Tag Archives: Chocolate

Whole Wheat Double Chocolate Banana Bread with Toasted Coconut

February 23, 2015

Happy National Banana Bread Day, or what I would like to call Regina Kogel Day! Who is Regina Kogel? Arguably, she is a champion of banana bread. Assuredly, she is my mom. When I think of today’s celebrated loaf, I think of her.

Whole Wheat Chocolate Coconut Banana Bread by With The Grains

Looking back, it seems my family was not particularly adept at consuming bananas in a timely manner because brown, squishy bananas equal banana bread, and there always seemed to be a loaf in Regina Kogel’s house. A believer in breakfast, Regina’s morning spread would frequently include a warm loaf of her freshly baked banana bread. A believer in butter, a slice of this bread was not complete until smeared with bright golden butter (though to be fair, the butter champion is my dad). In honor of my mom, and in honor of today, one of the many, weird, quirky, seemingly random food holidays, I bring you this Quelcy style recipe, i.e: if banana bread is good, chocolate banana bread must be even better! This logic has yet to fail me.

Whole Wheat Chocolate Coconut Banana Bread by With The Grains

Whole-Wheat, Double Chocolate Banana Bread with Toasted Coconut

About This Recipe: Like mom’s but more chocolaty! This loaf begins with a whole-wheat pastry flour, cocoa powder and chunks of dark chocolate chips. Topping the very rich and gooey loaf with coconut yields a toasted crunch once baked. It’s sweet enough for dessert, but it’s wholesome enough for breakfast, so have it for both!

Single-Grain

Happy National Banana Bread Day!
-Quelcy

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Whole Wheat Dark Chocolate Peppermint Brownies w/ @Cocanu Candied Cacao

February 2015

Life is not lost by dying; life is lost minute by minute, day by dragging day, in all the thousand small uncaring ways. ~Stephen Vincent Benét

Like a child, I approach bedtime with resistance. I hate to admit the day is through when there were moments squandered and so much more I wanted to do! Rather than ready myself for bed properly and face the next day with more intention, I curl into a ball on the corner of the cozy couch. I burrow under blankets and fall asleep to a program whose ending I will inevitably miss, no matter the length of the show. As with most bad habits, this vicious couch-sleep cycle wrenches me further and further from what I want in the first place: to make the most of each day. I’m working on it.

Craque Brownies by With The Grains-01

As much as my sleep habits fight the looming night, my dessert tendencies celebrate the day’s conclusion. Sure, I like a nib of dark chocolate with an afternoon espresso drink, or a morning pastry here and there, but concluding a day with your sweetest bite is like a firework finale- you saw it coming the whole time, but the awe inspiring display lessens the blow of the show’s end. Ignore the diet guides against eating late with me, bake wholesomely, and allow yourself a moment to delight and relish. Then, hopefully, relax, read, drink tea or do something that proactively transitions into bedtime. Then tell me how to do it.

Craque Brownies by With The Grains-02

Whole Wheat Dark Chocolate Peppermint Brownies with Cocanú Craque (Candied Cacao)

About this Recipe: 
I recently started reading chocolate labels more carefully, and was disheartened to discover even many of the expensive dark chocolate brands I had been using list Soy Lecithin as their emulsifier (helps fats and liquids to stay blended smoothly). Most of this soy is genetically modified, a practice I do not wish to support. I eagerly discovered Guittard uses a non-gmo sunflower lecithin and real vanilla, in addition to sourcing their beans from small, family-owned cacao farms. Top that responsible chocolate base with the crunch of Cocanú Craque, a candied cacao, and you have one very memorable brownie. Cocanú was founded by Sebastián Cisneros “as a vessel to shake the imagination through tasteful chocolate ideas produced with fine ingredients, technique, and whim.” I’m into it, and I hope you will be too!

Single-Grain

Bon Appétit!
-Quelcy

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Whole Wheat Chocolate Gingerbread Layer Cake

December 2014

It had been too long, and he had missed making music, so the Urban Farmer strummed his guitar at the dining room table, where I worked on something far less poetic. His fingers and his voice learned their way through the latest Billy Bragg song. My Farmer’s smoother voice joined the deeper, raspier words of the recording. He played and repeated, played and repeated, but the poignant lyrics merited the repetition:

Deep down in the underground, atoms spinning round and round. Scientists monitor readings. Searching for the Holy Grail, the particle or at least the tale of the one who gives the universe its meaning. But what if there’s nothing, no big answer to find? What if we’re just passing through time?

Chocolate Gingerbread Layer Cake by WTG

Aside from a stint of piano lessons and a brief spell in the middle school orchestra, the only music these hands play is on Spotify. I’ve always been fascinated by words, writing and literature. Guiding a thought from mind to paper in a compelling way is challenging enough. These minds, who combine thought-provoking concepts with pleasing rhythms, harmonies and all the finer details of music making that escape me, these brilliant minds leave me awed and inspired like a child watching a magic routine for the very first time. A lack of technical understanding and raw talent might explain why many attribute these music maker’s talents to a higher power. Magic. God. Gumption. Who knows? It all leaves me pleasantly transfixed and inspired.

Chocolate Gingerbread Layer Cake

Music may not be my conduit for expression, but the baking and sharing of food is one of the ways I translate the stories in my head into something real. Some people regard baking as I regard music. It seems magical, daunting, impossible, the equivalent of a chemistry experiment, or maybe even divinely inspired. There is a lot of magic to this process of transforming disparate pantry items into inspired layers of wholesome decadence, but at a fundamental level, music and baking stem from a willingness to try.

Time and technique are required for full mastery, but to start, if you can reach the pedals or read the directions, you can make the layer cake. Whereas early tinkering might make for unpleasant melodies, a baking mistake here and there can still yield deliciousness. I may never find my voice through song, or strings, or keys. However, sharing these sentiments, these food inspired stories, and these images is the way I share my voice, and this tale tastes of chocolate, gingerbread and the most memorable moments of the holidays.

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Flourless Chocolate Honey Cake with @WigleWhiskey Mole Bitters

November 2014

The lunch table was a spread of pad thai, see yew, woon sen and more. My friend, whose wife consistently pulls him kicking and screaming to the zero level, took full advantage of her absence and had ordered a 10 on the spice scale. As he spooned up the flavorful thai food, a rouge color overtook his cheeks. His tear ducts drained. His nose ran. His brow glistened with sweat, and a crazed look overtook his eyes. He spoke nonsense and gesticulated wildly. He was in the throes of a spice high.

Flourless Choc Wigle Mole Cake copy

I’m no 10 on the spice scale. I’m a comfortable 6. I like a little kick here and there, but only as a flavor accent, not as a testament to my tolerance or a feat of strength. This cake is just that. Accented with Wigle Whiskey’s Organic Molé Bitters, this cake is a little kick here and there. I erred on the side of caution, adding a modest 3 teaspoons. I would suggest a bolder portion for even more of that molé flavor in each chocolaty bite. The use of raw wildflower honey as the sweetener added a floral note, and incidentally helps keep this cake moist and fresh for a while…if it lasts that long. The coconut topping toasts as the cake bakes, making for a nutty finish to this floral, spicy, chocolate cake. It’s full of nuances.

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Whole Wheat Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Bread

November 2014

Do you need this recipe in your life?

Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Bread 01

Editing these photos made me crave this bread anew, so I argue yes. However, I am a reasonable person, and I understand you can’t please all people all the time. For the sake of busy holiday schedules, venturing through madhouse grocery stores, waiting in long-ass turkey lines and the constantly nagging fear of snowflake graphics on iPhone weather reports, I’ll help you expedite this decision making process for yourself. Proceed.

Do you even enjoy baking?
I hope so. I hope that’s why you’re here. If yes, continue!

Are you still craving pumpkin goodness?
If yes, continue!

Do you live your life by the philosophy “chocolate makes everything better?”
If yes, continue!

Do you enjoy a slice of something wholesome and sweet with your morning coffee and maybe a sliver for dessert?
If yes, continue!

Do you need to bake for a gathering or visiting guests?
If yes, continue!

Pumpkin Choc Chunk Bread 02

You made it!

As I mentioned before, pumpkin haters gonna hate, but I’m all about pumpkin, and I obviously live my life by the add-chocolate-make-better principle. As such an adamant disciple of said chocolate philosophy, I may have even gone a little overboard here, but when you bite into the dark chocolate chunks and the spiced pumpkin flavor, you’ll be floating in a lifesaver right along with me. This bread’s natural ingredients make it a wholesome breakfast choice, but it’s also sweet and cake-like enough to satisfy a dessert craving.

Pumpkin Choc Chunk 03

Lastly, this is a recipe that gives and gives and keeps too. Initially, I thought the batter would become two loaves, but it divided magically into three- a real Thanksgiving miracle! You’ll be able to keep a loaf for your own breakfast slices (and dessert bites) and still have plenty to share, which comes in handy this time of year.

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Instagram Lately & Whole Wheat Pumpkin & Chocolate Swirl Bread

November 2014

This past weekend, moments of stress, excitement, fear, sadness and relief all swirled in me simultaneously. Amidst long to-do lists and last-minute rushing, I had to remind myself to be excited about a very thrilling new venture. Once I allowed that excitement to surpass my chaotic nearsightedness, it was like the floodgates released. I had to play It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia quotes in my head to balance the sappiness I was exuding. I couldn’t arrive to our preview with watery eyes!

Opening and Julep

With to-do lists and enthusiasm still swirling wildly inside me, I decided to escape everything and focus on my Julep. Before I knew it, my perfect fall afternoon was a tumble of dogs and human, with one aggressive dog’s jaw fixed firmly on my dog’s neck. These things happen with animals, and I couldn’t blame anyone, but I had a mini breakdown nonetheless. I had expected to see my Julep’s neck ripped open, and though she was still in one piece, my mind had already begun to reel with the worst case scenario. I felt helpless as I watched her in fear and pain, feelings prolonged by a cautionary vet visit. Shaved, injected and medicated, Julep is returning to her normal self, but talk about a reminder to squeeze the ones you love!

Swirl bread

I had reminded myself to be excited for the opening of 4121 MAIN, but in the case of the dog park, the universe had reminded me to cherish all those near and dear to me. Moments of stress, excitement, fear, sadness and relief will continue to swirl. That’s life, and those swirls are beyond my control. That doesn’t mean I can’t embrace life’s roller coaster in a wholesome and delicious way.

Pumpkin Chocolate Swirl Bread

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Vestiges of Brooklyn

September 2014

Oh Brooklyn!

If I were more into the idea of 3+ roommates, I’d probably already be shacking up with said 3+ persons and absorbing all the inspiration that borough has to offer. That being said, my styling partner and I recently packed his Subaru to the brim and journeyed to Brooklyn for an amazing event design opportunity with Brooklyn Brewery. This job was merely one of the many plates we have spinning in the air, so the trip was very consolidated and approximately 99.9% focused on the venue/job. However, we took a very brief moment to soak up some inspiration via a sunset stroll through Redhook. The few blocks of shops and restaurants melted my heart in that way that progressive cities do, and it whet my appetite for a more immersive trip.

Brooklyn Recap

Ace Hotel; Art Installation by Serra Victoria Bothwell Fels at Pioneer Works; our event design for Brooklyn Brewery & Dinner Lab at Pioneer Works; Stumptown Coffee Roasters

Until I have the opportunity to return for a jam packed Brooklyn adventure, I at least have a few vestiges of Brooklyn to hold me over…

Vestiges of Brooklyn

This weekend the fella and I will be French pressing these fragrant Stumptown beans, sharing and savoring every single bite of this $10 Mast Brothers chocolate bar, and sipping some Brooklyn Brewery Local 2.

What will you be savoring this weekend?

Single-Grain

Happy Weekend!
-Quelcy