Tag Archives: chocolate

Sin-lessy Decadent: Hazelnut-Date Truffles

Hazelnut-Date Truffles

I love getting out of bed on Sunday mornings before anyone else wakes up. It’s my time for making lists, planning my week or simply clearing my head. This morning I’m sitting on our front porch enjoying some solitude and a lovely hydrangea whose blooms are turning to rust. And a cup of coffee. (Note to self: make it a point to spend more time out here.) It’s also the perfect time for me to share my recipe for these Hazelnut-Date Truffles that I made last week. I was in the mood for a decadent, chocolate treat that was easy to make using items I had in my pantry. I also wanted to keep the refined ingredients to a minimum to make these truffles as guilt-free as possible. Since my favorite chocolate candy is Perugina’s Baci (“little kisses” made with milk chocolate and hazelnuts) I decided to go with those flavors in mind. The truffle centers are made with hazelnuts, dates, cocoa powder and hazelnut liqueur. (I use my Blendtec Twister Jar in order to get a super silky texture.) I melted some dark chocolate with coconut cream for a glossy chocolate coating and rolled a few in cocoa powder. All I can say is WOW! The result was part truffle, part caramel, total decadence and no remorse. I paired the truffles with a glass of Frangelico liqueur, but a glass of red wine or port would also be nice. Treat yourself to these Hazelnut-Date Truffles and make it a Vegi-curious day.

Hazelnut-Date Truffles

½ cup dates
½ cup hazelnuts
2 Tbsp. regular or dark cocoa powder
1 Tbsp. Frangelico liqueur

2 oz. non-dairy dark chocolate
1 Tbsp. coconut cream or full fat coconut milk

Place dates, nuts, cocoa powder and liqueur in food processor or high-powered blender. Process until smooth. Remove and portion out into 1” balls. Place on parchment paper. Set aside

Melt the dark chocolate and coconut cream over low heat. Dip the truffles in the melted chocolate and place on parchment paper. (See note below.) Refrigerate until cooled.

Note: You could also roll the truffles in cocoa powder.

24 Sep 2017

Madness to My Method: Mint-Chocolate Smoothie

Mint Chocolate Smoothie

Mint Chocolate Smoothie

There’s a saying that goes “there’s a method to my madness” which means that there is purpose in what one is doing, even though it seems to be crazy. Today’s post is a peek into how my mind works, which I like to think of as the “madness to my method.” A recipe for a mint chocolate chip smoothie popped up on one of my Facebook groups a few weeks ago and it stirred up memories from when I was making my own dairy ice cream. Mint chocolate chip was one of my favorite flavors. Boy, could I go for some right now. So, the recipe that inspired my latest obsession contained fresh mint for flavor and a handful of spinach for color. I don’t know about you, but milk and spinach doesn’t do it for me. One of the first things I discovered about home-made mint ice cream, unlike most commercial ones, is that it’s not green. My approach was to create a smoothie that had a hint of mint and an ice cream-like feeling. I tried a version using frozen peas for what I thought would add a creamy thickness. (Yuk!) I tried using sweet rice as a thickener. I had to soak the rice overnight and steam it the next day, which proved to be too much advance planning for a smoothie. This also resulted in a more “gooey” and less creamy consistency. The chocolate chips were another problem. If I blended them with the other ingredients, they disappeared. When I added them in during the last few seconds they sunk to the bottom of the glass.The flavor of the fresh mint fell flat, so I sent away for a bottle of pure mint extract and put the testing on hold for a few days. While waiting for my shipment to arrive I couldn’t stop thinking about this recipe. What if . . . I just added the mint extract to my go-to cinnamon bun smoothie? What if . . .  I used brown rice instead of sweet rice? What if . . .  I just start from scratch? And the chocolate . . . what if I shave it and stir it in when ready to serve? By the time the extract arrived, I had it sorted out: almond milk, banana, dates, brown rice, oatmeal, mint extract and chocolate shavings. I tend to over-blend my smoothies to get them extra creamy, but that also makes them warm. I find that refrigerating them for a few hours allows the milk to absorb the starch from the oats and rice making for a thicker smoothie. A thicker smoothie helps the chocolate shavings maintain their buoyancy. All of this obsessing paid off with a Mad Good Mint Chocolate Smoothie that’s smooth, creamy, slightly sweet with a tinge of mint and specked with chocolate. Mix up your own batch of blissful madness today. Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Mint Chocolate Smoothie

Makes one or two servings

1-½ cups almond milk
1 large frozen banana, sliced
¼ cup old fashioned oats
¼ cup cooked brown rice
4 pitted dates
1/8 teaspoon mint extract
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
Shaved chocolate

Combine all of the ingredients, except the shaved chocolate, in a high-speed blender and process until smooth. Pour into a glass and stir in shaved chocolate. If you would like a thicker smoothie you can place in the refrigerator for a few hours.

05 Apr 2017

Oh, My Darlings: Pistachio-Date Nests

Pistachio-Date Nest

I wanted to come up with a dessert recipe to go along with a Mediterranean-inspired Valentine’s Day dinner and the first thing that came to mind was Baklava. Baklava is made by layering phyllo leaves, brushing the layers with butter, sprinkling them with walnuts (Greek style) or pistachios (Turkish style) and pouring honey over everything when it comes out of the oven. I didn’t think a vegan version would do this iconic dessert much justice, so I incorporated some beneficial ingredients (pistachios and dates), left out the “taboo” ones (butter and honey), added some chocolate (hey, it’s Valentine’s Day) and named them “Pistachio-Date Nests.” I used Athen’s Mini Fillo Shells because they’re ready to fill and are very cute. The filling is made by processing dates, pistachios and lemon or orange zest into a paste. A thin layer of dark chocolate adorns the top. They’re crispy, chewy, chocolately . . .  and cute. Be a darling and share some Pistachio-Date Nests with someone you love. Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Pistachio Date Nests

15 mini phyllo cups (Athens fully baked, fill & serve)
½ cup raw, shelled pistachios
½ cup dates, chopped
Zest of one lemon or ½ orange
2 oz. melted dark chocolate (non-dairy)
15 pistachios for decorating

Place pistachios and dates in mini chopper and process until a chunky paste is formed. Fold in lemon zest. Lightly press the filling into the phyllo cups. Spread the melted chocolate on surface of filling and place one pistachio on top. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

11 Feb 2017

Whole Latte Love: Chia Latte Pudding

Chia Latte Pudding

Valentine’s Day originated as a saint day honoring one or more saints named Valentine. Through the centuries it has turned into a celebration of romantic, or “courtly”, love. We have romantic dinners, drink champagne and indulge in all things chocolate. I wanted to come up with a decadent-tasting dessert that you could enjoy even if you didn’t leave room for it. I think I pulled it off with this Chia Latte Pudding. The base is a chocolate chia pudding that’s sweetened with dates and maple syrup. The chocolate flavor is deepened by the addition of instant espresso. The light and creamy topping is made with silken tofu, dates and bananas. Keep it cozy by serving the pudding in an old-fashioned glass; or make an elegant presentation in a vintage champagne coupe. This Latte Chia Pudding looks elegant, tastes decadent and is simple and healthy enough to enjoy on a regular basis. Why wait until February 14th when you can celebrate love and dessert every day of the year? Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Latte Chia Pudding

Latte Topping:

12 oz. soft silken tofu
6 dates
1 ripe banana
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mocha Pudding:

2 cups almond milk
½ cup chia seeds, processed into powder
12 dates
½ cup cocoa powder (extra dark, if possible)
¼ cup maple syrup
1 Tablespoon instant coffee (if using instant expresso, use less)

shaved non-dairy chocolate and cinnamon for garnish

Place silken tofu, 6 dates, banana and vanilla into blender container. Process on high until super smooth. Pour into a 3-cup container, cover and refrigerate until set.

Measure chia seeds into coffee grinder and process until finely ground. Place ground chia, milk, dates, cocoa powder, maple syrup and espresso powder in blender container. Blend until smooth. Pour into a 4-cup container, cover and refrigerate until set.

To assemble:

Spoon mocha pudding into a parfait glass or other dessert cup. Top with a dollop of latte topping, then sprinkle with cinnamon and shaved chocolate. The ratio should be about two parts of mocha pudding to one part of the latte topping.

04 Feb 2017

Oh, What Fun: Buche de Noel

Buche de Noel, or Yule Log Cake, is a traditional dessert served at holiday time. The traditional recipe consists of a thin sponge cake that’s filled with raspberry jam, rolled up and decorated with chocolate icing to resemble a log. Through the years, other variations have been created that include chocolate cake, ganache and icings flavored with liqueurs. Since the Buche de Noel has turned into an “anything goes” recipe, I thought I might try my hand at a healthy, plant-based version. I used whipped aquafaba (the liquid from cooked chickpeas) to achieve a sponge-like consistency in the cake. The filling is made with silken tofu, non-dairy dark chocolate and dates. I wanted to use toasted hazelnuts and Frangelico liqueur for the cake, but I ended up using almonds and almond extract because that’s what I had on hand. If you prefer desserts that are not too sweet, you can omit the dates from the frosting. I dusted the top with some confectioner’s sugar. If you want to stick with tradition and decorate the outside to look like a yule log, you will have to double the frosting recipe. What I love about this recipe is that you can make different versions by using fruit filling, grated orange rind, different liqueurs or nuts or adding crushed candy to the frosting. Oh what fun you’ll have making and eating this beautiful Buche de Noel. Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Buche de Noel

6 tablespoons aquafaba
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/8 teaspoon xanthan gum

1 cup sugar
2/3 cup pumpkin

½ cup (all-purpose or whole wheat pastry)
½ cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt

1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
Powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 375F. Line an 11×15” rimmed baking sheet (jelly roll pan) with parchment and lightly grease the sides of the pan.

Place aquafaba and cream of tartar in mixing bowl. Using hand-held mixer, beat until soft peaks form. Add xanthan gum and continue beating until stiff peaks form.

Whisk together the sugar and pumpkin in a small bowl.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Add the pumpkin mixture to the dry and mix well. Gently fold in the whipped aquafaba.

Spread evenly into prepared baking pan and sprinkle nuts on surface. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until a knife comes out clean when inserted into center of cake. Remove and let cool a few minutes. (The cake needs to be warm in order to get it to roll up.) Place a clean baking towel on an un-rimmed baking sheet and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Carefully invert cake on top of towel, then roll up. Let cool completely before filling.

Chocolate-Date Frosting

½ cup dates
12 oz. extra firm silken tofu
4 oz. non-dairy dark chocolate, melted
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Pour boiling water over dates and let soak about one hour to soften. Place dates and remaining ingredients in container of a high-powered blender and process until smooth. Refrigerate until thoroughly cooled.

Buche de Noel

17 Dec 2016

Baking Mindfulness: Chocolate Doughnuts Frosted Two Ways

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Frosted Doughnuts

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Frosted Doughnuts

I hear the word “mindfulness” being tossed around a lot lately, but what does it actually mean? According to Psychology Today, “mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present. When you’re mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience.” I find that baking is a good way to practice mindfulness. The focus required for measuring ingredients, following the sequence of a recipe and perfecting different techniques allows me to be in the moment. It’s somewhat meditative and very relaxing. My mindfulness time of the day is usually from six to eight o’clock in the morning — before any interruptions like phone calls, a frolicsome puppy or someone looking for breakfast can crash my party. It’s just me, a counter full of ingredients and equipment and an open mind. This morning I had a very gratifying mindfulness session that resulted in chocolate doughnuts that are gluten free, low fat and very tempting. The doughnuts are delicious right out of the oven, but I wanted to have an icing option. As I was whisking together maple syrup and cocoa powder for chocolate icing, the thought of peanut butter-topped doughnuts crossed my mind. Actually, I was thinking about Funny Bones, a peanut butter filled chocolate cake that was a childhood favorite of mine. Now where did that come from? Well, that’s how mindfulness works — it frees your mind and opens you up a whole world of possibilities. Bake up a batch of Chocolate Doughnuts and start your mindfulness practice today. Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Chocolate Doughnuts

Makes 8 doughnuts

  • ¾ cup non-dairy milk
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup pureed pumpkin
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-1/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder, Dutch-processed or regular
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat doughnut pan with coconut oil

Place milk, sugar, pumpkin, almond butter and vanilla in small mixing bowl. Using an immersion blender, process into a smooth puree. (You could alternately use a blender or food processor.)

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add liquid ingredients and mix well.

Using a pastry bag fitted with a large tip, fill doughnut pan ¾ the way full. You should have enough to make 10 doughnuts. Bake for about 10-15 minutes. Doughnuts should spring back when surface is touched with your finger.Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely before removing from pan.

Prepare icing and drizzle or spread over top of doughnuts.

Chocolate  Icing

Mix 2 tablespoons of maple syrup with 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder until smooth. You can add more syrup or cocoa powder to achieve desired consistency.

Peanut Butter Icing

Mix 2 tablespoons of maple syrup with 2 tablespoon of peanut butter until smooth.

 

30 Apr 2016

Chocolate for Breakfast: Black Forest Oatmeal Muffins

Black Forest Oatmeal Muffins 002It’s okay to have chocolate for breakfast and I’m not talking cocoa puffs. While I was making the Chocolate Pumpkin loaf from the Forks Over Knives cookbook the other day it hit me (not the book, but an idea). This is a moist, chocolately loaf that’s not too sweet, (especially since I use less sugar than the recipe calls for) that could be enjoyed for breakfast. I pondered ways to transform this loaf into more of a breakfast treat and here’s how the recipe evolved. We usually have oatmeal every day, so that seemed like a sensible addition. I wanted to add some type of dried fruit and opted for cherries as they are a nice complement to chocolate. I kept some of the ingredients in the mix (pumpkin, cocoa powder, applesauce), replaced some of the whole wheat pastry flour with oatmeal and used soy milk instead of water. So often when making over a recipe it looks better on paper (in this case, in my head) than it does in reality. Well, I’m happy to report that this is not one of those times. These muffins are delightful –slightly sweet, tender and moist with just enough chocolate to make you feel indulged. Now you can have your chocolate and eat it too . . .  for breakfast! Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

 

Black Forest Oatmeal Muffins

Makes 12 muffins

  • ¾ cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • ¾ cup oatmeal
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon (optional)
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ cup dried cherries
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • ¼ cup applesauce
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ cup non-dairy milk

Preheat oven to 350F. Place 12 cupcake liners in muffin tin.

In medium bowl, whisk together pastry flour, oatmeal, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Add dried cherries and toss to coat.

In large bowl, mix together pumpkin, applesauce and cocoa powder until smooth. Blend in sugar, then whisk in milk. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir just until blended.

Using an ice cream scoop, fill cupcake liners about ¾ the way. Bake for about 20 minutes. Let cool slightly before removing from muffin tin and place on cooling racks to cool completely.

You can place in plastic bags and freeze for future enjoyment.

 

 

 

 

11 Jan 2016

Banana Rum Chia Pudding

Chia ParfaitRemember Chia Pets?  They were created in 1977 as American styled terracotta figurines used to sprout chia where the chia sprouts magically grew within a couple of weeks to resemble the animal’s fur or hair.  If we knew then what we know now we’d be a lot healthier. Chia seeds have many nutritional benefits. One ounce has 12 grams of carbohydrate. However… 11 of those grams are fiber, which isn’t digested by the body. By weight, they are about 14% protein, which is very high compared to most plants. They also contain a good balance of essential amino acids, so our bodies should be able to make use of the protein in them. Chia seeds can thicken milk the way that cornstarch does to create puddings and custards. Now that’s magic!

Alligator Chia Pet.jpg

While whipping up a batch of Chocolate Chia Pudding today, I thought it would be nice to make a parfait using two different flavors. Hmmmmm . . . bananas make a nice complement to chocolate, so what the heck. Throw in some dates for sweetness and rum for a little kick and SHAZAM! This might be my favorite chia pudding so far. A few weeks ago, I over-baked a batch of breakfast bars from the Thug Kitchen Cookbook. Well, I’m turning that kitchen blunder into a culinary wonder! I’ve been crumbling those bars on top of soy yogurt and anything else resembling pudding. Try layering the two puddings with sliced bananas, fresh berries, flaked coconut, chopped nuts or chocolate. Why wait for dessert? With all that goodness going on, you can have chia pudding for breakfast. Make some chia pudding and make your own magic. Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Banana Rum Chia Pudding

¼ cup chia seeds
1 cup almond milk
2 bananas
6 dates
1 teaspoon rum or rum extract

Process chia seeds in coffee grinder until the consistency of flour. Place ground chia seeds and remaining ingredients in blender. Blend on high until smooth and creamy. Pour into individual ramekins or a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate until cool.

Makes 4 servings.

 

 

31 Mar 2015

Black Forest Chocolate Mousse Cake

Black Forest Chocolate MousseJust in time for Christmas . . . and if you don’t have time this week with all that last-minute shopping going on, then definitely make this for your New Year celebration. This recipe was inspired by a few of my favorite things. One: A Black Forest Brownie Torte that I found on Epicurious.com in my pre-vegan days. Two: Chocolate Almond Midnight from the Millennium Restaurant cookbook. Three: My love of chocolate, cherries and a culinary challenge. (We watched The Sound of Music this weekend, hence the reference to my “favorite things.” If you’re not in the Christmas spirit, just watch this musical! It has nothing to do with Christmas, but it’s always on at this time of year.)  Anyway, back to the recipe. The mousse has a cherry puree made with dried cherries and Kirshwasser (cherry brandy). If you can’t find the Kirshwasser or don’t want to go the extra cost, any cherry brandy will do. The cherry puree is blended into a frenzy along with silken tofu and melted chocolate, poured over a date-hazelnut crust and baked. I doubled the recipe for the cherry puree to experiment with in a Black Forest Brownie recipe. Look for that recipe in an upcoming post, but for now here’s my Black Forest Mousse Cake. Have a Merry Christmas and thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Black Forest Mousse Cake

¼ cups rolled oats
½ cup pecans, walnuts or hazelnuts (2 ounces)
5 pitted dates (2½ ounces)
1½ tablespoons non-dairy milk

1 cup dried tart cherries
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup Kirsch (clear cherry brandy)
3 tablespoons cherry preserves

16 ounces nondairy dark chocolate
2 boxes (12.3 ounce size) extra-firm low-fat silken tofu
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon sea salt

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Coat an 8-inch-diameter springform pan with non-stick spray. Place pan on baking sheet.

Place the oats, nuts and  in a food processor and blend until ground, about 30 to 40 seconds. Add the chopped dates and blend for about 1 minute, until the mixture starts to clump slightly. Add the non-dairy milk a little at a time, and blend until the mixture balls up like dough. Press into bottom of pan. Bake until light brown (about 5 to 10 minutes). Remove from oven.

Combine cherries and 1/4 cup water in small saucepan. Boil over medium-high heat until liquid almost evaporates, about 2 minutes. Add Kirsch and boil 1 minute. Standing back, carefully ignite Kirsch. When flames subside, mix in preserves. Cook until preserves boil and thicken, about 3 minutes. When cool, puree using an immersion blender, a container blender or small food processor. Set aside.

In a double boiler, over barely simmering water, melt the chocolate chips. In a blender or food processor, combine the cherries, silken tofu, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Process, then add the melted chocolate and blend smoothly for 2 minutes, or until very smooth and completely combined.

Kirsh & CherriesCherries & KirshCupcakes, Black Forest Mousse 033

 

 

 

 

 

Lightly coat the sides of the cake pan above the prebaked crust with more non-stick spray. Pour the mousse mixture into the pan and bake for 35 minutes.

Let cool for 10 minutes, then run a paring knife around the inside of the pan. Let the cake cool to the touch, refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. Unmold just before serving.

23 Dec 2014

%d bloggers like this: