Tag Archives: chocolate

Valentine’s Day

I used to never really celebrate Valentine’s Day except to make a fancy dinner. Well, there was the one year that Dan bought be “The Bodyguard” which you should totally watch. Some would say it’s the greatest love story of our time.

Anyway, now that I am in my thirties I am totally digging all the girly things I never cared about before. I wonder why? Dan brought me flowers and a breakfast taco first thing in the morning! Best present ever!

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I got fancy Lagusta truffles that have the craziest flavors. I had to try “the wild box”! So far my favorite was the chipotle carmelized onion. Who would have thought onion chocolate would be so great. Dan hated the shitake one though so that was sad. Next time I’ll go for something less wild.

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The intense chocolate hearts with dried cherry and black salt were truly amazing.

Even Dinger liked the flowers although he would have liked them better if they smelled like nooch.

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Then we got an adorable little red velvet cake from Sugar-Skull.

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Now I am studying for a test (aka procrastinating by blogging about my pretty pink Valentine’s Day.

Hope you all had a great day!

Chocolate-Hazelnut-Strawberry-Cashew Cream Crêpe Cake

I don’t remember where I first saw a crêpe cake but I know it was on a vegan food blog and that I stared at it for a long time before filing it away in my brain only. The thing is, I love crêpes, I always have since I was a little kid. My mom would make them Serbian style (palačinke) and we would have them rolled up with my Baba’s homemade peach jam. It was the best thing in the world. The sad part was that my sister hated palačinke so my mom hardly ever made it. I guess that is why it has always been a favorite  forbidden fruit (forbidden crêpe). I love making them, I tried every recipe out there until Vegan Brunch came along and now I pretty much stick with that perfect recipe. Just a little tapioca starch makes all the difference.

I made crêpes for a friend last weekend with some rawtella and we were pretty excited with how it tasted so when I was charged with making a birthday cake I thought it would be fun to attempt the crêpe cake. I had some cashew cream in the fridge, cooked some fresh strawberries, and bought some Jason’s chocolate hazelnut spread to complete the layers. It was really fun to make but when I got to the top it was soooo ugly. My crêpes were all different sizes so they were really irregular and it looked like just a big pile of crêpes. I asked what to do on twitter and Kirsten told me to make nutella buttercream which was pretty much the best idea ever but would have required another trip to the store so I decided to just pour ganache over it.

Once the ganache was covering the cake I saw things had just came out looking even worse! Then by the morning it was all lumpy and textured and looked like an otherworldly landscape. I thought of covering it with more strawberries, which would have been the perfect solution, but instead I took the lazy way out and decided to just put an alien with a banjo on top and call it an alien cake.

I come from the planet Fuckyeah

It was really hard to take pictures of because everybody really wanted to try the cake but I snagged a few! It was maybe the greatest cake I have ever eaten. The dreamy hazelnut chocolate mixed with the creamy cashews and strawberries all sandwiched between layers and layers of crêpes was kind of indescribable. It tasted like something you would get at a fancy french bakery although it sure didn’t look like it came from one! The good thing about that was that everyone knew I didn’t buy it and when I later had to explain that it didn’t contain eggs, milk, or butter what was left of peoples minds was completely blown away… figuratively. It was a huge hit with everyone. 

I can’t wait to make the next one now that I know what I am doing. I really like that I didn’t have to turn the oven on because it is already pretty hot and I loved how it tasted, it was a lot better than regular cake especially if you aren’t a huge sweets person or way into frosting. Also, chocolate and hazelnut is pretty much the best the best thing to put on crêpes in the world. Next time nutella buttercream.

Vegan Chocolate & Peanut Butter Pretzel Tart

I saw the most beautiful picture of this chocolate & peanut butter pretzel tart the other day on Pictures and Pancakes and I fell madly in love. Not only was the picture captivating but the recipe made me swoon. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Chocolate and peanut butter covered pretzels are one of my most favorite treats in the world and as soon as I saw it I immediately began thinking of different ways I could veganize it. In the end, the hardest part was finding a fluted tart pan. I went to a couple different places before I entered the madness that is bed bath and beyond– right smack dab in the middle of the shopping season– before I finally found the perfect one. I had to buy the mini tart pans because there is nothing more fun than having a whole fabulous dessert all to yourself. I kept thinking I would make a cashew base but when I was at the co-op the other day I bought a box of mimic cream hoping that it would work.

And it did.

Beautifully.

This is the most luscious and fantastic dessert I have ever made. It is so creamy that it will knock your socks off. Honestly, don ‘t even wear socks if you make it.

I tested the recipe early with the intention of making them for Christmas. The only thing that I will do different is a salty roasted peanut garnish on top. 

Chocolate & Peanut Butter Pretzel Tart

Ingredients

8 Tablespoons of Earth Balance
1 1/4 cups coarsely crushed pretzels
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 Tablespoon of ground flax seed mixed with 3 Tablespoons warm water
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 1/2 cups sweetened MimicCreme*
10 oz bittersweet chocolate chips
salt
Either a 10-inch fluted tart pan with removable bottom or six smaller ones.

Beat the margarine with 3/4 cup of crushed pretzels and the sugar until creamy.  Beat in the flour and the flax mix.  Add the rest of the pretzels and mix.

If you are making individual tarts divide the dough into six pieces. Take each piece of dough and flatten with a rolling pin between two pieces of parchment paper. You want them thin but not so thin that they will be hard to handle later, like a quarter of an inch. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Take the dough out, peel off one sheet of parchment, invert the tart pan on top of the dough and then flip the whole thing over. Press the dough into pan peeling off any that is overhanging and pressing it anywhere it is cracked.

When the dough is in the tart pans put them all back in the fridge for another half hour. Preheat the oven 350.

Take the tarts out of the fridge, put the parchment paper back on top and weight it down with beans or pie weights. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes (30 if you are doing one big tart) and remove the parchment paper and pie weights. Bake another 5-10 minutes being very careful to check often so it doesn’t burn on top.

In the meantime heat up the mimic cream in small saucepan. Once it starts to simmer turn it off and add the chocolate chips. Stir until melted.

Remove the tart pans from the oven and spread a thin layer of peanut butter on the crust. Sprinkle some salt on top of the peanut butter. Top with the chocolate mix. If you like, garnish with roasted salted peanuts. Put in the fridge at least 4 hours. Spend that time anticipating chocolaty goodness. Enjoy!

*note regarding MimicCreme-
I got the mimic cream at wheatsville co-op, but it seems like something Whole Foods or other similar places would carry. It is a realitivly new product made out of nuts that works for baking (but not drinking) At the co-op it is by all the shelf stable vegan milks and I would imagine it would be there at WF too. It is in a carton that is smaller than regular soy milk but not nearly as small as soy cream and it is a square box.

If they don’t have it I bet you could use soy creamer. I think coconut or hemp milk would work too. In the recipe you just simmer the milk and melt the chocolate in it and then set it in the fridge like a chocolate ganache recipe. It did seem a lot creamier than that so I think a high fat milk would work best. Maybe blend in some soaked nuts too if you want to go all out.

I’m Dreaming of a Chocolate Pretzel Tart

I think the first sign of the Christmas season for me was when, the day after Thanksgiving, all the ice cream trucks stopped playing their usual tunes and switched over to Christmas music.

I also have a sudden and  overwhelming desire to bake cookies and make other fabulous desserts which usually I couldn’t care less about. I saw this Chocolate Pretzel Tart on pictures and pancakes and I have been kind of obsessed with veganizing it for the holidays. The picture is so beautiful.

Or maybe I will make buckeyes with a chocolaty pretzel shell.

I haven’t decided yet.

The one thing I do know is that is is really good timing for Isa’s new book “Appetite for Reduction” to come out. I can’t wait to get my hands it! Luckily she already posted some of the recipes. Last night we tried the Caribbean Curry Black-Eyed Peas with Plantains. I never would have thought steamed plantains would be so great; I have always had them baked, stewed or fried, but they worked really well in this dish.

How to make Mexican Hot Cocoa

Chocolate originated in the Amazon basin and was transported throughout Central and South America in ancient times. The scientific name, Theobroma, means “food of the gods” and I can certainly see where they are coming from. The Maya first drank chocolate in drink form using chocolate, chilies, and cornmeal (the three Cs of early American cooking) they ground it into a paste and mixed it with water. Eventually the Spanairds came along and added milk and sugar. The Europeans also removed the chilies and added cinnamon. Of course, the US came along and made and instant version full of fake marshmallows and other nastiness which turned many off of this delicious drink. They key to making hot chocolate for me is to take it back to its roots and make, what we now call “Mexican Hot Chocolate” although really it is hot cocoa if you are making it from a powder and only hot chocolate if you are making it from chocolate bars.

For me it is the perfect winter drink because it is spicy hot and hot hot so you can ward off the chills in two seperate ways. I also like to make it because it is a little of this and a little of that and different every time. For that reason, I will give you a guidline with pinches and drops rather than teaspoons and tablespoons because you have to experiment and find what your perfect ratio of sweet to spicy is.

Fill the mug (or mugs) that you are going to use with Almond milk and then pour the milk into the pan

Heat the milk to warm and then slowly whisk in 1 heaping teaspoon of unsweetened coocoa powder

add 2 tsp of Sugar or 1 tsp Agave Nectar

a drop of vanilla extract

a  drop of almond

a pinch of cinnamon

a tiny pinch of cayenne

a sprinkle of chili powder.

Whisk it all together, taste and adjust flavors and enjoy! Preferably in front of a warm fire cuddled up with a warm beagle. But don’t let him have any because dogs shouldn’t have chocolate. Or poinsettias. Or Ivy, apple seeds, raw onions, and grapes.