Chocolate Bread with Milk Chocolate Ganache

Another fast, easy and superbly delicious recipe! This one is all about chocolate. A chocolate quick bread studded with chocolate chips and topped with an easy to prepare ganache for extra richness. Rich in flavor and moist in texture - perfect!

Quick breads are another autumn essential for me. Chocolate is great, as are banana, pumpkin, lemon/cranberry.... the list goes on and on. They are wonderful baked treats to pop into the kids lunches and are always great in the evening to enjoy with a cup of tea or steaming latte. This chocolate loaf is a bit more jazzy with the added ganache and perfect to serve as a dessert alongside a dollop of vanilla bean or caramel ice cream. I scattered the tops with more chocolate chips too which the kids really loved.

This recipe makes a large sized loaf that is also perfect for freezing if left unfrosted. Just wrap it in cling film, pop it into a large freezer bag and store it in your freezer. To defrost, let it thaw in the fridge, still wrapped, overnight.

If you like the idea of a slice of fresh quick bread in your child's lunch, simply slice the bread after it is cooled and place individual slices in small sandwich bags. Place all the filled bags into one large freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months . In the morning before school, just place a frozen slice (still in its own individual bag) right in your kids lunchbox. It will be thawed and perfect for eating by noon or as their afternoon snack!

So without further delay, let's get baking!

*altered source recipe, Chocolate Bread, Better Homes and Garden's Fall Baking, Special Ed.



2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons dutch-process cocoa powder
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 1/4 cups milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup milk chocolate chips


1/2 cup whipping cream
3/4 cup milk chocolate chips


PREHEAT oven to 350F
SPRAY a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan with cooking spray (preferably baking spray that contains flour)

IN LARGE BOWL, whisk together first 5 bread ingredients
IN MEDIUM BOWL, whisk together egg, milk, oil
MAKE a well in center of dry ingredients and pour in wet ingredients
FOLD together until just combined
FOLD in chocolate chips
SPREAD batter into prepared pan
BAKE 45-40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean
PLACE on cooling rack and let cool in pan for 10 minutes
REMOVE loaf from pan and let cool on rack completely


IN MICROWAVE SAFE BOWL, add cream and heat on HIGH for 90 seconds
POUR in chocolate chips and let stand 5 minutes
WHISK together thoroughly until full blended
PLACE in refrigerator for 15 minutes or until it is at a frosting consistency
SPREAD over cooled loaf

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Ladybird Ln

Blueberry Peach Smoothie

Lunch crept up silently upon me today. I didn't even see it coming. And when it arrived I wanted something refreshing, easy to make and above all else, satisfying. I always have a variety fruit in the freezer and picked up a tub of Greek yogurt a few days ago. So obviously a smoothie came to mind.

This is a cinch to whip up. I use an immersion blender as it is convenient and makes for a quick clean up. All the ingredients get blended together right in your drinking glass!

For sweeteners, I like agave nectar or honey. Today was a day for honey. A tablespoon or two will do for a single serving but always taste as you go along adding a little at a time. Remember, you can always add more to taste but you cannot remove it if you accidentally make it too sweet!

Feel free to use any frozen fruits you like. I used blueberries and peaches which are a lovely flavor combination. If you like , toss in 1/2 a frozen banana too. It adds great flavor but also turns a smoothie very rich and creamy.

So why not whip one up right now?



1/4 cup frozen wild blueberries
1/2 cup frozen peaches
1/4 cup plain or vanilla Greek yogurt
3/4 cup milk
1-2 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


BLEND all ingredients together in a tall glass with your immersion blender until smooth.

You can add crushed ice too make it super frosty and thicken it even more.


Maple Swirl Biscuits

Golden, sweet and delicious maple swirl biscuits. They have the consistency of a scone and the swirl of a cinnamon bun !

With fall fast approaching my eagerness to bake fall goodies has taken over. With that comes my love of apples, pears, gingerbread, and fluffy biscuits fresh from the oven. Maple syrup is a wonderful sweetener and a great way to liven up your typical biscuit. These ones have maple syrup both in the batter as well as in the glaze. Swirled to resemble that of a cinnamon bun, these biscuits are a refreshing change !

I was initially worried that rolling out the dough and then rolling it up into a log would be a challenge but on the contrary, the dough was amazing to work with. It wasn't crumbly and after a bit of kneading it was smooth and very easy to work with.

The filling is nothing more than butter, apple pie spice and raisins. I have always been a scone and biscuit fan but these really raised the bar. Light, flaky and perfectly sweetened - try them, you won't be disappointed.


Sliced and ready for the baking sheet

Drizzled with butter

Fresh from the oven

*altered source: Maple Swirl Biscuits, Fall Baking, Better Homes and Gardens


4 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold butter, grated
1 1/4 cups milk
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup maple sugar or granulated sugar
1 tablespoon apple pie spice (or sprinkle with cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice)
1/2 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup raisins
2 tablespoons butter, melted

1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon maple extract
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon milk or more to reach desired drizzle consistency


PREHEAT oven to 375F
LINE a cookie sheet with parchment paper ensuring an overhang of paper on both short sides
IN LARGE BOWL, whisk together first 4 ingredients
ADD grated butter and blend in with fingers until resembles coarse crumbs
MAKE well in center and add milk and maple syrup
COMBINE with a fork until ball of dough forms
TRANSFER dough to a floured work surface
KNEAD gently 12 times
ROLL OUT to 14 x 10 inch rectangle
SPREAD softened butter over top of rolled dough
SPRINKLE with sugar, spices and scatter with raisins
ROLL out starting at a long side
CUT into 12 equal slices
ARRANGE on cookie sheet
DRIZZLE with melted butter
BAKE 18-22 minutes or until golden
GRASPING edges of parchment paper, transfer biscuits to cooling rack


COMBINE all glaze ingredient until smooth
DRIZZLE with spoon over warm biscuits

This are fantastic warm. To reheat, just pop in the microwave for 15 seconds on HIGH power.


Vanilla Bean Cake with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

A perfect birthday cake which was greatly enjoyed this past weekend as a way to celebrate my step-daughter's sweet 16th birthday. This is rich with vanilla flavor from top to bottom.

The special ingredient? Evaporated Milk - It adds a lovely level of moisture and richness.
As far as vanilla cakes goes, this one packs a punch. It is filled with vanilla. I added 4 teaspoons of vanilla bean paste to the batter and then even more pure vanilla extract to the frosting. This cake truly has the flavor you would associate with an old-fashioned birthday cake. The frosting really is the crowning glory.

The original recipe comes from Rock Recipes blog but the frosting is all mine. Combined they are a hit !

I do find this cake is best enjoyed the same day it is assembled. If you need to keep it in the refrigerator then just ensure it has a good hour to come to room temperature before serving.

This cake can also tend towards the crumbly crust side so I recommend a crumb coating of frosting, a stay in the fridge for 15 minutes, and then the final frosting.

So without further delay, let's get at it !

I won't bother re-posting the cake recipe but instead I will direct you to the source: The Best Vanilla Cake by Rock Recipes. The only change I made was I substituted vanilla bean paste for the pure vanilla extract.

Now on to the frosting.

My Perfect Vanilla Buttercream Frosting


This recipe is enough to frost a double layer cake - and have enough left over for piping decorations around it too!


2 cups unsalted butter at room temperature
6 cups icing sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 tablespoons half and half or heavy cream


IN BOWL OF STAND MIXER fitted with paddle attachment, slowly beat butter and sugar for 1 minute then increase speed to high and beat for 5 minute * do not shorten this time, it is essential to beat for at least 5 minutes to ensure a smoothy and fluffy consistency
SCRAPE down sides of bowl
ADD vanilla extract and cream
BEAT 1 MIN high speed
ADD food coloring if desired and blend well

Hummingbird's Chocolate Chip Cookies

Fat, chewy and loaded with chocolate chips. These are what chocolate chip cookies are all about. Perfect for dunking too!

Another fantastic recipe from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook. What makes these extra special? The use of brown sugar. It adds a sweetness that beats white sugar any day. Plus I used dark chocolate chips and they really made these pop even more!

I think this is my 3rd tested recipe now from this cookbook and so far, so good. Everything has been incredible. This cookie recipe definitely delivered. With fall fast approaching and kids headed back to school quick breads and cookies are a staple in this house. Chocolate chip cookies are my kids fave and though I have a few great recipes on hand already I figured why not try out another one.

For easy clean up I highly recommend lining your baking sheets with parchment paper. And for ease of measuring, definitely invest in a cookie scoop. I love mine ! If you don't have one though them measure out the cookies one teaspoon at a time.

These don't spread too much but give yourself a good inch space between each cookie. Don't overbake these either so keep a watchful eye on them.

Let's begin!


* altered source , Chocolate Chip Cookies, The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook


225 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature
350 grams light brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
400 grams all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
125 g dark chocolate chips


LINE two cookie sheets with parchment paper
PREHEAT oven to 325F
IN MEDIUM BOWL, sift together flour, salt and baking soda. Set aside
IN BOWL OF STAND MIXER fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and brown sugar MED speed 3 minutes
ADD eggs, one at a time, blending thoroughly after each addition scraping down sides of bowl when needed
ADD vanilla and blend til combined
ADD flour mixture slowly until blended
STIR in chocolate chips

SPOON teaspoon size mounds of dough onto prepared sheets leaving 1 inch space between each one
FLATTEN cookies slightly with back of a spoon
BAKE 10 MINUTES or until golden brown


Lemon Blueberry Yogurt Loaf

I picked up a huge basket of wild blueberries this past week and have eaten most of them simply tossed with some vanilla sugar and topped with pouring cream. Beautiful ! But I was also in the mood for a baked sweetness too. In addition, I wanted to make a few treats to give to friends. A quick bread or sweet loaf of some kind was in order.

Recently Sweet Pea's Kitchen published a fantastic recipe (and gorgeous photos) for a Lemon-Blueberry Yogurt Loaf and I thought it would be a perfect way to highlight this blueberry bounty I had on my hands.

This loaf is amazingly moist, sweet and wonderful to eat any time of day. I really love a slice accompanied with a black tea. A perfect combo.

The best way to ensure super moistness in any loaf is to add a simple sugar syrup to it after it is baked. I use long bamboo skewers to poke several holes throughout the loaf making sure the holes reach all the way to the bottom. Then I brush the syrup over the warm loaf in stages ensuring each brushing is totally absorbed before adding another layer of syrup. Lastly, this recipe calls for a lovely lemon glaze that does harden a bit as it cools resulting in a phenomenal crust.

Feel free to also switch things up a bit fruit-wise. In one loaf I added 1/2 the quantity of blueberries and then threw in fresh raspberries too. Fantastic.

For the yogurt, I used plain greek yogurt. I love the thick consistency of greek yogurt and it is superior in baked goods. Full fat sour cream would also be great too.

Lastly, this recipe can make one large loaf. But I managed to get 2 8"x4" loaves from one recipe. They rose beautifully and were the perfect size for gift-giving. If you want to go with 2 smaller loaves just reduce bake time to 50 minutes. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean when done.

So let's get baking!

Rather than repost Sweet Pea's Kitchen's recipe I will simply redirect you to the site.

RECIPE: Lemon-Blueberry Yogurt Loaf


Lemon Drop Giveaway Winner !

It's time to announce the Lemon Drop Giveaway Winner.

I would like to thank all of you who entered this draw. Your support to Lemon Drop means the world to me.

Another wonderful turnout for this giveaway. Seems we are all fellow cupcake lovers.

I particularly love Meri Meri products. Wonderful quality, great designs and superb for jazzing up cupcakes for any event.

The winner receives 2 incredible kits suitable for decorating up to 48 cupcakes!

A recap of the grand prize

2 Fantastic Cupcake Sets

I again used my preferred online giveaway tool,, to select the 1 winner!

And the winner is: Emily R !

Please email me at to claim your prize.

For those who didn't win, be prepared for the next giveaway!
I am eager to host another one very soon.

Linda @ Lemon Drop

Oreo Cookie Cupcakes

My step-daughter is having her sweet 16 party this weekend and I was in charge of the sweets.
I ended up deciding on orange creamsicle fudge, chocolate dipped pretzels and last but not least, Oreo cupcakes. They are fun, kid-friendly and easy to make.

What is even greater is the fact that the bottom crust of the cupcake is an Oreo cookie. All you need to do is put one whole Oreo cookie into the base of each muffin liner then fill with batter. This batter is heavy so the cookie stays at the bottom rather then floating up. And the cupcake has a brownie like consistency which truly makes these INCREDIBLE.

I finished them off with a simple buttercream that has the addition of 1 heaping tablespoon of crushed Oreo crumbs. Then I wrapped it all up with another Oreo cookie nested into the fluffy buttercream. Buttercream tends to have a yellow undertone thanks to, obviously, the butter as well as the added vanilla extract. I wanted to keep the frosting as white as possible so I added a few drops of Wilton's White-White Icing Color. It made a huge difference ! The icing was perfectly white and really showed off the added oreo crumbs extremely well.

This recipe makes a load of cupcakes - I made 24 but other readers have a lot more. I only needed 12 but rather than trying to halve the recipe I just omitted the cookie base in 12 of them and once baked and cooled, popped them into the freezer (unfrosted!) to be enjoyed at a later date. An option you too may want to consider if you can't use them up all at once.

Any chocolate sandwich cookie will do but if you get your hands on a package of Oreos then go for it. They are the best!

Let's Begin!

*altered source recipe: Oreo Cupcakes, Annie's Eats


24 Oreo cookies, regular size, for bases
24 Oreo cookies, regular size, used to top off the cupcakes once frosted
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
12 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups buttermilk, at room temperature

150 grams unsalted butter at room temperature
300 grams powdered sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 heaping tablespoon Oreo cookie crumbs



PREHEAT oven to 350F
LINE 2 muffin pans (12 muffin cups each) with paper liners

PLACE an Oreo cookie in the bottom of each liner
IN A LARGE BOWL, sift together first 5 cupcake ingredients
ADD SALT and stir until combined
IN BOWL OF STAND MIXER, fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter 2 minutes HIGH speed
GRADUALLY add in brown sugar and beat MED/HIGH speed for 5 minutes
ADD VANILLA and mix until blended
ADD EGGS, one at a time combined thoroughly after each addition
ADD 1/3 flour mixture, mix until just combined
ADD 1/2 cup of buttermilk again mixing until just combined.
REPEAT pattern ending with buttermilk
WITH a cookie scoop, dollop batter on top of cookies in paper liners. Do not fill liners to the top. Keep it around 1/2 full
BAKE 18-22 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean
LET COOL in pan 5 minutes then transfer cupcakes to cooling rack. Let cool completely before frosting


IN BOWL OF STAND MIXER, fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter until very soft and fluffy - approx. 4 minutes HIGH speed
ADD sifted powdered sugar.
BEAT slow speed until mixture starts to combine then increase to MED speed for 1 minute
INCREASE speed to HIGH and beat for 5 minutes
SCRAPE down sides of bowl
ADD CREAM, vanilla extract and cookie crumbs
BEAT 2 minutes MED speed

PIPE onto cupcakes.
TOP with another Oreo cookie


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Everyday Sisters - Sharing Sundays

Summer Giveaway Update

Hi All

Sorry but giveaway winner is going to be a tad delayed.
No fear - I will post the winners name before end of day , August 15th.

Happy Baking !


Raspberry Friands

What are Friands? EXCELLENT! How's that for an answer? In fact, one of the most fantastic baked treats I have ever eaten in fact.

Plus, I am no longer a Friand OR silicone bakeware virgin any longer. I feel liberated. I feel free. I feel like making another batch !

First, about the bakeware. This is my first experience using silicone bakeware. I purchased my silicone muffin cups solely for the purpose of making Friands. Having read about Friands for awhile now I simply couldn't resist making them any longer. So out I went last night in search of some silicone pans as you need this type of flexible bakeware to ensure the easy removable of these delicate cakes. I couldn't find any snazzy molds other than muffin pans but they worked out incredibly well regardless.

Now, on to the Friands. Friands are small, moist (and I mean MOIST) cakes made with almond meal, lots of egg whites and some flour. While delicate and delicious on its own, the Friand can also be flavored with fruits such as blueberries, raspberries, lemon or orange. I like to use fresh fruit in all my baking but you can substitute frozen as well but don't thaw first.

After my first bite I was hooked. In fact, I said to hubby, "This is a prime example of why I bake. It is like tasting nirvana." And it is. Sheer bliss.

I had one, then two. Then another with a glorious cup of dark roast coffee. I intend to have another later this evening to finish off the week with a big smile on my face.

If you want to experience nirvana too then let's get baking!

*source recipe: Almond, Vanilla and Raspberry Friands, Little Cafe Cakes


175g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup (100g) ground almonds
6 egg whites, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups (210g) confectioner's (icing) sugar, sifted
1/2 cup (70g) all purpose flour, sifted
1 cup fresh raspberries


PREHEAT oven to 375F
SPRAY 2 silicone muffin pans with cooking spray (1o muffin cups are enough)
PLACE muffin pans on cookie sheet(s)
IN LARGE BOWL, fold all ingredients together until combined
WITH ICE CREAM SCOOP, fill each muffin cup 1/2 full with batter
BAKE 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean
LET COOL in pans 5 minutes
TO REMOVE, with your thumb press up the bottom of each muffin cup to raise up the Friands
PLACE Friands on cooling rack to cool completely

LOVELY eaten as-is or with a dollop of freshed whipped cream.


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Ladybird Ln

Gluten-Free Lemon Cupcakes

I know, here we are again. Me and yet another cupcake recipe. I doubt you mind. I mean, who can get can enough of cupcakes? I can't. And I also cannot stop testing recipes from my recently purchased cookbook Gluten-Free Cupcakes by Elana Amsterdam.

I had been planning to make Elana's Lime Cupcakes for a few days now. I had even picked up several limes for the occasion on my last grocery outing. Or so I thought. Seems that I must have become distracted at the lime bin because they are not here. I have been guilty of this type of thing alot lately. Is this what comes with middle-age? I guess so. At least for me.

Now that all said, I did find nestled in my crisper a TON of lemons. So I decided to stick with her recipe for lime cupcakes but alter things a bit to turn them into lemon cupcakes instead. They turned out beautifully and I will definitely be making these again.

These cupcakes are INCREDIBLY moist. In fact I have not tasted many this moist in a long while, especially gluten-free cupcakes. The moisture is a result of the addition of 3 eggs, honey and grapeseed oil. This recipe only makes 8 cupcakes so as you can see, 3 eggs is quite a lot for such a small amount of cupcakes. They do the trick ! The flour combo of 1:1 coconut and almond flours also adds moisture and an incredibly rich crumb. DIVINE.

Her recipe recommends finishing them with a coconut frosting. I opted for a lemon buttercream with a hint of cream cheese instead. If you like the style of piping I used then use an open, large round piping tip. Play with your piping on waxed paper for awhile until you get the desired look then simply scrape the frosting back into your piping bag and start decorating the cupcakes!

Let's get started, shall we?

*altered source recipe: Lime Cupcakes, Gluten-Free Cupcakes by Elana Amsterdam


1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup almond flour (remove any lumps by mashing together with your fingers)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3 eggs at room temperature
1/2 cup grapeseed oil
1/2 cup agave nectar (I used honey)
1/4 teaspoon pure lemon oil
zest from one large lemon

1/2 cup butter at room temperature
1/4 cup cream cheese at room temperature
2 cups icing sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons whipping cream
1/8 teaspoon pure lemon oil


PREHEAT oven to 350F
LINE 8 muffin cups with paper liners (double the liners because these do tend to discolor as they bake due to the oil)
IN MEDIUM BOWL, whisk together first 4 cupcake ingredients
IN LARGE BOWL, whisk together remaining cupcake ingredients
WITH SPATULA OR SPOON, fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients stirring until combined
SCOOP 1/4 cup of batter into each muffin liner
BAKE 18-22 minutes until cupcakes are golden and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean
LET cool in pan 5 minutes
TRANSFER cupcakes to cooling rack and let cool completely before frosting

IN BOWL OF STAND MIXER fitted with paddle attachment, whip butter and cream cheese on MED speed for 2 minutes
ADD sifted icing sugar combining first on slow speed then increasing to MED and mixing 4-5 minutes
ADD REMAINING ingredients and mix until fully incorporated and icing is smooth and creamy
PIPE FROSTING onto cupcakes


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Ladybird Ln

Individual Cherry Pies

A short and sweet post for individual cherry pies. These take no time at all to prepare if you opt for store-bought crust and canned pie filling. If you would rather go the "from scratch" route, then simply prepare your favorite pie crust (enough for a double crust) and approximately 2 cups of your preferred pie filling.

This recipe makes 8 small pies. Perfect for a sweet summer dessert. I like to top mine with vanilla bean ice cream but whipped cream would be amazing too!

Without further ado, let's get baking!



Enough pie dough for 2 crusts - store bought or homemade
Your preferred pie filling . Approx. 2 cups worth. I used homemade cherry pie filling created with a recipe from Gesine Prado-Bullock's book Confections of a Closet Master Baker
1-2 tablespoons milk or light cream
Turbinado sugar for sprinkling


PREHEAT oven to 350F
HAVE a muffin pan ready to go - ungreased

ROLL out your crusts as you would for regular pies. Using a round cookie/biscuit cutter with a 5" diameter ( I used a glass dessert bowl), cut out 16 rounds.
FILL 8 liners with crusts ensuring there is a bit of crust overlapping the top of the muffin cups
FILL 3/4 full with pie filling
PLACE remaining crusts over top of filling
CRIMP down edges so top and bottom crusts are well sealed
CUT small slits in tops to let out steam as they bake
BRUSH milk or cream over tops of crusts
SPRINKLE with turbinado sugar
BAKE 30-35 minutes until crusts are golden brown

LET COOL in pan 5 minutes
REMOVE pies to cooling rack
SERVE warm or at room temperature