Posts from the ‘Chocolate’ Category

Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Brownies

I’ve been craving chocolate, and I think I might have low iron right now, which means it’s time to make a double batch of black bean chocolate brownies. I re-adapted the recipe Adriann used for the brownies she made earlier this year, since I felt like making a peanut butter chocolate version. My brownies are not only gluten-free but vegan, as well, since I used dairy-free chocolate and peanut butter morsels and used “chia” eggs.

Black Bean Brownies with Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chips
Adapted from Fudgy Black Bean Brownies
Serves 20 two-inch brownie bars

3 C Cooked Black Beans, drained, rinsed*
6 T Chia Seeds, fresh ground
1 1/2 C Filtered Water
6 T Smooth Applesauce
1/2 – 1 C Unsweetened Crunchy or Smooth Peanut Butter
1 C Sucanat
1 1/2 – 2 C Unsweetened Cacao Powder
3 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 tsp Baking Powder**
1 Big Pinch Sea Salt
1 1/2 C Vegan Dark or Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips, divided
1 1/2 C Vegan Peanut Butter Chunks, chopped, divided

*Make sure to properly prepare your beans by sorting and soaking them to make them tasty and easier to digest (removing the phytic acid and indigestible sugars and softening the fiber).

**The brownies were supposed to rise more, but I forgot to add the baking powder.

Mix the seeds and water with a fork in a medium sized bowl to form the “eggs”. Set this mixture aside for 15 minutes. You want a thick egg-like consistency, so adjust your water to seed ratios accordingly.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil two glass 8 inch square baking pans or dishes. Dust the pans with cacao powder to prevent the brownies from sticking to the sides of the pans and make them easier to serve. Set the pans aside.

In a food processor or high speed blender, puree the beans with the apple sauce, peanut butter and “eggs” until they are smooth and creamy. Add in the sucanat, vanilla extract, baking powder and salt and mix until the batter is smooth. Since there is so much batter, I split mine into three batches to mix it all in my food processor, emptying each third to a large mixing bowl once the mix was smooth. (I should have used my Vitamix instead.) I mixed these all together with the cacao powder in the bowl with a large wooden spoon. Fold in half of the chocolate and peanut butter chips.

Pour the batter into the pans. Evenly distribute the batter with the back of a spoon or rubber spatula. Sprinkle the remaining chips across the top of the batter.

Bake the batter for 35 minutes or until the brownie edges shrink away from the sides of the pan; the top chocolate chips and peanut butter chunks should be shiny, soft and slightly melted. Bake each pan of brownies separately. Remove the brownies from the oven, and cool them in the pans for at least 15 to 30 minutes on a wire rack before cutting them into 2-inch squares and serving them. If your brownies still have a squishy bread pudding-like consistency after cooling completely, chill them in the refrigerator for a few hours to solidify the brownie bars.

Vegan Nut Butter, Chocolate & Carob Chunks

I love sweet little chip morsels, but most of them contain soy, dairy or unnecessary additives. When I read Leanne Vogel’s entry on Almond Buckwheat Goji Raw Bars over at Healthful Pursuit, I noticed that she also included instructions for making your own chocolate and carob chunks, which is great if you want to make sweet tasty treats from scratch. I thought, why not make nut butter chips using this recipe as a guide. This would be great for making cashew, almond or peanut butter chunks to put into cookies.

Peanut Butter Chunks
Yields 1 cup of peanut butter chunks.

1/2 C Peanut or Other Nut Butter
1/2 C Coconut Oil, melted in bowl of hot water
1 – 4 tsp Agave Nectar*

Line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper. In a bowl mix all of the ingredients together. Pour the mixture into the pan. Chill flat in the freezer for 30 minutes or until it solidifies. Chop up the mixture into chunks. Store the chunks in a sealed plastic bag or container in the freezer until you are ready to use them. When you are ready to use them, you may have chop or break up the chunks again. Work fast, or they will melt.

Carob or Chocolate Chunks
Yields 1 cup of carob or chocolate chunks.

1/2 C Raw or Toasted Carob or Cacao Powder
1/2 C Coconut Oil, melted in bowl of hot water
1 – 4 tsp Agave Nectar*

Line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper. In a bowl mix all of the ingredients together. Pour the mixture into the pan. Chill flat in the freezer for 30 minutes or until it solidifies. Chop up the mixture into chunks. Store the chunks in a sealed plastic bag or container in the freezer until you are ready to use them.

*If you don’t mind vegetarian morsels instead of vegan ones, you can substitute the agave nectar with honey.

Brown Rice Mochi

A while back I bought two kinds of Grainaissance’s organic brown rice mochi at Community Market; Whole Foods also sells them. These mochi cakes are naturally gluten and dairy-free, which made me doubly intrigued, and since they are whole grain brown rice flour-based, the cakes have many more nutrients than most mochi manju, which are made with white glutenous rice flour (does not actually contain gluten). In each package comes a single rectangular block of hardened mochi dough with the flavorings already mixed in. The block may look small for the eight servings listed on the back, but the dough expands up to two times it’s original size while it cooks! Grainaissance makes eight tasty looking cook-and-slice kinds of organic brown rice mochi in sweet and savory flavors, including original, which contains only rice and water. There are so may great options to choose from, but I’m eager to try out the sesame-garlic when I go buy more.

chocolate mochi puffs

First, I tried the Chocolate Brownie Mochi, apparently their most popular flavor. It was a nice rich dark brown color and a really nice dark chocolate aroma. I cheated and tasted the dough as I was cutting it; it tasted really good even then. Just keep in mind that brown rice has a rich flavor all its own, so the flavor actually turned out rather subtle. Although sugar (evaporated cane crystals) is listed in the ingredients, the mochi dough in not as sweet or chocolaty as I exected. The package suggests possibly drizzling a sauce on top, which would add more flavor, sweetness and moisture. For umph, you can also brush some sauce on top of the squares with a pastry brush.

The directions say to cut the brownies into one to two-inch squares before baking them. I am so glad I chose to cut them into a one square-inch size in order to make 16 servings instead; the mochi cake expanded so much, two inches would have been way to big. I recommend scarfing on the brownies as soon as they are cool enough to handle. The mochi pieces are best when they are warm. Unfortunately, I should have only cooked half. I ended up only eating one or two squares at a time and took my time eating them.  I ended leaving a bunch out to snack on, so I’d have more time to savor them. This wasn’t the best idea, as I found out that they get rather dry as they cool. Thank goodness it was still kind of soft on the inside and still edible.

To help them retain some moisture, I stored the rest of the batch in an airtight glass jar when they were still a bit warm. Well, the evaporated water formed into condensation on the inside of the glass and was reabsorbed by the brownies over time, maybe within a couple of hours. When I reopened the jar to have some pieces on the next day, the mochi was extremely chewy and kind of tough, so they felt stale but still tasted fine. I recommend definitely making these in batches, only cooking as much as you are willing to eat in one sitting. This way they have a better texture, are easier to eat and are still nice and warm.

Maybe reducing the temperature from the direction’s 450 degrees F and increasing the cooking time a bit would help retain some moisture; Becky at Snackrobiotic cooked them at 400 degrees F for 10 to 15 minutes instead. I’ll have to try that with my next batch. I’m sure you can cook the mochi another way instead, but I’m not sure how the batch will turn out. Mochi that is cooked dry or with oil (grilled, baked or broiled) has a completely different texture, soft inside but slightly crispy outside, holding less moisture like mine turned out. I have also read suggestions for putting mochi cakes in sweet or savory soups, which I’ll have to try. Have you tried any of these soups before? At Nijiya Market in Japantown, I saw packages of white mochi cakes and wondered what they were for…. This is the type of kirimochi or kakumochi those websites were talking about. I love learning new cooking techniques and dishes!

The second batch to cook is Super Seed Mochi, which means I have more flavor options to make sweet or savory snacks. I think I’ll make a sauce to ladle over the top or make a dip to dunk the pieces into. Oh! Here’s an idea! Mochi waffles! (They are also known as moffles.)  Cut the mochi cake up into one-inch pieces, and cooked them in a waffle iron. The squares will pool together as they cook, creating a perfect food shape to spread nut butter, fruit puree or sauce onto. Any of the Grainaissance mochi flavors would be great to make waffles with. You can make sweet or savory ones; you can eat them as a flat-ish round with a knife and fork  or roll them up to make crepe or sandwich wrap-like dishes. You can also make mochi waffles with white rice mochi dough, too, but it’s not as flavorful or nutritious as brown brown rice mochi. I have also seen the moffle sandwiches, mochi waffles made into large enclosed sandwich-type waffle tarts. You can also cook soft mochi dough into moffles, too, in a waffle maker. Moffles have become so popular in Japan, that a couple companies actually make moffle makers; see the video below. They are kind of ridiculous.

The Grainaissance website states that the mochi can be stuffed with your favorite filling, which I hadn’t considered before. You have to slice and stuff them as soon as they are still warm but cool enough to handle. You don’t have to make little sandwiches, like in the picture to the right; you can stuff them with chopped nuts, vegetables or fruit, cashew cream, preserves, cheese, or whatever you like. Grainaissance also posted recipes, flavor combinations and techniques for preparing filled mochi. If you want, you can also e-mail the company with your address, and they will send you a recipe booklet.

There are other companies that make mochi cakes like this, too, like Eden and Mitoku. There are several other Japanese companies that make kirimochi that you can also use; just cut it up and prepare it like the brown rice mochi cakes. Although called other names, there are similar versions of the Japanese rice cakes that are made in China and Korea, so there may be some Asian markets that sell pre-made mochi-like cakes or dumplings that are made by Chinese and Korean companies, too. Here is Ahisma’s recipe over at “Like Mama Said” to make your own sugar-free mochi cake! It suggests that you divide the steamed rice in half in order to make two different dough flavors.  I will definitely have to try this. The mochi recipe is rather simple and very adjustable, so that you can make your own flavors.

Have fun making and enjoying your mochi creations. Which ingredients do you like use to make mochi? Which types of mochi have you tried? Which flavors do you like best?

Cordoza’s Deli Cafe and Catering

Cordoza’s Deli and Cafe is a great local family deli run by Bonnie Cordoza and her husband in downtown Petaluma near the theater district. They have amazing foods, like sandwiches and salads, for decent prices. The atmosphere is open and welcoming, and the staff is really friendly. AND they have foods I can eat! In fact, they just won Petalum’a Best Deli in the 2012 People’s Choice Awards through Petaluma 360! Congratulations, guys!

Cordoza’s carries Mama Baretta’s award-winning multi-seed loaves of bread for sandwich making upon request. The multi-seed bread is so tasty and wonderful with the deli’s Number 3 sandwich, which I get without mayo and cream cheese but with pesto added on. I usually get the mixed berry or green salad with a gluten-free dessert to accompany my sandwich, taking half of the entree home. They also sell bags of gluten-free crackers in their chip and cracker area of the deli. I also found out that their meats are sulphate and nitrate free!

Cordoza’s has a daily special, which includes sandwiches, wraps and other dishes. Every time I check out it out, the special always sounds wonderfully mouth watering. Sometimes Cordoza’s asks for suggestions from their Facebook followers. There’s also usually a couple kinds of soup available in the refrigerated case. If you arrive at the deli early enough, you can also get breakfast, from breakfast burritos to oatmeal with fruit. I haven’t had any of those dishes, but they look really tasty. It may not sound like anything special, but they often have flavored ice water, coffee and hot tea available all day long, too, which is important to me, since hot beverages aid in digestion. There are also at least two cases of cold beverages.

Her catered meals are so good. If whatever you want isn’t on their menu, just ask. They can accommodate for your needs. They’re rather flexible and will adjust for special dietary needs, which is fantastic, since I know I’m not the only one with allergy and digestive issues. Cordoza’s is catering all of the Petaluma-Hamilton Masonic Lodge’s monthly stated meeting dinners this year, and they also catered the officers’ installation lunch and my husband’s congratulatory dinner afterward for our family and friends at the deli.

My husband loves her meaty lasagna, and her vegetable pesto lasagna is a smash hit, too. She made me a special gluten-free penne pasta dish with a superb pesto sauce made with brown rice noodles on the spot when she found out that I couldn’t eat her gluten-free veggie lasagna due to my dairy issues. How great is she?! Bonnie also makes a killer flourless chocolate torte served with fresh fruit. I have eaten many of her catered meals, and I have never been disappointed. Her family also has a small vineyard and winery, and she offers bottles of her wines in her cafe and with her catering.

Cordoza’s is also now featuring Jill Habansky’s Sweet gluten-free baked goods. Jill has her own gluten-free space to work in within Bonnie’s kitchen in the back. How cool is that?! So far, I have tried the salted chocolate chip cookies and almond scone, fennel scone and vegan chocolate-frosted chocolate cupcake. Bonnie also has some of Jill’s lightly sea salt-sprinkled chocolate chip cookies, white chocolate chip cookies, carrot cupcakes with cream cheese icing, cardamon crumb cake, rosemary cornbread, morning glory muffins and more. She does not make the same things every day, so it’s always a surprise to see which little delectable goodies are in the case. Jill supposedly makes great baguettes that have really nice flavor and great textures, nice and crunchy on the outside with a soft airy inside. Bonnie told me that Jill’s goodies were featured at the Petaluma Valley Rotary’s Edible Art Tasting in March. I can’t wait to taste her other baked goods.

Sinful Cheesecakes 3Recently I learned that Sinful Delights mini cheesecakes, made by Amber Merkel, are now being featured at Cordoza’s Deli. They are so cute! I love the bright and dark color contrasts and the way the layers are stacked. These little morsels look so tasty! (I was “good” and ate one of Jill’s deliciously amazing chocolate cupcakes instead. ;P ) The prices aren’t bad either, considering what they are and how they are made. I couldn’t resist! I bought one for my hubby, hoping that I could enjoy it vicariously. He’s rather picky about food, but he totally approved with a big grin on his face and a compliment. I’ll have to buy him another one the next time I go buy a sandwich. When I pied them in the case, I knew I had to buy one! Yesterday, they had three different kinds, New York with various fruits, chocolate, and caramel macchiato, but the choices seem to change often. Amber also makes full-sized and mini cheesecakes for whole sale orders and catered events, too. The pictures of her treats are gorgeous! Oh, how they really make me wish I could eat dairy foods easily!

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Please pardon the empty looking deli shots, I snuck in at the tail end of the day; I took these pictures as I was waiting for my order to be filled, I think. There are usually many more people inside eating, ordering and snacking earlier on in the day. If you want something from the gluten-free Sweet case, make sure you get there at least 30 minutes before the deli closes, otherwise you may find the case empty. Trust me. I already made that mistake. Oh well. There’s always next time.

Dark Chocolate Cake with Caramel Frosting

Sorry we have been on such a long break. I’m still in the midst of moving, and well, life happens. I hope you all didn’t forget about us. I hope this can tie you over in the meantime.

Here is a beautiful cake I really want to make and devour! ^_^ It looks delicious. I bet it’s pretty easy to make. I just need cake pans, since my old one was a dud. As an added bonus this recipe is dairy-free and gluten-free. You can swap out the eggs in the cake batter but not in the caramel meringue frosting. So if you can think of a way to make this cake entirely vegan, let me know. I can’t think of a way that wouldn’t affect the textures, not even with Irish sea moss.

Dark Chocolate Cake with Caramel Frosting.


Bliss Bakery

Over the last few months, I’ve stopped by the Bliss Bakery booth almost every Saturday at the Santa Rosa farmers market to buy tasty treats (sometimes as a late not-so-healthy breakfast). If you want to buy their baked goods, make sure you go early; Bliss’s items are really popular and often sell out rather quickly. From my experiences, if you get to there around 11:00am or 12:00pm, you may find your choices a little slim. It really doesn’t matter what you buy though, since everything is very very good, vegan and gluten-free.

I have great news! Bliss Bakery now has a store front! Cori, one of the talented bakers, says the bakery is open Monday through Friday from 1:00pm to 6:00pm. They bake a variety of items daily. I went by on Thursday and bought freshly-made caramel blondies and a bunch of day-old almond maple bars, pecan “butter” cookies, chocolate chip cookies and chocolate hazelnut cookies, and the day-old items are only a dollar! The caramel blondies are much different than their chocolate chip blondies; instead of being in the regular muffin shape, they are baked in a pan like square-cut brownies. The blondies were nice and ooey-gooey after I warmed them up in the microwave for a bit. Cori said these blondies were actually a kind of experiment, but I think they turned out pretty well.

Everything looked lovely in the little pink box. It only cost $15 for the whole thing! I cleaned them out of all of the day-old cookies and bars. (We are having a painting party on Saturday, and I only had glutenous cookies in the house.) I took a picture but not until after Christopher ate two of the chocolate chip cookies and after I ate both of the blondies. Bliss’s Flax bread is nice and savory and perfect with either sesame (tahini) or almond butter spread on top. Their oatmeal raisin cookies are also scrumptious. Amazing!

When I first bought their cookies and bars (either last summer or the summer before that), I was only really impressed with the maple bars. I honestly wasn’t really impressed with their other items and only found them okay, nothing I would recommend. (At that time, The Cosmic Cookie Jar was still in Santa Rosa and had a booth at the Santa Rosa farmers market, but they don’t anymore. I really miss their mouth-watering cookies.) Since then, gluten-free recipes all over have advanced and improved, it seems, and (maybe as a result of that or merely trial and error) Bliss’s baked goods’ visual appeal, textures and flavors have improved astonishingly! Now everything tastes delicious and has great “mouth feel” and texture, definitely goodies I recommend.

I can’t wait to buy more from Bliss on Saturday. If they have another big blueberry coffee cake this week, I may have to just buy it, that is if lamb farmer from two weeks ago has lamb sausage, goat or rabbit. Some of the farmers aren’t at the market every week and are only there once or twice a month. Unfortunately, I don’t remember the names of all of the meat selling farm booths, since they seem to swap out all of the time. More than a few of the farmers are only at the market seasonally. Well, we’ll see. If the lamb farmer is there and I can get the sausage or other meats, I’ll make a post about it.  ^_^

Black Bean Chocolate Brownies

Vegan, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Brownie Bars                                           Image Source

Adriann made these for one of the gathers at Fudgy Black Bean Chocolate Browniesmy place. They were so delicious and moist. I think I ate a third of the pan by myself, only to pay for it the next day. It was extremely difficult to taste the beans in them at all unless I was really looking for their flavor. Even then, I only found it in slight hints, since these brownies are so chocolaty. Thankfully she gave me the recipe, so now I’m sharing it with you all.

I have, of course, adapted them to have lower fat and sugar contents. I really like using sugars with lower glycemic index values and swapping out at least some oil for fruit puree. I have yet to use many vegetable purees,  other than zucchini or pumpkin.

Black Bean Chocolate Brownies
Adapted from Fudgy Black Bean Brownies

15 oz Black Beans, drained, rinsed
OR 1 1/2 – 2 C Dried Black Beans, cooked, drained, rinsed (cooked are better than canned)
3 T Golden Flax or White Chia Seeds (really any color is fine)
9 T Filtered Water
3 T Smooth Apple Sauce
3/4 C Sucanat
1/2 C Unsweetened Cacao Powder
1 – 1 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1 Pinch Sea Salt
1/2 C Vegan Dark or Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips, divided*
1/2 C Roasted Walnuts or Pecans, chopped, optional

*For more chocolaty brownies, add 1/2 cup more chocolate chips! Just make sure to divide all of the chips in half.

In a spice grinder, powder the seeds. Mix the seeds and water with a fork in a medium sized bowl to form the “eggs”. Set this mixture aside for 15 minutes. You want a thick egg-like consistency, so adjust your water to seed ratios accordingly. Mix in more ground seeds if the the “eggs” are not thick enough.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly oil a glass 8 inch square baking pan or dish. You can also dust it with a flour of your choice or cacao powder if you like. Set the pan aside.

In a food processor, puree the beans until they are smooth and creamy. Add in the seed “eggs”, canola oil or apple sauce, sucanat, cacao powder, vanilla extract, baking powder and salt and mix until the batter is smooth. While pulsing the processor a few times, add in the nuts and half of the chocolate chips until they are incorporated.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and evenly distribute it. Smooth the top of the batter out with the back of a large spoon or a rubber spatula. Sprinkle on the remaining half of the chocolate chips over the top of the batter.

Bake the batter for 30 to 35 minutes or until the brownie edges shrink away from the sides of the pan. Test for doneness with a toothpick. If it comes out from the center of the pan clean, the brownies are done! Remove the brownies from the oven, and cool them in the pan for at least 15 to 30 minutes on a wire rack before cutting into 2-inch squares and serving them.

OMG So Rich and Chocolatey Chocolate Sorbet

I found a great recipe for Chocolate Sorbet at Smitten Kitchen, which they adapted from The Perfect Scoop, a recipe book.  Oh, man!  The photos the Smitten Kitchen have were making me drool.

My photos aren’t as drool worthy, but the sorbet is.  And its vegan, if you care about those sorts of things.

I’m going to make you go to Smitten Kitchen for the recipe, they have it written out so well.

Here are my photos to inspire you.

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After Nine to Five’s Hot Chocolate Gift Jar Tutorial

This homemade hot chocolate gift jar tutorial on After Nine to Five looks yummy!  Check it out for more tasty pictures and pretty ideas.

Add the ingredients in this order:

  • 1/3 cup  dried nonfat milk powder
  • 1/8 cup Hershey’s cocoa powder (Hershey’s was a staple in my grandma’s kitchen, and now mine.)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup dried nonfat milk powder
  • 1/8 cup Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder
  • 1/4 up sugar
  • 1/4 cup non-dairy creamer
  • 1/8 cup Hershey’s cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup dried nonfat milk powder

Next, put enough marshmallows to fill the jar to the top in a sandwich bag, put the bag in the jar and put the lid on it.. The bag makes it easier to take the marshmallows out so the recipient of this yummy gift can shake up the powders before mixing them with boiling water- or (better yet!) steamed milk.

Sweet Potato Fudge?!?! Are you Crazy?

Sweet Potato Fudge?!?!  What?  Are you crazy?  Well, from the look of the pictures at Tasty Kitchen, maybe I am…  I’m not usually a fan of white chocolate (not enough chocolate in it), but I think this just might work.