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Chocolate Espresso Custard

Chocolate Espresso Custard

When I gave myself the gift of summer, I hoped for adventure and I hoped for leisure. While adventure is on the horizon (I'm headed off to France in two weeks!), this week was spent catching up on a year's worth of much needed relaxation. I pulled a deck chair out into the sun, slathered on the sunscreen, and read my way through a couple good books. With a tall glass of ice water at my side, it felt very much like a dream.

I have been savoring these little moments, taking them in and bundling them up for a rainy day. When summer ends and the responsibilities start up once again, I'll take one of these memories out, smooth out the edges, and remember the feeling of the sun and the smell of the grass.

Chocolate Espresso Custard Chocolate Espresso Custard

Custards are among the things I do not need to be reminded to savor. As a part of my own tradition, I use the smallest spoon in the drawer. Eating it slowly, one small bite at a time, letting the flavor linger. These custards are simple to prepare, an afterthought to create after dinner, but they can be enjoyed for several evenings after.

Chocolate and espresso go together effortlessly and it shows in this simple dessert. Perhaps this can be your own reminder to slow down and take in the moment with a little more awareness than before.

Chocolate Espresso Custard Chocolate Espresso Custard

Chocolate Espresso Custard is a sweet, cool treat to enjoy any time of the year. While this version is dairy-free, utilizing coconut milk and coconut whipped cream, I have added substitutions to make it a bit more traditional. The smooth flavors of chocolate and espresso are both pronounced. When garnished with whipped cream, chocolate shavings, and chocolate covered espresso beans, this custard will disappear in no time.

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Chocolate Cacao Nib Banana Bread

Chocolate Cacao Nib Banana Bread

Sitting in the sun has been on my wishlist since last summer. Due to a string of unfortunate circumstances, a bitter winter, and a slow spring arrival, this day has been out of my grasp for far too long. With the sun shining and nothing to be done, I crossed this simple pleasure off my list this afternoon. The sun may be too bright, the intense heat only bearable due to the wind, but it feels good. With a book in hand, it rivals the beginnings of perfection.

Summer, dear summer, I've missed you.

Chocolate Cacao Nib Banana Bread Chocolate Cacao Nib Banana Bread

I decided long ago that it was not possible to have too many banana bread recipes. I have a fairly substantial collection on this blog, and a growing collection of recipes I've been playing with in my own kitchen. I feel as if a person should have a few different types at their disposal: the classic version, a tropical twist, a dessert loaf, and one that is not for the kids. Banana bread is a versatile bread that can make for a healthy breakfast, a satisfying afternoon snack, or a surprising dessert—it would be a shame not to have a recipe for any given occasion.

Wherever there are ripe bananas resting on a kitchen counter, there is a potential for a new loaf of banana bread.

Chocolate Cacao Nib Banana Bread

With this particular loaf, I wanted to find a balance between healthy and dessert. While this particular recipe errs more on the side of healthy, a couple easy substitutions would lend a more decadent result. The whole wheat flour could be substituted for all-purpose, the cacao nibs for chocolate chips, and the butter could always be browned before use. However, I prefer this recipe as it is. The natural sweetness is enough for me.

Do give this recipe a try, in whichever form you would enjoy it most. Add it to your own collection and revisit in the future, when the mood is right and the bananas are ripe.

Chocolate Cacao Nib Banana Bread

Chocolate Cacao Nib Banana Bread has a deep chocolate flavor, with a sprinkling of cacao nibs to provide an interesting texture. The loaf is just sweet enough, relying on the natural sugars in the bananas along with brown sugar. With a banana cut in half and pressed into the top, the loaf takes on a new look, elevating the simple loaf into something a little more special.

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Mango Margarita

Mango Margarita

It was a rainy day, the type where the clouds are heavy and full and the sun stays hidden. I adore when these days come around, Mother Nature's excuse to spend the day relaxed and indoors. Though I don't need to find a reason to bake, these long, gloomy days make it feel just right. The oven never runs the apartment too hot and freshly made cookies and cakes taste just a little bit sweeter.

These days come as a surprise, a small reminder in a busy world to slow down and embrace the calm of a quiet day.

Mango Margarita Mango Margarita Mango Margarita

Last weekend was the start of summer break. To celebrate, a round of drinks was in order. I have made it no secret that margaritas are my cocktail of choice and that statement still stands today. In the past, I have played around with winter flavors, but this occasion called for something a bit brighter. With mangoes on sale at the market, it became an easy decision. After whipping up a couple in the blender, my boyfriend and I toasted each other for the coming months.

For sun, for hot afternoons, for cool evenings, for friends and family.

Mango Margarita

Mango Margaritas are a refreshing drink for warm summer nights. A traditional margarita is infused with the puree of fresh, ripe mango. With a squeeze of lime and a shot of triple sec, the fruity drink becomes lip-smacking tart. Though I found two teaspoons of sugar to be just right for me, you could add more or less to your own tastes. Serve on the rocks or blended to suit your own tastes.

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