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Chocolate Almond Butter Cups

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I’ve been making these for the past few months or so whenever I get a craving for something sweet but don’t want to whip out the sugar, flour and measuring spoons. I’ll usually make a batch every other week, then store them in tupperware and keep them in the fridge to have as dessert all week. They’re THE easiest things to make, and you only need three or four ingredients. Start to finish, they take about an hour to make. DO IT.

What You Need:

  • Half a bag of semi sweet chocolate chips (non dairy)
  • jar of almond butter on hand (unsalted)
  • sea salt
  • sliced almonds (optional)
  • 12 mini cupcake liners

What You Do:

  • Line 12 cupcake tins with mini cupcake liners
  • Using a double broiler, melt half a bag of chocolate chips over low heat, stirring frequently to make sure the chocolate doesn’t burn
  • Once melted, spoon in a dollop of chocolate into each cupcake liner
  • Shake the cupcake tray so that the chocolate spreads, covering the bottom of each cupcake liner
  • Next – spoon out around half a teaspoon of almond butter into each cupcake liner
  • Top each cup with more melted chocolate, covering the almond butter
  • Give the tray a few good shakes, letting the chocolate and AB even out in the cup
  • Finally, top with a dash of sea salt and sliced almonds (optional)
  • Place the tray in the fridge, wait about an hour for them to harden and then dig in!

You can also make these with peanut butter for a more “Reese’s Pieces” feel, but I prefer the AB myself :)

S’Mores + Brownies = YES.

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Warning: these are bad, bad, BAD (for you, of course.) They are filled with butter, sugar, and eggs. They are not light. They are not even remotely healthy. But, guys, they are SO ridiculously ridiculous. 

A few weeks ago I had a random craving for s’mores. (I swear! Ask any of my co workers. I had chocolate on my MIND.) Summer = s’smores? Or something? Who knows. The point is I had the itch. Normally, I would tend to this craving by making my own s’mores. What’s that you say? S’mores? In your apartment? Yep. It’s called a gas stove, a marshmallow, and a fork. Done and done. But I wanted something MORE. I wanted a baked good with s’mores somehow…in…..it? So I got to browsing and decided on the New York Times Brownie + graham cracker crust + toasted marshmallows on top, from this recipe. The results were incredible. These were definitely best RIGHT out of the oven when the marshmallows were still oozing and burnt, but they were also preeeetty good (albeit messy) the next day.

Not something I’ll make often, but DEFINITELY a keeper!

(THE BEST) Blueberry Pie

I will start this post by saying I am NOT a pie person. I’ve never liked pie. I’ve never craved pie. I’ve never looked at a dessert menu at a restaurant and picked pie over anything else. ANYTHING else came before me picking pie, give me chocolate and give me tons of it, thank you very much. SO, you’re just as surprised as I am that I a. decided to make pie b. made it with (what I think) was a great success and c. (and this is the most shocking), REALLY REALLY liked the pie!

Next, I will say that I’ve never MADE pie before, so I was pretty clueless with…uh, what to do. I found a really easy recipe online, picked up fresh blueberries at the Farmer’s Market (this was in July, mind you), and bam. AMAZING blueberry pie.

This is a pretty basic recipe. For the crust, you can either use a premade crust, or use this recipe to make the crust yourself. I was originally going to just pick up a pre made crust at the grocery store, but my mom guilted me into making my own claiming “store bought crust doesn’t make for a REAL blueberry pie!” Thanks, Mom. Once you’ve made/bought the crust the rest is SIMPLE. Fill the pie crust with blueberries, bake. The end!

Word of Advice: Let the pie sit OVERNIGHT before cutting into it. I, of course, did no such thing, and dug into it an hour after it was done thinking “yeah, an hour will be enough for the pie to set, right? right?!” Well, it wasn’t, and my pie was a liquidy, delicious, mess. If you don’t mind things looking a little messy, and you’re going to scoop the pie into a bowl anyway, then don’t bother waiting, but if aesthetics are your thing/you’re planning on serving this at a dinner, etc, then I would say definitely let it sit, on the counter, covered overnight before slicing into it.

MOVING ON! The recipe.

What You Need:

Crust:

  • 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 to 2/3 cup canola oil
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons milk

Pie Filling:

  • 1 quart fresh blueberries, washed
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • Dash ground cinnamon
  • Dash freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 4 teaspoons butter

What To Do:

Crust:

In a mixing bowl, mix the flour, sugar, and the salt. In a glass measuring cup, whisk together 1/2 cup  oil and 3 tablespoons milk with a fork. Add the wet into the bowl, and mix with your hands. If the dough feels too dry, add in a splash of milk (or two.) Place the dough into the middle of a 9 inch pie plate and with your fingers spread the dough to cover the bottom of the pan. Continue spreading the dough up the sides of the plan, letting the excess fall over the sides. Tear the excess off, roll into a ball and put it aside (this is what you’ll use for the crumble on top of the pie!)

Berry pie filling:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a bowl, add the washed berries, cornstarch, sugar, cinnamon, and freshly grated nutmeg. Stir gently.

Place the berry mixture in the bottom crust and sprinkle lemon juice over it. Then with an ordinary teaspoon, place little 1/2 teaspoons soft butter evenly over the top of the berry filling.

Crumble the reserved crust on top of the pie.

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes. Remove the pie when the crumbs are golden brown. Note: the pie WILL LOOK undercooked. It WILL look liquidy. Don’t fret. This is why you must let it set (again, overnight if possible.) It magically congeals over night into perfect pie.

Oatmeal Guava Bars

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This year for Mother’s Day I sent my mom a copy of “Dulce – Desserts in The Latin American Tradition“. This past weekend when I was home and itching to bake something in my mom’s very well equipped kitchen, I went looking through the book searching for a recipes that would be easily veganized. Alas, I found the perfect one — Oatmeal Guava Bars. For those of you who don’t know, guava is a fruit that is wildly popular in Puerto Rico. You can find it in cheesecake, served alongside cheese, in juice, wrapped in filo dough — it’s DELICIOUS, and when I saw that guava was the main ingredient I knew I had to try these out.

As far as the recipe itself, it only required one simple substitution: butter for Earth Balance. Easy peezy. The process of making them was relatively easy….except for one little part. Guava comes in a thick paste form — the recipe requires you to blend the guava until it has a smooth, easily spreadable consistency. WELL. This was NOT as easy as it sounds. I made a, er, bit of a mess in my kitchen….after trying two food processors and a blender, I finally had to call in for reinforcements: M.O.M. To the rescue she came, and with a hand held blender and a few glugs of soy milk, we were able to FINALLY blend the paste enough until we got it to the right consistency.

The rest was smooth sailing, pun intended. After 45 minutes in the oven, the crumble layer looked perfectly golden. I ended up letting these sit overnight before cutting into them because when they first came out of the oven they were still a bit wet, and cutting would have resulted in a mess (although in hind sight, the kitchen was already a mess, so more guava all over the countertops wouldn’t have made a difference.) By the next morning, they had hardened up and were easy to slice.

These were DELICIOUS. I usually never make anything like this — I stick to chocolate, chocolate, chocolate. Using fruit in desserts is something I usually shun (pineapple upside down cake? Bleh!), but I was quite happy with the results here. My sister and dad were obsessed with the crumble layer — if it were up to them I would have made the entire thing crumble ONLY. The guava was perfect as well – now that I no longer live in Puerto Rico, it’s very rare for me to ever eat anything with guava in it. If you’re in the mood to try some latin baking, pick up some guava and give these a shot.

What You Need:

2 cups, 4 stick of Earth Balance

2 3/4 cups packed brown sugar

3 cups rolled oats

3 cups flour

1 tbsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

2 cups guava paste

What You Do:

Pre heat the oven to 325.

Mix the sugar and butter until fluffy. Add in oats, flour, baking powder and salt and mix well until combined. Grease an 11×7 baking pan. Divide the dough and spread half of it along the bottom of the plan, packing it tightly and evenly.

Take the guava and using an electric mixer (lord bless you if you can manage to blend this stuff by hand!), blend the guava until smooth. NOTE: We added in splashes of vanilla soy milk to get the paste to a smoother, more easily manageable consistency. It worked wonders.

Once you have a smooth paste, spread it evenly onto the layer in the pan. Take the other half of the dough, and with your hands, crumble it, breaking it up into pieces. Drop the crumbs onto the guava layer, covering it completely with the dough, making a “crumble” top.

Place in the oven and let bake for 35-45 minutes, until the top is golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool COMPLETELY. Again — I let mine cool overnight before slicing into it, but an hour would work too.

Enjoy!

Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies

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This recipe isn’t entirely original as I’ve posted it before, but I made a tiny change to them and as they came out better than the first time, and therefore I figure’d they were blog worthy.

The other night, Brian and I made a feast of a dinner – two kinds of pasta, a bottle of wine, I even made a SMOOTHIE post meal because he was  “still hungry” (or so he claimed). When we finished eating/devouring our meal, we sat back, kicked our legs up, stared at the pile (literally – a pile) of dirty dishes in the sink and thought the only thought left to think: what’s for dessert? I wasn’t in the mood to get too creative so I went with something I’d made before that came out GREAT and I knew would satisfy our sweet tooths….teeths…? Meh, you get it.

The batter was all made and ready to be divvied up onto the cookie sheets, when I went perusing through my cabinets looking for extras to add in. I found a bag of coconut flakes that was almost empty, so I dumped the rest of the bag into the batter. Note: I NEVER DO THIS. Especially with dessert. I never, ever stray from the recipe. Baking is weird like that — if you screw up even one little thing, the whole dessert can be ruined. An inedible dessert? Gah! Blasphemy. SO – even doing something as small as adding in a cup of coconut flakes to these cookies was, well, a big step for me.

Another thing  I changed from my original iteration of these — I made the cookies smaller AND baked them for a shorter time period. Last time, the cookies spread A LOT and were, while delicious, thin and slightly crispy. By making them smaller, they didn’t spread as much, and by taking them out a bit earlier, the insides were perfectly soft. Mmmm!

What You Need: (Makes 16 cookies)

1 1/4 Cup Unbleached All Purpose Flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt

1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1/4 Cup (White) Vegan Sugar
1 Stick (1/2 Cup) of Soy Butter (Earth Balance)
2 TBS of ground flax mixed with 3 TBS of Warm Water (allow to sit for 2 minutes)
1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup vegan chocolate chips, 1 cup of shredded, unsweetened coconut

What You Do:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Mix flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl. In another bowl, mix together everything else but the chocolate chips. With your hands, mix in the chocolate chips, followed by the coconut. With wet hands, scoop out the dough into golf ball sized balls, and place them on a lightly greased baking sheet. The dough made 16 cookies for me, so you should scoop accordingly to get the same number. Leave about two inches in between each cookie, lightly pat each down with the back of a wet spoon, then place them in the oven and cook for exactly  20 minutes. (I cooked them for 30 minutes last time and the results were ENTIRELY different. As ovens do differ, though, anywhere from 20-22 minutes is fine.) Remove from the oven and then, while I normally would tell you to “set aside and let cool” you’re definitely going to want to taste one of these suckers the second it comes out of the oven. This is when they are the BEST. So do it! And then, (if any remain), “set aside and let cool.”

Enjoy!

The Best Fudgey Brownies. Ever.

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PHEW! This post was a long time coming, but at long, LONG last, I have found an AWESOME vegan brownie recipe that I want to spread all over the blogsophere. So…listen up!

I’ve had countless failed attempts at vegan brownies. First there was the recipe that didn’t taste like anything, then there were the black bean brownies that were GROSS, then there was the boxed version I tried to veganize that didn’t rise. Time after time, vegan brownies were NOT happening for me. Until..a few nights ago.

A reader suggested I try a recipe from the Blooming Platter – the Fudgey Brownies. I was VERY hesitant to try making them. I didn’t think my heart could handle another failed brownie attempt. I got home late one night with a killer sweet tooth so I finally decided to give these a shot….and I am so SO happy I did.

They are INSANELY rich, fudgy and gooey — everything I like in a brownie. So gooey, in fact, that when they came out of the oven I ate them with a SPOON. I let them sit overnight and they ended up hardening up a bit, which worked out — they sliced perfectly the next morning. I brought a bunch into work the next morning and they disappeared….seriously, these were REALLY good. Pair one of these, warmed up, with a scoop of vanilla soy ice cream, and you’ve got HEAVEN.

What You Need:

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 cups white sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon instant coffee dissolved in 1 cup water
1 cup canola oil
½ cup vegan chocolate chips, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup vegan semi sweet chocolate chips, 1 cup chopped walnuts

What You Do:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt. Pour in coffee water, vegetable oil, melted chocolate chips and vanilla. Mix together. Add in chocolate chips and walnuts. Mix until well blended….about 100 strokes. Spread in a greased 9×13 baking pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes. (Baking time may vary, you might have to leave them in for an additional 5 minutes. If the center looks too “wet”, leave ’em in for a little longer.) Remove from the oven and let them cool completely before cutting. Again — they WILL harden over night, so don’t be too scared if they look too gooey!

ENJOY!

Recipe Request: Weight Watchers Brownie Macaroons

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This one came from a co-worker of mine currently on Weight Watchers. I bake A LOT and I bring most of what I make into the office (because if I didn’t I’d be about 10 pounds heavier) and as she’s getting ready for her big w-e-d-d-i-n -g, she usually restrains herself from gorging on my treats. The other day she e-mailed me this recipe that she received from WW, and seeing as a. it looked simple b. I already owned the ingredients that it required and c. I like feeding my co workers, I decided to give these a shot.

The recipe makes FIFTY (yes, 5-0) of these little bites and each contain one Weight Watchers point. The results were, generally speaking, good. These have a nice, chocolately/coconutty flavor, not too overpowering and definitely not too sweet. As far as consistency goes, they are somewhere in between a brownie and a macaroon, light, fluffy and crumble easily.  Would I eat these if I weren’t on Weight Watchers? Quite honestly – probably not. I’m more of a ooey, gooey, chocolately, fudgy, so bad for you it HURTS dessert kind of person, so unless I was specifically baking for someone trying so lose a couple lbs, I probably wouldn’t go out of my way to make these. BUT, they’re not bad, I promise – if you’re on the market for a diet friendly, vegan dessert, give these a shot.

What You Need:

1 1/2 cup(s) all-purpose flour

2/3 cup(s) unsweetened cocoa

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp table salt

1 cup(s) sugar

1/3 cup(s) Coconut oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

3/4 cup(s) hot water, almost boiling, divided

1 cup(s) packaged shredded coconut, unsweetened

What You Do:

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

In a large bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. In another large bowl, mix sugar with oil and vanilla until well-blended. Add half of flour mixture and half of water to sugar mixture; beat until smooth. Add coconut, remaining water and remaining flour mixture; beat until well-combined.

Scoop scant tablespoons of dough and roll into balls; place on lightly greased cookie sheet, leaving about 1 1/2- to 2-inches between each cookie. When all 50 cookies are made, flatten each ball into a 2-inch disk with the back of a wet spoon or fork

Bake until done, about 8 to 10 minutes. Allow cookies to cool on cookie sheets for about 2 minutes then move onto wire rack and let cool.

Enjoy!