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

Very Vanilla Chocolate Covered Donuts

and they’re gluten free and vegan!

Very Vanilla Chocolate Covered Donuts gluten free vegan

here’s the scene: It’s March of 2011, and Jason and I have been going out for less then a year. His parents came down to see us and somehow I ended up going to Harris Teeter with them, but without Jason. He’d had a long day or something.

There was a huge display of donuts right at the entrance, and his dad popped two bags into the cart. J-Pops slipped an impish grin at J-Mama, who half-shrugged and rolled her eyes. I now realize it’s the same reaction that I have when Jason orders pizza behind my back.

Since that day, almost any time J-Pops is there, donuts are there too. They’re known as PoppyDonuts, since the grandkids call him Poppy. (My niece and nephew. I don’t have kids, but I do have houseplants that have been alive for over a year.)  J-Pop’s/Poppy’s influence is spilling over onto the kids. I once found a little travel diary my niece had made, and the only entry read “DONUt eat.

J-Pop’s birthday is coming up and I decided to make him some copycat chocolate covered donuts.

Very Vanilla Chocolate Covered Donuts

I wanted them to taste awesome. I don’t want to comment on the taste of commercial donuts, because there are always some child throwback foods that you’re not going to let go of, no matter your current palate.

I will say that these are a vanilla explosion, think sugar cookies and fresh churned vanilla ice cream and cake batter pizzelles. Yeah. Like that. I really hammed up the nilla and I’m proud of it. A few weeks ago, thanks to Awesome McHockeyBaker Peabody, I won some Rodelle vanilla goodies. Among the treats was a bottle of vanilla bean paste. It’s more syrupy than paste-like, but it’s one of the most magical foodstuffs I’ve ever had the pleasure of using in baking. The house smelled like the inside of an ice cream cone. Better than the inside of an ice cream cone. Then I topped them off with a very generous layer of chocolate fudge, woo!

I meant to take them over there today, but probably won’t get over there until tomorrow. I used to think I had bad willpower when it came to food, but if these can sit around my house all day uneaten, then maybe I’m not so bad.

(okay, I had two, just to make sure they were good. and um, they are. I need to hide them from Jason or else they won’t make it through the night.)

Very Vanilla Chocolate Covered Donuts

Very Vanilla Chocolate Covered Donuts (poppy donuts)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of of 1 to 1 gluten free flour mix (like bob's in the blue bag)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp almond milk
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of Rodelle Vanilla Bean Paste
  • 2 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • topping
  • 4 tbsp maple syrup
  • 5 1/2 tbsp chocolate chips
  • sprinkles!

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400
  2. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda.
  3. Combine almond milk, oil, vanilla bean paste, vanilla extract, and sugar.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ones, and mix until all the lumpiness is gone.
  5. Spoon the batter into a ziplock and pipe into a donut pan. Fill the batter 1/2 way up.
  6. Bake for 7 - 8 minutes. Repeat for second batch.
  7. Mix the syrup and chocolate over a double boiler.
  8. Plop the top of the donuts into the chocolate. Top with sprinkles!
  9. Enjoy

Notes

The vanilla bean paste adds a lot of the sweetness. If you can't find it, I suggest substituting with maple syrup.

http://kitchenwindowclovers.com/very-vanilla-chocolate-covered-donuts/

slightly adapted from seasonal cravings

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

Dark Chocolate Blackberry Oatmeal

Dark Chocolate Blackberry Oatmeal

Blackberries were on sale this week! I know that some people will frown on me for having bought them because seasonal/local yadda yadda, but if we eat tomatoes from Mexico during the winter (boo winter tomatoes 😫), then why not blackberries? Besides, blackberries are still in season down there, brudder. Er…..hermano.

I was excited and purchased plenty, with plans for salad and baking and all kinds of wonderful things, but then ended up eating most of them by the handful. Guess I’ll have to go get more, oh darn. One of my favorite things ways to eat them is with salted almonds and chocolate chips.  While this combination makes a wonderful snack, it does not make a very good breakfast. I had some of it before class and was rather hangry by 11. So  this good little snack needed a hearty upgrade,  which is where the oatmeal comes in.

In the past few years, fancy oatmeals have become suuuuupper popular. Um, I’m not sure this falls into the category of fancy, but it’s not your powdery-apples-in-a-paper-package oatmeal. Not that there’s anything wrong with powdery apple oatmeal, but I just like this a lot better. I hesitate to even introduce the word fancy because this oatmeal actually comes together rather quickly. You can even microwave the oats and save yourself a pot scrub, if you wish.

Dark Chocolate Blackberry Oatmeal

If you don’t finish all of it (I might have overshot on the hearty part just a little), you can put in in the fridge and the chocolate-maple sauce turns to fudge. Fudge, I tell you. Speaking of fudge, how many times are y’all planning on watching A Christmas Story? We run Roku instead of cable, which means no TBS. However, Netflix holds a wealth of terrible-wonderful-terrible Christmas movies. The Mistletones, anyone?

My mamabear came to see me and she brought me a huge bundle of fresh herbs. My aunt works on a little New Jersey farm and sent them over to me.  I put a little sage in with the almonds, it gives it just a little bit of a Christmas note. I think I like the holidays best this way: start with subtle notes, and then build to to a song, and then the whole show.

 

Dark Chocolate Blackberry Oatmeal

Serving Size: 1 hearty bowl

Ingredients

    for the topping
  • 5 medium-large fresh sage leaves
  • 2 tbsp slivered almonds
  • 2/3 cup blackberries, divided
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 1/2 tbsp chocolate chips
  • for the oatmeal
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup water or almond milk
  • pinch of salt

Instructions

  1. Chop up the sage. You should end up with a scant teaspoon. Bring a small skillet to medium heat, and add the slivered almonds and the sage. Toast for about 4 -4.5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until almonds darken.
  2. Move the almonds and sage onto a plate, give the skillet a quick wipe-down, and then return it to the stovetop without ever turning off the heat.
  3. Add 1/3 cup of the blackberries to the skillet with the 2 tbsp water. Cover the skillet and allow the berries to turn scarlet, about 1.5 - 2 minutes. Add the maple syrup, cover again for 1.5 - 2 min. Smash the berries if they haven't already liquefied, and then stir for another 30 seconds. Mixture will start to thicken. Remove from heat and immediately stir in the chocolate chips.
  4. Bring the water to a boil, stir in the oatmeal, cinnamon, and vanilla, and allow oats to cook over medium heat, about 5 minutes. You can also do this in the microwave.
  5. Top the oats with the blackberry chocolate sauce, the almond-sage mix, and the remaining blackberries. Enjoy.
http://kitchenwindowclovers.com/dark-chocolate-blackberry-oatmeal/

P.S. it’s finals week (ugh what the crab) and I have a project that needs some finishing touches. I might be out for a few days while I focus on, ugh, priorities. Please cook up a lot of goodies so I can daydream about them on my study breaks. ❤️

 

 

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/

 

3 in 1: Quick Roast Veggies, Leftovers Pancakes, Crunchy Chocolate Party Sticks

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Thanksgiving is just around the corner and we’re all busy in our kitchens, cooking up some love for our families. But holidays are also a stressful time, and keeping yourself happy while keeping the rest of your family happy can be hard. Here are a few things that I hope will make your life a little easier over the next week or so.

The first is a way to roast veggies in under ten minutes, no joke. The second is a delicious way to use up leftovers of this and that; to reduce waste where you can.

The last is extra special. A simple candy that almost anyone can make. Only a handful of ingredients (two for a pared-down version, four for the fancy version), with a crunchy, addictive result.

Quick Roasted Veggies 

quick roasted veggies

My favorite busy night dinner is roasted Brussels sprouts with either potatoes, tortillas, or pasta. And then I cook Jason some chicken or turkey keilbasa, with one of the three aforementioned carbs, and some salad. I dislike cooking meat, but if I didn’t cook it for him, he’d eat it elsewhere.

I used to love drowning the sprouts in cheese, which essentially negates the whole point of having veggies for dinner. My clothes were feeling a little tight and uncomfy, and I knew cheese was the main culprit. My running felt sluggish, which inevitably puts me in a bad mood. So I made this sauce as a way of scaling back on the cheese. It’s just as a satisfying and stupid easy, and Jason loves it.

I came up with a quick-roast method of making my sprouts so that I could still have my favorite veggie even when I got home from work late. Sure, the flavor isn’t as deep, but you still get the soft sprout under a caramelized crust. If you’re rushing around trying to get the house ready for guests and still need something healthy for dinner, this is a great option

Quick Roasted Sprouts 

  • 1 cup sprouts (or more), quartered
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • seasoned salt

Turn on the broiler. Put the sprouts in a microwave and oven safe dish. Microwave for two minutes. Add oil and seasoning. Broil for 3-4 minutes on one side, turn, and then broil for 2-3 minutes on the other side.

Easy Cream Sauce

  • 1/3 cup good quality fat free Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp sriracha
  • pinch of cumin
  • salt to taste

Stir all ingredients until an even color and consistency is reached.

Pumpkin Cornmeal Pancakes 

Pumpkin Cornmeal Pancakes

I have a great appreciation for using up leftovers. Food waste is a terrible problem in this country, and it happens far too often. I’m guilty of it myself (comes with the food blog territory), but I try to keep it to a minimum. These pancakes were made using leftover cornbread mix, and the pumpkin was leftover puree.  This topping reminded me of why I used to love pumpkin pie. In the past few years, I’ve fallen out of love with it, preferring to the mix the squash with chocolaty things, or really just about anything that wasn’t straight-up pie. But this brought me back. Maybe because it’s so scaled down. Maybe because it doesn’t have the density that can sometimes kill an otherwise lovely pie. Maybe it’s because the fall flavors lend themselves well to breakfast. Here, they are not the full-of-stuffing-and-Beaujolais dinner denouement. They are the sunshiney greeting to the start of your day.

This makes just a small batch, enough for one or two people, but it’s easily multiplied.

Pancakes 

  • 1 cup Bob’s Red Mill gf cornbread mix, or other similar cornbread mix
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • coconut oil, for the pan

Combine egg and milk, then combine cornbread mix and baking powder. Wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Bring a pan to medium heat and melt the coconut oil. Spoon 1/8th cup (2 tbsp) of the pancake batter into the pan for each pancake. Cook for 2 – 2 1/2 min on one side, flip, and cook for another minute or so. Serve with pumpkin topping. Makes about 15 dollar size pancakes.

Topping 

  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp pumpkin spice
  • toasted pecans and salted butter, for serving

Combine all ingredients, except for the pecans and butter. Serve warm over cornmeal pancakes.

Crunchy Chocolate Party Sticks

Crunchy Chocolate Party Sticks 

Jason LOVES these. A few days ago, I made a batch and left them in the fridge for him, in a paper bag with a big heart on it. When I got home from work that night, I found the following scene: husband fast asleep on the couch, Netflix playing softly on the TV, and the bag, torn into like a raccoon had gotten to it. And it was completely empty. Which was fine, since I’d made them for him, but also, it was a huge batch. These are super addictive, so proceed with caution.

The are also ridiculously easy. If you need just one more dessert, or need something quick to bring to a party, this is it. And you don’t even have to make it yourself. Enlist a bored relative to help you out, or round up a few of the kids. PS, I still consider myself one of the kids. That’s probably because I don’t have any yet. whew!

Crunchy Chocolate Party Sticks

  • 2 cups of Rice Chex
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup of sweetened shredded coconut (optional. I like them with coconut, Jason likes them without)
  • food coloring for the coconut

Melt the chocolate over a double boiler. Pour over the cereal, and stir gently, being careful not to break any of them up. When the cereal is completely coated, lay some wax paper out on a cookie sheet. Make rows of cereal – each piece touching the next, but not overlapping. You can make the sticks as long or short as you like. If you want longer sticks, reduce the cereal to 1 3/4 cup, so that there is more chocolate on each piece and the bonds are stronger. Sprinkle with coconut. Place in the freezer to harden, then gently peel them off the wax paper. Enjoy! This makes about 18-20 sticks of assorted sizes.

 

 

Double Caramel Banana Chocolate Oat Bars (vegan and gluten free!)

double caramel chocolate banana bars vegan gluten free

So.

So. I might just be in love with caramelizing bananas before using them in baking. It adds an extra layer of flavor and sweetness, subtle and toasty. And a little nutty. Even if you cover the banana flavor with other things (like with the Sour Cherry Scones), the toasty nuttiness remains. Heck yes, I’m tooting the banana horn here.

I’m apparently 8 years old because saying banana horn makes me laugh.

I didn’t use to like bananas, not in smoothies, not in cake, not in anything. But life doesn’t stay the same, and tastes don’t either. Did you ever think that you’d be obsessed with roasting cauliflower? I certainly didn’t, yet it’s rather popular. Probably because roast cauliflower is awesome, as long as you slice it thin enough.bars4

Wait, why am I talking about vegetables at a time like this? Y’all are here today for the caramel chocolate.

These soft, gooey bars get their sweetness twice. Once from the caramel bananas, and then again from a generous pour of a vegan caramel sauce. They are very rich and sweet, which is why I like to cut them into smaller triangles instead of huge bars.  They are more enjoyable that way…and um, you can always go back and get another or two or three. Or call up your favorite people and have them all over for an impromtu caramel party.  That’s a thing, right?

gooey3

 

Double Caramel Banana Oat Bars

Yield: approx 22 small bars, less if cut into large squares

Ingredients

    bars
  • 2 large, very ripe bananas
  • 1 can of full fat coconut milk, liquid part only (you'll use the solids for the caramel topping)*
  • 1 cup of old fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup of cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp golden flax meal
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • topping
  • solids from the can of coconut milk*
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips
  • 2 tbsp old fashioned oats

Instructions

  1. Grease a small skillet with 1 tsp coconut oil and place over medium heat.
  2. Slice the bananas into the skillet, as thinly as you can get them.
  3. Cook the bananas for 9-12 minutes, stirring occasionally (about once every minute or so), making sure they aren't burning or sticking to the pan. By the time you're done, they should be in an lumpy and mashed in appearance. Remove from heat.
  4. Grind up the cup of oats to a soft, silky flour.
  5. Combine the oat flour, the cornstarch, the baking powder, the cinnamon, and the baking soda. Set aside.
  6. Measure out the liquid from the coconut milk. There should be about 1/2 cup. If you don't have half a cup, fill up as much as you can with the coconut liquid and then add water or almond milk to compensate the rest of the way.
  7. Puree the bananas with the coconut liquid, the vanilla, the flax, and the brown sugar. Blend till smooth.
  8. Add the banana mixture to the oat mixture and stir well until combined.
  9. Add the 1/4 cup of chocolate chips to the batter.
  10. Preheat the oven to 350.
  11. Line a 8 x 8 baking pan with parchment paper and grease with the remaining coconut oil (this step is optional, but it makes cleaning the pan so much easier and also you get all caramel staying on the bars, and not on the pan)
  12. Spread the batter evenly into the baking dish.
  13. Sprinkle the 1/3 cup of chocolate chips over the batter.
  14. Sprinkle the 2 tsp oats over the batter.
  15. Measure out 1/2 cup of the coconut milk solids. There should still be some solids left over, which you won't use for this recipe. If still in a very solid state, warm up in the microwave for a few seconds until it becomes liquid and pourable.
  16. Combine the 1/2 cup brown sugar with the coconut milkfat. Stir until an even color and consistency is reached.
  17. Pour the brown sugar mixture over the batter.
  18. Bake for 25 minutes.
  19. Allow to cool before cutting into small triangles.
  20. Enjoy with a cool glass of almond milk.

Notes

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* In order to get the coconut milkfat and liquid to separate, leave a can in the fridge for a few hours or overnight. You can also put in the freezer for a shorter amount of time. Be careful not to shake the can. When sufficiently chilled, you should be able to scoop the milkfat right off the top.

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If you are the kind of person who likes "extra caramel drizzle" at Starbucks, I suggest increasing the coconut milk solids to 3/4 cup, and the brown sugar to 3/4 cup. This will make them extra sweet and extra caramelly. I prefer to use 1/2 cup of each, but you do you boo boo. 😉

http://kitchenwindowclovers.com/double-caramel-banana-chocolate-oat-bars-vegan-and-gluten-free/

Make Your Own Girl Scout Tagalongs (gluten free!)

not just any ol’ tagalong. PUMPKIN SPICE TAGALONGS.

tagalong1

I love this classic Girl Scout cookie, but I always thought they’d be hard to make. I’m so glad I proved myself wrong. You only need eight ingredients, and you probably have most of them in your cupboards already.

I’d rolled out of bed early on a Sunday, cookies on the brain. I stirred and baked and dipped, and by the time that Jas woke up, he had some sugar waiting for him in the kitchen. He smelled the cookies baking and thought I’d made pancakes.  He wasn’t disappointed at not-pancakes. It’s hard to be disappointed with chocolate and peanut butter and spice.

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Fall Spice Tagalongs

Yield: about 3 dozen cookies, or less if you used a bigger cookie cutter

Ingredients

  • Cookie:
  • 1 cup of pumpkin puree (not prepared pie filling)
  • 1/2 cup hard packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp pumpkin spice
  • 2 cups of old fashioned oats
  • Peanut Butter Filling
  • 1 cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 3/4 tsp fine sea salt (you can make it a full tsp if you like)
  • Chocolate Coating
  • 1 1/4 cups of chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Grind the oats into a fine, silky flour. I used my Nutribullet to do this. Set aside.
  2. Combine the pumpkin, brown sugar, cinnamon, and pumpkin spice. Mix well.
  3. Add the oat flour to the pumpkin mix. You can start out with your spoon, and once it starts balling up, use your hands. Roll into a ball and cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
  4. Set the bowl in the fridge for 1-2 hours.
  5. Once your dough is firmed up, roll it out to about 1/4 inch thickness.
  6. Preheat your oven to 350.
  7. Using a 2-inch diameter cookie cutter, cut out all your cookies.
  8. Place on a greased cookie sheet. You can crowd them as much as you want because they won't spread.
  9. Bake 15-17 minutes. Halfway through baking, pierce each cookie with a fork to let the steam out. They cook funny otherwise.
  10. Allow cookies to cool before adding peanut butter
  11. Melt the PB for about 20 seconds in the microwave, just enough to soften. This will allow you to mix the salt in easier, and also allow for easier spreading.
  12. Mix the salt into the PB
  13. Spread a heaping teaspoonful of PB over each cookie. I found a butter knife worked best to do this.
  14. Set the cookies in the freezer for about 15 minutes. This will prevent the PB from melting into the chocolate during dipping.
  15. Once the PB is really hard, remove from the freezer`.
  16. Melt or temper your chocolate.
  17. Using your thumb and index finger as tongs, carefully dip each cookie, PB side down, into the chocolate. You don't have to coat the underside of the cookie (the part with no PB).
  18. If your chocolate starts to harden, give it a quick stir or return it to the heat. You probably won't need to do this, because the dipping goes quite fast.
  19. Set aside to allow the chocolate to harden. Or don't. They taste just fine all melty.
  20. Enjoy!
http://kitchenwindowclovers.com/fall-spice-tagalongs/

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P.S. If you use vegan chocolate chips, these can be free of all animal products.

 

 

 


Good Ol’ Chocolate Chex Mix

easy chocolate chex mix

Sometimes I’m afraid that I blame too much on being a rookie blogger. Like the matcha-not-matcha biscotti.

I made these matcha biscotti, and while they were delicious, they did not taste like matcha. So I made them again with more matcha, and they still did not taste like green tea. I wanted to make them a third time, but by then I was down to one bag of almond flour, and I needed to make it last until my next order came in.

Chex mix, on the other hand, I can nail every time. That’s the beauty in Chex mix. It’s reliable. It always tastes good. You can’t mess up Chex mix. Even if you’re me.

Heck, you can’t even mess up chocolate-covered espresso beans, even if you’re me. I should know. BGE can be somewhat of a picky eater (who doesn’t like french fries??!), and he ate through two batches of beans before I could even make the mix.

Now, dipping the beans can be a little tricky. Luckily, Shelly, one of the Great Sages of Internet Sweets, has wonderful advice on dipping small objects. Using a fork, dip a few beans at a time and then tap the fork to remove the excess chocolate – pretty much what you’d do to dip anything else.  Then, using a chopstick or similar tool, flick the beans onto wax paper. Yes. You have to flick one bean at a time. But it’s really easy work. Almost meditative. And who wouldn’t want to meditate in chocolate?

I wasn’t sure if I should post this because it’s not a truly a recipe, and chocolate Chex mixes aren’t a new idea. But it came out exactly as I wanted, smells great, and tastes even better, so I figured that was more than enough.

 

Good Ol' Chocolate Chex Mix

Good Ol' Chocolate Chex Mix

Ingredients

    for the cereal
  • 1 box of Chocolate Chex, with all the plain pieces picked out
  • for the almonds
  • 1 cup of raw almonds
  • 2 tbsp cocoa
  • 2 tsp honey
  • pinch of salt
  • for the espresso beans
  • about 1 cup of beans
  • 5-6 oz. of dark chocolate

Instructions

    for the almonds
  1. Combine the cocoa and salt, then set aside.
  2. Place the almonds and honey in a small saucepan and heat on low.
  3. Stir so all the almonds are evenly coated with honey.
  4. Add in the cocoa and continue to stir until almonds are evenly coated. Remove from heat.
  5. for the espresso beans
  6. Melt or temper the chocolate.
  7. Remove from heat and dip the beans.
  8. It'd easiest to dip them a few at a time (5-6) . You might need to return the chocolate to the double boiler or microwave if it starts to harden. A good way to keep it from hardening is to stir it vigorously after every few dips.
  9. Allow chocolate to harden and cool completely before adding to mix.
  10. for the mix
  11. Put the chocolate chex pieces, almonds, and espresso beans in a big bowl and toss to combine. You'll end up with about 7 cups.
http://kitchenwindowclovers.com/good-ol-chocolate-chex-mix/

Almond recipe from The Pescetarian and the Pig.