5 minute Chocolate Lava Cakes

These chocolate lava cakes are a new and delicious discovery here at our little apartment in Japan. I looked up several recipes on Pinterest and tried one but it wasn’t quite right so after changing a few things I think I now have the perfect, super fast, delicious and great-to-make-in-a-tiny-apartment-when-you-don’t-have-an-oven recipe! I hope you enjoy these as much as we do. And let me know what delicious variations you come up with. Happy chocolating!


5 minute Chocolate Lava Cakes


  • ¼ cup all purpose flour (強力粉 in Japan works great)
  • 6 Tablespoons sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg – beaten
  • 3 Tablespoons milk
  • 1 Tablespoon melted butter (or vegetable oil)
  • 10 chocolate chips or 2 truffles*


In a small bowl mix together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, salt, egg, milk, and melted butter. Divide between 2 mugs, ramekins or small ceramic bowls. Push 5 chocolate chips or  1 truffle into each mug*.

Microwave on high for 1  minute 30 seconds. It will still look a little gooey but don’t over bake it!  Serve immediately. Makes 2 servings.

It’s quite fabulous with a little scoop of vanilla ice cream on top or a little sprinkled powdered sugar.

*You can also use caramels, Andes mints or peanut butter in place of the chocolate chips in the middle.


Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies (all from scratch!)

Yes, you read that right, Pumpkin Cheesecake and brownie all together in one fabulous fall dessert. Easy, all from scratch and absolutely decedent. Make, eat, share and be happy.


Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies
-1 cup (2 cubes) of  Butter (Olive Oil & Coconut Oil both work too to make these dairy free!)
-2 cups of Sugar
-2 tsp Vanilla
-4 Eggs
-3/4 cup Cocoa
-1 cup Flour *If making these Gluten Free, replace with any GF flour of your choice)
-1/2 tsp Baking Powder
-1/4 tsp Salt
-4 oz cream cheese, softened
-1/2 cup pumpkin puree, canned is great
-1/4 cup of Sugar
-1 egg
-1 tsp cinnamon
-1/4 tsp ground ginger
-1/4 tsp nutmeg
-1/4 tsp cloves (optional)

1-Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2- Grease a 9×13″ pan and set aside.
3-Melt the butter in a large microwave safe bowl.
4- Stir in each of the rest of the ingredients by hand until everything is well mixed.
5-Pour 3/4 of the brownie batter into the greased pan, spread it out evenly and set the rest aside.  The batter will be thick.
6-In a separate bowl mix the cream cheese, pumpkin, spices and egg on medium high for 1 minute or so until everything is well combined.
7-Pour the pumpkin mixture over the brownie batter and spread evenly.
8-Put the rest of the brownie batter over the pumpkin mixture and swirl them together slightly.
9-Bake for 30 to 40 minutes in the oven, until a toothpick stuck in the middle comes out clean.

*You can eat them warm but they are also amazing after the have cooled and been refrigerated for a few hours. Think warm pumpkin pie versus set up, cooled pumpkin pie.



Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies (also has alternate real food option with honey & whole wheat)


It’s the pumpkin time of year and I love it!  We are all big pumpkin fans at our house and pumpkin pie gets made several times through out the year for birthdays and special occasions but this time of year just begs to have pumpkin goodness as often as possible!  I’ve been on the hunt for a great pumpkin chocolate chip cookie recipe that isn’t too moist but not too try, doesn’t use shortening and is of course, simple.  I found this great one at where she has gone to great lengths to avoid the typical cakey pumpkin cookie and make a delightful chewy version I can really appreciate that!  I made it as written first (with just a few tweaks) and then also made a real food version batch that replaced the sugars with honey and the white flour for whole wheat flour.  Both versions were amazing and actually turned out quite similar.  My official taste testers (my girls and their friends) all liked both kinds equally well and couldn’t really tell the difference, which is kind of fabulous.  Now, I don’t think ALL dessert recipes have to avoid white sugar and white flour but it’s good to have a few that are a little more nutritious and filling, such as my Chocolate No Bake Cookies in your arsenal.  My kids (and my husband) think it’s so great when I let them eat this healthier cookies for breakfast.

Makes about 18 cookies

-1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
-1/4 cup brown sugar (or substitute 3/4 cups honey for the 2 sugars)
-1/2 white sugar
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-6 Tablespoons canned pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
-1/4 tsp salt
-1/4 tsp baking powder
-1/4 tsp baking soda
-1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
-1/4 tsp ground cloves
-1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
-1 1/2 cups white flour (or substitute 2 cups whole wheat flour-more because the honey adds extra moisture)
-1 cup chocolate chips

1-Melt the butter in the microwave and pour into your mixing bowl. (I use my Kitchen Aid for this but you can do it by hand too.)

2-Mix the melted butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together until no brown sugar lumps remain on medium speed and then mix in the vanilla and pumpkin until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

3-Add the salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves and mix on medium until combined.  Then add the flour and mix lightly until it is all combined.  Fold in the chocolate chips.

4-Cover the dough and chill for 30 minutes or up to 2 days. The regular dough will be softer than regular chocolate chip cookie dough and the honey/whole wheat dough will be even softer.

Regular dough on the left, honey, whole wheat dough on the right

5-Take the dough out of the fridge.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

6-Scoop the dough into balls, about 1 to 1.5 Tablespoons of each. Slightly flatten the dough balls because these cookies won’t spread much in the oven.



7-Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes. The cookies will look very soft and underbaked. Keeping them in the oven for longer may dry them out.  Remove from the oven and press a few more chocolate chips onto the tops, if you like and  flatten out a little bit too, if you like.

*Sally says “Allow the cookies to cool for at least 10 minutes on the cookie sheets before transferring to a wire rack.  The longer the cookies cool, the chewier they will be. I let them sit out for at least 1 hour before enjoying.  I find that their chewiness and pumpkin flavor is more prominent on day 2. Cookies stay soft, moist, and chewy stored at room temperature for up to 1 week.”  My children had to try the cookies right away so we know they are delicious with out the wait too 😉

The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

The Perfect (yet, simple!) Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe
The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

This recipe comes to you after many years of chocolate chip cookie research.  (You know this is coming: It’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it.) Like most American women, I adore chocolate chip cookies and have made and sampled many, many, many of them and although there is room for different kinds of chocolate chip cookies to reign supreme in your own cravings kingdom, I like the kind that are chewy yet puffy and soft, a little tiny bit gooey on the inside and crisp on the edges.  NOT          flat and greasy.   Unfortunately, making a flat and greasy chocolate chips cookie seems to be the default outcome for many if not most recipes.  (I know, I know #firstworldprobs for sure!)  I spent a ridiculous amount of time researching why this is and how to avoid it (As anyone who has attended my meal planning class can attest, I’m a little obsessive about these things!) and will spare you all the scientific explanations, but finally came up with what I dare to deem as the Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe!  Chewy, puffy, gooey, crisp bites of heaven that are laced with plenty of semi sweet chocolate and NOT flat AND are easy to prepare in one bowl in a dangerously short amount of time.  You can thank me later for now, go and get started on these!

The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

-1/2 c (1 cube) butter, slightly softened
-3/4 c white sugar
-3/4 c brown sugar
-2 eggs
-2 tsp vanilla
-1 tsp soda
-1/2 tsp salt
-2 1/4 to 2 1/2 c flour (see instructions)
-1 c (1/2 bag) chocolate chips,

1- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2- Soften the butter, but only a tiny bit!  (Either leave it on the counter for an hour or so or if it’s straight out of the fridge microwave it for 5-10 seconds, but no more.)
3- In a large bowl (I use my Kitchen Aid mixer so I put it in the bowl that goes with that) cream the butter and sugars really well (cream means to beat together on a high speed until they are nice and fluffy and all combined.)

The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe
Creamed butter and white and brown sugars

4- Beat in the 2 eggs on medium speed or a minute or so until combined and scrape the edges of the bowl.

5- Then beat in the vanilla, soda & salt just until combined and scrape the edges of the bowl again.

6- Gradually beat in the 2 1/4 cups of flour on medium to low speed (I do a little with the mixer and then gently finish mixing in the flour by hand with a spoon-these keeps your cookies from being tough but you can do it all in the mixer too, just don’t over do it.) and if it doesn’t seem thick enough (see the following picture), add a little more flour, up to the extra 1/4 for a total of 2 1/2 cups.  I’ve found from living in Hawaii, Japan and dry Utah that the flour amount can make a big difference depending on a lot of variables.

The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe
Your dough should be very thick like this, getting difficult to stir

7- Then gently mix in the chocolate chips.  Feel free to add in extra chips if you want (and who doesn’t want more chocolate?!)

8- Drop by spoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet.  I tend to do mine on the small side, maybe a tablespoon of dough rounded into a ball, but you can go bigger if you prefer.

The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe
I love the silcone baking mats but they aren’t necessary for this recipe

9- Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. (depending on the size of dough balls and how brown you like your cookies.)

*I like to bake up a batch and then refrigerate or freeze the rest so I can bake them fresh whenever we plan to eat/serve them.  For the freezer I roll the dough into balls and place them carefully into a flat Ziploc gallon freezer bag (that is labeled with the kind of cookies and baking instructions) and then carefully, keeping the bag flat, move it to the freezer.  Then you can get that bag out anytime and put the number of cookies you want to bake on your baking sheet to defrost a little and put the bag with the rest of the cookie dough balls in the freezer again.

The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe
Ready for the freezer

**A big thanks to my friend, Nick, for being a consultant on this recipe.  He and his wife are pretty much amazing at anything in the kitchen.

The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe
And as my husband and kids would say “perfect for dunking in milk!”

Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream (Simple, quick & delicious!)


Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream, simple, quick & yummy!
Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream, simple, quick & yummy!

3/4 Cup Cocoa Powder
3/4 Cup Sugar
1/8 tsp Sea Salt (or regular salt)
1 Cup Whole Milk
2 Cups Heavy Cream (or Whipping Cream)
1 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract


1-In a medium sized bowl whisk together the cocoa powder, sugar and salt until well combined.

2- Stir in the milk with a whisk until the cocoa, sugar & salt are dissolved.

3-Stir in the heavy cream and vanilla.

4-Pour the mix into your ice cream maker and follow the instructions.  I have the Kitchenaid ice cream maker attachment and I love it.   I recommend leaving it in to churn for about 30 minutes or so. I have also used the Cuisinart Ice Cream maker and highly recommend that too.  Probably need 40 minutes in that maker. (Adapted from this recipe on the Cuisinart website:

This was made in the Kitchenaid maker and then frozen in the freezer




The Perfect Brownies (great GF & dairy free options too!) aka “Hershey’s Best Brownies”

We LOVE these brownies at our house and it’s kind of dangerous how easy they are to whip up.  Takes only 1 bowl and a few minutes and you’re on your way to fudgey, chocolatey brownie heaven…

-1 cup (2 cubes) of  Butter (Olive Oil & Coconut Oil both work too to make these dairy free!)
-2 cups of Sugar
-2 tsp Vanilla
-4 Eggs
-3/4 cup Cocoa
-1 cup Flour *If making these Gluten Free, replace with any GF flour of your choice)
-1/2 tsp Baking Powder
-1/4 tsp Salt

1-Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2- Grease a 9×13″ pan and set aside.
3-Melt the butter in a large microwave safe bowl.
4- Stir in each of the rest of the ingredients by hand until everything is well mixed.
5-Pour into the greased pan and spread it out evenly.  The batter will be thick.

6-Bake for 28 to 30 minutes, until the brownies begin to pull away from the sides of the pan.)

7-Let them cool for about 10 minutes (if you can wait that long and enjoy!)

**There are a lot of awesome things you can do with these brownies.  One of our favorites is to sprinkle chocolate chips over the top right after the come out of the oven and leave them for 5 minutes or so and then when they are melted spread them over the brownies like a lovely ganache or frosting.  Super easy and delicious.

Sprinkle chocolate chips (or any chocolate candy!) over these brownies when they are right out of the oven and wait 5 minutes and then you can spread them over the brownies for a very simple, delicious frosting!

*These are the best gluten free brownies I’ve ever tasted and feed them to gluten eating people all of the time with no complaint!  You can also make them dairy (CF) free by subbing coconut oil or even olive oil for the butter and they are amazing!


Banana Bread or Muffins (whole wheat and no sugar/sweetened with honey)

1/2 Cup Butter, melted
1/3 Cup Honey
2 Eggs
3 Bananas, mashed (try to keep it around 1 cup)
2 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/3 Cup hot water (just out of the tap is fine)
Chocolate Chips (optional but we love them in this recipe!)
1- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
2-Grease 1 loaf pansor 2 muffins pans (for 24 muffins.) If using cupcake liners spray each liner with a little oil so the muffins won’t stick so much to the paper.
3- Melt the butter in a big, microwave safe bowl.
4- Add the rest of the ingredients to the butter. (See this tip for the honey)
5- Mix with a spoon just until everything is combined (it should still be lumpy.)
6- Pour the batter evenly into 1 loaf pan or use a long handled spoon to spoon the batter evenly into the 24 muffin cups.
7-Bake the loaf for 60-65 minutes or the muffins for 25-28 minutes.

Healthy No Bake Cookies (no sugar/sweetened with honey)

This is one of our favorite recipes and we usually end up making these at least once a week.  Since they are whole grain, don’t have any sugar and have good protein we eat them for snacks, dessert or even for breakfast sometimes!  Since I have blood sugar issues (hypoglycemia, dysautonomia) I need to eat something every few hours that has protein in it so I always have something in my purse and these work great.  (I also always keep a little container of almonds in my purse for the same reason so if you’re ever hungry, come find me and I’ll always have a little snack!)

Both of my girls are allergic to peanuts so I developed this recipe with almond butter (I’ll post the recipe for that soon!) but peanut butter, and really any nut butter, will work. Just be aware that peanut butter has more oil than almond butter so you may need to add a little more coconut or oats to get the right consistency.

No Bake Cookies

3/4 Cup Honey
3 Tbs baking cocoa (unsweetened)
1/3 Cup butter
2 Cups Oats (old fashioned, quick..any oats work)
1/3 Cup Coconut, unsweetened, dried, shredded (you can replace this with more oats if needed)
1/3 Cup Almond Butter (or any nut butter or sun butter)

 1-Put the first 3 ingredients in a sauce pan over medium high heat, stirring often until they are completed melted and mixed well together.

2-Turn off the heat and stir in the oats and then the almond butter.

3-Stir in the coconut until everything is well mixed.
4-Let the mixture cool in the pan for 10 minutes or so (you can move right on to the next step but this makes things easier if you can wait.)
5-Scoop small amounts of the mixture on wax paper or aluminum foil and let the cool.  (I use my measuring  tablespoon to scoop and it works great.)

*You can freeze or refrigerate the cookies in an airtight container and then take them out one at a time as you like.  I think I actually like them best chilled. I put them in layers with a piece of aluminum foil or wax paper in between.