carob powder

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

Gillian’s 6-minute carob cake (vegan)

5th January 2016

full cake 1

While staying with Gillian, I had the honour and privilege of spending time and cooking together with her in her exquisite kitchen.  I left fulfilled and inspired along with a favourite book tucked into my suitcase and together with a bundle of recipes.  This is one of them, which we cooked together for Christmas Eve dinner. It is a celebratory cake which Gillian bakes for all birthdays, celebrations and special occasions. Sometimes using cocoa powder instead of the carob powder, and in summer decorated with fresh strawberry slices, and in winter, pomegranate seeds.

Gillian possesses a divine talent for cooking, a grace which flows through her to create a perfect balance of tastes, leaving a feeling of deep satisfaction and contentment.  Each dish is created with such pure intention and ease – a delight for the senses.

Gillians home sunriseperfect spot for teasunrise on slate stones

A few more photos of our trip – still on Paul & Gillian’s idyllic property.  I spent almost a week there, and it felt like a retreat. Waking early, painting in silence, morning tea by candlelight. Then just as the light started to change, I would bundle myself up, camera in hand, and venture out of my warm, little room walking the surrounding forest, breathing in the silence, and soaking up nature’s soft beauty in the morning golden light.

side view chocolate cake

Gillian’s 6-minute carob cake

Recipe adapted from ‘Enlightened Eating’ by Caroline Marie Dupont.

A fast and delicious treat that can be mixed right into the baking pan.  The recipe says that it is not necessary to grease the pan, but I have not been brave enough to try that.  Carob is a naturally sweet, nutritious little gem.  The taste of carob does vary – I prefer using a lighter variety.

For the best result, I make this cake the day before and keep in the fridge.

ingredients 

1½ cups whole-spelt flour

cup unsweetened carob powder

1 tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

1 cup coconut sugar (or unrefined cane sugar)

½ cup good quality olive/sunflower oil

1 cup cold water

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 Tbsp vinegar – I use apple cider vinegar

to make the cake

1.  Preheat the oven to 375F/190C. Grease an 8-inch square pan or an 8-inch round baking pan.

2.  Mix together the flour, carob, baking soda, salt, and coconut sugar in the greased baking pan and stir to combine – set aside.

3.  In a large measuring jug, measure and mix together the sunflower oil, water and vanilla extract.

4.  Pour the liquid ingredients into the baking pan and mix batter with a fork or small whisk.

choco cake in the making

5.  When the batter is smooth, add the vinegar and stir quickly.  There will be pale swirls in the batter where the baking soda and the vinegar are reacting.  Stir just until the vinegar is evenly distributed throughout the batter.

swirling batter

6.  Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  When cooked, remove from oven, set aside to cool completely and then, refrigerate for 30 minutes.

carob glaze

elias frosting

I love this glaze, so simple with minimum ingredients.  What is created is a thick (because of the coconut oil), pourable glaze with no nasty sugars or powders.  The coconut oil is liquid when heated, and solidifies when in contact with the cold – because of this it plays an important role in thickening this glaze.

ingredients 

2 Tbsp cold-pressed coconut oil – melted

cup maple syrup

cup carob powder

preparation 

1. Melt the coconut oil in a small saucepan, then turn off the heat.

2. Add the maple syrup and carob powder, mix with a small whisk or fork until smooth – set aside to cool.

3.  Remove the cake from the fridge, drizzle over the glaze.  When ready to serve, decorate with strawberry slices or pomegranate seeds and sprinkle with dried shredded coconut.

elias with cakeGoodness shared by Stacey

Baked by Gillian

Decorated by Elias

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