Posts Tagged ‘chocolate’

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“Hot Date” Spicy Mexican Chocolate Brownies (Vegan, Gluten-Free, & Nut-Free!)

December 7, 2011

What’s that? Sorry, I can’t talk right now. I have a hot date:

A hot date brownie, that is!

What am I talking about, you ask? Just the latest and greatest sweet treat to come out of my kitchen is all! Seriously, I am super excited to be sharing this recipe with you all today. These brownies are rich, decadent, and irresistible—yet vegan, gluten-free, and nut-free!

The secret? I’m pretty sure it’s the dates. I like using dates in sweet things because they’re a whole food and a superb natural sweetener. They’re extra perfect for brownies, because they naturally have that sticky, gooey texture that brownies need. And this weekend, as I was poking around the internet for gluten-free date-based brownie recipes, I had an excellent idea: why not spice things up a bit while I’m at it?

And so these Spicy Mexican Chocolate—or as I’m calling them, “Hot Date”—Brownies were born. I worked off of this excellent chocolate date brownie recipe from Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free, and then added some hot pepper and chili spices to the batter to make them extra hot. The result was divine—chewy, rich, spicy, and finger-licking good. This is definitely a recipe I will be returning to soon, and one you should get on ASAP! Here’s what to do…

“Hot Date” Mexican Chocolate Brownies
vegan, gluten-free, and nut-free
(makes 16 to 20 small brownies, 9 medium brownies, or 1 really big brownie)
adapted from this Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pitted medjool dates
  • ¾ cup hot water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons instant coffee granules
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • ½ cup garbanzo-fava flour mix (other GF flours would probably work here too)
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • a handful of chocolate chips (totally optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8×8 baking pan with parchment paper and spray with spray oil.
  2. Place pitted dates, hot water, vanilla, and coffee granules in a bowl and let sit as you prepare the other ingredients.
  3. Mix together all the other ingredients, except for the optional chocolate chips.
  4. Place date mixture into a food processor and process until smooth, scraping down the sides if necessary.
  5. Once date mixture is nice and smooth, add the flour mixture and process some more. You should have enough space to do this even in a very tiny food processor (mine only holds 3 cups). The final mixture will be fairly sticky and viscous.
  6. Pour mixture into the prepared baking pan, and do your best to spread it out. Silicon/rubber spatulas are a boon here, but even they can only do so much with this batter.
  7. If you wish, sprinkle the top with chocolate chips, and press down into batter.
  8. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. The toothpick test won’t work with these brownies, so just use your best judgment as to when they are set.
  9. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack. Once they’ve cooled down, they’re ready to eat!

And that’s all you got to do! Hope you enjoy this one, guys!

Until we eat again,

Willie

 

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Hell Yes: Vegan Nanaimo Bars (from Oh She Glows)

September 5, 2011

Hey readers!

I’ve talked before about my general ignorance of Canadian cuisine, and of the measly repertoire of veganized Canadian dishes that I’ve accumulated since I moved to Toronto (for the record, it’s three dishes long: tourtière, poutine, and bannock). The problem is that I just never come across many distinctly Canadian dishes in person (in fact, the only tourtière and bannock I’ve ever seen are the ones I’ve made myself). But the other day it hit me, quite out of the blue: there was another Canadian dish that I had known of for a long time and just somehow overlooked—namely, the fantabulous sweet treat known as Nanaimo Bars, named after the (I’m assuming) lovely city of Nanaimo in BC. These small little dessert squares are three-layer brownies (or brownie-ish snacks) consisting of a graham cracker crumb layer on the bottom, a flavored custard layer in the middle, and a chocolate layer on top, with plenty of coconut in there and on top as well. If you can’t tell from that description, they are dangerously decadent and delicious. Yet for some reason, I had never given the slightest thought to veganizing them. But once the thought got in my head, there was no way of getting it out, except by making them for myself.

Fortunately, it turned out that vegan Nanaimo bars had already been thought of and created by the wonderful Angela of Oh She Glows, who posted an extensively detailed recipe for them last Christmas. And let me tell you—this recipe is absolutely incredible. It’s definitely one of the most complicated desserts I’ve ever made (though granted, I am not a very frequent baker), but all the work was well worth it. I perhaps made the work a little harder on myself by making my own graham crackers from scratch as well (which you may have noticed in this post), but overall the whole process was fun, and made a little easier by the fact that all the “baking” is actually done in the freezer. The greatest thing about these bars though is that they do not taste at all vegan: the chocolate is rich (and dark, of course), the custard is wonderful, and the graham cracker crust holds together perfectly and tastes great. These nanaimo bars will (and did) knock the socks off vegans and omnis alike.

As this was my first foray into the vegan nanaimo bar scene, there are a few things I will tweak next time I make this recipe. For example, my graham cracker crumb layer turned out way thicker than it should be, and the chocolate layer ended up a little thinner than desired, so I’ll definitely be fiddling some with those amounts in the future. Also, nanaimo bars allow for a lot of fun variations in the custard flavoring, and I definitely want to try them out with a mint or peanut butter center. But for now, I’m more than happy enjoying what little is left of my delicious first batch. Canada rules.

Until we eat again,

Willie

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Chocolate Bean Butter (from Diet, Dessert & Dogs)

September 2, 2011

Hi all!

Sometimes, great recipes just fall into your lap. Or into your RSS feed. Whatever. The point is, a week ago I came across an amazing new recipe posted on the equally amazing Diet, Dessert & Dogs blog—namely, a recipe for Chocolate Bean Butter. Basically, this is a chocolatey spread, similar to Nutella I guess, except using beans as its base and much, much healthier ingredients all around. It’s a snap to whip up, and the taste is incredible. Really incredible. Like so-incredible-I-wasn’t-sure-how-much-I-was-going-to-be-able-to-scrape-out-of-the-food-processor-before-eating-it-all incredible. And since it’s got so many beans in there, it’s as guilt-free as it is indulgent. (Or so I tell myself.)

Since Ricki offers some options with her recipe, I wanted to note the specific choices I made on the batch I whipped up, in case anyone is looking for some further guidance:

  • I used red kidney beans as a base, simply because I misread the recipe, which calls for white kidney beans (or navy beans). However, MINE STILL TURNED OUT AWESOME.
  • For my chocolate, I opted for cacao powder, since that’s what I had in my pantry. The brand I used was Camino’s 100% Cacao Cocoa Powder.
  • For my sweetener, I used stevia powder, since I had never even heard of, much less knew where to find, coconut sugar. I found that 1 tsp (or 4 packets) total was the right amount for me, although if you really like a more bitter chocolatey taste, I think you could get away with only 3/4 tsp (or 3 packets).

Other than that, this recipe is very straightforward. Just put all the ingredients in a food processor, give it a whirl…

…and you’re done! This is definitely good enough to just eat by the spoonful, but I’ve also been enjoying mine with some homemade graham crackers, recipe courtesy of Oh She Glows:

Ahh, delectable! You guys should all make this chocolate bean butter right now. I promise you won’t regret it.

Until we eat again,

Willie

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