Tag Archives: chocolate

Easy Dairy Free Chocolate Fondue

Easy Dairy Free Chocolate Fondue from This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Earlier this week I posted a recipe for Citrus Hummus as a healthy appetizer for Oscar watching parties. Well, if you’re looking for something more decadent and indulgent, look no further than chocolate fondue! Unlike other fondues, this one uses coconut cream instead of whipping cream. So if you have a food sensitivity to dairy (or whey like me) you can indulge in as much chocolate fondue as you like without worrying about a tummy ache the next day!

This chocolate fondue is so rich and creamy that it’s pretty tough to eat too much of it. I found that after dipping a few strawberries or marshmallows, I was on chocolate overload and had enough. Since none of us could eat a lot of chocolate fondue, we had quite a bit leftover when I made this on New Year’s Eve. So I kept the chocolate fondue in the pot, covered it with aluminum foil and put it in the refrigerator. Then I just heated the pot on low on my stovetop the next few evenings when it was time for dessert!

You can also put the leftover fondue into a brownie pan as the firmed up chocolate makes excellent refrigerator fudge. Just cut off a piece when you want to indulge in some creamy chocolate!

Fondue pots!

I have an old green aluminum fondue pot from the ‘70s that I found at a thrift store. However, the fondue pot I love using is my Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Fondue Pot [affiliate link] shown here. What I especially like about this fondue pot that you can prepare the chocolate fondue right in the pot on your stovetop instead of using another pot and then transferring the chocolate. Since its enameled cast iron, it heats up the same as my other Le Creuset pots, so I don’t run the chance of accidentally scalding the chocolate.

The Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Fondue Pot also has an extremely sturdy and heavy stand, so you don’t have to worry about someone accidentally tipping over the pot or knocking over the burner element since it’s built right in.

Easy Dairy Free Chocolate Fondue from This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Easy Dairy Free Chocolate Fondue


  • 1 (14 ounce) can coconut cream (not milk)
  • 1 (20 ounce) bag semi-sweet organic chocolate chips (dairy free & gluten free)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (gluten free)
  • 1 pinch salt
  • Goodies for dipping: strawberries, marshmallows, chunks of banana, sponge cake, etc.


  1. In a medium sauce pan or stovetop safe fondue pot, heat coconut cream over medium heat until hot.
  2. Add chocolate chips. Lower heat.
  3. Stir until chocolate is fully melted.
  4. Transfer to fondue pot, if needed and serve warm with favorite dippers.
  5. Add vanilla extract and salt. Stir frequently until chocolate is fully melted
Prep Time: 5 Minutes
Cook Time: 15 Minutes
Total Time: 20 Minutes
Servings: Makes about 4 cups
  • Serving size: Up to you!

The Adventure Bite’s Flourless Chocolate Cake

Adventure Bite's Flourless Chocolate Cake at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet

Today’s post is from Dani at The Adventure Bite, who I met at the Type-A Parent conference last year. You can learn more about her and her husband Kevin below.

A few months ago we snuck away to a little town in the upper ridge of Georgia called Blue Ridge. We were on an incredible vacation with Kevin's parents. It turned out to be four of the most relaxing days I’ve had in ages. I didn't cook a thing the entire time we were there! Between Kevin and Melanie, the cooking was tackled and I was left to relax, read my books, drink my tea and soak in huge hot tub every night.

They also sent us on a date. A real date. Just the two of us eating and drinking to our hearts content at a brand new restaurant called The Black Sheep. No screaming toddler or infant needing me. It was heavenly.

Our dinner was absolutely perfect, from the amazing Ahi Tuna Asian Nacho's, to beautifully cooked lamb and duck. But the star of the night was most definitely the dessert. When our wonderful waiter told us that there was a flourless chocolate cake on the menu that night I knew we were in for a treat. And I was right. Perfectly moist, dense, chocolate paired with a sweet whipped cream and a tart berry sauce. My red wine melded beautifully with it (as would a lovely ruby Port), bringing out the sweetness of the wine and the slightest hint of coffee in the cake. Flourless Chocolate Cake at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet Replicating it has been on my to-do list ever since. I’m pleased to say that this one passed the taste tests! What a perfect treat to serve to all of your guests, including any that struggle with celiac or eat gluten/grain free!

Adventure Bite's Flourless Chocolate Cake at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet

The Adventure Bite's Flourless Chocolate Cake


  • 1/4 cup coffee
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch salt
  • 2 (6.8 ounce) dark chocolate bars
  • 8 eggs
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar (optional)
  • strawberry sauce for serving
  • whipped cream for serving


  1. Break up chocolate into small pieces. Add butter and coffee. Melt slowly either over a boiling pan of water or in the microwave stirring frequently.
  2. With an electric mixer whip eggs, salt and soda to stiff peaks. If using less sweetened chocolate you may wish to compensate with a bit of sugar here. I used regular dark chocolate candy bars and didn't want it too sweet so did not add additional sugar. Taste your chocolate mixture to decide and adjust accordingly.
  3. Fold the whipped eggs into the chocolate batter until combined.
  4. Pour into greased cake pan or cast iron. Bake at 350 degrees until set. 20 minutes for small cast iron. 30-40 minutes for large pans.
  5. Serve warm for a very close to cake like texture or allow to cool completely and refrigerate for a dense brownie like texture.
  6. Serve with strawberry sauce and whipped cream.
Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Cook Time: 40 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour 10 Minutes
Servings: Serves 4 to 6
  • Serving size: 1 slice

Meet The Adventure Bite

Hi! I'm Dani and my husband Kevin and I blog over at The Adventure Bite where we share about our adventures in food, home brewing and our attempts at an urban homestead. We are the proud parents of two little boys under three years old who keep us on our toes! We also just released our first product the Blog Buddy an awesome blog planner and business organizer built just for bloggers. We can't wait to get to know you! Dani and Kevin from The Adventure Bite

Gluten Free Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies from All the Good Cookies

Gluten Free Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies | This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.comYou may have heard about Gretchen Holt-Witt, who back in 2007 after her  two-year-old son was diagnosed with cancer, “baked a difference” by hosting a bake sale and raised more than $400,000 for pediatric cancer research. From the success of that one bake sale, she founded Cookies for Kids Cancer, a national non-profit that encourages people to be “Good Cookies,” by hosting bake sales and other grassroots fundraising events.

The organization also raises funds through online sales of all-natural gourmet cookies, with ALL profits going to pediatric cancer research. With the holidays coming up, they’re introducing two limited edition gift sets that also include a copy of All the Good Cookies [affiliate link]. The cookbook features over 65 cookie recipes including a chapter dedicated to food allergies (which includes gluten, dairy, and nut free recipes) and even doggie treats, along with dozens of inspirational stories. All author proceeds from the book are donated to cancer research.

Good Cookies” & Milk Holiday Set

If you’re already thinking of doing some online holiday gift shopping and are looking for gifts that give back, consider purchasing the “Good Cookies” & Milk Holiday Set. It has a copy of the All the Good Cookies cookbook, two Bormioli Rocco glasses, and a matching carafe, perfect for cookies and milk. This limited edition gift set is perfect for sharing cookies and milk, and is sure to help make memories throughout the year. It goes on sale November 1, 2013 for $59.99 (including shipping!)

Below is a sample gluten and dairy free recipe from All the Good Cookies – Gluten Free Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies from All the Good Cookies. You could make this nut free by substituting sunflower seed butter for the peanut butter and using pine nuts instead of peanuts. Enjoy!

Gluten Free Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies | This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Gluten Free Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

Peanuts and peanut butter pack extra peanutiness into these flourless cookies, and their saltiness is the perfect balance to the brown sugar. For a sure bake sale sellout, take them to the next level by dunking half of each cookie into melted chocolate.


  • 1 3/4 cups natural-style creamy peanut butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped cocktail peanuts
  • Chocolate sprinkles (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Place the peanut butter, sugar, eggs, and baking soda in a large mixer bowl and beat until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes. Stir in the chopped peanuts.
  3. Using a heaping small (2-teaspoon size) cookie scoop, drop the dough about 1 1/2 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheets. Top cookies with chocolate sprinkles, if using.
  4. Transfer to the oven and bake until the edges of the cookies are lightly browned, 10 to 12 minutes, rotating the cookie sheets on the oven racks halfway through the baking time. Cool on the cookie sheets for 5 minutes. Transfer to wire racks and cool completely. Repeat with the remaining dough on cool cookie sheets.
  5. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 10 - 12 Minutes
Total Time: 20 - 22 Minutes
Servings: about 4 dozen cookies
  • Serving size: 1 cookie

Recipe and photo used with permission.

Healthy indulgences: Chocolate Orange Pistachio Bark

Chocolate Orange Pistachio Bark | At This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Well, it looks like I’m headed back to the hospital today for a follow up procedure to my brain surgery from back in July. Without getting too TMI on you, my incision is infected again and they have to clean it up. It requires an overnight stay and hopefully the recovery won’t be as rough as before. So I’ll be relying on guest posts from friends like Holly Clegg and brands I love, like this wonderful recipe from Florida Citrus, to keep the blog going while I recover. Hopefully, I’ll be back in the swing of things at least part time next week!

I love dark chocolate bark using healthy nuts and dried fruit because it makes me feel less guilty when I want to indulge in something sweet. Plus, this would make a wonderful edible gift during Halloween or Thanksgiving. You can add dried cranberries to the recipe and serve it for Christmas, too!

Chocolate Orange Pistachio Bark | At This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Chocolate Orange Pistachio Bark

Recipe by Florida Citrus


  • 1 cup Florida orange juice
  • 16 ounces Callebaut® semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1 cup candied orange peel
  • 1 cup salted pistachios, roughly chopped


  1. Place orange juice in small saucepan over medium heat; cook and reduce to 1/4 cup and cool.
  2. Melt chocolate over double boiler.
  3. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Pour melted chocolate onto the parchment paper to 1/4-inch thickness; swirl in the cooled orange juice reduction with a spatula, creating thin channels in the chocolate.
  4. Sprinkle orange peel and pistachios over chocolate; press into chocolate.
  5. Cool bark completely until chocolate hardens; break into pieces.
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 45 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour
Servings: Makes 4 servings
  • Serving size: 1/4 of recipe

Picture and recipe used with permission.

Try Brookside Dark Chocolate on October 5th at Sam’s Club

This post brought to you by Sam’s Club. All opinions are 100% mine.

Brookside Dark Chocolate Pomegranate

Have you tried Brookside Dark Chocolate – the dark chocolate indulgence with a healthy twist? Each combines cocoa flavanols with the delicious flavors of pomegranate, blueberry and acai, or goji with raspberry? If not, it's time to discover Brookside by heading over to Sam’s Club on October 5th to try a sample! I guarantee you’ll fall in love.

Yes, it’s candy, but each serving (about 1/4 of a cup) provides 100mg of cocoa flavanols to make you feel a little less guilty about indulging in a sweet treat. When I originally tried these, my favorite was Brookside Dark Chocolate Açai with Blueberry. Maybe it’s the medication I’m on since my brain surgery, but my new favorite is the Brookside Dark Chocolate Pomegranate.

Each variety of Brookside Chocolate is delicious and rather sophisticated. They’re now my favorite chocolate in the candy aisle! I love the texture and the way the pieces of chocolate covered berry “pop” in my mouth when I bite into them. (The texture is similar to yogurt covered raisins.) These would be a fun chocolate item to serve for dessert with some fresh fruit, on a car trip or plane ride, or to sneak in with you at the movies. When the holidays come around, a fun entertaining idea would be to serve them in bowls around the house during parties. I bet your guests will fall in love with Brookside Chocolate, too!

Each of the Brookside Chocolate flavors are available in 7 ounce pouches for $3.89 and 32 ounce pouches for $9.99 at grocery stores and major retailers. When I go to Sam’s Club I pretend not to see the big bags they sell there because it’s just way too tempting even though the kids and my husband ask me to buy a bag every time we go. I could see us all eating ourselves into a dark chocolate coma!

To learn more about Brookside chocolate, connect with them on Twitter and Brookside Chocolate on Facebook.

Visit Sponsor's Site

Gluten Free Chocolate & Almond Freezer Pie

Chocolate & Almond Freezer Pie at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

I’ve been a fan of Lundberg Family Farms rice products for years. However, I’m embarrassed to admit I’ve never tried their rice cakes! That is until now when they challenged me and a few other bloggers to create unique recipes using their new rice cake flavors, Kettle Corn, Hemp-a-Licious and Sweet Chili, which they sent me along with a few jars of Justin’s Honey Almond Butter.

Why a freezer pie?

Since eating a rice cake shouldn’t be boring – especially with all the flavors that Lundberg makes – I thought I’d go a bit out of the box and make a summer time dessert with their Kettle Corn Rice Cakes. I often use leftover rice to make gluten free quiche crusts. Taking that method one step further, I decided to use the rice cakes to create a crust, like crushed graham crackers are used in freezer pies. Freezer pies? Indeed, since warm weather is the perfect time for freezer pies as they’re cool, require no baking, and very little stove top cooking. Plus, making one with the honey almond butter would be delicious! (My son, Nathan, agrees and gave my freezer pie two thumbs up!)

This freezer pie recipe also gave me the chance to use a couple of special kitchen gadgets that I love. First, I used a Beka Cookware Bain Marie to melt the chocolate instead of a double broiler. I love the bain marie since it’s almost impossible to burn anything and you don’t run the risk of getting water in your chocolate. Second, I used my Blendtec Blender’s Twister Jar to make most of this recipe, but you could use a food processor instead.

Gluten Free Chocolate & Almond Freezer Pie at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Finally, I tried to use as many organic ingredients in my freezer pie recipe as possible, since Lundberg Rice Cakes and many of the ingredients in the Justin’s almond butter are organic.

And did I mention that this dessert is totally gluten free?

Chocolate & Almond Freezer Pie at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Chocolate & Almond Freezer Pie

The combination of coconut milk and honey almond butter creates a freezer pie with the consistency of ice cream. However, between the almond butter and dark chocolate, this is NOT a light dessert. Serve each person a small piece along with some blueberries for a delicious summer treat.

Inspired by No Bake Almond Butter Pie from One Happy Table


For the Lundberg Rice Cake crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups finely ground Lundberg Kettle Corn Rice Cakes
  • 6 tablespoons organic vegan buttery spread, like Earth’s Best – at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup organic sugar, like Wholesome Sweeteners Fair Trade Organic Sugar

For the chocolate coating and drizzle:

  • 2 bars (7 ounces) Green & Black's Dark 85% Cocoa Content Organic Chocolate – melted
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Spectrum Naturals Organic All Vegetable Shortening

For the pie filling:

  • 1 cup Justin’s Honey Almond Butter
  • 1 (13.5 ounce) can full-fat coconut milk, like Native Forest Organic Classic Coconut Milk
  • 1/3 cup organic sugar, like Wholesome Sweeteners Fair Trade Organic Sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


To make the pie crust:

  1. Place rice cakes (about half a package) into a food processor and grind them into fine crumbs.
  2. Add the vegan buttery spread and sugar and pulse until combined. Firmly and evenly press the mixture into a pie plate.
  3. Break the chocolate into small pieces and combine with the shortening and melt. You can do this in a double boiler, in a bain marie, or carefully over low heat in a sauce pan in medium heat-proof bowl, stirring constantly.
  4. Dip a pastry spoon into the melted chocolate and give the pie crust a thin coat by using the pastry brush to paint on the chocolate. Work quickly and try not to loosen the rice cake crust.
  5. Chill the crust in the freezer for 15 minutes.

To make the pie filling:

  1. Place the almond butter, coconut milk, sugar, and salt into a large mixing bowl and using a hand mixer, beat until completely blended. If you have a Blendtec or similar blender, you can also combine the ingredients in the blender using the sauce setting.
  2. Remove the pie crust from the refrigerator and pour the pie filling into the shell. Gently tap the pie plate on the counter to release any air bubbles.
  3. Place the pie back into the freezer for 1 hour or until set.
  4. Remove pie from freezer. Prepare the chocolate drizzle by remelting the remaining chocolate, if needed.
  5. Take a spoon, dip into the melted chocolate, and drizzle chocolate over the pie in a decorative manner.
  6. Place the pie back into the freezer for 30 more minutes.
  7. Remove from freezer 15 minutes before serving. Slice carefully and enjoy!
Prep Time: 2 Hours 30 Minutes
Total Time: 2 Hours 30 Minutes
Servings: Makes 10 to 12 servings
  • Serving size: 1 slice

Give away: Brookside Chocolates Healthy Indulgences Tasting Kit #chocolate

Brookside Chocolate

Just released this month at food, drug and mass retailers nationwide, Brookside Chocolate is a new dark chocolate indulgence with a healthy twist – cocoa flavanols combined with the delicious flavors of pomegranate, blueberry/acai, and goji/raspberry. Each pairing combines real fruit juice pieced dipped in rich, velvety dark chocolate. Yes, it’s a sweet treat, but each serving (about 1/4 of a cup) provides 100mg of cocoa flavanols to make you feel a little less guilty.

I tried each variety and let me tell you, they’re really delicious and rather sophisticated. I loved the texture and the way the pieces of chocolate covered berry “popped” in my mouth when I bit into them. (The texture is similar to yogurt covered raisins.) It was hard to decide, but I think my favorite flavor was Acai with Blueberry closely followed by Goji with Raspberry. These would be a fun chocolate item to serve with a cheese plate for dessert.

Each of the Brookside Chocolate flavors are available in 7 ounce pouches for $3.89 and 32 ounce pouches for $9.99. To learn more, check out the Brookside website or connect with them on Twitter and Facebook.

Win a Brookside Chocolates Healthy Indulgences Tasting Kit

Brookside Chocolate Giveaway

To help introduce my readers to the yummy goodness of Brookside Chocolate, I’m giving away ONE Brookside Chocolate Healthy Indulgences Tasting Kit, approximate retail value $80. The kit includes:

Giveaway closed. Congrats to our winner, Melanie M.!

Here’s how to enter the giveaway:

  1. Comment below on which flavor of Brookside Chocolates looks the most enticing to you.
  2. Sign up for my enewsletter for ONE additional entry.
  3. Follow @amnichols on Twitter for ONE additional entry.
  4. Follow amnichols on Pinterest for ONE additional entry.
  5. Spread the word about this giveaway by submitting a link to this post on Twitter for ONE additional entry. You must leave a link to your tweet in your comment so I can check.
  6. If you have done any of these additional activities you MUST come back here and leave a comment telling me what you did. I will be checking!
  7. Maximum amount of entries is FIVE.
  8. You have until midnight ET on Friday, January 25, 2013 to enter.

ONE winner will be chosen at random. You must be willing to send me your full name and mailing address so I forward it to Brookside Chocolate’s PR person. I’ll announce the winner on this blog. I won't share your mailing info with the public, just your name. If you have a blog, I’ll link back to it when I announce the winner.

The giveaway is valued at $80 and is only open to legal residents of the United States, 18 years of age and older. No purchase required. Odds of winning based on number of entries. Up to FIVE entries per person. ONE Brookside Chocolate Healthy Indulgences Tasting Kit will be given away. Void where prohibited by law.

By submitting your name and email address, you agree to receive relevant promotional emails and contest follow up communications from This Mama Cooks! On a Diet in compliance with my privacy policy and giveaway rules.

Disclosure: I was provided with two tasting kits by Brookside Chocolate’s PR agency – one to facilitate this review and another to give away. All opinions and experiences are my own.

Healthy holiday desserts: Chocolate Ginger Mousse

Chocolate Ginger MousseIt’s always a challenge to cook up healthy desserts for the holidays. That’s why I’m sharing this recipe for Chocolate Ginger Mousse from Chef Anthony Stewart, Executive Chef of the Pritikin Longevity Center + Spa. Regular chocolate mousse can tally up 8 grams of artery-clogging saturated fat, which is more saturated fat than many cheeseburgers! There’s zero saturated fat in Pritikin’s Chocolate Ginger Mousse.

Chef Anthony has worked with thousands of guests to create healthier versions of their favorite, tasty foods. He’s won accolades worldwide, including five gold medals in top culinary competitions, for his masterful use of foodstuffs like fresh seafood and tropical fruit from his native Jamaica. When not in the kitchen, he’s in the classroom, and has inspired thousands of Pritikin guests “to have some fun!”

For more information about Pritikin, please visit pritikin.com.

Chocolate Ginger Mousse


  • 4 ounces Hershey’s unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons Splenda
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 12 ounces firm or extra firm silken tofu
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger juice (Slice off skin of ginger root, then grate the root and squeeze to extract juice.)
  • Optional garnish: 4 fresh raspberries


  1. In a small stainless steel bowl, combine cocoa powder, Splenda and hot water. Stir till mixture has a smooth, thick, fudge-like consistency, adding more water as you stir, if needed.
  2. In a food processor, blend tofu till completely smooth, about 10 seconds. Then add fudge, vanilla extract, and ginger juice, and blend until smooth.
  3. Place mixture in parfait glasses. If desired, garnish each glass with a raspberry, and serve cold.

This Mama’s tips

  • Party serving idea: place the mousse in a mini dessert glass and garnish with a single raspberry and mint leaf.
  • For variation, add mint leaves or mint extract, or sugar-free orange marmalade.
  • You can also garnish with a few shavings of dark or white chocolate.

Recipe and photograph courtesy of Pritikin.

Flourless Chocolate Torte with Crème Anglaise

Gluten Free Flourless Chocolate Torte with Crème Anglaise from This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com Just because you eat gluten free, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a Valentine’s Day dessert. This decadent treat comes from the cookbook, Straight from the Heart, by Taos chef and owner of Graham’s Grille, Lesley B. Fay. Her 224-page cookbook includes recipes for appetizers, soups, salads and dressings, sandwiches, entrees and desserts, butters and spices and resources, shortcuts and tips.

Lesley’s flourless cake stands out due to its unique combination of espresso and merlot wine. Make sure to double check that ingredients like baking powder and vanilla are gluten free. The cake is best if it’s made the day before.

Since it makes 16 small cakes, you may want to halve the recipe. Or you can put a few aside for midnight munchies after the fun on Valentine’s Day (hint, hint) or for the kids the next day.

Gluten Free Flourless Chocolate Torte with Crème Anglaise from This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Flourless Chocolate Torte with Crème Anglaise


For the cake:

  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 3/4 pound butter, softened and divided in half
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup espresso or strong coffee
  • 1/2 cup merlot wine
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon xanthan gum
  • pinch salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (or coarsely chopped bar) sugar and cocoa powder for sprinkling

For the crème anglaise:

  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • pinch nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


For the cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Melt the semisweet chocolate with half the butter, and mix in the vanilla, espresso and merlot. In a separate bowl, cream the rest of butter until fluffy. Add sugar and beat until light yellow and smooth (about 5 minutes on high speed).
  3. Mix together the cocoa, cornstarch, baking powder, xanthan gum and salt. Add these dry ingredients and the chocolate mixture to butter and sugar, alternating, and mixing well after each addition.
  4. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each egg, about 1 minute. Add semisweet chocolate chips. Pour into buttered cupcake tins or paper holders that have been sprinkled with sugar and cocoa powder.
  5. Place a large open container of bowling water on the bottom rack of the oven. The stream helps cook the cakes and keeps them moist. Bake cakes on rack above the boiling water for 15 minutes. Turn off heat, open oven door and let rest for another 8 to 10 minutes. They should rise and be medium-soft to the touch. The trick here is to cook them long enough so they don’t fall, but not so long that they are dry.
  6. Serve each cake in a puddle of Crème Anglaise. Garnish with fresh raspberries or a ribbon of lime (optional).

For the crème anglaise:

  1. In a heat-resistant mixing bowl, stir together the egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch and nutmeg with a wooden spoon until well combined. The sugar should be somewhat dissolved in the yolks. Combine the milk and cream in a medium saucepan over medium heat and warm the milk just below the boiling point (the milk will start to form bubbles on the edges of the pan and it will become steamy just before it boils).
  2. Remove the pan from the heat and stir just a couple of tablespoons of the hot milk into the eggs and sugar, mixing well the whole time. Gradually add the rest of the milk, stirring constantly. Return the mixture to the saucepan over low to medium heat. Heat the sauce until it thickens, but do not boil or the yolks will curdle. The sauce is done when it stays on the wooden spoon without dripping (this takes about five minutes but will depend on your pan and your burner). As soon as the sauce is thickened, immediately remove it from the heat.
  3. Pour the sauce into a heat-resistant bowl (you can pour the sauce through a strainer to remove any lumps).
  4. Stir the vanilla extract and cover the sauce with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap down on top of the sauce, and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Prep Time: 45 Minutes
Cook Time: 45 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour 30 Minutes
Servings: Makes 16 individual cakes and 2 cups crème anglaise.
  • Serving size: 1 cake

Picture and recipe courtesy of Lesley B. Fay.

Disclosure: Amazon links are affiliate links. A commission may be earned from a referred sale to their website.

Cranberry & Cherry Crunch Bark

Cranberry & Cherry Crunch Bark

Looking for a delicious but somewhat healthy treat for the holidays? Check out my post at the Attune Foods blog, Healthifying a Decadent Treat: Cranberry & Cherry Crunch Bark.

The recipe features gluten free Erewhon Crispy Brown Rice cereal, dried cranberries and cherries, and chocolate. Not only is it a yummy treat, but it makes a great homemade gift for the holidays.


School lunch makeover challenge: chocolate pudding

chocolate pudding The folks at Truvia challenged me to replace a usual lunchbox snack (be it chocolate milk, pudding, cookies or candy) with a no-sugar-added, naturally sweetened healthy snack from one of their Truvia-sweetened recipes.

One of the not-so-healthy items I used pack for my kids was chocolate pudding. We gave it up years ago because it was laden with empty calories and a bunch of stuff I wasn’t comfortable giving my kids. Truvia’s school lunch makeover gave me an idea for making a healthier chocolate pudding.

By using coconut milk and rice starch, I went one step further and changed the recipe so kids who can’t have dairy or corn could eat it, too. It's also gluten free. (Feel free to use skim milk and corn starch from the original recipe if you or your child doesn’t has any food sensitivities or allergies.)

This is a very quick and easy healthy snack recipe to make since it’s done in the microwave. You can easily make up a batch on a school night. Put the pudding in plastic containers covered in plastic wrap overnight. Snap on the lids in the morning and add it to your child’s lunchbox. They’ll be thrilled!

making chocolate pudding


  • 3 tablespoons rice starch
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 11 Truvia packets
  • 2 1/2 cups lite coconut milk
  • 2 ounces unsweetened dark chocolate, cut into small chunks - I used Dagoba Unsweetened Baking Chocolate
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (gluten free)


  1. Assemble ingredients.
  2. In a large microwaveable bowl, place corn starch, salt and Truvia® natural sweetener
  3. Whisk to combine thoroughly.
  4. While whisking, add coconut milk to dry ingredients and mix until no lumps or dry spots.
  5. Add chocolate pieces to the milk mixture.
  6. Place in microwave and heat for 1 minute. Remove and stir well.
  7. Repeat step 6.
  8. Place back in the microwave and heat mixture for 2 minutes, stir well, and heat for 2 minutes again until thickened.
  9. Add vanilla and stir.
  10. Allow to cool at room temperature for 5 minutes.
  11. Portion into individual serving dishes and cover with plastic touching pudding to prevent skin from forming.
  12. Chill in the refrigerator until cooled and set.
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 10 Minutes
Total Time: 20 Minutes
Servings: 4 servings
  • Serving size: 3/4 cup
  • Calories: 181
  • Calories from Fat: 134
  • Total Fat: 14.9g
  • Saturated fat: 11.6g
  • Unsaturated fat: 3.3g
  • Sodium: 189mg
  • Total Carbohydrates: 15.5g
  • Sugar: 8g (Erythritol 7g)
  • Fiber: 2.4g
  • Protein: 3.7g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg

Nutrition facts per serving  for original recipe: Calories 160; Total Fat, 8g; Saturated Fat, 4.5g; Trans Fat, 0g; Cholesterol, 5mg; Sodium, 280mg; Total Carbohydrate, 26g; Dietary Fiber, 2g; Sugars, 8g; Erythritol, 7g: Protein, 7g; Vitamin A, 6% DV; Vitamin C, 2% DV; Calcium, 20% DV; Iron, 15% DV.

Kids like Truvia sweetened snacks

Kids love pudding lunch makeover challenge

Lucie and Nathan both loved the pudding. Nathan especially liked the texture and taste. I’m sure they’ll be asking for more Truvia sweetened pudding soon!

Project LunchBox – FamilyFreshCooking.com

Featured on Jane Deere's Fusion Fridays.

Disclosure: Truvia provided me with samples of their product and a gift card to pay for ingredients.

chocolate tofu shake

Chocolate tofu shake sweetened with stevia

chocolate tofu shake

With warmer weather here – or nearly so – my thoughts turn to cooling down with a yummy chocolate shake. However, like other people with food sensitivities to dairy and sugar, I have to forgo ice cream shakes.

So I created this chocolate shake made with tofu and sweetened with stevia for those who want some creamy, cool chocolaty goodness, but who also want to avoid dairy and sugar-sweetened alternative ice creams.

Chocolate tofu shake

Makes four chocolate shakes


Directions to make chocolate paste:

  1. Combine 2 cups of milk, cocoa powder and stevia in a small bowl.
  2. Stir until combined into a paste-like substance.

Directions to make chocolate shake:

  1. Combine paste, tofu and 1/2 cup milk in a blender. Pulse until blended.
  2. Add ice cubes to blender. Mix on high until ice is completely crushed.
  3. Pour into two tall glasses and serve.

Nutritional information

  • Calories 129
  • Calories from Fat 49
  • Total Fat 5.5g
  • Saturated Fat 1.1g
  • Trans Fat 0g
  • Cholesterol 0mg
  • Sodium 83mg
  • Total Carbohydrates 14.4g
  • Dietary Fiber 3.2g
  • Sugars 6.6g
  • Protein 9.6g
  • Calcium 10%
  • Iron 15%

Nutrition Grade A from CalorieCount 

Weight Watchers POINTS = 2

This Mama’s tips

A chocolate drink that brews like coffee – Crio Brü

Crio Bru French Press Since I’m avoiding sugar these days, finding something to satisfy my craving for chocolate is difficult. That’s why I was so excited to try out Crio Brü, a brewed drink made from roasted 100% cacao (or cocoa) beans. It’s a chocolate drink that’s brewed like coffee. Nothing else is added to the beans and you’re in total control of what you add to the drink, whether it’s cream and sugar or rice milk and stevia.

Brewing a chocolate drink

Crio Brü sent me two types of their already ground chocolate beans to try:

  • Cavalla – a premium roasted cocoa with natural hints of dark spice, coconut and cinnamon. This cacoa bean is grown on family farms pn the Ivory Coast.
  • Vega Reál – a premium roasted cocoa with natural hints of red berries and dark spice grown in the Dominican Republic.

I chose to make my Crio Bru in my 4 cup Bodum French Press, but you can also make it in a standard coffee maker. I used 1/2 cup of beans for full French Press. Since it’s recommended that you use one to two level tablespoons for each “Crio cup” which is 4.25 ounces or a bit more than half a cup, I figured 8 half cups x 1 tablespoon = 1/2 cup. I followed their brewing directions carefully and produced a hot drink that looks like medium to dark coffee.

So how does Crio Brü taste?

The Crio Brü drinks did taste like hot chocolate, but one that you’ve made with too much water and no sweetener. At first they’re a bit disappointing, because you’re expecting hot chocolate. However, after adding “milk and sugar” – in my case unsweetened rice or coconut milk and stevia – I found it to be much more satisfying. I enjoyed sipping it and found that it reheated well in the microwave later in the day. (I can’t say the same of coffee, which gets nasty when reheated.)

The taste is rich and sophisticated, sort of like a mocha latte, but without the bitterness of coffee. However, I did miss the “tongue feel” of a creamy hot chocolate. I found  making a “cocoa au lait” with half So Delicious coconut milk (unsweetened) and half Crio Cru helped. You could also use half and half or coffee creamer, though that ruins the healthy factor of the chocolate drink.

I’ve also tried Crio Brü cold. You’ll notice some oil globules forming on the top, which is a natural part of the bean. But it’s such a small amount that Crio Brü is considered fat free. If you like iced coffee, iced Crio Brü would be a wonderful summer time drink.

If you like chocolate flavored coffee drinks, adding several tablespoons of Crio Brü to your coffee beans would be a healthier choice than adding sugary chocolate syrups to your coffee cup, too.

The health benefits of chocolate

Crio Brü does have a high ORAC score, about the same as a cup of raspberries. (An Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity, or ORAC score, is a test tube analysis that measures the antioxidant levels of food and other chemical substances.) It’s also caffeine free.

Crio Brü claims that their drink is packed with more natural antioxidants and heart-healthy minerals and than almost any drink on the market. They also claim their drink acts as an appetite suppressant and will give you a boost of energy. Cocoa beans do contain a natural stimulant called theobromine that is a relative of caffeine. Unlike caffeine, theobromine gives you a noticeable increase in energy without making you feel nervous or jittery.

I’m reluctant to support any of their health claims, so I’ll leave that up to your best judgment. However, the Denver Post recently published an article, Good news: Chocolate's sweet health benefits by registered dietitian Shirley Perryman, that supports some of their claims about chocolate:

Research continues to suggest that chocolate offers health benefits: improved blood flow, decreased blood pressure and lowered risk of blood clots. Even the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee observed the link between dark chocolate and heart health, reinforcing this good news…

…The higher the percent cacao in chocolate, the greater the flavonol content. Flavonols are associated with a variety of health benefits, including heart health.

Whatever, your reason for seeking out a healthy chocolate drink, I highly recommend Crio Brü roasted 100% cacao beans. After I run out of the samples the company sent me, I will be purchasing more.

Each 3/4 pound bag currently sells for $11.47 plus shipping and handling. They also sell Crio Beans, Crio Cocoa and French Presses. You can learn more about Crio Brü at www.criobru.com or connect with them on Twitter and Facebook.

Disclosure: Some of the links to Crio Brü are affiliate links from which I may earn a commission.

Sugar Free Dairy Free Chocolate Mousse

Sugar Free Dairy Free Chocolate Mousse at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com The frustrating thing about my food sensitivities has been the lack of ready made desserts. I have a sweet tooth and love a piece of chocolate after a meal. Unfortunately, almost all commercially made chocolate bars are made with sugar or cane sugar, which is on my “avoid this” list. There are a few companies making agave sweetened chocolates, but they’re prohibitively expensive. One brand I found at my local Whole Foods was $1/ounce. Another brand, Innocent Raw Chocolate, is even more expensive, especially if you figure in shipping costs.

The Melville Candy Company makes stevia sweetened dark chocolate, but at $32 per pound (plus shipping) I thought I’d want to experiment using agave, stevia and unsweetened chocolate on my own first.

In search of allergy free chocolate mousse

Julia Child’s recipe for Chocolate Mousse has been my favorite since I was a child. I “healthed it up” a bit when I made it last Christmas by using a vegan  buttery spread instead of butter and dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate. However, I was stumped on what to substitute for the whipping cream.

I’ve read that you can take a can of coconut cream (not the light version or coconut milk) put it in the refrigerator overnight, then skim off the coconut cream from the coconut water. Supposedly, you can whip this cream with some success. Still, I wasn’t convinced that it would work in a mousse. 

Then I received a copy of Clean Start: Inspiring You to Eat Clean and Live Well and found my answer – firm tofu.

This Mama’s tips

  • Use organic tofu whenever you can. I buy it at my local grocery store and surprisingly it’s cheaper than the non-organic tofu.
  • Terry uses orange extract, which is hard to find. Since I already had Triple Sec, an orange flavored liquor, I used it instead.
  • Terry uses maple syrup in her recipe. Due to my food sensitivity to it, I used Madhava Amber Agave Nectar instead.
  • I tried using powdered stevia to sweeten the melted chocolate, but ended up with a bitter mess.
  • I alternatively used Kraft’s unsweetened Baker’s Chocolate and Scharffen Berger’s Unsweetened Dark Baking Chocolate the two times I made this. Both chocolates worked very well.
  • Terry garnishes her mousse with slivered almonds and orange zest. To me, that’s like gilding the lily. The mousse is amazing enough on its own.
  • If you’re looking for a vegan or dairy free chocolate cheesecake, this recipe may be just about perfect. Double the recipe and make as above. Then pour into a vegan/sugar free/gluten free (or whatever your needs are) “graham cracker” pie crust. (Here’s a list of vegan, gluten-free or sugar-free pie crust recipes from About.com.) Refrigerate for several hours or even overnight.
  • I find this recipe really filling and have actually ate half at lunch and the other half at dinner. You may want to split into eight portions or serve in shot glasses to lower calories and Weight Watcher POINTS. You should find a small portion just as satisfying due to the amount of protein and fiber in this recipe.
Sugar Free Dairy Free Chocolate Mousse at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Sugar Free Dairy Free Chocolate Mousse

Based on Terry Walter’s recipe from Clean Start: Inspiring You to Eat Clean and Live Well


  • 14 ounces extra-firm silken organic tofu
  • 1 teaspoon Triple Sec
  • 3 ounces dark agave nectar
  • 4 1/2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 1/4 cup dark agave nectar


  1. Cut a slit in the tofu container and carefully pour out the water.
  2. Remove the block of tofu and carefully place it on a pile of plain paper towels – about 4 or 5 sheets. (You can also do this with a clean kitchen towel or plain washcloth.) Gently press the tofu into the paper towels to remove the excess water. You may want to turn the tofu block and “blot” it on the paper towels to remove the water. Do this until your paper towel pile is completely damp. If you want, create a new pile of paper towels and repeat. The more moisture you remove, the thicker your mousse.
  3. Place tofu in food processor and whip until smooth, scraping down sides of the bowl as needed.
  4. Add the Triple Sec and 3 ounces of dark agave nectar and pulse to combine.
  5. Melt chocolate and 1/4 cup of dark agave nectar in a double boiler or in a small sauce pan or pot over very low heat. You’ll find that the chocolate and agave, once completely melted, will “set up” and be the consistency of chocolate frosting.
  6. Remove the chocolate from the heat and add it to the tofu mixture. Process until blended and smooth. You’ll need to scrape down the bowl to make sure there are no white tofu streaks in your mousse.
  7. Transfer mousse to parfait or sherbet glasses and serve immediately. The mousse will be about room temperature and fluffy. (This recipe takes about 15 minutes to make. This will give your kids or spouse just enough time to clean up the dinner dishes while you whip up a batch.)
  8. Or you can refrigerate to cool. However, mousse will “set up” and be the almost consistency of cheesecake. Still delicious, but it a bit dense for some. (I love it either way.)
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 15 Minutes
Total Time: 30 Minutes
Servings: Serves 4
  • Serving size: 1/4 of recipe
  • Calories: 385
  • Calories from Fat: 202
  • Total Fat: 22.5g
  • Saturated fat: 10.9g
  • Unsaturated fat: 11.6g
  • Sodium: 142mg
  • Total Carbohydrates: 45.9g
  • Sugar: 1.8g
  • Fiber: 5.7g
  • Protein: 13.9g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg

Weight Watchers POINTS = 9 (Try a very satisfying half portion for 4.5 POINTS!)

Disclosure: I received a review copy of Clean Start: Inspiring You to Eat Clean and Live Well. Amazon links are affiliate links. A commission may be earned from a referred sale to their website.

Soft Tofu on Foodista