chocolate

VEGAN Fudge Brownies

These are good, damn good. Not for the faint of heart, only true chocolate lovers need apply. It had been a while since I made a batch of these. Back in my Heaven shop days these were a staple. They had a dedicated following and even got some press! I was proud. Time passed and I forgot about them. But like many good things in life they may lie dormant for a while but sooner or later they'll re-surface and it will be just the right time.

When I decided to make these a few weeks ago for an order, my friend was skeptical. Vegan Brownies? Nah- sounds boring. I pushed ahead and made them anyway. Lo and behold when he tasted them he couldn't stop singing their praises. Sweet victory.

We bake to forget the noise of the world. We bake to bring happiness to others. When someone eats something I've made and it brings a smile to their face - I know I've done my job. I want more smiles in the world. A smile for a smile. A brownie for a smile? For the greater good of the world - I'll just keep making brownies. Try it.

Vegan Fudge Brownies

yield: 1/2 sheet pan cut into about 36 squares

  • 1 pound Vegan Butter (I use soy free earth balance)
  • 3 cups Sugar
  • 2 3/4 cups Cocoa Powder
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/4 cup Vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon, ground
  • 1 cup Water, hot
  • 4 Tblsp Ener-G Egg Replacer Powder
  • 2 Tblsp Espresso Powder
  • 2 ea Espresso, shots
  • 3 cups Flour, All-Purpose
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 3 cups Chocolate Chips
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Oven at 350. This is a large recipe that I bake in a 1/2 sheet pan. If you don't have this kind of pan you can  cut the recipe in half and bake in a regular brownie pan. But trust me - you'll like to have these on hand and they keep well. Melt the vegan butter in a saucepan. Add sugar and whisk. Heat until bubbling, about 1 minute. Put this mixture into a mixing bowl (I use a kitchen aid with a paddle attachment) Add cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, cinnamon and vanilla - mix well. In a separate bowl whisk together the hot water and egg replacer powder. Add slowly to chocolate mixture - beat until smooth. Add Espresso shots. Add espresso powder and flour - mix. Add chocolate chips and mix to combine. Batter will be thick. Put in sprayed / oiled pan making sure to evenly spread and smooth top. Be careful not to overbake. It will depend on the pan you use how long it should bake. About 15 minutes. Watch the edges! These definitely don't bake for 30 minutes! Remove from oven and let cool. I like to put it in the refrigerator overnight and then cut into squares. Store in airtight container in refrigerator. ENJOY!

Chocolate Cake

It was supposed to be a blizzard. It wasn't. It WAS National Chocolate Cake day though. Thanks to The Lions for tipping me off. I don't know who comes up with these things - but I like any excuse to whip up a cake. I'm always looking for new ways to make things. Don't get me wrong - I like tried and true, but there's something that thrills me and makes me feel like a magician of sorts when I'm in the kitchen combining ingredients. I found this beautiful bottle of molasses in my cabinet - I've always been a fan of molasses - but I've never used it exclusively as a sweetener in a dessert. It's so dark and beautiful and a touch mysterious. So with that in mind I went ahead and decided it would play a starring role. Measure, mix, pour, bake. It all goes in the pan and then we wait. I was worried at first bite it was too much. Too strong - but then I found myself taking another bite - and another bite. I like this cake. It's distinctive flavor separates it from other chocolate cakes. It has an edge - and a certain mysteriousness (yes, there's that word again!). It may not be for everyone - and that's ok - as time goes on we come to understand that we can't please everyone.

Molasses Chocolate Cake gluten free and vegan yield: 1 - 8x8 pan

  • 1/2 cup Chickpea Flour
  • 1/4 cup Potato Starch
  • 1/3 cup Arrowroot
  • 1/4 cup Flax Seed, golden, ground
  • 1/4 cup Hemp Seed
  • 1/2 cup Cacao Powder
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Xanthum Gum
  • dash Cinnamon, ground
  • 1/2 tsp Cake Spice *
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 Tblsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 cup Molasses
  • 1/4 cup Oil (Olive, Coconut, Vegetable)
  • 1/4 cup Apple Sauce
  • 1/4 cup Almond Milk
  • 1/2 cup Chocolate Chips

Oven at 350. Grease and line with parchment your 8x8 pan Whisk together all dry ingredients. Whisk together all wet ingredients. Add wet to dry and combine well. Add chocolate chips. Pour batter into pan and bake about 25 minutes.

When cool flip the cake out of pan. I finished by sprinkling shredded coconut and drizzling with a simple raw cacao icing (raw cacao & almond milk) and coconut milk icing (coconut milk and powdered sugar)

*penzeys spice blend: cinnamon, star anise, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, cloves       Penzeys is a great spice company that I love ordering from. They have numerous blends that are a fast & easy way to pump up the flavor in anything your cooking.

The Granola Bar

I love granola bars. It's really the perfect food. Kind of like a banana except that a banana can get smushed too easily in your bag. Ready at a moments notice when you're hungry and there's no good food around or you just don't feel like stopping to get some. There it is. Waiting for you in your bag. The granola bar. A great thing for kids too. As a Mom it feels like your doing some worldly good deed when you feed your kids good food. That it will somehow prevent them from having a melt down and fill them with the important nutrition needed to face the world. Assuming that it's not filled with sugar, which most of them are, because then you will be doing yourself and the world a great disservice and laying the tracks for a meltdown that most certainly will happen in the near future.

So my epiphany came to create just such a bar from a recipe I used to do at Heaven. The fruit and nut bar... but how about if I added some Kale and then dipped it in chocolate? I know, the chocolate has sugar in it... but maybe I can get around that too....

I've done dozens of recipes at this point - perfecting just the right balance of sweet and healthy. We're all looking for that 'treat'. A small indulgence - especially when you're on a 10 day cleanse or when you're having a long day of battle of the wills with your toddler.... So with those two thoughts in mind last night I came up a raw cacao kale bar! It may sound intimidating or unappetizing - but let me tell you - I basically made a brownie that happens to be healthy.... SERIOUSLY! I fed them to a group of cleansers this morning and it was all rave reviews (maybe they were just grateful to have something other than steamed veggies and salad). But then I fed them to my 3 1/2 year old son this evening  and he wanted more, more, more, more (as he likes to say...).  So I'm happy. I've managed to sneak greens into his diet AND have a delicious treat to eat. I've also managed to finish this post - The first part I wrote over a year ago. My how time flies.

Now I don't have to go through the effort of coating it in chocolate - it's already in the bar. And we can continue to love our fruit and nut bars just as they are and I can stop caring that Duncan doesn't like them.  

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And did I mention that all the bars are gluten free, vegan and maple sweetened? Bonus. 

Angelina's

  Where do I begin.... Anyone that knows anything about food (or should I say sweets) in Paris knows about Angelina's. The famed, the amazing, the sublime... Angelina's. I've been coming here for 20 years and it has never failed me.

The place to start, I suppose, is the African Hot Chocolate. It is assuredly unlike any other hot chocolate you have ever tried. Thick, rich and perfectly balanced. With an intense chocolate flavor not for the faint of heart. The best part is that it's served with a side of whipped cream - so you can be in control of diluting it to you liking, changing the drink back and forth from strong to creamy as you drink it. Imagine. A carafe of drinkable chocolate - a bowl of fresh whipped cream - served to your table in an atmosphere of gilded gold. There are few things better in this world.

The other thing they are rightfully famous for is the Mont Blanc. This is a desert I would normally not be fond of. I don't like meringue - in any form. I'm appalled at the big clumps of it being sold throughout France (and Miami - it's also loved by Cubans). But it works so perfectly here that I'm able to transcend my dislike of it and embrace it. So this is what a Mont Blanc is: meringue, vanilla whipped cream and chestnut puree (that's the noodle looking stuff on top). It's a perfect balance of not too sweet, creamy, crunchy, smooth, earthy, can't stop eating it until it's done divineness. Did earthy throw you? The chestnut puree has that sense of frolicking through the forest, not quite sure what it tastes like, fluffy, understated magnificence. That's what I mean by earthy. I'm not sure if the whole thing is an acquired taste of sorts, but I have come to love it.

 

 

Anything else that you order from here will be great. It may not have the exact finesse of Laduree (which will be another post) but it will be delectable and bring happiness to your life in that moment. Wandering through the streets, past the Louvre, through the Tuileries... life is grand. How can you argue it when you've just tasted the decadence of the angels?