almond butter

almond quinoa chocolate bites (vegan)

21st September 2016

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Cool softened air, full mOOn swell, falling leaves, savouring the light….

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These have been a decadent treat around here.  Loved by all.  Perfect when you need something more than a dried date or fig for a sweet after a meal. Based on this recipe from Green Kitchen Stories – a wonderful video is included showing you just how easy they are to make.  I altered the recipe, adding ¼ cup hot water to the dates when mashing them. Even though the dates I used were soft, the hot water helped in the overall consistency. Instead of pumpkin seeds, I used extra almonds and toasted them to make them snappy and to bring out their flavour. I prefer using just almonds, as their qualities are less heating than most other nuts and seeds.  You could use a carob topping instead of the chocolate, by melting down carob buttons or using this glaze. My daughter takes out the chocolate completely and sprinkles extra coconut over the top.

almond butter quinoa chocolate bars - 1 (1)

almond quinoa chocolate bars

The secret ingredient is well-toasted homemade almond butter – make your own!

Preparation 20 minutes

Makes 16 squares/32 bite-size squares.

ingredients

¾ cup/100g whole almonds

200g/11 soft Medjool dates -pitted

2 Tbsp coconut oil

¼ cup/60ml hot water

1 cup/240g home-made almond butter

1 cup/30g puffed quinoa

chocolate topping

100g dark chocolate (55%)

2 Tbsp dried unsweetened coconut

preparation

1.  Preheat the oven to 350F/180C.  Line a 7 x 7-inch baking tray with baking paper, leaving 2-inches around the edges – set aside.

2.  Place the whole almonds on a tray and toast for 10 – 12 minutes – allow to cool, roughly chop and set aside.

3.  Melt the coconut oil in a medium saucepan over low heat, remove from heat and add the dates, pour in the hot water, allow to sit for 5 – 10 minutes to soften, then proceed to mash with a fork until smooth.

4.  Mix in almond butter – combine well until it all comes together, then add puffed quinoa, roasted almonds, incorporating everything evenly.

5.  Using your hands or the back of a large spoon, press the mixture very tightly into the lined dish, until completely even and flat. Use an extra square piece of baking paper to place over the top, run your hands over to even out. Use the edges of the baking paper, to fold over and run your finger along to create level sides and corners – set aside.

chocolate topping

6.  Melt the chocolate in a double boiler over barely simmering water, remove from heat, then using a spatula, spread the chocolate evenly over the slice. Sprinkle with half the shredded coconut, leaving the other half to sprinkle on later.

7.  Place in the freezer for at least 4 hours, until cold and firm.

8.  Using a sharp knife, cut into bite-sized squares or rectangular bars. Store in an airtight container in the freezer. The bars will keep for a month.

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Goodness shared by Stacey

amaranth almond date bars with carob (vegan)

17th February 2016

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The sun is shining!  I got to open the door to welcome breezes and beautiful silent visitors.

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These are lovely, chewy decadent bars, for a special treat that everyone loves after a busy day.

Goji berries are earthy, slightly astringent and mildly sweet.  Known to be abundant in antioxidants, trace minerals, essential amino acids, Vitamin C, and beta-carotene.  Amaranth has a sweet, nutty flavour and is exceptionally high in protein and calcium.  Which makes these quite the ‘superfood bar’!

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amaranth almond date bars with carob

Makes 8 large rectangular bars/16 square

Inspiration & recipe slightly adapted from here.

‘If popping your own amaranth feels a little challenging, you can purchase it already popped/puffed or if amaranth is hard to find, replace with popped quinoa.  The goji berries can be replaced with dried raspberries, sultanas, or any dried fruit of choice.’

ingredients

1 cup popped amaranth

100 grams pitted, soft Medjool dates (about 5 large dates)

1 Tbsp coconut oil – melted

½ cup home-made almond butter

pinch salt

zest from 1 large lemon

1½ tsp freshly grated ginger

2 Tbsp coconut flakes

3 Tbsp finely chopped almonds

3 Tbsp finely chopped dried goji berries plus 1 Tbsp (for garnishing)

1 Tbsp dried shredded coconut (for garnishing)

carob coating

2 Tbsp coconut oil

¼ cup carob powder

¼ cup maple syrup

½ tsp vanilla essence(optional)

popping the amaranth

Directions from ‘At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen.’

‘Popping amaranth seems challenging at first, so if you burn your first batch, which I did, you get the hang of it.  It’s easy and fun.  Once you get the temperature of the pan correct, the popping happens fast (in about 15 seconds).  You need to remove the popped grain from the pot immediately to avoid burning.’

Makes about 1 cup

¼ cup amaranth

1.  Warm a small heavy-bottomed pot with a lid over high heat for 2 minutes, add 1 tablespoon amaranth and cover pot immediately.  Count 5 seconds and shake pan; you will hear the grain popping rapidly.  Shake again, or until all the grains are popped.   I could never get all the grains to pop, but this is no problem, as even the unpopped grains are crunchy.  Quickly transfer to a bowl. Repeat with remaining amaranth, 1 tablespoon at a time.  Set aside.

amaranth bars

2. Line a 7-inch x 7-inch square dish with baking paper.

3.  Place the dates in a bowl and mash with a fork.  If your dates are not soft, soak them in water for a few minutes, then drain well and proceed to mash. Add coconut oil, almond butter, salt, lemon zest, ginger and coconut flakes.  Mix well, pushing down with the back of a fork, until combined.

4.  Add the amaranth, chopped almonds and 2 tablespoons of dried goji berries, incorporating everything evenly.  The mixture may seem dry, but this is fine as it will be packed tightly in the dish.

5.  Using your hands or the back of a spoon, press the mixture very tightly into the lined dish, until completely even and flat.  Place in the fridge while preparing the carob coating.

carob coating 

6.  Melt the coconut oil in a small saucepan, then turn off the heat, add the maple syrup and carob powder –  whisk until smooth, then stir in the vanilla essence – set aside.

7.  Remove the amaranth slice from the fridge, then using a spatula, spread the carob coating evenly over the slice.  Sprinkle with the remaining dried goji berries and shredded coconut.

8.  Place in the fridge for at least 1 hour, until cold and firm.  Using a sharp knife, cut into bite-sized squares or rectangular bars.  Store in an airtight container in the fridge.  The bars will keep up to 2 weeks, probably longer if they last that long.

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Goodness shared by Stacey

chocolate almond butter brownies with sea salt (vegan)

4th June 2015

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this was our week….

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thank-you Abi, Isaac, Aaron and Seth… It was so much FUN!

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When you are in the mood for a rich, chocolate treat, these really hit the spot.  They are divine, decadent, I end up cutting these squares into quarters for smaller bite-size pieces.

chocolate almond butter brownies with sea salt

Original recipe here.

You may want to refer to the original recipe above if you’re a serious chocolate lover and prefer the intensity of the chocolate flavour using a darker percentage of chocolate.  I prefer a less intense chocolate flavour, less bitter and more sweetness.

I used Medjool dates which are very moist so there was no need to soak them.  But if you are using regular dry dates, soak them for 20 minutes and drain well before adding them to the blender.

ingredients 

½ cup Medjool dates, pitted 

1½ cups whole-spelt flour

½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1½ tsp aluminium-free baking powder

¼ cup homemade almond butter  + 2 Tbsp

¾ cup oil (I used ½ coconut oil & ¼ olive oil)

¾ cup maple syrup

½ cup light brown sugar

¼ cup homemade almond milk  (can use plain soy)

¼ tsp sea salt

1 Tbsp vanilla essence

½ cup 55% dark chocolate chips or a roughly chopped dark chocolate bar

½ cup toasted pecans/almonds, chopped

a sprinkling of flakey sea salt

preparation 

1.  Preheat the oven to 350F /180C.  Line a 13 x 9-inch pan with parchment paper.  Brush paper and sides of pan lightly with oil, and set aside.

2.  Sift flour, cocoa powder and baking powder into a medium bowl – whisk to combine and set aside.

3.  In a blender or food processor, place almond butter, oil, maple syrup, sugar, almond milk, salt, vanilla, and dates – blend until smooth (It’s okay if a few small date pieces are not blended).

4.  Pour into sifted flour mixture and stir with a rubber spatula until almost combined.

5.  Stir the chocolate pieces into the batter, being careful not to over-mix.

6.  Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and spread out evenly.  The batter will be thick.  Sprinkle with toasted pecans/almonds and a sprinkling of flakey salt.

7.  Bake for 25 minutes or until edges pull away from sides of pan and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.  Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.

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Goodness shared by Stacey

rich & creamy chocolate nut shake

22nd February 2015

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right knowledge + right action = good result

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~plus I got to spend the afternoon doing silly stuff~

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rich & creamy chocolate nut shake

Serves 2 

The frozen banana makes this shake rich and creamy.  If you don’t like the taste of banana, half an avocado will work just as well.  The protein from the almond butter leaves you feeling satisfied and full. The maca powder is rich in mineral content and a natural hormone balancer for both men and women. Raw cacao is full of healthy antioxidants.  

If you would like a little chocolate chip crunch in your shake add 2 tablespoons of raw cacao nibs at the end and blitz for 5 – 10 seconds.

ingredients

1 medium frozen banana

2 Tbsp raw cacao or cocoa powder

2 Tbsp almond butter (or any unsalted nut butter)

1 Tbsp maca powder

1 Tbsp maple syrup (or 2 fresh dates)

1 cup almond milk

tiny pinch of Himalayan salt

preparation

1.  Place the banana, cacao powder, almond butter, maca powder, maple syrup, almond milk and a pinch of salt in the blender – mix on high speed until you have a smooth consistency.

2.  Pour into 2 glasses, sprinkle with cacao powder and enjoy.

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 Goodness shared by Stacey

almond butter

8th April 2012

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Spring is here and the garden is exploding with colours and fragrance.  The Jasmin is in full bloom and the wisteria is in its full, lilac beauty.  This also means there is so much work to do in this explosion of growth and enthusiasm.  I just unloaded my car with bags and bags of manure and a whole box full of summer seedlings, which need to be planted today after I write this post.  But first, a favourite and a constant staple in our house – toasted almond butter.

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Roasting the nuts before grinding is optional.  I like how it brings out the wonderful nutty aroma of the almond.  If you decide to keep them raw just keep in mind the grinding process will be much longer and you will require a very powerful grinder. You can try all sorts of nut or seed butter creations, like sunflower – brazil or combining sesame – macadamia, almond – hazelnut.  Just make sure with hazelnuts you remove the bitter skins by rubbing them together after roasting.  I prefer using just almonds, as their qualities are less heating than most other nuts and seeds. 

If the nut butter doesn’t come together or you need to speed up the process, add a tablespoon of walnut oil or oil of your choice after the first 4 minutes of grinding.  The process is a bit daunting, but just have patience and don’t quit too early.

My favourite way of eating almond butter is smeared on two halves of a Medjool date for a sweet at the end of a meal.  My son loves to eat crunchy apple slices dipped in almond butter and enjoys it with home-made strawberry jam on bread.

Makes a wonderful welcome gift for someone special.

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toasted almond butter

Makes approximately 2 cups

Preparation – 30 minutes

Ingredients 

4 cups whole raw organic almonds

¼ tsp rock salt (optional)

preparation 

1.  Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.

2.  Toast the almonds – spread the almonds out in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for 12 – 15 minutes until fragrant and they are just starting to brown lightly inside; if not then return to the oven for another 2 minutes and check again.   Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

3. Grind the almonds – transfer to a food processor, add salt and blend, using the highest setting for 1 – 2 minutes to grind them to a powder.  Scrape down the sides of the container.  The whole process takes between 12 – 18 minutes, all depending on the machine you are using, the quality and quantity of the almonds and how well they are roasted.

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After two minutes, it should look like a coarse almond meal:

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After 4 minutes, the oils will start to release:

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As it keeps blending it will release more of the oils and look like this.  You may need to stop and scrape down the sides.

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After 8 – 10 minutes it will look like this.  A ball may form, break it up into a few pieces and keep blending and scraping down the sides…..

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After 12 – 14 minutes, it will look like this.  Keep going….you want to wait until the oils are fully released.

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And finally, 2 – 4 more minutes, blend until it is completely smooth with a slight sheen.

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I find that the almond butter needs to sit for 1 – 2 hours after making it for the flavours to develop and come together.  Store in a jar in the fridge and use within 1 month.

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Goodness shared from Stacey

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