chocolate

Dessert, Snack, Gluten Free, Chocolate

CHOCOLATE HAZELNUT CHEWIES

Chocolate Hazelnut Chewies . Sprouted Kitchen

I came across this quote on my friend Stacey's blog this week and I just love it.

In How to Be Here, Rob Bell writes this:

You and I were raised in a modern world that taught us how to work hard and be productive and show up on time and give it our best…

We learned lots of very valuable skills, but we weren’t taught how to be here, how to be fully present in this moment, how to not be distracted or stressed or worried or anxious, but just be here, and nowhere else—wide awake to the infinite depth and dimension of this exact moment.

I have my head down these days trying to keep everyone fed, rested, clean and happy. But I do feel that these days, in our times, stopping and seeing is so encouraged. It doesn't mean I do it, but it may be quote on Pinterest or line from a self help book or a loved one with a terminal illness that puts things back in perspective. It's advice I'm choosing to, or trying to, listen to because I am happier when I do.  The exhaustion, the 3am rocking, the mess and the tantrums, the baby smiles and the toddler phrases that make us laugh. It all feels like too much for my tender heart - both the hard and the really good of it. These are the days. 

I saw those virtuous candy bars on My New Roots a few weeks ago and while they look perfect, I used her general idea to come up with something a little quicker. That cookie layer would be perfect, but these still feel like such a treat drenched in dark chocolate. They remind me of these truffles but without the cocoa and a little nuttier inside. They are soft, so I keep them in the fridge and actually prefer them cold but I am not one to turn down a treat at any temperature. 

CHOCOLATE HAZELNUT CHEWIES //Makes about 16

You'll have to use your judgement based on the juiciness of your dates. Notes are in the recipe to compensate for dry or super juicy ones. We are going for the texture of a Lara bar inside - chewy and a wee bit crunchy. You can use all hazelnuts, but I wanted to pair them with a fattier nut for creaminess. 

1 cup toasted and skinner hazelnuts
1 cup cashews or macadamia nuts
8-9 pitted Medjool dates
1/4 cup real maple syrup
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup rolled oats
2 Tbsp. coconut flour

6 ounces dark chocolate

toasted hazelnuts, flaky sea salt and cocoa nibs, for topping

In a food processor, pulse the nuts until just sandy. Add the dates, maple, salt, vanilla, oats and coconut flour and pulse a few more times to combine. The mixture should start to come together in a fall. If it is still too wet, add a few more tablespoons oats or flaxmeal. If it seems dry and crumbly, add a splash more maple or warm water. Chill in the fridge for 10 minutes.
Line a baking tray with parchment and spread a thin coat of coconut oil. Dump the nut mixture and form a rectangle about 3/4" thick. Pop it back in the fridge to chill another 15-20 minutes. 
Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in a large mixing bowl in the microwave or double boiler. Put a baking rack (rubbed with a bit of coconut oil) over a piece of parchment to collect drips. Cut the chewies into 2" squares. Bathe them one at a time in the chocolate bath, coating both sides, and set them on the rack. Sprinkle the tops with a bit of chopped hazelnuts, cocoa nibs and flaky sea salt. Pop them in the fridge to firm up and enjoy. Keep them in a covered container in the fridge.

Chocolate Hazelnut Chewies . Sprouted Kitchen


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Dessert, Chocolate

PEANUT BUTTER CEREAL BALLS

She’ll be 87 next month. She was an only child of parents from the Great Depression so she has an impressive collection of every take-out tupperware, yogurt and soup containers she uses and hides cash in envelopes in secret drawers. Or most recently, the freezer. She was also a young mother of three kids very close in age so she has opinions and perspective on mothering that she doesn’t waver from. She is both private and loquacious in a way I can’t quite describe but she makes friends wherever she goes and is so, so beautiful. I spent half the day with my grandma last week as she has been going through some unfortunate health stuff with her eye and needed company. She didn’t ask, it was by my moms suggestion actually, and I regret it’d taken me so long to just be with her. Not a holiday, or quick passing through, but to just sit in a big comfy chair in a room full of sewing knick knacks and memories and chat. We stared at Cleo for awhile, I made her scrambled eggs in salted butter and we talked about each member of the family and made sense of what they’re up to and their respective personalities. She may be a bit of a know-it-all but she takes so much in. Perhaps that comes with years of watching. It had been so long since I didn’t feel like I should being doing something or completing a task but being there, I really couldn’t. All she wants is quality time. When I left, she hugged and kissed me three of four times and thanked me for cooking for her. Cooking for her!?! Scrambled eggs felt so trite. But the scary thing about watching someone who has cared so much for you, get older, is that the roles shift ever so delicately you hardly notice. It’s like a tide changing or plants growing, you don’t see it all at once but at a point it strikes you that things are different. She still tells me to sing to calm my babies down and hems my little boys shorts, but needs to hold my hand when she comes downstairs or read her the fine print. There is this gradual giving back that feels so natural but stops you. How we all need each other. It’s sort of magical. 

I dropped off a bag of snacks for her and it got me on a kick of other nibbles. I made her some granola bars which led to these - something richer and more chocolatey but not totally junky. The boys and I polished these off before I could get some over to her but there will be more. They are crunchy but still candy like. I note in the recipe but it’s worth saying here that they are delicate. They need to be kept in the fridge to hold shape but that didn’t seem to slow us down. 

Peanut Butter Cereal Balls . Sprouted Kitchen
Peanut Butter Cereal Balls . Sprouted Kitchen

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cereal Bites // Makes 20

I used the new Kashi GOLEAN Vanilla Pepita Clusters for this specific batch.  It has great ingredients like yellow peas and red beans that add protein and fiber. You can find brown rice syrup at health food stores or online. Almond butter or sunflower butter may be used as an alternative nut butter with a slightly less distinctive taste. 

1/2 cup brown rice syrup
1/2 cup salted peanut butter
1 Tbsp. coconut oil
pinch of sea salt
2 Tbsp. cocoa powder
2 1/2 cups Kashi GoLEAN Vanilla Pepita cereal, or something similar
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

3 ounces dark chocolate
flaky sea salt, for garnish

Peanut Butter Cereal Balls . Sprouted Kitchen

In a small saucepan, heat the brown rice syrup, peanut butter and coconut oil to combine. Once warm, add the salt and cocoa powder and stir to mix. 

In a large mixing bowl, combine the peanut butter mixture with the cereal and stir to mix. Add the chocolate chips and mix again. 

Line a small tray with parchment paper. Rub your hands with a bit of coconut oil and form balls with about 2 Tbsp. of the cereal mixture until it is all gone. They are delicate, be patient. Line them up on the tray and chill the balls for 45 minutes to firm up. They are best stored chilled to hold shape. 

Melt the dark chocolate in a bowl over a pot of simmering water. When the balls are firm, drizzle the chocolate over the balls and sprinkle them with flaky sea salt. Chill again for the chocolate to set and enjoy.

This post is created in partnership with Kashi. Recipe and opinions are my own.

PB Cereal Balls . Sprouted Kitchen
PB Cereal Balls . Sprouted Kitchen


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Dessert, Gluten Free, Winter, Fall, Chocolate

FLOURLESS CHOCOLATE DATE CAKE

Flourless Chocolate Date Cake . Sprouted Kitchen
Flourless Chocolate Date Cake . Sprouted Kitchen

I rarely get overly descriptive about the recipes here but because I appreciate a bit of detail when I read other sites, I'm getting chatty. I tinkered with this recipe from Green Kitchen Travels as David and Luise are a go-to for more wholesome desserts. In the treat department, I like to know if I'm getting dense, super sweet, a healthier take, light and airy, or wherever it lies in the spectrum. There is a time and place for each of those sorts of desserts on different occasions. A flourless chocolate cake, classically speaking, is not really cake-like in texture at all. It is dense and rich and more similar to a brownie or fudge than cake and I am perfectly happy with that. This version is more wholesome - the refined sugar being replaced by a thick date paste that contributes a nice caramely sweetness. I thought the dates would throw off the fudge factor, or maybe not make it as decadent and I was wrong. This cake is rich and chocolatey. The date paste actually makes it even more fudgy while not being sickeningly so. Rich but not heavy and even better the second day as it all sank into itself. I appreciate some cream and berries with my chocolate for flavor contrast and also for the color they add. It's so pretty all piled high with hues of red and purple. I'll maybe even double the quantity next time. 

I'm hoping to have some book details to share with you next week. It comes out THIS month. Eep!

Flourless Chocolate Date Cake . Sprouted Kitchen
Flourless Chocolate Date Cake . Sprouted Kitchen
Flourless Chocolate Date Cake . Sprouted Kitchen
Flourless Chocolate Date Cake . Sprouted Kitchen

FLOURLESS CHOCOLATE DATE CAKE // Serves 8

Adapted from Green Kitchen Travels

The original recipe uses ground hazelnuts which I am sure lend a fabulous flavor but almond meal was on hand. I also chose to use buttermilk instead of the orange juice and zest because I have an aversion to citrus and chocolate together. If you are not crazy like me, it sounds really different and surely lovely. The original recipe calls for an 8" springform pan and I only own a 10" and used it anyway. If you have an 8", give it a little more cooking time to make up for the depth of the cake.

  • 1 1/2 cups almond meal
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • About 25 (2 cups) soft dates, pitted and roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 5 eggs, seperated
  • 3 Tbsp. natural cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 7 ounces dark chocolate
  • 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • // for topping //
  • whipping cream (8 ounces whipping cream whisked with 3 T. powdered sugar and a dash of vanilla)
  • OR coconut cream (chill a can of full fat coconut milk overnight, scoop off the firm top and beat it with 2 T. powdered sugar or maple syrup)
  • 1 1/2 cups mixed berries, chopped small (I used pom seeds, blackberries and strawberries)
Flourless Chocolate Date Cake . Sprouted Kitchen
Flourless Chocolate Date Cake . Sprouted Kitchen
Flourless Chocolate Date Cake . Sprouted Kitchen
Flourless Chocolate Date Cake . Sprouted Kitchen
Flourless Chocolate Date Cake . Sprouted Kitchen
Flourless Chocolate Date Cake . Sprouted Kitchen

Preheat the oven to 350'. Line a springform pan with parchment paper and grease the bottom and sides. 

Put the almond meal and salt in large mixing bowl. Into a food processor, combine the dates, buttermilk, egg yolks, cocoa powder and baking soda and blend until smooth and sticky.

Over a pot of barely boiling water, into a glass bowl combine the chocolate and butter. The bottom of the bowl should not touch the water line. Stir occasionally until melted and smooth. Add the date mixture and the chocolate mixture into the almond meal bowl and stir to mix. 

Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gently fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture (it will be thick) and transfer it into the prepared pan. Bake for 50-65 minutes until the cake is firm but not dry. Remove from the oven and let the cake cool completely (just trust me, it's better cooled). 

Spread the whipping cream on top and top with the berries. Serve immediately. The cake will keep for 3 days in the fridge.

Flourless Chocolate Date Cake . Sprouted Kitchen
Flourless Chocolate Date Cake . Sprouted Kitchen
Flourless Chocolate Date Cake . Sprouted Kitchen
Flourless Chocolate Date Cake . Sprouted Kitchen
Flourless Chocolate Date Cake . Sprouted Kitchen
Flourless Chocolate Date Cake . Sprouted Kitchen
Flourless Chocolate Date Cake . Sprouted Kitchen
Flourless Chocolate Date Cake . Sprouted Kitchen
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