Chocolate Teff Brownies

My husband and I were invited to a cook-out recently. He knew the couple hosting the event; I didn’t know anyone. I volunteered to bring a dessert so that there would be something gluten-free available for my husband. A look through my pantry and through my favorite cookbook (as you likely know by now!), Nourishing Meals, and I settled on some Chocolate Chip Teff Brownies with an added dairy-free ganache. They were absolutely delicious and received rave reviews from the party goers.

Chocolate Teff Brownies

CHOCOLATE TEFF BROWNIES
(from Nourishing Meals by Alissa Segersten)
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Dry Ingredients
1 c. teff flour
1/4 c. tapioca flour
1/3 c. cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt

Wet Ingredients
1/2 c. dates, pitted
1/4 c. ground flaxseeds
1 1/4 c. boiling water
1/2 c. coconut oil
1/2 c. coconut sugar
2 tsp vanilla

Mix-in
1/2 c. chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease a 7 x 11 baking dish.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Set aside.

Place the dates and ground flaxseeds into a blender; pour the boiling water over them. Let sit for 10 minutes. Then add the rest of the wet ingredients and blend until smooth and creamy.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and quickly whisk together. Add the chocolate chips and continue to whisk until thoroughly combined.

Pour better into pan and bake for 20-25 minutes.

Chocolate Ganache Frosting

3 oz chocolate chips
1/4 c. coconut milk
2 Tbsp maple syrup

Place all ingredients into a small pan and heat over low. Stir continuously until melted and thickened, just about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for about 5 minutes. Do not chill. Drizzle over brownies.

Or, if you would like a thick, creamy, spreadable frosting then let the ganache thicken at room temperature for about 3 hours.

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Chocolate Coconut Milk Ice Cream

Here’s a delicious treat for your weekend! This is a recipe that I posted a long while back, but it is buried in a post with another recipe. And since it is quick and fairly healthy, I decided to re-post. Plus, it’s summer, so who doesn’t love some ice cream?!

I should note that the original recipe is  not mine; however, I do not remember where I found it. This time around I did add a 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract, which was a nice twist.

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CHOCOLATE COCONUT MILK ICE CREAM
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2-14 oz cans full-fat coconut milk
2/3 c. sugar or agave nectar (I used coconut sugar)
1/4 c.  unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2  tsp vanilla extract (feel free to replace 1/2 tsp of vanilla with 1/2 tsp almond extract)

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend thoroughly. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Pour into the bowl of an ice cream freezer and freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions. Serves 4.

Healthy Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

We love Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups! We don’t eat them often because I’m anti-all the garbage additives. So, I thought I’d give this refined sugar-free recipe a try (unlike usual, I followed the original without any alterations). While they aren’t Reese’s, per se, they are sweet, peanutty and chocolatey, all good things! 🙂 With coconut oil in the ingredient list, these definitely have coconut undertones, if that’s not your thing, you could try butter and see how that works. If you want a thicker layer of chocolate (I think I might), just double the ingredients for the chocolate layer. I hope you enjoy!

CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER CUP
(from lifemadewhole.com)
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For peanut butter layer:
3/4 c. natural peanut butter
1/4 c. coconut oil
2 Tbsp raw honey

For chocolate layer:
2 Tbsp coconut oil
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 Tbsp raw honey

For the peanut butter layer: Line mini-muffin pan with papers. Melt the coconut oil, then mix together with the peanut butter and honey. Carefully pour into prepared pan. Place in the freezer while preparing the chocolate.

For the chocolate layer: Melt the coconut oil and butter together. Add the cocoa powder and the honey. Stir until smooth. Remove the pan from the freezer and evenly pour the chocolate into each cup. Freeze for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Store in the fridge or freezer. Makes about 24.

Peanut Butter Fudgy Bites

Jeremy and I have a rather bad habit of wanting something sweet after dinner. I didn’t grow up having dessert every night, but I find that my mind wanders to a bite of sweet almost every evening. Most often we’ll enjoy a little dark chocolate, but I’ve been experimenting lately with finding some “healthy” treats for us to enjoy. The next few recipes I plan to share with you are some these sweets. So, perhaps you too can healthfully satisfy your post-supper sweet tooth.

First up, is a recipe that I now can’t remember where I found; however, in typical fashion, I’ve adapted the recipe anyway to suit our tastes. We love the classic combination of peanut butter and chocolate, so are fond of these. As they are raw treats, be sure to store in the fridge. (Sadly, these little bites are really unattractive to photograph…I hope that won’t deter you from trying them. :))

PEANUT BUTTER FUDGY BITES
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15 pitted dates, rough chopped
1/2 c. peanut butter
1/3 c. shredded unsweetened coconut (my coconut is larger flakes, so I’ve been using a packed 1/2 cup instead)
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 Tbsp chocolate chips

Place the dates in a food processor fitted with the chopping blade and process into smaller pieces. Add the remaining ingredients and process until thoroughly combined and ingredients form a “dough.” Roll into balls.

Flourless Chocolate Cake

For all you chocolate lovers, I have the perfect dark chocolate cake for your Valentine’s Day celebration! I dusted mine with some powdered sugar, but this would be lovely with a chocolate glaze, a thin layer of icing, whipped cream, or a puree of berries. It’s delicious, simple to make, and naturally gluten-free! Plus, Jeremy gave it two thumbs up. So, whether you’re dining out or in, make sure you end your night with something sweet.

As a conversational aside, for my wedding 3 1/2 years ago someone gave me a His and Hers heart shaped baking pan. I decided this was the perfect opportunity to try it out. The batter was a little too much for these, but I still thought the heart shape was fun for the occasion. (I definitely would not buy a pan with such infrequent uses, but I guess it’s fun to use every once in awhile, since I already own it! 🙂 )

FLOURLESS CHOCOLATE CAKE
(ever so slightly adapted from epicurious.com)
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4 oz quality, bittersweet chocolate (I used a 72% cacao)
1 stick unsalted butter
3/4 c. sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter an 8-inch round baking pan. Line bottom with wax paper and butter paper.

Chop chocolate into small pieces. Cut butter into 8 pieces. In the top of a double boiler or a bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water melt chocolate with butter, stirring, until smooth. Remove the bowl from heat and whisk sugar into chocolate mixture. Add eggs and vanilla and whisk well. Sift 1/2 cup cocoa powder over chocolate mixture and whisk until just combined.

Pour batter into pan and bake for 25 minutes, or until top has formed a thin crust. Cool cake in pan on a rack for 5 minutes and invert onto a serving plate. Garnish as desired.

(When completely cooled, cake will keep in an airtight container up to 1 week.)

Grandma’s “Forget Me” Cookies

These cookies spend at least 8 hours in the oven, thus they are “forget me” cookies. And I actually did forget about mine for a few hours. 🙂

I had some trouble with my egg whites beating to stiff peaks. At first I thought possibly my bowl wasn’t completely grease-free. But then, after making a second batch in a different bowl, I decided it was because the recipe didn’t use any cream of tartar. So, I’m adding that to the recipe below and you should be set.

These are delicious–light with plenty of chocolate chips and pecans studding each cookie (Grandma was fond of that combination!). They aren’t terribly pretty, but they certainly taste great!

GRANDMA’S “FORGET ME” COOKIES
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2 egg whites, set out for 30 minutes before whipping
dash of salt
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
3/4 c. sugar
1 tsp vanilla
6 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 c. chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a grease-free bowl beat egg whites until foamy. Add the salt and cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar, one teaspoon at a time, beating on high until stiff peaks form. Fold in the vanilla, chocolate chips, and pecans.

Drop by tablespoonfuls onto cookie sheets lined with parchment paper (or aluminum foil with the dull side facing up). Place in the oven and immediately turn off the heat. Do Not open the oven door for at least 8 hours.

Makes 3 dozen.

Cocoa Chocolate Chip Meringues

I’m going to squeeze in one more chocolate treat recipe for you. Made with whipped egg whites and sugar, meringues are much lower in fat than the average Christmas cookie or candy. This particular recipe is flavored with cocoa powder and chocolate chips and the chocolate flavor certainly shines through. These aren’t overly sweet, making them a nice change. And, as an added bonus, they are naturally gluten-free.

My husband and I both enjoyed these crispy little cookies. I know they’ll become a regular holiday treat in our house.

COCOA CHOCOLATE CHIP MERINGUES
(from Gluten-Free Christmas Cookies by Ellen Brown)
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3 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
pinch of salt
3/4 c. granulated sugar
1/3 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 c. miniature chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 275°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Place egg whites in a grease-free mixing bowl and beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until frothy. Add the cream of tartar and salt, raise the speed to high, and beat until soft peaks form. Add sugar, 1 Tablespoon at a time, and continue to beat until stiff peaks form and meringue is glossy. Beat in cocoa and vanilla. Gently fold in chocolate chips.

Scoop meringue into either a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip, or into a ziploc bag with the corner cut off. Pipe the meringue through bag of choice by heaping 1-Tablespoon portions onto prepared baking sheets. Bake for 30 minutes. Turn off the oven, and allow meringues to stay in the oven for an additional 30 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Makes 3 to 4 dozen depending on size.

Peanut Butter Pretzel Truffles

Have you been on pinterest? It’s this amazing site that is really like an online scrapbook of ideas. It makes you feel completely inadequate and empowered all at the same time. There are so many categories like cool crafts, awesome looking recipes, fashion ideas, and even fitness plans. Anyway this is actually not a commercial for pinterest but it is where I found this recipe. They were called Chubby Hubby Truffles (after some rather well known ice cream) or Peanut Butter Pretzel Truffles.

These are quick, very easy, and they look really nice. They are a wonderful combination of salt and sweet and the creamy peanut butter is a nice texture with the crunch of the pretzels. In full disclosure – I was not thrilled with how big I accidentally made them. These are really good!

Peanut Butter-Pretzel Truffles
adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

Makes About 18-24 truffles

1½ c. pretzel pieces
½ c. creamy peanut butter (I used Skippy)
1 Tb. unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 Tb. light brown sugar
3 Tb. powdered sugar
1 1/2 c.  milk or semisweet chocolate chips
1 Tb. vegetable shortening

Put the pretzel pieces into a resealable plastic bag and crush into very small bits – I used my food processor.

In a small bowl, combine the peanut butter, butter, brown sugar and salt. Stir until all of the ingredients are completely blended and smooth. Add the pretzel bits to the peanut butter mixture and mix thoroughly. Add the powdered sugar and mix until completely combined.

Line a small baking sheet or plate with wax paper. Using a small cookie scoop, or about 2 teaspoons worth of peanut butter mixture, gently roll  into a ball (I put a little butter on my hand to reduce sticking and had to wash my hands after every 5 or so). Place the ball on the wax paper-lined cookie sheet and repeat with the remaining peanut butter mixture. Place the baking sheet into the refrigerator and chill for at least 30 minutes.

When ready to dip the truffles, microwave the chocolate chips and vegetable shortening together in a small bowl at 50% power in 30-second increments, stirring after each, until completely melted and smooth.

Dip each peanut butter-pretzel ball into the melted chocolate and use a fork or spoon to roll it around, ensuring that it is completely coated with chocolate. Let any extra chocolate drip off and place back on the wax paper-lined sheet. Repeat with all of the peanut butter-pretzel balls.

Return the baking sheet to the refrigerator and again chill for at least 30 minutes. Garnish with a drizzle of melted peanut butter (melt the peanut butter for 30 seconds in the microwave and use a fork to drizzle) and crushed pretzels, if desired. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Mocha Coconut Fudge

When How Sweet It Is posted this recipe, I knew immediately that I would be trying it. I mean really, with her willingness to interrupt our busy plans with this recipe, how could I refuse? 🙂 The flavor combination was an instant win in my book – kind of an extra rich and sweet twist on a yummy frappucino I enjoy occasionally – ahem.

This recipe was super quick, super decadent, and totally yum. I think we may have a new fudge recipe to add to our annual favorites – peanut butter, chocolate, and butter pecan. We may like fudge – the vote is still out – you can send me more recipes to, you know…make sure!

Let me tell you a little secret about this recipe…I made it in the microwave. You can certainly use the double boiler as the recipe recommends but I noticed that she mentioned the microwave as an option and I was sold. You see, I was up to my eyeballs in cookie baking when I threw this recipe in to the mix between shuffling cookies into the oven. So, yes, it was easy. 🙂 You can go here for her original awesome recipe. I’m going to post my microwave version in case you are lazy like me.

Seriously, how pretty is this?! This would make aa really great gift! Oh and I forgot to mention – my mom thought this was wonderful.

Mocha Coconut Fudge
Adapted from How Sweet It Is
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12 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped (I used 2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips)
12 oz. white baking chocolate, chopped (I used 2 c. white chocolate chips)
1 can (15oz) sweetened condensed milk (mine was 14 oz which was no problem), divided
1 1/2 Tb. espresso powder or instant coffee (I used the latter – two packets of an instant because that’s what I had)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp. coconut extract
1 Tb. coconut oil, divided
1/2 c. flaked coconut, toasted (350 degrees for about 10 minutes but watch it carefully so it doesn’t burn!)

Line an 8×8 pan with buttered foil.

Add semisweet chocolate to microwave safe bowl and microwave for 30 seconds. Stir and microwave for 30 more seconds. Add in half of the sweetened condensed milk (I eyeballed it), the coffee powder and 1/2 tablespoon (1 1/2 tsp.) of coconut oil. Return to microwave for 30 seconds. Remove and stir. Continue 30 second increments until fully melted and smooth. Stir in the vanilla. Spread evenly in the bottom of the pan. Mixture will be quitethick. Place in the freezer for 30 minutes (or less if your me and you want to hurry).

Add white chocolate to a micorwave safe bowl and heat for 30 seconds. Add in remaining condensed milk and coconut oil and return to microwave for 30 seconds. Stir. Microwave 30 more seconds if needed until mixture is completely melted. Add coconut extract and thoroughly combine. Remove fudge from freezer and add white chocolate on top, spreading evenly to coat. Top with toasted coconut, then chill in the refrigerator for 60-90 minutes.

When ready to cut, fill a large cup with hot water or run knife under the tap. Dip a sharp knife into the water, then blot on a towel. Use knife to cut fudge into your desired size of squares.

This is SO rich and SO good – I think you could easily cut this into 1 inch squares which would make for 64 pieces of fudge. 🙂 Enjoy and go thank How Sweet It Is for this deliciousness and check out her site! If you like chocolate, coffee, and coconut, you will LOVE this.

Cinnamon-Honey Truffles

Any chocolate loving person is bound to enjoy truffles. They are so deeply rich and chocolatey. I was intrigued by this particular recipe (which I found in some cookbook or other and promptly forgot the name) because the cream is steeped in spices and honey. I loved the idea; however, the spices were very subtle in the end result. If you want more of the cinnamon to shine through, I’d try doubling the amount of cinnamon stick. Or, you can do like I did and sprinkle a little cinnamon into the cocoa powder that you roll the truffles in. Either way, these are delicious drops of chocolate, perfect for a holiday goody tray.

CINNAMON-HONEY TRUFFLES
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8 ounces dark bittersweet chocolate (at least 60% cacao), very finely chopped
1/2 c. heavy cream
1 Tbsp honey
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2-1 cinnamon stick, 1 1/2-3 inches long (depending on the depth of spice you want)
2 whole cloves
pinch of sea salt
2 1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 c. unsweetened dutch-process cocoa powder, sifted

Place the chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl. (It is very important to chop the chocolate very finely to allow it to melt properly.)

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the cream, honey, vanilla, cinnamon stick, cloves, and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. Pour the cream through a fine-mesh sieve held over the chocolate, discarding the contents of the sieve, and let stand for 2 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, gently stir the chocolate mixture in a circular motion until it has completely melted. Add the butter and stir until incorporated. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes to set the chocolate. Then refrigerate the chocolate for 30 minutes, or until the chocolate is able to be scooped and rolled into balls.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with waxed paper. Using a small spoon or scoop, scoop out 1-inch balls of chocolate and gently roll them into irregularly shaped truffles. Place them on the prepared baking sheet. Return the truffles to the refrigerator and chill until firm, about 1 hour.

Place the sifted cocoa powder in a shallow bowl. One at a time, roll the truffles in the cocoa, coating evenly. Makes about 30 truffles.

Cook’s Note: The truffles will keep up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.