Chocolate Fondue

I can’t believe I haven’t shared my chocolate fondue recipe yet! Chocolate + Strawberries = my all-time favorite combo.  So good. And, with this easy fondue recipe, you can enjoy chocolate-dipped strawberries, bananas, graham crackers, rice krispie treats, and more for a fraction of the cost of eating at a fondue restaurant. This is my favorite at-home date night and a perfect way to celebrate Valentine’s Day… or President’s Day… or Labor Day… or Tuesday…

The recipe is from Fondue and Hot Dips, although we’ve tweaked it a tiny bit. As far as the chocolate chips, I don’t think you can go wrong. My sister prefers to use a mixture of milk chocolate chips and bittersweet chocolate chips (both Ghirardelli brand); we usually opt for the less expensive Tollhouse semi-sweet chips. I think both are delicious. Both favorites. (Name that comedian!)

chocolate fondue recipe

Chocolate Fondue:

  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 2 2/3 cup chocolate chips
  • 3 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp. dark rum or other liqueur, optional (we don’t normally add this)

Heat the whipping cream in a sauce pan over medium heat, stirring often, until it starts to bubble around the edge. (Watch this carefully, so you don’t scald the cream.)

Remove from heat and whisk in chocolate chips until smooth.  Add vanilla (and liqueur, if desired). Transfer mixture to a fondue pot and keep warm over low heat while you dip.

We usually make the full recipe and serve it over the course of a few nights. In the fondue pot, it heats up easily and is just as delicious the next night. When I’ve microwaved the chocolate to reheat it, it tends to get grainy.

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You can check out my other Valentine’s Day ideas here. And, if you’re interested in other types of fondue, be sure to check out my recipes for meat fondue and cheese fondue.  Happy dipping!

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Unbaked Cookies

unbaked cookies

These chocolate-oatmeal unbaked cookies are a must-have part of Christmas for me. I used to make them with my mom and sister every year and I’m pretty sure the recipe was originally my great-grandma’s.  So, even though I wasn’t feeling as much like baking as I’d planned, I made sure to make these cookies this week.

These are a great recipe to make with kids – Beach Girl was able to help with every step of the process. (Beach Baby just grabbed handfuls mouthfuls of dough at every opportunity.) I will warn you, though, rolling them is messy. It took quite a few deep breaths on my part as cookie dough covered our dining room table, chairs, and floor, but I’m so glad we did it and Beach Girl had a blast.

unbaked cookies

Here’s the recipe:

Unbaked Cookies

  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 sticks butter
  • 6 cups quick oats
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla
  • Powdered sugar
Combine sugar, milk, cocoa powder, and butter in a large pot. Bring to a boil, stirring often.
Add 6 cups of quick oats and stir.
Allow to cool several hours. Then, add 1 Tablespoon vanilla.
Roll into balls and cover with powdered sugar.
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One of my favorite things about these cookies is that they actually get better with time. They’re pretty good the day you make them, but the next day, they are out of this world. Perfect for a gift or to bring to a Christmas party!

Last year, Beach Dad took them to work and everyone thought he’d gotten them at a bakery. This year, his coworkers aren’t so lucky; he said he wanted to keep them all for himself haha!

What is your must-have Christmas food? Oddly enough, I think our family’s traditional foods are turning out to be crockpot BBQ chicken for Christmas Eve dinner and homemade cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning.

Best Chocolate Cupcake Recipe

A few years ago, I found the best ever chocolate buttercream frosting recipe. Seriously, the best. The only problem was that I hadn’t found a chocolate cake recipe worthy of being paired with it. I was so desperate that it got to the point where I was trying two different cake recipes for each birthday or holiday in an attempt to speed up the process. Finally, a few months ago, I found what I was looking for: a moist chocolate cake that isn’t too sickeningly sweet. Thank you, Pinterest!  I made cupcakes based off of this recipe for Chocolate Stout Cake that night, and they were gone the next day.  I made them for Easter with extended family so we had some help but, to be honest, they probably would have been gone anyway.  They have earned their spot as my favorite chocolate cupcakes and I’ve been searching for a reason to make them again ever since!

As a late Father’s Day gift to my husband (and myself!), I made them again tonight and am thrilled to share the recipe with you:

Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes

2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2/3 cup plain yogurt
1 cup Guinness (yes, that Guinness. As in the beer. Trust me!)

  • Set the oven at 350 degrees and line your cupcake pans.
  • Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium-sized bowl.
  • In a large bowl, melt the butter.  Next, add cocoa powder and stir until smooth.
  • Add sugar, vegetable oil, and eggs to the cocoa-butter mixture and whisk well.
  • Stir in half the flour mixture, followed by the yogurt and Guinness, and then the rest of the flour mixture.  Stir just until blended.
  • Spoon into cupcake pans and cook for 15-20 minutes.

Bonus tip: Since Guinness is not our favorite beer and it’s fairly expensive, I was excited to find that you can buy individual bottles at Trader Joe’s.

Allow the cupcakes to cool completely (if you can!), while you make the world’s best icing.  Really. I’ve tried a few of the famous cupcake bakeries in DC and NYC, but their icings have nothing on this one.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting (based off this vanilla buttercream recipe)

3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted* butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I often add 2 because the more vanilla, the better in my mind!)
1-2 Tablespoons whipping cream
Cocoa

  • Use a stand mixer with the whisk attachment to combine the sugar and butter.  Mix on low speed until blended and then increase speed to medium.  Around this point, I always worry that I did something wrong because it looks all clumpy and dry.  But, keep on mixing.  It generally takes 3-5 minutes at medium speed until it becomes more creamy.
  • Add cocoa.  The amount will depend on how dark you like your chocolate.  I generally end up adding between 1/4-1/2 cup.  Taste lots of samples until it’s the way you like it.
  • Then, add the vanilla and mix.  Slowly add whipping cream, starting with 1 Tbsp and mixing on medium after each addition until it is the consistency you prefer.  If you want to use a piping bag, you’ll want the consistency to be fairly runny so that it will easily pipe through the bag.

In case you were wondering, like I was, it seems to be okay to leave the icing unrefrigerated (even though it contains butter and cream) because the sugar acts as a preservative.  I wouldn’t leave it out for days, but I’ve left iced cupcakes out overnight without a problem.

*Important update: Make sure to use unsalted butter.  If you use salted butter (like I did tonight), you’ll only have almost the best icing ever. Bummer.