Browsing articles tagged with " chocolate"

Almond Butter Dark Chocolate Cookies

Almond Butter Dark Chocolate Cookies  Rainy days are made for baking cookies… and eating cookies. Or to be exact, eating three cookies in a row plucked straight from the still hot baking tray. What…no, I would never do that! I always wait patiently for the cookies to cool before stuffing them in my mouth. Ha! Yeah right, I mean does anyone wait? Seriously, the person who can resist devouring cookies still warm from the oven is clearly a better person than me. There’s just something about the thrill of burning my fingertips on gooey melted chocolate and the roof of my mouth on piping hot dough that I simply can’t resist. Come on, what’s a few burned fingers when what you get in exchange is mouthful of amazing almond butter cookie mixed with a generous bite of dark chocolate? Clearly the reward far outweighs the sacrifice.Almond Butter Dark Chocolate CookiesThese cookies did a fine job of brightening up what was otherwise a dreary rainy day. They also gave me an excuse to try out a new kind of sugar I recently discovered. It’s called Coconut Sugar and is made from the sap which drips from coconut flower blossoms! Pretty cool huh? This is a traditional sweetener that’s been used for years in southeast Asia. The process for making the sugar sounds similar to how we make maple syrup. A little cut is made in the blossom from which the sap flows out and is collected in bamboo containers. The sap is then heated over a long period of time during which the moisture evaporates until a thick paste forms. Sometimes you can find coconut sugar sold in this paste-like form, but it seems that the most common type has been cooked even further until it becomes a granulated sugar.This is the type I bought. It looks kind of like a cross between turbinado and brown sugar. Coconut sugar tastes pretty similar to plain white cane sugar except that is has a hint of caramel flavor reminiscent of brown sugar. I think you could successfully use it as a substitute for either white or light brown sugar. There’s several reasons why coconut sugar is all the rage these days. First, because it’s minimally processed (especially the brands labeled organic) and contains no additives or bleaching products. Second, it has trace amounts of minerals like zinc and iron. And third, it boasts a low glycemic index which is a safer alternative for those with diabetes because it doesn’t cause such a rapid spike in blood sugar. Of course, like every product that claims to be a “healthier” sweetener there are questions popping up about the true nature of this sugar and just how low the glycemic index really is. It’s my opinion that all sugars should be used sparingly regardless of what the GI number is, but what really draws me to coconut sugar is the fact that it hasn’t been processed to death or treated with bleach and other nasty things that I would rather not put in my body. For that same reason my favorite sweeteners lately have been honey and maple syrup. The problem is that it can sometimes be hard to use these liquid sweeteners in recipes that call for dry sugar. In these cases coconut sugar seems like a great alternative.

Speaking of maple syrup…I couldn’t resist including just a little. I suspected that the maple flavor would be the perfect compliment to the almond butter and the teaspoon of cinnamon that I added. Guess what? I was right.
This was my first time making almond butter cookies. Well, actually my second time because the first batch, while tasty, came out with a texture more like cake than a cookie. The solution was more butter-like twice as much butter. I had this theory in my head that since I was including almond butter I could use less regular butter. Not true. Almond butter does not act the same as butter made from a dairy product, at least not in these cookies. The almond butter has a very mild flavor- in fact, I couldn’t detect any almond flavor in these cookies at all. There is a slight nutty taste that is sooo good along with the cinnamon and maple flavors. This amazing combo makes these cookies pretty irresistible in my book. I also added lots of chocolate chips…because I could.
These are lumpy looking cookies that don’t spread much as you bake them. I smashed the first batch down with a fork like you would with traditional peanut butter cookies, but for this batch I decided to leave them as is in all their lumpy glory. If you want a thinner cookie go ahead and give them the fork treatment but be sure to reduce the baking time by a few minutes. Yum!
Almond Butter Dark Chocolate Cookies

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Peppermint Tea Dark Chocolate Brownies

Peppermint Tea Brownies
Hmmm…tea or brownies? Tea and brownies? How about tea in brownies! If you love tea and you LOVE brownies (who doesn’t love brownies? ) this recipe is for you. Dense fudgy,dark chocolate laden brownies spiked with an earthy mint flavor reminiscent of your favorite cup of tea. It’s a chocolate and mint lovers dream. This special brownie was inspired by a recipe that I pulled out of a magazine years ago, filed away for future use and promptly forgot about. For ten years. Yup, the date at the bottom of the page says August/September 2002. Wow, I guess I should go through my recipe file more often. The funny part is that when I saved the recipe I didn’t know it had tea in it. I thought it was just your normal mint brownie made with peppermint extract. The main reason I saved it all these years was because of the pretty marbled white chocolate glaze that covered the brownie.Peppermint Brownie It wasn’t until I read through the ingredients and spotted the tea that I realized what a special recipe this was. Despite my initial excitement, in the end I used the tea portion of the recipe and a modified version of the glaze, but not much else. The reason? It called for 2 1/2 sticks of butter and 2 cups of sugar!!! Granted, the recipe made a 9 x 13-inch pan of brownies which is pretty big, but even cut in half this recipe has more butter and sugar than any brownie would ever need. I have a brownie recipe from Cooking Light that I often use as a base for any brownie that I create. It’s thick and fudge-like with lots of chocolate flavor but only 5 tablespoons of butter and a mere 3/4 cup of sugar. Lots of indulgent flavor but no so many indulgent ingredients.
The tea I used was Yogi Purely Peppermint, but any herbal peppermint tea will do. I like the Yogi brand because they have a whole line of teas for specific aliments like Bedtime tea, Calming tea and my favorite Throat Comfort. I swear this is the best remedy for a sore throat out there. Beside their awesome teas, the other thing I love about the Yogi brand is that each tea bag comes with an inspirational message. And who couldn’t use a little inspiration with their tea…or their brownies?
The recipe instructions said to grind the sugar and tea leaves together in a food processor. Honestly, I’m not totally convinced that this step is necessary. My tea leaves were pretty well ground to begin with and I’m pretty sure that simply stirring the sugar and tea together would have produced the same result. But I did it anyway. I did it because when trying something new I‘m often struck with a debilitating fear that if I don’t follow the directions exactly I will be doomed to imminent failure. Let’s just say that in this case I took one for the team. I ground that sugar and tea so that you wouldn’t have to. Or go ahead and grind…who am I to tell you to break the rules?
Grinding or no grinding, the end result is a thick, fudge-like batter laced with a refreshing minty aroma. 
I had mine with what else… a mug of hot steaming tea.Peppermint Tea Brownie

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Chocolate Pavlova with Blood Orange Cream

Chocolate Pavlova with Blood Orange Cream
I made you a dessert. A magnificent dessert. A dessert with chocolate and cream and tropical fruit. A dessert that will make your heart fill with joy and your mouth cry out for more. A dessert that is impressive to behold yet surprisingly simple to prepare. A dessert that is truly worthy of a holiday meant for love. ♥
You’re welcome.Chocolate Pavlova with Blood Orange Cream
If you’ve never had the pleasure of enjoying a Pavlova before, you’re in for a real treat. This meringue based dessert boasts an airy crisp crust and a chewy, almost marshmallow like center. It’s topped with whipped cream- I infused mine with a bit of fresh squeezed blood orange juice- and piled high with fresh fruits and berries. Pavlova is the perfect dessert to make for the one you love…or to ask the one you love to make for you. It does take a bit of time to prepare because the meringue needs to cook at a low temperature for about an hour and then cool slowly for another hour. But the hands on time is pretty minimal. And I promise…it is totally worth it.

Whipped egg whites and cocoa
Meet fresh fruit
All together nowTAW95417

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