SalmonBerry

Posts Tagged ‘vanilla’

Almond Joy Cookies

In Nutrition, Recipe on October 20, 2013 at 11:50 pm
coconut and chocolate

Coconut and Chocolate

My ideas about dessert and sweets are changing…

As a child, Halloween was one of my favorite holidays. It’s not just the dressing up in costumes. It was the idea of going house-to-house, asking for candy, and actually being able to eat it! My childhood home was completely devoid of sugar – and I mean completely. Did you know there are 2 grams of sugar per serving of Rice Krispies? Therefore, only Cheerios were allowed. You know, only 1 gram of sugar per serving, so it was only half as bad for you.

I grew up putting taco sauce on hot dogs because ketchup has sugar in it. Yes, ketchup was banned but hot dogs were OK. I think we all have places in our lives where our decision-making is a bit contradictory. I have a close friend who is very diligent about consuming organic food and yet drinks Diet Coke all day long…hmmmmm…

I have a rule in my home that all desserts need to be homemade. The idea being that you must really want that cupcake if you’re going to take the trouble to bake it and ice it, thus leading to less sweets consumption.

cookies

Combine these two to make an almond joy cookie!

Until recently I subscribed to the idea that if you are going to indulge, you ought to do it right. Eat the butter. Eat the eggs. Eat the gluten. Eat the white sugar. Just don’t indulge so often. Lately, that doesn’t seem to be working for me. Now, when I indulge in a “real” cookie or cupcake, I feel like I’ve got a hangover. My system has become so finely-tuned towards simple preparations of plant-based foods that even the occasional rich dessert cannot be tolerated without consequence. So I am officially on the vegan-gluten-free-honey-sweetened-dessert bandwagon these days.

Back to candy eating at Halloween. As a kid, gathering all that forbidden treasure was a major high. My parents would let my siblings and I indulge in the candy for a day, maybe two, and then we turned the contraband over to them (I later learned they stashed anything chocolate in the freezer). I tell this to friends and they assume I have awful memories of that holiday. But I remember it as a non-issue. Two days of gorging on sweets was plenty. Of course, I made sure I consumed as many Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Snickers as I could before my 2 day limit was reached. I also remember wishing I could combine Mounds Bar and Almond Joy into one because I love dark chocolate and almonds.

I am positively giddy about a cookie that combines chocolate and almonds. And is gluten-free. And is vegan. And is not overly sweet. And is more simple to prepare than “real” cookies.

Start with the simple base batter using a food processor fitted with the dough blade.  I’m sure you could also blend with a wooden spoon and muscle.

cookie collage

Vegan, gluten-free, chocolate chip cookies

Ingredients:

2 cups almond flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/4 cup coconut oil

1/4 cup honey

1 TBSP vanilla

Other ingredients: finely shredded, unsweetened coconut and block of high quality dark chocolate

Directions: Combine dry ingredients (mix and blend well) then add wet ingredients (mix and blend well). The mixture is sticky and the almond flour a bit gritty but never fear – they will be delicious! Heat oven to 350 degrees. Baking time is 6-8 minutes and cookies will stay somewhat gooey so judge done-ness by bottom browning. Also, since you will be rolling them into balls to bake, after about 3-4 minutes use the back of a large spoon to gently flatten them and then finish baking.

homemade cocoroons

Homemade Cocoroons

If you prefer a coconut-y cookie reminiscent of Cocoroons or Rickaroons (for the local San Diego folks) then form the batter into balls and roll in coconut (consider adding 1/4 to 1/2 cup coconut to batter but not too much as it gets dry).

Or add coarsely-chopped dark chocolate to make (somewhat) traditional chocolate chip cookies.

Or do BOTH and enjoy a chewy, gooey concoction that tastes awfully close to an Almond Joy candy bar but is WAY BETTER for you! Add chopped chocolate to the batter. Form into balls. Roll in coconut flakes. Bake. AMAZING.

Just because these are vegan and gluten-free doesn’t mean it’s open season for consumption. Cookies are still a treat and are highly caloric so take it easy, people.

Chocolate Avocado Mousse

In Nutrition, Recipe on April 12, 2013 at 4:21 pm
avocado and chocolate

Avocados and chocolate. Together at last.

Last night I was chatting on Facebook with friends from my childhood in Alaska while I was trolling the web for what to do with avocados that doesn’t include guacamole or smoothies. It’s Hass avocado season (Apr to Sept) here in San Diego County, the largest grower of avocados in the U.S., and I’ve got friends leaving bags of rich, ripe avocados on my doorstep. In an effort to use them before they go south, I discovered chocolate mousse with avocado – genius. I quickly whipped it up (5 ingredients, 10 mins) and a love affair between Chocolate Avocado Mousse and Salmonberry began. Move over Chia Pudding, there’s a new dessert in town! The reaction from my childhood friends was less than enthusiastic which is hilarious because these are the same kids who grew up eating various parts of marine mammals and caribou.

mousse ingredients

Ingredients: avocado, cocoa, coconut cream, honey, vanilla.

Since I’m a healthy eater who rarely eats dessert (not much of a sweet tooth), my motto used to be “If I’m going to have dessert, I’m going to go big!”. On those rare occasions, I thought, why modify dessert – eat real butter, eat real sugar. But I’ve discovered that as I eat less and less animal foods and refined sugars, my taste buds just can’t handle traditional desserts. I’m now highly sensitive to such strong inputs and quickly become overwhelmed. As my son stated recently, when we made a key lime pie for St. Patty’s Day (complete with sweetened condensed milk!), “Whoa, this is so intense!” I’ve now begun to delve in and embrace healthier dessert options. Not so I can eat more volume or more often but so I can actually swallow more than one bite without succumbing to the ‘food hangover’ that’s very often a result of too much sugar and animal fat.

For this recipe I used local Hass avocados. I don’t recommend using out-of-season avocados and, depending on where you live, you may only have access to Hass but do you really want a jet-lagged avocado all the way from Chile in your delicious dessert? Check out this blog post from Avocado Diva for which avocados to eat year-round.

knife in cream

This coconut cream is not for wusses.

I also used Trader Joe’s Coconut Cream, Extra Thick and Rich, because, well, look at the picture, and Valrhona cocoa because its darker and richer than other baking cocoas.

Here’s the recipe from MySanFranciscoKitchen.com:

1 ripe avocado

1/4 cup cocoa powder (unsweetened)

1/4 cup coconut cream

3 TBSP honey

1 tsp vanilla

Place all ingredients in mixing bowl and blend with hand mixer until smooth and creamy – no lumps. Top with nuts, coconut flakes, fruit, nothing…

1/2 cup serving (4oz) = 273 kcals, 17g fat, 26g sugar, 5 g fiber, 2g protein.

Let’s not be fooled. This is still a dessert that’s high in fat, albeit a healthier fatty acid profile than animal fat, and sugar, so, please, slowly savor and revel in the deliciousness but don’t overindulge.

Choco Avo Mousse

Chocolate Avocado Mousse

Chia Pudding

In Nutrition, Recipe on April 3, 2013 at 10:29 pm
chia pudding

Chia pudding with blueberries

Why all the chia and coconut, you say? Well, both chia and coconut contain healthy fatty acid profiles. Chia’s omega-3s are more accessible than flaxseed because the seed can be consumed whole as opposed to flaxseed which must first be ground. I have found that adding unsweetened coconut and vanilla to recipes enhances the sweetness without any additional sweetener! It’s the aroma, perhaps. There are a lot of versions of chia pudding on the internet. This one from yourbuddhi.com is my favorite. This is NOT super sweet but resist the urge to pile on the honey and instead top with mango, pineapple, or another sweet fruit.

Ingredients:

1 can of lite coconut milk

5 TBSP chia seeds

3 TBSP honey

1 tsp vanilla and/or 1 tsp cocoa powder

Swirl honey into coconut milk until fully dissolved. Stir in chia seed, vanilla, and cocoa (if using). Wait 10 mins, stir again, then place in fridge for another 10 mins. Done! Top with fruit, coconut flakes, nuts, or cacao nibs.

Makes 4 – 4oz servings.

1 serving = 159 kcals + 9g fat + 4g fiber + 2g protein.