Archives for category: Chocolate

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This was somewhat of a magical spring weekend in Brooklyn. Finally, warmth. Finally, a reason to use sunscreen. Finally, dust off the bike and get in the park. I didn’t waste a minute of it. Saturday I was at the farmer’s market in Grand Army Plaza plucking asparagus and radishes (post to come soon). The cherry blossoms made a rosé carpet of petals. Today it was the Fifth Avenue market in Park Slope, stopping by to visit friends at the Butterstein’s kettle corn stand and Runner & Stone‘s tent for Peter Endriss’s almond croissants and rye miche. Other weekend treats included nettle gnochi (from Runner & Stone’s brick-and-mortar restaurant in Gowanus), tatsoi dressed with lemon and olive oil that I made at home, and these chocolate coconut date bars. Raw, vegan. Inspired by fellow blogger Emily von Euw’s recipe for chocolate cream caramel bars over at This Rawsome Vegan Life.

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My friend Jill and I made some substitutions which ultimately worked well but left us with more of a peanut-butter-and-jelly style bar than a chocolate-cream-caramel. We substituted a cup of dates in the nut butter layer with a cup of dried cherries (because we ran out of dates, oops!); and we used peanut butter instead of cashew butter mostly because it’s cheaper. Next time though I think I’ll try with the cashew butter and dates, but this version is lip-smacking. And there is no baking, no heat involved. All you need is a blender or food processor.

And go see the new Jon Favreau movie Chef. It’s the story of a father learning how to get close to his son. It’s a story about how to make the best Cubanos. About how not to settle in life. Just don’t watch this movie hungry like I did.

I also include a photo below of the new Dan Graham installation on the Met’s rooftop garden. If you’re in New York, go see it!  The views, even on a rainy misty evening, are sublime.

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Chocolate Coconut Date Bars (Raw & Vegan)
Adapted from This Rawsome Vegan Life

For the crust:
1 1/4 cup almond flour (or 1 cup almonds)
1 cup dates
pinch of salt

For the nut butter layer:
1/2 cup peanut butter or cashew butter
1/2 cup coconut oil
1 cup dried cherries or dates

For the chocolate layer:
1/3 cup coconut oil
2-3 tbsp cocoa powder
1/4 cup sweetener (I used date syrup; maple syrup or honey would work)
Sea salt, for sprinkling

To make the crust:
Blend the almonds (or almond flour) with the dates in a food processor or blender until smooth and stuck together. Press the mixture evenly into the bottom of a loaf pan or 8 x 8 baking pan lined with parchment paper. Refrigerate while you prepare the rest.

To make the remaining two layers:
Mix the nut butter, coconut oil, and dried cherries or dates in your food processor or blender until smooth. Pour over the slightly chilled crust layer. Refrigerate while you prepare the final layer. Wipe out your blender and add the remaining coconut oil, cocoa powder, and sweetener. Blend until smooth and pour this final layer on top. Chill in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. Or in the freezer for about 30 minutes. Before serving sprinkle some Maldon sea salt flakes over the top.

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Like most New Yorkers (heck, New Englanders, East Coasters, Mid-Atlanticers) I feel that spring can not get here fast enough. I want to start making and blogging about produce-based dishes with exotic ingredients like asparagus, ramps, and spring lettuces. I fear I may be in a dessert–breads–grains rut for lack of seasonal inspiration. Alas, this yummy gooey breakfast-or-is-it-dessert (does it matter?) banana bread.

I’m not want one to roll my eyes at excessive chocolate. In fact, I open them wide and grin a wide grin. My friend @superdaniela tipped me off to this double chocolate banana bread over at smitten kitchen and I decided to give it a whirl, substituting and creating variations on a theme as I so often do. (Maple syrup instead of sugar, for instance.)

Last year at this time I was blogging about spicy carrots and the year before a chickpea sauté with pickled shallots and there are actual photos in that post with blossoming trees! One day, I’m told, spring will come again.

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Chocolate Banana Bread
adapted from Smitten Kitchen

3 medium-to-large very ripe bananas
1/2 c Earth Balance or coconut oil, melted
1/2 c maple syrup
1 large egg
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 c whole wheat flour
1/2 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c cocoa powder
1/2 c semisweet or dark chocolate chips or pieces
1/2 c chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease a loaf pan (8 x 4 or 9 x 5 in.) and set aside.

Mash the bananas in the bottom of a large bowl. Add the melted butter, maple syrup, egg, and vanilla. Combine. In a separate medium bowl, sift the baking soda, salt, cinnamon, flours, and cocoa powder. Add to the banana mixture, stirring just until combined. Then stir in the chocolate chips and walnuts.

Pour into the prepared loaf pan and bake for approx. 55 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean (save for some melted chocolate chips!). Cool in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes then run a butter knife enough along the edges and flip upside down onto a cooling rack.

Store at room temperature wrapped in foil or wax paper.

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Yes. I. Did. I so went there. In my last post I solicited ideas for using the leftover almond pulp from making almond milk. And wouldn’t you know my friend Monica wrote in with a great recipe from the Wishful Chef blog. Thank god, because who wants to throw out a pound of perfectly good organic ground-up almonds? Not I. Also, thanks Moni for introducing me to this great blog by a fellow Brooklynite.

So, here goes. One reason I made this, in addition to wanting to use all the leftover almonds, I had all the other ingredients on hand. Flax seeds: check. Coconut oil, almond milk: check, check. I didn’t actually have the two dates called for, but improvised by using dried apricots instead. This is a fast and forgiving recipe—I didn’t even quite measure everything exactly. And feel free to substitute if you don’t have all the right ingredients. No vanilla sugar? Just use sugar and vanilla extract. No coconut oil? You could use walnut oil, grapeseed oil, canola, etc. No dates? Any dried fruit would do.

These are great for a not-so-sweet accompaniment to your late-afternoon tea/coffee run. (Full disclosure: I’ve been eating these for breakfast.) It’s sort of like having almond butter on toast. Sort of. And the dark cocoa powder satisfies chocolate cravings, sans dairy, flour, or eggs. Magic.

While I really like the way these turned out, I will not be bringing them to my grandmother’s on Sunday. I think these definitely fall in the “too scary” category for her taste. Also, they are barely sweet at all. Kiss of death. (More for me.)

Actually, you could add some agave syrup to the mixture to increase the sweetness factor if you want something more desserty, but I kind of like these just the way they are.

Coconut Almond Cookies
Adapted from The Wishful Chef

2 c almond pulp, leftover from making almond milk
2 dates (or apricots, prunes, etc.) chopped and soaked in 2 tbsp hot water, then mashed to a pulp
1/2 c dark cocoa powder
2 tbsp melted coconut oil
2 tbsp coconut flakes
1/3 c almond milk
1 tbsp ground flax seeds
2 tbsp vanilla sugar (or 2 tbsp raw cane sugar plus 1 tsp vanilla extract)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp agave syrup, optional
powdered sugar, for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 350 F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix thoroughly. Roll mixture into balls using about 1 tbsp of dough. Flatten out with the back of a fork, and bake for about 30 minutes. Cool on a wire rack, then sprinkle with powdered sugar.

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