Garden City Granola Bars and Getting Back to Food Blogging!

I know, I know. Taking my dang time posting new recipes, aren’t I?

But here I am, living in Cape Town, South Africa (things have changed up a bit since my last post which was…EEK…in October). I’ve been neglecting my poor Mile High Pie for job and grant applications. But recently my dairy allergy (I am super sensitive to the protein called casein found in cow’s milk) has been acting up like crazy! So I’ve been making a lot of my own snacks, as dairy is difficult to avoid in store-bought items here. Case in point: I cannot buy non-dairy yogurt other than shelf-stable soy stuff which is way overpriced. It’s awful because I love yogurt, so I’ve been cheating and eating bulgarian yogurt a bit…needless to say it’s uncomfortable!

But back to baking. Seeing as I’m here for the next few weeks still and have had some interesting culinary experiences, I figured it’s about time to pick up the figurative pencil and write down a couple of my recent recipes.

First things first: Garden City Granola Bars. These are an adaptation of a few recipes I’ve found online, with my own influence (yes that means chocolate) thrown in there.

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I absolutely love them for hikes, days exploring the city, or mid-morning munchies. I actually came up with the recipe at 4am one day when I just couldn’t sleep and needed something semi-productive to do. You know how that goes, right? No? Just me at 4am? I guess I forgot to mention that I live above a club and when it closes at 4am and all the happy (and occasionally angry) drunken souls pour out, it’s difficult to sleep. I have become remarkably good at turning city noise into white noise though! Back to the recipe…

Garden City Granola Bars

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup quick cook oats
  • ½ cup puffed rice cereal
  • ¼ cup chopped nuts
  • ¼ cup diced dried fruit
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¼ heaped cup peanut butter
  • 2 tbs coconut oil
  • 1 tbs water
  • dash cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ¼ cup chocolate chips or chunks

Directions:

  • Toast the oats, puffed rice, fruit and nuts in clean pan on stove top (just until the mixture begins to brown and smell delicious), empty into bowl and set aside.
  • In same pan, melt all the remaining ingredients (except the chocolate) together. Heat until bubbling.
  • Turn off heat and mix in dry ingredients.
  • Pour out mixture onto a cookie sheet pre-lined with baking paper. Spread out and into ¼-½ inch thickness (rectangle shaped for easier cutting).
  • Let cool for a few minutes. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Cut into bar shapes. Bake for 5-7 minutes.
  • Immediately after taking out of oven, sprinkle chocolate chips on top. They will melt on a bit and be secured as they cool!

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Roasting the dry goods before mixing creates a distinctive, nutty flavor and makes your kitchen smell divine!

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What the mixture should look like as it cools, after you shape it.

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Baking complete!

 This is of course not the only bar I was able to make. I also made Mint Chocolate Nanaimo Bars by Chocolate Covered Katie. These were TO DIE FOR.

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The recipe has three layers and quite a few ingredients which makes it seem complicated – but it actually isn’t too bad. One thing that was very interesting though was figuring out the mint flavoring. In Cape Town, at least so far, I have been unable to find mint extract or flavor. I had to actually buy those mint oil capsules (you know, the ones for indigestion!), and cut them open to get the oil! Mission accomplished, and I got my mint chocolate deliciousness. Check out her recipe. Definitely recommend.

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Center layer consisting of soaked macadamia and cashew nuts, peppermint oil, coconut oil, vanilla, sweetener and (gasp!) spinach.

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Top chocolate layer, which contains cocoa powder, coconut oil and honey.

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Crust layer of coconut, dates, cocoa powder and walnuts.

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These buddies are amazing. I keep them in the freezer until an hour or so before I want them, when I pop them in the fridge. After that time lapses, the centre layer takes on an ice cream like smoothness. And they’re totally dairy free. I’m in heaven.

Alright that’s it for now. I’ve been experimenting with coconut yogurt recipes and falling flat on my face. I think the probiotics I’ve bought are either dead, or totally different than what I need. Anyone have advice? Until next time!

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I had a party and only needed 8 ingredients

Well, 8 ingredients without the beer. So 9 ingredients.

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This was really a wonderful get-together. I was missing the fall activities my family would sometimes partake in, so I decided to invite some friends over to carve pumpkins and drink pumpkin beer. In spirit of the season I also wanted to have pumpkin flavored snacks, which brought me to this wonder of a recipe: Three Ingredient Cookies. Technically they could be two ingredient cookies, since you don’t need to add chocolate chips or mix-ins. BUT WHY NOT?? 🙂 

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I was already planning to make seasoned pretzels, and needed something sweet. These cookies are awesome! They’re a bit thicker consistency than cake, so great as handheld snacks.  They take on the taste of whatever mix you buy, and the pumpkin shines through in all its glory. 

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The pretzels turned out pretty wonderful as well. They’re salty and spicy; perfect with pumpkin beer! Feel free to cut the recipe in half or even less. It makes a LOT of pretzels. (I’ve heard the left overs make great bread crumbs though…)

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I’m planning to post again after this weekend. I’ll be making a vegan chili for a chili cook-off. Here’s wishing me good luck! I will post the recipe after the contest. Also, maybe, a picture of my halloween costume!!

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Three Ingredient Cookies:

Ingredients:

  • 1 Box of cake mix
  • 1 Can of pumpkin (NOT pie filling, pumpkin puree!)
  • Mix-ins (I used Rolos for one batch and chocolate chips for the other)

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Mix pumpkin and cake mix until smooth. 
  • Blend in mix in (I did about ¾ cup of chocolate chips) or save until after baking to put Rolos or chocolate kisses on top.
  • Drop by spoonful onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper. 
  • Bake 8-10 minutes.
  • Resist urge to eat all while steaming hot.

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Pretzels:

Ingredients:

  • 3 bags pretzel bites
  • 2 packets ranch seasoning mix
  • 1 TBS lemon pepper
  • 2 tsp cayenne (more or less depending on spice needs-for us 2 tsp was perfect and had kick)
  • ¾ cup vegetable oil (or canola, or evoo)

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Mix everything except pretzels in a bowl until consistent.
  • Pour over pretzels and mix up.
  • Spread in baking pan and cook for 10 minutes, stirring once at 5 minutes. I had to do two batches (this makes a LOT of pretzels-look at the picture!)

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Across the country, my wonderful puppy was on a hike, so here’s the obligatory puppy picture!! Happiness!

COOPER

Peach and Blueberry Whole Wheat Muffin Bread

It’s been far too long since I wrote a post! This has been a busy month, from traveling to Yellowstone and Grand Teton to North Carolina and Virginia, to getting ready to move to Austin in 10 days…oi! But it has also been a fun summer, of course, and one full of food and drink! Just ask Cooper…

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Time to relax after a day of exploring Yellowstone!

I haven’t been baking as much lately because we don’t run the AC all too often, and the heat from the oven makes quite a difference in a two bedroom apartment. No one wants that after a day in 90 degree, super dry Colorado. But I had a craving today, so I battled through the heat. We’ve been buying peaches and berries a lot more lately, missing the wild berries that grow back home and the peaches of the south. When I worked at Great Harvest Bread Company, we would make these huge wheat muffins with blueberries in them, and a slice of peach sitting temptingly on top. We don’t have a muffin tin (I know, I know), so I went the muffin-bread route. It worked out beautifully! There’s very little sweetener in this other than that of the fruit and a bit of agave. You could use sweeter milk, or increase the agave by a tablespoon and I’m sure it would be amazing. I love it with just a bit of strawberry jam spread across it! My boyfriend likes it with butter. I bet it would make awesome french toast…

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Ingredients

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Ready to bake

  

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Waiting to cool is always the hardest part

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Serving recommendation 🙂

 

Peach and Blueberry Whole Wheat Muffin Bread

 Ingredients:

  • 1 cup high altitude whole wheat flour
  • 1 packet instant oatmeal (any flavor!)
  • ¼ cup egg whites
  • ½ cup organic light soy milk
  • 1 tbs coconut oil
  • 2 tbs agave nectar
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • ½ cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 small peach, peeled and chopped small

 Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Lightly grease loaf pan.
  • Mix all ingredients but fruit together. 
  • Fold in fruit, careful to not break blueberries.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes, until you can stick a toothpick in and it comes out clean!
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Hope you enjoy!

Cookie dough doesn’t always have to be raw…

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Every morning I wake up at 6am to workout. Today, I decided to forgo that venture in order to post this recipe. It’s. Just. That. Good. In the span of four days, I have made these twice for birthdays (the first time was mine!), and gotten rave reviews. Some of you may know that I love unusual recipes and ingredients, especially in baked goods, which rank as my favorite food in general. For example: Black Bean Chocolate Cookies and Raw Dark Chocolate Brownies. And if that strange ingredient allows my recipe to have few total ingredients, I love that even more. Like Peanut Butter and Banana Oat Cookies or Power Pancakes. So when I stumbled across Texanerin’s Cookie Dough bites, I had to make a version of my own!

Just like my Black Bean Chocolate Cookies, these use beans as a flour alternative. Except this time it’s chickpeas (garbanzo beans). They leave the cookies incredibly moist, which gives the impression that you’re eating slightly undercooked dough-which is THE BEST! I know I’m not the only one who loves cookie dough-which is why this must be shared!!

 Even a couple days after I made them, they were still super moist and flavorful. But let’s be honest, they won’t last more than a couple days anyway!

I ended up using maple syrup instead of honey-but you get the idea.

I ended up using maple syrup instead of honey-but you get the idea.

The original post had a few helpful tips. Make sure you use natural peanut butter, so that your cookies don’t end up overly oily. Because, ew. You could try honey, maple syrup, or agave as a sweetener. I just love the taste of maple, and I was low on honey.

Chickpea wash!

Chickpea wash!

You won’t quite use a whole can of chickpeas, so you will have some yummy protein to snack on while you bake!

Processed dough

Processed dough

The original post said this dough isn’t good uncooked-and I totally disagree. I loved it! When you are rolling it into balls, you will probably get some on your fingers. Lick clean, please! (As long as you aren’t going back into the dough..unless this is a batch just for you!)

Chocolate PB love

Chocolate PB love

The consistency of the dough is a bit on the soft/stick side compared to typical cookie dough. Hence the need to wet your hands when shaping the balls.

Ready to bake!

Ready to bake!

Finished cookies

Finished cookies

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cup chickpeas, rinsed and drained, and paper towel dried
  • 1/2 cup + 2 TBS natural peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (or honey, or agave)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • dash of cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup bitter or semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Put all ingredients but chocolate chips in food processor, blend until smooth. Make sure to scrape sides a few times, to avoid leaving whole beans.
  • If dough warmed during process, put in fridge for a few minutes. This will avoid melting chocolate.
  • Fold in chocolate chips.
  • Wet hands and shape into small balls, place on cookie sheet. You can flatten them down if you wish, they won’t change shape much during cooking.
  • Bake for about 8-10 minutes (you can really cook as long as you like, there’s nothing in them that would make you sick if raw!).
  • Enjoy!
Snack time.

Snack time.

My patient, ever-watching companion. (I'm only half in the kitchen! Can't get mad!)

My patient, ever-watching companion. (I’m only half in the kitchen! Can’t get mad!)

Cookouts, puppies and blueberries with chocolate

Last weekend I took Cooper on a walk at a nearby park. It’s a great park that allows off-leash dogs, which gives me the perfect way to tire out the pup when I don’t feel like running! We had just gotten to the park when Cooper met an adorable hound mix named Ferris. Ferris is just 3 months old, and Cooper will be 1 year on Monday, but he plays really well with puppies. They rolled around, chased each other and acted crazy for about 15 minutes, giving Ferris’ mom and I time to chat and exchange numbers, to set up “play dates”. I swear-getting around to asking for the phone number of another woman is way more stressful then going out and meeting guys was when I was single. It’s like you need an excuse to ask for their number, you can’t just say, “I like you, I feel like we could get along mostly-we should hang out, as friends. Can I get yo digits?”

Cooper and Ferris

Cooper and Ferris

So Ferris’ mom texted me this last week and asked if we (Cooper, Tim and I) would like to come over for a Saturday afternoon cook-out. They have a fenced in yard and all dogs are welcome, she said. I asked what we could bring, her suggestion was something green, but I immediately began thinking of baked items I could make. 

I think this is the third or fourth recipe for brownies I have added to this blog-but this is by far my favorite for summer. I love blueberries and chocolate, and decided to experiment by adding these delicious berries to a brownie recipe. I actually found inspiration in a whole wheat brownie recipe, so these are actually a healthier version too!! I mean, they’re still a bit sinful (butter and sugar…come on!), but slightly less than most options. And who wants something really healthy at a Saturday afternoon cookout anyway?? So I made up this pile of brownies and walked down with Tim and Cooper yesterday. The drink of the afternoon turned out to be Blueberry Dirty Arnies (blueberry lemonade and sweet tea vodka) so it was a blueberry themed afternoon! These were really popular too-which is always a great feeling. Hope you enjoy as much as I did!

Butter and Sugar

Creaming the butter and sugar

Adding the eggs

Adding the eggs-how yellow!

Double chocolate time

Double chocolate time

Time for the blueberries

Time for the blueberries

Exercising my patience and waiting for it to cool...

Exercising my patience and waiting for it to cool…

Sample for me (gotta make sure they're good enough for the bbq!!)

Sample for me (gotta make sure they’re good enough for the bbq!!)

Blueberry Wheat Double Chocolate Brownies

Ingredients:

  • 4 TBS melted salted butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 TBS warmed coconut oil (warmed just enough to pour)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ cup whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup blueberries

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Grease a 9×9 pan.
  • Use a kitchen aid mixer if you have one, or beaters to cream butter and sugar for 3 minutes.
  • Add coconut oil and continue to cream for 2 more minutes.
  • Add vanilla and eggs one at a time, beating for a minute after each. 
  • Lower the mixer speed and add the flour and powder, mixing just until combined.
  • Using a spoon, stir in the chocolate chips first, and then the blueberries (carefully as to not break them up).
  • Spread batter in pan, and bake for 30 minutes. Check at 25 minutes. 
  • Let cool for 10-15 minutes, slice and enjoy!
Brownie Mountain!!

Brownie Mountain!!

Power Pancakes

**Thanks for all the shares! This post has just hit 300 shares on Pinterest. If you like this one, check out Peach and Blueberry Whole Wheat Muffin Bread, another great breakfast option for the health-and flavor-conscious. If you’re all about simple recipes, check out my post on 3 ingredient cookies and simple seasoned pretzels here.

***Check out my absolute favorite recipe here – Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites. Made without flour, actually good for you and soooo delicious!

OK, now back to the pancake recipe you came here for! 🙂

I love pancakes, but I hate the sugar/fat/carb load that goes along with them. This morning I was planning to take Cooper on a long trail run, and knew I needed some good energy before. I have written before about the blender/food processor I bought, and I love how it turns oats into oat flour, makes me healthy frozen yogurt out of bananas and strawberries, and purees any ingredient into smooth silkiness. 

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So I decided I would try to mimic all those “two ingredient” pancake recipes out there (bananas and egg, usually) but give them a bit more kick.

You see, oats are great for you. They reduce bad cholesterol. They are one of the highest on the satiety index (keep you full longer). They help with blood pressure. Basically, they are awesome.

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So I figured, why waste a meal on something that won’t keep me full (a banana and an egg??)? Why not add some filling ingredients, and make something that is DELICIOUS, keeps me full until lunch, and gives me all the power I need to run Cooper ragged on the trail? Behold: Power Pancakes. Egg whites, oats, banana. Topped, of course, with blueberries and just a bit of peanut butter and maple syrup (feel free to add or top with whatever-these are even great alone!!). These are seriously some of the most delicious, dairy free, naturally sweetened pancakes I’ve ever made!

PS. If you haven’t tried Earth Balance Coconut & Peanut Spread, PLEASE do. It will change your world.

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Power Pancakes

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • ¼ cup egg whites
  • 1 ripe banana
  • cinnamon (if you like)
  • frozen or fresh blueberries, peanut butter and/or maple syrup to top

Directions:

  • Begin heating skillet over medium – medium/high heat.
  • Blend oats in food processor or blender until fine.
  • Add banana and eggs, blend until smooth. 
  • Blend in a dash of cinnamon, if you like!
  • Let sit while skillet continues to heat. It will be ready when a drop of water immediately begins to evaporate upon hitting the surface.
  • Pour on by the ½ cup full. Cook until the batter begins to set/bubble a bit.
  • Sprinkle with blueberries, and flip. Cook on other side for 2-3 minutes.
  • Repeat with remaining batter.
  • Layer pancakes and top with a spread of peanut butter (try the coconut peanut butter-it’s amazing!!) and syrup
  • Pour yourself a cup of coffee and enjoy!
  • **Best eaten at least an hour before a work out. Provides long lasting energy and keeps you truly sated until lunch!

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Gotta love the blueberries!

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Perfectly browned on the first side.

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And I only used 1TBS of peanut butter and 1 TBS of syrup…that’s all you need!!

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I might have to make these for dessert now…

Peanut Butter + Banana = Bliss

As I’m sure many of you do, I often find myself having a banana with a bit of peanut butter as an afternoon snack. Or as a breakfast option. Or between some whole wheat bread with honey and toasted. Or for dessert. 

You probably get it, I love the combination of peanut butter and bananas. 

Tonight I was craving this combination, but not in the normal direct-peanut butter to banana-banana to mouth sort of way. I wanted cookies. I wanted peanut butter and banana cookies. I wanted, healthy peanut butter and banana cookies.

I scoured pinterest for the perfect recipe but only got inspiration. So many recipes included refined sugars, or too much brown sugar/honey as a replacement for white sugar (somehow we have gotten to a place where anything brown trumps and becomes healthy compared to anything white-how did that happen?). I didn’t want a whole lot of sugar, or honey, or butter, or dulce de leche added to my cookies. We’re talking peanut butter and bananas after all, they’re perfect as is and could anyone argue that they’re sweet enough? 

So I made up my own recipe, and I’m quite content with the results. And guess what? I can share them with almost all of my friends because they are: gluten and dairy free! Sweet. Literally. 

These cookies have home ground oat flour (super easy with a blender or food processor), bananas, peanut butter, coconut oil, honey, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and corn starch. Cornstarch may take you by surprise-but it really softens the dough and allows for a super fluffy, melt in your mouth delicious cookie. I also added a few blue berries to half of the batch, which was a wonderful idea. 

Coconut oil: it’s rich, it’s lucious, it’s satisfying. And if you only use a little bit-it’s really not all that bad. Moderation, people. I wouldn’t recommend taking a tablespoon of it to the face, but I LOVE what it adds to these cookies. Because it’s only 2 tablespoons, it adds a nice aroma without interfering with the taste of the PB, banana and oats. But don’t take my word for it-whip up a batch of these babies yourself. It only takes 20 minutes (prep, bake and cleanup!!). 

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Blending the oat flour.

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Ready to bake!

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Out of the oven and oh so tempting.

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Yum. I’ll take them all, thanks.

Peanut Butter and Banana Oat Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 3 TBS peanut butter 
  • 2 TBS coconut oil (make sure it is the consistency of butter-you don’t want it too hard or runny)
  • 1 TBS honey
  • 1 ½ cups rolled oats
  • 2 tsp corn starch
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • Optional blueberries (or chocolate chips)

Directions:

  • Heat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Mash ripe bananas with a fork. Add PB, coconut oil and honey and blend with fork.
  • Using food processor, turn oats into fine flour consistency (takes just a minute).
  • Add in remaining dry ingredients and blend until combined (do not add blueberries or other topping yet).
  • Add oat mixture to banana mixture and mix to combine.
  • Spoon by heaping tablespoons onto ungreased cookie sheet. 
  • Press in blueberries or chocolate chips.
  • Bake for 10 minutes.
  • Say, “YUM!”

Black Bean Chocolate Cookies

Seriously.

I should probably rename this blog My Mile High Chocolate Pie because… I. Love. Chocolate.

Today, I decided to be exceptionally weird with my cookie baking experiments. I found a recipe that incorporates black beans into the batter! Yes, black beans, as an alternative to the flour you typically see in cookie recipes. Best part about this recipe is the strange main ingredient. Second best part: they can be made vegan (use carob chips in place of chocolate chips) and healthy! At only 120 calories a cookie (or so), I had two. But let’s be honest, I had to hold myself back. After all, I baked them for a healthy work potluck and it wouldn’t look too good if I showed up with just 4 cookies for everyone, now would it?

A couple of days ago I got a new hand blender from Bed Bath and Beyond. Clearly from the Beyond section. It’s made by Calphalon and has two options: “blending wand” and a mini food processor! (They call it a chopper… but it works just as well as a processor for small batches). Anyway this is worth mentioning because I have never owned a food processor, and this was my first baby step towards the real thing. And let me tell you, I can do SO MUCH MORE with this puppy! This recipe requires you to whip the ingredients into a mousse like consistency, which can really only be done with a food processor. You need to be patient as it take a couple minutes of blending the beans, oil, milk and nut butter to get them smooth.

I had to pry the bowl out of my boyfriend’s hands, or he would have eaten all the batter before it met the oven. Great success all around-can’t wait to share at the potluck tomorrow!

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I use Hungarian Whole Wheat Flour, designed for high altitude. The coconut oil I picked up at Target, surprisingly, for just $6. For you Target fans-I was only surprised because the grocery selection is typically limited, so finding organic coconut oil felt like a score.

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Pre-processor joy.

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Post.

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One of the finalists. These little guys are so soft, it’s almost a crime.

Black Bean Chocolate Cookies:

Ingredients:

  • 1 can no-salt-added black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 TBS peanut or other nut butter
  • 2 TBS coconut oil
  • 2 TBS coconut milk
  • 3 TBS whole wheat flour
  • ⅓ cup + 1 TBS packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • dash cinnamon
  • dash salt
  • ½ cup chocolate or carob chips/chunks

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 375, line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Put beans, nut butter, oil and milk in food processor. Blend on high setting until smooth.
  • Add all remaining ingredients but chocolate chunks. Blend until mousse-like in texture.
  • Fold in chocolate chunks.
  • Spoon by rounded tablespoon onto cookie sheet (will make 16 cookies).
  • Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.
  • Marvel in what beans can do.

Raw – Chocolate – Yum

I wanted to make this a separate post from my earlier soup recipe, because these brownies deserve a page to themselves. This recipe is entirely raw, vegan, and gluten free. And AMAZING. There is no butter, white or brown sugar, eggs or flour in them. The ganache is made with avocado. Seriously…can it get better than healthy that tastes guilty as can be? I submit that it cannot. I dare you to make these and give them to a bunch of guys watching NASCAR, and see if any of them think they’re healthy for a minute. I doubt they will!

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Raw Dark Chocolate Brownies with Ganache

For the brownies:

  • 2 1/2 cups medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 cups walnut pieces
  • 1 TBSP honey or agave
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • pinch kosher salt

For the ganache:

  • 2 ripe avocados, cut into pieces
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • Slightly more than 1/2 cup honey or agave
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle powder

Directions

  • Begin with the brownie base.
  • Using food processor, pulse walnuts to fine crumbs.
  • Add cocoa powder and honey and blend.
  • Add dates, 1/2 cup at a time, scraping down sides as you go.
  • Mix in remaining ingredients until smooth.
  • Spread evenly in 8X8 pan.
  • Clean out food processor to use for ganache.
  • Place all ganache ingredients in food processor, blend on high setting until smooth. Check for avocado lumps and reblend if necessary.
  • Spread over top of brownie base.
  • Chill in refrigerator for an hour, and cut into pieces and serve!

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Chocolate Nostalgia

When was the last time you allowed yourself to pause and really enjoy a moment? Not a momentous moment, just any old moment? I think that is one of the reasons we were blessed to find our pup-to remind us how important it is to appreciate those daily moments.

Take time to smell the flowers.    …err… the air, snow, cold.

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I don’t know about you, but nothing gets the creative juices flowing for me better than CHOCOLATE. Mint + chocolate? Genius level thinking.

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Last week I satisfied another major craving, and made a batch of mint chocolate chunk brownies. I got the inspiration to infuse my liquids with mint tea after a tour of Celestial Seasonings. It’s an incredibly easy process–just a couple bags of whatever flavor tea you want your baked goods infused with, and steep in the liquids before mixing. Sometimes that’s difficult, because you don’t have any good liquids to steep the tea bags in (like it melted butter is practically all you are working with in the liquids department). In that case, use extract! Hey, you can’t win them all.

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Dark Chocolate Chunk and Mint Infused Brownies

Ingredients:

  • 7/8 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chunks (I used a 70% dark chocolate bar I had in the fridge!)
  • 2 bags peppermint tea
  • 1/8 cup crushed candy cane pieces

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • In small saucepan, heat butter until melted. Place in smaller bowl with two tea bags and steep until butter is cool. (Alternatively, you can add peppermint extract to the cooled melted butter mixture later on, just a teaspoon.)
  • Remove tea bags and bring butter back to heat, this time adding the sugar and cocoa powder. DO not boil, just heat thoroughly. This will help create that shiny appearance after baking. Remove from heat and cool.
  • Meanwhile, combine the dry ingredients in a larger bowl and sift.
  • Once butter mixture has cooled, add eggs and mix completely.
  • Add butter and flour mixtures together. Fold in your chocolate chunks and spread in 8×8 pan.
  • Bake 35-40 minutes or until the sides have begun to pull away and the top has a dry appearance. Remove from oven.
  • Sprinkle crushed candy cane pieces over brownies and broil for 30 seconds or so, just until the candy begins to melt.
  • YUM!