Almond Joy Almond Butter

Almond Joy Almond Butter

Even though I’m a big chocolate fan, I tend to dislike candy bars. They’re just not chocolaty enough for me, too sweet, never worth the calories. The one exception used to be (pre-soy allergy) almond joy bars.

When I came across a jar of coconut-cocoa-almond butter in the discount bin at the grocery store, I was super excited. Upon arriving home, I discovered why it was discounted. It was rather dry and crumbly and somehow heavy and gloppy all at once. The chocolate and coconut flavors were indiscernible, and even the almond presence was rather lacking. I tried to salvage it by mixing in a little maple syrup, but it just wasn’t worth it. I had to throw it away, which I hated doing because food waste unnerves me. (insert rant here) 

almond joy almond butter

In stereotypical food blogger fashion, I decided instead to make my own coconut-cocoa almond butter. We live in the Pinterest era. DIY or bust.

I started this recipe with slivered raw almonds, which were somehow cheaper than whole raw almonds. Beginning with slivered almonds also means your blender has to do less work, thus reducing the risk of blender burnout. And the maple syrup supplies a wonderful blade lubricant without adding extra oil.

I will conceded that the added maple makes it somewhat less healthy than regular almond butters. On the other hand, it is a protein rich snack that’s perfect to satisfy a chocolate craving.

This is a wonderful back to school recipe because it’s so quick and easy. And if you don’t have kids (or your kids hate coconut, gah, why) you should make it for yourself anyways. It’s a candy bar in a jar, which is pretty much the cat’s pajamas.

 

Almond Joy Almond Butter

 

Almond Joy Almond Butter

Yield: approx 2 cups

Because of the maple syrup, this will become a coarse butter quickly, but it will take about 8 minutes to smooth out. Remember to give your food processor/blender a break every few minutes so that it doesn't overheat.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups slivered raw almonds
  • 3/4 cup unsweet coconut flakes
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder

Instructions

  1. Grind the almonds down to a coarse meal.
  2. Add the coconut and grind again.
  3. Add the cocoa powder and maple syrup. Process until it becomes a paste.
  4. Enjoy!
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http://kitchenwindowclovers.com/almond-joy-almond-butter/

easy vegan almond joy almond butter

The Best DIY Chocolate Syrup

  • no soy
  • no weird ingredients
  • vegan
  • works great in non-dairy milks (almond milk pictured below)

The Best DIY Chocolate Syrup vegan chocolate syrup easy chocolate syrup soy free chocolate syrup

We went to dinner at the in-laws’ a few nights ago and the kids (my niece and nephew) broke out the chocolate milk. It looked so sweet and cool and tempting an pretty soon the ankle-biters weren’t the only ones drinking it. Don’t you miss the days when you could have chocolate milk next to your broccoli and mashed potatoes?

I very much wanted some, but couldn’t have any. Many chocolate milk mixes contain soy, and I’d already gotten a few allergy attacks from eating leftover Christmas candy. I knew shouldn’t have it, but I eat it anyways and then I pay.  I needed to get my soy-sneezes back under control. That chocolate milk looked so good, but luckily there was some wine there to distract me.

A few days after that, I was restocking Jason’s snack cupboard an a tin of Carlos V milk mix fell out onto the counter. Tempted again! Speaking of his snack cupboard, can I just go on a little tangent for a sec?

He likes to mix chocolate power and protein powder into milk for his breakfast and it rather grosses me out.  It gets gloppy and lumpy and the powder never fully dissolves into the milk. I don’t know if this is actually gross, or I just think of it as gross. But I can’t be in the room when he makes his breakfast. Maybe it’s that he puts protein powder into milk, which I dunno, I imagine would feel like a rock in your stomach. Aren’t you supposed to put protein powder into water? Am I crazy? Why are so many of the paragraphs in this post ending in questions?

Are you tired of hearing my talk about Jason’s weekday breakfast habits?

Let’s talk about leche instead!

I recipe tested this a over a few nights, mixing individual glasses here and there to get the ratios right. Testing chocolate milk….whew…hard work.

So..you’ll notice that there’s quite a bit of powdered sugar in the recipe. Whoops? Yes, it tastes more sweet than chocolaty, but I have a firm belief that that is how cold chocolate milk should taste. A little trashy, a little nostalgic, and a lot comforting.

The Best DIY Chocolate Syrup vegan easy chocolate syrup soy free chocolate syrup

Simple DIY Chocolate Syrup

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder (Dutch process if you have it)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 cup water

Instructions

    syrup
  1. Stir together the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and salt.
  2. Add the water, stirring until there are no pockets of dry powder.
  3. Stir in the almond extract
  4. for chocolate milk
  5. add 1-2 tbsp of syrup to 8 oz milk. serve with love.

Notes

Store syrup in the fridge. Do not dip the milk-stirring spoon back into the syrup.

http://kitchenwindowclovers.com/best-diy-chocolate-syrup/

Chocolate Raspberry Heart Tarts

Chocolate Raspberry Heart Tarts

I know that it’s too early for Valentine’s Day things (well, Walgreen’s clearly disagrees), but since when are heart-shaped red chocolaty things just for Valentines?

insert a diatribe about cultural  food norms. i did this to save you having to read two rants. second rant below.

Okay, well maybe it’s not so much a rant as an observation. I think the whole Valentine’s Day being Singles Awareness day is true. When you’re single and it’s mid February, you are painfully aware of the fact. When you are in a blooming relationship, you freak out that you might become single if you mess this day up by either over celebrating or under celebrating.

But when you’re in a committed relationship, Valentines Day barely registers. You’re aware of the cute fuzzy animals in the store, and you maybe buy discount chocolate the next day, but that’s about it.  The year we got married, I got Jason a last-minute pink cake pop and he got me nothing.  I would have gotten him nothing too, but I just happened to already be at Starbucks and I know he loves those things.**   We made burritos for dinner. Nothing says romance like burrito breath and bean toots.

**And watching a big tall grown man eat a pink cake pop is pretty much the cutest thing ever. 

Valentines Day is also for your Nana, but that’s a different kind of love not applicable to this discussion. And maybe Valentine’s Day is also for very strict Catholics who still attend mass on every single Feast day. When I was in high school, my mom would get mad at me when I said I didn’t like 2/14, because I was apparently committing some sort of heresy by denouncing the Feast of Saint Valentine.

So…….I totally get if you don’t like Valentines or whatever, but you can still love chocolaty jam-filled things.

Speaking of love (or not love), here are some reasons to become enamored with — err get excited about — these tarts.

This almond-flour based crust is really easy and you can make in a blender. Cool! You use a banana as the binder, but make sure you use a greenish banana because riper ones will make the crust too wet.

The filling is made with my favorite homemade jam. Just dates and frozen raspberries. I love the pucker you get from raspberries, because it goes so well with the chocolate sweetness. But if you don’t like tart raspberries, I would recommend increasing the amount of dates in the recipe.

These freeze well (as long as you wrap them individually) so if you make them now, you can still have them in February. Make them for yourself, for someone that you love, or for a group of pals.

Chocolate Raspberry Heart Tarts vegan gluten free

 

Oh! I finally made a Facebook for this blogaroo. Check it out  here, and do the whole “like” thing. Please? 😀

Chocolate Raspberry Heart Tarts

Ingredients

    Crust
  • 1 greenish banana
  • 1 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp almond or vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • filling
  • 8 oz bag frozen raspberries
  • 5 dates*
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Instructions

    Filling
  1. Place the raspberries in a small saucepan and cover. Cook over medium heat until raspberries defrost and liquefy --- this should happen very quickly.
  2. Add the dates and continue to cook for another two or three minutes.
  3. Blend the dates and raspberries together until smooth, then return to heat. Cook over medium for 9-10 minutes, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens. Towards the end, you may want to reduce the heat some so you don't get splattered on. Remove from heat.
  4. Liquify the banana in a blender. Ad the rest of the crust ingredients, minus the baking powder. Blend till an even consistency is reached. Manually incorporate the baking powder into the dough.
  5. Divide the dough into six balls. Press the balls into a heart shaped cookie cutter. Remove the cookie cutter.
  6. Flatten & widen the hearts with your thumb, making large well in the center about (just under) 1/2 inch deep.
  7. Preheat the oven to 350
  8. Melt the chocolate chips over a double boiler.
  9. Fill the well in the hearts with the raspberry jam, and swirl in the chocolate,
  10. Bake for 16-17 minutes.
  11. Serve with love. Optional: Sprinkle big salt flakes over top.

Notes

*for a sweeter jam, use 7 dates

http://kitchenwindowclovers.com/chocolate-raspberry-heart-tarts/

raspberryheart3

Flourless Three Ingredient Chocolate Cake

a soy-free solution to the two ingredient Nutella cake 

Flourless Three Ingredient Chocolate Cake

I’m sure you’ve all seen this two ingredient Nutella cake. Or maybe you haven’t because you were in a Nutella induced sugar coma or something. No judgement, no judgement. But that cake has only two ingredients, and this has three.

Why Annie, why? Why did you add the third ingredient, making it slightly more complicated? Well, sadly, I am allergic to Nutella. Whaaaat? 

Yep. It’s true.

I’ve always had pretty bad seasonal/environmental allergies, but I never realized I had food allergies as well. In the past 1 or 2 years, the food allergies got significantly worse, making their presence well known. I drank a cup of soy milk and my eyes swelled shut. I’d have a bowl of my favorite cereal and would immediately start sneezing. I ate a pizza (a really, really good pizza from Milton’s in Raleigh) and spent the entire next day in a darkened living room, plowing through tissue boxes. Luckily, they offer wheat-free pizzas now, but I don’t live in NC anymore, so it doesn’t matter.

But if you’re ever in Raleigh, dude, go to Milton’s. And if you don’t have wheat allergies, order the eggplant topping on your pizza, it’s amazing. 

Flourless Three Ingredient Chocolate Cake

Days that were previously brushed off as a high pollen count began to cause suspicion. I always thought food allergies caused intestinal reactions, which is why I never connected two and two. I never imagined they would cause respiratory problems. A few months ago, I ate some tortilla chips from a restaurant that used soy oil. The next day was miserable (for me and everyone around me, who couldn’t concentrate because of all the sneezing and noseblowing).

i don’t know if i’m allergic to gluten. i only know i’m definitely allergic to wheat. and soy. 

I can have a tteeeeny bit of soy, about the amount that’s in a single Hershey’s kiss. So, not a lot. And Nutella as a ton of soy in it. 😫  Actually, many chocolate products have soy in them. I used Toll House 53% cacao dark chocolate morsels (this is not sponsored), which have no soy. Enjoy Life is also soy free, but I have no clue whether or not it would work here.
Flourless Three Ingredient Chocolate Cake

This came out fantastic! Chocolaty, sweet, and delicate on the tongue. We’re having an early Christmas with Jason’s family this weekend, since we’re gonna see my mom on actual Christmas. I’m totally bringing this over. And if they need to know why a slice or two missing, I’ll just tell ’em I had to make sure it tasted good. You know, takin’ one for the team. 😇

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp dark chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup plus 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 4 eggs
  • optional garnishes
  • -candied fruit
  • -rosemary
  • -or just a light dusting of powdered sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 and line a springform pan with parchment paper
  2. Place the syrup and the chocolate chips in a double boiler and melt together to form a fudge sauce.
  3. Turn of the heat, but keep the sauce over the heat source so that it remains warm and fluid
  4. Beat the eggs on high for several minutes. If you have a high power mixer, it will take about 5-6 minutes, but I have a hand mixer and it took me closer to 8-9 minutes.
  5. Gradually (very, very gradually) pour the fudge sauce into the egg mix, folding it in with your spatula.
  6. When an even color and consistency is reached, pour the batter into the pan.
  7. Bake for 25 minutes. Allow to cool completely before removing from pan.
  8. Slice and enjoy!

Notes

I used toll house 53% cacao dark chocolate morsels. They are they only soy free chocolate chip that is widely available, other than Enjoy Life. They didn't pay me to say that, it's just what I most often use.

http://kitchenwindowclovers.com/flourless-three-ingredient-chocolate-cake/

adapted from Kirbie’s Cravings 

Flourless Three Ingredient Chocolate Cake

Chocolate Peanut Butter Christmas Trees (gluten free)

Chocolate Peanut Butter Christmas Trees (gluten free) easy gluten free christmas cookies homemade christmas candy

I’m so excited to share this cheery little forest with you! 🌲 🌲 🌲

But first, how were y’all’s Thanksgivings?

Mine was wonderful. I worked in the morning, where I witnessed so much goodwill that I was literally jumping for joy (traditional sense of literal). It put me in a good mood right then and there.

I thought I was going to be wiped out by the time I got off, but everybody’s kindness must of energized me. I went home and changed and didn’t even need a nap before heading over to dinner.Chocolate Peanut Butter Christmas Trees (gluten free) easy gluten free christmas cookies homemade christmas candy

As I mentioned in one of my earlier posts, large gatherings make me nervous. But for some reason, I was fine almost the whole time. I got there late, so everyone had already eaten and where heading out for a walk.  That was really nice, too. I feel like in my family, everyone would have waited for me to get there. Then they would have laid on major guilt about making everyone wait.

Since everyone had eaten, there was no awkward “you go first no you go first” line and I just scooped up leftovers here and there, taking as much as I pleased. Mainly I ate cheesy potatoes and Brussels sprouts. Jason’s aunt makes some really good cheesy potatoes. I might try to steal her recipe, but add jalapenos or something.

It was the most relaxed Thanksgiving I’ve ever been to, and I got to hold a baby in my lap the whole time.*

*this does not mean I’m ready to have one of my own. 

So. I love my family, but Thanksgiving with Jason’s kin pretty much won over every Thanksgiving I had with my own folks.

Also, Jason’s family uses paper plates, which meant FEWER DISHES.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Christmas Trees (gluten free) easy gluten free christmas cookies homemade christmas candy

Okay, okay, enough about the holiday. Let’s talk about the cheery forest. I wanted to call it a magical little forest, that reminds me of bad paperbacks from the discount bin.

But these trees really are magical. Peanut butter with chocolate is enchanting in almost any form, but particularly if said form is a Christmas tree!

They are wonderfully easy to make. Ground up cereal, melted PB, and coconut oil come together to make this nice pliable dough to form the trees with. Then just a dip in melted chocolate and you’re good to go.

Since they include ingredients almost everyone enjoys, they are a great choice to bring to your next Christmas party. I feel like they’re already a classic in our home, and I hope they’ll be a classic in yours too. 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Christmas Trees (gluten free) easy gluten free christmas cookies homemade christmas candy

 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Chexmas Trees

Ingredients

  • 1 12 oz box of Corn Chex
  • 1 and 1/4 cups creamy peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup of chocolate chips
  • holiday sprinkles

Instructions

  1. Use a food processor to grind the Chex to a fine, sandy powder. Mix in the salt.
  2. Use a double boiler to melt the coconut oil peanut butter together. It's melted enough when the peanut butter-coconut oil mixture drizzles in a thin, smooth stream off your spatula
  3. Turn off heat, but do not remove peanut butter from heat source. Mix Chex powder, 1/4 cup at a time, into the peanut butter.
  4. Allow mixture to cool slightly and then shape into a ball.
  5. Place the ball on a pan, then tap the pan against a hard, flat surface several times to allow the ball to flatten into a disk that is approx. 1/3 inch thick, diameter 9—9 1/2 inches.
  6. Cool disk in fridge for 5-8 min.
  7. Cut different size triangles into the disk — 28-30 of them.
  8. Stand the triangles up. For the larger triangles, curl the two bottom edges back slightly. They will resemble a slight c-shape from above. This will allow them to stand up without falling.
  9. Place triangles in freezer for 30-35 minutes.
  10. Melt the chocolate. Holding the trees on one side, use a silicone spatula to "paint" the chocolate onto the front and back of the trees. The larger trees will need to be set in the chocolate while you're doing this.
  11. Add the holiday sprinkles.
  12. Allow chocolate to harden before serving.

Notes

For a more kid-friendly method, melt the pb in the microwave and then put the pb bowl over a bowl of warm water while you mix in the cereal.

http://kitchenwindowclovers.com/chocolate-peanut-butter-christmas-trees-gluten-free/