Strawberry Covered Chocolates and Sweetheart Peanut Butter Cups

Strawberry Covered Chocolates and Peanut Butter Cups

Strawberry Covered Chocolates and Peanut Butter Cups

Valentine’s Day is coming up so I thought I’d have some fun making chocolates. For simplicity I went with a rolled variety, where the forming tool is your hands, and a version made in silicon molds, where chocolate tempering is not required.

The first recipe, that I like to call Strawberry Covered Chocolates, is a riff on a truffle from Dr. Gregor’s cookbook. I had coconut sugar in my cupboard, so I used that, but know that this healthy treat originally called for date sugar. To enhance the truffles’ Valentine’s Day status, I rolled the candies in strawberry powder. If you can’t find that in your market, see if you can find freeze dried strawberries. You can run them through a coffee grinder and – presto – strawberry powder.

My other chocolate candy choice is an old favorite that I make. I can’t remember how the recipe evolved but I use as few ingredients as possible to get the boldest flavor. You will find that they are true to the peanut butter and chocolate tastes without any unnecessary fillers.

Today I offer you two recipes, in the name of love and chocolate. Show love to yourself and others with these decadent vegan candies.

Strawberry Covered Chocolates based on Almond-Chocolate Truffles from “The How Not To Die Cookbook” by Michael Greger, M.D. and Gene Stone

1/3 cup chopped and pitted soft dates *
1/3 cup raw cashews soaked in hot water for 3 hours and then drained
3 tablespoons almond butter
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup coconut sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Strawberry powder, for coating

Combine dates and cashews in a food processor and process to a paste. Add almond butter and process to combine. Add cocoa powder, coconut sugar, vanilla, and 1 teaspoon of water. Pulse until well combined.

Pinch a piece of the mixture between your fingers to see whether it holds together. If it’s too dry, add a little more water, 1 teaspoon at a time, until the mixture can be shaped into balls. (The amount of water added can depend on the amount of moisture in your dates.) If the mixture is too soft, refrigerate it for 20 minutes or longer to firm up. If it’s still too soft, add a little more cocoa powder, 1 teaspoon at a time. The mixture should be slightly glossy.

Use your hands to shape and roll a small amount of the mixture into a ball and transfer to a plate. Repeat until all of the mixture has been formed into about 24 balls. Put the plate in the fridge for 10 minutes for the balls to dry out a bit.

rolling and dipping chocolates

rolling and dipping chocolates

Place the strawberry powder in a shallow bowl. Roll the chocolates in the powder until they’re coated, patting off the excess powder. Transfer the candies to a plate and refrigerate until firm.

* If your dates are not soft, soak them in hot water for 20 minutes. Drain and pat dry before using.

 

Sweetheart Peanut Butter Cups

3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
2 TBS coconut palm syrup (you can use agave syrup instead)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
9 ounces bittersweet chocolate (at least 65% cocoa), chopped

In a bowl, mix peanut butter with coconut palm syrup and vanilla until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge to chill.

Melt chocolate in the top of a double boiler, stirring frequently until smooth. Remove from heat. With a pastry brush, apply a generous layer of chocolate inside each cup of a silicon mold. The chocolate cups should be sturdy enough to hold the filling, so coat the bottom and sides but don’t fill them to the top. Place the mold in the fridge for 30 minutes so the chocolate hardens.

coating silicon mold with chocolate

coating silicon mold with chocolate

Reheat remaining chocolate until smooth. Spoon about 1/2 TBS peanut butter filling into each chocolate cup. With a clean spoon, quickly spoon remaining melted chocolate over the filling to cover. Refrigerate until chocolate hardens, for 20 minutes. Unmold hardened chocolates.

Happy non-baking!

Advertisements

Strawberry Tea Bread

Strawberry Tea Bread

Strawberry Tea Bread

Just in time for Sunday brunch – I needed bread that would go great alongside eggs and mimosas. Strawberries are available everywhere so they were my first choice to flavor a bread. A short search of my files revealed a recipe for a vegan quick bread that incorporated these lovely berries.

For altitude I reduced sugar and baking soda. I added milk, although there was none, to help with dryness at altitude.To make it a little healthier, I took out some regular flour and put in whole wheat. The last change was substituting ginger for cinnamon, but that was merely to please my own taste buds. Add vegan cream cheese and fresh strawberries to a slice, and you’re set.

Strawberry Tea Bread adapted from Strawberry Quick Bread
1 1/4 cups sugar
2/3 cups canola oil
1 TBS arrowroot powder
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 TBS unsweetened non-dairy milk
1 1/2 cups mashed strawberries with their juice
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 tsp powdered ginger
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 cups all purpose flour
Preheat oven to 400F. Grease 3 cavities of a mini loaf pan. In a large bowl, mix sugar and oil. In a small bowl, combine arrowroot and applesauce, then add to large bowl and stir. Stir milk and strawberries with juice into sugar mixture. Add baking soda, baking powder, and lemon juice, and whisk to combine evenly, without lumps. Stir in vanilla and ginger. One cup at a time, add flours and stir to incorporate into a smooth batter.
Pour batter into prepared loaf pan. Bake for 30-33 minutes until tops turns golden brown. Remove to a wire rack and run a knife around the edges of each loaf. Allow loaves to cool for at least 10 minutes before turning them out to cool completely on a wire rack.

Until next time, happy baking!

Strawberry Champagne Celebration Cupcakes

strawberry champagne chocolate cupcakes

strawberry champagne chocolate cupcakes

For my New Year’s Eve Celebration I had to come up with something special. Something chocolate. And champagne. And strawberry. I saw pipette kits for infusing cupcakes with liquid and knew I had my solution. I just had to bring it all together.

My standby chocolate cupcake recipe was the base so I didn’t need to make adjustments there. I added powdered dried strawberries to the frosting to complement the champagne that would be imbued into the cupcakes. I now had a decadent dessert worthy of ringing in the New Year. Happy and Decadent 2017 to all!

Strawberry Champagne Celebration Cupcakes
cupcakes
1 cup almond milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup organic sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup + 1 TBS all-purpose flour
1/3 cup Navitas Naturals cacao powder
generous 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
frosting
1/2 cup nonhydrogenated shortening
1/2 cup nonhydrogenated margarine
3 1/2 cups organic powdered sugar, sifted if clumpy
1 TBS powdered freeze dried strawberries (I used Just Strawberries)
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup almond milk
decorations
pipettes
champagne
For Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350F and line a 12-cupcake pan with paper liners. Whisk together the milk and vinegar in a large bowl, and set aside for a few minutes to curdle. Add sugar, oil, and vanilla to the milk mixture and beat until foamy.
In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add in two batches to wet ingredients and beat just until no large lumps remain. Pour evenly into liners, filling three-quarters of the way. Bake 18-19 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely.
For Frosting: Beat shortening and margarine together until well combined and fluffy. Add powdered sugar and beat for 3 more minutes. Add dried strawberries, vanilla and milk and beat for another 5-7 minutes until fluffy.
For Decorating: Frost cooled cupcakes. Dip pipettes into champagne and draw some liquid up into the bulbs. Insert pipettes into cupcakes without squeezing; you will squeeze them just before eating.

Until next time, happy baking!

Chocolate Strawberry Snack Bars

chocolate strawberry snack barI was craving a snack, and I had oat flour to use up, so these bars were born. They’re a yummy combination of chocolate and strawberry with the healthiness of oats. It’s a fairly simple recipe to make, after you get a few things chopped. Plus, you can eat them for a breakfast treat.

The recipe I found had blueberries but I envisioned a chocolate covered strawberry. I also swapped out some all purpose flour for the oat flour I mentioned. Baking powder and milk were included to give lift to the gluten-free oat flour and add moisture needed at high altitude.

Chocolate Strawberry Snack Bars based on Blueberry Crumble Bars
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup oat flour
1.5 cups rolled oats
3/4 cups brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 TBS almond milk
7 TBS vegan margarine, cubed
2.5 oz dark chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup vegan sugar
1 TBS arrowroot powder
1 lb strawberries, chopped and drained
Line a 9×9” pan with foil, leaving overhanging flaps, and grease with shortening. In a food processor pulse together flours, oats, brown sugar, baking powder and salt until combined. Add in milk and margarine and pulse until combined. Divide mixture in half and press half into bottom of prepared pan to form a crust. Spread chopped chocolate over crust.
In a bowl, whisk together vegan sugar and arrowroot. Add in strawberries and coat in sugar mixture. Spread berries on top of crust. Spread remaining crust mixture on top of berries and press lightly. Refrigerate pan for 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 350F. Bake for 35-40 minutes until fruit starts to bubble. Store in fridge for 3 days in an airtight container.

Until next time, happy baking!

Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumble

strawberry rhubarb crumble

strawberry rhubarb crumble

Rhubarb. I opened up my farm box and that’s what stared back at me. Of course I had heard of rhubarb before but I had never tried it. Not knowing what it tasted like meant I didn’t know what to do with it. I had seen rhubarb recipes before but they were for jam (with lots and lots of sugar) or for pie (and I don’t like pie – it’s a crust thing). So I began an extensive search on the vegetable.

The recipe that finally caught my eye was for a crumble. I was intrigued by the fact that it contained turmeric, that anti-inflammatory herb that has received so much press lately. Another ingredient in the recipe got my attention – the lack of refined sugar. I had found a recipe for a healthy and delicious dessert that I could easily modify.

The changes I made were simple. First off I adapted it to include my star ingredient – rhubarb. Next, I decided that this dish should contain some healthy fat in the form of coconut oil. Why add fat? Well, the crumble seemed like it would make a nice breakfast. It had protein, fruit and fiber, but it needed a little fat to round it out. Here it is, ready for breakfast or dessert.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumble adapted from OrganicConnectMag.com
¼ cup + 2 TBS maple syrup, divided
1 TBS dried ground turmeric
2 cups diced rhubarb
2 cups hulled and quartered strawberries
1 cup almond flour
2 TBS cold coconut oil
¼ cup almonds, chopped
¼ cup walnuts, chopped
1 tsp cinnamon
⅛ tsp nutmeg
⅛ tsp sea salt
Preheat oven to 375 F. Lightly grease an 8×8” baking dish. In a bowl, combine ¼ cup maple syrup and turmeric. Add rhubarb and strawberries and toss to coat. Add mixture to baking dish. In a bowl, combine almond flour, 2 TBS maple syrup, and coconut oil. Mix in almonds, walnuts, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Evenly spread topping over mixture in baking dish, breaking up clumps as you go. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes, until berries are bubbling and topping is golden. Serve warm.

Until next time, happy baking!