Archives for category: Cacao

Another honeymoon delight and re-creation of an Urban Solace dish. I think it was a pretty successful attempt, though the custard to chocolate ratio was off a bit (there should have been more custard). This version of the pot de creme is dairy-free but it is certainly not sugar-free. Which makes this recipe a once or twice a year venture for us.

Grocery shopping tips:

Make sure to buy some good quality chocolate for the ganache cap. I really like Valrhona 85% and Endgangered Species 88%.. If you want chocolate without soy lecithin then check out Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips. For coconut milk, look for the Native Forest brand of coconut milk. The cans are BPA free… hard to find these days. For more information about the harms of overconsuming canned coconut milk, check out Chris Kresser’s little article about my favorite food: COCONUT!

I mean I really, REALLY love it

Recently I’ve been a bit startled at the sheer amount of coconut products that I consume. I mean really? How many kinds of coconut can one paleo adherent eat? Try coconut milk, coconut butter, coconut flour, coconut water, coconut meat (mature and young), coconut sugar, shredded coconut, flaked coconut, coconut oil…. AHHH! I decided enough was enough and that too much of a good thing (that thing being COCONUT) is not good at all. So, in an effort to steer away from my obsession I am abstaining from coconut for this week. It’s the final week of my Whole 30 program and I thought it only appropriate to use this week as an excuse to really clear away the excess items from the diet.

When I began paleo, my only real coconut exposure was in the form of coconut oil (for cooking) and coconut water (for drinking). Since then, my knowledge of all things paleo has expanded and I’ve become more familiar with alternative ingredients for baking and cooking. Knowledge is good if you use it wisely. One of the most attractive things about “ancestral living” is the simplicity of it. In the beginning, it was easy to be simple because I was also ignorant to all the possibilities of nut flours and coconut sugars and date pastes. One of the most attractive things about “ancestral living” is the simplicity of the OG plan…

Live Simply

It’s easy to get excited about new knowledge and employ new food strategies to cope with the loss of familiar SAD diet favorites like pancakes, cookies, pies, and dairy-based items like Pot de Creme. I strive to be  a healthy, balanced person but I also want to be a creative and innovative chef. There’s a time and place for the substitutes but there’s a great deal of value in the simplicity of the Paleo Diet. That being said, here I am, sans coconut, trying to strike a balance and reign in my addiction.

Here’s the innovative “yin” to my simplistic “yang”:

Chilled to Perfection

Salted Caramel Pot de Creme with a Chocolate Cap

Caramel Custard
3/4 cup coconut sugar, divided (1/2 cup for the caramel, 1/4 cup for the custard)
Pinch of sea salt
1 1/4 cup coconut milk (full fat)
5 egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. Warm 1/2 cup sugar and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Moisten the sugar with just a few drops of water.
  2. Stirring constantly, cook sugar until it caramelizes. The sugar will liquefy, bubble and eventually thicken. Once the caramel turns a rich tan color, remove from the heat and add the cream and whole milk, constantly stirring to combine. It’ll get crazy bubbly… just keep stirring.
  3. Return the pan to the heat and keep stirring until smooth. At first, the caramel will have some lumps, but don’t worry, these will eventually smooth out. Once it is smooth, turn off the heat let it cool.
  4. Preheat oven to 300.
  5. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together egg yolks, 1/4 cup sugar and vanilla until thick. Slowly, whisk in the cooled caramel until fully combined. Let the mixture sit for a minute then skim off any foam that has developed on the surface.
  6. Fill ramekins with the custard and place in a baking pan. Fill the pan with boiling water halfway up the ramekins. Cover with aluminum foil and poke some holes in the foil.
  7. Carefully place in the oven and cook for 30—35 minutes. They are finished once they are wobbly in the center but completely firm to the touch. Let sit 10 minutes covered. Refrigerate for 1 1/2 – 2 hours before adding the chocolate cap.

Chocolate Cap
1/2 c. coconut milk
1 tsp. ground coffee
1/2 c. chocolate, broken into pieces
1/2 tsp. vanilla
pinch sea salt

  1. In a small saucepan, bring coconut milk with coffee to a near boil.
  2. Pour through a sieve over chocolate and stir until smooth.
  3. Add some vanilla and sea salt.
  4. Pour ganache into cooled ramekins over the custard. Make the chocolate cap about 1/4 as thick as the custard.
  5. Chill until ganache has hardened and garnish with sea salt flakes.
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Just a quick little post involving my favorite ingredient : COCONUT!

I love macaroons and never feel (too) guilty for eating them. I dipped these in chocolate to make them super awesome.

Om Nom NOM says the Coconut Monster.

Chocolate Dipped Coconut Macaroons

6 egg whites
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/2 c. honey
3 c. fine shredded coconut (unsweetened)
1 Tbsp. vanilla
1/2 c. dark chocolate chips

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Separate egg whites from the yolks, store away yolks in the fridge for later use. (see my upcoming post about pot de creme!)
  3. In a steel mixing bowl, whip egg whites and salt with a hand blender or whisk (quickly) until smooth and soft peaks form.
  4. Add honey and vanilla. Whip some more until stiff peaks form.
  5. Fold in coconut.
  6. Drop about 2 tablespoons of the batter onto the sheet, pinching the mounds at the top.
  7. Bake for about 15 mins until they turn a golden brown on the top.
  8. While baking, melt chocolate in a double boiler and stir until smooth.
  9. Once macaroons are cool, dip into chocolate halfway and let cool in the fridge for 1-2 hours.

Tasty Bark

Another great inspiration from Mark’s Daily Apple. My father LOVES mac nuts and dark chocolate. So when I saw this recipe, I knew I had to make it for him. Actually, I brought a batch to a Christmas party cause I knew he would be there. Needless to say, I’m glad I set aside a few pieces at home because they were gobbled up at the party.

Salted Macadamia Nut Bark

9-10 oz. DARK chocolate (I used Endangered Species 88%)
1/2 – 3/4 c. macadamia nuts
sprinkle of sea salt

  1. In a double boiler (one pot of boiling water, with a pot or metal bowl on top) Melt the chocolate.
  2. Add macadamia nuts to the melted chocolate (you can crush the nuts or have them in larger pieces depending on your preference)
  3. Pour mixture into a square dish lined with parchment paper. The smaller the dish, the thicker the bark.
  4. Sprinkle with sea salt and refrigerate until solid. Cut into even pieces and share!
 
In honor of my Mother in Law’s birthday, I created a special meal and an even more special dessert. This mound of chocolatey goodness (forgive the poor quality picture, I was too excited to eat it!) is gluten-free, grain-free, and soy-free. There is some sugar, but if you are a sugar nazi, then you can omit it. Remember that you aren’t making a habit of eating this everyday. A little chocolatey bliss is (everyone say it with me…) O-KAY. Inhale… exhale. Need I remind everyone that Paleo eating is a holistic perspective on health, it’s not a religion. There shouldnt be “sins” or “doctrine” or “penance”. Just keep the perspective and enjoy the fudgy brownie.
 

Yes, it was chocolately.

 

Paleo Fudgy Brownies
 
 1 c. nut butter (not peanut, I used tahini)
1/2 can coconut milk (the thick kind)
2 eggs ( 3 for more cakey and less fudgy)
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp. baking powder (make sure its Gluten Free!)
1/2 c. cocoa powder
1/4 c. coconut sugar
1/3 c. chocolate chips (Dark! I used the Dark Chocolate Lover’s Bar at Trader Joe’s. Its 85%. I chopped it up into small chunks.)
Optional: 1/3 c. chopped nuts
 
  1. Preheat oven to 450. Grease an 8 x 8 baking dish
  2. In a bowl, whisk together the nut butter, coconut milk, eggs, vanilla, and salt. Then add cocoa powder, sugar, chocolate chips and baking soda.
  3. Pour into dish and bake for about 18 mins.

Paleo Ice Cream

1/2 c. cocoa powder 
1/2 c. coconut milk (refrigerate the can and scoop out the firm cream of the milk)
3 frozen bananas
1/4 c. tahini (optional)
toasted coconut (optional)
 
  1. Put all the ingredients in a Vita-Mix or food processor and blend till smooth.

*Note: if you use a blender, you may have to add a little more liquid to get it to blend. If it’s too melted then you can place it in the freezer until firm.

 

I’ve got truffle’s on my mind. Not only are truffles delicious, but I’ve recently discovered that they are also ridiculously easy to make. Check this: equal parts cream and chocolate… heat and mix, cool and roll. It’s just so simple.

Last weekend, an instructor at Bauman College held a truffle making class and I reluctantly attended. Right, reluctant about chocolate? Me? No, never. So I learned the fine art of making gananche and the candy chocolate coating of heaven that decadently enrobes these fine pieces of happiness. Needless to say, all us women were in a full on chocolate coma by the end of the 5 hour long instruction. Fortunately for us “lac-tarded” people (and dairy-free by choice), I made my truffles with full fat, organic coconut milk and 70% Scharffen Berger dark chocolate.
Since that weekend, it has dawned on me that most people appreciate a good truffle. This is my reasoning for engaging in chocolate madness yet again, this time in the spirit of Christmas giving. Yesterday I embarked on a truffle expedition and succeeded in creating varieties such as coffee, peanut butter, and peppermint. Rest assured, I will be sharing the wealth. 

I love chocolate, but my tolerance levels for all things sugar is drastically lower than most folks due to the Paleo lifestyle which I follow (well, on non-truffle making days of course). So what do you do when you have truffles on the brain but you prefer to have a truffle-free digestive system? Well, glad you asked!

Here I present the Breakfast Truffle of December 20th. I wanted truffles, but I also needed breakfast. Here is the marriage of two fine individuals:

Breakfast truffles
Cranberries (I used fresh ones that had been coated in orange juice and then partially dried in a dehydrator)
Raw Coconut flakes
Raw Cashews (or any nut you prefer)
Optional: honey, spices, etc… (make it your own)
Throw it all (carefully) into a food processor and pulse till combined. Roll into a ball and then roll in some unsweetened coconut shreds.

Voila! It’s breakfast in truffle form. Paleo-friendly. Kid-friendly. Christmas-friendly.

Ginger Peach Tea and Coconut Cranberry Truffles