Currently Craving - Dark Beer/ Chocolate Baking Combos

Want to make your own festive cupcake topper?  Cut a paper straw in half, cut a length of washi tape, cut, and write a message with  a sharpie.  Quick, cute, and easy.

So, I have let myself become completely overwhelmed with life and teaching and have abandoned my poor blog, so, here's to hoping I can get a few updates knocked out before the end of spring break! 

One flavor combination that I've been craving lately is a complex dark chocolate and I've been pleasantly surprised with the dark beer/chocolate combination that seems to pop up frequently around St. Patrick's Day. 

One of the first items on my list of ways to relax over break was to whip up some baked goods.  I'll be the first to admit I love cupcakes.  Who doesn't adore cute little cakes that are dolled up?  I opted to whip up some chocolate stout cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, and, not to toot my own horn, but they turned out pretty darn tasty.

I started with a chocolate Guinness Cake recipe I found on Simply Recipes and I made some slight changes.

Here's what you need to make your own:

Of course sprinkles are a necessity. 


Yields: Approx. 24 cupcakes


1 cup of stout or porter beer, like Guinness (I used a local brew- Millstream Oatmeal Stout)
10 TBS unsalted butter
3/4 C. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 C. granulated sugar
1/2 C. dark brown sugar
3/4 C. sour cream
2 eggs
1 TBS pure vanilla extract
2 C. all purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt (let's get real, a pinch will do.)
Paper cupcake liners


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  Place the cupcake liners in your cupcake pan.

Place the beer and butter in a large saucepan.  Cook over medium heat until the butter has melted.  Stir continuously to combine the beer and butter.  Add the cocoa powder and sugars.  Mix thoroughly.  Take the mixture off the heat and allow to come to room temperature.

In a small mixing bowl, beat together the sour cream, eggs, and vanilla extract until completely combined.  Add to the beer/butter mixture and stir well.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.  Add the beer/butter mixture and whisk until fully combined.

Using a table spoon, fill the cupcake liners 3/4 full.  Allow to bake for 20-30 minutes.  Let the cupcakes cool fully before frosting with cream cheese frosting - recipe below.

Frost and devour!



1/2 C. butter (1 stick), room temperature
8 oz. of cream cheese (1 package), room temperature
3 C. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract


With an electric mixer or a lot of elbow grease, mix together the butter and cream cheese until smooth.

Add the vanilla extract and mix until evenly distributed.

Slowly add the powdered sugar to the cream cheese and butter mixture, making sure to scrape the sides to ensure even mixing.

Using a knife, spatula, or piping back, spread the frosting on your cupcakes. 

Another beer/chocolate recipe I've tried out lately was the adorable Sprinkle Bakes Guinness-Pretzel Truffle recipe.  While there is no picture included because the outcome of my baking did not turn out nearly as pretty as those pictured on Sprinkle Bakes, the final product was at least tasty.  Below is her recipe.


12 oz. bottle Guinness Extra Stout (divided)
8 oz. semisweet chocolate
1/2 cup softened unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3/4 cup finely pulverized pretzel rods
3/4 cup crushed pretzels for rolling truffles
  1. Place 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp. Guinness Stout in a 2 cup saucepan.  Set aside.
  2. Pour the remaining Guinness Stout in a separate small saucepan and bring to a simmer.  Cook until reduced to 1 tablespoon, about 15- 20 minutes.  Be sure to keep an eye on this because, once reduced considerably, it can burn easily.
  3. Chop the chocolate into pieces and place in the saucepan with the Guinness Stout. Place the saucepan over medium- low heat and let stand until the chocolate starts to melt.  Stir with a wire whisk to blend together the chocolate pieces, but don’t whisk vigorously – we’re not trying to incorporate air.
  4. When the chocolate is melted and smooth, begin to add butter 1 tbsp.  at a time. Whisk gently until butter is melted, and then add the 1 tbsp. Guinness Stout reduction.  Stir in the pulverized pretzels.
  5. Pour the chocolate mixture into a bowl and chill in the refrigerator until firm (or overnight).
  6. Line a cookie sheet with wax paper. Scoop out ganache out by the heaping tablespoon and quickly roll between your palms.
  7. Once all the chocolate is used up, chill the truffles in an air-tight container in the fridge until ready to roll in crushed pretzels. These chocolates will keep for 7 days when stored properly in the refrigerator.  Roll truffles in crushed pretzels just before serving (so they’ll be crunchy!).

  • Pretzel rods can be finely pulverized in a food processor.  Avoid getting large pretzel pieces in the ganache, it will give the finished truffle a lumpy, undesirable texture.
  • If crushed pretzels resist sticking to the chilled truffles, roll the truffles between your palms to warm them up, and then roll in the pretzels. The pieces should stick.
  • If you're watching your salt content, unsalted pretzels may be used in the ganache mixture.


If you're craving this taste combination and don't feel like baking anything, pick up a few bottles of Boulder Beer Company's Shake Chocolate Porter.  By far the best chocolate porter I have had yet.  (Pssst... It's also really good mixed with a fruit beer Van Diest Fruli Strawberry

"Killer Breakfast" Vampire Doughnut Tutorial

So, clearly this post is a little late, but hey... I've been busy!

Since I work at a school/ residential treatment facility for adjudicated male youth, the students that I work with don't get to see their families very frequently.  This fact really seems to affect the boys around holidays, so, some of the other staff and I like to do something to make the holidays a little more special.

First, I do NOT take credit for this idea.  I ran across a picture showing a similar doughnut idea while I was scrolling through Pinterest (as I do more frequently than I would like to admit) posted by a cute little blog called Lovezilla.  Check it out for a billion cute ideas.

Here's my take on how to make these "killer" little doughnuts.

-plastic vampire teeth, 1 per doughnut (I purchased mine for 20 cents a piece at a local pop-up Halloween shop)
-plain M&Ms (I used green and red ones)
-glazed doughnuts (I picked up a few boxes of the simple glazed yeast doughnuts from Walmart)

Honestly, this is the simplest fun treat you will ever make.

1. Grab a doughnut
2. Stick some vampire teeth in the hole of the doughnut
3. Add M&M eyeballs
4. Take to your students and enjoy!

Take a peek at how mine turned out!!!

Now, yes... I know I teach students between the ages of 12 and 19, but they still enjoy a little bit of holiday whimsy and a chance to eat some junk food for breakfast. 


Vegetarian Twice Baked Potatoes 

My husband and I are (for the most part) vegetarian.  I say "for the most part" because we do occasionally eat fish and if we're in a social situation where meat is being served it won't kill us if there is no way to get out of it.  But... we normally eat vege foods at home.  Patrick and I had both recently been craving potatoes and I looked high and low on Pinterest for a vegetarian recipe for twice baked potatoes that sounded appetizing.  I ended up making up my own.


Serves 2 people as a main dish and 4 people as a side dish

2 large baking potatoes 
2 TBS butter or butter substitute (I used Earth Balance Olive Oil spread) 
2/3 cup chopped baby portobello mushrooms
2 TBS chopped fresh chives
2 TBS fresh rosemary 
2 TBS fresh thyme 
1 4 oz. container goat cheese 
Olive oil as a non-stick agent 

First, preheat your oven to 450 degrees.  

While your oven in preheating wash your potatoes.  Rub olive oil on the outside of your potatoes and stab several times (on both sides) with a fork.  

Once the oven has preheated, place the potatoes inside and let cook for about 45 minutes.  Check occasionally to make sure the potatoes are not burning or getting too squishy.  

While the potatoes continue to cook, saute the chopped portobellos in olive oil in a small skillet on medium-low heat until they begin to change to a slightly darker color.  If you would like your portobellos to be crunchier like bacon bits, toss them on a baking sheet and place them in the oven to bake for a few minutes or until slightly crispy.

When your potatoes have finished cooking, remove them from the oven.  Using tongs or another way to hold onto the hot potato, cut the potatoes in half length-wise.  

Use a spoon to hollow out the inside of each potato half.  Make sure you leave some potato around the flesh so the twice baked potato "boat" will still hold it's shape.  Scoop the inside of the potato into a medium sized mixing bowl. 

Using a potato masher, squish the chunks of potato to create a smoother texture.  Mix in 2 TBS of butter, chives, rosemary, thyme, portobello mushrooms, and goat cheese.  Mix with a spoon until the mixture is combined. 

Spoon the potato mixture back into each potato "boat."  Decrease the temperature of your oven to 350 degrees.  Place the potatoes back inside and let cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the potatoes are warm.  

Serve and enjoy! 

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