Tag Archives: Dessert

Avocado Brownies

That’s right.  You heard me.  Avocado BROWNIES.

My initial reaction was, “gross… I have to try these!” And when I did, they were surprisingly fudgy and delicious!

I have mentioned before how I have an addiction to chocolate.  I’m not kidding… chocolate addiction is very real and very serious, kids.  Indulge responsibly.   I’m on the road to recovery, but after Valentine’s, I had a pretty big relapse.  I’ve been clean for about 45 minutes.  I’m confessing this to you because I want you to know that you’re not alone.  You can get help.  These brownies can help you.  They’re packed with healthy fats and antioxidants.

I think it’s important to note here that fat contains 9 calories to the gram (compared to carbs being only 4 calories per gram), so if you’re counting calories, these don’t really help you.  BUT, I want to reiterate the importance of the CONTENT of those calories.  For example, you can eat one regular-sized cookie or you can eat 4 cups of broccoli.  Same calories.  But your body responds entirely different based on what you are putting inside.  So these brownies are an improvement, but you should still practice self-control. 😉

Okay, back to the important stuff.  These brownies are full of healthy fats and contain more nutrition than the empty calories of normal brownies.  Most people who tried them loved them! …with the exception of one 10-year-old boy who thought they were an abominable lie against everything pure and good.  So, 14 out of 15 people enjoyed them.  Not bad odds if you ask me.  A lot better than Grape Nuts, and they’re still in business!

I made these two or three times and tweaked the recipe a tad.  The original recipe post from the Frugal Mom has really great pictures where you can see the fudgy richness and everything.  Here’s the link if you want to check it out.

The only reason I made changes was that I didn’t have coconut flour. I also felt that the frosting needed more honey and cocoa powder.  I added some salt because salt really helps to round out the flavors in baked goods.  And I doubled the vanilla because, well, I always do that. 😉

TIPS: Make sure your avocados are pretty soft.  If they are too firm, they won’t have as much fudginess (which is the most important thing in a brownie if you ask me).  If you don’t like fudgy brownies and want them more cake-like, add another egg to the batter (this also works for box mixes and cookies).  Secondly, make sure you let them cool all the way.  If you get too impatient like I did, you will burn your mouth.

I hope you get the chance to make these!  They really are yummy!  Let me know what you think!  Comment and share!

-Abby Hughes

Fudgy Avocado Brownies
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Fudgy, rich, and delicious. Perfect for those relentless chocolate cravings.
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 20 Brownies
  • 1½ cup Dark Chocolate Chips
  • 2 TBS Coconut Oil
  • 2 cups Avocado Puree (4-5 medium hass avocados, soft)
  • 1 cup Honey
  • 2½ tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 3 Eggs
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • 1 cup Cocoa Powder
  • ½ cup Coconut Flour (I used coconut protein flour)
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Line the base of a 9x13 inch pan with parchment paper allowing some overhang. Grease or spray pan.
  3. Melt the dark chocolate and coconut oil in the microwave or over a double boiler.
  4. Puree the avocados in a food processor.
  5. Stir one cup avocado, ½ cup honey, and vanilla into the cooled chocolate.
  6. Add eggs, one at a time.
  7. Stir in coconut flour, ¼ tsp salt, and ½ cup cocoa powder just until mixed.
  8. Pour batter into pan and bake for 12-15 minutes.
  9. While the brownies cook, combine the other cup of avocado, ½ cup honey, ¼ tsp. salt, ½ tsp. vanilla, and ½ cup cocoa powder in the food processor to make the frosting.
  10. When the brownies are done, cool completely before removing from the pan.
  11. Spread frosting in an even layer on top of brownies.
  12. Cut and enjoy!


Take the Cake

Christmas is quickly approaching!  And you know what that means!?  Party time!  Christmas parties and potlucks are some of my favorite get-togethers of the whole year, but there’s always the question of what to bring.  No one wants to be the person whose dish doesn’t get eaten. So how do you know what will be popular?  My advice, bring a classic.  Stick to the normal crowd pleasers and then dress them up in their Christmas best!  I know time is always an issue, so here are some of my favorite simple treats for potlucks that I’ve found on Pinterest. Whether you’re hosting or just attending, these are guaranteed to get gone.

However, if you’re looking for something a little fancier, keep reading.

My mom’s birthday was right before Thanksgiving, and I made her a classic chocolate cake with whipped ganache.  I found the inspiration on, you guessed it, Pinterest, and was able to easily recreate it!  The design looks elaborate but is really very simple. It would make a stunning dessert for Christmas dinner.  Here is the Pinterest picture I found.So here’s what I did.  I’ll be willing to bet most of you already have a killer chocolate cake recipe, so I won’t bore you with mine, but I would recommend jazzing it up with espresso or your favorite liquor (I used Bailey’s Irish Cream).  I filled and iced the layers with a traditional whipped ganache (also flavored with Bailey’s), and then covered it with a soft ganache. After that, I simply piped rosettes and topped them with my favorite Lindor chocolate truffles.

The tricky part was the basket in the middle.  This cake would still be spectacular without it, but it does add a very dazzling showpiece. I had never made a basket like this before and was able to get it on the first try.  It really isn’t as complicated as It looks.  I know you can do it if you have time!

You make the baskets by drizzling melted almond bark (or tempered chocolate if you’re brave) over some air-filled water balloons (I happened to have those on hand because I’m a child) and set them up in some cups.  Put those babies in the freezer to chill, then just pop the balloons.  Tips! Make sure you POP the ballon instead of letting the air slowly seep out.  I did that at first and it made the chocolate break because it was too slow.  You just gotta rip it out like a band-aid.  Also, make more than one.  Even I, being the culinary genius that I am, make lots of mistakes. 😉 I think at least two of the four that I made broke.

After you finish decorating, cut the cake with a HOT knife to get those beautiful, picture-perfect slices.

Well, there it is!  I hope you can wow your friends with this fabulous cake! Merry Christmas!

Abby Hughes

Soft Ganache
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This ganache is very versatile. Great for icing cakes or making into truffles. This recipe will ice one 8-inch cake.
Cuisine: Dessert
Serves: 16 oz.
  • 8 oz. Chopped Dark Chocolate (or chips)
  • 8 oz. Heavy Cream
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Flavoring
  1. Heat heavy cream to simmer in a saucepan. Be careful not to scorch.
  2. Remove from heat and add chocolate.
  3. Let sit for 3-4 minutes before stirring.
  4. Add vanilla and stir until smooth.
  5. Pour over cake while warm. If making truffles, refrigerate till firm and roll into balls. Cover with chocolate or cocoa powder.

Whipped Ganache
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Use as an icing or filling.
Recipe type: icing
Cuisine: dessert
Serves: 24 oz.
  • 16 oz. Heavy Cream
  • 8 oz. Chopped Dark Chocolate or Chocolate Chips
  • Vanilla Flavoring
  1. Put cream in a heavy saucepan. Heat to simmer. Be careful not to scorch.
  2. Remove from heat and add chocolate.
  3. Let sit for 3-4 minutes before stirring.
  4. Add vanilla and stir until smooth. Refrigerate until completely cooled.
  5. Whip till stiff peaks.
  6. Use to ice cakes or as a sweet filling.

Candy Corn Popcorn Cake


It’s that time of year when all things turn orange, and I am not just saying that because I live in the very orange state of Tennessee!

Recently we had some little-people visitors and I wanted to give them a treat before they left for home.  I was thinking of something not-too-sugary but still fun to eat!  I remembered this fun Popcorn cake I made a couple of years ago at Christmas.

This was the perfect combination with lots of popcorn held together with melted marshmallows.  Adding a few drops of orange food coloring turned this into a perfect autumn treat!

Popcorn and Marshmallow Cake!

I tossed in a small handful of candy corn to make it a true fall celebration!

Slice Up This Popcorn Cake!

This recipe is a fun kids-in-the-kitchen kind of treat.  It is easy and definitely a hands-on recipe kids like to make!   Let your imagination run wild with the possibilities for this dessert.

Have fun!

Click here for a few more details when making this cake!

Candy Corn Popcorn Cake
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Have some fun with a popcorn cake! Delicious, creamy, and so good!
Recipe type: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: American
Serves: 12
  • 1 Angel Food Cake Pan
  • 1 Air Popcorn Popper
  • 10 oz. bag of mini-marshmallows
  • 5 Tablespoons of margarine*
  • ¾ cup candy corn (or more to taste)
  • 3 drops orange good coloring
  1. Pop enough corn to over-fill the angel food cake pan. The popcorn will smoosh down with the marshmallow so use plenty of corn.
  2. Spray cake pan with non-stick oil.
  3. Melt margarine in a large microwave-safe bowl. Add mini-marshmallows. Microwave for 1 minute and stir. Marshmallows should be melted when stirred. If not, microwave a few more seconds.
  4. Add popped corn to the margarine/marshmallow mixture. Stir well.
  5. Stir in candy corn.
  6. Hand-pack the popcorn mixture into the angel food cake pan, pressing slightly to form the cake.
  7. Let cake sit until it is cooled and well-formed. Do not remove from cake pan too soon or it will fall apart when unmolded. Let sit at least 1 hour.
  8. When set, unmold on a cake plate. Sprinkle with additional candy corn if desired.
  9. This cake cuts best with an electric knife.
Let your imagination run wild! Add hot tamales, crushed candy canes, M&M's are all colorful and tasty additions!

Rice Krispie cereal can be used in place of popcorn.

*Butter can be used instead of margarine, but it is slightly more greasy.


Southern Living’s Skillet Caramel Apple Pie

Southern Living’s Caramel Apple Pie

Every once in a while I get out of the kitchen and make way for my Sous-chef dishwashing mom to create something wonderful! That is exactly what happened recently after she was leafing through the fall Southern Living magazine and came upon this recipe.

The minute she saw it she knew it was meant for us! Even though I adore Southern Living magazine, I leave it to mom to let me know what I need to see and read!  We have several cast iron skillets — and even though skillet is well-worn and not too pretty — oh my what a nicely browned, flaky crispy crust it makes! This recipe works in a regular pie plate, but dig out the cast iron if you have one.

I was reading through the recipe before typing this blog post and I read “The rich, bourbon-y caramel sauce makes the tender, lightly spiced apple filling, and flaky crust even more irresistible.”   Whaaat?  Bourbon? Maybe Jack Daniels?   

Hmmm …. I am going to have a little chat with my Sous-chef Apple-pie making momma because I am pretty sure she didn’t include a local hometown ingredient. (Have I ever mentioned that we live only a couple of miles from the only place on earth where Jack Daniels Whiskey is made? )  I am sure we are now going to need to make another one and include a little Jack. Maybe their Tennessee Honey.  Yum.

Skillet Caramel Apple Pie (without any tasty JD!)

The recipe calls for Fuji apples.  Mom used Fuji.   Although this recipe works made with most apples, you will want to get the Fuji if you can because the tart-sweet flavor works well with the sweet caramel, and the apples hold their shape when baked instead of turning to mush.

Mom made a second pie and I asked her to use up some Macintosh apples we had on hand.  BIG MISTAKE!  They really did turn to mush and just made one big gob of apple in the center of the pie. (Not pretty, not too tasty either.)

The recipe calls for two store-bought refrigerated piecrusts, but you can use your favorite homemade pie dough recipe if you prefer.  If you use store-bought, we suggest Pillsbury.  For $1 or more per box, you can get Kroger brand or another brand.  Don’t do it, the crust will be a disappointment.  If you have time to make your own crust you can check out my favorite recipe and a little tutorial:

Favorite Pie Dough

Flaky Pie Dough, Part 1
Flaky Pie Dough, Part 2  Tips and Tricks!

Mom was concerned that the pie crust wouldn’t stretch up and over the skillet edge.  We discovered it really doesn’t need to.  Just place the crust in the skillet up to the edge and gently fill.  Then when placing the top crust crimp edges of bottom and top crusts together.

Place the skillet in a preheated oven on the middle oven rack until the crust is golden, the apples are tender, and the filling is bubbly, about 55 minutes to one hour.  IMPORTANT:  Cover the pie loosely with aluminum foil after about 40 minutes to prevent excessive browning — or earlier if the pie begins to over-brown on the top. 

Let the pie cool completely before serving to allow the filling to set. This is also important so that each piece will come out picture perfect!

Besides the really flaky crust, the homemade salted caramel sauce is what separates this pie from all the rest!  The caramel sauce goes in the pie and on top of the pie!  Oh my goodness, can’t you just taste it?

Top each serving with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and extra caramel sauce, there is plenty to go around!

Thank you to my Sous-chef Dish-washing Apple pie-Making momma for this wonderful dessert!

Happy Cooking!

Southern Living's Skillet Caramel Apple Pie
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Nothing says "southern" quite like making an all-American apple pie in a cast iron skillet! Top it with homemade caramel sauce and you will be the talk of the town!
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 6-8 servings
  • 1 (14.1-oz.) pkg. refrigerated piecrusts
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons half-and-half
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon or whiskey *(optional)
  • 3 pounds Fuji apples (about 4½ medium apples), peeled and cut into ½-inch-thick slices
  • 2½ tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon water
  1. Fit 1 piecrust on the bottom and press up sides of a 9-inch cast-iron skillet. Transfer skillet to refrigerator, and let chill while assembling caramel sauce and apple filling.
  2. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  3. Stir together light brown sugar, butter, half-and-half, and salt in a medium saucepan over medium-high. Cook, stirring, until butter melts and mixture begins to bubble, about 5 minutes. Cook, stirring, until mixture begins to thicken, about 2 more minutes. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla extract, and, if desired, bourbon or whiskey*. Let caramel sauce cool to almost room temperature, about 30 minutes.
  4. Toss apples with cornstarch in a large bowl.
  5. Pour ⅓ cup caramel sauce over apples, and toss to coat. Reserve remaining caramel sauce for serving. Pour apple filling into prepared skillet.
  6. Place remaining piecrust over apple filling. Crimp edges of bottom and top crusts together.
  7. Using a sharp knife, cut 6 to 8 (1-inch) slits in top crust for steam to escape. Whisk together egg yolk and water in a small bowl; brush over crust.
  8. Bake pie in preheated oven on middle oven rack until crust is golden, apples are tender, and filling is bubbly, about 55 minutes to 1 hour, shielding loosely with aluminum foil after about 40 minutes to prevent excessive browning. Transfer pie to a wire rack, and cool completely, about 3 hours. Serve with reserved caramel sauce.
*Bourbon or Whiskey optional for a little boozy-flavoring.


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