Tag Archives: dark chocolate

  1. Chocolate Covered Strawberry Fudgesicles {dairy-free, paleo-friendly}

     I am an official ambassador for Dole Fresh Fruit and Fresh Vegetables. Dole provided me with compensation for my time. As always, all opinions expressed in this post are mine.

    Chocolate Covered Strawberry Fudgesicles {dairy-free}

    Chocolate Covered Strawberry Fudgesicles {dairy-free}

    These Chocolate Covered Strawberry Fudgesicles are a fun and tasty way to encourage the kiddos to get more fruits and veggies. I would like to just go ahead and get this right out of the way – I added a veggie to your dessert and I am not sorry. I am going to just need for you to trust me on this one, until you make them yourself. I have never steered you wrong, have I?

    Let’s also discuss the idea of “sneaking” veggies in on kids. Listen, while I am an auntie to many, no, I don’t have my own kids, so I won’t pretend to understand the daily struggle of getting them to eat what you want them to. But I have borne witness to many of these altercations as a sidelined viewer. I do know that vegetables, especially, can be a contentious topic with the littles, that doesn’t always have an amicable resolution. But, while I don’t have my own children, I do work as a nutritional therapist with many adults. I see many, many iterations of various challenging habits and food aversions, lifelong unhealthy patterns, that often stem from childhood and not being led by example, not being taught, empowered and encouraged when it comes to making lasting, healthful choices. Read the rest of this entry »

  2. Boosted Chocolate Tahini Fudge {Gluten-free, Paleo}

    Boosted Chocolate Tahini Fudge {Gluten-free, Paleo}

    Boosted Chocolate Tahini Fudge {Gluten-free, Paleo}

    Well, I might just have to quit after this. This Boosted Chocolate Tahini Fudge features two of my favorite things together in a marriage so perfect I am not sure any treat can ever compare. At least for this girl. As if it couldn’t get better, this treat features the bonus healing powers of one of my favorite daily supplements.

    This fudge is dreamy. It’s rich and decadent, it’s unique and “mmmmm”-inducing. Here’s the thing though, if you don’t like tahini, it may not be for you (though you could likely swap in some almond butter or sunflower seed butter). But if you are a lover of all things tahini, you’re in luck. MAJOR luck. The tahini flavor shines bright and in it’s prominence it’s complimented so perfectly by the decadent, rich super dark chocolate. Don’t skimp here, quality is of key. Better yet, use homemade dark chocolate if you’ve got some. You guys already know how I feel about dark chocolate, a square or two a day of this magical superfood and that’s about all this lady needs to be satisfied. It doesn’t take much. Curious on why dark chocolate is a great option for a daily treat? Read more about the many benefits of dark chocolate.

    Boosted Chocolate Tahini Fudge {Gluten-free, Paleo}

    But here’s the best part, this is so much more than your usual treat, in true Tasty Yummies style, I boosted this fudge to bring an added layer of healing benefits. Vital Proteins’ Vanilla and Coconut Water Collagen Peptides is one of the latest and greatest from my pals over at Vital Proteins. You guys have already heard me sing the praises of collagen peptides as part of a healing diet and lifestyle. But since I have started incorporating Vital Proteins in my life, daily, they have continued to expand their product and introduce more and more incredible collagen based products. The new Vanilla and Coconut Water Collagen Peptides is no exception, this has been a wonderful addition to smoothies, as well as baked goods and now this amazing boosted fudge.

    Read the rest of this entry »

  3. Charred Cauliflower with Balsamic Dark Chocolate Sauce and Almonds

    Charred Cauliflower with Balsamic Dark Chocolate Sauce and Almonds

    If you are like me, there is never a shortage of super dark chocolate in your house. Since I’ve been experimenting and making my own dark chocolate bars the last few weeks, I have had more chocolate in the house than ever! Not at all a problem I am complaining about, but I am finding myself extra inspired by this gorgeous, silky, velvety, homemade dark chocolate.

    This unique side dish take classic roasted cauliflower to new levels. Crisp-tender with a smoky char, the cauliflower gets the red carpet treatment with this luxurious, silky sauce, featuring the most unsuspecting of ingredients. Dark chocolate.

    Read the rest of this entry »

  4. How-to Make Homemade Dark Chocolate and the Many Benefits of Dark Chocolate

    How-to Make Homemade Dark Chocolate

    How-to Make Homemade Dark Chocolate

    This homemade dark chocolate is simple to make and very easy to customize and make it exactly the way you want it, from sweeteners to flavorful add-ins. With constant research showing the many health benefits of dark chocolate, this is one indulgence I plan to never give up. A food that is not only good for your soul, but your mind and body as well?! Yes please. In fact new research has even reported that certain bacteria in the stomach gobble the chocolate and ferment it into anti-inflammatory compounds that are good for the heart 1https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140318154725.htm.

    Sadly, not all dark chocolate is created equally. So many of the bars at the store contain soy lecithin, a ridiculous amount of refined sugar, vegetable oils, “natural flavors”, corn syrup and other unnecessary ingredients. Conventional chocolate bars filled with lots of additives will not have the same benefits as clean dark chocolate and are likely to do more harm than good! The closer your cocoa is to its natural raw unrefined state, the higher its nutritional value.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    References   [ + ]

    1.https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140318154725.htm
  5. Winter Spiced Dark Chocolate Bark with Smoked Sea Salt

    Winter Spiced Dark Chocolate Bark with Smoked Sea Salt

    Winter Spiced Dark Chocolate Bark with Smoked Sea Salt

    For those of you that follow me on social media, you likely see that I spend a fair amount of time at the Terranea Resort here in the LA area. (Full disclosure, I was selected as one of 5 influencers to be a 2016 Terranea Resort Social Media Ambassador, but my love for this place runs deep and far beyond that title.) I truly feel that Terranea is one of Southern California’s best kept secrets, yet it really shouldn’t be. Terranea sits on the coast in Rancho Palos Verdes, about 15 miles from our front door in Long Beach. The 102-acre private peninsula paradise, is like stepping into a whole new world – minutes from the bustle of Los Angeles. Surrounded by the tranquil waves of the Pacific, the coastal setting of Terranea embraces the California lifestyle and it’s Mediterranean heritage. Regardless if you are a guest at the resort the sprawling land is all open to the public, so you are free to walk the ocean-side trails, dine at the many restaurants, plan a spa day or just enjoy the views.

    Read the rest of this entry »

  6. Grain-free Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Tart {Paleo, Vegan}

    Grain-free Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Tart

    Grain-free Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Tart

    Clearly, as evidence by my recent posts, we are coming up on the season of sweets and treats. With all the upcoming holidays, I think less is more when it comes to this encore course. I find most desserts to be far too heavy, too sweet and generally just too indulgent for my tastes. As with most everything in life, I truly believe that a little goes a long way.

    Read the rest of this entry »

  7. Dark Chocolate Nut Butter Cups

    Dark Chocolate Nut Butter Cups

    Dark Chocolate Nut Butter Cups

    With Halloween approaching and the rest of the holidays not far behind, sweets and treats are going to be just about everywhere, tempting us at every turn. While I don’t see anything wrong with the occasional indulgence, I still also maintain my concerns about the quality of ingredients in most treats. From loads of refined sugar to, often times if store-bought, a lengthy list of fillers, thickeners, “natural flavors”, soy products and who knows what else. There’s just no reason for it, especially when you can make your own.

    Read the rest of this entry »

  8. Cherry Chocolate Chunk Banana Soft Serve {gluten-free, paleo, vegan}

    Cherry Chocolate Chunk Banana Soft Serve {gluten-free, paleo, vegan}

    Cherry Chocolate Chunk Banana Soft Serve {gluten-free, paleo, vegan}

    With Memorial Day behind us, Summer has un-officially kicked off and I couldn’t be more ready! We’ve already managed to get in a picnic and a BBQ to celebrate. Also important to the commemorating of this lovely season. Ice cream! Am I right?

    With all the adjustments I have made to my diet and how great I feel these days, while I very much subscribe to the notion of balance and the occasional treat being part of maintaining a healthy and accessible lifestyle, I also always apt to first reach for healthier whole food options, when possible. This recipe celebrates fresh, in-seaon nutrient-dense whole foods – bringing the treat vibes of what usually would be loaded with dairy, refined sugar and gosh, who knows what else. Read the rest of this entry »

  9. Dark Chocolate Rose Water Truffles

    Dark Chocolate Rose Water Truffles

    Dark Chocolate Rose Water Truffles

    I have to be totally honest with you, after I passed the age of giving out Valentines at school (which I always adored), I have always found the fact that Valentine’s Day has become a day generally so focused on giving gifts, to just be a tad bit silly. I grew up with my mom saying to us kids every single year without fail, something along the lines of: “I don’t need one special day or any fancy gifts to show my love to you or your dad, I love you each and every single day of the year”. I have to say, I couldn’t agree more with my mother. I have always felt like the holiday was less about love and more about the greeting card industry, the jewelry stores and florists make out like bandits, and besides Easter, I have to imagine this is the biggest day of the year for chocolatiers. I also have to be real here for a sec, I kinda resent that this day has been somewhat stolen by those in monogamist romantic relationships! If it’s a day about love, then shouldn’t we celebrate ALL love? That of the romantic variety but also plutonic friends, parental, puppy-love (like I’m talking your actual pooch), your favorite co-worker, anyone and everyone that you have love for?

    Dark Chocolate Rose Water Truffles

    Don’t get it twisted, I don’t at all frown upon a day focused on love, how could I? What kind of V-day scrooge that would make me? It’s far from this. Nothing in this world makes me happier than love and I can only wish and hope that every day, every person has the pleasure of experiencing some love on some level, even if just that sweet look of adoration from their pooch on their morning walk. Love should be celebrated each and every day, so a day that puts it at the forefront, this certainly brings a smile to my face. But I say, collectively, we take that energy so many focus into this one single day and we extend it out throughout the year. Do sweet things for one other, share sweet thoughts with the people you love most, tell them you love them, surprise someone with homemade chocolates – these acts of love are are even better on a random Tuesday, not just on February 14th, one time a year.

    Dark Chocolate Rose Water Truffles

    When it comes to Valentine’s Day, if you want to give gifts, I am, just as any other holiday, very much in favor of those of the homemade variety. I also love the idea of thoughtful actions in lieu of presents and sweet unexpected somethings like breakfast in bed or a homemade meal, traditions, special outings, picnics etc. The gifts that come from the heart, they will, like cupid’s arrow, cut through with such vigor!

    Read the rest of this entry »

  10. Grain-free S’mores Tart

    Grain-free S'mores Tart

    Grain-free S'mores Tart

    Every once in a while your friends really surprise you. During the holidays we had the pleasure of having our friends Sean and Ruth, visiting from the U.K., while traveling California celebrating their honeymoon. I learned while they were staying with us that they had never had S’mores before. How is that possible? I guess with our freedom comes amazing treats like s’mores.

    So, I did what any good American foodie friend would do, I promptly went to Whole Foods, got some organic graham crackers for all them, the best dark chocolate I could buy and the best marshmallows I could get my hands on. I started a fire in the fireplace and I treated them. Their minds were blown! Since I skipped out on buying store bought processed gluten-free graham crackers for me, I have since been craving some sort of homemade S’mores concoction, to get my fix.

    Grain-free S'mores Tart

    S’mores to me conjure up emotions of childhood, fun and summertime. They bring back family and spending time around the campfire on our big group camping trips. The marshmallows of our childhood, they are scary things. Loaded with corn syrup and chemicals, we always packed the milk chocolate hershey bars, today my foodie snobbery has gotten so intense that as a self-professed chocoholic, if that was the only chocolate in a 50 mile radius, I would pass. What’s a girl to do, but remedy that situation with the best version of a S’mores you ever did see.

    The idea for this tart came to me and I instantly thought it would be such a perfect Valentine’s Day Sweet, but to be fair, I just couldn’t wait that long. So here we are. A slightly sweetened spiced graham-inspired grain-free crust, a luscious, rich, super duper dark chocolate layer (I’m talking 85% dark, people) and a lightly toasted, fluffy marshmallow topping! It’s perfection.

    Read the rest of this entry »

  11. Chocolate Avocado Shake

    Chocolate Avocado Shake {Vegan & Paleo}

    Chocolate Avocado Shake {Vegan & Paleo}

    By now we’ve all seen and likely enjoyed that that tasty chocolate mousse or pudding, that is actually just avocado, cocoa and a little sweetener. (You can find my recipe for it, terrible photo and all, way back in the TY archives.) That very idea also sparked the creation of these delicious Creamy Chocolate Fudgesicles.

    This past week, as I continued to collect the many avocados still available in abundance from the tree in our yard, I was dreaming up creative uses for all the avocados we have. I can never get enough guacamole and my homemade avocado salad dressing is always a favorite, but I was also craving something sweet. I am not sure how or why, but I was instantly inspired to create a creamy, luscious chocolate shake.

    Chocolate Avocado Shake {Vegan & Paleo}

    I have never been a fan of milkshakes!! Gasp… I know right? There is just something about that much dairy getting sucked through a straw, laced with a year’s worth of sugar that ALWAYS spell disaster for my gut, as it should.

    Velvety smooth, rich and sinfully delicious, this Chocolate Shake get it’s creaminess from avocado, rather than ice cream and it’s sweetened only by a few dates and a little melted dark chocolate. It brings you some healthy fats from both the avocado and the coconut milk and a load of antioxidants from the raw cacao. Also, shhhh, there’s no dairy in there, so it’s great for all, paleo, vegans, it’s even safe for our nut-free pals. Basically in all it’s delicious glory, it’s like a nutrient-dense chocolate shake, that you can indulge in, guilt-free! I promise, it will be love at first sip.

    Read the rest of this entry »

  12. Dark Chocolate Bark Bites

    Dark Chocolate Bark Bites

    To know me, is to know my insane love of dark chocolate. As long as I am not on any elimination diets or protocols, it’s nearly always part of my daily routine, whether I am on the road or at home. In the freezer, I nearly always keep a bar or two of the best, darkest, organic fair-trade chocolate that I can easily get my hands on. It’s rare you’ll see me crushing on a cake or cookies, but if I pass by a good bar of dark chocolate, it will most certainly stop me dead in my tracks. Generally, I simply need a square or two of the good, dark stuff and I am a happy girl.

    Dark Chocolate Bark Bites

    Naturally lower in sugar than milk chocolate or other candy and certainly less than most baked goods or other treats, it’s just the right amount of flare at the end of a well-made savory meal. Besides being the most perfectly created food, chocolate with a cocoa content of 70 percent or higher contains resveratrol, which has been found to lower blood sugar. Dark chocolate also has positive affects on lowering “bad” cholesterol levels. Dark chocolate is rich in Flavonoids that help protect plants from environmental toxins and help repair damage. You only need about 1 to 1.5 ounces dark chocolate per day to see the heart healthy benefits.

    Flavonoids, which can also be found in green and black teas, cherries, apples, red grapes and other deeply colored fruits and vegetables, have also been known to help with digestion, improve kidney, bowel function and sexual performance, and treat anemia and gout.

    Dark Chocolate Bark Bites

    If I am traveling, you better believe that dark chocolate is my co-pilot. An integral part to any good trip, it’s an instant way to bring a smile to your face amongst the crazy hustle and bustle of an airport and the long and sometimes tiring long drives.

    Surely you can just pack a dark chocolate bar, but I find these Dark Chocolate Bark Bites are a fun way to indulge in additional superfoods, your favorite goodies or just the stuff in the pantry you need to use up. Dried nuts or seeds, dried fruit, spices, sea salt – if you like salty or savory, add some crispy bacon, crushed pretzels or potato chips.

    These little bark bites travel so well and you can really have fun with the toppings, making a little something for everyone.

    Dark Chocolate Bark Bites

    Read the rest of this entry »

  13. Grain-free Black Forest Tartlets

    Grain-free Black Forest Tartlets

    It’s here, it’s here! Cherry season is upon us. One of the tastiest times of the year, if you ask me.  Naturally, to know me is to know that one of my favorite ways to pair them is with chocolate. Because chocolate seems to be my answer to all of life’s questions, even the ones not being asked.

    Grain-free Black Forest Tartlets

    I love chocolate so much that I have been known to keep a bar of 85 – 90% dark chocolate in the freezer or fridge at all times. A small square of that goodness after a delicious dinner, that’s really all I need in life. Except maybe these tartlets, these are pretty amazing, too! By the way, that 30+ days I did on the Autoimmune Protocol, skipping chocolate completely throughout the entire process was harder than anything else. I did it, but I wasn’t happy about it.

    These pretty, naturally grain-free and vegan chocolate cherry mini tarts, have a delicious nut-based crust, filled with a rich and smooth, cherry-flecked ganache and topped with homemade coconut whipped cream.

    Read the rest of this entry »

  14. How-to Make Chocolate Bark

    Tutorial Tuesdays // Tasty YummiesHo-to Make Chocolate Bark

    Homemade holiday gifts are one of my very favorite things. I love thoughtful, personalized gifts that are truly made with love! Homemade chocolate bark is probably one of my most favorite edible homemade gifts to make. Whether it’s a gift for a hostess of a holiday party or your dish to share, homemade chocolate bark is super simple to make and you can customize it to no end.

    Ho-to Make Chocolate Bark

    The possibilities for flavors and toppings is endless and you can really create something super special for whoever will receive it. It is super easy to make your chocolate bark allergen friendly, too. Easy to make gluten-free, vegan, nut-free, soy-free and so on. You can add dried fruit, nuts, seeds, your favorite cookies or candy, dried botanicals, spices or herbs. Some of my personal favorite flavor combos include sea salt or smoked sea salt. I also love a sprinkle of cinnamon, chili powder or cayenne to bring a little heat. Gluten-free pretzels or mini peanut butter cups are both amazing and fun toppings. The list could go on and on.

    Read the rest of this entry »

  15. Dark Chocolate Drizzled Popcorn Balls (Gluten-free & Dairy-Free)

    Dark Chocolate Drizzled Popcorn Balls - Gluten-free and Dairy-free

    I love the challenge of creating healthier versions of classic recipes. Earlier this week I asked my Facebook readers: what Halloween treat would they like a re-imagined healthier version of? Popcorn balls popped up (pun intended) quite often! Traditional popcorn balls are usually loaded with butter, sugar, corn syrup or marshmallows, etc. I figured the easiest way to hold these together without all the junk was honey! It worked perfectly and it gave the popcorn a nice caramel-like color and flavor, too. The dark chocolate drizzle on top is optional, but I do have to say it really makes these extra special and it shouldn’t be skipped if you can help it. Dark chocolate and salty-sweet is an amazing combo.

    Dark Chocolate Drizzled Popcorn Balls - Gluten-free and Dairy-free Read the rest of this entry »

  16. Dark Chocolate Red Wine Truffles – Gluten-Free + Vegan

    Dark Chocolate Red Wine Truffles - Gluten-Free + Vegan

    Dark Chocolate Red Wine Truffles - Gluten-Free + Vegan

    These truffles really will knock your socks off. They are rich and dreamy. They are luxurious and just one or two truffles will satisfy even the most hardcore of chocolate lovers’ cravings. The red wine taste is quite subtle but you really get it at the end. It is smooth and it finishes it so perfectly. I am not sure if anyone else enjoys sitting down with a nice full-bodied glass of red wine with a super high quality bite of dark chocolate. One of my most favorite flavor combinations ever.

    Lots of love to you all today! In addition to making Valentine’s Day about your one true love whom you will likely shower with gifts and love, let’s look at it as a day to embrace love all around us. Including the love you should be showing yourself, your body and your health every single day of the year. This is the one and only body we will be given (at least in this lifetime), let’s do everything we can to protect it and give it the best. Every single day.

    Dark Chocolate Red Wine Truffles - Gluten-Free + Vegan

    [print_this]Dark Chocolate Red Wine Truffles – Gluten-Free + Vegan
    makes about 24+ truffles (depending on their size)

    • 1/2 cup full-fat organic coconut milk (the canned kind, I like Native Forest)
    • 1/4 cup virgin coconut oil
    • 10 ounces high-quality vegan dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa) – chopped – I used 85% Dark Chocolate
    • 1/4 cup full-bodied red wine (Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Bordeaux, Malbec, etc)
    • pinch of sea salt
    • 1/4 cup cocoa powder, for rolling

    other options for rolling: coconut, almonds

    In a double boiler, heat coconut oil and coconut milk over a low/medium heat, whisking until just melted and well incorporated. Add the chocolate, stirring continuously, not allowing it to heat too quickly. Just as soon as it is melted, remove from the heat, add the wine and stir very well to make sure it is all well incorporated and smooth. You have to be very careful with dark chocolate, it can very easily seize up if heated too quickly.

    Pour into a 8×8 baking dish or a pie pan and refrigerate until the mixture is mostly set, but still pliable, about 45 minutes to an hour or so (it may take longer depending on the depth of your pan). Using a 1″ melon baller or a tablespoon, scoop out the chocolate and roll into balls using your hands. Place the cocoa power onto a small plate and roll the balls in the cocoa powder to coat, you can also put the cocoa powder in your hands and roll them around that way.  Set them on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Once all have been rolled, place the sheet into the refrigerator for about 10-15 minutes, up to overnight to fully set.

    Store the finished truffles in the refrigerator.

    These truffles will keep up to two weeks in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Allow to come to room temperature for about 15 minutes, just before serving. [/print_this]

  17. Vanilla Almond “Sugar” Cookies Made from Almond Milk Pulp – Gluten-free, Vegan + Refined Sugar-free

    Vanilla Almond "Sugar" Cookies Made from Almond Milk Pulp - Gluten-free, Vegan + Refined Sugar-free

    Every time I make my homemade almond milk, I swear that I am going to do something amazing with the leftover almond pulp. Enter Vanilla Almond “Sugar” Cookies Made from Almond Milk Pulp! Most times I put it in the fridge with really great intentions and plans, then within a few days it has mold and I feel horrid throwing it out. Happens way more often that I would like to admit. Almond pulp has to get used up within a day or two, so if you can muster up the motivation to do something with it, you have to do it quickly. This time as soon as I finished making the almond milk I started looking around online at different recipes I could use the pulp in. I have seen many recipes for savory crackers made from the almond pulp, but since this time the almond milk (and therefore the almond pulp) that I made was sweetened and I added vanilla, I wanted to make some type of sweet cookie. I still want to play around with a cracker recipe, too. So hopefully soon.

    These cookies have a really great vanilla flavor and they are delicious with an ice cold glass of almond milk, or a mug of hot tea or coffee. If you want to skip the chocolate and sea salt on top, go for it, I just felt like it was the perfect compliment to them, who doesn’t love chocolate? These cookies are subtly sweet and reminiscent of a classic sugar cookie, but without all the junk. Side note, even after baking and making dozens of different sweet treats and smoothies, etc – sweetened only by using dates, I am still completely amazed by them. Who knew those funny looking little things could be so sweet and sinful. The sweet nuttiness from the almond pulp is so delicious and pronounced in these cookies, it’s really one of my favorite flavors. After eating a bunch of these, I started thinking about different ways I could play with this recipe. I think you could add cocoa to make a chocolate cookie and I also think a spicy gingersnap version of these cookies made with ground ginger and cinnamon would also be delicious, so I will definitely have to play around with both of those.

    Just a quick note, the original recipe has an option to dehydrate these cookies to make them “raw”, but since I don’t have a dehydrator and I was making these at night and wasn’t comfortable leaving them in the oven overnight, I just baked them as the recipe also suggests. The bake time can vary a bit depending on how moist your pulp was when you started, I think mine ended up baking for nearly 30 minutes, but I would suggest checking them around 18 or 20, since you don’t want them to dry out or burn.

    Vanilla Almond "Sugar" Cookies Made from Almond Milk Pulp - Gluten-free, Vegan + Refined Sugar-free

    [print_this]Vanilla Almond “Sugar” Cookies with Dark Chocolate and Sea Salt – Gluten-free, Vegan + Refined Sugar-free
    Makes approximately 2 dozen cookies
    Recipe adapted from Choosing Raw

    • 2 cups almond milk pulp
    • 8 soaked and pitted medjool dates
    • 1/3 cup almond or coconut flour
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • dash of sea salt
    • 1/4 – 1/3 cup melted dairy-free dark chocolate (I melt unsweetened bakers chocolate and sweeten it with a little maple syrup and/or stevia, you can use semi-sweet chocolate chips or whatever your favorite chocolate happens to be)
      1 teaspoon course sea salt

    Preheat the oven to 350º F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

    Add the almond pulp, dates, coconut flour, salt and vanilla extract into a food processor and process until the “dough” is the same texture and consistency of sugar cookie dough, or there about. You may need to add a little more flour, depending on how moist your almond pulp was to start.

    Using your hands, make small little round balls with the dough (about a tablespoon or so each) and line them up in rows on your parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Press each one down very gently using a fork. (the original recipe called for using a fancy cookie press, but since I don’t have one, I improvised)

    Bake cookies for about 20 – 25 minutes, or until golden brown. This time may vary depending on how moist your cookies are. Just keep checking on them so you don’t burn them or dry them out.

    Allow the cookies to cool totally then drizzle the dark chocolate over top of each cookie and sprinkle a small amount of seat salt on each cookie.

    [/print_this]

     

  18. Dark Chocolate, Almond Butter Mini-Cups with Sea Salt – Gluten-free, Vegan + Refined Sugar-free

    Dark Chocolate, Almond Butter Mini-Cup with Sea Salt, Gluten-free, Vegan + Refined Sugar-free

    Dark Chocolate, Almond Butter Mini-Cup with Sea Salt, Gluten-free, Vegan + Refined Sugar-free

    Ever since I made these dark chocolate coconut treats about a month or so ago, I have been a little obsessed with making simple little chocolate treats at home. On Easter, since we really don’t keep many sweets at home and we didn’t do the Easter basket thing, I was craving chocolate treats and decided to make some dark chocolate peanut butter cups. I didn’t take any photos since they weren’t totally perfect and I also decided I wanted to buy a mini-muffin tin so I could make smaller cups. The full size muffin cups are nice, but it is way more chocolate than what I need. I also thought it would be nice to make them with almond butter instead of peanut butter since I am so obsessed with it. Any nut or seed butter would work here, so play around. You will also see in my notes below that if you don’t wish to sweeten your own dark chocolate, you can simply just melt semi-sweet chocolate chips. I prefer to start with a good quality organic unsweetened dark chocolate something in the range of 70 – 100%, and then sweetened to my own liking since I like my dark chocolate to be subtly sweet. You may find that my measurements are too low and you want more sweetness. Go for it. Or skip sweetening it yourself and buy premade chocolate. Whatever you’d like.

    Dark Chocolate, Almond Butter Mini-Cup with Sea Salt, Gluten-free, Vegan + Refined Sugar-free

    Dark Chocolate, Almond Butter Mini-Cup with Sea Salt, Gluten-free, Vegan + Refined Sugar-free

    I make these in a non-stick mini-muffin pan, like this one. You could definitely use a candy mold, a full sized  muffin tray or maybe even a larger ice-cube tray. If you’d like, you can also line your muffin pan with paper liners. I didn’t happen to have any, so I went without, and very lightly greased my pan with some coconut oil, to be sure they wouldn’t stick. They likely wouldn’t have stuck, but I wanted to be sure of it.

    Some of you may be wondering why I included the chia seeds in the almond butter filling or if you could use flax seed meal instead. I decided to include it because besides LOVING chia seeds, I had some leftover ground up chia sees on hand after making these delicious tortilla wraps from The Spunky Coconut, over the weekend. I thought it would help bind together the filling so it wouldn’t be too runny and I also thought it was a nice way to add some of the lovely benefits that chia seeds have to offer. You can read more about all of those lovely benefits here in this post from Lexie’s Kitchen. Feel free to use ground flax seeds instead or to skip it all together. It isn’t a necessity in the recipe.

    As far as the sea salt goes, I really adore the flavor combination of dark chocolate with sea salt, so I try to squeeze it into my life whenever humanly possible. It may actually be one of my all time favorite things. If you aren’t a fan of the luscious salty/sweet combo, leave off the salt. You could also press a single almond or some almond slices into each one.  Have fun.

    What is your favorite flavor combination when it comes to sweets? 

    Dark Chocolate, Almond Butter Mini-Cup with Sea Salt, Gluten-free, Vegan + Refined Sugar-free

    Dark Chocolate, Almond Butter Mini-Cup with Sea Salt, Gluten-free, Vegan + Refined Sugar-free

    [print_this]Dark Chocolate, Almond Butter Mini-Cups with Sea Salt – Gluten-free, Vegan + Refined Sugar-free
    makes 12 mini-cups

    Dark Chocolate Outside:

    • 8-9 ounces of dairy-free, dark chocolate – (I used this unsweetened dark chocolate and sweetened it myself, as you can see below. If you use semi-sweet chocolate or chocolate chips you can skip the coconut oil and the sweeteners below.)

    (optional if using unsweetened chocolate)

    • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
    • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup*

    Almond Butter Inside:

     

    • 1/2 cup chilled organic unsalted almond butter (or any other nut butter or seed butter of your choice)
    • 1 tablespoon ground chia seeds (you can just grind whole chia seeds in a coffee grinder or Magic Bullet)
    • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
    • a pinch of fine grain sea salt

    For Topping:

    • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon course grey sea salt (you can also try smoked sea salt)

    Using a little coconut oil on some wax paper or a paper towel, very lightly grease a non-stick mini-muffin pan. (the muffin tin may not need to be greased, but since I didn’t use any paper liners, I didn’t want to risk the candies sticking.) You could also use a silicon candy mold. Set the pan aside. Melt the dark chocolate with the coconut oil (or your chocolate chips), either very carefully in a double boiler setup on the stove top or in small increments in the microwave. After the chocolate and coconut oil is melted, whisked together and well combined, remove from the heat (if you melted it on the stove), and add in the maple syrup. Stir well to combine. Give the chocolate topping a little taste to see if you want it any sweeter. Add more syrup, if you wish.

    Using about half of the melted chocolate, add a little bit to each cup of your mini-muffin tin. Probably about a teaspoon or so to start. Grabbing either side of the tin, swirl the pan around to start moving the chocolate up the sides of each cup. Try to get it all the way up if you can. You can also use a pastry brush or spoon to push it up the sides, but I find just swirling it around works best. You can also line each cup with a paper mini-muffin liner and just paint the melted chocolate up the sides. Once it is evenly up the sides, you can add a little more chocolate to make sure that the bottom is covered, just don’t add too much, you need to save room for the filling and top.

    Place the muffin tin into the freezer to allow the chocolate to set. Meanwhile, start making your filling. Add the almond butter, ground chia seeds, maple syrup and a pinch of sea salt to a small bowl. Mix very well to combine and allow it to sit about 5 to 10 minutes while the chocolate sets up in the freezer.

    Once the chocolate has hardened, pull the muffin tin out of the freezer and add about 1 teaspoon of almond butter filling to each cup. Then take the remaining melted chocolate and spread it over top of the almond butter. I find using the back of a spoon is the easiest to give it a nice smooth surface. And if you are adding the sea salt on top, sprinkle a few pieces on top of each cup. Place the muffin tin back into the freezer to allow the chocolate to harden. This will probably only take about 30-minutes, total.
    Once hardened, remove the muffin tin from the freezer and carefully pop or slide each chocolate mini-cup from the tin. Should happen very easily. Store these in the fridge or they will get pretty soft and melted.

    * NOTE about sweeteners: You can use whatever sweetener of your choice and as much as you would like. Traditional sugar will obviously work if that’s your thing, as would honey or other sugar alternatives. Use what you like. Everyone likes their chocolate at different sweetness levels. I prefer mine not too overly sweet. As mentioned above, you could also just melt semi-sweet chocolate chips that are already sweetened and skip adding your own sweetener and coconut oil. Same goes for sweetness in the almond butter filling.

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  19. Dark Chocolate Coconut Treats – Vegan, Gluten-free + Refined Sugar-Free

    Dark Chocolate Coconut Treats - Vegan, Gluten-free + Refined Sugar-Free

    I know I have already mentioned that we are going away at the end of this week for the SXSW Music Festival and Flatstock Rock Poster convention, and that I didn’t know how many recipes I would get up before we go. But I HAD to make time to share this recipe with you guys. I threw this together the other night when I was craving something a little sweet but I wanted something different. I made a small batch as I was almost out of coconut, but I knew I would be making them again VERY soon once I could get more coconut, so I could perfect the recipe and share it with all of you. I do hope to get one more recipe up before I go, then I have a group of lovely bloggers that will be guest posting while I am away. I can’t wait!

    I had come across this lovely healthy “Mounds” candy bar inspired treat from Tessa the Domestic Diva and it inspired me to make my own version in the first place. I honestly had forgotten how much I used to love Mounds Bars until I saw her recipe on Kalinda’s weekly Vegetarian, Gluten-free Round Up on Wheat Free Meat Free. The combination of coconut and dark chocolate is perfection and it has always been a favorite of mine, I wish I had started making these sooner.

    Dark Chocolate Coconut Treats - Vegan, Gluten-free + Refined Sugar-Free

    Like Tessa’s version, I wanted to make a healthy homemade version that wasn’t too sweet and I really wanted to make it with a good quality dark chocolate. I used Dagoba’s Organic Unsweetened Chocolate, which is so delicious, their chocolates are some of my favorites, but you can use whatever your favorite is. And as I mention in the recipe below, if you’d rather just melt some dairy-free semi-sweet chocolate chips to make it even easier, you can do that, too. I just wanted to make these refined sugar free and lightly sweeten it myself. If you taste either the coconut filling or the chocolate topping and find you want it to be sweeter, just add a little more maple syrup or whatever sweetener you are using. You could also add an almond or two at the bottom or top to make it more like an “Almond Joy” instead of a “Mounds Bar”.

    I used a regular sized muffin tin to create these little “bars” but you could really use whatever you want, a mini-muffin tin would be really fun, and you’d end up with even more treats. I almost bought one just for this recipe, but hubby told me I am cut off. In his words I “officially have too much kitchen stuff”. Hehe! If you have a candy mold, that would probably also work. This simple dessert treat is so easy to make, it’d be perfect dessert to make and share at a party if you know there will be a vegan or someone with food allergies and everyone else will enjoy it, too.

    Even with these not being too crazy sweet, these are wonderfully rich and satisfying, I love that about dark chocolate. You may even want to cut one of these in half and share it and make them last even longer. In an effort to not eat all of these myself, plus with some gentle begging from one of my yoga teachers on Facebook after she saw a photo I put up, I plan to bring some of these to my yoga studio tomorrow morning. This is good, I fear if I keep these around I will eat them up in a day, they are so good.

    Something I wanted to mention and almost forgot, I have avoided using maple syrup as a sweetener in recipes for a very long time, since I assumed the maple flavor would be so strong and would over power whatever I was making. I don’t know what gave me that idea, but sometimes the flavor of maple syrup on it’s own or maple flavored foods, can be a bit too much for me. Honestly it is really amazing what a great sweetener it is and you don’t get any of the maple flavor. I am not sure why, but you don’t. Maybe in larger quantities you might, but it is perfect in a recipe like this. Plus, maple syrup has many health benefits, including being known for it’s anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties and being rich in trace minerals manganese and zinc. Of course sugar is still sugar, natural or otherwise, so don’t go consuming syrup or honey or other refined-sugar alternatives in huge quantities, but know that things like honey, maple syrup or coconut nectar are wonderful alternatives and much smarter choices then refined-sugars and synthetic syrups.Thought the bit about the flavor was worth mentioning though, in the event that you, like me, have been avoiding it for that reason.

    Dark Chocolate Coconut Treats - Vegan, Gluten-free + Refined Sugar-Free

    [print_this]Dark Chocolate Coconut Treats – Vegan, Gluten-free + Refined Sugar-Free
    Makes 12 cups

    Coconut Filling:

    • 2 1/2 cups unsweetened organic coconut, finely shredded
    • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
    • 1/4 cup maple syrup (you could use honey, coconut nectar or any other liquid sweetener)
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    Chocolate Topping*:

    • 6 ounces 100% unsweetened organic dark chocolate (aka bakers chocolate) I used this
    • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
    • 1/3 cup maple syrup (again any other liquid sweetener would work)

    In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the coconut filling ingredients and mix together until well combined. Evenly divide up the filling between the 12 muffin cups, pressing it in very tightly, making sure it is even. Don’t worry they won’t stick. Place the muffin pan in the freezer make sure it is sitting flat, and freeze until hard, about 30 minutes.

    While the coconut filling is cooling, melt the dark chocolate with the coconut oil. Either very carefully in a double boiler setup on the stove top or in small increments in the microwave. After the chocolate and coconut oil is melted and whisked together and well combined, remove from the heat (if you melted it on the stove), and add in the maple syrup. Stir well to combine. Give the chocolate topping a little taste to see if you want it any sweeter. Add more syrup, if you wish. Take the muffin tin with the frozen coconut mixture out of the freezer, and divide your chocolate mixture over it, spooning it on top and smoothing the chocolate out to make sure it totally covers the coconut.

    Put the muffin tin back into the freezer, and freeze until the chocolate has set, about another 30 minutes or so. To get the treats out of the pan, slide a knife around the outside of the treat and it will very easily pop out.

    After these are set, you could store them in the freezer and keep them really cold and solid or just in the fridge. I keep them in the fridge, myself. Just don’t leave them sitting out on the counter as they will get pretty melty.

    *NOTE: if you aren’t worried about making this refined sugar free, you could just melt semi-sweet chocolate chips, I was just hoping to avoid the sugar, so I made my own chocolate topping.

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