Tag Archives: Chocolate

Hazelnut Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookies – (GF, DF, Vegan)

download (1)Having a bit of a hazelnut fest here, made a batch of hazelnut milk yesterday and will be working on a gluten-free hazelnut biscotti recipe with the pulp later this week but for now you can have this chocolately, gooey, delicious little cookie recipe inspired by a Nuttella loving little guy I worked with this weekend. Who doesn’t love the combo of chocolate and hazelnuts and I LOVE chocolate, particularly really dark chocolate. ¬† I always have 99% Unsweetened Calbert on hand and use it to make my own chocolates, in smoothies or whatever, but, for this recipe feel free to use any chocolate you love. ¬†Choose a quality bar and simply chop it up, the darker to better for you but I think with all the other healthy ingredients in these cookies you can afford to have the chunks be a little not so healthy ūüėČ

Oven 350 degrees
Baking sheet lined with parchment paper

Medium Bowl

1              tablespoon Ground Flax OR Ground Chia mixed with 3 tablespoons water
1/4         cup Coconut Oil
1/4         cup Hazelnut Butter
1/3         cup Coconut Sugar
1/3         cup Cane Sugar
2              teaspoons Vanilla Extract
Use a hand blender to mix well then add dry:
1.5          cups Gluten-free Oat Flour
3              tablespoons Cocoa Powder
1/2         teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2         teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2         teaspoon Sea Salt
1-2          teaspoons Hazelnut, Almond or other non-dairy Milk
1/2         cup Dark Chocolate, chopped
1/2         cup Hazelnuts, lightly roasted, skins rubbed off and chopped
1/4         cup Raw Cacoa Pieces *optional

First mix together ground flax or chia (this is your egg replacer) and water and set aside for 5 minutes.  Then, add the rest of the wet ingredients and with a hand mixer, mix until smooth.

Add dry ingredients.  Mix again.  Add milk just to moisten up a bit if necessary. The dough is sticky, much like a peanut butter cookie.

Add chopped chocolate, roasted, skin removed, chopped hazelnuts and raw cacoa pieces if using and then use a wooden spoon to incorporate.

Divide into 12 batter balls, shape and slightly flatten with a spoon.  Sprinkle with coarse sea salt then bake for 12-15 minutes.

Cool on a rack.wpid-20140302_082651.jpg

Healthy Holiday Baking

Peppermint Bark: Gluten-Free
Almond Butter Cookies: Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, (can be Vegan) Short Bread Cookies: Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, (can be Vegan)
Raw Coco Rum Balls: Gluten-Free, Vegan
Ginger Bread: Gluten-Free, Vegan

Peppermint Bark – Gluten-Free

There are several versions of this one on-line, I had to include it because I love it. Only real substitution I do is to use coconut cream rather than dairy, understanding there is milk powder in white chocolate, I still try to avoid it as much as possible.

Baking sheet flipped over and covered with foil or parchment paper
Two pots or double broiler
30    Peppermint Candy Canes, crushed, divided
20    ounces White Callebaut Chocolate, coarsely chopped, divided
10    ounces Dark Callebaut Chocolate, coarsely chopped
6       tablespoons Coconut Cream (unshaken can of thick coconut milk)
1        teaspoon Peppermint Extract

Melt half of the white chocolate in the top of a double boiler over just barely simmering water, stir frequently and scraping down the sides with a rubber spatula. Careful not to burn!

Spread evenly into the prepared pan then sprinkle 1/4 of the crushed peppermints evenly over top. Place in fridge or freezer till hardened.

Meanwhile, melt the dark chocolate, coconut cream, and peppermint extract the same way.

Working quickly from one end to the other pour dark chocolate on top of the hardened white and spread it evenly. Sprinkle another 1/4 of the crushed candy cane. Return to chill until very firm.

Last, melt the remaining white chocolate then spread quickly over the chilled bark. Sprinkle with the remaining peppermint pieces; chill until firm.

Cut or break into small pieces and keep chilled until serving.

Almond Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies – GF, DF, (can be Vegan)

Oven 350 degrees
Heavy bottomed baking sheet
Medium bowl
1        cup unsalted Almond Butter (works well with smooth or crunchy)
1/2   cup Sucanat Sugar, ground to a fine powder
1        large Egg (or egg replacer)
1/2   tsp Baking Soda
1/2   tsp Sea Salt
1        heaping handful of Dark Chocolate Chunks or Chocolate Covered Almonds*

Combine all ingredients, except the chocolate, in a medium bowl and mix well. Then, fold in chocolate chunks.

Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto parchment-lined baking sheet.

Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes then remove to a wire rack and allow to cool.

* for my Christmas baking I pressed one single chocolate covered almond into each cookies before baking

Short Bread Cookies – Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, (can be Vegan)

Okay my gluten-free friends, here it is: crumbly, moist, buttery, sweet short bread! These are awesome eaten cold out of the fridge or freezer. If you want to try something different I have included a recipe for maple butter to top with.  These are also great with a cranberry pressed on top or try adding different flavours like almond, peppermint, lemon or cinnamon.

Oven 325 degrees
Large bowl:
1       cup Goat Butter, softened
2       tablespoon Organic Dark Brown Sugar
1       teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1        large Egg White (or equivalent egg replacer)
Small bowl:
1        cup Sweet Rice Flour
1/2   cup Organic Cane Sugar, ground to a fine powder
2/3   cup Tapioca Starch
1/3   cup Arrowroot Powder
1/2   teaspoon Xanthan Gum

Combine dry and sift well. Combine wet and mix with a hand blender until nice and creamy. Add dry ingredients to the wet, a little at a time and blend until it is well combined and creamy looking.

Just like traditional short bread, you can roll this dough out and cut out shapes or roll into balls and flatten a bit.  Have fun!

These are also nice with a little sprinkle of turbinado sugar or lemon peel before baking.

Bake for 10-12 minutes until lightly golden.  Allow to cool completely.

Maple Butter
Small sauce pan
2/3    cup Dark Maple Syrup
1         cup Goat Butter (room temperature).

In small saucepan, bring maple syrup to a boil and reduce by half, approximately 10 to 15 minutes.

Remove from heat and let stand at room temperature. When cool, add the butter and stir until completely blended.

Place in refrigerator until firm if you’re not using it right away.

Raw Cocoa Rum Balls – Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Vegan

Growing up around the holidays I remember my mom’s amazing rum balls being in the freezer, she always made on-boozy ones for us kids but we definitely got into the rum version once or twice. I am so thrilled to have perfected a raw and healthy version, there is only 4 ounces of Rum in about two dozen balls but if you want to go totally healthy, feel free to omit I offer lots of options to boost the flavour.

1       cup fine shred Coconut Flakes
2       tablespoons Rolled Oats
2/3  cup raw Almonds
1/8   teaspoon fine Sea Salt
1        teaspoon Coconut Oil, room temp
1-2    tablespoons Agave or Maple Syrup
4        tablespoons Dark Rum (alcohol-free: sub a few more tablespoons of agave)
1        tablespoon of Cocoa Powder
3        tablespoons Raw Organic Sugar, ground fine

Cocoa Powder, Fine-Shred Coconut Flakes or Melted Vegan Chocolate for Rolling.

Grind almonds to a coarse powder, add oats and 1/2 cup coconut flakes and grind well.

Combine ground mixture, rum, oil, sea salt, agave, cocoa powder and mix well.

Grind the raw sugar to a fine powder and add to the bowl, mix again.

Mix adding the other 1/2 cup of coconut flakes till you get a soft dough. Taste and adjust sweetness by adding more powdered sugar or agave.

Chill for half an hour.

Form balls and roll in cocoa powder, coconut flakes or cover in melted (vegan) chocolate!

Add whatever you want to this recipe, chocolate chips or pistachios in the middle would be nice or substitute the booze and cocoa powder and add in an essence or extract like rose, vanilla, or a pinch of cardamom. Yummm!

Gingerbread Cookies – Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Vegan

Oven 350 degrees
Two baking sheets lined with parchment paper
Large bowl:
1 1/4    cups Tapioca Starch
3/4       cup Teff Flour
1/2        cup Coconut Flour
1/4        cup Millet Flour
1/4        cup Sweet Rice Flour
1/4        cup Almond Flour
1             teaspoon Baking Soda
1             teaspoon Sea Salt
1 ¬Ĺ ¬† ¬† ¬† teaspoon Agar Agar Powder
1/3       cup Organic Dark Brown Sugar or Sucanat
2            teaspoon ground Ginger
2            teaspoon Cinnamon
1            teaspoon ground Cloves
1            teaspoon Cocoa Powder
1/4       teaspoon Nutmeg
2            grates Black Pepper
Cut in:
1/2       cup cold Vegan Shortening or Virgin Coconut Oil
Large bowl:
2            teaspoon Vanilla Extract
¬Ĺ ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† cup Dark Maple Syrup
1/3       cup Fancy Molasses
1/3      cup Cooking Molasses

Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl and sift.

Cut in shortening with a fork or pastry cutter until the mixture resembles fine crumbs.

Combine wet and then stir into the dry. Chill dough for at least 10 minutes in the fridge.

Take out a handful at a time and roll on wax paper dusted with tapioca starch to approximately 1/8 inch thickness and cut out shapes.

This dough is quite sticky, you will need to keep it cold and dust it often to be able to roll out and cut shapes. Have patience; even with lots of starch dusting and re-rolling they will turn out. Also, these cookies will puff up, if a moister cookie is what you prefer roll out thicker and bake a little less, if a crispy cookie is what you’re after go thin and bake longer.

Bake time is about 8-12 minutes. The cookies will be quite soft even when cooked and will harden while cooling. I suggest letting them cool for 15 minutes on the baking sheet then at least an hour on a rack.

Makes 2-4 dozen, work in batches with two baking sheets.

Happy Holidays!!

Gluten-Free Banana Bread

A gluten-free version of classic banana bread that’s healthy and easy to make.¬† Try adding one of the options provided below!

Oven 350 degrees
Bread pan, greased and dusted with flour

Large bowl:
3              large very ripe Bananas, mashed
2              large Eggs
1/3          cup Honey, Maple Syrup, or *Agave Syrup (or 1/2 c sucanat or brown sugar)
1/2          cup  Almond  Milk  (or other milk  substitute)
2              teaspoon Vanilla

Small bowl:
1              cup Brown Rice Flour
1              cup Quinoa  Flour (or other gluten-free flour)
2              tablespoons Tapioca Starch
1/2          teaspoon Sea Salt
1/2          teaspoon Baking Soda
1              teaspoon Baking Powder

Citrus Zest:
1/4 Р1     teaspoon freshly grated Lemon or Orange Zest

Chocolate Swirl:
Separate half the batter into a separate bowl and mix in ¬ľ cup of cocoa powder into one.¬† Layer each batter into the greased pan.¬†¬† Take a skewer or chop stick and swirl through the pan.¬† Bake as instructed.

One or all:
1/2          cup Walnuts or Pecans, chopped
1/3 – 1/2 cup Dark Chocolate Pieces, Chips or Raw Cacao Pieces
1/2          cup Dates, Apricots or other dried fruit , chopped

Blend the wet ingredients in the large bowl.

Mix dry ingredients in the small bowl then add to the large bowl.  Stir well.

If adding any of the options, add them now. Pour mixture into greased and dusted loaf pan .

Bake for about an hour or until a wood toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

*If using all honey or agave syrup, your loaf may brown too quickly. If you notice this, lower the oven to 325 and/or loosely cover the top of the loaf with some foil.

Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Cups

So it’s Halloween and every year I try really hard to not eat the sugar ridden crap that we hand out to the kiddies every year but I don’t believe in deprivation either so tonight I made a healthy version of the ever popular Reese Peanut Butter Cup. ¬†I love chocolate, especially dark chocolate which is what I choose to use it for these unbelievably delicious and nutritious treats, if you prefer a milk chocolate that‚Äôs ok too but remember the darker the chocolate the better it is for you.

How is dark chocolate nutritious? WELL….it contains a large number of antioxidants, (nearly 8 times the number found in strawberries) which protect the body from aging caused by free radicals; it contains flavonoids which help relax blood pressure (through the production of nitric oxide) and balance certain hormones in the body; it also has been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) by up to 10 percent; it taste good so therefore it  stimulates endorphin production, which gives a feeling of pleasure; it contains serotonin, which acts as an anti-depressant; and it contains theobromine, caffeine and other substances which are also stimulants.

Although chocolate has a high fat content only 1/3 of it is a “bad” fat, the other 2/3 do not impact your cholesterol. The break down goes¬† like this:

1/3 Oleic Acid: a healthy monounsaturated fat that is also found in olive oil.
1/3 Stearic Acid: a saturated fat but one which research is shows has a neutral effect on cholesterol.
1/3 Palmitic Acid: also a saturated fat, one which raises cholesterol and heart disease risk.

Trick or Treat?! ūüėČ

Cup Cake liners, 9 medium or  12 small.
Muffin pan.
Small Bowl:
1/2       cup Almond butter
1/2       teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2           tablespoons Icing Sugar
Pinch fine Sea Salt
Heavy bottomed pot, medium/low heat:
1 1/4    cups Dark Chocolate, broken into pieces (50-70% cocoa*)

Mix almond butter with sea salt, vanilla, and just enough icing sugar  (approximately 2 tablespoons) so that it is still very soft but  knead-able.  Set aside.

Use muffin tin as support for the cup cake liners or, double up on the liners.

Slowly, while stirring, melt the chocolate – feel free to use a microwave to melt your chocolate instead (personally, I am anti- microwave but It would work quite well in this instant).

Spoon a heaping teaspoon of melted chocolate into each liner, imagine how thick you want the bottom of your chocolate. Set in fridge to harden slightly while you get the almond butter ready.

Divide your almond paste into equal portions, roll into balls and then lightly flatten into discs almost as wide as the bottom of the liners.

By now your 1/4 filled chocolate-cups have had a bit of time to firm-up a little.  You want to be able to push the almond butter discs gently into the chocolate cups but not so much that they sink to the bottom.

Spoon more melted chocolate over each now and softly level chocolate over each with your spoon.

Refrigerate cups in the fridge to firm up then remove the liners and eat or, keep stored in a sealed container in the fridge for later.