chocolate

Healthy Dark Chocolate + Salted Peanut Butter Cups (GF + Vegan)

Chocolate + PB cup stackHave your peanut butter cup and eat it, in fact eat two! No guilt required, ever.

I loved Reese’s peanut butter cups when I was a kiddo, definitely one of my favourite chocolate treats growing up. Probably because they are a little bit delicious and I’ve had a love affair with peanut butter my whole life but more so, they weren’t as widely available as they are now. I remember my uncle bringing a suitcase load when he visited from the states, well these amongst many other US candy bars. Pretty exciting times for an 11 year old. The funny thing is now that these are pretty standard in the UK, i’m not fussed about them at all! Just goes to show, when you can’t have something it makes you want it that much more! However, I reckon I’d be pretty bothered by some unprocessed and plant powered PB dark chocolate cup cakes like these bad boys. Chocolate PB Cup

Well it’s the done thing to develop a taste for darker chocolate as you grow older and I have definitely done this! These dark chocolate + PB cup cakes are made with raw cocoa powder, coconut oil and natural sweetener. Unadulterated dark chocolate is a pure superfood and NOT terrible for you, at all…..prayers answered. The fact that we add so much rubbish to the amazing cocoa is a darn shame because this IS bad for us but real chocolate is in no way sinful, but more a healthy indulgent treat. Chocolate seems to come arm in arm with guilt but not for me, thank goodness.

Naturally, these healthy dark chocolate salted PB cups have ‘real’ peanut butter inside, you know – the 100% peanut stuff.  I had to add s a little salt in the PB mix as I’m too in love with the sweet and salty combo. A little nutritional yeast gives the cups a more nutty Reese’s like taste and made the PB mix a little drier, perfect for implanting the dark chocolate. Very simple process!

These truly are a superfood of sorts – cocoa and coconut oil with a slab of peanut butter in the middle. Come on, these are good for you so ditch the guilt and get stuck in. Super quick to make and a pleasure to eat, heavenly really.

What was your favourite childhood chocolate bar?Chocolate PB Cups

Healthy dark chocolate + salted peanut butter cups

1/4 cup coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons sweetener
1/3 cup raw cocoa powder

1/4 cup peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon nutritional yeast

Method:

1. Melt the coconut oil in a small pan over a low heat. Once melted stir through the remaining ingredients until a smooth in consistency.
2. Spoon a tablespoon of the chocolate into 8-10 silicone moulds and freeze for 20 minutes.
3. Meanwhile combine the peanut butter filling ingredients and set aside.
4. Remove the chocolate cups from the freezer. With a teaspoon of the peanut butter mix form a small flat disc and place on top of the set chocolate. Spoon over remaining dark chocolate and freeze until set.
5. Store in the fridge for up to 5 days. Keep in the freezer for a much longer shelf life.

Chocolate Coconut Cream in an Almond + Oat Crust, with a Strawberry Sauce (GF + Vegan)

Chocolate pieBirthday time! Not mine though, it’s my niece Chloe’s second birthday so me and the boy are heading over for a little party and some cake with gifts in hand. I’ve just realised not only did I miss her actual birth, I missed her first birthday too, oh the guilt! You guessed it I was outta the country, I suppose you can’t make everything all of the time especially when you can’t seem to stay still for too long! Anyway, I’m here for her second which is the main thing and armed with Peppa Pig paraphernalia and more importantly – chocolate coconut cream in an almond and oat crust. Ummmm. Oh, and the strawberry sauce of course. It’s all a bit of a mouthful, but a delicious one at that!Slice of chocolate pi

Sheer peer pressure is the reason I made this. Well maybe that’s not 100% true but there was a lot. It was my Sister and Mum, they saw this chocolate cream pie and fell in love at first sight! I kinda saw their point so I said I’d make it and what a good decision that was because it’s amazing. Of course, I wanted some for myself and of course I ate the first slice. I said I’d bring the pie to the party for communal tasting but I didn’t mention there’d be a cheeky slice missing! Ooops, I’m sure no one will notice. This may be one for the adults but we’ll see how it goes down with the kiddies, if there’s any left!An easy as pie process

Clearly, something this good just had to be inspired by the wonderful blog, ‘Oh She Glows’. The only deviation was to use 200 grams of chocolate rather than the suggested 340 as it just seemed like such a lot! Definitely a good call as the finished pie was still extremely rich and chocolatey, just perfect.Chocolate pie + strawberry sauce

I’m not a technical kinda cook, more a comfort food, make it up as you go kinda girl but this looked so good I just had to try it. I had visions of a crumbling crust and a floppy innards ‘cos for some reason I don’t trust myself with pie crusts or things that have to set. However, I’m pretty inspired because this worked out so well, the crust set perfectly with the first slice popping out with real ease. Me and my Mum had to hold back from just eating the pie crust alone the aroma was so good. Come to think of it I had to try really hard not to drink the coconut cream before filling the crust too. I’m glad I didn’t because the chocolate cream set to perfection and had the dreamiest, richest and creamiest of flavours, decadent stuff. The oat and almond crust makes this absolutely gluten free and the coconut cream, vanilla & vegan chocolate make for a simple, healthy and dairy free filling. Miles tastier than any other chocolate pie I’ve ever had and it’s 100% void of wheat and dairy – yes it is possible and here’s the proof.Chocolate pie & strawberry sauce

Although the process looks full on, it’s in fact very simple and can be whipped up in no time. 15 minutes baking, 2 hours in a freezer and you’re done, just don’t forget to take it out! I had no problem here, I couldn’t get the thought of eating this chocolate coconut pie outta my head let alone forget about it!A slice of pie

Chocolate coconut cream pie

(12 slices)

crust:
3/4 cup almonds
1/2 cup oat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 cup oats

coconut filling:
1 can coconut milk, chilled overnight
200 grams dairy free milk/dark chocolate, broken
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

strawberry compote:
500 grams strawberries
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons maple syrup
i teaspoon vanilla extract

Method:

Preheat the oven to 175 ºC + grease a 12′ pie dish. Place almonds in a blender & pulse to a bread crumb texture. Add the remaining crust ingredients (apart from whole oats) & pulse until a dough forms. Now add the oats & pulse so that the oats are fine but retain some texture. The dough should stick together when squeezed between your fingers. Process for longer if this is not the case.

Sprinkle the crust mix into the pie dish evenly. Starting from the middle, push down firmly with your fingers until the pie crust is compact. The more compact, the better.Prick with a fork 5 times & bake for 15 minutes. Remove after baking & allow to cool.

To make the sauce, mix the cornstarch with some water to form a paste & place in a small pan. Add the remaining sauce ingredients & simmer for 5 minutes.

Remove the coconut cream from the can taking care to separate the cream from the water. Add cream & chocolate to a pan over a low heat, stir until nearly dissolved. Take off the heat & pour into the pie crust. Transfer to the freezer for 2 hours or until set. Keep chilled & serve with the compote. Pie can be frozen for up to a week.Enjoy.

 

 

Caramel Maca Chocolates – GF + Vegan

Caramel chocolatesAs a kid (and adult!) I had a big thing for white and golden caramel chocolate, especially Caramacs, Milky Bars, white chocolate mice, well white chocolate anything really. I’m just a fiend for white and gold chocolate full stop but the thing is it’s just so sweet, my taste buds must have matured or something! A lot of commercial white chocolate is rammed full of sugar and trans fats so the plan was to make some myself. Plus I was also looking for an excuse to use my heart shaped silicone chocolate moulds!Chocolate making!

These aren’t really like traditional white or golden chocolate because they contain lucuma and maca – they’re Peruvian superfood chocolates! The lucuma provides natural sweetness in maple/caramel tones and the maca gives a malty cereal flavour making them great additions. Both are super healthy for you, so this chocolate is turbo charged with a natural sweetness and a lot of goodness.

Maca, also known as the Peruvian ginseng is an adaptogen which basically means it helps the body to adapt to particular stresses, allowing it to deal with these and adapt naturally. In my opinion this is what makes maca a superfood but of course there’s more to this wonderful root from the radish/broccoli family. It’s rich in protein and B vitamins which is helpful for vegan diets and it’s renowned for it’s positive effects with regards to endocrine hormones balance, fertility issues, mood balance, osteoporosis, skin conditions and as an overall energy tonic. I must start adding this to my smoothies more often.

Sweet and fragrant lucuma is pretty special too and is a fantastic sweetener that doesn’t actually raise blood sugar levels. How that is even possible, I do not know! Derived from the subtropical fruit of the lucuma tree, this powder contains 14 essential trace elements including potassium and calcium and is rich in B vitamins. It’s anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, regenerative and has been shown to aid skin repair and wound healing. I’m in.Simple & vegan chocolate

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I didn’t think making chocolate from scratch was for me being super easy to buy and a lot cheaper too. However,I wanted to make something that was actually good for me, dairy free, with less sugar, contained maca (don’t ask me why!) and of course would make use of my love heart moulds. So I found this recipe on the Sunfood website which looked really easy and is also supercharged with healthful ingredients, like maca. It wasn’t only simple, it was very quick too -just a case of melting the cocoa butter and adding the remaining ingredients before transferring to silicone moulds for the freezer. See- 5 minutes tops. I found I didn’t need as much lucuma (I used just 4 tablespoons) but you can pretty much gage quantities as you combine the ingredients. The key is to create a consistency that’s not too thin but also not overly thick so it can’t be poured into the moulds with ease.I also added two tablespoons of sweetener and a tad more vanilla than the original recipe for a softer flavour.

Easy process for a superfood chocolate

The taste was quite a shock at first as they’re nothing like my Caramac memories but fear not these are delicious in their own spectacular superfood way. Like shop bought chocolate these had a very creamy taste and texture but the flavour is much less sweet with malty cereal undertones. Satisfying. Update: I’ve just eaten another and it tasted better than the first, they’re very moreish! Although I thought ‘do it yourself’ chocolate wasn’t for me, I am ever so slightly converted, mainly because it’s so easy, the results are pretty good and you can control the sweetness levels and flavours too. The plan is to make a darker coconut variety next, or peanut butter, or spiced orange……..

What’s your favourite chocolate and do you make your own?Heart shaped chocolates

Caramel maca chocolates

(makes 20 small chocolates)

1 cup cocoa butter
4 tablespoons lucuma
1 tablespoon maca
vanilla pod, deseeded
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon agave nectar

Method.

1. Melt the cocoa butter over a very low heat until no solids remain.
2. Transfer to a bowl & add the remaining ingredients, mix until smooth.
3. Transfer mixture to silicone moulds or paper cases. Freeze for 30 minutes. Remove from the moulds before the chocolates reach room temperature.

Paleo Almond & Chocolate Chip Cookies – GF & Vegan

Paleo almond meal

A healthier approach.

Lately I’ve been trying to squeeze a little yoga in before bedtime, to stretch out my runners legs and as part of a wind down routine. Let’s call it a spot of self care. For the most part it’s working out pretty well, it’s calming on the mind and loosening those tight muscles little by little. Years and years of heavy running along with my penchant for hard hitting circuits (pain is good, isn’t it?) means that I’m not exactly Miss flexible. In fact I’m about as flexible as a wafer! The thing is I know what I need to do to, stretch, foam roll, massage but I guess I’m a bit lazy. I’m hoping that my nightly 10 minute yoga sequence will help, I’ll let you know.Almond cookie stack

One thing I have no trouble sticking with in the evening is my nightly ice cream habit! It’s one of my vices but  really I could do with something a little healthier. I shouldn’t think a sugary dairy hit is not what my body wants before bed, despite what my mind is telling me. So I wanted to make something equally as delicious, more healthful and with way less sugar.  My mind didn’t immediately gravitate to a cookie but this isn’t any old cookie! This is a super cookie made from such healthful ingredients you could have easily get away with having them at breakfast.

Right, I’m going to convince you why you need these cookies in your life. First up, they’re utterly delicious and I’m not just saying this, truly. They’re not overly sweet and contain just a few healthy ingredients including almond meal, coconut oil, honey and almond milk. The best part is they are really low carb which is perfect for some late evening paleo snacking. The low sugar content wont give you any crashes and as they’re jam packed with almonds, this healing food will in fact stabilise blood sugar which is important if you’re crashed out for the next 8 hours. See, these cookies are amazingly for you, just check out the ingredients list for yourself. I devoured a couple last night during a ‘Dexter’ session and I must say, I was impressed all over again and I could see that Russ felt the same!Cookie dough

Cookies for breakfast anyone? I’ll be having a couple tonight, before bed,  a habit I don’t feel the urge to kick.

What do you eat to satisfy evening cravings?Almond cookies

Paleo almond & chocolate chip cookies

1 cup almond meal
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
dash of cinnamon
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 tablespoon almond milk
1/4 cup vegan chocolate chips

Method:

1. Add the dry ingredients to a mixing bowl. Combined the wet ingredients whisking thoroughly. Add the wet ingredients to the almond meal mix along with the chocolate chips. Bring together to form a cookie dough.
2. Roll into 8-10 small cookie balls and place on a baking tray. Press down lightly with a fork.
3. Bake at 175 ºC for 8-10 minutes until lightly golden. Be careful not to over cook. Remove from the oven & allow to cool before storing.

Smokey Bean Burger

I like a good eye crossing burger (don’t worry, i’ll explain later) and as a vegan, burger making prowess is a handy skill to possess. Burgers mean a lot to me and as such I’ve made a lot of veggie burgers and I am still by no means ‘there’ yet, but I really like this one.

smokey bean burger

So, the first and most key burger rule I have learnt on my 8 year burger learning curve is that the mixture consistency is sooooooo very important, and to get the correct consistency you need to experiment! Soft and mushy is just annoying but at the same time you really don’t want to break a tooth at first bite. I usually have the former problem. My first veggie bean burger was a big floppy sloppy mess and despite tasting pretty good it was a mission to eat! If I remember correctly we also ‘spilt’ too much chill into the mix, so really it was more super hot vegetarian chill in a bun than burger- uuuuummmm yummy. Potential future recipe perhaps?

There are a mass of bean burger recipes around but as long as you take care of the main elements such as mixture consistency, texture and size I think the actual ingredients boil down to personal tastes. The smokey chipotle and raw cocoa provide a rich, lightly spiced and sweet tone throughout the burger but this can be adjusted to personal taste. The oats and almonds add a slight nutty crunch and firmness without drying the mixture out and once combined with the smoothness of the beans a workable consistency forms. It’s really important to drain the beans thoroughly as they are pretty water retentive.! If you find mid way through combining that it is a little sloppy you can add more wholemeal flour or oats to dry it out. It really is one of those recipes that require a bit of judgement and experimentation.

smokey bean burger
ready to go!

Best to use a high burning oil such as rape seed to achieve that crunchy exterior. I usually give them 5-6 minutes each side but keep an eye on them anyhow!

I divided this mixture into 4 good sized burgers and shape into…..well burger shapes! If using cheese slice, place on the burger 1 minute before removing from the hob.

smokey bean burger
It’s all in the consistency………

Obviously, serve with a decent bun, I top it with cheese, some pickles, crunchy salad and tomato ketchup 🙂 I really like a few nachos in the burger for added crunch!

smokey bean burger
Amazing with mustard coleslaw

My favourite part is picking it up, squeezing it together and taking an almighty bite whilst trying my hardest not to go cross eyed! I still can’t do it, ever since I was a kid my eyes start wondering inwards towards my nose when tackling an oversized burger, much to the amusement of my family!

So, if there were a veggie burger making rulebook what would you add to it?!

Smokey Bean Burger

(makes 4 burgers)

1 can of black beans, drained very well
2 tablespoon of vegetable oil
1/2 onion, peeled & chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 large carrot or squash, peeled and chopped
1 chipotle chili, chopped
1/4 cup of almonds
small handful of cacao nibs or grated dark chocolate
1 cup of oats
coriander/cumin/cinnamon/smoked paprika
salt / pepper
flour to dust
oil for frying

Note: Most pulses work well but all need to be thoroughly drained.

Method:

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a non-stick pan and soften onion, garlic and chopped carrot. Meanwhile drain the beans thoroughly.
  2. Add 2/3 beans to a mixing bowl followed by the onion mix, chill, almonds, oats, spices, salt & pepper. Blitz mixture in a blender.
  3. Stir through remaining beans and cocoa nibs and partially blitz. Now is the time to add any peas/sweetcorn.
  4. Divide mixture into 4 equal portions. Shape into buns and dust with flour.
  5. Use remaining oil to fry the burgers for 5-6 minutes on both sides.
  6. Top with sliced (dairy-free) cheese if desired and serve immediately in a grainy bun.

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