies
cream cheese frosting recipe

With this weekend’s brunch and bubbly with the girl’s quickly approaching, I am scrambling to get things done. My theme is tropical and I wanted to bake something special for the ladies that would be pretty and have a tropical flair. Now I love a good cream cheese frosting. Who doesn’t right? The problem is carrot cake is the only thing that comes to mind when thinking of cream cheese frosting. So I added some pineapple and coconut to the recipe. It is sure to to leave my guests obsessing over this cake.

pineapple coconut carrot cake

Make this indulgent cake the next time you are having guests for brunch or dinner. You are sure to be the belle of your ball.

PINEAPPLE COCONUT CARROT NAKED CAKE

Cake Ingredients
2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/3 cups vegetable oil
3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups plus 1 Tbl all-purplose flour, divided
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 lb grated carrots
1/2 cup diced fresh pineapple
1/2 cup shredded coconut

Frosting Ingredients
3/4 lb cream cheese at room temperature
1/2 lb unsalted butter at room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 lb confectioners’ sugar sifted
1/4 cup shredded coconut

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Butter 2 8-inch round cake pans.

Cake:

Beat sugar, oil, and eggs together in a bowl with an electric mixer until light yellow. Add vanilla. In another bowl, sift together 2 1/2 cups of flour, the cinnamon, baking soda, and salt.

Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients in the large bowl. Add carrots, pineapple and coconut to the batter and mix well.

Divide the batter equally between the 2 cake pans. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool completely in the pans.

Frosting:

Mix the cream cheese, butter and vanilla in a  bowl with an electric mixer until just combined. Add sugar and mix until smooth.

Optional: Arrange rosemary or thyme on a cake pedestal for decoration. I am in love with this rustic look.

Place 1 cake layer, flat-side up, on a cake pedestal. With a spatula, spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on top with the rounded side up. Spread the frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake. To achieve this trendy naked cake look scrape the frosting from the sides.

Sprinkle the shredded coconut over the top of the cake. If desired add a slice of pineapple and a sprig of rosemary as a garnish.

At a loss for what to do with the extra cream cheese frosting? Try my cheesecake filled strawberry recipe.

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Victoria’s Recipe Box – My Favorite Gluten Free Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

By February 10, 2017 Cookies, Desserts, General, Recipies
Gluten Free Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Most of you may know that I am originally form the North East. While living in New England I created my recipe for this gluten free vegan chocolate chip cookie recipe. They are made with real maple syrup from Wilmer A. Livingston’s shed  in Foster, RI. There was something about the intoxicating aroma’s of the tree sap being boiled down to produce that amazing maple flavor, that I couldn’t help but purchase two jars for our morning pancakes that day. I soon discovered that the yummy sweetness would be a perfect compliment (and alternative sweetener) to the rich chocolate chunks and shredded coconut in my cookie recipe. And maple syrup is naturally low glycemic. It was a win win.

vegan chocolate chip cookie recipe

Most of the ingredients for my recipe were purchased at Whole Foods Market. However, you can find them at any health food store. Enjoy!

Ingredients
2 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup date sugar
1 1/3 cups gluten free all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch salt
1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
3/4 tsp Guar Gum
1 tsp. Vanilla
5 Tbs softened Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks
2 medium ripe bananas
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 cup vegan choc chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Directions
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Combine oats, sugar, flour, baking soda, salt, guar gum and coconut in a large bowl. In a medium bowl beat vanilla, buttery sticks, bananas, and maple syrup until smooth and creamy. Add the mixture to the dry ingredients and mix just enough to combine all the ingredients. Fold in chocolate chips and chopped walnuts. Drop by the heaping teaspoon full onto a non stick cookie sheet about 1 1/2 inches a part.  Bake for 12-14 minutes. Remove from the over and cool.

Makes 36 cookies.

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