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(Black Bean) Brownies! Take 2

11 May

IMG_1731Oh, how I love a good brownie. Let me count the ways…This will be my fifth blog post about brownies (sixth if you count blondies), and my second recipe for black bean brownies (see the first recipe here).

These super fudgy chocolate cookie squares contain a whole can (1 1/2 cups) of black beans. And guess what else? The brownies are made without butter, eggs, or flour. WHAT?! How can they possibly be good? They are not good, they are great, and here is why.  Continue reading

Cocoa Tahini Fruit Shake ~*Recipe ReDux*~

22 Feb

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This month’s Recipe ReDux challenge is all about chocolate matches:

Does your chocolate need a friend? What is your favorite chocolate match? Show us your favorite healthy chocolate combo recipe.

(See December’s Recipe ReDux post here. See January’s Recipe ReDux post here.)

My chocolate match for the month is cocoa and tahini! With a few Mediterranean-inspired fruit ingredients (dates and figs), because I am trying to channel warm vibes over here in my cold New York City apartment. Continue reading

Dark Chocolate, Pistachio and SMOKED SEA SALT Cookies ~*Recipe ReDux*~

22 Jan

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Oh, what a pinch of salt can do for a dessert. A pinch of salt can enhance the flavor of chocolate, perk up a lemon curd and make a pie crust pop.

What about SMOKED SALT?! I recently acquired a shaker of smoked sea salt, and I think it has great potential in desserts, if used sparingly, mostly with chocolate or nuts (sorry lemon bars and lemon tarts, I do not think smoked sea salt is your friend). Imagine a light sprinkle of smoked sea salt atop an intense chocolate brownie, a milk chocolate pudding or a pecan pie. Woah.

This month’s Recipe ReDux challenge is all about turning up the heat with smoke and spiciness.

“From boldly flavored smoked salts to actual smoking techniques, subtly smoked food is on-trend. The same can be said for spice as we savor heat from harissa, sriracha and smoked paprika. Show us the healthy dish you’re heating up with smoke and/or spiciness.”

I figured that most of the Recipe ReDuxers would be coming up with savory creations, so I decided to keep things sweet and smokey over here. Continue reading

Vegan Chocolate Loaf with yogurt, warmed cherries, and chocolate balsamic

6 May

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Because it’s Tuesday.

Because I’m in the thick of finals (last semester of grad school!).

Because I like to eat “healthified cake” for breakfast. 

Because sometimes, I like to plate my food up fancy. 

I ate a slice of this chocolate loaf for breakfast today. No shame. Vegan chocolate loaf cake with some plain, low fat yogurt, frozen cherries that were warmed in the microwave and poured on top, the juices seeping into the cake, and a final glug of chocolate balsamic vinegar that I re-discovered I had in the cabinet. This could easily be dessert.

Healthy decadence is my jam.

Nicole from CucinaNicolina and I are on the same page in terms of our mindset that life is too short not to have a slice of something sweet, especially when that sweet something is homemade, with a little bit of health mixed in. Throwing in some whole wheat flour and a sprinkling of ground flaxseeds helps make cake an acceptable breakfast in my opinion. Oh, and there’s a cup of coffee in hiding in the loaf, too. I always have a little extra from my morning French press, so this was a great excuse to use it up.

This weekend, I tasted the Brooklyn based White Moustache yogurt in sour cherry flavor. The yogurt company is a father-daughter business, and the yogurt is made from Hudson Valley Fresh whole milk and live probiotic cultures. While the price is steep, this yogurt was a real treat, and was worth every penny. Plus, you get to keep the container to re-use.

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This sour cherry combo got me craving cherries. Since cherry season is not quite here, I found some frozen cherries and just heated them up and poured them over this vegan chocolate loaf. Cherries, chocolate, and creamy yogurt were meant to be together!

Since I gobbled down my jar of White Moustache yogurt, I served the cake with my other favorite brand, Wallaby Organic Plain Low-fat Greek Yogurt. If you want to keep everything vegan, just omit the yogurt or make some sort of coconut based cream.

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Vegan Chocolate Loaf

adapted from Cucina Nicolina

makes 1 loaf or ~8 servings

Nicole says, “As always, replace the whole wheat pastry flour and/or spelt flour with all purpose if that’s all you have. A non-dairy milk or plain water can be swapped for the coffee, but I love the coffee note in there and would be loathe to miss it.” I used whole wheat and all purpose flour to keep things simple, and yes, I LOVED the coffee note.

1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup dutch processed cocoa powder

2 tablespoons ground flaxseeds

3/4 cup light or dark brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar (I used slightly less)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup room temperature coffee

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Heat oven to 350 F. Grease a standard sized loaf pan with oil or butter (omit butter if keeping this vegan) and lightly dust with flour.

In a large bowl, whisk together flours, cocoa powder, flaxseeds, sugars, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together coffee, olive oil, and vanilla.

Dump the wet ingredients all at once into the dry and whisk until just combined. The batter will be more firm than wet.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely before serving.

Serve with a dollop of yogurt, some warmed cherries, and a glug of chocolate balsamic vinegar (regular balsamic vinegar would work, too). 

Homemade Snack: The Weelicious Chewy Granola Balls

8 Apr

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This is my second time making the Weelicious rice crispy balls, granola ball bites, whatever you call ’em.

After watching her adorable videos 1 and 2, I ran out to the store to buy brown rice cereal, but I spaced out and bought puffed rice instead of crispy rice. The recipe still works with puffed rice, but the texture is not as, well, crisp, without the crispy rice cereal.

I had a jar of brown rice syrup sitting in my pantry for over 2 years and never knew what to do with it until I saw these recipes. Brown rice syrup is slightly less sweet than regular sugar, and it’s great for n0-bake recipes like this because the syrup is so sticky it acts like glue. When melted together with nut butter, I wanted to lick the hot pot it smelled so good.

Add-ins are endless, but I love the combo of some dried fruit and chocolate chips. How could you not?

Balls (insert dirty joke) are indeed cuter and more fun to eat than bars. Sometimes I will just eat one after lunch to satisfy that post-meal sweet craving. Other times I pack 3-4 with me and enjoy them for a mid-day snack. Up to you.

The recipe makes about 25-30 balls (depending how much you eat in the process!). I stored about half of the bites in the fridge because they are a little crispier when cold, and I froze the other half  batch for later.

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 A Random Assortment: Granola Balls, PS4 Controller, Mattress, Bikes

The Weelicious Chewy Granola Balls

adapted from Weelicious

makes about 30 balls

1/2 cup nut and/or seed butter (I used a combo of sunbutter and cashew butter)

1/2 cup brown rice syrup

1 1/2 cups crispy brown rice cereal (I didn’t have any, so I used puffed rice…works fine but crispy would be better for texture)

1 cup granola (any kind you have, but I used Hot Bread Kitchen Granola)

1/4 cup dried fruit (i.e. cranberries, raisins, blueberries, chopped apricots…) and/or chocolate chips

1. Place the nut/seed butter and brown rice syrup in a small saucepan over low to medium heat and warm for 2 minutes or until it becomes smooth and combined.

2. Place the remaining ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine.

3. Pour the warm nut/seed butter mixture into the bowl with the granola mixture and stir to combine.

4. Roll into 1 inch balls (you can use a mini ice cream scooper to scoop out each portion, or a tablespoon). Alternatively, you could press the mixture into a square pan, let cool, and slice into bars.

Happy snacking!