The Flour Handprint A Food Nerd's Guide to Homemade Cooking Tue, 19 Nov 2019 05:36:27 -0800 en-US hourly 1 The Flour Handprint 32 32 Cinnamon Oatmeal Muffins Tue, 19 Nov 2019 05:36:27 +0000 This page contains affiliate links. For more information please read my Disclosure Policy. This cinnamon oatmeal muffins recipe is quick and easy. They’re whole wheat, healthy muffins that are simple, filling, and most importantly, tasty. Originally made with my toddler in mind, I can say they’re 100% kid approved! As a food nerd, feeding my […]

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This cinnamon oatmeal muffins recipe is quick and easy. They’re whole wheat, healthy muffins that are simple, filling, and most importantly, tasty. Originally made with my toddler in mind, I can say they’re 100% kid approved!

A stack of oatmeal muffins on a white cutting board behind a single muffin on a wooden table unwrapped and a bite taken out of it.

As a food nerd, feeding my kid good, delicious, and nutritious food was one of my main concerns when my son was born. I researched baby food like crazy. (I can’t recommend this book enough to my fellow food loving moms out there!) But I also knew kids are opinionated and despite my introduction of spices, herbs, citrus, and a huge variety of food, he was going to be a kid and I would have to adapt at some point.

Meet my compromise. The humble muffin. At about a year my son decided that carbs were life (I mean we all feel like that right?) and even though I could probably feed him white rice for weeks without a complaint from him, I wasn’t about to cede all nutritional attempts to this carb phase. So I tossed together these super simple cinnamon oatmeal muffins one morning, whole grains, oats, a bit of protein…instant hit. They were delicious! And he gobbled it up without any coaxing. Best part is, we all liked them, no special dishes, no separate cooking. Bonus!

What makes these Healthy OatMeal Muffins?

I’m happy feeding these to my one year old, but I’m not about to tell you this is the healthiest muffin of all time. Flavor and nutrition are a balancing act in my opinion and this recipe does contain just enough sugar and oil to taste good with a pleasant texture.

But they are healthier than lets say a Costco blueberry muffin, or anything made from a boxed mix. These are 100% whole wheat oatmeal muffins, meaning no super refined nutritionally deficient white flours. They also contain rolled oats which have fiber, antioxidants, and even protein in them. I also used non-fat, unsweetened yogurt rather than more fat and sugar to create good texture and flavor.

They’re the perfect balance between delicious, sweet, cinnamon spiced muffin, and a healthy oatmeal breakfast.

Ingredients for Cinnamon Oatmeal Muffins

No crazy ingredients required to make these healthy, just a few healthier pantry staples from your cupboard.

A white granite cutting board with a blue bowl of wheat flour, a blue bowl of brown sugar, a white bowl of yogurt, a white bowl of spices, a glass of vanilla, a brown bowl of oats, and a white bowl of oil sitting atop a wooden table with a blue fringed napkin next to it.
  • Whole Wheat Flour – I’ve used white whole wheat and brown whole wheat flour and found them both pleasant and delicious in this recipe.
  • Rolled Oats – I’d stick with rolled oats for this, quick cook oats would not result in the same texture, and steel cut are too tough for this cook time.
  • Brown sugar – My go to sugar of choice, goes nicely with the cinnamon and oatmeal.
  • Baking powder – a go to for making sure your muffins rise!
  • Cinnamon – a fairly key ingredient in cinnamon muffins, am I right?
  • Salt – yes! Just a bit!
  • Unsweetened Yogurt – you can use your preferred unsweetened plain yogurt, but my favorite batch was made with coconut milk unsweetened yogurt. So yummy! But I’ve also baked it with Greek non-fat with great results!
  • Oil – Just enough for moisture and texture. You can use your favorite oil, but I find vegetable or canola are often the best as they don’t affect flavor.
  • Egg – A binding and moisture ingredient.
  • Vanilla extract – Easy flavor that pairs great with the other ingredients. (Have you ever tried making your own?)

That’s it, fairly easy to find, recognizable ingredients!

How to Make Cinnamon OAtmeal Muffins

Just like the ingredients, the process to making this oatmeal muffin recipe is simple and easy. Just 2 bowls, mix, and bake and you have a batch of warm muffins waiting to be eaten in less than 30 minutes.

The process of making oatmeal muffins in 4 images, the first the dry ingredients mixed together, the second a bowl of white batter of the wet ingredients mixed, the third of the wet ingredients being poured into the dry, and the third of the thick, oat studded light brown batter.
  1. Preheat your oven to 325° and line a muffin tin. The lower oven temp is important to prevent over-browning at the base of your muffins.
  2. Combine all the dry ingredients – flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and mix them all together until evenly incorporated.
  3. Next, whisk together the wet ingredients. Then pour into the bowl of dry ingredients and fold to combine. Don’t be alarmed when the batter gets thick like a cookie dough, that’s what you’re looking for.
  4. As soon as the flour is incorporated scoop into the muffin tin and bake for 15 minute.
  5. Once they’re baked, just pop them out of the tin onto a cooling rack and let them cool before storing. Up to 3 days at room temperature and 3 months in the freezer.

That’s it, really! As a quick side note, no matter how I adjusted this recipe, it yields eleven muffins not twelve. For best texture and flavor, I opted to share it as is, rather than mess with that.


Can I add other spices beside cinnamon?

Of course! I recommend starting by adding other spices in half the amount of the cinnamon.

Can I use alternative sugars?

You can use white sugar, cane sugar, or turbanido as an even exchange. I’m not as familiar with other sugars, nor have I tested them, but they may very well work.

Can these be frozen?

Yes! Allow them to cool completely then place in a freezer safe bag or container and freeze for up to 3 months.

Can I make these vegan, dairy free or gluten free?

To make these dairy free simply use a dairy free yogurt. My #1 choice of yogurt for this recipe is coconutmilk unsweetened yogurt anyway!

I am not practiced in vegan or gluten free alternatives to any of the ingredients, but I would love to hear how it goes if you try it!

Go on, Have a second One..

Simple, right? Just a handful of easy ingredients and you’ll have moist, fluffy, sweetly spiced cinnamon oatmeal muffins just waiting to be enjoyed. It’s a good thing they’re pretty good for you, because you may find yourself doubling the batch! I hope you (and any picky kiddos you have) enjoy these, and until next time, Happy Eating!

Other Baked Goods you may enjoy

table unwrapped and a bite taken out of it.

Cinnamon Oatmeal Muffins

Easy, whole wheat oat muffins with yogurt for a healthier but delicious breakfast muffin.
Course Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine American
Keyword baked goods, breakfast, kid friendly, muffin
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 11
Calories 156kcal
Author Mikayla M


  • 4 1/2 ounces whole wheat flour 1 cup
  • 2 ounces rolled oats a full 1/2 cup
  • 3 1/2 ounces brown sugar 1/2 cup, lightly packed
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 ounces vegetable oil 1/4 cup
  • 5 ounces plain yogurt* 1/2 cup or 1 single serve container
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract


  • Preheat your oven to 325°F and prepare a muffin tin with 12 liners.
  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, oats, sugar, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the yogurt, egg, oil, and vanilla
  • Pour wet ingredients into your dry and fold until combined. The batter will be thick.
  • Scoop into your muffin tin** and bake for 15 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and remove muffins carefully from muffin tin to a cooling rack to cool.
  • Store at room temperature for up to 3 days in an airtight container, or freeze for up to 3 months.


*You can use your preferred unflavored, unsweetened yogurt. My BEST batch came using coconutmilk, unsweetened yogurt. 
**Every time I attempted to make this batter stretch to an even 12 the texture was off, so yes, it yields 11. 


Serving: 1muffin | Calories: 156kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 21mg | Sodium: 123mg | Potassium: 173mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 41IU | Calcium: 66mg | Iron: 1mg

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Pomegranate Cranberry Jam Fri, 15 Nov 2019 06:46:01 +0000 This page contains affiliate links. For more information please read my Disclosure Policy. A fresh cranberry jam with pomegranate juice is the perfect blend of sweet and tart. It’s easy to make with only 4 simple ingredients, and can be water bath canned for shelf stable storage. Enjoy seasonal cranberry and pomegranate flavors beyond thanksgiving […]

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A fresh cranberry jam with pomegranate juice is the perfect blend of sweet and tart. It’s easy to make with only 4 simple ingredients, and can be water bath canned for shelf stable storage. Enjoy seasonal cranberry and pomegranate flavors beyond thanksgiving with this easy cranberry jam recipe!

An open jar of cranberry jam with pomegranate beside a white plate with a brie crostini and jam drizzled on top of it.

Before I began working with fresh cranberries the jellied goop that came from a can was all I knew about them. Fresh cranberry changed the game! For years my family and I have been cooking whole cranberries into a luscious sauce for Thanksgiving dinner, but this year my mom and I decided to combine them with pomegranate, another fall flavor favorite, to make something a little different, an ooey, gooey cranberry jam.

It came out perfectly! Sweet and tart, just lick the spoon clean good! With just a few extra steps to water bath can it, we not only had a lovely holiday jam made for our gift baskets, plus some extras to pull out of the cupboard in a few months when the craving strikes. We may even skip cranberry sauce this year and serve it with the turkey!

What is a Cranberry?

The cranberry is a berry that grows on a low lying, creeping vine. It flowers in May or June, and will eventually produce red ripe berries we all know and love sometime around September.

It’s a traditional holiday flavor here in the U.S. and in Canada, especially around Thanksgiving! Most of the cranberries we consume are grown in bogs (wet marshy places) on both the West and East coast of the Northern United States. They’re packed with antioxidants, are very acidic, and have a very low sugar content, making them tart and sometimes bitter when eaten alone.

What About Pomegranates?

Pomegranates are a unique, and ancient fruit that grow on a shrubby tree. They’re leathery, and range from pale to deep red on the outside depending on their sun exposure. They contain juicy, crunchy arils (jewels or seeds) on the inside. Typically, in the Northern hemisphere, pomegranates are harvested sometime between September and February. When in season, they provide a lovely sweet, tart juice that’s great to drink and to flavor recipes with.

Plus it’s particularly nice paired with berries!

Cranberry Jam Recipe Ingredients

With two powerhouse fruit flavors like cranberry and pomegranate, it was essential to provide enough sugar to balance them, without overwhelming the beautiful tartness we love about these fruits.

A bowl of cranberries, a bowl of sugar, and a jar of pomegranate juice with a box of pectin on a wood surface
  • Whole Cranberries – You can use either frozen or fresh, but they do need to be whole cranberries. Using just juice will not work – juice contains no pectin, and the jam will be more like an unset jelly.
  • Pomegranate Juice – I’m all for fresh juice, and with a tree in my mom’s backyard it’s easy to get (free!), buuuut I know it’s pricey and time consuming to buy whole pomegranates to juice. Just make sure you’re buying 100% pure pomegranate juice.
  • Sugar – Nothing fancy, just granulated sugar.
  • Pectin – Cranberries are naturally high in pectin, but pomegranate juice is basically void of it. To quicken the process, reduce the sugar it takes to gel, and ensure we get a good set, we use pectin.
  • Butter (Optional) – My mom ALWAYS adds a tablespoon of butter to jams and jellies to reduce the foaming that can occur when cooking. You don’t have to do this, you can simply skim any foam you see instead!

For more info on pectin, and what makes this a Jam instead of a jelly or a compote, please check out my complete Guide to Jams, Jellies, and other Preserves.

Making Pomegranate Cranberry Jam

The process is a simple two part boiling method, with a few extra steps if you’d like to water bath can for shelf storage. It can also be frozen! All in all, it took about an hour start to finish (canning included!).

For Water Bath Canning

  1. Get your mason jars, lids, and new seals ready. Four 16 ounce jars, or any other jars that add up to 64 ounces will work. Jars and seals do not need to be sterilized before canning, make sure they’re simply clean and warm before adding jam to them.
  2. Bring your canning pot full of water to a boil.
  3. Assemble your funnel, some dish towels, jar clamp, and ladle.

Making Jam

  1. Blend your whole cranberries until they’re broken down into smallish chunks. Do not puree, you want texture.
  2. Add cranberries, pomegranate juice, and pectin to a large pot and bring to a boil (Add butter now if using!).
  3. When the mixture has reached a rapid boil that doesn’t recede when you stir it gently, add your sugar, continuing to stir as you do.
  4. When all is combined, continue stirring, slowly and gently until the mixture returns to a rapid boil. You must continue to stir!
  5. Once it has returned to the boil, begin your timer. 7 minutes exactly, no more, no less, and keep stirring!
  6. When the time is up, remove from the heat. If there is any foam, simply skim off with a spoon (watch those fingers, hot jam will burn) and discard.
a large pot of cranberry jam with a whisk in it


  1. For canning, ladle into warm jars, leaving 1/4″ of headspace at the top. Wipe the rim of any drips, and make sure the rim is dry. Then seal and tighten the bands (Carefully! Use some hand protection). Lower into your jars carefully into your canning pot so they’re submerged by an inch. Let process for 10 minutes.
  2. Remove and set on a heat safe surface until the lids pop. You will likely hear this, but if you don’t give a gently push on the center of a lid. A properly sealed jar will have no clicking or give in the center. Don’t stress if this doesn’t happen right away, it can take several hours.

If you’d rather freeze your jam, ladle your hot jam into freezer safe containers and allow to cool. Then close and place in the freezer.

Either way, frozen or canned, your jam should be good for at least 1 year. Once opened you have a month in the fridge! If you choose not to freeze or water bath can, store in the fridge for 1 month.


Can I reduce the sugar in this?

That’s a tricky question. I use regular ole’ sure jell pectin. It’s cheap, widely available, and jam isn’t a health food so I don’t worry about a tablespoon or two here and there. However, there are low sugar pectin options available as well.

If you opt to use a low sugar pectin please refer to the booklet that comes in the pectin boxes. This should give you examples on how much sugar it requires to set jams with similar ingredients and quantities. I cannot guarantee it will work however.

Can I double this recipe?

Most pectin boxes will advise against doubling or tripling jam recipes because it can mess with how it sets up. However we have successfully doubled this recipe with a few stipulations.

1. Use a large, wide pot to give the jam enough cooking surface.
2. Double ALL the ingredients, including the pectin.
3. Double the cooking time after you’ve added the sugar, 14 minutes instead of 7.

A small flip top jar of cranberry pomegranate jam with open pomegranates and cranberries around it in front of several larger jars of the jam

Get your Jam on!

There you have it, a delicious cranberry jam recipe that’s perfect for fall, especially around the holidays. It’s delicious, tart but sweet, and sooooo good on creamy cheese! It also makes an excellent homemade gift!

Other Homemade Gifts

A small flip top jar of cranberry pomegranate jam with open pomegranates and cranberries around it in front of several larger jars of the jam

Pomegranate Cranberry Jam

Tart and sweet jam made from cranberries and pomegranate juice for a fall seasonal jam that's great for gift giving.
Course Condiment, Pantry Staple
Cuisine American
Keyword jam, pantry staple
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Canning time (optional) 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 64 1 ounce servings
Calories 109kcal


  • 2.5 cups whole cranberries fresh or frozen
  • 2.5 cups pomegranate juice
  • 7 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 box pectin a shallow 1/2 cup


  • Pulse cranberries in a blender or food processor until chunky. Do not puree.
  • Combine cranberries, pomegranate juice, and pectin in a large pot and bring to a boil.
  • When at a rapid boil that doesn't recede with slow stirring, begin adding your sugar, continuing to stir.
  • When sugar is all incorporated, return to a boil, continuing to stir slowly and gently.
  • Once the jam is at a very rapid boil again, begin timing and cook for exactly 7 minutes, continue to stir the whole time.
  • After 7 minutes remove from heat and ladle into storage jars of choice.

Water Bath Canning

  • Before you begin to cook your jam assemble 4 16 ounce jars, lids, and new seals. They need to be clean, and the jars should be warm when the jam is ladled into it.
  • Bring a large pot with a canning rack full of water to a boil. You need enough water to cover the jars by 1 inch.
  • Once jam is cooked, ladle into jars and leave 1/4" of head space. Make sure rims are clean of jelly and seal the jars (use hand protection with the hot jars).
  • Submerge jars in boiling water and let process for 10 minutes. Remove from water and let seal (you'll hear a pop), this can take several hours. Then store for up to a year in your cupboard, or in the fridge for 1 month once opened.

Freezing Instructions

  • Ladle cooked jam into freezer safe containers and leave 1 inch of head space for expansion. Let it cool and close containers, then store in freezer up to a year.


*This recipe uses regular sure jell pectin. If using low sugar pectin or another type, pleas refer to that box for instructions on adjusting sugar. Opting for alternative pectins or no pectin may result in unset, liquid jam. 
*If you choose to not can or freeze your jam, store in the fridge for up to 1 month. 


Serving: 2Tbs | Calories: 109kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 6mg | Potassium: 24mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 27g | Vitamin A: 5IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 2mg | Iron: 1mg

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Hot Cocoa Mix Recipe Tue, 12 Nov 2019 14:31:31 +0000 Easy homemade hot cocoa mix you'll want to keep stocked in your cupboard for good!

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A simple 4 ingredient homemade hot cocoa mix recipe that will turn you off the store stuff for good. Hot chocolate mix is easy to make and contains simple ingredients you’ll recognize while still being safe to store for up to a year! It also makes a great mason jar hot chocolate gift!

A large glass jar of hot cocoa mix with a spoonful scattered across the wooden table in front of it sitting beside two glasses of hot cocoa with whipped cream

I love hot cocoa, and I know I’m far from alone. A comforting cup of steaming, hot chocolate, what’s better this time of year? What I don’t love is a store bought mix that promises creamy cocoa and doesn’t deliver, which is most of them.

The solution? A homemade hot cocoa mix recipe that can hang out in my cupboard for a long time, and can quickly turn into a creamy, rich cup of hot chocolate. After countless (and I mean a LOT) of taste testing, I found the perfect combination of ingredients for a simple, but flavorful hot chocolate mix that everyone can love.

Why Homemade?

Coming up with a hot cocoa mix recipe is one of those ‘why didn’t I do this before’ things for me. It’s so easy and used supplies I already had. I feel absolutely silly that I waited so long. Plus, there are numerous other advantages.

  • No weird ingredients. My homemade hot cocoa mix is 4 simple ingredients and none of them are hydrogenated oils!
  • Better flavor. I’m so confident stating that this homemade mix will taste WAY better than any packet or store bought mix. The first words out of my husbands mouth when I had him try a cup was exactly that, ‘well this is better than the packet stuff’. Creamy, better chocolate flavor, and less sugar.
  • Comparative cost. You may be thinking but boxed chocolate is so cheap, why make it? Honestly, I priced out my mix versus swiss miss and they came out fairly equal, about 25 cents per cup. Even using premium, organic ingredients, it’s still only about 48 cents homemade. Considering the better flavor and the lack of strange ingredients, I’d happily pay that.

Hot Cocoa Mix Recipe Ingredients

It took 5 different hot chocolate mix combinations, plus various liquid option taste tests to come up with the proper ratio and set of ingredients. The winning combination had the perfect balance of sweetness, chocolate, and creaminess.

Ingredients for Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix - brown sugar, cocoa powder, dried milk, and salt
  • Cocoa Powder – The magic ingredient. Without cocoa powder homemade hot cocoa mix would be sugar milk. You can use either dutch processed or natural cocoa, just choose a cocoa powder you like, and you’ll be happy! (Read more about choosing cocoa powders here!)
  • Brown Sugar: I adore brown sugar, that molasses touch is just scrumptious. It was the clear winner for the hot cocoa taste test. It pairs beautifully with chocolate, and wasn’t a sickly sweetness like the powdered or white sugar.
  • Dry Milk: This is the key ingredient for creaminess, and possibly the one ingredient not everyone has on hand. As a bread baker, it was something in my pantry, and honestly, is a cheap addition to yours. A $5 pouch will make you a double batch (40 cups) of homemade hot cocoa mix, and it’s really essential for that creamy final product. I use nonfat dry milk, but if you end up with whole fat, that’s quite fine too!
  • Salt – Salt, when added in the proper ratio actually enhances the flavors of the ingredients its added to, especially cocoa. Adding just a small bit of salt will not make your hot chocolate salty, it will simply heighten the cocoa flavor.

The average packet hot cocoa mix contains up to 70% sugar. Considering the other ingredients, that doesn’t leave much room for cocoa in there. In my homemade hot cocoa mix, chocolate is 20%, sugar is 30%, and milk is 50%. The amount of salt is negligible. That’s it, 100% recognizable and delicious ingredients.

Making Hot chocolate mix

The process is as simple as the ingredient list, and there are two ways to go about it. I made my most recent batch (having already burned through the first) in 10 minutes. That was while holding a cranky, just finished napping baby, and working one handed. I’m willing to bet it takes you 5 or less.

Blender Method

Using the blender was my mom’s idea, and when she told me how simple it was I smacked myself on the forehead, talk about a time saver! You will need a decent blender for this, I use my Ninja, and it works great.

  1. Measure all the ingredients into a blender. Turn onto high and let it do it’s thing.
  2. After a minute or so either remove the blender jar and give it a few good shakes, or open it and stir everything around gently.
  3. Continue blending until all the ingredients have combined and there are no streaks in the hot chocolate mix.
  4. Store in an airtight, dry, clean container for up to a year. Oh, and make yourself a cup ASAP!

Easy, right? Maybe 5 minutes, measuring and storing included. One caveat, with brown sugar it can clump in the blender. So do NOT skip the step of shaking the mix or stirring before blending again, it makes sure you have a uniform hot cocoa mix.

Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix sifting the ingredients

Sieve MEthod

  1. Get two bowls and a medium mesh sieve or flour sifter.
  2. Measure all your ingredients into one bowl and gently stir them around to lightly combine them.
  3. Spoon the hot cocoa mix into the sieve set over the second bowl and use a spoon to work the mix through the sieve. This breaks down any chunks and helps the ingredients incorporate smoothly.
  4. When all the mix as gone through the sieve, stir to remove any lingering white streaks or uncombined ingredients.
  5. Store in an airtight, dry, clean jar for up to a year, and don’t forget to make a cup!

Regardless of the method you choose, simple stir your hot chocolate mix a bit before using in the future. To make a cup of hot cocoa the ratio is 1/4 cup of mix per 8 ounces of hot milk. Pour hot milk over the mix and stir until combined. Then enjoy!

Creamy hot chocolate made from homemade hot cocoa mix

Hot Cocoa Mix REcipe Flavor Variations

As delicious as a classic flavor of hot cocoa is, it’s also fun to change it up! Here are some of my favorite ways to jazz up my hot chocolate mix.

  • Cinnamon – Add 2 tablespoons of cinnamon during the sifting stage of your mixing. Or, add 1/4 teaspoon to your cup before adding milk. (Plus maybe a dash after!)
  • Spiced Chocolate – Add 2.5 teaspoons of cayenne pepper to your mix during the sifting stage. Or, add 1/8 teaspoon to your cup before adding milk.
  • Espresso – Add 3.5 tablespoons to your mix during the sifting stage. Or, simply add a heaping 1/2 teaspoon to your cup before adding milk.
  • Double Chocolate – Add 1 heaping cup of chocolate shavings, crushed chocolate chips, or mini chocolate chips to your mix after sifting. Stir to incorporate. If gifting, a layer of chocolate on top looks great. This can be any flavor chocolate – semi, dark, white, or butterscotch chips, but small or crushed chocolate incorporates better.

The beautiful part about these variations is they’re entirely customizable. Add some nutmeg in with your cinnamon. Combine the espresso and cinnamon, or the cayenne and cinnamon. Whatever makes your taste buds tingle.


Can I use non dairy milk or water to make hot cocoa with this mix?

YES! After many, many taste tests of many liquids, I found that for my tastes whole milk produced the most balanced cup of chocolate and creaminess. BUT, I have also made it with water, coffee, 2% milk, and both coconut milk (the beverage not the can!) and almondmilk. You can even use half and half if you want a really decadent treat.

Use whatever HOT liquid works for you. It will affect overall flavor but I’ve found that it’s often in a pleasant way.

What’s the best way to store this?

All these ingredients have a really long shelf life, so simply storing in an airtight container will keep your mix good for up to a year (It is safe after that, it simply may begin to lose some flavor). Just pop your container in a cupboard, away from any heat, and you’re good to go.

Is there a difference between hot chocolate and hot cocoa

Here in the U.S. not really. Regardless of which you request, you’ll end up with a similar beverage made from hot liquid and powder. In some other countries, hot chocolate refers to something called sipping chocolate, which is a very thick (delicious!) liquid chocolate drink. It’s catching on here in the U.S., but it’s usually referred to as sipping chocolate, not hot chocolate.

Make Some Mason Jar Hot chocolate Gifts!

As if all these perks of better ingredients, long shelf life, and better flavor weren’t enough to convince you to try this hot cocoa mix recipe, here’s an added bonus. Just whip up a double batch and you can EASILY make anywhere from 5 to 10 Christmas (or whatever holiday) gifts.

small mason jars full of hot cocoa mix and marshmallows sealed with christmas cloth and ribbons.

All we did was get some 8 ounce mason jars, and placed two servings (1/2 cup) of mix into them and topped it with mini marshmallows. Place some festive fabric under the band and tighten, then tie with a ribbon for a pretty and easy Christmas gift. Pair with a fun mug or place with some other homemade food gifts for an awesome gift basket!

For a bigger jar, I fit 6 servings in my pint jars! You can even tie on a little card with the recipe so they can make more when they’ve finished it! Bonus, since it stays good for SO long, you can easily make these in advance.

More DIY Food Gifts

Other Chocolate Posts you may ENjoy

So it’s really that simple, and I’ll never go back to store bought mix. I feel good knowing what’s in my cup. And, since the shelf life is longer than it will ever last in my cupboard, I see no point in dealing with the hydrogenated oils of packet mix. Whenever our tastes demand it I can easily customize our homemade hot cocoa mix, or even gift mini jars to friends and family.

So take five minutes, throw this mix together, and then snuggle up with a creamy cup of homemade cocoa. Don’t forget the marshmallows!

A large glass jar of hot cocoa mix with a spoonful scattered across the wooden table in front of it sitting beside two glasses of hot cocoa with whipped cream

Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix

An easy homemade replacement for store bought hot cocoa mix. Makes the creamiest hot chocolate you’ll crave time and time again!
Course Drinks
Cuisine American
Keyword beverages, chocolate
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 2 minutes
Servings 20
Calories 152kcal


  • 2.5 cups powdered milk
  • 1.5 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp salt


Blender Instructions

  • Combine all ingredients into blender and pulse on high speed for 10 to 15 second intervals until all ingredients have combined.
  • Give the blender carafe a few shakes, or open and stir, then blend further if you continue to see streaks in the mix after 2 minutes.*
  • Transfer to a clean, dry, airtight container and store until ready for use.

Sieve Instructions

  • Measure ingredients into a bowl, give them a quick couple of stirs to combine slightly.
  • Scoop ingredients into a sieve over a second bowl and press through to get rid of any clumps.
  • Stir to make sure ingredients are well combined (no streaks of white).
  • Transfer into clean, dry, airtight container and store.

To make Hot Cocoa:

  • Add 1/4 cup of mix to cup, pour 8 oz of hot milk** over top and stir until combined.
  • Enjoy!


*I recommend a stir and re-blending in any case, to avoid any clumps of brown sugar.
**Can also be made with water or non dairy milk


Serving: 1g | Calories: 152kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 16mg | Sodium: 181mg | Potassium: 300mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 22g | Vitamin A: 149IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 165mg | Iron: 1mg

Originally published 2/20/2019, Updated 11/12/2019

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Homemade Vanilla Extract Fri, 08 Nov 2019 15:59:52 +0000 This page contains affiliate links. For more information please read my Disclosure Policy. Homemade vanilla extract is much cheaper than any store bought vanilla. This how-to guide will take you through vanilla extract ingredients, the process of making vanilla extract, lots of tips on extracting the best flavor and storing your homemade vanilla for long […]

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This page contains affiliate links. For more information please read my Disclosure Policy.

Homemade vanilla extract is much cheaper than any store bought vanilla. This how-to guide will take you through vanilla extract ingredients, the process of making vanilla extract, lots of tips on extracting the best flavor and storing your homemade vanilla for long term use.

a decanter of vanilla extract on a wooden cutting board, a vanilla bean beside it, and a dark bottle of extract behind it.

My first introduction to homemade vanilla was from a good friend of mine as a Christmas gift to me. As a food scientist (her not me!) she’s always got these fun things to share, but this gift has been my absolute favorite. It changed my entire baking game!

Homemade vanilla extract was something I’d read about, made a note to look into…and just never pursued. It was a perfect gift. My friends and family know me pretty well I’d say! She’d already had it concocting for a few weeks, so I skipped straight to having ready to use vanilla with a pretty bottle…but man did I go through it fast! Thankfully, she sparked my interest and I dove headfirst into how to make more.

Let me tell you, it is EASY. The vanilla extract ‘recipe’ is simply 2 ingredients and a bit of waiting. When you see how easy this is, and how much money you can save, I have no doubt you’ll be whipping up your own batch in no time!

Let’s Chat About Vanilla

It probably doesn’t surprise you that Vanilla is the second most expensive flavoring behind saffron. If you bake…well ever…you’ve purchased a bottle of vanilla extract. They’re pricey, but necessary. It goes in everything, and with good reason. Vanilla contains over 200 different chemical compounds that all combine to make that addictive, warm, rich flavor and scent. It’s a powerful bean.

It’s also incredibly labor intensive to grow, and only comes from a few select places in the world. Today, most of our vanilla comes from Indonesia and Madagascar, where they hand pollinate the flowers before ever starting the long process of curing the pods. It’s really no surprise that by the time McCormick’s gets their extract on shelves, it’ll cost you $12 for a couple ounces.

Good news for you and I….we can make it for MUCH cheaper.

Vanilla Extract Ingredients

To make homemade vanilla extract, what you need is simple: Vodka, vanilla beans, a knife, and a bottle. That’s it. Really really.

a pile of vanilla beans on a wooden cutting board with brown glass bottles behind it and a bottle of vodka

Vanilla Beans

There are different types of vanilla, and different grades of bean (level of quality), here are all the tips you need for choosing the right ones for you.

Types of Vanilla

  • Bourbon or Madagascar Vanilla – This is the most common vanilla bean. It’s rich and full flavor will produce an extract most similar to the store brands you’re familiar with. The beans are available at most grocery stores and online for a fair price.
  • Indonesian Vanilla – These beans contains slightly less vanillin, and may produce a less rich extract.
  • Mexican Vanilla: Vanilla beans from Mexico can contain less than half the vanillin than Madagascar vanilla beans, and have a more floral or fruity aroma.
  • Tahitian Vanilla: The rarest and most expensive of the vanilla beans, these would produce a distinctly flowery, perfumed extract. They actually come from a different species of plant. I wouldn’t bother spending the money on these unless you’re curious!

Vanilla Grade (Quality)

  • Vanilla comes in different grades, we’re mostly concerned with A and B.
    • Grade A beans are the best. They’re whole beans, no splits, with big flavor. They’re also the most expensive. Save these for baking when you’re using the whole beans instead of extract.
    • Grade B beans or extract grade beans are cheaper and perfect for making vanilla extract at home. These beans are often split already, possibly shorter, and just generally didn’t make the cut aesthetically for Grade A. They still have BIG flavor.

I recommend buying Grade B beans in bulk online. You won’t find Grade B beans at your grocery store, and you often have to buy just a few at a time. Buy from amazon, etsy, ebay, or specialty retailers like Beanilla, and get 10 beans for the same price as 3 or 4 at your grocery. Don’t worry if you don’t use them all, vanilla beans store for a year in a cool, dry, dark place.

Vodka (or Alcohol)

Alcohol does the extracting, but it doesn’t need to be a fancy, premium bottle! Here’s what you’re looking for in your alcohol.

  • 80 proof or stronger of hard liquor. Sorry, not beer or wine here!
  • Vodka provides a blank canvas, the vanilla takes over and will be just like, if not better than, what you’re used to from the store.
  • Other alcohol options include Bourbon, dark or light rum, or brandy. These will meld with the vanilla in interesting ways. These are awesome for special bakes, or as a gourmet gift for friends around the holidays!

The Equipment

You can make vanilla in any container. But light and heat affect the longevity and flavor of your extract. Here are some tips for protecting your vanilla long term.

  • A dark, amber glass bottle is best to protect from light. I like to make a HUGE batch, using a 32 ounce mason jar, then transfer it into my smaller 8 ounce bottle as needed for daily use.
  • Store in a dark cool place, like the back of a deep cupboard that isn’t directly beside your oven or stove.
  • If you can’t do either of these things, don’t worry, the high alcohol content makes vanilla fairly immune to spoilage, but do your best to keep it away from heat and light.

Making Vanilla Extract

Once you have all your supplies, it’s really, really, REALLY simple to make.

a series of process shots, a pile of vanilla beans on a cutting board, then a vanilla bean cut open, then the vanilla beans in a jar being filled with vodka then the finished vanilla pouring into a decanter.
  1. Use the tip of a sharp knife to split your beans open (this may already be done on some grade B beans, bonus!). Don’t scrape out the seeds.
  2. Drop into your container of choice. Cut in half if necessary.
  3. Fill container with vodka (or alcohol of choice).
  4. Seal the bottle and give it a shake or two.
  5. Store for at least 8 weeks. It will continue to improve in flavor for 2 years (then the beans are depleted.)

My BEST suggestion – make a large jar of homemade vanilla extract instead of a small one. Your larger jar will continue to develop and grow rich in flavor, while you use the small one. Simply fill up the small jar when its empty, and replenish the large jar with fresh alcohol.

Bean to Alcohol Ratio

You may be wondering, how many beans do I need for how much vodka? There are tons of suggestions out there, but my process looks like this.

  • 12-15 beans for 32 ounces of vodka/alcohol.
  • I replenish my large jar when it’s depleted by half with fresh alcohol.
  • I add new beans after 2 years, or after I’ve refilled it 4 times for optimal flavor.
  • I keep one or two beans in my smaller bottle to keep the flavor extracting there as well.
homemade vanilla extract being poured from a large amber mason jar into a decanter on a wooden cutting board beside a whole vanilla bean

Cost Comparison

I was sold the moment that bottle of vanilla touched my hand. The cost is incomparable. I recently made a HUGE batch for myself, my mom, and my sisters. We each paid $45 to buy bulk beans (from Etsy!), mason jars, 8 ounce jars, and the cheapest vodka we could find. That bought us 48 ounces each (the mason jar plus the 8 ounce jar, plus the 1 refill for the mason jar).

$45, 48 ounces. That’s $1.06 per ounce. The same from the grocery store costs $5 per ounce, or $240 for 48 ounces. This is a no-brainer right??


What about imitation vanilla?

There are tons of sites that say imitation vanilla is a perfectly fine substitute. I personally disagree. Imitation vanilla is a chemical imitation of only ONE of natural vanilla’s 200 flavor compounds. While it’s incredible that we’ve figured that out, it’s just not the same.

Is imitation vanilla made from beavers?

You may have read a claim that imitation vanilla is made from the oil glands in the rear ends of beavers. This was at one point true, however in modern times the harvesting of those glands is far more time consuming and expensive than a lab made imitation. Rest at easy, if you use imitation, it’s beaver free.

How long does vanilla extract last?

Indefinitely when stored properly.

Why does homemade vanilla extract taste better than commercial extract?

You can make your vanilla as strong as you like! Also commercial vanilla usually contains some water, which homemade vanilla does not.

Other REcipes

You may enjoy using your vanilla in…

You are now officially equipped to make your own vanilla extract, it’s a simple recipe, and it has long lasting rewards, not the least of which is gorgeous flavor at a much cheaper cost. Make up a huge batch and you’ve also got a gourmet homemade gift for the holidays I guarantee you any home cook will love. Until next time guys, Happy eating!

Homemade vanilla extract is beautiful, with little flecks of vanilla.

Homemade Vanilla Extract

Make your own vanilla extract! It’s easy and so much cheaper than store bought extract!
Course Pantry Staple
Cuisine American
Keyword pantry staple, vanilla
Prep Time 5 minutes


  • Glass bottle, preferably dark glass
  • knife



  • 32 ounces Vodka or any other 80 proof or stronger alcohol you wish to use
  • 15 Vanilla beans Grade B (cheaper)


  • Glass bottle, preferably dark glass
  • Knife


  • Slice open the vanilla bean to expose inner bean.
  • Cut bean to size to fit in bottle.
  • Place in bottle, and fill with vodka.
  • Cap and let sit in dark, cool place for at least 8 weeks before using.
  • When ready to use, shake and use as you normally would!


  • Requires 8 weeks to reach usable state.
  • Shake Before use.
  • Store in a cool, dark place.
  • 15 beans to 32 ounces is my preferred ratio, adjust based on size of bottle, i.e. about 4 beans for 8 ounces. 

Originally published 2/28/19, Updated 11/8/19

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Pomegranate Jelly Tue, 05 Nov 2019 14:47:03 +0000 This page contains affiliate links. For more information please read my Disclosure Policy. Pomegranate jelly is a fantastic way to capture the flavor of fresh pomegranates and enjoy it all year long. This pomegranate jelly recipe is a simple combination of pure pomegranate juice, sugar, and pectin, and produces a bright beautiful homemade jelly that’s […]

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This page contains affiliate links. For more information please read my Disclosure Policy.

Pomegranate jelly is a fantastic way to capture the flavor of fresh pomegranates and enjoy it all year long. This pomegranate jelly recipe is a simple combination of pure pomegranate juice, sugar, and pectin, and produces a bright beautiful homemade jelly that’s full of punchy tart flavor and just the right sweetness.

three jars of pomegranate jelly

Pomegranate is one of my favorite childhood flavors. My great grandparents had a huge tree and every year we’d help them gather them. My brothers and I would make a mess pulling apart the ripe fruit and snacking on the seeds. To this day I still love them, tart and sweet and delicious. But they don’t get enough love, aside from juice and sprinkling seeds on the occasional dish, I hardly see the flavor used! Which is why this pomegranate jelly recipe is one of my favorites, and a great way to preserve my favorite flavors all year long.

What is Jelly?

Jelly is a gelled fruit juice that should be clear, glossy, and wobble slightly when set. No fruit chunks, no zest, just clear beautiful jelly.

There are many forms of preserves that a home cook can make (read about them ALL here), but jelly is a favorite of mine. It has a huge variety of applications, and this particular homemade pomegranate jelly is definitely high on my list of preferred flavors.

Pomegranate Jelly Ingredients

Just like my Homemade Strawberry Jam, this pomegranate jelly recipe is made of 3 simple ingredients: Pomegranate juice, sugar, and pectin.

pomegranate seeds, sugar, and pectin

Do I need to use Pectin?

Many fruit juices simply don’t contain enough natural pectin to make a jelly. Most natural pectin is contained in the skin and seeds or core of fruits and unlike jams and other forms of preserves, only juice is used to make jelly.

Even the fruits that DO contain enough natural pectin, utilizing it requires cooking it, then draining in a jelly bag overnight, then cooking AGAIN to thicken and set. I love making homemade staples like jelly, but I don’t love projects that require more than a day. We’ve got lives!

Pectin resolves that for me. It’s consistent, easy to use, and I can get my jelly made in 30 minutes. Win? Yes.

You can use any form of pectin you are most comfortable with, low sugar, regular dry, or even your own homemade apple pectin. I use standard dry pectin in this recipe. To use low sugar pectin, simply refer to the guide that is included in every box of pectin to adjust the sugar required for the 5 cups of juice needed for this recipe.

Do I need to use fresh pomegranate?

Many years ago my mom took a shoot from that tree on my great grandparents property and planted it in her own yard. Now we’ve got pomegranates in abundance every year. So many that we often break them down and freeze the seeds by the gallon. Juice is easy to come by for us.

That being said, buying pomegranates for the juice can be outrageously expensive. Soooo, just be sure to use only 100% pomegranate juice with no added sugar. There are many pomegranate juice blends (which might make excellent jellies), but for this pomegranate jelly recipe, get the pure stuff.

Making Pomegranate Jelly

Once you have your ingredients it’s just a matter of following the steps correctly to get a perfectly set, clear jelly. But quickly first…

If you’re using pomegranate seeds

If you are using whole seeds, you’ll first need to process them. We used a gallon bag full of seeds and popped them into a blender (thawed first if frozen). Let them break down a bit, just enough to release the juice, then place into a fine mesh sieve.

pomegranate pulp in a fine mesh sieve

Press down gently and collect the juice below. When you have 5 cups, you’re good to go.

Get Organized

With any jelly, jam, or canning recipe I find getting organized and ready is the easiest way to ensure success. If you’re planning on water bath canning, get yourself set up first.

Water Bath Canning

  • If water bath canning get four 16 ounce (pint) mason jars with screw bands and unused seals clean by washing in warm soapy water. Lay them on a clean dish towel to dry.
  • Get a large pot full of water boiling. You will need enough water to cover the jars by at least 1 inch when submerged to seal them properly.
  • Assemble your other tools like a wide mouth funnel, ladle, and jar clamps. If you do canning even occasionally, getting an inexpensive canning tool kit is a great idea for easy use and safer handling of the jars.
  • Read the instructions for the seals, some brands require prepping the seals in hot water first, others do not. If required, do it now.
  • Jars need to be warm before adding hot jelly, to do this I like to dip the jars into the boiling water for a few minutes, then I remove, flip upside down to dry (carefully, it’s hot!) and then flip back over to fill.

If canning isn’t something you’re interested in, you can also freeze your jelly!

Steps for Making Pomegranate Jelly

Okay, your jars are set up, you’re ready to get going.

pot of bubbling pomegranate jelly
  1. Measure out your sugar, juice, and pectin. Place a large pot on the stove and turn on your burner to medium high.
  2. Combine your juice and pectin in the pot and stir to dissolve. Bring to a rolling boil.
  3. Once at a rolling boil, begin adding in your sugar, stirring it in swiftly until all the sugar is added and dissolved.
  4. Continue stirring until the mixture has returned to a rolling boil.
  5. Once the mixture is at a rolling boil again, begin timing it. It is essential to not over or under cook the jelly to achieve the proper set. We cooked ours for exactly 2 1/2 minutes.
  6. Remove the jelly from the heat and carefully skim off the foam from the top (the jelly is HOT be careful!). This step is optional, but it makes for prettier jelly if you do it.
  7. Carefully ladle into jars, leaving 1/4 inch of headspace if canning, and 1/2 to 1 inch if freezing.
  8. Carefully wipe the rim to remove any drips of jelly and allow proper sealing.
  9. Using a towel or glove to protect your hand, carefully tighten down the seals and screw bands. If canning, submerge in the boiling canning pot of water for 10 minutes. If freezing, allow to cool before placing in the freezer.
  10. If canned, simply remove from water and allow to sit out on a towel to dry. Once the seals pop, they’re safe to be stored in your cupboard of up to 1 year, or in the fridge one month.
  11. Your jar is sealed when you can push on the lid without it clicking or moving, and there is a small indent in the middle.

Bonus Tip. The foam that happens during the second boil isn’t harmful nor will it affect flavor. You can skim it off by hand. BUT, it can also help to add 1 tsp of butter with the pectin and juice in the first boil. It reduces the foam and makes a lot less work of skimming later.

a white ramekin of pomegranate jelly with a spoon dipped in on a beige napkin next to an open pomegranate in front of several jars of jelly

How to Freeze your Jelly

Unlike water bath canning your pomegranate jelly, freezing doesn’t take as much preparation. Simply pour your hot jelly into a freezer safe container (remember to leave enough head space for expansion! An inch is recommended), and allow the jelly to cool on the counter.

Once cool, seal the containers tightly and place in the freezer. They’ll live happily there for up to a year.

Enjoy your Pomegranate Jelly!

Look at that gorgeous, deep ruby pomegranate jelly. We usually eat the remnants from the bottom of the pan because it’s just too irresistible, just be careful not to burn your tongue!

There are tons of ways to use your pomegranate jelly.

a peanut butter and jelly sandwich

I sincerely hope you enjoy this homemade pomegranate jelly recipe. It’s a bit of fun twist on more traditional store bought flavors like grape and strawberry. It’s tart, sweet, and so pretty! Have fun making a batch of homemade jelly, and until next time, Happy Eating!

a white bowl with red pomegranate jelly being spooned in on a tan napkin in front of several jars of pomegranate jelly and a half pomegranate

Homemade Pomegranate Jelly Recipe

Sweet, tart, and glossy pomegranate jelly, perfectly clear and gelled to a wobble, this is a simple but delicious homemade jelly recipe.
Course Breakfast, Condiment, Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword condiment, homemade, jelly, pantry staple, pomegranate, sauces
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Water Bath Canning time (Optional) 10 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 64
Calories 98kcal


  • 5 cups pomegranate juice, pure No sugar added if buying juice from store.
  • 7 cups white sugar
  • 1.75 ounces pectin, dry regular 1 packet
  • 1 tsp butter, unsalted optional*


  • Wash four pint jars, screw bands, and seals (new), with warm soapy water and set on clean kitchen towel to dry. If water bath canning also set up a large pot with enough boiling water to cover mason jars by 1 inch.
  • If using fresh pomegranate seeds, crush in blender or food processor to release juice and strain through fine mesh sieve.
  • Combine pomegranate juice, pectin, and butter if using in a second pot. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring occasionally.
  • Warm the clean jars by submerging in boiling water for a few minutes. Remove and turn onto clean towel again to dry.
  • When pomegranate mixture is boiling, add in sugar, stir to dissolve and continue stirring until it returns to a boil. Once boiling begin timing and cook for exactly 2 1/2 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and skim off any excess foam. (The foam is not harmful or inedible, just makes the jars slightly more attractive when removed.)
  • Ladle jelly into warm jars, leaving 1/4" of head space and wipe the rims clean. Using a kitchen towel to protect your hand place on seals and screw bands, tightening to hand tight.
  • Submerge closed jars into boiling water and leave for 10 minutes. Remove from water, let sit to seal, then store unopened jars in cupboard for up to 1 year. Once opened store in fridge for 1 month.
  • Yield 64 ounces of jelly, 4 pint jars.


*Butter reduces the foam produce when boiling the sugar with pectin and juice. Not necessary but makes skimming easier. 
*New Kerr and Ball jar seals do not require prepping in simmering water before use, but read instructions on seals you are using to verify proper prep.
*If not water bath canning can be frozen for one year. Allow to cool before placing in freezer and leave between 1/2 to 1 inch of head space to allow for expansion. 


Serving: 2Tbs | Calories: 98kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 4mg | Potassium: 42mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 24g | Vitamin A: 5IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 2mg | Iron: 0.1mg

Originally published 7/6/2019, updated 11/5/2019

Recommended Tools

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Homemade Chocolate Syrup Recipe Sun, 03 Nov 2019 06:02:58 +0000 This page contains affiliate links. For more information please read my Disclosure Policy. This simple, 4 ingredient chocolate syrup recipe is the homemade chocolate syrup you’ve been looking for! Made from scratch with only 4 ingredients (no high fructose corn syrup!), this chocolate sauce made with cocoa powder has a truly superior chocolate flavor. Once […]

The post Homemade Chocolate Syrup Recipe appeared first on The Flour Handprint.


This page contains affiliate links. For more information please read my Disclosure Policy.

This simple, 4 ingredient chocolate syrup recipe is the homemade chocolate syrup you’ve been looking for! Made from scratch with only 4 ingredients (no high fructose corn syrup!), this chocolate sauce made with cocoa powder has a truly superior chocolate flavor. Once you learn how to make chocolate syrup, you’ll never go back to store bought!

A jar of chocolate syrup with a spoon in it, on a white plate with drizzled chocolate and a spoon of cocoa powder on a white granite surface

Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate…need I say more? I admit I’ve been on a bit of a chocolate kick lately, Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix, a post all about Cooking with Chocolate…and now Homemade Chocolate Syrup. These are essential things you know! But in all honesty, this one is for my mom.

She asked if my hot cocoa mix would work with cold milk, and unfortunately cocoa powder simply doesn’t blend all that well with cold liquid. (I might be run through the streets by Nesquick fans, but that gritty texture? Bleh.) So I set out to create a homemade chocolate syrup recipe that would make dreamy chocolate milk, without the high fructose corn syrup.

Why Make Homemade Chocolate Syrup?

It’s truly amazing how many things we usually buy are just plain easy to make at home. Homemade sweetened condensed milk, your own Coffee Creamer…all these things we spend SO much money on can be made with basic pantry ingredients for a fraction of the cost.

It’s enough to make me crazy. WHY DIDN’T I DO THIS EARLIER??? I get it, time, money, who can argue with that oh-so-convenient squeeze bottle?

But this chocolate syrup recipe will sway you, I swear. It’s remarkably quick – 15 minutes start to finish and it lasts forever in your fridge! Plus, think about those ingredients, this recipe – 4. Hershey’s syrup – 12. And the first two (which means the highest percentage of the overall product) are high fructose corn syrup and corn syrup. That’s just not ideal, especially when I consider making chocolate milk for my son.

A glass of chocolate milk surrounded by strawberries and chocolate syrup

Chocolate Syrup Ingredients

Like I said, it only takes 4 simple ingredients to make your own homemade chocolate syrup, and as always I tested MANY variations out to find the right ratio and choices. I know, poor, chocolate loving me.

A jar of cocoa powder, brown sugar, and a vial of water
  • Brown Sugar – Brown sugar is just scrumptious, something about the molasses flavor mixing with the cocoa powder. Yum!
  • Cocoa Powder – If you read my Cooking with Chocolate post, you know that there are a HUGE variety of cocoa powders available to us. There is no right answer here, find one you like and go with it.
  • Water – Simple water. Enough said.
  • Salt – EVERY recipe is enhanced by salt, particularly chocolate. Just a pinch makes a huge difference, and it won’t be salty I promise.

How to Make Chocolate Syrup

Have your 4 ingredients? You’re ready! As a simple, quick chocolate sauce with cocoa powder as the base, there is no melting of chocolate in a double boiler. Just some mixing, heating, and then of course, the eating!

a black saucepan with brown sugar and cocoa powder added, then the two whisked together, then with water added and whisked until smooth, then the finished sauce with a wooden spoon held over top with a trail wiped across the back
  1. Combine your brown sugar and cocoa powder in a pan and whisk them together. This removes any lumps in the brown sugar and cocoa. The little lumps will melt, so don’t stress too much about it.
  2. Place over medium heat and pour in your water and salt.
  3. Start whisking immediately, the cocoa powder and sugar will dissolve quickly and you’ll have a watery, brown liquid.
  4. As the pan heats the mixture will begin to steam, continue stirring to prevent any sugar burning.
  5. When the mixture bubbles and the syrup coats the back of your spatula or spoon thickly, your homemade chocolate syrup is done. (You should be able to drag your spatula across the bottom and watch the syrup slowly fill in the trail.)
  6. Remove from heat. At this point, pour it very carefully into a storage jar. I love glass, so a mason jar is perfect. Let it cool before capping it.

Simple, am I right? Now you know exactly how to make chocolate syrup, but just as a bonus, here are some pro tips for successful thick syrup every time:

A glass jar with chocolate syrup and a spoon coated with chocolate syrup held above it surrounded by white cloth on a white granite surface
  • Use a spatula or spoon to scrape along the bottom of the pan while it’s cooking, especially to get any lingering cocoa powder out of the corners. This will avoid any odd dry spots.
  • Stirring continuously isn’t needed, but don’t wander away, the sugar and chocolate can burn, so stir every 30 seconds to a minute until done.
  • Wait until it’s cool to the touch to seal and store in the fridge.
  • The chocolate syrup will thicken slightly in the fridge, and since there are no strange ingredients, the top will thicken more than the rest. Just stir before using!
a white plate on a granite surface with a spoon of cocoa powder spilled around it. A jar of chocolate sauce on the plate with a spoon being lifted out of it.


Can I use a different kind of sugar?

I really found that the molasses content of the brown sugar was a huge reason this particular chocolate syrup recipe works so well, but you can definitely experiment with your preferred sugars. White sugar, coconut sugar, cane, or turbanido will all work just fine, with different flavor results.

Does it matter if I use natural cocoa or dutch processed cocoa?

For this recipe you can use either one, just choose a cocoa you prefer. I like the Guittard Red Dutch Processed cocoa powder for this, the flavor is just right!

Can I add vanilla or other flavors?

Sure thing! I’ve add a few teaspoons of vanilla, but I don’t find that it changes the flavor all that much. However spices like nutmeg, cinnamon, or even spicy chilies can be fun to play with.

Can I make this thicker, like a fudge sauce?

Most fudge sauces are made with heavy cream or milk, however I have found that I can get a really nice thick fudge like sauce when I reduce the water to be equal to the cocoa powder.

How long can I store this?

You can store the syrup in a tightly sealed container for up to 3 months. I don’t recommend freezing this, and canning your own chocolate sauce is not recommended due to bacterial growth.

Uses for Homemade Chocolate Syrup

If you’re reading this post you probably have a specific intent in mind. Maybe you want a more natural chocolate syrup for your children’s chocolate milk, maybe you just can’t make it to the store today and want to see if you can make it in a pinch. No matter what brought you here, I’m glad you are. Once you have your homemade chocolate syrup in your fridge, there are lots of uses for it.

Strawberries drizzled in chocolate syrup
  • Dip – A fabulous companion to sliced fruit, pretzels, marshmallows or anything else you might like to dunk in chocolate. I often use a little bit of chocolate syrup to enhance a healthier dessert like strawberries.
  • Drizzle – Cheesecake, brownies, cakes, ice creams, pancakes and more, if chocolate would enhance it, using your chocolate syrup as a finishing drizzle is an easy and yummy way to do that.
  • Drink – Chocolate milk, milkshakes, or even hot chocolate, this homemade chocolate syrup can easily make a delicious chocolate beverage for you and your family.
  • Bake – Thanks to a reader comment I’ve learned that it’s also great for baking! Try it in brownies!

Other recipes you may enjoy

a spoon coated in chocolate syrup dripping into a jar of chocolate on a white granite surface

Homemade Chocolate Syrup

Ditch the high fructose corn syrup and make your own chocolate syrup with simple, delicious ingredients in no time at all.
Course Condiment
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 10
Calories 1450kcal


  • 1 Cup Cocoa Powder I prefer dutch processed for this recipe
  • 1 1/2 Cup Water
  • 1 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 Pinch Salt Less than 1/8 tsp, can adjust to taste.


  • Add cocoa powder and brown sugar to a saucepan and whisk to smooth out any lumps in the sugar. 
  • Add the water and salt and place over medium heat. Stir to incorporate the water into the sugar/cocoa mixture. Use a rubber spatula if necessary to get any dry clumps from the edges of pan. 
  • Heat, whisking frequently until begins to bubble. Continue to stir until thickened. The sauce is ready when it coats a spoon and holds, or when you can see the bottom of the pan when running a spoon across it. 
  • Remove from heat. Allow to cool until warm to touch.
  • Pour into glass jar or container of choice, cover tightly and store in fridge. 


*Your homemade chocolate sauce will thicken in the fridge, be sure to stir it before using. 
*If you want a more fudge like sauce, reduce the amount of water to be equal with the cocoa powder.


Calories: 1450kcal | Carbohydrates: 373g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Sodium: 168mg | Potassium: 1750mg | Fiber: 29g | Sugar: 322g | Calcium: 395mg | Iron: 14mg
a white plate on a granite surface with a spoon of cocoa powder spilled around it. A jar of chocolate sauce on the plate with a spoon being lifted out of it.

Originally published 4/8/2019, last updated 11/2/2019

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Farro Risotto with Bacon, Pumpkin, and Spinach Wed, 30 Oct 2019 09:59:38 +0000 This page contains affiliate links. For more information please read my Disclosure Policy. Farro risotto is a delicious, healthy risotto alternative to a traditional white rice recipe. Whole grain risotto made with wholesome ingredients like pumpkin, spinach, and just enough bacon to add a punch of flavor is a fantastic comforting recipe that’s healthier, while […]

The post Farro Risotto with Bacon, Pumpkin, and Spinach appeared first on The Flour Handprint.


This page contains affiliate links. For more information please read my Disclosure Policy.

Farro risotto is a delicious, healthy risotto alternative to a traditional white rice recipe. Whole grain risotto made with wholesome ingredients like pumpkin, spinach, and just enough bacon to add a punch of flavor is a fantastic comforting recipe that’s healthier, while still feeling indulgent.

a white plate with farro risotto on top of a wooden table surrounded by chunks of scattered parmesan cheese, a second plate of risotto and a large pan of risotto

My husband and I have always eaten pretty well I think. But we’re also BIG believers in enjoying life, and that often applies to food. We like our cheeseburgers! Risotto, is one of those indulgences for me. Creamy rice, butter, and Parmesan cheese. YUM.

But when possible, I do try to make changes to healthier options, especially if I can do it without sacrificing flavor! The solution is a fantastic healthy risotto recipe made with whole grains, pumpkin puree, spinach, and just a touch of bacon for a punch of flavor. Farro risotto is going to be you’re new favorite healthy indulgence!

So What is Risotto?

If you’ve never had risotto before you need to. It’s traditionally a rice dish, made using a method that encourages the rice to give up its starch and create its own sauce.

Bacon Farro Risotto

This is done by adding small amounts of hot cooking liquid to rice in a wide, open pan. The liquid is stirred until absorbed, creating friction that evenly releases starch from the grains, that creates a thickened sauce over time. Cooking in an open pan allows the liquid to evaporate as well, meaning you use more liquid than you traditionally would when cooking a grain.

While Arborio, or medium grain white rice is the traditional choice, this method can be applied to other grains. I actually find farro to be a forgiving choice. It’s hardy, and has a natural chew that resists overcooking. To enhance the creaminess that is somewhat lost by not using the starchier white rice, I added pumpkin puree, and it works like a charm.

Farro Risotto Ingredients

To make this healthy risotto you need a handful of ingredients that all play a key role in the overall creaminess and flavor of the final recipe.

Ingredients that make up farro risotto

Classic risotto is made with simple ingredients. Shallot, garlic, rice, white wine, broth, butter, and Parmesan cheese. I’ve adjusted and added to those components to make a creamy, more nutritiously dense version using a whole grain.

  • Garlic & Onion: Two very common building blocks to numerous dishes. I chose yellow onion over the more traditional shallot. The stronger flavored onion stands up to the other ingredients in this recipe.
  • Bacon: Okay, so bacon isn’t healthy, true. But in small amounts it adds powerful flavor to so many dishes. Thick cut is best in this recipe (and really every recipe)
  • Farro: I love farro, it’s an ancient wheat grain with tons of health benefits. It brings fiber, magnesium, vitamin B3, zinc and other nutrients to the table along with a delicious soft, chewy texture you’ll quickly crave.
  • White Wine: Wine is a powerful ingredient even in small amounts. For your farro risotto you’ll only need a cup, and it makes a massive difference in flavor. As always, in 99% of recipes, I recommend a dry, crisp wine, nothing sweet. I’ve made it with both an oaky Chardonnay and a bright, crisp Sauvignon Blanc and they were equally delicious.
  • Broth/Stock: Stock is made from slow simmered bones, and broth is made from simmering bones and meat. Both produce a lovely liquid. Either way, go with chicken. I used homemade chicken broth and it was perfect.
  • Pumpkin: Pumpkin is a nutrition powerhouse with tons of Vitamin A, antioxidants and so much more. (Read about pumpkin nutrition here), and it’s also inexpensive. For recipes like this it adds a delicious creaminess – without the cream. Don’t worry, it doesn’t taste like pumpkin porridge, but it is essential. Pureed butternut squash would be a delicious alternative.
  • Spinach: Gotta love those dark greens, packed with protein, iron, vitamins, and minerals, spinach is my best go to friend when trying to incorporate greens in a dish. It wilts quickly and beautifully into sauces, and is tender and mild to eat.
  • Parmesan Cheese: To finish off this farro risotto, you’ll need a small amount of good ole Parmesan. It can be argued that the protein, calcium, and other minerals are good for you anyway. Go on, enjoy that Parmesan!

How to Make Healthier Risotto

Making risotto is not complicated. It just requires a bit of patience and attention. Now, I’m not an Italian grandmother who learned from her grandmother and has been making it for generations…but this is how I make it. It turns out pretty darn good every single time.

COoking your Bacon

Before I get going on the steps, I recommend deciding on how you want to cook the bacon. Generally I prefer the two skillet method…

  • Cook chopped bacon in a separate skillet until there is about 2 tablespoons of rendered bacon fat in the bottom of the pan.
  • Pour that fat into the preheated large skillet you’re using for risotto and start your onions.
  • Continue to cook the bacon while you start the risotto then drain on a paper towel and reserve for adding to the risotto later.

But many people prefer cooking their bacon in the oven, which I get! So if you prefer that, you can simply use olive oil instead of the bacon fat. I think this loses some flavor, but it’s easier clean up and low maintenance cooking.

Here is a great guide from Unsophisticook on how to bake your bacon!

a large pan of farro risotto with some on a white plate on a wooden table with a cheese grater beside it.

Farro Risotto Steps

  1. First step is to get your bacon cooking, whichever method you choose.
  2. Next, add your broth to a saucepan over low heat. You want your broth (or stock) hot, but not simmering or boiling, just hot. Add half a cup of your wine to this. The pot will stay over low heat during the entire risotto cooking process.
  3. Now heat a large wide skillet over medium heat. There are such things as risotto pans and risotto spoons, but they can be expensive, and unnecessary. But I use an enameled cast iron pan like this one and a wooden spoon and it works perfectly!
  4. When your pan is hot, saute your onions in either the bacon fat or oil until they’re translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until fragrant.
  5. Add your farro, stir until every grain is coated with fat and allow to toast for a few minutes, stirring to prevent burning.
  6. Pour the remaining half of the wine to the pan with the farro and onions. It will simmer and smell delicious! As it does use your spoon to scrape along the bottom of the pan to pick up any caramelized spots.
  7. Turn on the TV, you’ve got some stirring ahead!
  8. Once the wine has cooked almost all the way down, begin ladling the broth. I do 2 ladles at a time, you’ll need just enough broth to almost cover the farro. Adjust your heat as needed so your liquid is gently simmering.
  9. Now stir, and stir….and stir. You do not have to stir constantly for the next thirty minutes, but every few minutes stir the farro in the liquid so all the grains get a warm bath and the liquid absorbs evenly without any sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  10. When the broth is almost all absorbed (not gone, don’t let the pan go dry) add more.
  11. Repeat this until all your broth has been added (5 to 6 cups) and your farro has a pleasant, soft chew. If your farro is still crunchy, simply continue to add broth until it reaches the desired texture.
  12. Once its the way you like it, turn off the heat and add 1 more ladle of stock. Then add your pumpkin, cheese, and spinach and stir until incorporated and the spinach has wilted.
  13. Add in bacon, taste, and add salt or pepper as desired.

That’s it! Serve immediately with a nice loaf of bread or a small salad. Heck, have both!

Healthy Risotto – A whole grain Risotto alternative

If this is your first time making risotto, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. There is something peaceful for me about slowly stirring and watching the grains give in to the broth, creating this amazing creaminess.

Once you’ve mastered the technique, you can apply the ‘risotto technique’ to different grains and sets of ingredients. Get creative! Use barley, wild rice, and see what you like, and what veggies go well with them. Pea and pancetta, lemon asparagus, a mushroom medley – all are great options!

But for now, give this bacon farro risotto a try, and enjoy a creamy, whole grain alternative that you can savor without a lick of guilt.


Is farro risotto gluten free?

No. Farro is a wheat grain, so it does contain gluten.

What kind of farro should I buy?

There are a few different kinds of farro, generally whole grain, semi pearled, and pearled. Whole grain packs the biggest nutritional punch, but it also takes the longest to cook. I usually buy semi-pearled because it falls right in the middle.

If you buy pearled, it will cook faster. If you buy whole grain farro, it may take a bit longer to cook, but soaking for 30 minutes first can also help.

Can I overcook the farro?

One of the best reasons for using farro as a replacement for rice is that it is one tough grain to overcook. While rice becomes a broken mushy mess if overcooked, farro takes a long, long, long time to break down like that.

Can I substitute something else for the pumpkin?

If you don’t have or don’t want to use pumpkin puree, you can use heavy cream or double the cheese to lend to creaminess.

What to Serve with Risotto

a close up of white plate with creamy farro risotto with bacon and spinach

Bacon Farro Risotto with Spinach

This is a delicious whole grain risotto that packs a punch of flavor with healthy, tasty ingredients like farro, pumpkin, and spinach, with just a touch of bacon and Parmesan to make it craveable.
Course dinner
Cuisine American
Keyword main dish, rice, risotto
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 4
Calories 433kcal


  • 1 Cup Onion, diced about 1/2 an onion
  • 4 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 Cup Farro
  • 1 Cup White wine, divided Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc are good choices
  • 5-6 Cups Chicken broth
  • 2 Cups Spinach
  • 1/2 Cup Pumpkin Puree
  • 6 Slices Bacon, diced Thick cut
  • 1/4 Cup Parmesan


  • Saute bacon in a skillet over medium heat until crisp.**
  • Add broth and 1/2 cup of white wine to a saucepan over low heat, and heat until hot, but not simmering or boiling.
  • While bacon is cooking heat a wide, deep pan over medium heat. A large skillet is ideal. When hot, add 2 tablespoons of bacon fat, or 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add onion and saute until softened and translucent. 
  • Add garlic and saute until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute. 
  • Add farro, and stir to coat until all the grains look like they’ve been coated in fat. Use more bacon fat or oil if necessary, but not enough that there is excess oil in the bottom of the pan.  
  • Pour in remaining 1/2 cup of white wine. Stir and let simmer until almost entirely absorbed. 
  • Begin adding hot broth 2 ladles at a time (about 1 cup), or enough to almost cover the grains, but not to submerge them. Stir frequently. 
  • When broth is almost entirely absorbed, but not entirely, add another cup or so of broth and repeat. Continue this until your farro is tender and pleasantly chewy. This takes about 4 to 4 1/2 cups usually, and about 40 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, check bacon for doneness. When crisp, drain from pan and set aside. 
  • When farro is done to desired texture, pour a final 1/2 cup of broth. Stir then add pumpkin. Stir to combine. 
  • Add spinach and stir until wilted into the farro and sauce, about 2 minutes. Grate in 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese, add crumbled bacon, and add salt and pepper to taste. 
  • Serve immediately.


** You can bake your bacon in the oven as well. Simply replace bacon fat in the recipe with olive oil and crumble bacon when done.


Calories: 433kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 26mg | Sodium: 1202mg | Potassium: 653mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 6222IU | Vitamin C: 26mg | Calcium: 145mg | Iron: 3mg

Originally published 4/6/19, updated 10/30/19

The post Farro Risotto with Bacon, Pumpkin, and Spinach appeared first on The Flour Handprint.

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Types of Chocolate: A Guide to Cooking & Baking with Chocolate Sun, 27 Oct 2019 12:19:32 +0000 This page contains affiliate links. For more information please read my Disclosure Policy. A home cook’s guide to all Types of Chocolate! The answers to your questions when choosing your cooking and baking chocolate. This article covers a brief chocolate history, how chocolate is made and the three most common forms of chocolate used in […]

The post Types of Chocolate: A Guide to Cooking & Baking with Chocolate appeared first on The Flour Handprint.


This page contains affiliate links. For more information please read my Disclosure Policy.

A home cook’s guide to all Types of Chocolate! The answers to your questions when choosing your cooking and baking chocolate. This article covers a brief chocolate history, how chocolate is made and the three most common forms of chocolate used in cooking: cocoa powder, chocolate chips, and chocolate bars, plus over 20 recipes to try!

A collage of chocolate baked goods like chocolate chip cookies, chocolate pies, chocolate muffins, chocolate cake, and hot chocolate

Oh chocolate, my ever faithful stress relieving companion, you never fail me! Jokes aside, I really do love chocolate. When I became pregnant, and my other favorite indulgence was taken away (wine!), chocolate was a nightly treat. But as I baked and cooked with it more and more, I realized just how diverse the products available to us are. It was time to create a guide for all my fellow chocolate lovin’ home cooks!

Chocolate History

Chocolate has a long history believed to date back almost 5000 years, but we actually know very little about it. According to Gastropod (my fave food science and history podcast!), it’s believed that the Olmec people, who lived in what is now southern Mexico, first roasted and consumed chocolate.

They, and eventually other civilizations, would mix roasted cocoa bean paste with water and flavor enhancers like magnolia blossom, chiles, and spices to create a beverage that was offered to royalty or used as a part of religious rituals. Understandably, the dried beans were widely prized and even used as a form of currency!

It was the conquistadors that carried cocoa back to Europe, where it gained popularity pretty quickly. But not as dessert! Most chocolate consumption was in beverage form. It was used as a meal replacement or given to soldiers as a stimulant to keep them awake on duty.

It wasn’t until the 1820’s, in Switzerland, that innovation took hold of cocoa beans. Cocoa butter, the fat content of the beans, was able to be extracted from the beans leaving hard pellets behind that were ground into what we know as cocoa powder.

From that innovation, chocolate exploded. We discovered adding milk solids and created the milder milk chocolate. Nestle and Hershey’s grew into household names. Then Lindt chocolatiers discovered the conching process. It ground the beans so fine that a lusciously smooth final product, the chocolate bar we know today, could be made for the masses.

A Variety of chocolate used in cooking

The Chocolate Making Process

Making those chocolate bars, milk or dark, isn’t a simple process. From farm to your cupboard, the process to make chocolate goes something like this:

  • First, cacao farmers split open cacao fruit. Inside the oblong, large pods is sweet, fruity, edible white pulp and a lot of seeds. The wet seeds and pulp are fermented anywhere from 2-8 days and before drying. Farmers then sell it to manufacturers, who roast the beans.
  • After roasting, the beans are cracked open to release the nibs for grinding. The grinding process produces cocoa liquor. This is basically a paste of cocoa butter and cocoa solids that is then refined further to create various products.
  • Generally one of two things occurs:
    • The liquor is conched (agitated) with various ingredients like sugar, milk, or vanilla until it’s the desired mouthfeel and flavor, creating the chocolate we most frequently consume.
    • The liquor is refined. Cocoa butter is separated from the particles, and sold to consumers or used for manufacturing different chocolate products. The particles separated from the butter are pressed into hard cakes and then pulverized into cocoa powder.

Manufacturers (and even home chocolatiers!) make a huge variety of products available to us as consumers. Bitter dark chocolates, milk chocolate, chocolate chips, and more. You can even purchase cocoa nibs that pack a wallop of pure, bitter chocolate flavor in specialty groceries.

Interested in seeing cocoa liquor? Check out this page. The short video about 1/3 of the way down is great for seeing the process from bean to chocolate.

A variety of chocolate products including cocoa powder, chocolate chips, and chocolate bars

Types of Chocolate

So what are the differences are between the common types of chocolate we see? Which are the right baking chocolates and how can you use them? I’ve got your answers right here.

  • Dark: The closest most of us come to eating pure chocolate. This kind of chocolate is made by combining chocolate liquor with sugar. The higher the percentage of cocoa solids, the stronger the bitter flavor will be. Bittersweet and semisweet chocolates are forms of dark chocolate.
  • Milk: Milk chocolate is chocolate that has added milk. It’s the most consumed form of chocolate world wide, milder, and sweeter than dark chocolate. The milk solids and large proportion of sugar outweigh the chocolate content of the bar. (Did you know that you only need 10% cocoa in milk chocolate to call it chocolate?)
  • White: Since white chocolate contains no actual cocoa, just cocoa butter, milk, and sugar, it isn’t really chocolate! But it provides a unique and contrasting flavor, and pairs nicely with darker chocolates in many desserts.

Most of us know what kind of chocolate we prefer to munch on. Often however, when it comes to cooking with chocolate, the bars we eat aren’t what we use.

Cocoa Powder

Cocoa powder is pure cocoa. No sugar, no cocoa butter. It packs all the flavor of chocolate in a concentrated form. Combined with the right ingredients and the nuances of chocolate flavor develop beautifully. But not all cocoa powders are created equal. So when it comes to cooking with chocolate, what do you need and when?

three lines of cocoa powder, from light brown to dark brown
  • Natural Cocoa Powder: A powerhouse of chocolate flavor, natural cocoa powder is an acidic ingredient, with a pH around 5. This is important to know because that acidity is needed when baking with baking soda. Natural cocoa powder often has a slightly more fruity and nuanced flavor than it’s dutch processed counterpart.
  • Dutch Processed Cocoa Powder: This cocoa powder comes from cocoa beans that have been treated with potassium carbonate. This raises their pH levels to 7 or 8, stripping them of the acid properties. The flavor is significantly impacted, while it’s often described as more ‘chocolately’, it’s actually the result of the refining process producing a milder cocoa flavor (less bitter). It’s less fruity, more earthy, and less acidic, and sometimes, may contain a baking soda-esque alkaline flavor.

In my personal baking experience, it’s better to have natural cocoa powder over dutch-processed cocoa. It contains all the lovely nuances of pure cocoa (which can be so beautifully diverse). Plus, natural cocoa will work for almost all baking and cooking needs, where Dutch-processed cocoa will not.

However dutch processed cocoa is a more rounded chocolate flavor that many people prefer. There are lots of different brands so finding one you like isn’t hard (Guittard is my go to!). It’s often possible to use it in baking, so long as you use baking powder to handle the leavening.

There are TONS of recipes that use cocoa powder, I personally use it more often than any other form of chocolate in my baking.

Cocoa Powder Recipes

A slice of chocolate pear cake being lifted from the whole cake

Natural Cocoa Recipes

  • Chocolate Pear Cake – This perfect chocolate cake from Stine over at Ginger with Spice is paired with the complimentary flavor of hazelnuts and moist, baked pears for a gorgeous cake that’s sure to impress.
  • Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix – Who doesn’t love a steaming cup of hot cocoa? But the store bought powders are full of nonsense and making your own hot cocoa mix is easy (and cheap!). A hot cocoa mix that’s actually made with mostly chocolate. Yum! A recipe from right here on the blog!
  • Double Chocolate Zucchini Muffins – Have your chocolate without the guilt with this zucchini muffin from Ali at Home and Plate, double chocolate flavor but made with whole wheat flour. Chocolate for breakfast anyone?
  • Chocolate Gingerbread Loaf – All the flavor of gingerbread with the lovely rich chocolate flavor of a moist cake. Topped with a simple icing, this is a delicious chocolate spiced cake you’ll love. An original right here from The Flour Handprint.
  • Brigadeirao – Thick, fudgy, baked brazilian chocolate flan, baked in only 40 minutes. Need I say more? Go get the recipe from Denise at Easy and Delish.
  • Brownie Cookies with Mocha Frosting – Soft delicious cookies with a thick chocolately mocha frosting, literally a chocolate lover’s dream cookie recipe from Debi at Life Currents.
  • Chocolate Pumpkin Pie – Jazz up that fall classic of pumpkin pie with this recipe from Raia at Raia’s Recipes, a nice layer of dark chocolate on top is the perfect addition to the creamy spiced pie.
  • Giant Flourless Chocolate Cookies – Jamie over at Drive Me Hungry will win your hearts with this seriously GIANT chocolate cookie. Gooey, chewy fudge center, and crisped edges, yum, yum, yum!

Dutch Processed Cocoa Recipes

  • Homemade Chocolate Syrup – Ditch the corn syrup and make your own long lasting chocolate syrup with just a few simple ingredients. Luscious, rich chocolate flavor you’ll be licking off a spoon. One of my original recipes!
  • Glazed Chocolate Munchkins – Tracy from Served From Scratch has the donut hole recipe you’ve been looking for, moist and cakey centers with a crunchy deep fried exterior and a sugary glaze. (Also uses bittersweet chocolate!)
  • Dutch Cocoa Cookies – Just one look at these dark chewy cookies with a crisp sugar coating will get you craving chocolate. Get the recipe from Heather from The Toasty Kitchen.
scattered chocolate cookies with a silver spoon of cocoa powder and white sugar scattered around.

Chocolate Chips

Chocolate chips, we love ’em. I know I certainly do, so much that my mom used to hide them at the back of the top shelf of our highest cupboard. (I obviously found them anyway!) But what are they and other than cookies, how do we use them?

A small pile of chocolate chips and a small pile of mini chocolate chips on a white table

Chocolate chips are convenient type of chocolate that many of us use frequently. I’d bet you have some in your cupboard right now! Invented and marketed by Nestle in 1941, the little teardrop nuggets are widely available in a massive variety of flavors.

During my last trip to the grocery store I saw semi-sweet, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and white chocolate! That doesn’t even account for the non chocolate varieties of these little delicious teardrops.

Chocolate chips are great for baking, they contain soy lecithin (raises melting point) so they hold their shape while taking on a pleasant soft texture. This also means they’re not as easy to work with in melting applications (though it’s possible).

Chocolate Chip Recipes

A stach of cranberry chocolate chip cookies surrounded by scattered cranberries, chocolate, and chestnuts
  • Dark Chocolate Cranberry Chestnut Cookies – What a mouthful of deliciousness these cookies are! The favorite chocolate chip cookie amped up with tart cranberries and crunchy chestnuts, a new holiday (or everyday) fave from Jo at Jo’s Kitchen Larder.
  • Chocolate Chip Donuts – Pamela from Brooklyn Farm Girls has a chocolate chip packed recipe for fluffy baked doughnut that will make all your breakfast dreams come true. Don’t forget the chocolate frosting!
  • Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins – Moist pumpkin spiced muffins packed with gooey chocolate chips and drizzled with maple icing. Nicole at The Travel Palate has a winner with this one.
  • Chocolate Molten Lava Cakes – Chocolate chips can be melted, and Dini at The Flavor Bender knows just how to do it with these decadent chocolate cakes filled with a gooey liquid chocolate center.
A molten chocolate cake cut open and oozing chocolate, dusted with powdered sugar on a white plate

Chocolate Bars

Nowadays the chocolate bar section in grocery stores have exploded. From milk to white to the high quality dark chocolate bars available, its easy to wonder what you can and can’t bake with. Good news, almost all of it!

A chocolate bar with broken pieces scattered around it on a white table

Even though there are many ‘baking’ chocolate bars in the baking aisles, you are not limited to those when baking. You can use whatever chocolate tastes good to you, but there are some key things to remember.

  • The higher the percentage of cocoa, the more bitter the chocolate. An 80% cocoa bar is 20% sugar, and a 92% is only 8% sugar – significantly more bitter.
  • Two 80% bars can taste dramatically different. That percentage refers to the level of chocolate liquor, but doesn’t discern how much of that is the cocoa butter and how much is chocolate solids. That will affect flavor.
  • Cacao trees are as diverse as wine grapes. That means cocoa made from beans from different parts of the world can have COMPLETELY different flavors. Even beans from the same region, that were fermented and roasted differently can have different flavors.

What does this mean for you? Well…you’ll have to eat some chocolate to find out what you like! I know, poor us right? There are the well known brands, Lindt, Ghirardelli, Guiitard (!!), but there are also a LOT of smaller chocolate producers who are doing amazing things for the industry and supporting sustainable, responsible farming. So I encourage you, deviate away from the boxed ‘bakers chocolate’ and try a few new bars.

However, when working with chocolate bars or slabs of any brand, understanding the tolerance of the chocolate you’re working with is important.

  • Dark chocolate can handle more heat before it’s at risk of burning or separation. It can be melted and solidified over and over again (see why it’s the best chocolate yet?). Be careful over direct heat, or when microwaving, stir frequently and watch your temperatures! The higher cocoa butter content also leads to a great snap in melted and cooled applications.
  • Milk or white chocolate on the other hand, due to the high levels of milk solids and low cocoa solids, are less tolerant of heat and need to be heated gently and watched carefully.

Any of these chocolates can be tempered (stabilized) to create a shiny thin coating on desserts that hardens and snaps beautifully. It’s more complex than I can get into here, so I recommend this article from King Arthur Flour if you’re interested in learning.

Chocolate Bar Recipes

a white cup with drinking chocolate inside and spilling over the rim onto a white saucer topped with whipped cream.
  • French Sipping Chocolate – One of my all time FAVORITE treats, I was so excited to find this recipe from Jas at All That’s Jas for sipping chocolate. Thick, luscious, warm chocolate, like the thickest, richest hot cocoa you’ve ever had. Make it, trust me.
  • White Chocolate Cheesecake – This is a match made in heaven, Lis from The Fare Sage combines creamy cheesecake with sweet white chocolate on top of a chocolate biscuit crust for a delicious chocolate packed dessert.
  • S’more Tart – You don’t need to camp to enjoy those s’more flavors. Claire from The Simple Sweet Life packs in the buttery crunch of graham cracker crust, melted chocolate with a rich ganache, and a fluffy marshmallow meringue topping.
  • Giant Bakery Style Chocolate Chunk Cookies – These incredible, giant cookies are chewy, soft, and packed with gooey melted chocolate chunks. Courtney from Neighbor Food can tell you exactly how to make these babies.
  • White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Pound Cake – Nikki from Soulfully made has this delicious pound cake recipe that’s infused with the delicate sweetness of white chocolate and topped with crunchy macadamia nuts.
  • Mexican Chocolate Mole – I couldn’t resist sharing this recipe, because YES chocolate can be savory. Laura and Sarah from Wander Cooks use a lovely high percentage cocoa chocolate bar to make this chicken mole. This will make dinner a fun, delicious experience.
  • Caramelized White Chocolate Hot Chocolate – Jane from Little Sugar Snaps has a drink you won’t forget – White chocolate caramelized to release nutty, butterscotch flavors and blended into warm milk, mm-mmm.
  • Chocolate Pie – Dannii and Dave over at Hungry, Healthy, Happy have a homemade chocolate pie recipe you’re going to want. A hint of coconut flavor, creamy rich chocolate and a homemade crust. Yum!
a small chocolate pie with coconut shavings on a white table by a glass of milk with a straw

A Few Final Notes

Despite the HUGE amount of info here, there are still some questions I haven’t answered. So quickly…

What About Chocolate Melts?

Short answer, don’t bother. I’m a chocolate lover, and chocolate melts are not really chocolate. they’re designed to be convenient for coating, and come in tons of colors, and are ‘chocolate flavored’ so you may even find cocoa powder in them. But the flavor is nothing on real chocolate, and the convenience is rarely worth the loss in flavor.

What should you stock your cupboards with?

I keep cocoa powder, chocolate chips, and chocolate bars in my baking cupboard. But I’m chocolate obsessed! For the minimalists, you can get buy with natural cocoa powder and a few high quality chocolate bars. Most recipes can be made with just those two.

Go on, Go Cook!

Armed with the basic understanding of chocolate forms, flavors, and properties, I hope you can attack your next cooking project with confidence. There is always, always more to learn, so I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have. Comment below, or message me here if you need more info on the wonderful world of cooking with chocolate. Happy eating!

Originally published 3/27/19, updated 10/27/19

The post Types of Chocolate: A Guide to Cooking & Baking with Chocolate appeared first on The Flour Handprint.

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What Are Quick Breads {Types of Quick Breads}: A complete Guide Sat, 12 Oct 2019 14:47:00 +0000 This page contains affiliate links. For more information please read my Disclosure Policy. If you’ve ever seen the term ‘quick bread recipe’ and wondered, what are quick breads? This is the guide you need! All your questions will be answered as I discuss the types of quick breads and the 4 mixing methods used to […]

The post What Are Quick Breads {Types of Quick Breads}: A complete Guide appeared first on The Flour Handprint.


This page contains affiliate links. For more information please read my Disclosure Policy.

If you’ve ever seen the term ‘quick bread recipe’ and wondered, what are quick breads? This is the guide you need! All your questions will be answered as I discuss the types of quick breads and the 4 mixing methods used to make them with plenty of examples and delicious recipes to get you baking!

a basket of biscuits, a loaf of chocolate quick bread, a platter of apple cake slices, a stack of white chocolate cookies, and a pan of muffins

As the autumn season begins, countless delicious baked goods flood the internet. I’m a willing participant in the baking and the eating of them. One of the most popular forms of baking this time of year are quick breads. But what are quick breads? Are they the delicious loafs of sweet, sticky-topped breads, are they the bundt cakes, or the cookies?

It may surprise you to learn that a quick bread is ALL those things…and more! There are a huge variety of types of quick breads and several different ways to make one, and they’re all delicious in their own way.


The term ‘quick bread’ is a way of categorizing many different types of baked goods, namely ones that rise with the use of chemical leavening agents. This can be any cake, cookie, scone, or bread recipe baked by using chemicals to create rise rather than yeast or eggs. Eggs can be used in a quick bread to create air, but there must also be a chemical leavening agent to be called a quick bread. Sorry meringues!

There are many types of chemical rising agents, but the two main leavening sources we use are…

Sodium Bicarbonate (Baking Soda) – Without getting to chemistry crazy, baking soda is an alkaline ingredient (opposite an acid) that can be used as a source of leavening in recipes that contain the necessary acidic ingredient. Some examples of those are:

The combination of these ingredients with baking soda causes an immediate, bubbling reaction and creates rise in our baked goods. It’s best not to leave these batters sitting around once mixed, or the reaction will burn out and your baked goods won’t rise.

Baking Powder – these leavening agents contain the complete set of rising tools you need for baking – both the alkaline component and the acid needed to create rise. While there are many different types of baking powder, especially when you learn about ones made for commercial producers, what we home cooks are concerned with are:

  • Double Acting – The common choice for home cooks, and for good reason. Double acting baking powder contains a combination of baking soda and various crystallized acids that react at two separate times during baking. Once during mixing, then again when heat activates it.

If you ever come across single acting baking powder, or have a recipe that calls for it, don’t fret. You can interchange double acting fairly easily.

Interested in making your own baking powder? Learn how from the Simple Life Mom blog.

Examples of Quick Breads

Now that you know quick breads are any baked good made with the use of chemical leavening agents (The origin of the name quick bread was even thought to date back to when baking powder was invented in the late 1800’s), you can see how many different things that would be! Here are a few examples:

  • Muffins
  • Cakes
  • Brownies
  • Pancakes
  • Donuts

  • Waffles
  • Scones
  • Biscuits
  • Cookies
  • Loaves

This doesn’t even cover them all! Literally anything, sweet or savory, that is baked with the aid of baking soda or baking powder qualifies.

Types of Quick Breads – Organizing our recipes

With a category as broad as quick breads, it’s helpful to be able to organize the many types somehow. Quick breads are simply different ratios and mixing methods of the same core ingredients: flour, liquid, fat, sweetener, leavening agent, and flavor. This makes the easiest way to organize them by the mixing method.

Understanding the mixing methods can help you determine which approach will produce the desired texture and baked good you’re going for. Then the doors of creativity are literally wide open!

1. Straight Mixing Method

The straight mixing method is an easy, very common method of producing a quick bread. It’s the simple addition of wet ingredients to dry. Often referred to as the two bowl method, it’s requires combining all the dry ingredients in one bowl, all the liquid in another, and then combining the two to create a batter.

4 images of making a gingerbread loaf, a bowl of dry ingredients, a bowl of wet ingredients, the dry being added to the wet, then it all mixed.
An example of creating a pour batter using the straight mixing method. This picture is for the Chocolate Gingerbread Loaf Linked below.

This mixing method will most often produce a batter, sometimes thick and sometimes thin. Here are a few bonus tips for using the straight mixing method:

  • Don’t overmix! Overworking the batter once the flour is added can lead to a tough or dense baked good.
  • Lumps are okay, so long as there are no large dry spots or streaks of unincorporated flour.

Simple and easy right? Here are some delicious quick bread recipes using the straight mixing method!

a small pile of pumpkin churro mini muffins with one in front with a bite gone on a wooden cutting board
Pumpkin Churro Mini Muffins from Dance Around the Kitchen
  • Chocolate Gingerbread Loaf – A quick bread inspired by holiday flavors! Tender, moist cake with gingerbread spices and a delectable drizzle of simple icing.
  • Homemade Blueberry Orange Bread – Fresh berries and the perfect hint of orange flavor combine in this yummy classic quick bread loaf from Ellen over at Family Around the Table
  • Pumpkin Churro Mini Muffins – Quick breads go bite-sized in these moist, fall flavored mini muffins from Kelsey at Dance Around the Kitchen, and that sugar cinnamon coating? Yes please!
  • Apple Cinnamon Muffins (With Oats!) – Have your quick breads for breakfast with this naturally honey-sweetened, satisfying oat-packed muffin from Courtney at Neighbor Food.
  • Cornbread Muffins – A perfect, light and fluffy cornbread muffin to serve with dinner. Great for soaking up fall stews, soups, and chili!
  • Buckwheat Pancakes – A classic pancake with an irresistible nutty flavor from the addition of buckwheat flour. A bit of nutrition, without sacrificing your pancake craving!
  • Lemon Ricotta Pancakes – Jocelyn over at Grandbaby Cakes knows what she’s doing with these fluffy, lemony pancakes. Start your morning with a smile with these!
  • Homemade Drop Biscuits – Get a tender, buttery biscuit on the table in 20 minutes with these simple, super quick 5 ingredient drop biscuits, mix and go!
  • Banana Doughnuts + Whipped Matcha Frosting – Yes, you read that right, Cindy at A Uniquely Edible Magic walks you through how to make these delicious doughnut beauties at home!
a stack of banana doughnuts with whipped matcha frosting
Banana Doughnuts with Whipped Matcha Frosting from A Uniquely Edible Magic

2. Creaming Method

If you’ve ever made cookies or pound cake, odds are you’re familiar with the creaming method. It’s the creaming of sugar and butter (or other fats) together to create a fluffy aerated base for your quick breads. The tiny air bubbles that are formed in this step with the chemical leavening agent added later are essential for the texture of your final bake. Without this, cookies and cakes are often tough.

the process of creaming butter and sugar
A beautiful example of the creaming method from The Toasty Kitchen and Heather’s White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies (link below)

Once the butter and sugar are fluffy, the next steps are usually adding eggs, beating until incorporated, then the flours until combined. Usually this produces a fluffier, thicker batter or even a dough, depending on the ratio of other ingredients added.

There are PLENTY of amazing quick breads you make with the creaming method, here are just a few to get your going!

a sliced loaf of tropical banana bread on a wood platter on a wood table
Easy Tropical Banana Bread from Food Meanderings
  • Chewy Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies – A chewy, lemony sugar cookie with crunchy pops of poppy seeds baked right in. A sweet, but not too sweet cookie!
  • White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookie – Salty macadamia nuts and sweet white chocolate are perfect together in this chewy delicious cookie from Heather at The Toasty Kitchen.
  • Easy Tropical Banana Bread – A unique take on banana bread! Tropical flavors like rum, coconut, and lime make this an irresistible (and healthy) treat from Terri at Food Meanderings.
  • Peanut Butter Bread – Peanut butter, chocolate, warm baked quick bread, what could be better? Get this gorgeous loaf recipe from Melissa at Mamagourmand
  • Cinnamon Raisin Bread – Rosemary from An Italian in my Kitchen has a quick bread loaf winner here with cinnamon, brown sugar, and soft sweet raisins baked right in!
  • Butternut Squash Bread – Forget pumpkin, check out this sweet butternut squash quick bread with warm spices from Robin at Mom Foodie.
A loaf of butternut squash bread with slices displayed on a white plate
Butternut Squash Bread from Mom Foodie

3. Foaming Method

This mixing method is common for many cakes, but less commonly used for quick breads. The foaming method creates air just like the creaming method, but does so by beating eggs with sugar first instead of butter. This can be done with whole eggs, or with egg whites to create a meringue, before mixing in the other ingredients.

Angel food cakes, financiers, and other cakes are great examples of this method at work, but many are not quick breads because the egg does the work of the chemical leavening agent. If there are no chemical leavening agents present, such as baking powder, soda, or even cream of tartar, then it doesn’t fall into the category of a quick bread.

That being said, the types of quick breads that use the foaming method are fantastic and fluffy, and the use of chemical leavening in addition to the aerated eggs can stabilize the structure of your baked good. This method produces fluffy batters most of the time. Try these out to see exactly what I mean.

cake slices next to the whole cake
Rosemary Olive Oil Cake
  • Rosemary Olive Oil Cake – A light, just sweet enough cake with rich flavor from good olive oil and subtle rosemary that’s easy to enjoy with coffee for breakfast, or for a light dessert.
  • Apple Walnut Cake with Honey – This fluffy and moist cake is loaded with apples, nuts, and cinnamon and sweetened with honey and brown sugar for a quick and simple cake you’ll love. From Aleksandra over at Everyday Delicious
  • Easy Chiffon Cake Recipe – This classic fluffy cake uses cream of tartar to stabilize the incredible air created from a lot of eggs for an amazingly airy cake with the delicious flavor of buttery sponge. From Lily at Little Sweet Baker
a slice of classic chiffon cake on a metal round platterwhite plate with strawberries in front of the rest of the cake on
Easy Chiffon Cake from Little Sweet Baker

4. The Shortening Method (Cutting Fat Into Flour)

This final method is a well known one, and used frequently all year. It’s the process of cutting cold fat, like butter or shortening, into the dry ingredients. Biscuits and scones are two of the most common quick breads that use this method as they often utilize a chemical leavening agent as well. Some pie dough recipes also fall into this category, but less often.

This process for making quick breads is often done with a food processor or pastry cutter, or if you’re like me and despise dishes, simply your fingers. Then liquid is added to bind the fat and flour, and the resulting dough can be shaped, rolled, or cut.

flour and butter combined into crumbs
When fat and flour are combined in the shortening method, they create a coarse crumb like mixture that leads to flaky, tender final bakes.

This mixing method creates flaky, tender, and fluffy quick breads that are common and well loved by all of us. Here are a few delicious recipes that use the shortening method perfectly.

A homemade vegan shortcake with coconut whipped cream and strawberries on a white and blue plate on grey tiled surface
Gluten Free Strawberry Shortcake from Crowded Kitchen (Vegan!)
  • Pecan Blackberry Coffee Cake – A fruit studded fluffy cake topped with a delicious pecan sugar crumb topping that makes a delicious brunch cake, or a satisfying dessert.
  • White Chocolate Cranberry SconesLane and Holly over at With Two Spoons are responsible for this delicious scone studded with white chocolate, cranberries and pearl sugar.
  • Jalapeno Cheddar Irish Soda Bread – A savory quick bread perfect to serve with dinner and loaded with flavor of spicy jalapeno and gooey cheddar from Carleen at Snack Rules.
  • Gluten Free Strawberry Shortcakes (Vegan) – This is a lovely gluten free quick bread, that’s also vegan! The fluffy shortcakes are topped with fresh strawberries and a light coconut whipped cream. Coming from the mom/daughter team Lexi and Beth at Crowded Kitchen.
  • Garlic Cheddar Drop Biscuits – Lisa from the Snappy Gourmet has this amazing red lobster copycat biscuit, you know those irresistible garlicky cheddar cheese ones? Make them at home whenever you want!
  • Cherry Pumpkin Scones – As if the combo of dried cherries and pumpkin wasn’t tempting enough, add the blood orange maple syrup glaze in this recipe from Geoffrey and Carlos at Spoonabilities and you have a scone to enjoy anytime of day.
a wooden platter with white doily with six cherry pumpkin scones on top.
Cherry Pumpkin Scones from Spoonabilities

Why We Love All Types of Quick Bread

If it isn’t apparent yet, the sheer endless possibilities of flavor, texture, and shape of quick breads make them an easy favorite among home bakers. Quick breads are a great way to get homemade baked goods on the table in a lot less time that traditional yeast baking.

No matter which type of quick bread you choose, sweet or savory, quick straight mixed or lovingly foamed for maximum aeration, you can be sure that any potluck, party, holiday, or simple family meal will be made all the better for it. Have fun exploring your options and until next time, Happy Eating!

P.S. I’d love to hear about your favorite quick bread flavors, or if you try any of these out!

Don’t forget to PIN for later!

 Other Food Guides You May Enjoy

Originally published 10/30/2017, Updated 10/11/2019

The post What Are Quick Breads {Types of Quick Breads}: A complete Guide appeared first on The Flour Handprint.

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Gingerbread Loaf Recipe with Chocolate Tue, 08 Oct 2019 14:14:23 +0000 This page contains affiliate links. For more information please read my Disclosure Policy. A gingerbread loaf recipe blended with the richness of a classic chocolate quick bread. Glazed with a simple icing, and dusted with warm spices, this chocolate gingerbread cake is a fun way to get the flavor of classic gingerbread and rich cocoa […]

The post Gingerbread Loaf Recipe with Chocolate appeared first on The Flour Handprint.


This page contains affiliate links. For more information please read my Disclosure Policy.

A gingerbread loaf recipe blended with the richness of a classic chocolate quick bread. Glazed with a simple icing, and dusted with warm spices, this chocolate gingerbread cake is a fun way to get the flavor of classic gingerbread and rich cocoa all in a tender, sweet and spiced quick bread.

a green platter on a wood table with an iced gingerbread loaf on top

It’s that time of year again, when warm decadent smells begin to waft from your kitchen, and delicious baked goods fill your counters. Let me tell you, the spiced, chocolate aroma of this chocolate gingerbread loaf coming out of the oven is enough to make anyone call ‘cheat day!’. We certainly did!

The goal was to capture the intensity of gingerbread, but to enhance them with a rich cocoa flavor for a soft, spiced loaf of quick bread perfect for sharing this time of year. Top that with a simple icing, a dusting of more warm spices, and I swear you have the ideal gingerbread loaf to serve up to guests (or keep for yourself) all season long. Fair warning, my husband and I polished this off in two days. (Cheat days, it can be plural…right?)

What gives Gingerbread its flavor?

Maybe it’s common knowledge to everyone else, but most of my life I thought gingerbread referred specifically to the cookies. Turns out, gingerbread can refer to a whole variety of quick breads: cookies, cakes, muffins and more! What makes gingerbread, well gingerbread, is the specific combination of spices and molasses.

Gingerbread Loaf Ingredients

Though the recipe is very simple to get together, it does require a specific set of ingredients to make that delicious chocolate gingerbread cake flavor we’re going for.

a bowl of flour on a wooden table surrounded by bowls of ingredients like sugars, spices, eggs, oil, milk, and molasses
  • All Purpose Flour – The base for all the delicious gingerbread cocoa flavor, is plain old useful flour.
  • Cocoa Powder – Blending cocoa in with the flour gives the cake just enough chocolate flavor.
  • Granulated Sugar – Enhances the sweetness without overpowering the other spices and flavors.
  • Dark Brown Sugar – Dark brown sugar contains more molasses than regular or light brown sugar, which enhances the gingerbread flavor in this quick bread.
  • Molasses – An intense syrup that’s created during the sugar refining process (making granulated sugar), it’s a natural byproduct, and very powerful!
  • Heavy Cream – The fat and liquid that adds necessary moisture.
  • Oil – Fat that helps moisture and texture.
  • Eggs – Binding and moisture, room temperature eggs are essential!
  • Ginger, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Cloves, Salt – The combo of spices that makes the gingerbread flavor happen!
  • Baking Powder – What makes this chocolate gingerbread a quick bread is the use of a chemical leavening agent. Gives it rise and structure.

How to Make Chocolate Gingerbread

Quick breads like this one are popular in so many of our kitchens for good reason. This one uses the straight mixing method, meaning you just dump dry ingredients into the wet ones and mix. At the end of things you’ll have a delicious moist loaf of chocolate gingerbread to snack on.

4 images of making a gingerbread loaf, a bowl of dry ingredients, a bowl of wet ingredients, the dry being added to the wet, then it all mixed.
  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F and prep a loaf pan with a cooking spray or a thin coat of butter and flour.
  2. Combine all the dry ingredients (NOT THE SUGAR) into a bowl. That includes the flour, cocoa, spices, and leavening agent, whisk to combine.
  3. Add all the sugars, eggs, oil, and heavy cream to another, larger bowl and whisk until smooth.
  4. Gently add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and using a spatula or wooden spoon fold and stir gently until the flour is just blended.
  5. Pour into prepared loaf pan and bake for 30 minutes.
  6. Cover the pan with foil and continue baking for 25 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven, let cool a few minutes, then carefully remove from pan onto cooling rack.

Cooking Tips

  • To avoid high edges on your loaf (like the edges bake higher than the middle), coat the loaf pan only one third of the way up the sides.
  • If your cocoa powder is lumpy, sift it into the flour to avoid dry spots of cocoa powder in the final bake.
  • Don’t dump the dry into the wet, the cocoa powder will cloud up and make a mess, just gently spoon in.
  • The easiest way to make this is by measuring the ingredients via a kitchen scale, less dishes, more accurate, and fast.

The Glaze – Ingredients + Process

It’s my opinion – and I’m POSITIVE you’ll agree – that there’s nothing better than a sweet sugary icing on a gingerbread cake. In the interest of simplicity, this glaze is just a few ingredients, then you dust the top with some simple spices and boom, good to go!

A bowl of powdered sugar, a small bowl of spices, and a small bowl of heavy cream with a tablespoon in it.
  1. When your gingerbread cake has cooled for 30 minutes or so prepare your icing.
  2. Combine a cup of powdered sugar with a tablespoon of cornstarch in a sifter, and sift into a bowl. Add in 5 tablespoons of heavy cream and stir until smooth and glossy.
  3. Drizzle over cake.
  4. Combine cinnamon, sugar, nutmeg, and ginger in a small bowl and sprinkle generously over the top.
  5. Wait for the icing to set, then slice and enjoy!

Icing Tips

  • The icing sets quickly due to the cornstarch, so don’t make this too far ahead or it won’t be as easy to spread.
  • If your icing is too thin, simply add a little more powdered sugar. If too thick, add more cream, a tablespoon at a time, until a thick glue like consistency.
  • Ice the cake while it’s still slightly warm (but not hot), and the icing will seep into the cracks at the top and create this delicious gooey layer under the crust.
  • Place a few paper towels under the cake and cooling rack when icing for easiest clean up.
A gingerbread loaf on a green rectangle plate next to a beige towel with two slices cut off and laid in front of it.


What makes this gingerbread loaf moist?

The heavy cream is the key to the moist, tender texture of the cake, combined with the sugars, it makes all the difference in final texture. I have however baked this with milk and it will work, but be a little less moist.

Can I leave out the cocoa powder?

Yes, you can simply replace the cocoa with equal parts flour for a simple gingerbread loaf.

Can I freeze this?

Cake freezes really well. Skip the icing step, wait until completely cool, and wrap in plastic or freezer paper. Then place in the freezer up to 3 months. If desired you can add the icing once your cake is out of the freezer and completely cool .

How long can I store this?

I usually recommend 3 to 4 days for cakes, stored at room temperature in an airtight container. Any more and you’re looking at a dry, likely crumbly texture.

Why do I need to add foil to the top of the pan halfway through the baking?

This quickbread, due to the sugars, especially the molasses, develops a crisp crust very similar to a gingerbread cookie. It’s actually my husbands favorite part! But left uncovered that crust burns before the middle can bake properly. Covering with foil lets the cake continue to bake without the risk of burning edges.

My gingerbread loaf has cracks on top, is that okay?

It’s actually extremely normal for quick breads. Don’t worry about it!

What size pan should I use?

I use a 9×5 loaf pan for this, you can use a smaller pan, but will have excess batter and it will require less bake time.

Other REcipes you may enjoy

For other delicious quick bread recipes….

For more Gingerbread inspired deliciousness, check out these recipes from my favorite blogger friends:

I hope you and your family enjoy this chocolate gingerbread loaf recipe, it truly is a treat that we enjoy all throughout the holiday season. It’s a nice break from pumpkin spice, and a quick and easy quick bread that comes together simply.

Is gingerbread one of your favorite holiday flavors? I’d love to hear! Until next time, Happy Eating!

A loaf of ginger and chocolate quick bread with icing, on a green platter with two slices cut from the front and laying on the platter

Chocolate Gingerbread Loaf

Chocolate Gingerbread Loaf – a warm, spiced cocoa treat for the holidays.
Course bread, Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword baked goods, chocolate, dessert, gingerbread, holidays, quick bread, winter
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 8 -10
Calories 571kcal


For the Chocolate Gingerbread Loaf

  • 9 oz AP flour 2 cups
  • 1 oz cocoa powder heaping 1/4 cup
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp ginger
  • 3/4 tsp nutmeg
  • heaping 1/4 tsp cloves
  • Full pinch of salt
  • 3 oz dark brown sugar 1/2 cup, firmly packed
  • 4 oz granulated sugar 1/2 cup
  • 2 large eggs
  • 6 oz vegetable oil 2/3 cup
  • 2.5 oz molasses 1/4 cup
  • 4 oz heavy cream 1/2 cup

For the Glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbs cornstarch
  • 5 Tbs heavy cream
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ginger


For the Bread:

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F and lightly grease a 9×5 loaf pan*
  • In one bowl measure your flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, spices, and salt. Whisk to combine.
  • In a second, larger, bowl combine both sugars, eggs, oil, molasses, and milk. Beat with whisk or sturdy spoon until eggs are fully incorporated and the mixture is smooth and glossy.
  • Carefully add the dry ingredients into the wet bowl. (Just dumping it in will create a mess, so gently add it!). Using a sturdy spoon or rubber spatula, fold the dry ingredients in. When the flour is mostly incorporated, leaving only small lumps in the batter, it’s finished.
  • Pour into your loaf pan. Place in oven and bake for 50-55 minutes. Cover after 30 minutes with foil for the remaining bake time.
  • When the toothpick comes out of the center clean or the cake has a springy top, remove from oven.
  • Allow to cool in the pan for 2 to 3 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack.

For the Glaze:

  • When the bread has cooled for at least 30 minutes, sift powdered sugar and cornstarch together in a bowl. Stir as you add in the heavy cream and continue to add until the consistency is that of light glue.
  • Place a plate or paper towel under the loaf, then pour the icing over the top, allowing it to drip over the edges.
  • Mix together the cinnamon, sugar, nutmeg, and ginger in a separate, small bowl. Using your fingers or a spoon, sprinkle the mixture over the top of the wet icing.
  • Allow to cool and slice when ready to serve.
  • Store in an airtight container until ready to eat!


*If your loaf pan is smaller be sure to only fill it 3/4 of the way. This can also be baked in a cupcake pan or a mini loaf pan with a reduced baking time.


Serving: 1slice | Calories: 571kcal | Carbohydrates: 67g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 34g | Saturated Fat: 24g | Cholesterol: 73mg | Sodium: 252mg | Potassium: 406mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 47g | Vitamin A: 406IU | Calcium: 143mg | Iron: 2mg

Original Post 11/7/2017, Updated 10/8/2019

The post Gingerbread Loaf Recipe with Chocolate appeared first on The Flour Handprint.

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