Category Archives: chocolate

Drunken Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Cookies

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Are you drunk enough on pumpkin yet? Yeah, I didn’t think so. At least, your answer should have been no. I am here to change that.

Yes kitten! I made this batch of cookies just for you!

This is the second batch of cookies I have baked with a stout beer in the mix. It gives the batter an interesting fluffy texture and makes the cookies poof up in the end. You can smell a hint of it when you bite into these, especially with the added in fleur de sel to enhance the chocolate notes. Think of a pillowy pumpkin raisin cookie but with chocolate chunks, pumpkin seeds, and salt chunks instead.

I had to do quite a bit of tweaking with this batch, but it all worked out in the end (as it usually does). I had to be conservative on the liquid, and add in a bit of whole wheat flour to soak up the excess moisture. Additionally, I would recommend sticking the bowl of batter in the fridge for about a half hour to make it easier to scoop up the batter and form the shape you want. I obviously didn’t do that, but feel free to do whatever you please. I’ve become way less OCD as of late.

Eat these with a glass of pumpkin beer! You’ll get drunk off of drunken pumpkin goodness for sure!

Drunken Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Makes 30 cookies

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin flavored syrup (optional)
  • 1 cup stout (ie. Guinness, Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal)
  • 1 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 2 cups dark chocolate chunks
  • fleur de sel, for topping
  1. Preheat oven to 325° with rack in the oven’s center. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice; set aside.
  3. Using an electric mixer, cream butter and sugars on medium speed until thoroughly blended.
  4. Add eggs, vanilla and pumpkin syrup, and beat on low speed until combined. Add dry mixture until combined, then add stout in small amounts. Mix in seeds and chocolate chunks.
  5. Spoon onto cookie sheet. Sprinkle a few chunks of fleur de sel on top of the cookies and bake about 14 minutes or until golden brown.

Soft Chocolate Stout Cookies

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If you’re anything like me, you too probably have hundreds (or maybe even thousands!) Pinterest recipes pinned onto your boards. My baking board has 224 pins on it at the moment, and the general food(ie) category… 484.

Someday I will make all of these recipes, yes? (psst, here are my boards if you’re interested–let’s be pinning friends!)

I know you’re just as highly ambitious as I am.

That being said, fall is here. And it’s time to get down to business. This is my absolute favorite time of year to cook and bake, so I have a feeling I’ll be chipping away at a majority of those recipes in these upcoming months.

Here’s one that I found over the weekend when I was in the mood for chocolate, and perhaps the easiness and simplicity of baking a batch of cookies. Chocolate cookies with stout in them. Y-U-M.

I had all of the ingredients on hand (also a huge plus when I’m trying to decide on what to make) so I went ahead and did it, and absolutely do not regret it. Between my boyfriend and I, we’ve eaten over half the batch in two days.

The stout adds a spectacular new dimension of flavor, almost something you would never expect. I’ve done chocolate stout cupcakes before, but typically those recipes only call for about 1/4 cup of beer or so, nearly undetectable in the floury texture of the cake. But not in this. 3/4 of a cup, baby, chock full of chocolatey stout goodness.

Definitely a keeper, I’d say. Next time I can’t wait to try it out with a pumpkin stout and add a bit of spice to the mix!

Soft Chocolate Stout Cookies

Adapted from Butter Me Up, Brooklyn

Makes 18-24 cookies

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 + 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup oatmeal stout, ie. Samuel Smith’s (my absolute FAVORITE! plus you’ll have some leftover for drinking, too ;))
  1. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powders, salt, baking soda, baking powder and chocolate chips. In a larger bowl, beat the butter with the sugars until light and fluffy. Add the molasses, vanilla and egg and beat well. Alternate the flour and the beer with the egg mixture until combined.
  2. Chill the dough for about 30 minutes, or until it has firmed up enough to scoop out cookies, and meanwhile toward the end of chilling time, preheat the oven to 350° F. Scoop on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 15-17 minutes or until the top springs back lightly when touched. Cool completely and devour.

Chocolate Pumpkin Icebox Cake

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This 3rd semester of dental hygiene school has been gnarly. GNARLY. Unable to bake hardly anything at all, maybe a few boxes of pre-made pumpkin cake mix for a bake sale here and there. When I finally had a few minutes of downtime, I had a chance to open up the latest issue of Sunset magazine and they had a whole spread of three pumpkin chocolate recipes.
My goal is to make them all at some point, but this particular one stood out to me first:
I’ll admit, it was the stenciled fall leaves that got me.
But hey, this was AMAZING guys. Super easy and super delicious and tastes just like a pumpkin version of tiramisu. You just stick it in the fridge and let it do its thing. I used neufchatel cheese instead of regular cream cheese and I think it’s much more tolerable that way. It would be way too rich with regular. I also only had an 8×8 pan (not 9×9) and that worked out totally fine. My version didn’t turn out as pretty as Sunset’s–my fall leaves came out a bit indiscernible. So that’s why you get their picture instead. It’s way more inspiring. 
No-Bake Pumpkin Chocolate Icebox Cake
Serves 12
Ingredients
3 packages (8 oz. each) neufchatel cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin
2 tablespoons half-and-half or whole milk
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
28 chocolate graham cracker sheets (12 oz. total)
Unsweetened cocoa powder, for dusting
Preparation
1. Beat cream cheese and sugars in a bowl with a mixer on medium speed until smooth. Then beat in pumpkin, half-and-half, salt, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla until smooth and fluffy.
2. Lay enough graham crackers in a 9×9 in. pan to cover bottom (cut to fit if necessary). Spread a quarter of pumpkin mixture over crackers with an offset spatula. Layer 3 more times, ending with pumpkin mixture.
3. Cover; chill overnight. Set leaf cutouts (trace them on paper) on top and dust with cocoa, then remove. Cut cake into squares.

Vegan Chocolate Agave Trailmixers

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So I’ve had this Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar baking book for over a good year now and sadly, haven’t put it to the test much. Isa Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romano always know what they’re doing, as you can tell by the majority of 5 star review on Amazon. Veganomicon, Vegan Cupcakes, Vegan Brunch… they rule the vegan world. Ranging from your good ‘ol chocolate chip cookie (sans eggs, butter, or milk) to “Sell Your Soul” pumpkin cookies (not your typical fluffy and cakey kind, either), peanut apple pretzel drops, mexican chocolate snickerdoodles, whole wheat fig bars, spiced sweet potato blondies (why haven’t I made these yet?!), pumpkin pie brownies, irish creme kisses, lemon bars, lazy samoas (take that, girl scouts!), chocolate chip chai spice shortbread, and last but not least, cookie dough scoops (just to give you a sample out of the 100 recipes available). Insane. You’re bound to want to make every single goddamn one and curse them for being vegan cookie goddess geniuses.
These cookies will make you want to go out for a hike (hence the name), and just as a warning, you’ll probably need to bring a big tumbler of almond milk (or whatever milky liquid suits your fancy) along with you, as well. You really won’t even need to bring the trail mix. All you need is this cookie. You’ve got the pretzels, chocolate, peanuts, dried cranberries, malt balls, white (and dark) chocolate chips. What more could you want? (Yeah. The white chocolate probably doesn’t make it vegan anymore, but WHO CARES. I live 700 miles away from Food Fight grocery and am not a hard-core vegan anyway.)
I can guarantee you’ll love these and will never be able to tell they’re vegan.
See you out on the trail!
Chocolate Agave Trailmixers
Adapted from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar
Makes about 20 cookies
1/4 cup almond milk
1 tablespoon apple sauce (or ground flax seeds)

2/3 cup canola oil
1/2 cup agave nectar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
generous 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup of chopped mix of white & dark chocolate malt balls, pretzels, peanuts, etc found in bulk
1/4 cup white chocolate chips
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup whole roasted peanuts
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or spray with non-stick baking spray.
In large bowl, whisk together milk, applesauce, oil, agave nectar, vanilla extract, and almond extract until combined. Sift in all-purpose flour, whole wheat pastry flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt and mix to form a soft dough. Fold in chocolate chips, nuts, and dried fruit and all of that good stuff.
For each cookie drop about 2 tablespoons of dough, 2 inches apart, onto baking sheets. If the dough is sticking, spray the spoon/dough scoop with nonstick spray. If desired, lightly flatten cookies with the back of a measuring cup sprayed with nonstick spray.
Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, until firm. Let cookies cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer them to wire racks to cool completely. Store in tightly covered container.
(Variation: whisk in 1 tablespoon of instant espresso powder to liquid ingredients before adding dry stuff! Supposedly this subtly enhances the deepens the cocoa flavor.)

Hipster Nerding Out: Beards, Birds, & Portland

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If you haven’t yet heard of the new TV series on IFC Portlandia, you better get on it. Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen kind-heartedly mock stereotypes, personalities, and lifestyles commonly found in Portland, OR folk and it is frickin’ hilarious and rings true in so many ways. This is the kind of stuff that makes me roll on the floor laughing and not too many television series shows enable me to do that (Seinfeld is pretty much the only one), so basically yes, it’s won my heart. It’s quirky and awkward and lovely and honest. Especially since I love and adore and am obsessed with Portland as much as I am and can’t wait to live there, this will fulfill my desires from afar in the meantime. I can live vicariously through them and recognize streets, businesses, landscapes, and personalities that I’ve previously encountered, all from the comfort of my own (living) room. Ah, the things I have to look forward to.

One of the skits they have done is about how we can’t seem to get away from this bird thing that’s everywhere. And it’s true. I can shamelessly raise my hand and claim that I am guilty of it, too. I mean, my blog is called The Baking Bird, after all. I love my owls. I love birds. What can I say. Everyone else seems to, too. I mean, just type in ‘bird‘ on Etsy and you’ll roughly get back 207,000 results. 1250 pages worth. That’d take quite a while to sift through. So it’s just great that they’ve brought this whole obsession to light and maybe we can question why in the hell did this whole bird thing get so popular anyways? Who cares. Just watch it. (I actually ended up in this retail store that they’re in called Land on Mississippi Ave. the last time I was there aka. a month ago and purchased a shirt. So I was totally stoked to have recognized it and say HEY! I WENT THERE! Yeah, I love it when things like that happen. I’m a dork.)
Anyway, do yourself a favor and watch a few episodes of this. You may not be interested in Portland at all, but I promise you this will make you laugh. Check more of it out here and here.
And on to more chocolate. These Mast Brother guys from New York make chocolate and have beards and I’m a sucker for both. And I’m a sucker for the packaging, as well. What can I say. I really want to try their stuff, except there is a minimum amount required to buy that’ll run you for about $100. Looks like I’ll just have to save for a plane ticket someday instead. Anyway, these guys hop on a SAILBOAT to search for cacao beans throughout the world. Jesus. Stop it right now.
Read more about them here.
Oh and remember my whole pie vs. cupcake rant? Turns out I’m not the only one. Here is where Matt Lewis (author of Baked & Baked Explorations) explains why cupcakes will never be overthrown. I couldn’t have said it better. A little over a year later, his opinion hasn’t changed. So yes, I agree: let’s talk about pie less and eat it more. Thank you, and good night.

I Hate Perfume. And Love Chocolate.

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I don’t know about you, but I have yet to find a perfume that I like. I’ve never been a fan. Most scents give me headaches or I get sick of smelling the same after about two weeks. Typically they’re too pungent, flowery, nauseating, too “grandma” smelling (not that I have anything against awesome grandmothers but I think you know what I mean). I don’t want to smell like a beach or the sky or like an armpit, thank you. In most cases, I like the smell of cologne more than I do perfume. I like scents. I like essential oil blends. Anything earthy, woodsy, anise-y smelling. Anything grounding. Scent really is a powerful thing that can affect mood, emotions, memory, heart, energy, outlook on life, what have you. This states it so well:


CB ON PERFUME

“I was once asked to sum up my work in three words or less. It took me about two seconds to arrive at:

“Scent is Life.”

And so it is. We live because we breathe and with each breath, we smell. This is inevitable. The Sense of Smell is our first and most immediate link to the world around us. It reminds us of what (and who) we love. Smell is perhaps the most complex sense we possess and possibly this is why it is the least understood and most often taken for granted… Yet we also know, that none of the other senses can touch us so profoundly as scent. Not even music can stir the mind & heart so powerfully as one tiny whiff. Scent is always individual. Your sense of smell is one of the most unique things about you – more individual than your fingerprints, than the shape of your ear, than the pattern of your retina. Your sense of smell is one of the most important factors that defines you as YOU. The way you respond to any scent is unlike anyone else’s – no one remembers what you do, no one feels what you feel. There is a reason you remember certain scents so fondly – it’s the way nature designed you. Scent is the record of your own special life – it’s your experience. My mission is to capture that experience. I bottle it so you can have it, use it and love it whenever you wish. I can give you scent experiences you never dreamed possible. I create perfumes as unique & individual as those who wear them. And I use a great many scents never before thought of as “perfume”. But I know these are just the scents that really hit us where we live – they’re the ones we remember and love. These scents are life.

To me, this is what the art of perfume is all about.”



I’ve been searching for quite a while now for a signature scent that speaks to me, as my nose is very particular. I definitely know what I like and don’t like. Anyway, that being said, when I found out about this particular company, I Hate Perfume, that makes amazing scent blends minus the alcohol, I was stoked. Speakin’ my kind of language. Each scent has its own intriguing story described so well, which I completely adore.

So I just now bit the bullet and ordered myself a few 2 mL bottles. Take M3 November, for instance, consisting of Pumpkin Pie, Fallen Apples, Bonfire, Wood Smoke, Dried Grass, Fallen Leaves, Wet Branches, Damp Moss, Chanterelle Mushrooms and a hint of Pine Forest. Pretty much anything and everything I could ever adore and more and now I get to SMELL LIKE IT. Holy crap. Of course, I’m blindly assuming that it will smell as good as it sounds, but seriously, how could it not be great? Alongside that, I’m also looking forward to smelling (strictly) like Pumpkin Pie (#154), and Burning Leaves. Burning maple leaves, that is. I can hardly wait.
Now that thy nose will be satisfied, let’s talk about the tongue and those taste buds while we’re at it…
I just busted out this Cherry Rooibos chocolate bar by Vosges a few seconds ago and I’m pleasantly surprised. African rooibos tea, dried Michigan cherries, hibiscus, vanilla, salt, and milk chocolate. Gorgeous. What more can I say? Although none of their chocolates or confections have let me down. I’m pretty much a huge fan of this entire line. Oh what I would do to be back in Caesar’s Palace in their Las Vegas boutique. I was overwhelmed. I mean, c’mon, check out these other amazing creative concoctions… these people know how to combine flavors, for real. They never cease to impress me.
This White Chocolate Enchanted Mushroom. For $75. Oh my gosh. Ridiculous!

55% soft dark chocolate praline + organic Reishi mushroom + white chocolate shell decorated with red dots

Standing nearly 6 inches tall and weighing 1.3 pounds, each Enchanted Mushroom is filled with a soft, dark chocolate and hazelnut blend, made and decorated by hand

Should you find yourself in possession of this precious prize, a helpful hint…one side will cure your mind and the other will cure your body. With a nibble off the first side of the Enchanted Mushroom or as some say, “toadstool,” you will feel your blood begin to flow with a powerful boost of antioxidant immunity. The opposite side will yield increased wisdom and happiness.

Legend has it that should you eat an entire Enchanted Mushroom under the light of the full Alder Moon in April, immortality will be yours. Be careful what you wish for.

I’ve previously tried this Enchanted Mushroom bar, and holy moly, is it genius.
I luckily found a package of this while I was in Portland, as I remember loving the sample I had at the food show last winter. Lemon myrtle, lavender, vanilla, and white chocolate cocoa mix. AMAZING.
Best idea to rip off at home for a lovely weekend brunch: chocolate chip bacon pancakes.
I pretty much obsessed over this at the food show.
I mean, duh.
It’s like a 4-in-1 breakfast.
Pancakes. Bacon. Maple syrup. Chocolate chips.
Sweet, savory, salty and doughy deliciousness.
See more new baking mixes here.
Their ice creams also rock the planet. (I wish they were available again in stores.)

Naga Ice Cream : sweet Indian curry + fresh young coconut + creamy custard ice cream

Red Fire Ice Cream : Ancho & chipotle chili peppers + Ceylon cinnamon + dark chocolate ice cream

Pandan Ice Cream : pandan leaf + dark chocolate ice cream

Wattleseed Ice Cream : Aboriginal wattleseed + roasted macadamia nuts + creamy custard ice cream

They also do sweet celebratory gift packages as well, like this rose champagne with rose truffles. I think I would die and go to heaven. One of these days I’m going to order that for myself. Perhaps once I graduate from dental hygiene school. It’s gonna happen.
Here’s also a gift set with the bacon bars and some good Rogue stout.
How about a subscription to some chocolate ritually arriving at your doorstep on the full moon every 2 months? Like a CSA box, but with chocolate. ON THE FULL MOON. Perhaps just in time for that friendly visitor. I’m sorry, but it doesn’t get much cooler than that. Hefty price tag, but if you’ve got it, why not?
And this.
The milk chocolate truffle collection.
Curry, violet, banana, bacon, cashew.
I would gladly welcome this on my doorstep any day.
And check out these white chocolate “Hip-Hop” truffles.
“This decadent truffle combines white chocolate, Krug ® Champagne and gold leaf—echoing rap’s transition from music to a culture of “bling” popularized in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The word “bling” was first used in 1999 by rappers B.G., Juvenile and Baby Birdman on their track Bling Bling to celebrate their flashy wealth and expensive diamonds. It quickly became a fad, infiltrating rap and hip-hop music until recent years, when the phrase became too commonplace to garner the same street value. Since then, many artists have spoken out against the bling lifestyle, criticizing it as promoting materialism in lieu of responsibility. Even still, “bling” remains a part of hip hop history.”
Love it.
Oh Vosges, how I love thee.
(I swear I don’t work for this company… I just want everything.)

Gold Digger Chocolate, Mad Men, DIY Log Cabin, & other Nifty Things…

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Just discovered this awesome chocolate company that lets you customize your own chocolate bar combinations! You can add up to five ingredients (spices, nuts, candy, herbs, even 23 karat GOLD flecks!) to a dark, milk, or white chocolate base. All starting at around $3.85 a bar (not including extras), it ain’t cheap. This particular combination I made up would end up costing me $15. FOR ONE BAR.
But hey, great idea to rip off and maybe do on my own at home? They even do bulk orders for parties or weddings, allowing you to put your own photo in the middle of the dang chocolate bar!
Crazy, huh?
“Tropical Island Bar”
-dark chocolate
-banana chips
-coconut flakes
-mango dices
-pineapple dices
Pure chocolate bling aka “Rizzoli & Isles” bar.
-dark chocolate
-23 karat gold flakes
“Fresh Face Forward Bar”
-dark chocolate
-dried cantaloupe melon
-blueberries
-goji berries
-roasted sunflower seeds
-organic flax seeds
“Trick or Treat Bar”
-milk chocolate
-candy corn
-fall leaves
-candy bats
HOW CUTE IS THIS?!?
Also happened to stumble upon these great black and white photos from the set scenes of Mad Men. I love this show, although I am ashamed to say I am behind by like 2 seasons, practically. Saving them all up for a crazy Mad Men marathon weekend party, I suppose?






Joan is my idol.
-Also just discovered this really awesome artsy design blog that has sucked me in a bit these past few days: Lox Papers.
-Instructions for how to build your own log cabin. So freaking rad. Ever since I was little and had a log cabin building doll-house set, I have had dreams of living in one some day. This might just be what I need to make that dream come true!
Design Squish, a blog about all things I adore: nature, trees, art, design, sustainable living.
-Eight sweet lavender recipes from the Kitchn, in addition to sweet potato cakelets and jack o’lantern cocktails.

-Also completely in love with this wallpaper over at ModCloth (that is temporarily out of stock). That website is dangerous.
I actually DO need some wall hooks and these might be a winner…
Now as far as food goes, here are some recipes that have me excited:

Holy moley. I just need some extra time, money, and energy. I WANT TO MAKE EVERYTHING!