Walnut Fudge Brownies

20180520_030512When a chocolate craving screams out for your attention, nothing is easier or more comforting than a brownie. Even if the craving hits at night, just a quick raid of the pantry will likely provide all the ingredients needed to create the perfect pan. Without a doubt, brownies are my go to sweet when I need a delicious treat but don’t have the energy or time to make something more elaborate.

20180520_110531Whether made as a post-dinner treat or after school snack, brownies are highly customizable to satisfy any and all tastes. They can be void of add-ins to keep them simply fudgy or they can be filled and topped with a multitude of different flavor and texture profiles to suit any occasion or craving. Even though there’s much fun to be had creatively with brownies, I elected to stick to a classic, the fudgy walnut. One, if not THE most popular brownie variation, this recipe takes the intense richness even further with high-quality cocoa, melted chocolate, and chocolate chips.

20180520_030629If you decide to give these fudgy treats studded with crunchy walnuts a try, they will take you about 15 minutes to prep and about 30 minutes in the oven. Once cooked, store in an airtight container for up to 3 days. When ready to serve, you have the option of cutting the brownies into a traditional size or into smaller, bite-size portions. A traditional size will yield you approximately 9 large brownies while the bite-size portions will yield approximately 20 servings. The bite-size portions are perfect for those needing to serve a large crowd or those who live a healthy lifestyle and want to indulge without growing a bulge. If you elect to cut the brownies into small portions, each serving will contain approximately 186 calories, 4 g. saturated fat, 4 g. protein, 24 g. carbs, 3 grams fiber, 30 mg cholesterol, 1 mg iron, 74 mg sodium, and 23 mg calcium. I used white whole-wheat flour to make these healthier for my lifestyle, however you can substitute all-purpose flour if you do not mind a change in the above nutrition facts. No matter how, why, or when you choose to enjoy these brownies, I know you will not be disappointed by this revived and healthier take on a classic!

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Walnut Fudge Brownies

 

Ingredients:

  • 3.4 ounces White Whole-Wheat Flour (about ¾ cup)
  • 1 cup Granulated Sugar
  • ¾ cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • ½ cup packed Light Brown Sugar
  • ½ tsp. Baking Powder
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • 1 cup Bittersweet Chocolate Chips; divided
  • 1/3 cup Fat-Free Milk
  • 6 tbsp. Unsalted Butter; melted
  • 1 tsp. pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Large Eggs; lightly beaten
  • ½ cup Chopped Walnuts; divided
  • Cooking Spray

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Coat a 9 inch square metal baking pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, granulated sugar, cocoa powder, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a small, microwave-safe bowl, combine ½ cup of the chocolate chips and milk. Microwave the mixture on high for 1 minute, stirring after 30 seconds. Stir in the butter, vanilla, and eggs.
  4. Add the milk mixture, remaining ½ cup of chocolate chips, and ½ cup of walnuts to the flour mixture. Stir until just combined.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Sprinkle with the remaining ½ cup of walnuts. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs attached. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. Cut into squares and serve.

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: MAUREEN CALLAHAN
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2018

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Skinny Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes

20180309_182917Although we are well into the second week of March, I want to rewind for a moment to last month. February is traditionally dedicated to heart health and love and in honor of that theme I created this delicious, sweet treat that is healthier for your heart. I initially served these to my family for Valentine’s Day but have recently made them again as a high protein treat for post workouts. No matter if you add protein powder or just want a healthier treat, these cupcakes are perfect for serving yourself and your loved ones long after the 14th of February.

20180309_182958To make these cupcakes “skinny”, I replaced the traditional use of butter with mashed banana. To sneak in some whole-grains, I swapped whole-wheat flour for the typically used all-purpose. Before baking, each cupcake received a natural pop of red color from a few raspberries placed on top of the batter. This recipe makeover results in a delicious 88 calorie cupcake with no saturated fat, 2 grams of protein, and 1 gram of fiber. A sweet treat to share without any of the guilt!

20180309_182110Note: If you want to make these into protein cupcakes, add a scoop of your favorite chocolate or vanilla protein powder. This will result in each cupcake containing approximately 91 calories, 0 grams saturated fat, 4 grams protein, and 2 grams fiber, depending on the brand of powder. This recipe will produce approximately 24 cupcakes.

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Skinny Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup White Whole-Wheat Flour
  • 1 cup Cane Sugar
  • ½ cup unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • ¾ tsp. Baking Powder
  • ¾ tsp. Baking Soda
  • ¼ tsp. Sea Salt
  • 1 Large Egg
  • ½ cup Mashed Banana (about 1 Medium)
  • ½ cup Warm Water
  • ¼ cup Milk
  • ¼ cup Light Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1 ¼ cups Raspberries (about 72)
  • 1 scoop Chocolate or Vanilla Protein Powder (optional)

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line 24 regular size muffin cups with paper liners. Spray each paper liner with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and protein powder (if using). In a different bowl, whisk together the egg, mashed banana, water, milk, oil, and vanilla. Fold the banana mixture into the flour mixture until combined.
  3. Scoop batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling each cup ¾ full. Drop 3 raspberries in the batter of each cup. Bake 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcakes comes out clean.

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: JESSIE SHAFER
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2018

 

Easy Chocolate Chia Pudding

20180201_145246Cold and flu season is in full force this year and it does not seem to be ending any time soon. Whether you turn on the news, go to social media, run into friends, or get a call from family, the topic of colds, flu, and feeling ill is going to be seen or heard. Luckily, I have yet to get sick this year (knock on wood). It is a great achievement considering I have Crohn’s Disease, which automatically puts me at a disadvantage in the fight against germs due to a weakened immune system. I attribute my ability to avoid illness to my healthy diet and lifestyle. I initially learned about nutrition in culinary school then again when I went back to school for my medical degree. Pair that with many years of research about my disease and I have learned a great deal about nutrition and how to naturally prevent illness and disease.

The first step is to understand the immune system/gut connection. A lot of people are unaware that about 70% of your immune system is in your gut. In your intestines there are hundreds of billions of bacteria living there. Most of the bacteria is good while some of it is bad. Once the bad bacteria begins to outnumber the good bacteria, that is when your immune system gets compromised and you are at more risk to get sick. The good news is you can have a lot of control over the ratio of bacteria by ensuring there is more good bacteria (aka probiotics) than bad bacteria. Now this does not mean I am recommending you run out and buy a probiotic supplement. You have many opportunities throughout the day to feed your gut immune-boosting foods like fruits, vegetables, beans, yogurt, spices, fresh herbs, and this easy and indulgent chocolate chia pudding.

20180201_145134Although a sweet and delicious dessert or snack, this pudding contains a quadruple threat of four specific ingredients (kefir, cinnamon, honey, cocoa) known to either feed the good bacteria or directly increase its quantity. Fermented foods like kefir are naturally rich in probiotics. Cinnamon, honey, and cocoa are all rich in antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and anti-bacterial properties. These properties help build up your immunity by lowering the release of arachidonic acid from the membranes that surround the cells. This process also helps lessen inflammation, which is the leading cause of many chronic health problems and diseases. If you want a sweet treat that will also benefit your health, give this easy pudding recipe a try!

Easy Chocolate Chia Pudding

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Plain 1% Kefir
  • ¼ cup Chia Seeds
  • 1 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • ½ tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp. Unsweetened Dark Cocoa Powder
  • 2 tbsp. Raw Honey
  • Dark Chocolate Chips; for topping

Formula:

  1. In a medium bowl combine the kefir, chia seeds, vanilla, cinnamon, cocoa powder, and honey. Cover and refrigerate overnight (or for at least 12 hours).
  2. When ready to serve, remove from the refrigerator and spoon into small bowls. Top each bowl with a few dark chocolate chips and serve.

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: ERIN MACDONALD & TIFFANI BACHUS
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2018

Salted Caramel Brownies

20171108_155227When one door closes another one opens, yet instead of focusing on the closed door, I ended up developing these delicious brownies. The journey began after a long weekend of performances for my daughter at our church’s annual festival, in which I had no time left to shop for food like I normally would. I did manage to squeeze in some time to brainstorm recipes I planned on developing for Thanksgiving, the first of which was to be a lighter & more portable spin on monkey bread. I knew I already had all the ingredients on hand, including the all important yeast.

20171108_155319Well fast forward a few days and I was ready to make monkey bread. I grabbed all my ingredients from the pantry, including the all important yeast, only to discover it had expired ages ago. Any other day I would have just put everything back and started over once I picked up some fresh yeast from the store. The reason I couldn’t do that this time was because my oldest daughter was so excited to bake something I just couldn’t say no.

IMG_20171108_1I quickly searched the pantry for ideas but all the recipes I had begun developing all required ingredients I had yet to purchase so I couldn’t start those either. I spotted some cocoa powder and immediately thought about brownies. I decided that brownies would be quick and easy for her to make and something I had everything on hand for. As an added bonus to my quick thinking, I could easily dress up the brownie base my daughter helped make with caramel, drizzled chocolate, and sea salt, making them decadent enough to share here with all of you. Crisis officially diverted!

20171108_155342So if you need a last-minute, crowd-pleasing dessert or something fun amd easy to make with your kids, these rich layered caramel brownies dusted in flakes of sea salt will not disappoint!

Salted Caramel Brownies

Brownie Ingredients:

  • 3.4 ounces (¾ cup) All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 cup Granulated Sugar
  • ¾ cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • ½ cup packed Light Brown Sugar
  • ½ tsp. Baking Powder
  • 6 tbsp. Unsalted Butter; melted
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • ¼ cup chopped Walnuts; toasted

Topping Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup (4 tbsp.) Unsalted Butter
  • ¼ cup packed Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 ½ tbsp. Evaporated Fat-Free Milk
  • ¼ tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • ½ cup Confectioners’ Sugar
  • 1 oz. Bittersweet Chocolate; coarsely chopped
  • 1/8 tsp. Coarse Sea Salt

 

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly coat an 8 x 8 inch metal pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. To prepare brownies, combine flour, granulated sugar, cocoa powder, brown sugar, and baking powder in a large bowl. In a small bowl combine the 6 tbsp. melted butter, eggs, and 1 tsp. vanilla. Add the butter mixture to the flour mixture, stirring well to combine. Gently stir in the walnuts until just combined.
  3. Scrape batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs attached. Cool brownies completely in pan on a wire rack.
  4. Once brownies have cooled completely, prepare the topping. In a small saucepan, melt 4 tbsp. butter over medium heat. Add ¼ cup brown sugar and milk; cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add vanilla and Confectioners’ sugar. Stir with a whisk until mixture is smooth. Working quickly, spread caramel mixture over brownies, spreading evenly to coat all areas. Let stand 20 minutes or until caramel has set.
  5. Once caramel has set, place chocolate in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave at 50% power for 1 minute, or until melted, stirring every 20 seconds. Once melted stir just until chocolate is smooth then drizzle over caramel topping. Immediately sprinkle with sea salt. Let stand until chocolate sets before cutting into squares.

 

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: MAUREEN CALLAHAN
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2017

 

 

 

No-Bake Double Chocolate Pudding Pie

Untitled-1Chocolate lovers rejoice! This amazing no-bake pie explodes with chocolate flavor and is sure to be loved by any chocoholic. Seriously, what is not to love about an Oreo cookie crust filled with rich and creamy chocolate pudding spiked with a (optional) hint of Kahlua. That’s what I thought…nothing!

20170610_135838Chilled desserts like puddings, pies, ice creams, and sorbets are naturally summer dessert favorites by helping the body stay cool. Additionally, no-bake items are also summer favorites because you do not have to heat up the oven that will make the A/C work that much harder or *gasp* heat up the oven when you don’t even have A/C to cool the house back down.

20170610_135747This chocolate pudding pie is quick and easy to prepare and can be adapted to the tastes of the audience it is serving. For example, if this pie is being served to a grown-up crowd, go ahead and spike the pudding with a shot of Kahlua or white rum for a boozy kick. If the pie is going to be hitting the taste buds of the younger crowd or a mixture of both young and old you may want to skip the shot of alcohol and keep things vanilla with none other than a shot of vanilla extract. Either way you make it, this pie is to die for and you will not regret giving it a try this summer!

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No-Bake Double Chocolate Pudding Pie

Ingredients:

  • 1 (8 in.) prepared Oreo Cookie Pie Crust
  • ¾ cup Granulated Sugar
  • ¼ cup Cornstarch
  • ¼ cup unsweetened Cocoa
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • 1 ¾ cups Milk; divided
  • 2 large Egg Yolks
  • 4 oz. Bittersweet Chocolate; finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp. Kahlua (or 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract)
  • ½ cup Fresh Raspberries (optional)
  • Whipped Cream; for topping (optional)

 

Preparation:

  1. Place prepared Oreo crust in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to chill. Meanwhile, prepare the filling.
  2. In a large saucepan combine the sugar, cornstarch, cocoa, and salt; stir with a whisk. Add half of the milk and the 2 egg yolks. Stir with a whisk until smooth. Add the remaining milk and stir until combined. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes or until thick and bubbly, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
  3. Add the 4 oz. of chocolate and stir until smooth. Stir in the Kahlua (or Vanilla). Pour filling into the prepared crust and cover with plastic wrap. Place pie back in the refrigerator and chill for 4 hours or until set. Serve with raspberries and whipped cream.

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: JEANNE KELLEY
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2017

Spicy Mexican Shortbread Cookies

20170501_150058Cinco de Mayo is tomorrow and there will be festivities all across America and Mexico to celebrate. Whether you want to bring a dish to a party you’re attending or simply desire to serve some Mexican inspired cuisine at home to family then I have just the dessert for you.

20170501_150014Spicy Mexican Shortbread Cookies combine different elements of Mexican cuisine into one delicious cookie, making them the perfect dessert addition to any party table or family dinner. The cookie base features the rich combination of cocoa and cinnamon with a hint of spice from cayenne pepper, all reminiscent of Mexican hot chocolate. The icing is designed to replicate the flavors of dulce de leche and compliment the cookie without conflicting with its complex flavors. Lastly, the sweet and salty pecan topping adds a crunchy texture to an otherwise extremely delicate shortbread cookie base.

20170501_150119Whether you plan to make these cookies as a last-minute treat for Cinco de Mayo or enjoy them at other times of the year, you can’t go wrong with this stellar combination of pecans, chocolate shortbread, and dulce de leche flavored icing!

Spicy Mexican Shortbread Cookies

Cookie Ingredients:

  • 6.75 oz. (1 ½ cups) All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/3 cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • ¼ tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • ¼ tsp. Cayenne Pepper
  • ½ cup Unsalted Butter; softened
  • ½ cup light Olive Oil or Vegetable Oil
  • ¾ cup Powdered Sugar

Icing Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp. Unsalted Butter
  • ½ cup packed Light Brown Sugar
  • ½ cup 1% Low-Fat Milk
  • 1 ¼ cups Powdered Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract

Nut Topping Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp. Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Sea Salt
  • 1 tsp. Unsalted Butter; softened
  • ¾ cup Chopped Pecans

 

Preparation:

  1. To prepare cookies, combine flour, cocoa, cinnamon, salt, and cayenne pepper in a bowl; stir with a whisk.
  2. Place ½ cup butter in the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl if using a hand mixer). With stand or hand mixer set to medium speed, beat until light and fluffy. Gradually add oil and beat 3 minutes or until well blended. Gradually add ¾ cup powdered sugar and beat well. Add the flour mixture and beat at low-speed until well blended. Form dough into a long uniform log, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for 30-45 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 325°. Meanwhile, unwrap chilled dough from plastic wrap and slice into ¼ inch thick slices. Bake for 20 minutes (DO NOT turn off oven after last tray of cookies is removed). Cool 1 minute on baking sheet. Remove from baking sheet and cool completely on a wire rack.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare the icing. Melt 2 tbsp. butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add brown sugar and milk; cook 1 minute or until the sugar dissolves, stirring constantly. Bring mixture to a boil then reduce heat and simmer 3 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Add powdered sugar and vanilla, stirring with a whisk until smooth. If mixture is too thin, add more powdered sugar until icing is thin enough to drizzle over cookie.
  5. To prepare nut topping, arrange pecans on a small baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until toasted. While pecans toast, combine 1 tsp. brown sugar, sea salt, and 1 tsp. butter in a medium bowl. Once pecans have finished toasting, add hot pecans to butter mixture. Immediately toss pecans well to coat. Cool completely.
  6. To assemble cookies, drizzle 1 tsp. of icing over each cookie then sprinkle with chopped pecans. Enjoy!

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: JENNIFER BRUMFIELD
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2017

Chocolate Baklava Bites

20170325_105856Ζητω Η Ελλαδα!!! Χρονια πολλα Ελλαδα!  Long live Greece and Happy Greek Independence Day to all the Greeks around the world! Today is a national holiday in Greece as it marks the start of the Greek war for Independence (March 25, 1821) from the Ottoman Empire (Turks). As a tribute to this important day in Greek history it is only natural I had to make one of if not the most famous Greek dessert around the world…baklava.

20170325_105650As with everything I bake I try to put my own creative spin on it and these mini baklava bites are no exception. I know my version of baklava will probably drive all the yiayia’s (Greek for grandmother) crazy because it does not resemble anything to the traditional baklava they are used to making. However, I feel that given a taste of these bites even my harshest critics would find it hard to resist admitting how great these came out.

20170325_110032-(1)Traditional baklava is a blend of toasted nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios, or walnuts depending on the baker) layered between buttery sheets of fillo then soaked in honey syrup. For my version, I decided to add a hint of chocolate because who doesn’t love chocolate. In order to incorporate the traditional flavor provided by ground hazelnuts, I used some leftover Greek Merenda spread, which is the Greek equivalent of Nutella, to provide a rich hazelnut chocolate flavor.

20170325_105905For such a small dessert these bites do not lack any of the flavor or richness found in traditional recipes. They are great to serve at large gatherings because one recipe makes 30 and their bite size cuts down on the messiness of cutting into and eating the original. I recommend trying this modern version of the classic Greek dessert! Kali Orexi!

Chocolate Baklava Bites

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup Walnuts
  • ¾ cup Almonds
  • ½ cup Honey (preferably Greek)
  • ¼ cup Water
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick
  • 3 tbsp. Sugar
  • 2 tbsp. Unsalted Butter; melted
  • 1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1/8 tsp. Salt
  • ¼ cup Hazlenut-Chocolate Spread (such as Merenda or Nutella)
  • 2 boxes Mini Fillo Shells; 15 shells each

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Arrange walnuts & almonds on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until golden & fragrant, about 5 to 8 minutes. Allow nuts to cool slightly.
  2. Meanwhile, add the honey, water, and cinnamon stick to a small saucepan set over medium heat. Stir until honey dissolves. Continue to cook, without stirring, until a candy thermometer reaches 230°, approximately 10 minutes. Remove from heat and keep warm. Discard cinnamon stick.
  3. Add the slightly cooled nuts to the bowl of a food processor along with the sugar, butter, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt. Pulse to combine.
  4. Place hazelnut-chocolate spread in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for 30 seconds or until melted. Place mini fillo shells into wells of 2 mini cupcake tins. Working quickly place 1 tsp. of melted hazelnut spread into the bottom of each fillo shell. Next, top each fillo shell with 1 tsp. of the nut mixture. Bake in oven until filling is hot and fillo is golden, about 10 minutes.
  5. Pour 1 tsp. of honey syrup into each fillo cup while warm. Allow syrup to soak in and then add another 1 tsp. to each cup. Refrigerate at least 5 hours but preferably overnight for flavors to develop.

 

PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2017