It’s Monday! Here’s some chocolate, because I love y’all.
Delicious soft pretzel outside, gooey chocolate and peanut butter inside. Gluten free and vegan.
Soft gingerbread cookies stuffed with a dark chocolate fudge. Gluten free and vegan.
aka Study Break Bars. I made these bars over and over when I was studying for my board exam. Super easy and quick, these ideal for dorm-room cooking because they’re made in a microwave.
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)
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.
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.
- 2 cups slivered raw almonds
- 3/4 cup unsweet coconut flakes
- 3/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- Grind the almonds down to a coarse meal.
- Add the coconut and grind again.
- Add the cocoa powder and maple syrup. Process until it becomes a paste.
- no soy
- no weird ingredients
- works great in non-dairy milks (almond milk pictured below)
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.
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.
Oh! I finally made a Facebook for this blogaroo. Check it out here, and do the whole “like” thing. Please? 😀
a soy-free solution to the two ingredient Nutella 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.
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.
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. 😇
adapted from Kirbie’s Cravings
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.
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.
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.