Tag Archives: chocolate

Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Shrubhattan

22 May

With summer right around the corner, it’s time for more than just wine and beer! I love a good cocktail, but have realized that’s just not my preference during the colder months (which makes up the majority of the year in Wisconsin). So when The Recipe Redux challenged us to post a creative cocktail concoction this month, I was right on board!

This cocktail has all sorts of flavors going on. First, you must make the shrub. In its most basic form, a shrub is an acidulated beverage. According to Wikipedia, “the word “shrub” [refers] to a cocktail or soft drink that was popular during America’s colonial era, made by mixing a vinegared syrup with spirits, water, or carbonated water. The term “shrub” can also be applied to the sweetened vinegar-based syrup, from which the cocktail is made; the syrup is also known as drinking vinegar. Drinking vinegar is often infused with fruit juice, herbs and spices for use in mixed drinks.”

Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Shrubhattan | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

In the case of this recipe, we’ll be using the latter definition of “shrub,” as we’ll mix our homemade shrub with a spirit, flavoring, and soda water to create a refreshing and complex cocktail.

If a “vinegar-based syrup” makes you pucker up in disgust, hear me out! The syrup is made from equal parts of fruit, sugar, and vinegar. It’s slightly tangy, but retains a sweetness that makes for a wonderfully balanced drink. It’s a great way to make a cocktail that’s not too sweet (like an Old Fashioned), and not too bitter (like a gin & tonic).

The twist in this shrub comes from the chocolate-balsamic vinegar! My mom found this vinegar on a trip to Door County, WI and thought I’d like it. What better way to use a special vinegar than in a special cocktail? 🙂

Speaking of special, this cocktail is great for celebrations of all types. Simply make the shrub ahead of time, and with a bottle each of bourbon and chocolate bitters, you’ll have an easy cocktail ready to make for an entire gathering!

Chocolate-Balsamic Strawberry Shrub

Makes 2 cups shrub

  • 1 C quartered strawberries
  • 1 C cane sugar
  • 1/2 C apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 C chocolate-balsamic vinegar

Wash, de-stem and quarter the strawberries. Place the berries in a bowl or wide-mouthed mason jar and pour the sugar on top. You can muddle the berries a bit with a wooden spoon. Cover and let sit in the fridge 24-48 hours.

Next, stir in the vinegars, cover and shake/stir. Let this refrigerate for two to ten days! Shake/stir this mixture a few times per day to ensure the sugar dissolves. The flavor mellows over time, so the longer you let it sit, the more mellow it will taste.

Finally, strain out the fruit into a bowl using a fine-mesh strainer. Use a large spoon to press down on the fruit to ensure all the syrup is expelled. Transfer the shrub to a clean bottle or mason jar and make some cocktails! The shrub can be refrigerated until you drink it all.

Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Shrubhattan

Makes 1 cocktail

  • 2 oz bourbon, my favorite is Eagle Rare, but Buffalo Trace or another smooth bourbon would work
  • 3/4 oz chocolate-balsamic strawberry shrub
  • 2 dashes chocolate bitters, I used Fee Brothers Aztec Chocolate Bitters
  • Soda water, to fill

Stir together the bourbon, shrub, and bitters over ice. Strain into chilled cocktail glass and top off with soda water.

For a non-alcoholic drink, mix one ounce of the shrub into a glass of soda water for a refreshing, yet complex beverage.



Mexican Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups {vegan, paleo, gluten free, dairy free, egg free}

28 Apr

I received free samples of the Barlean’s products mentioned in this post. All opinions are my own; I was not compensated for my time.

Cookies have always been a dessert mainstay in my family. Grandma made the BEST EVER chocolate chip cookies, Oma’s Christmas cookie variety never ceases to please (lemon hearts for me!!), and my mom can make some mighty delicious peanut butter cookies. As a child, making chocolate chip cookies with mom, we’d always make a double-batch, so that we could eat half the dough while the other half baked!

What’s more, as a lifelong Girl Scout, I sold cookies from age 5, all the way through senior year of high school – and consumed quite a few along the way! Oreos, Fig Newtons, monster cookies, oatmeal raisin cookies, the list is endless. I was born a Cookie Monster, and part of me will always be one.

Mexican Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

But cookies aren’t exactly a picturesque health food. Sure, indulgence is fine now and then – I’ll never say no to a cookie from my Oma! But what about more frequent sweet tooth urges? How do I best satisfy those cravings?

Mexican Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

One of the cookie treats we always made for parties, potlucks, or share-at-school sweets were these delectable chocolate chip cookie cups, filled with a creamy chocolate buttercream. The recipe is simple enough: prepare cookie dough as per directions on the back of a Nestle semi-sweet morsels package. Stuff dough into mini muffin tins (or normal muffin tins if you’re feeling generous), bake, indent and fill with prepared chocolate frosting.

Sweet on top of sweet? Heck yes.

Which is why I wanted to perform a #RecipeMakeover on these tasty frosting vessels. A paleo chocolate chip cookie dough replaces the old standard, and is filled with what turned out to be a cross between chocolate ganache and buttercream.

The problem with most paleo or alternative cookie recipes is that they lose their butter flavor when you make them with coconut oil. But Barlean’s has you covered, because they make an organic coconut oil that’s BUTTER FLAVORED. That’s right folks. It tastes like butter, but isn’t butter. Move over, Fabio – I CAN believe it’s not butter! They “sustainably harvested organic coconuts, then add butter flavoring that comes only from botanical extracts.” Aka, it’s vegan, GMO-free, contains no gluten or soy, and doesn’t even taste like coconut. How cool is that?


Fabio can’t believe it.

As such, these cookies maintain the delicious butter flavor that traditional cookies can boast, in both the cup AND the frosting! These are great for parties, or just to have on hand to satisfy that sweet tooth. They’re even freezable – instructions are below in the recipe.

Mexican Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway! The prize pack is valued at over $200, and one lucky winner will get it all! This giveaway is open worldwide except where prohibited. Update: The Rafflecopter giveaway has closed.

Mexican Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups

Makes 18 mini cookie cups

For the cookie cups:

  • 2 C almond meal
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 C Barlean’s Butter-Flavored Organic Coconut Oil, melted
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 C mini vegan and/or paleo chocolate chips

For the frosting:
  • 3 oz chopped unsweetened baking chocolate
  • 3 tbsp Barlean’s Butter-Flavored Organic Coconut Oil
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1/2 C powdered sugar, or paleo alternative
  • up to 1/4 C nondairy milk

Preheat oven to 350. Grease 24 mini-muffin cups.

In a medium bowl, whisk together almond meal, salt, baking soda, cayenne, and cinnamon. Then mix in the coconut oil, maple syrup, and vanilla.

Fold in the chocolate chips. Using a cookie scoop, divide dough into prepared muffin tins. Press down lightly in the center to make a well in each of them.

Bake at 350 for 9-11 minutes, until the edges are set. Remove and set on a wire rack. Use a teaspoon or measuring spoon to make an indentation, so the cookies become little cups.

Let cool completely in the tins – this will help them hold their shape. Use a knife to carefully release the cooled cookies from their tin.

To make the frosting, heat the chopped chocolate with the coconut oil in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir until completely combined. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla, cayenne, cinnamon, and salt.

Transfer to a medium bowl and let cool in the fridge 15-30 minutes. Remove and beat with a hand mixer. Slowly add in the sugar and milk and continue to beat until light and fluffy. Use as much milk as you need to get the desired texture. Transfer the frosting to a piping bag and fill each cooled cookie cup. Or, use two small spoons to fill the cookie cups.

Serve immediately, or refrigerate until you intend to serve these. They also freeze well for a satisfying and guilt-free snack! Simply freeze on a tray for five hours, then wrap well in plastic wrap. Let thaw three hours before eating.

I’ll leave you with this horribly embarrassing photo, in which I was about 9 years old. My sister is next to me, blowing out candles on her 8th birthday cake. And sure enough, in the foreground, you can see a platter of chocolate chip cookie cups! Thanks to mom, Ron, and Helen for the timely sharing of this photo 🙂

fbf cookie cups

Chocolate Zucchini Protein Smoothie Bowl

2 Aug

A healthy smoothie is usually the best way to make a comeback from a rather unhealthy weekend.

Chris and I at GermanFest!

Every year, my family volunteers to bartend at Germanfest – Milwaukee’s kickoff to Oktoberfest. We pour beer, crack jokes, sing along to live polka bands, and have a great time. Oh, and we tend to drink a lot. And if you ever attend festivals, you know the food isn’t all that healthy either.

Chocolate Zucchini Protein Smoothie Bowl | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

So, after a pretty unhealthy weekend, I needed something healthy, hearty and full of goodness to get me back on track.

This chocolate zucchini protein bowl did the just the trick! It tastes like dessert, is packed with protein, topped with healthy fats, and naturally sweetened with an overripe banana.

Chocolate Zucchini Protein Smoothie Bowl | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Chocolate Zucchini Protein Bowl

Serves 1

  • 1/2 C non-dairy milk
  • 1/2 small zucchini, roughly chopped
  • 1 scoop chocolate vegan protein powder
  • 1/4 C old-fashioned oats
  • Dash cinnamon
  • 1 frozen overripe banana
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp pepitas
  • Toppings: shredded coconut, hemp seeds, cacao nibs

Puree all ingredients in your blender. Pour into a bowl and top with shredded coconut, hemp seeds, cacao nibs, or anything your heart desires!

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