Tag: chocolate lover

Splenda Raspberry Chocolate Cheesecake Pie

This Splenda Raspberry Chocolate Cheesecake Pie won first place in the Splenda Magic Baker “Low-To-No Sugar Showdown” at the 2023 Minnesota State Fair. The recipe comes from Barb Lutz.
To get started, decide if you’ll make your own crust or buy a premade one. You’ll want a 9-inch round pie plate or slightly larger. You do two bakes. The first one is the raspberry/crust layer. The second layer – for which you lower the heat – is the chocolate cheesecake layer made with cream cheese, eggs, Splenda Magic Baker, dark chocolate baking bar, and sour cream. Once that’s baked, while the Splenda Raspberry Chocolate Cheesecake Pie is still hot, you spread a sour cream layer/sweetener layer that soaks into the chocolate layer. After it’s chilled, you finish it with fresh raspberries and a chocolate drizzle.
2023 Splenda MN 1st Pl from above EM
You are going to delight in making and eating this award-winning chocolate dessert. Enjoy!

Raspberry Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Put these Raspberry Chocolate Chunk Cookies on your must-make baking list. Their flavor shines bright with Chambord black raspberry liqueur, along with orange zest, chocolate chunks, and fresh red raspberries.

Raspberry Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Minnesotan Rachael Hood created the cookie for the Blue Ribbon Drop-Style Cookie Contest at the 2021 Minnesota State Fair (a Blue Ribbon Group sponsored contest). She won 1st place and $100 in King Arthur Baking Company gift cards.

I also arranged for Rachael to showcase her cookies on a TV spot with me on KARE 11 Saturday, the NBC affiliate in Minneapolis. Yay for hometown PR! We had an absolute blast.

Blue Ribbon Baking 2021

Let’s get back to the cookie itself. If you are intrigued by this cookie, read on for some insights about it and how you can recreate the recipe.

Key Ingredients

With these Raspberry Chocolate Chunk Cookies, the Chambord liqueur is key. It plays off the other ingredients so well, making for a terrific flavor combination that subtle, but not too subtle, and so well balanced with citrus and chocolate elements.

Display of Key Ingredients - Raspberry Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I especially love the cookie’s scent you take in with each bite and the delicious lingering aftertaste.

Chambord – if you aren’t familiar with it – is a liqueur that combines XO Cognac and French spirits with Madagascan vanilla, honey and Moroccan citrus peel, making it an ideal flavor enhancer for these cookies. It originated in France, the Loire Valley specifically, in the 1600’s. Back then, with the many King Louis of the time, it was popular to sip cognac or liqueurs at fancy French meals.

Raspberry Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Fast forward to today, the Chambord brand is owned by the same folks who own Jack Daniels. I was surprised to learn that in addition to black raspberries, they infuse blackberries and blackcurrants into it. You can find it in a variety of sizes. Since I had to go to a couple of stores to find it,I recommend calling ahead, especially if you want a specific size.

Bake Like a Blue Ribbon Winner

As always, before I add a recipe to this Blue Ribbon Foodies blog, there’s a baking test run. Walk through the recipe with us here and then give it a go yourself. The cookies are delicious and highly recommended.

Here’s everything that goes into the cookies (minus the food color), including the liqueur, fresh Driscoll raspberries, orange zest, and all-purpose flour from King Arthur Baking Company.

Raspberry Chocolate Chunk Cookies

You first sift together the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.


Next you cream the butter and sugars before adding in the remaining wet ingredients and mixing until smooth. Sorry, no pic. I was too excited to get these into the oven! Finally, add the pre-mixed dry ingredients, and stir just until combined.

Then all that remains prep-wise is to chop the raspberries and gently mix everything together.

Raspberry Chocolate Chunk Cookies Dough

Put both the fruit and juice in the dough. Raspberry Chocolate Chunk Cookies Ingredients

Your dough should come out a bit like this.

Raspberry Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Scoop the dough by heaping tablespoons onto a parchment lined baking sheet. You’ll bake these 12-14 minutes at 350 degrees F.Dough on baking sheet

To experiment and to use ingredients already on hand, I varied from Rachael’s recipe just a bit. I used all semi-sweet chocolate chunks instead a combo of dark and milk chocolate and did not chop them fine, opting for larger chocolate pieces. I also used a different red food coloring. Here’s how mine came out!

Raspberry Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Rachael chopped her chocolate by hand and smaller. She also used McCormick’s red food coloring.  Do both those things and you’ll match the color of Rachael’s cookie dough and end product.

Blue Ribbon Raspberry Chocolate Chunk Cookies

What a delight these were to bake and eat. We invite you to bake and share these cookies, or anything from our recipe collection. If you do, be sure to post a pic on Instagram or Facebook. Be sure we can follow along, by tagging:

  1. @blueribbonfoodies
  2. @mnstatefair
  3. #blueribbonbaking2021
  4. #kingarthurbaking

Hey Hey! You never know when we might do a giveaway!




Almond Joy Cookie Bars

These Almond Joy Cookie Bars will bring utter joy to any almond, chocolate, or coconut lover. With three decadent layers, these bars are thick, dense and delicious!

Top of Almond Joy Cookie Bars

Thanks to almond extract, whole toasted almonds, and sliced toasted almonds, these sensational sweet treats burst with almond flavor.  The shredded coconut filling, chocolate, and almonds altogether give them an addictive texture that’s crunchy, chewy, and rich, all at the same time. AND…they are super easy to make.

3 Easy Pieces

  1. Making these Almond Joy Cookie Bars, only takes three main stages. You par-bake a lush cookie crust made simply with butter, corn syrup, egg yolk, flour, baking powder, and salt.
  2. Next you mix shredded coconut and sweetened condensed milk with almond extract, then bake that mixture on top of the cookie crust as the filling. Check out the  gooey good look of the filling (image below).
  3. You finish these fabulous treats with whole almonds, melted semi-sweet chocolate chips, and sliced almonds.

Wilton Pan Coconut Filling Layer

Top Preparation Tip

Using parchment to line your pan will make removing the bars from the pan and cutting them easy peasy. Once they’re chilled, all you need to do is lift them out by the parchment edges. Here’s a shot of the bars once they’ve chilled. This time I made them, I didn’t add the almond slices until just before serving. Just look at how is golden brown the crust is and how jammed the bars are with almonds.

Chocolate layer Almond Joy Cookie Bars

Blue Ribbon Winning Sweet Treat

Recipe credit goes to Tammy Michalec of Leesville who won a KARO best recipe contest at her local fair, the South Carolina State Fair with this recipe.

Want More Almond Joyfulness?

Hey all you almond, coconut and chocolate lovers! If you love this recipe, be sure not to miss our Mounds of Joy Cake also. In January 2021, it was one of our #1 most popular recipe on the site.




Guinness Chocolate Cookies

These Guinness Chocolate Cookies feature the notorious dark beer from Ireland and four different types of chocolate: cocoa powder, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and semi-sweet chocolate chips.

They are super easy to make, a bit like our spicy snickerdoodles, which I  also love. The hardest part about making these Guinness Chocolate Cookies is waiting for the dough to chill two hours. The chocolate intensity of these cookies make them a treat to eat. Every time I make these I think, why don’t I make these more often!

Plated Guinness Chocolate Cookies

Recipe credit goes to Lora Pelzek who won at the Wisconsin State Fair, in a Gold Medal Flour cookie contest (2016).

Bake these for any chocolate lovers in your life, or for yourself.



Double Chocolate S’more Sandwich Cookies

Double Chocolate S’more Sandwich Cookies: S’more inspired treats are so much fun. So decadent. So delicious.

Sheet pan full of cookies

Barrie Linberg at the 2013 L.A. County Fair won a blue ribbon for these sandwich cookies; 1st place, Gold Medal Flour best cookie contest. The young baker grew up baking with her mother, who is also a blue ribbon baker.

Barrie Linberg Blue Ribbon Cookie Home Baker

Barrie named her creation “S’Mookies” for S’more cookies. She said they were inspired by cupcakes she saw on TV. She took the concept and morphed it into an entirely new recipe. Barrie’s Double Chocolate S’more Sandwich Cookies are a delight to bake and taste.

Double Chocolate S'more Sandwich Cookies closeup

There is both cocoa and chocolate chips in the cookie dough. They end up soft and almost cake-like in texture, but also chewy. So delightful. Inside you have a rich marshmallow/vanilla cream and graham cracker crumb filling.

Double Chocolate S'more Sandwich Cookies in pan

Wow. Don’t miss out on making these tantalizing treats.


Chocoholic Chocolate Dessert Custard

For the best tasting, thickest chocolate pudding you’ll ever experience, make this Chocoholic Chocolate Dessert Custard. This simple yet luscious recipe is sure to satisfy any chocolate lover’s craving. You can make it with five basic ingredients: bittersweet chocolate chips, cream, sugar, vanilla, and egg yolks.

Chocoholic Chocolate Dessert Custard

Chocolate Takes Center Stage

Since chocolate is the superstar of this creation, using Ghirardelli 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate chips is key for the intense chocolate taste you want in a dessert like this.

The richness of the chocolate custard pairs perfectly with the homemade raspberry whipped cream. A perfect bite of this dessert has a bit of each.  The hint of raspberry, thanks to the extract, gives a delicateness you’re going to love. The plush whipped cream is not overtly sweet, which is also why it works so well as the topping. For a splash of color, top it with a fresh raspberry.

Recipe Obsessed

For almost 10 years I managed a national dessert contest Ghirardelli supported. When this winning recipe came in, Crystal and I became recipe obsessed with it. Between the two of us, we made it nearly a dozen times and ways. A favorite form is this miniature cup size, ideal for dinner parties when you’re feeling full but want a sweet finish to your meal.

Chocoholic Chocolate Dessert Custard - Mini Size

I also tried this recipe with full eggs versus just yolks and it tasted like the unforgettable “pots de creme” the Minneapolis restaurant 112 Eatery once had on their menu.

Pudding? Custard? Pots de creme? No matter how you categorize this dessert, it is downright dreamy.

Chocoholic Chocolate Dessert Custard – Step By Step Tips

Crystal did a step by step tutorial of sorts so you can remake this dessert at home. Her “how to” highlights will walk you through everything you need to do. Soon you’ll be delighting in this creamy, yummy goodness yourself. It is highly recommended! And hat’s off to the winner Sherri Jones for sharing her award-worthy creation with us (which she originally titled, “Simply Chocolate.” Sherri placed second back in 2013 with it at Illinois’ Du Page County Fair, just outside of Chicago.


From Crystal:

Chocoholic Chocolate Dessert Custard…The name for this simple recipe says it all. The only ingredients are chocolate, cream, sugar, vanilla, and egg yolks. The simplicity of the dark chocolate paired with the raspberry whipped cream left me unable to stop taking the dessert out of the fridge and nibbling on it throughout the day.

In making this pudding, prep the egg yolks first and choose your serving dishes. This way you can keep a good eye on melting and whisking your chocolate. Beat the eggs in a medium or large sized bowl. You’ll be adding and whisking in part of the chocolate mixture later.

Whisking eggs

To make the chocolate mixture, put your Ghirardelli 60% cacao chips into a 2 quart saucepan and add the vanilla extract. (I doubled the recipe this time through, so my portions look bigger.)

mixing melting chocolate

Next, add your heavy cream and sugar.

milk chocolate

Stirring continually, heat the mixture on medium until the chocolate comes to a boil.

Chocoholic Chocolate Dessert Custard-Melted

This will take about 10 minutes. Use a wire whisk until the crème is smooth.  Then drop the heat source level to low.

This next step is important. Temper the eggs by adding a 1/2 cup of the hot crème, otherwise your eggs will “cook” and ruin your texture. Whisk this mixture to fully combine it before — slowly — adding it back to the saucepan of hot crème. Be sure to do this slowly and while continually whisking.

tempering eggs

Cook another 2 minutes – while whisking – just until it starts to thicken and stirs smooth. Then quickly pour it into your cups.

Pouring Simply Chocolate Dessert Recipe

Cover and chill at least 30 minutes, or overnight…if you can wait that long. I couldn’t wait to bust into one.

The sweetened raspberry whipped cream is a delightful finishing touch. I could eat a bowl of that alone. And nothing is better than homemade whipped topping. If you’ve never made some, just go for it and taste the difference.

My last tip is to chill both your bowl and beaters before whipping up your whipped cream. Whip until you get the texture you want. For me, that’s soft, medium stiff peaks.

Whipped Cream Texture

I like when it will stick to the spoon for dropping dollops.


This post was updated 1/7/2021 for new photos and context.