Tag Archives: chocolate

Chocolate-banana cupcakes (vegan!)

19 Apr

IMAG2456These are some decadent chocolate-banana cupcakes with chocolate-avocado frosting. They may be vegan, but they are delicious!

Chocolate-Banana Cupcakes

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line cupcake tins with paper liners or parchment paper. If you’re making mini cupcakes, spray the tins with cooking spray, otherwise much of the cake will be stuck to the paper liners.

1) In one bowl: mash 1 very ripe banana.

2) Whisk in:

  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

3) In a separate bowl, sift together:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon

4) Make a well in the flour mixture. Pour in the banana mixture. Stir together until just combined. Do not overmix.


5) Fill cupcake tins (only fill until they are 2/3 full)

6) Bake 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. (If baking mini cupcakes, bake 9-10 minutes). Makes 12 regular cupcakes.



Chocolate-Avocado Frosting

IMAG2442Cream together:

  • 1 ripe avocado, pitted and skinned
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • ¼ cup mini chocolate chips (optional)

Yes, at first this mixture looks like guacamole gone wrong. But keep on mixing, and you’ll soon get a creamy chocolate frosting.

I don’t like a lot of frosting on my cupcakes, so I usually only make half this recipe. It’s enough to cover the cupcakes, but if you want a tower of frosting, make the full recipe.



Per cupcake (with half the frosting)
Calories: 221
Total Fat: 12.0 g
Saturated Fat:  4.3 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Fiber:  2.6 g
Sugars:  17.0 g

By comparison, Starbucks’ “chocolate bloom” cupcake has 420 calories, 27 g fat (15 g saturated), and 32 g sugar. Yikes!


Waffle Cookies

8 Mar

Who said waffle irons are just for waffles? I found this recipe in a magazine a long time ago and finally tried it out, reducing the amount of chocolate chips slightly (otherwise there is not enough dough to hold them all together!)

mountain of chocolate chip waffle cookies!

The waffle iron makes funky cookies, crisp on the outside yet moist and soft on the inside.

Heat waffle iron. In a large bowl, whisk together until smooth:

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • ½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup sugar

Whisk in:

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Stir in:

  • 1 cup + 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp instant coffee powder
  • ¾ cup bittersweet chocolate chips or chunks


Coat waffle iron with cooking spray. Spoon about one tablespoon of batter onto each waffle section/square.

Close the iron and cook until the cookies begin to brown, about 1-3 minutes.

Transfer cookies to a wire rack and repeat with the remaining dough.

Montreal Food Tour – Day 2

11 Oct

Montreal is a terrific place to visit, with beautiful historic buildings, great shopping, and of course, terrific eating. On day 2 we skipped breakfast and went straight to Schwartz’s (3895 St Laurent Blvd.) a little after 11 am to beat the lines. Stepping into Schwartz’s is like stepping back in time – as if nothing has changed since the restaurant opened in 1928.   The walls at the small deli are decorated with framed newspaper and magazine articles about the restaurant and its famed smoked meat. One article claims that although Schwartz’s recipe was once stolen, but its smoked meat could not be replicated elsewhere – only Schwartz’s has the “Schmutz Factor” – 80 years of grease and flavour build-up in its smoker.

As it was early, we didn’t have to wait for seats at all. Our order of famous smoked meat, (fatty, of course) and dark cherry cola arrived quickly. I thought the cherry cola was too sweet to pair with the smoked meat, but supposedly that is the thing to drink with your sandwich.

Schwartz's sandwich

We didn’t have fries with our sandwiches, because we immediately went to La Banquise afterwards. La Banquise (994 Rue Rachel Est) is open 24 hours, to satisfy post-partying hunger pangs or perhaps to ease your morning-after hangover. They serve over 20 kinds of poutine! We got a small portion of the Elvis (ground beef, onions, green peppers). We were impressed by the amount of toppings over the fries – the plate was about 60% toppings, 40% fries.

the "Elvis"

We walked off some of our morning calories by heading to the base of Mont Royal to people-watch at the regular Sunday drum circle. Further into the park you’ll find people walking on tight-ropes, or participating in superhero sword fights.

We decided to have a lighter dinner, choosing from the many pho restaurants in Chinatown. We chose Pho Cali (1011 St. Laurent Blvd.) based on how many people were already dining there. Pho Cali delivered yummy pho, even if service was lacking. Ask for a larger table or an extra chair to put your shopping bags on, and you’ll get snapped at.

End the evening on a sweeter note with a few pieces of freshly made “dragon’s beard” candy in Chinatown. It’s a rare sight to find someone demonstrating the complex art of pulling, twisting, and stretching dough into fine, cotton candy-like strands.


If you prefer chocolate, you might want to head to Suite 88 Chocolatier (1225 De Maisonneuve Ouest) for chocolate domes in exquisite flavours like lychee and gingerbread, square-shaped chocolate “mosaïques,” artisanal truffles, or cone-shaped chocolate “shooters” inspired by Absolut Mandarin, apple martinis, and the like. My boyfriend and I enjoyed decadent hot chocolates – he got a classic milk chocolate, and I had a maple flavoured dark chocolate – while inhaling the tantalizing smell of Belgian waffles in the background; you can enjoy one topped with gelato.

After two straight days of epic eating, my boyfriend and I headed home, bellies full and cravings satiated, but sad to say goodbye to such a wonderful city.


>> Want more Montreal? Read about Day 1.

Best-Ever Gluten-Free Banana Brownies

4 Oct

IMG_0161My boyfriend tells me these are the best brownies I have made so far! I’ve spent the past few months perfecting these brownies, made with a whole banana and only a ¼ cup of oil. These brownies are a delicious and decadent way to use up a mushy, overripe banana.  They are also gluten-free, and can be dairy free! (Note that some cocoa powder may be produced in facilities that also handle dairy products). Could these be the healthiest brownies ever?

Prep time: 10 minutes
Bake time: approx. 25 minutes


For an 8-inch square pan or a 9-inch round pan:

  • 1 very ripe banana, mashed
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • ½ cup semisweet chocolate chips (Optional. Omit for dairy-free brownies)
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa
  • ½ cup oat flour
  • ¼ almond meal
  • ¼ cup safflower oil
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 Tbsp instant coffee granules
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp salt
So easy, even a monkey can make these brownies

So easy, even a monkey can make these brownies


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Combine eggs, sugar, banana, oil, vanilla, and coffee granules.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together oat flour, almond meal, cocoa, baking powder, and salt.
  4. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture. Fold together a few times.
  5. Add chocolate chips. Mix until flour is just absorbed. Do not overmix.
  6. Pour batter into greased pan. Bake for 12 minutes. Then, rap the pan against oven rack to force air to escape from between the batter and the pan.
  7. Bake for another 9 – 11 minutes. The top of the brownie should be puffed up slightly. Insert a toothpick 2 inches from the edge of the pan. Batter should stick to the toothpick, but should not be runny. (If the toothpick comes out clean, you have overbaked the brownie, and you’ll get something that’s more like chocolate cake. Don’t worry, it will still taste yummy.)
  8. Cool before serving.

Per 2-inch square serving (16 servings per pan)
Calories: 145
Total Fat: 6.5 g
Saturated Fat: 1.9 g
Cholesterol: 20 mg
Fiber: 1.8 g
Sugars: 17 g

By comparison, a 2-inch square of Martha Stewart’s “fudgy chocolate brownies” packs in about 237 calories, 11.2 g of fat (7.0 g saturated), and 65 mg cholesterol.

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