Dessert

Chocolate Tahini Banana “Soft Serve”

Chocolate Tahini Banana Soft Serve  |  Lemon & Mocha

Happy Friday, everyone! Today I’m sharing a chocolate-packed tasty treat with you all. This Chocolate Tahini Banana “Soft Serve” is creamy, smooth and topped with a quick chocolate magic shell. If the magic shell sounds familiar it’s because that’s what I used to top the Pistachio Semifreddo I posted last summer. It’s no secret that I love using tahini in the kitchen. I use it to make hummus, turn it into a dressing and drizzle it over lettuce wraps. However, I had only ever used it savory dishes and lately I’ve seen a lot of sweet recipes popping up with tahini listed as an ingredient.

Chocolate Tahini Banana Soft Serve  |  Lemon & Mocha

At first I thought using tahini in a sweet recipe sounded really strange. But then when I thought about it more, tahini is very similar to peanut butter. They’re both creamy, nutty and rich in flavor. Considering I love peanut butter in sweet desserts, it’s not too much of a stretch to think I might also enjoy tahini swapped in. Clearly, since I’m posting this recipe now, the verdict is that I enjoyed it very, very much!

Chocolate Tahini Banana Soft Serve  |  Lemon & Mocha

I swirled it into my chocolate banana “soft serve” and drizzled a little more on top for good measure. Have you ever had banana “soft serve?” I’ve also heard it called nice cream. There’s probably many different ways it’s described, but I think of it as a dessert smoothie bowl without the yogurt. It has the texture of partially melted ice cream and thanks to the cocoa powder it’s super chocolatey. You make it by blending frozen bananas, which bring the sweetness and that semi-frozen texture.

Chocolate Tahini Banana Soft Serve  |  Lemon & Mocha

I added frozen cauliflower florets as an experiment and it was a big success! It didn’t change the flavor at all, but secretly added some veggies to this sweet treat. The creamy tahini added the right amount of nuttiness, which pairs so well with chocolate and banana. Of course it wouldn’t truly be a chocolate treat if I didn’t find a way to add chocolate on top of my chocolate so I drizzled some magic shell on top. You can make magic shell by melting chocolate chips with coconut oil then drizzling over something cold, like this Chocolate Tahini Banana “Soft Serve,” which makes it harden into fun chocolate swirls that you can crack with your spoon and eat with each bite.

Chocolate Tahini Banana Soft Serve  |  Lemon & Mocha

I love making this when I want to eat some dessert, but I don’t already have anything made. A few bursts in my high-speed blender and it’s time to eat!

Chocolate Tahini Banana Soft Serve  |  Lemon & Mocha

Chocolate Tahini Banana "Soft Serve"
 
Yield: 2 servings
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups frozen ripe banana slices (about 1½ bananas)
  • 1 cup frozen cauliflower florets
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon agave
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons chocolate chips
  • ½ teaspoon coconut oil
  • Sliced bananas and tahini, for topping
Directions
  1. Add the frozen banana slices, cauliflower florets, cocoa powder, agave and vanilla to a high-speed blender. Blend until smooth. Taste for sweetness and add more agave if needed. Divide the mixture between 2 bowls.
  2. Melt the chocolate chips and the coconut oil in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds, then stir. Continue to microwave for 15 second increments, stirring after each, until melted and smooth. Carefully drizzle over the “soft serve” to harden and top with banana slices and a tahini drizzle.
Notes
I've also made this using 88 Acres Watermelon Seed Butter instead of tahini using a 1-1 substitution.

 

Hot Chocolate Cupcakes

Hot Chocolate Cupcakes  |  Lemon & Mocha

As much as I want it to be spring already, we still have a few more weeks until the first official day of spring. And, considering that I live in New England, it’s usually a few more weeks after that. I decided to embrace the last bit of winter that we have left and make these decadent and cozy Hot Chocolate Cupcakes.

Hot Chocolate Cupcakes  |  Lemon & Mocha

My inspiration for these cupcakes came from these adorable sparkly snowflake toppers! I have the coolest goddaughter who seriously gets my love of baking and cooking. This past fall for my birthday she scoured Etsy to find unique cupcake toppers for each season. I immediately knew the upcoming year on Lemon & Mocha would have to include four special cupcakes, each showcasing the cute seasonal toppers from my goddaughter.

Hot Chocolate Cupcakes  |  Lemon & Mocha

When I was trying to decide what to make for the winter cupcakes I immediately thought of my favorite winter beverage: hot chocolate. The base of these cupcakes is my Perfect Chocolate Cupcakes. I tweaked the recipe this past fall and they truly are the most moist and light cupcakes with a big chocolate flavor. I’ve raved enough about my chocolate cupcakes in the past though so we can move on the frosting, which is what makes these not just chocolate cupcakes, but Hot Chocolate Cupcakes.

Hot Chocolate Cupcakes  |  Lemon & Mocha

Let me get right to it; this frosting is crazy good. All it took was one bite to know this hot chocolate frosting would be an immediate member of my cake repertoire for years to come. And then I sampled a second, a third and a fourth bite just to be really, really certain.

Hot Chocolate Cupcakes  |  Lemon & Mocha

Cocoa powder and marshmallow fluff help give this buttercream frosting that classic hot chocolate taste. There’s less powdered sugar than a traditional buttercream because we are using marshmallow fluff to sweeten the frosting and to make it, well, fluffy! Also because it wouldn’t be a perfect hot chocolate without marshmallows. Enjoy!

Hot Chocolate Cupcakes  |  Lemon & Mocha

Hot Chocolate Cupcakes
 
Yield: 24 cupcakes
Ingredients
for the cupcakes
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup cocoa powder
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk, see note
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup hot coffee, see note
for the frosting
  • 2 cups unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 4 cups marshmallow fluff
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • Mini marshmallows, for topping
Directions
for the cupcakes
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two cupcake pans with cupcake liners so you have enough for 24 cupcakes.
  2. In a large mixing bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer, sift together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, melted butter, vegetable oil and vanilla extract. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix together until smooth.
  4. Pour the hot coffee into the batter and stir until combined. The batter will be extremely liquidy. Divide the batter between the 24 cupcake liners, filling them slightly more than half full. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes back mostly clean. Alternatively, they are done when you gently press your finger on the center of a cupcake and it lightly springs back. I find mine to be done at exactly 19 minutes.
  5. Let cool in the pans for a couple minutes then remove to a wire cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.
for the frosting
  1. Beat the butter until fluffy, about 3 minutes, scrapping down the sides as needed. Add the marshmallow fluff, powdered sugar and cocoa powder. Beat until combined and fluffy, scrapping down the sides as needed. Pipe the frosting using a pastry bag (see note) and top with the mini marshmallows.
Notes
To make your own buttermilk: pour 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar in a liquid measuring cup. Pour milk, any fat percentage, into the measuring cup until you have 1 cup. Let sit for 5 minutes before using.
If you don’t want to use coffee you can use hot water, but the flavor of the chocolate won’t be as pronounced. You can use decaffeinated coffee if you prefer.
The frosting recipe is written assuming you will be piping a generous amount of frosting on each cupcake. If you would prefer to simply frost with a knife then you can most likely halve the frosting recipe.

 

Browned Butter Rice Krispie Treats

Browned Butter Rice Krispie Treats  |  Lemon & Mocha

I’m all about the easy desserts these days. You will understand why when you see the March cookies! One of the best quick and no-bake desserts are rice krispie treats. Last February, I posted my Chocolate-Dipped Browned Butter Rice Krispie Treats, which are these same treats, but dipped in chocolate and covered in Valentine’s Day sprinkles. I decided that these treats are so crispy, gooey and full of flavor that they deserved their own post.

Browned Butter Rice Krispie Treats  |  Lemon & Mocha

I find normal rice krispie treats to be very bland. Good thing these aren’t normal rice krispie treats! If you’ve made my Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies then you know how much rich depth of flavor browned butter can add to a baked good and these krispie treats are no exception. If you’ve never browned butter before it’s really simple. You melt butter on the stovetop and then continue to cook the melted butter over medium heat until it becomes golden brown in color, which takes about 4 or so minutes. You will be able to smell it as well; it will smell lightly caramelized and have you swooning. Rice krispie treats require melted butter anyways so it only makes sense to go that one step further and add some flavor to the butter.

Browned Butter Rice Krispie Treats  |  Lemon & Mocha

Typically when making rice krispie treats all the marshmallows get melted down, but I’ve left some mini marshmallows unmelted to create extra gooey pockets in the krispie treat. If we’re making a marshmallow treat we might as well go all out, right? Of course, if you really wanted to go extra all out you could take a cue from the Chocolate-Dipped Browned Butter Rice Krispie Treats. I’ll take either version, which is saying a lot about the flavor and texture of these Browned Butter Rice Krispie Treats since I’m so chocolate obsessed.

Browned Butter Rice Krispie Treats  |  Lemon & Mocha

If you really want to make people’s mouths drop, follow the directions below for the jumbo-sized krispie treats! It makes a thick bakery style krispie treat like the ones pictured here that will have everyone thinking you bought them at your local bakery.

Browned Butter Rice Krispie Treats  |  Lemon & Mocha

Browned Butter Rice Krispie Treats
 
Yield: 12 regular or 9 jumbo krispie treats
Ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 4¾ cups mini marshmallows
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 6 cups Rice Krispies cereal
Directions
  1. Line a 13x9 pan or a 9x9 pan (see note) with nonstick aluminum foil and set aside.
  2. In a large pot big enough to fit all the cereal, melt the butter over medium heat. Continue to cook the butter, making sure to continuously swirl the pan, until the butter is golden brown in color, about 4 minutes. Lower the heat then add 4 cups of the marshmallows, stirring until melted. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla and salt.
  3. Add the cereal to the pot and gently stir until coated. Gently stir in the remaining ¾ cup of mini marshmallows. Pour the contents of the pot into the prepared pan and spread evenly. I used a small piece of wax paper to lightly press on the krispie treats in the pan to create an even-ish surface without pressing too hard (you don’t want the krispie treats to be dense). Let cool completely.
  4. Once cooled, remove the foil from the pan and cut the krispie treats with a sharp knife. Store at room temperature in an airtight container.
Notes
For 12 normal-sized krispie treats use a 13x9 pan. For 9 jumbo-sized krispie treats use a 9x9 pan.
The krispie treats stay for a few days, but they taste best the same day.

 

Funfetti Peanut Butter White Chocolate Waffle Snack Mix

Funfetti Peanut Butter White Chocolate Waffle Snack Mix  |  Lemon & Mocha

Funfetti Peanut Butter White Chocolate Waffle Snack Mix! Just writing the name of this post is getting me excited! Sometimes you want a dessert that’s easy and doesn’t require any baking. Sometimes you want a dessert that’s called a snack so you can eat it whenever you want. And sometimes you just want something you can cover in rainbow sprinkles. All of these scenarios are perfect reasons to make this sweet and salty treat.

Funfetti Peanut Butter White Chocolate Waffle Snack Mix  |  Lemon & Mocha

This snack mix is a slight twist on normal muddy buddies. Muddy buddies, or puppy chow, is rice cereal that’s been tossed in a peanut butter chocolate mixture before being coated in powdered sugar. Today we’re swapping the chocolate for white chocolate and there’s no rice cereal in sight. That’s because instead we’re using pretzel sticks, popcorn and buttered Belgian waffles! Yes, I said waffles. Pretzel sticks help bring in a little saltiness to the snack, which is great since white chocolate is pretty sweet. You could always use mini pretzels instead of pretzel sticks, but I still had some in our snack drawer from the Game Day Cookies.

Funfetti Peanut Butter White Chocolate Waffle Snack Mix  |  Lemon & Mocha

Have you ever had chocolate coated popcorn? It’s one of my favorite treats so I love having the popcorn in this snack mix. There are three ways you can make the popcorn in the microwave and I have them all listed in the recipe. My ideal method is to use this collapsible silicone popcorn microwave popper. I got it for Matt as part of his Christmas gift a few years ago and it has been a big hit in our house. Since it collapses it takes up minimal space (kitchen cabinet space is precious!) and you can pop popcorn kernels in it without any oil. Sur La Table doesn’t sell the one I bought anymore, but I found it on Amazon. If you don’t want to go that route, you can always use a paper lunch bag or a microwave safe bowl with a microwave safe plate fit on top. I haven’t tried that last method, but I’ve seen a lot of people mentioning it as a way to microwave popcorn without a bag.

Funfetti Peanut Butter White Chocolate Waffle Snack Mix  |  Lemon & Mocha

Anyways, moving on to the star of this snack mix – the buttered waffle pieces! I think every snack mix in my future needs to include chunks of Belgian waffle covered in powdered sugar because it is seriously addictive. I used frozen cinnamon Belgian waffles from Wegmans and that extra cinnamon flavor sent them over the top.

Funfetti Peanut Butter White Chocolate Waffle Snack Mix  |  Lemon & Mocha

Also, I don’t know how I’ve gone this whole post so far without drooling over the peanut butter in this since I’m peanut butter obsessed. The peanut butter flavor mixed with the white chocolate is absolute perfection. I hope you enjoy this tasty treat and happy early Valentine’s Day to you all!

Funfetti Peanut Butter White Chocolate Waffle Snack Mix  |  Lemon & Mocha

Funfetti Peanut Butter White Chocolate Waffle Snack Mix
 
Ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons popcorn kernels
  • 2 frozen Belgian waffles
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1½ cups broken in half pretzel sticks
  • 6 ounces white chocolate
  • ¼ cup creamy peanut butter
  • ½ cup sprinkles
  • ¾ cup powdered sugar, plus more if needed
Directions
  1. Place the popcorn kernels in either a brown paper bag with the top folded closed a couple times, a silicone microwave popper with the lid on, or in a medium microwave safe bowl with a microwave safe plate snugly fitted on top. Heat the kernels starting with 3 minutes and stopping the microwave as soon as the popping becomes infrequent. Carefully remove from the microwave and place in a large mixing bowl. If there are any un-popped kernels save them for the next time you make popcorn.
  2. Toast the Belgian waffles in your toaster or toaster oven. When they’re toasted, divide the butter between the waffles and it on both sides. Cut the waffles into bite-sized pieces. Add the waffle pieces and broken pretzel sticks to the mixing bowl with the popcorn.
  3. Melt the white chocolate in a small microwave safe bowl. Start with 30 seconds, carefully remove and stir, then continue in 15 second increments, stirring after each increment, until it is melted. White chocolate seizes up easily so be sure not to over-heat. Add the peanut butter and stir until smooth. Pour the peanut butter white chocolate mixture over the bowl of snack mix. Gently toss to coat completely. Add the sprinkles and toss to coat. Sprinkle on the powdered sugar and toss to coat. Add more if needed. Snack mix can be stored in an airtight container, but tastes best eaten right away.
Notes
These recipe can easily be halved or doubled.

Some of the links above are affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission for my referral if you purchase something. This does not affect the retail cost of the item. Thank you for supporting Lemon & Mocha!

Recipe slightly adapted from Averie Cooks.

Chocolate Raspberry Heart Cookie Pops

Chocolate Raspberry Heart Cookie Pops  |  Lemon & Mocha

I’m posting the February cookies early so you have plenty of time to make them for Valentine’s Day next week. Which you will definitely want to do because how cute are these heart cookie pops? They are also game-changer cookies, but I’ll get into that in a bit. I have to admit that I was a little nervous about making these cookies because the recipe called for two things I’ve never done before; making cookie pops and making royal icing. I am happy to report that both were easier than I anticipated and there is no reason to be intimidated about making these Chocolate Raspberry Heart Cookie Pops!

Chocolate Raspberry Heart Cookie Pops  |  Lemon & Mocha

The dough could not be easier to make since you whip it up in a food processor. I know not everyone has a food processor (if you are thinking of getting one I highly recommend the 14-cup Cuisinart I have), but I imagine you could use a stand mixer instead. The butter gets cubed up and added into the dough while it’s cold, just like when making a pastry crust, so there’s no waiting around for your butter to come to room temperature. Since the dough is cold from the chilled butter, it’s very easy to roll out without any stickiness.

Chocolate Raspberry Heart Cookie Pops  |  Lemon & Mocha

I had to re-roll my dough because I initially rolled it too thin. You need the dough to be about 3/8-inch to 1/2-inch thick in order to insert the lollipop stick, which is thicker than you would think so break out that measuring tape! Since the dough was so thick, inserting the lollipop sticks was easy – first challenge complete! When I was cutting out the circles of dough I cut them tightly together so I was able to get all twelve circles from the initial rolled dough. The recipe says to gather, refrigerate and re-roll the scraps to cut out more cookies. Twelve cookie pops was already plenty for me so instead I just baked the scraps as is after I was done baking the cookie pops. They looked like funny bat winged cookies, but they still tasted delicious!

Chocolate Raspberry Heart Cookie Pops  |  Lemon & Mocha

Next up was the royal icing. Basically, the recipe has you make an icing that’s pretty stiff, which you pipe around the edge of the cookie. You then thin the icing and fill in the rest of the cookie within the piped line. I found it a little difficult to pipe a smooth line around the edge of the cookies, but after a few wonky lines I had it down. I don’t think I’ll become a cookier anytime soon, but they look so nice when they’re done. I went with a little heart on top instead of the swirl rose design on the original Food Network Magazine recipe.

Chocolate Raspberry Heart Cookie Pops  |  Lemon & Mocha

Okay, now back to that game-changer comment I made earlier. These Chocolate Raspberry Heart Cookie Pops taste so good! As in, both Matt and I called them dangerous and tried to hide them. Matt hit the flavor spot on – they taste like a buttery version of that Sheila G’s Brownie Brittle. I couldn’t find cherry extract in my grocery store, which the original recipe calls for, so I went with raspberry extract and I’m happy I did because the flavor was subtle, fruity and complements the chocolate cookie perfectly. There’s also something really satisfying about eating a cookie off a lollipop stick. This chocolate cookie base is definitely going to be a new regular in my cookie rotation. Next time I’m going to try chilling it in a log to make slice and bake cookies. And I might even slice them thick enough to stick lollipop sticks in them again. Yum!

Chocolate Raspberry Heart Cookie Pops  |  Lemon & Mocha

Chocolate Raspberry Heart Cookie Pops
 
Yield: 12 cookie pops
Ingredients
for the cookies
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup powdered sugar
  • ⅓ cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder)
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2½ sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
for the icing
  • 2½ cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons meringue powder
  • ¼ cup water, plus more as needed
  • ½ teaspoon raspberry extract
  • Red gel food coloring
Directions
for the cookies
  1. Prepare two sheets of parchment paper that are sized to line a baking sheet. Set aside. In a food processor, pulse together the flour, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, granulated sugar and salt. Once combined, add the cold butter cubes and the vanilla extract. Pulse until the mixture looks like it has larger crumbs and will hold together when pinched. Transfer the dough to a large bowl or clean work surface and press the dough into a ball. Knead the dough a few times. Place the dough ball on one of the pieces of parchment paper then top with the other sheet. Press the dough to flatten then roll out the dough until it’s ⅜-inch to ½-inch thick. Refrigerate the dough slab for about 1 hour, or until firm.
  2. Make sure oven racks are positioned in the lower and upper thirds of the oven. Preheat to 325 degrees F. Using a 3-inch round cookie cutter or biscuit cutter, cut out 12 cookies and arrange 2 inches apart on 2 baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Carefully insert a 6-inch lollipop stick about ¾ of the way into each round cookie. If needed, form the scraps into a ball, refrigerate and re-roll to cut out more cookies. Or, refrigerate the scraps as is to bake as odd shaped scrap cookies once the other cookies are done baking.
  3. Bake the cookies until they are set for 25-30 minutes, switching the pans from top to bottom and front to back halfway through. Mine took closer to 30 minutes. Let cookies cool for 10 minutes on the pan on a wire cooling rack then transfer cookies to the wire cooling rack to cool completely.
for the icing
  1. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the powdered sugar and the meringue powder. Add the water and raspberry extract then beat with a hand mixer or in a stand mixer on medium speed for about 3 minutes, or until there are soft glossy peaks. Tint the icing with the red food coloring. I found that I needed a lot of gel food coloring to achieve a red color (almost half a tube). The icing should be able to be piped without being runny. If the icing is too thick add up to 1 more tablespoon of water. I needed to add about 2 teaspoons more water.
  2. Put ½ cup of icing into a pastry bag or resealable plastic bag and snip a corner. If you wanted to be more precise you could use a small round pastry tip (I didn’t do this, but I would probably do it next time). Apply firm and even pressure to pipe the icing around the edge of each cookie. I found it piped cleaner when I made sure I didn’t have the tip of the bag too close to the cookie. Set the piping bag aside for decorating the heart detail later.
  3. Add 1 teaspoon of water at a time to thin the remaining icing in the bowl until it is the consistency of runny yogurt. Put the icing into a new pastry bag or resealable plastic bag (no need for a pastry tip) and pipe a bunch of icing within the outline of 6 of the cookies. Use an offset spatula or the back of a spoon to smooth out the icing and bring it all the way to the piped edge. You want to pipe enough icing that it’s easy to smooth, but not so much that it is spilling over the piped outline. Repeat with the remaining 6 cookies then let set at room temperature for about 1 hour. Use the reserved original piping bag of icing to pipe the heart details onto the cookies.
Notes
The cookies have a nice crispy texture to them. I stored them without the icing in a plastic container and they stayed that way. However, probably because of the icing, after storing them with the icing on, they became soft. They tasted really good both ways. I’m not sure if there is a way to avoid them from becoming softer because of the icing.

 

Recipe from January/February 2019 issue of Food Network Magazine.

Some of the links above are affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission for my referral. This does not affect the retail cost of the item. Thank you for supporting Lemon & Mocha!