CHOCOLATE AVOCADO TARTLETS, AND A THANK YOU

I cannot go on to write about the tastiness of these tartlets without first addressing the thing that’s foremost in my mind and heart.  I’m so grateful to you all for your comments via Facebook, Twitter and the blog in acknowledgement of the post about my Gram.  I’m so incredibly humbled by your generous responses, moved to tears by your kindness and willingness to share your own stories, filled to the brim with a feeling of connection to all of you and your stories, which is a savior during a time like this.  So, thank you all so much, my heart is full.  Wishing the same for you and yours.  xx- Sarah  {more after the jump}

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ALMOND COCOA TRUFFLES

My sweet tooth was out in full force before we left for Maine, so I whipped up these almond cocoa truffles in an attempt to calm it down!  They’re made with almond butter but you could easily substitute another kind of nut butter, add additional sweetener or otherwise modify the recipe to make sure YOUR sweet tooth is satisfied.  Hope you love!  xx- Sarah  {more after the jump}

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chocolate {avocado, WHAT?!} pudding

chocolate and i are like bella and edward- meant to be, but constantly facing obstacles in our love affair. and yes, that was  a twilight reference for the three of you that have been strong enough to resist the series (HOW?!).  the obstacle is this: chocolate is always teaming up with my frenemies dairy and sugar. but not here my pals, here it teams up with my BFF’S avocado and coconut milk to make a completely healthy and amazingly rich dessert!  i bow down in reverence to this sweet treat, after i’ve devoured it like i’m on day 38 of survivor, of course.  please, please make this.  it’s easy.  it’s healthy. it’s amazing.  DO IT!   recipe and more after the jump.

 

INGREDIENTS

3 ripe avocados

3 tablespoons cocoa powder (unsweetened and get the good stuff!)

2 oz of 70% dark chocolate (again, splurge on the good stuff it’s totally worth it!)

1 can full fat coconut milk, refrigerated over night

3 tablespoons maple syrup

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

2 tablespoons raw honey

chopped peanuts to garnish (or go wild with sprinkles, get sophisticated with a sprig on mint, etc)

 

PREPARATION 

for the pudding:

- place the flesh of three rip avocados in your food processor and blend until completely smooth

-  in a double boiler or homemade double boiler (one sauce pan placed in another that has a couple of inches of water in it) melt the chocolate

- add melted chocolate, cocoa powder, maple syrup,  sea salt, one tablespoon of raw honey and 3 tablespoons of the cream at the top of your can of coconut milk (the solid goodness, not the liquid below it!) to your avocado and blend.  

- taste and adjust to your liking with more honey to sweeten it or a little more salt

- scoop into 3 jelly jars and refrigerate while you make the coconut whipped cream

 

for the coconut whipped cream:

- in a small mixing bowl combine the remaining cream from the can (again, just the solid part!) with 1 tablespoon of raw honey. 

- use a hand mixer to beat until it takes on the consistency of whipped cream (it happens fast!)

- scoop into the tops of the jelly jars and garnish with the chopped peanuts

 - enjoy!  

salted banana peanut butter ice cream with chocolate caramel sauce

confession: i high fived myself when the above happened in the kitchen this weekend.  do you know how awkward that is, a grown woman high fiving HERSELF?  terrible.  but do you know what the complete polar opposite of terrible is?  THIS ICE CREAM.  which, as is stands, contains neither ice nor cream.  but instead is a mixture of unicorn love, bananas, peanut butter and salt.  {ok, one of those ingredients is the best thing ever totally made up}  

i should mention that i high fived myself not because i invented this banana peanut butter faux cream, but because i bettered it!  i’ve seen the recipe floating around a bunch, first on a friend’s instagram and then pinterest, tumblr…everywhere i turned it was calling my name.  but when i made it as i’d seen the recipe call for- frozen banana, peanut butter, mix, serve.  it was just sort of meh.  at least, meh in my book. because in my opinion it was missing TWO VERY IMPORTANT THINGS…. salt, and unicorn love chocolate caramel.  so, proceed below for more about this why this is my new favorite dessert and the recipe after the jump!

here’s why this is my new favorite dessert:  1.) it’s easy  2.) it’s insanely delicious  3.) it’s so easy!  AND if those three reasons weren’t enough there’s also this: it’s dairy free, gluten free and has no refined sugar. plus you don’t need a fancy ice cream maker.  WHAT?!  so there you go my friends.  make it, love it, tell your friends about it.  xx- sarah

ingredients

for the ice cream:

3 bananas

2 tablespoons unsweetened, unsalted peanut butter

1/4 teaspoon sea salt (more if you’re like me and you like your sweets salty!)

 

for the chocolate caramel sauce:

4 tablespoons of brown rice syrup

2 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder (i used this brand)

chopped peanuts for garnish (and they don’t just make it look pretty, they add a nice and necessary crunch!)

 

preparation

- slice bananas as you would for cereal and freeze overnight in a sealed container (ziplock or i prefer glass tupperware)

- pull the bananas out of the freezer and defrost for a few minutes.

- while the bananas are defrosting heat put the brown rice syrup and cocoa powder in top of double boiler (if you don’t have one here is an alternative using what you most likely already have!)  heat on low while you’re blending the ice cream, checking on it to stir and make sure there’s not burning.

- in a good processor or high powered blender like a vitamix combine the bananas and peanut butter on low speed to avoid burning out the engine on your food processor or blender, take breaks and stir with a spoon!  when mostly mixed, add salt a little at a time and adjust to your taste (i prefer SALTY!)

- scoop ice cream into a small bowl, pour melted chocolate caramel sauce over top and sprinkle with chopped peanuts

- enjoy!  

*this recipe makes enough for two servings, plus a few extra bites of the ice cream for your pup

RAW CHERRY BROWNIE HEARTS by oh ladycakes!

this almost-valentine’s post is especially fitting because i have a known crush on it’s creator, oh ladycakes! this girl crush involves a totally normal, slight obsession with everything she writes, photographs, bakes, creates and does.  totally normal. now, be prepared to develop your own obsession with her, if you haven’t already.  go on now!  and whip up these sweet treats for your valentine, you won’t be sorry.  xx- sarah

Raw cherry brownie hearts
Raw cherry brownie hearts

more after the jump!

Raw desserts are a staple in my freezer. As in, it’s rare that you will ever find my freezer without some sort of raw confection stuffed behind bags of kale and broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables. I keep them around just in case I get a hankering for something sweet. That way, instead of sabotaging my clean diet with an entire bar of chocolate (this has happened more times in the past week than I’d like to admit) (ahem, that’s because my freezer ran out of raw brownies on Wednesday), I can satisfy my sweet tooth with something that’s naturally sweetened and made with wholesome ingredients. Unlike chocolate bars.

Since that super cheesy Hallmark holiday is just around the corner (no offense if you’re into that sort of thing), I figured I’d share a little something that you can make for your honey in a pinch. You know, in case you’ve got a busy week ahead, or in case you just don’t have it in you to remake those hidden heart cupcakes you saw on Pinterest. Thankfully, these brownies come together within a matter of minutes and require very little skill. Not to mention, they’re comprised of only six ingredients and are suitable for your new love interest who’s got an aversion to gluten, and sugar, and anything that comes from that animal that goes moo.

Dehydrated cherries + cacao powder
Raw cherry brownie hearts

 

Notes: If you’re allergic to almonds – or just can’t stand the things – feel free to use any other nut. Cashews and walnuts are a few favorites. Pecans not so much, as they make the brownies super greasy. If you’d prefer to bypass the whole cutting these things into adorable heart shapes because seriously who has time for that? Just roll the dough into small balls and skip to the freezing step. Simple as that. But if you’re going to skip the cutting process, I recommend mixing a handful of dried cherries and cacao nibs into the dough. You won’t be sorry.

 

by Oh, Ladycakes

2 cups raw almonds

6 tbsp cacao powder, plus more for dusting

Small pinch Himalayan salt

8 medjool dates

1/2 cup dried cherries

2-3 tbsp filtered water

In a food processor fitted with the S blade, blend the almonds, cacao powder, and sea salt into a superfine meal. Add the dates and cherries; process for at least 60 seconds, until the fruit is incorporated. Add the water (1 tablespoon at a time) and blend just until a dough starts to form. If your dough is sticky (which means you added too much water) pat it into a flat disc, wrap with plastic, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or until firm. If your dough is nice and firm, proceed to the next step.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside. Line a flat surface with parchment paper and sprinkle with cacao powder. Roll the dough out until it’s about 1/2″ thick. Using a 1.5″ heart cookie cutter, cut the dough and transfer the pieces to the prepared baking sheet.  Repeat process with scraps. Freeze for 30 minutes then transfer to an air tight container. When ready to serve, dust with cacao powder. Will keep in freezer for at least 2 months, but don’t count on them lasting that long.

Yield: about 2 dozen hearts

APPLE TART {vegan, gluten free!}

this is the year i learn how to bake my friends!  when we stopped eating eggs, dairy, white flour and sugar i gave up on the idea of baked goods- and my heart, it broke a little.  ok, A LOT.  but that was crazy!  there are so many ways to make amazing baked goods without those things.  and i’ve committed to learning how.  one delicious tart at a time.  i think you’re going to really love this new ambition of mine and if you have a recipe for vegan chocolate chip cookies that you want to share- please do!  more after the jump, including why i think this tart is the perfect dish for entertaining!

i’ll be serving this up at our next dinner party because it’s easy to make (fool proof even!), has extraordinary flavor (no one will ever know it’s healthy) and lastly- it’s an impressive presentation. homemade tart?  i think your guests will assume you were laboring over it for hours.  that’s how i like it- smoke and mirrors!  i hope you enjoy…

 

the what:

crust-

2 cups millet flour

1 1/2 cups almond flour

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup maple syrup

filling-

4 apples

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons maple syrup

3 tablespoons sliced almonds

glaze-

1/2 cup (gluten free) apricot jam or preserves

2 tablespoons water

1 teaspoon lemon juice

 

the how:

- preheat oven to 350 degrees

 to make the crust:

- in a food processor combine millet flour, almond flour and salt

- over a low flame heat coconut oil and maple syrup- stir to combine

- add coconut oil and maple syrup to flour and pulse until combined

- spread dough in a 9.5 inch oiled tart pan (preferably with a removable bottom, like this one!), press down and fill sides to form a crust

-pierce crust with a fork several times and bake for 15 minutes

- remove from oven and flatten crust with a fork- pressing down to make it as compact as possible

 

for the filling:

- peel and thinly (and evenly!) slice 4 apples and pile in pan.  this is your opportunity to play a little with the apples and presentation- i went for a sort of apple flower shape.  fun!

- combine maple syrup and lemon juice and brush over the apples

- sprinkle almonds on top and bake for 1 hour (possibly a little more or less, depending on your oven) until the apples are soft and slightly browned

 

lastly, the glaze:

- combine apricot jam and water in a small pan and heat on low until the preserves are thinned.  

-remove from heat and add lemon juice, then our mixture through a strainer to remove any apricot chunks

- brush tart with glaze and serve (preferably warm!)

*recipe adapted from Terry Walters’ CLEAN FOOD (i highly recommend this cookbook)