chocolate

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

Gillian’s chocolate chip nut butter cookies (vegan)

19th June 2012

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One month ago we had the honour of hosting our teacher from India and his wife in our home. It makes me so very happy and so appreciative that we were given this opportunity. Such an honour to wake up and have your teacher sitting in your garden and to have the blessing of being in his presence every day, hearing his divine wisdom and sitting twice daily for meditation in his presence.

We also had our dear friends travel from America and India to join in the seminar and stay with us in our home.  It was wonderful. Three women and three amazing cooks! The meals were outstanding. It was so nice to be held and to be surrounded on a daily basis by like-minded souls, in light, creativity, fun, encouragement and support, in love and inspiration….and also to see us all expand into our yogic journey.


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IMG_3009_ACHARYA_yaelilan_LowResImages by Yael Ilan

These cookies were a part of those two weeks. Gillian would whip them up in a matter of minutes whenever we needed a sweet to go with our tea.  I have made these many times since they all have left. This is my version of them.

With this supportive experience and the upcoming move to Portugal, it was a wonderful way to say goodbye to Israel and our beautiful home.

Change is on the horizon…..so much of it too….just thinking of it makes my head spin.

chocolate chip nut butter cookies

Preparation – 20 minutes

Makes about 18 sumptuous cookies.

Gillian’s recipe used rice flour, instead of the spelt.  Any gluten-free flour should substitute.  If you prefer a chewy cookie, take the cookies from the oven at 12 minutes.

If you prefer to omit the chocolate, small currants or raisins work nicely. Soak them beforehand. I like to use a combination of peanut and almond butter, and recently I have been making these with a flour ratio of ½ cup ground almond/pecan, ½ cup whole-wheat spelt, ½ cup oat flour. Make the oat flour by putting whole oats into your blender, grind on high until you get a flour-like consistency.

ingredients 

¾ cup/90g whole spelt flour

¾ cup/75g oat flour

¼ tsp baking powder

¼ tsp rock salt

¼ cup/60ml peanut/almond butter of choice (I like to use 2 Tbsp of each)

cup/80ml maple syrup

¼ cup/60ml coconut oil (warmed to a liquid)

1 tsp vanilla extract

 cup/50g dark chocolate chips or dark chocolate bar, chopped

cup/50g roughly chopped hazelnuts or flaked almonds

preparation 

1.  Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2.  In a large bowl, mix the flours, baking soda and salt – set aside.

3.  In a separate bowl, combine the nut butter, maple syrup, coconut oil and vanilla – mix through evenly, then fold in the chocolate chips and nuts.

4.  Pour the wet into the dry ingredients, and fold them together until well combined.

5.  Using your hands, mould the biscuits into small balls onto the parchment-lined baking sheet.

6.  Press down lightly on each cookie with the back of a fork or with your fingers and bake for 12 – 15 minutes.  Do not over-bake or they will be dry.

7.  Allow the cookies to cool and transfer to a cooling rack.

You may need to double the recipe next time as they go really, really quickly!!

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Goodness shared from Stacey

rosemary & olive oil cake

27th May 2010

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I tried putting off making this cake when I first spotted it on Heidi Swanson’s blog last week, but the intrigue and curiosity of rosemary and olive oil in a cake recipe was too much for me, so I had to give it a try. The reason I was reluctant in trying this is that I knew having a cake like this sitting in the house could be dangerous. And plus, I am not too big on chocolate. That’s my sister’s department!

The scent of this cake baking was worth it in itself, even before tasting.  Like Heidi says, “Incredibly moist, golden-crumbed, flecked with rosemary and dotted with big and small chocolate chunks.  It is one of those cakes that is distinctive and memorable in an understated way.  You can see the wheels turning in people’s minds as they are taking their first bite.  The rosemary is the wild card factor here, and it permeates the cake in a subtle but steady way, not at all overpowering.”

The original recipe was taken from ‘Good to Grain: Baking with Whole-Grain Flours’ by Kim Boyce.  I had a sneak peak on Amazon and it is on its way to becoming a part of my cooking library.

We are undertaking house renovations at the moment, so I served this to the workers, and boy did it put a smile on everybody’s face!

I followed Heidi’s recipe.  She recommended using regular sugar, I only had brown sugar and the results were still great!  In all my enthusiasm, I did forget to put in the milk but managed to discreetly add it after the chocolate.  Thankfully it survived and all was okay with the finished product. Phew!

I love recipes where I need to go directly to the garden to pick at least one of the ingredients. The olive oil I used, was a present from our neighbours who have an olive orchard and press their own oil. Wonderful quality and intoxicating smell.  Perfect to use in making this cake.  The eggs are from our dear little chickens who just laid them this morning.

Here are a few before and after shots from the house renovations.

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rosemary & olive oil cake

Serves 8 – 12 

Recipe from 101 Cookbooks

Olive oil for the pan

dry ingredients

¾ cup/80g spelt flour

1 ½ cups/210g all-purpose flour

¾ cup/115g sugar

1½ tsp baking powder

1½ tsp salt

wet ingredients

3 eggs or 3 flax eggs (3 Tbsp ground flax + ½ cup water – mix and allow to sit 15 minutes)

1 cup/240ml olive oil

¾ cup/180ml whole milk

1½ Tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped

140g bittersweet chocolate (70 percent cocoa), chopped into ½ inch pieces

2 Tbsp sugar, for top crunch

preparation 

1.  Preheat the oven to 350F/175C.  Grease a 9½-inch fluted tart pan with olive oil or a long 13-inch loaf pan.

2.  Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl, pouring any bits of grain or other ingredients left in the sifter back into the bowl.  Set aside.

3.  In another large bowl, whisk the eggs/flax eggs thoroughly, add the olive oil, milk and rosemary and whisk again.

4.  Using a spatula, fold the wet ingredients into the dry, gently mixing just until combined, then stir in  of the chocolate.

5.  Pour the batter into the pan, spreading it evenly and smoothing the top, then sprinkle with the remaining chocolate and run a fork along the length of the chocolate so that the batter envelops it just a bit.  Sprinkle with the second sugar.

6.  Bake for about 40 mins, or until the top is domed, golden brown, and a skewer comes out clean. My cake, in the loaf pan, took closer to 50 minutes.

The cake can be eaten warm or cool from the pan, or cooled, wrapped tightly in plastic, and kept for 2 days.

Goodness shared from Stacey

chocolate fudge cupcakes

27th July 2009

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I am an advocate for the health benefits of chocolate.  Yes, it can be full of fat and sugar, however, the current ‘research’ seems to favour dark chocolate and those with the highest percentage of cocoa.  So, I am a believer!  Added health benefits –  it just makes you feel good.

Hence, this post is going along those lines.  Chocolate fudge cupcakes.  This is the best version I have discovered.  Rich, crusty shell on top, moist on the inside and fudgy. Tried to ‘healthy-up’ this recipe, but a failure.  Tasted chocolatey, but was definitely missing something.  There is a strong part of me that finds it very difficult to follow a recipe exactly and not add/change something.  I try, but every time I look at a recipe, other ideas just take over.  However, sometimes it is best to know when some things should just stay as they are.  This is definitely one of those recipes, originally from ‘Delicious’.  I make them without the cream cheese frosting and walnuts and this time I replaced the white flour with whole wheat, and the caster sugar with unrefined brown sugar (whizzed in the mini processor). Ok, I did adapt just a little.  The recipe below has the original ingredients from ‘Delicious’ without the walnuts and frosting.   I have also discovered a wonderful cream cheese frosting that pipes well, but that will be another post.

chocolate fudge brownie cupcakes

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The quality of the ingredients you use definitely affects the taste.  I use organic flour and eggs and Lurpak unsalted butter.  I have experimented with a few different varieties of dark chocolate and have discovered that ‘Cadbury Old Gold 70% cocoa’ or the ‘Lindt Excellence 85%’ cocoa gives the best flavour and texture.

ingredients 

170g good-quality dark chocolate, chopped

120g unsalted butter

1 Tbsp golden syrup

pinch of fine rock salt

¾ cup (165g) caster sugar

2 eggs (room temperature)

½ cup (75g) plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

preparation 

1.  Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.  Line a cupcake pan with 8 paper cupcake liners.

2.  Melt chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water (very important for bowl not to come in contact with water) until they melt and are smooth.

3.  Stir in the golden syrup and a pinch of salt.  Remove from heat and set aside.

4.  Using an electric mixer, beat the sugar and eggs in a large bowl for 2 minutes or until mixture is thick and light.  Stir in the chocolate mixture.  Add the flour and baking powder, and stir until just blended.

5.  Divide batter equally among the cupcake liners, filling almost completely.  Bake in the oven for 20 – 25 minutes until the cupcakes puff and crack on top and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out with fudgy crumbs attached.

6.  Remove the cupcakes from the pan and let cool completely on a wire rack.  (I leave the cupcakes in tray for a few minutes before removing)

7.  Dust with icing sugar or a frosting of choice.

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Goodness shared from Donna

chocolate roulade…..a birthday treat!

16th July 2009

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I turned 40 last weekend and while the children stayed with their grandparents and aunt in London, I travelled up to the countryside in England with my dearest friend, Mary, who flew over from India, and my other dear friend, Anna, who followed from Israel.  We caught the train up to Carlisle and stayed with another dear, dear friend, Lulu, who lives on a very beautiful farm outside of  Brampton.

I celebrated in the quiet and in nature and in the company of three amazing women.  So many moments, so many blessings and so much sweetness shared.

Lulu had made this delicious chocolate roulade on the morning of my birthday.  The original recipe comes from ‘The Avoca Cafe Cookbook’.  The roulade itself has a very rustic, homemade look to it which just adds to its charm!
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chocolate roulade

Serves 8- 10

ingredients 

5 eggs, separated

175g caster sugar

175g dark chocolate (55 – 70 % milk solids)

75mL water

300mL pint double cream

icing sugar or berries to decorate

preparation 

1.  Pre-heat oven to 180C/350F. Line a 28 x35cm Swiss roulade tray with foil and grease lightly.

2.  Put the chocolate and water in a bowl, set over a pan of simmering water.  Leave until the chocolate has melted, stirring occasionally until smooth.  Leave to cool slightly.

3.  Using an electric beater with the whisk attachment, whisk the egg yolks and caster sugar together until the mixture is pale and mousse-like.  Hold a figure of eight trails from the whisk.

4.  Fold the melted chocolate mixture into the egg yolk mixture.

5.  Whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks, then fold into the chocolate mixture.

6.  Pour into the tin and bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes, or until firm to touch in the centre. Remove and cover with a damp cloth and leave to cool.

7.  Turn the roulade out onto a sheet of baking parchment and peel off the foil.

8.  Whip the cream and spread it evenly on top, then roll up, using the baking parchment to help.

9.  Dust with icing sugar and garnish with raspberries or strawberries.

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6533_1182050866919_1097637057_568082_1152894_nGoodness given to Stacey

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