chocolate chip

Hazelnut Chocolate Chip Cake

Hazelnut Chocolate Chip Cake

I intended to make a Hazelnut Chocolate Chip cake as my entry for the McCormick Pin-spiration contest, but as is typical, the world had other plans. I woke up early last Saturday morning and made a trip to the grocery store to buy the ingredients I needed. I then left the store with everything except the one ingredient I needed to officially enter the contest – the McCormick Imitation Hazelnut Flavor. It turned out the bright yellow “New Item!” sticker I remembered seeing under the McCormick flavor extracts over the past few weeks was for coffee extract, not hazelnut flavor.

Since I had gone to the trouble to purchase most of the ingredients, and I really wanted to use the Bundt pan I recently purchased at Goodwill for a low $1.99, I decided to scour a few other stores for Hazelnut. Four stores later, I found a bottle of Hazelnut extract at a price that negated any saving I had done by buying a second-hand Bundt pan.


All those McCormick flavor extracts, and not a one is hazelnut!

I am pleased to report the finished product was quite worth the slight inconvenience of shopping multiple stores. The Hazelnut Chocolate Chip Cake was flavorful, moist, and overall delicious. I  also enjoyed a slice drizzled in a simple chocolate ganache made from equal parts chocolate and cream.

Strangely, I forgot all about the hazelnut flavor until I was mid-way through my second slice. I could taste the vanilla and the chocolate of course, but not the hazelnut. Could it be the hazelnut extract I purchased is simply not as strong as the hazelnut flavor McCormick markets? Or is the hazelnut intended to behave in much the same way as a good application of makeup? (I’ve been told the secret to good makeup is to look like you are not wearing makeup at all.) Did the hazelnut extract add a depth to the cake I would not have known existed if I had not added the flavor?

I suppose the answer to those questions will remain a mystery until I bake this cake again. With the main ingredients items likely found in the pantry – yellow cake mix, pudding mix, and chocolate chips – you can likely bake your own hazelnut chocolate chip cake this afternoon. Enjoy!

Hazelnut Chocolate Chip Cake


Hazelnut Chocolate Chip Cake
Recipe type: Dessert
  • 1 package yellow cake mix
  • 1 package (4-serving size) vanilla instant pudding mix
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup water
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon McCormick Imitation Hazelnut Flavor
  • 1 cup miniature chocolate chips
  1. Beat all ingredients, except chocolate chips, in large bowl with electric mixer on low speed just to moisten.
  2. Increase speed to medium and beat for two minutes.
  3. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  4. Pour the cake batter into a greased and floured 12-cup Bundt pan.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees F for 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  6. Allow to cake to cool in its pan for 10 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. When cool, sprinkle with confectioners' sugar or cocoa powder or serve with chocolate sauce, if desired.
If using yellow cake mix with pudding already in the mix, omit the vanilla instant pudding mix from the list of ingredients.

Marchocolate – Mint Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

Mint Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

If someone asked my 8-year-old self to name my favorite ice cream flavor, I would have immediately shouted, “mint chocolate chip!” My love of mint chocolate chip probably had a lot to do with the fact that my childhood friend Molly loved mint chocolate chip ice cream, and by default, I did too. (As an aside, the lunches Molly brought to school regularly contained a peanut butter and mint jelly sandwich, which I also coveted.)

Since the end of March typically signals the end of my month-long Thin Mint binge (thank you/darn you girl scouts), and it’s Marchocolate, I wanted to make a mint-chocolate dessert of some sort. In the past, I have experienced very little success baking with mint extract. The flavor always seems to come across too strong and too artificial for my tastes.

Fortunately, I finally found a recipe for mint chocolate chip cupcakes that did not disappoint. The mint flavor in both the mint chocolate chip cupcakes and the mint frosting was enough to taste yet light enough to work with the chocolate.

Mint Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

I halved the recipe and baked 11 cupcakes, though I’m confident the recipe would yield an even dozen if the cupcake papers were filled just under the brim (instead of to the brim), and the baker limited batter samples to no more than one spoonful (instead of two or three). I added only 1/4 cup of mini-chocolate chips, and in hindsight, I wish I would have added 1/3 cup or even 1/2 cup as I only got a chocolate chip about every two bites. I topped off the cupcakes with a garnish of mint leaves from the wild mint that grows in my neighbor’s back yard (it’s okay – she knows I use her mint).

Like baking with mint? In need of more minty recipes? Check out my Mint Condition board on Pinterest. Enjoy!

Mint Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

5.0 from 1 reviews
Mint Chocolate Chip Cupcakes
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 11-12
  • For the Cupcakes
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 3 ounces buttermilk
  • ¼-1/2 cup mini-chocolate chips
  • For the Frosting:
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • ¼-1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract, to taste
  • green food color, if desired
  • mint leaves and chocolate shavings, if desired, for garnish
  1. Whisk together the cocoa powder, flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes.
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla and peppermint extracts. Continue to mix until well incorporated.
  4. Add half of the dry cocoa powder mixture to the wet ingredients in the mixing bowl and beat until combined.
  5. Pour in the buttermilk, mix until combined, then add the remaining dry cocoa powder mixture.
  6. Mix until just combined, then fold in the mini-chocolate chips.
  7. Fill each well of a muffin pan lined with paper liners with the batter; fill to slightly under the rim of the well.
  8. Bake at 350F for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean or with just a crumb or two.
  9. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
  10. To make the frosting, cream the butter and confectioners' sugar together.
  11. Add the cream and peppermint extract and continue to mix at high speed until the frosting is light and fluffy.
  12. If desired, color the frosting with green food color and garnish the cupcakes with mint leaves and/or chocolate shavings.



Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

A three year, ten month old mind develops blurry memories.  My memories of 1982 BS are nothing by sunshine and rainbows. My memories of 1982 AS are a bit different.

On October 21, 1982, I listened to my mom tell me the plans we had to make cookies that afternoon were off.  The next thing I remember is going to the hospital to visit Mom and her new daughter my sister.

1982 Before Sister: sunshine and rainbows.  1982 After Sister: not so much. (Shame on all of you who thought BS stood for something naughty.  Let this be a lesson that I’m not above resorting to gimmicks to get you to read.)

The first time I met her, I brought my sister a stuffed frog that Mom helped me pick out.  It had a squeaker inside it, and I squeezed that frog with all my might, but it refused to squeak!  That mute frog frustrated me enough to create a memory I can still readily recall.

I think it’s safe to say not all days were sunshine and rainbows for my sister when I was around. As we grew, our parents bought us matching toy chests.  My sister and I would play store by placing the items we wanted to “sell” across the tops of our toy chests.  If she didn’t want to buy anything from my “store”, I would make her sit in a toy chest. With the lid closed. And then I would sit on the lid.

Poor Laura. It couldn’t have been easy being a younger sister with only a nut like me to play store with.

The summer she was 10 and I was 14, I had knee surgery.  We were both home from school, and she took care of me while Mom and Dad were at work.  Since I couldn’t move about all that well, she gave me a bell to ring in case I needed something. When she left the room, I would listen to her climb to the top of the stairs, and then I would ring the bell “to make sure it worked.”

It got to the point where our parents made me live above the garage to keep from picking on her.

I’m kidding.  My bedroom was located above the garage, but the garage was attached to the rest of the house, and the room finished like any other. The lack of a heated room below and the wind blowing from the west into the outer wall created a very cool room in the winter.  The temperature required I keep more blankets than average on my bed.

As I crawled into bed one night, my sister jumped out from within the pile of blankets. I don’t know that I ever fully recovered from the shock.

She paid me back in similar fashion, i.e.) scaring me half to death, many times. I startle easily, but she can surprise me to the point I scream. I’m not a dramatic person, but a scream comes out of me like a reflex when she startles me.

I had to be reminded of the specific type of cookie, pumpkin cut-outs, Mom and I were supposed to make on the day my sister joined us. Though I have a pumpkin cookie cutter, I opted to make the best pumpkin cookies in the world for a post in honor of the best sister in the world.  (If you like the pumpkin seen in the photos, my sister Laura sells them here.)

My sister gave me the recipe for these Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies a few years ago after her mother-in-law shared the recipe with her. They are incredibly easy to make and taste delicious with or without the frosting pictured here.  If you want to make a pumpkin cookie, please make these.  I make them a few times each fall, and I am always so pleased when I do.

Have a great weekend everyone, and Happy Birthday Laura!

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies
Recipe type: Dessert
  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup pumpkin
  • 1 egg
  • 1 - 12 ounce bag chocolate chips
  • Frosting
  • ¼ cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • 1½ cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon together in a medium bowl and set aside.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together on medium speed.
  3. Mix in the pumpkin and egg.
  4. Slowly add the flour mixture and continue to mix until well combined.
  5. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  6. Drop rounded tablespoons of dough onto greased cookie sheets.
  7. Bake at 375 degrees for 8-12 minutes.
  8. Frost when cool if desired. To make the frosting, cream the butter and slowly add the confectioners’ sugar. Add the milk and vanilla and beat at high speed two to three minutes until the frosting is light and smooth.
Optional spices to add to the batter include ½ teaspoon ginger or ¼ teaspoon clove and ¼ teaspoon nutmeg. I have also baked the cookies with 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice in place of the cinnamon and achieved equally delicious results.