If You Really Want to Know, It’s All About Dark Chocolate

If you really want to know what I would like for Valentine’s Day, I will give you one BIG hint and it is from See’s Candies. I don’t need a dozen roses, white or pink for me if you are curious, a gift card to a Spa (see below for discount!) is always a great idea, a dinner out would be very welcome, but a nice big box of dark, nuts and chews would be my favorite present of all.  See’s Candies are the best and a very rare treat…

Guess what Ridgely Brode, blogger behind Ridgely's Radar, would like for Valentines Day? A box of Dark Chocolates from See's Candies!

To buy: See’s Candies and a Spa Gift Card (Save 12% off + Free Shipping this Valentine’s Day! Use: HEART12)




Best Homemade Brownies

I had a house full of boys last weekend and all they wanted were brownies.  I pulled out my favorite all time BEST homemade brownie recipe.  I haven’t made them in forever and, now I know why, they ruined my diet! I think I ate more than the boys.  Actually, I know I did.  I loved every.. single .. bite.  I have never been so happy to cheat on my diet and I had a large ice cold glass of milk to go with them.  Yum!

For a little Friday fun, check out the first time I posted this recipe (4 years, almost to the week, ago!) and see how different things were back then.  It is so cool to look back and see how I was blogging and taking pictures .. things sure have changed around here.. What do you think???  And for a FREE BONUS RECIPE Click Here!
Best Homemade Brownies | Ridgely's Radar


Best Homemade Brownies | Ridgely's Radar


Best Homemade Brownies | Ridgely's Radar


SoNo Brownie Recipe
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • ½ cup unsweetened Cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of baking soda
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F degrees and place rack in the middle of oven. Butter or spray a 8x8 square baking dish
  2. In a bowl combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt
  3. In a saucepan melt the butter. Remove from heat and add sugar, corn syrup whisking until combined. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly. Add vanilla. Add flour mixture and whisk until blended together.
  4. Fold in chips.
  5. Spread mixture evenly in prepared pan
  6. Bake for 30 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean.
I made a double batch and froze half of the cooked brownies in individual portions. I let them come to room temperature before serving and they were delicious!


Best Homemade Brownies | Ridgely's Radar


Best Homemade Brownies | Ridgely's Radar

To buy: Juliska Baking Dish

Chocolate Mousse

I had been looking for a set of glasses to serve chocolate mousse or ice cream that was wide enough in diameter for a spoon and deep enough to hold just the right amount.  A few weeks ago, I fell into a set of 10 plastic ice cream cups, you may have seen them on my Instagram, at the Boy Scouts Tag Sale for a grand total of $2.50!  To kick off Summer, I decided to give them a test run with chocolate mousse and they were just right for the job. I am still looking for a set of glass glasses, but these are a perfect addition to my outside Summer dining collection! Happy Summer!

Chocolate Mousse (1) | Ridgely's Radar
Chocolate Mousse (2) | Ridgely's Radar
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 8
  • 2 cups chilled heavy cream (extra for garnish)
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 7 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), chopped
  • berries for garnish
  • Confectioners Sugar for sweetening whipped cream garnish
  • Garnish: lightly sweetened whipped cream, berries and a shaving of chocolate
  • Special equipment: an instant-read thermometer, large ice cream scoop
  1. Heat ¾ cup cream in a 1-quart heavy saucepan until hot. Whisk together yolks, sugar, and a pinch of salt in a metal bowl until combined well, then add hot cream in a slow stream, whisking until combined. Transfer mixture to saucepan and cook over moderately low heat, stirring constantly, until it registers 160°F on thermometer. Pour custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl and stir in vanilla.
  2. Melt chocolate in a double boiler or a metal bowl set over a pan of simmering water (or in a glass bowl in a microwave at 50 percent power 3 to 5 minutes), stirring frequently. Whisk custard into chocolate until smooth, then cool.
  3. Beat remaining 1¼ cups cream in a bowl with an electric mixer until it just holds stiff peaks. Whisk one fourth of cream into chocolate custard to lighten, then fold in remaining cream gently but thoroughly.
  4. Scoop or spoon mousse into 8 (6-ounce) stemmed glasses or ramekins and chill, covered, at least 6 hours. Let stand at room temperature about 20 minutes before serving. (I used a large ice cream scoop and was only able to fill 6 of my cups.)
Mousse can be chilled up to 1 day.

To vary the flavor, you can replace the 1 teaspoon vanilla with 2 teaspoons instant-espresso powder (dissolve it in the hot cream) or 3 tablespoons Grand Marnier or 2 tablespoons Cognac (either one whisked into strained custard).
photographs by Ridgely

Dark Chocolate Covered Granola, Gluten Free

I have loved these Dark Chocolate Granola Thins since I discovered them almost two years ago (see my previous post).  They have been off my radar for awhile now (considering I am trying to be gluten free and stick to my diet!), until Friday when I saw them on sale, buy one get one free, at the grocery store.  I bought them (of course!) thinking my son might enjoy them.  That was wishful thinking on my part… I broke down and had not one but two when I got home (you would be proud of me, I did write them in my food diary and, hey, they are only 80 calories per square.)

Nature Valley Granola Thins
I decided that I had to come up with a gluten free version of this delicious snack.   I spent all weekend baking combinations of granola and chocolate.  I tried bittersweet, semi-sweet and dark chocolate, with thinner to thicker layers of granola.  The hardest part was cutting them into perfect squares and/or rectangles. I tried cutting the granola before and after spreading the chocolate but, always came up with uneven and cracked pieces.  I am still perfecting the recipe, but I have to tell you that regardless of the shape of the bars, they are delicious!  Our son preferred the semi-sweet, I loved the dark chocolate (go figure!) and my husband liked both.  I am bringing a big batch of them in to the office to see what the gang likes.  They are certainly not 80 calories a piece, but they are so worth every bite. Enjoy!
Dark Chocolate Covered Granola, Gluten Free
Dark Chocolate Covered Granola, Gluten Free
Recipe type: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: American
Serves: 15
  • ⅓ cup raw unsalted Almonds
  • ⅓ cup raw unsalted Cashews
  • ⅓ cup raw unsalted Pecans
  • 2 cups Gluten Free Old Fashioned Rolled Oats ( I used Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 2 cups Gluten Free Puffed Rice ( I used Erewhon Crispy Brown Rice Cereal)
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 4 tablespoons honey
  • 5 tablespoons virgin coconut oil, melted
  • 10 oz Nestle Dark (really rich!) or Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips, melted
  1. Preheat oven to 325°, line rimmed quarter (9 x 13 x 1) baking sheet with parchment.
  2. In a Cuisinart grind very well almonds, cashews and pecans
  3. In a bowl combine ground nuts, oats, puffed rice, sugar, honey, canola oil and coconut oil.
  4. Pour mixture into prepared pan, spread into even layer. Cover with sheet of parchment paper and place another rimmed quarter baking sheet on top of the parchment paper. Push down on the top baking sheet to compress the mixture, making it smooth and compacted.
  5. Remove baking sheet and parchment paper. Place baking sheet in the center of the oven and cook for approximately 25 minutes or until golden brown.
  6. Remove baking sheet from the oven. Let cool.
  7. Melt chocolate in a microwavable dish. Heat for 30 seconds, stir and cook for another 30 seconds stir until smooth
  8. Pour chocolate over granola mixture, spread evenly with an offset knife. Let cool completely until chocolate hardens. I put in the freezer to speed up the process.
  9. Cut into squares or break up into pieces.
  10. Store in an airtight container.
The granola is delicious on its own without chocolate and much healthier! The semi-sweet chocolate isn't as rich and more people preferred that in the office taste test.

 Photographs by Ridgely