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Archive for March, 2010

I initially had intended to give a review of the chocolate peanut butter tart recipe found at Elana’s Pantry (http://www.elanaspantry.com/chocolate-peanut-butter-tart/).  Don’t get me wrong – she has a good recipe, and it is well worth trying.  Her recipe got great reviews from my test subjects, and is highly recommended.

However, I am a little tired of having all of my chocolate desserts taste like coconut.  Or maybe I am just a little sick of coconut.  It really could go either way.  So I have created my own version, tweaking her recipe here and there to make it my own. 

This is the kind of dessert that is perfect for entertaining: it’s full of flavour, and has a beautiful, lustrous appearance.  Please, don’t mistake the crappiness of my photos for an unattractive tart – it truly is attractive.  I just happen to be a horrible photographer.  It would be even richer with some tofu or coconut whipped cream.  The saltiness of the crust is a fantastic combination with the sweetness of the filling.  It’s a real showstopper.  And most importantly you can really taste the chocolate!

Crust:

2 ¼ cups unsalted organic peanuts, dry roasted

½ tsp sea salt

½ tsp baking soda

4 tblsp grapeseed or canola oil

2 ½ tblsp agave nectar

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Buy peanuts already roasted.  It is easier, and will ensure that the crust has a nice, full, peanut-y taste to it.

Grind the peanuts in a food processor into a fine meal.  Be careful not to over-process and make peanut butter.

Add the salt and baking soda and pulse briefly to combine.  Then add the oil and agave nectar and continue to pulse until a dough is formed.  Make the dough as coarse or as fine as you prefer.

Press the dough evenly into a greased 9” pie plate.  Bake for 10 minutes until golden brown.  Cool in the fridge.

Filling:

1 ½ cups homemade nut milk (almond or peanut) (use 1 cup of blanched almonds or peanuts to make)

Pinch of sea salt

2 tblsp kudzu, dissolved in a small amount of cold water (approx. ¼ cup)

3 tblsp agave nectar

1/8 tsp stevia

1 tblsp vanilla extract

1 1/4 cup good quality chocolate, preferably dark or semi-sweet*

*If using dark chocolate, you may want to increase the amount of stevia to ¼ tsp

Note: it is extremely important to dissolve the kudzu before adding it to the milk.  The pudding will have lumps in it if you don’t.

To make the nut milk, cover 1 cup of of blanched almonds or peanuts with water, and soak overnight in the fridge (up to 12 hours).   Drain and rinse the nuts.  Add the nuts and 1 ¾ cups filtered water to a blender.  Blend until completely mixed, 1 -2 minutes.  Pour the mixture through a fine wire sieve or cheesecloth into a bowl.  This recipe will make approximately 1 ½ cups of nut milk.  It is important to make your own nut milk, as the store bought ones won’t be nearly thick enough.

In a medium saucepan, heat the nut milk and salt over medium-high heat until boiling.  Add the dissolved kudzu and whisk briefly over the heat, until you can feel the mixture thickening.  Remove from the heat.

Whisk in the agave, stevia, and vanilla.  Let the mixture stand for a few minutes to cool slightly, and then add chocolate.  Stir continuously until the chocolate has melted completely.  If the chocolate is left to melt on its own, it may burn.

Chill the pudding for 10 minutes in the refrigerator.  Remove from fridge and pour into the cooled pie crust, and refrigerate for 1 – 2 hours, until the filling has fully set.

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Alright, I’ll be honest: this was not the recipe I had in mind when I started writing it.  I wanted something with a crust more like a cookie, and a soft, sponge-y top.  I realized half-way through making the recipe that it wasn’t what I had in mind, but thankfully it all worked out in the end.

These bars resemble banana bread in texture; they have a large, course, open crumb, and a rich, full flavour.  They are perfect for that mid-afternoon slump, since they’re full of protein, but also have that hint of sweetness to give you a bit of a jolt.  That’s what it all about…

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Lightly grease a 9 x 9 pan and set aside.

1/2 cup rice flour (brown or white, your choice)

2/3 cup almond meal

1/4 cup tapioca starch

1/4 cup potato starch

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup agave nectar

2 eggs

2 tblsp apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup coconut oil, melted

1 jar jam of choice (I used raspberry, approx. 235mL, one jar of Crofter’s)

Whisk all dry ingredients together in a medium sized bowl.  Combine wet ingredients together in a separate bowl.  Add wet to dry, and stir until just combined.

Take about 1/3 of the batter and line the bottom of the pan with it.  Take your jam of choice, put it in a bowl, and give it a little stir to soften it up.  Lightly spread the jam over the batter, covering it completely.  Pour the rest of the batter over the jam. 

Bake for approximately 20 – 25 minutes.  The top will be a deep golden brown.

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Yum!  This is another recipe from my new favourite obsession, The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen.  I found this one on their excellent website http://www.nourishingmeals.com/

It is so hard to duplicate the moistness of brownies without using regular flour, eggs, sugar, or chocolate.  This recipe uses cocoa powder, making it vegan as well.  They have used almond flour as a base, which is an excellent choice.  If for some reason you can’t have almond flour, any other nut meal would work fine – macadamia nut meal in particular sounds especially delicious.  I can’t recommend using something like rice flour or sorghum flour, simply because then the moistness of these brownies would disappear.

While I used their recipe as a base, I did modify it somewhat to suit my own personal tastes.  The version listed here is my own take on their recipe – it has only been modified very slightly, and the results are delicious!

3 cups almond flour

1/2 cup cocoa powder

2 tblsp tapioca starch

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp xanthan gum

1 1/4cup coconut milk (I used light, simply because it was what I had on hand)

1/4 cup agave nectar

1/4 cup canola oil

1 tblsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Grease muffin tins, or line with paper cups.  I used mini-muffin tins here, but if you only have regular sized ones, those are ok too.

Mix all of the dry ingredients together in a medium size bowl.  Break up the cocoa powder and almond flour with your fingers, if necessary.  Get those hands dirty.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients. 

Combine with the wet ingredients with dry ingredients.  Using spoons, fill the tins up about 3/4 full.  Fill any empty muffin tins with water, to ensure even baking.

If using mini muffin tins, bake for about 20 minutes.  If using regular sized muffin tins, bake for about 25 minutes.  Let cool on a wire rack for about 15 minutes, then turn the muffins out.  But be careful, they will still be extremely delicate!

These brownies are ok on their own, but definitely better iced!  Again, this recipe is from The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen…

1/2 cup chocolate (bittersweet or dark is best)

1/4 cup coconut milk

2 tblsp agave nectar

Place all ingredients into a small pot and heat over a low heat.  Stir continuously until melted and thick, about 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool for about 5 minutes.  Spoon the warm chocolate over cooled muffins.  I put all my muffins on a piece of wax paper and iced them on that – it avoids a mess.  Top with shredded coconut, if desired.

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