Nutty Maple Chocolate Bars

Nutty Maple Chocolate Bars 3

I don’t have the appropriate words for these decadent bars. I’m warning you right now that these bars are completely addicting. I kept on cutting little pieces of these bars to just “taste” them again and again and again and the next thing I knew I had eaten a whole row! I ask you: what is better than nuts and chocolate together?!! My favorite combination right here! The maple syrup in these bars adds enough sweetness without being sickening sweet and I think the maple flavor gives a bit of caramel undertone. I used macadamia nuts, peanuts, pecans, and brazil nuts in my recipe, but you can use ANY combination of nuts that suit your fancy. Whole food fats keep me satisfied and energized. (In moderation of course…I admit I ate way too many of these bars in one sitting!) You will want to lick your fingers, plate, and pan when you make these bars…don’t say you haven’t been warned! Enjoy these my nut and chocolate loving friends!

Nutty Maple Chocolate Bars 2

Nutty Maple Chocolate Bars

2 cups gluten free flour of choice
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 T. flaxseed meal mixed with 3 T. water (let sit and “gel” for 5 minutes) or use 3 T. aquafaba
3/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 cup milk of choice
1 1/2 cups toasted chopped nuts of choice
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (I like to use Enjoy Life brand)
1 recipe Chocolate-Nut Frosting, below

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 13x9x2-inch pan with parchment paper. In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, and soda. In medium bowl whisk together flax “egg”, maple syrup, applesauce, and milk; add to flour mixture. Stir to combine. Stir in the 1 1/2 cups nuts and the chocolate chips. Spread in pan. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on rack. Spread with Chocolate-Nut Frosting. Cut into bars.

Chocolate-Nut Frosting
In a bowl combine 1/4 cup chocolate-nut spread (I like this brand), 3 tablespoons milk of choice, and 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup. Stir in 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder. Stir in 1 to 1 1/4 cups organic powdered sugar until spreading consistency.

Lemon Cheesecake Bars

Lemon Cheesecake Bars 3

Lemon bars were another favorite treat in my childhood and beyond. I adored the buttery crust next to the sweet, tart lemony filling balanced by the layer of powdered sugar on top. Mmmmm, my salivary glands are starting to work just thinking about it! Let me be honest, lemon bars are tricky. They are a tough re-make in the plant-based world, but not impossible. I’m still working on a true lemon bar so stay tuned…BUT, in the meantime, I have this lovely lemon cheesecake bar to share with you! I adapted this Cranberry Cheesecake recipe I shared with you last fall to make this delicious little bar. I think you are going to like this refreshing dessert! Heaven knows I kept “taste-testing” these until the pan was almost gone! I love the use of millet in the filling, which adds in nutrients without fat and it lends to the creamy texture. The lemon flavor isn’t overpowering in these bars, but just the right amount of ‘zing’ you would expect in a lemon dessert. These bars are simple, light, and delicious! If you want to add in a swirl of blueberry or raspberry compote to these bars, I think it would be lovely…I think I’ll do that the next time I make these. Enjoy!

Lemon Cheesecake Bars 2

Lemon Cheesecake Bars

Lemon Cheesecake Filling

1/2 cup millet

1 cup vanilla coconut milk

1 can full-fat coconut milk

2 Tbsp arrowroot or cornstarch

Pinch sea salt

1/2 cup lemon juice (about 2 large lemons)

1 heaping Tbsp lemon zest (I used the zest from 2 large lemons)

1/8 teaspoon doTerra lemon oil (or 1/4 teaspoon lemon extract)

1/4 cup maple syrup

organic powdered sugar, for topping

Crust

1 cup gluten-free flour

1 cup hazelnut meal or almond meal

1/4 tsp sea salt

2 Tbsp coconut sugar

1 Tbsp maple syrup

4-5 Tbsp coconut oil, melted

1/4 teaspoon doTerra lemon oil (or 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line an 9×9 inch baking dish with parchment paper. To make Crust, add gluten-free flour, hazelnut meal, sea salt, and coconut sugar to a medium bowl and sift together. Add maple syrup, melted coconut oil, and lemon oil. Start with 4 tablespoons coconut oil and add more if it’s too dry. Stir with a spoon until a loose dough is formed. You should be able to squeeze the mixture between two fingers and form a dough instead of it crumbling. Transfer mixture to parchment-lined baking sheet and spread evenly. Then place parchment paper on top and use a flat-bottomed object, such as a drinking glass, to press down firmly until it’s evenly distributed and well packed. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven to cool slightly.

To make Cheesecake Filling, place millet and vanilla coconut milk in a medium pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir and then lower heat to simmer. Cover and cook 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until most of the milk is absorbed. Add coconut milk and salt. Return to boil. Then lower heat again and continue to simmer uncovered, stirring frequently, until millet is extremely soft, the grains have begun to fall apart and mixture is very thick. (Stir often to avoid scorching.) Continue to cook until mixture is reduced to 2 1/2 cups. Turn off heat and stir in lemon juice, lemon zest, lemon oil, and maple syrup. Transfer mixture to a high-powered blender and blend, scraping down the sides as necessary, until perfectly smooth and silky with no trace of grittiness from the millet. This could take a few minutes. (If your blender isn’t high-powered, blend mixture in small batches of 1/2 cup; transfer to a bowl after each batch.) Pour filling over the pre-baked crust and spread into an even layer. Tap on counter to remove any air bubbles. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the edges look slightly set and the center giggles. Let rest for 10 minutes, then transfer to the refrigerator and let cool completely (uncovered) for at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight. To serve, slice and sift with powdered sugar. Store leftovers in the refrigerator, covered, for a few days. I wrapped mine up and put them in the freezer for longer storage.

(Adapted slightly from Recipe Source: Cranberry Cheesecake)

Pumpkin Cocoa Spiced Muffins

Pumpkin Cocoa Spiced Muffins 2

So, my dessert re-vamp week was so fun that I kept going…yep, more healthy dessert recipes are coming! These muffins are super yummy! I titled them “muffins” but they are really a cross between a muffin and a cupcake. Have you tried SuperSeedz?!! I am completely addicted! I LOVE the Double Dark Chocolate variety so much that I have to hide them from myself so I don’t eat the whole bag! I decided to incorporate these delicious seeds into this dessert muffin 2 ways – in the batter and as a finished topping. SO GOOD! These dessert muffins are moist, cocoalicious, and have just the right textural crunch. Now, you can slather these dessert muffins with this frosting or you can use a jarred chocolate nut butter of choice – either is super delicious! These dessert muffins are full of antioxidants, which makes me feel good about eating them. Yay for healthy desserts! (and double YAY for SuperSeedz!!!)

Pumpkin Cocoa Spiced Muffins 3

Pumpkin Cocoa Spiced Muffins 4

1 1/4 cups gluten-free flour blend
1 cup ground SuperSeedz
1 teaspoon ceylon cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 cup coconut sugar
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin pan with paper liners. Sift together flour, ground Superseedz, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine the pumpkin puree, coconut milk, applesauce, coconut sugar, maple syrup and vanilla. Mix until well blended. Add flour mixture and stir until well blended. Evenly divide batter into prepared muffin pan. I use a small cookie scoop to make sure the batter was evenly distributed. Bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 5 minutes, then place on a cooling rack to cool completely. Once cooled, slather the muffins with peanut butter chocolate coconut spread and top with some Superseedz. Try not to devour them too quickly…

Chocolate Banana Bread Pudding

Chocolate Banana Bread Pudding

I remember being introduced to Bread Pudding as a child and I LOVED it! I think it had a lot to do with the butter, cream, eggs, and sugar that were involved…creamy and sweet and sure to give me a heart attack! I decided that I needed to give that Bread Pudding a makeover to fit with my lifestyle! I decided to use Banana bread to add another dimension of delicious flavor without adding in a lot of fat and the result was absolutely ADDICTING! I love how the bread soaks up the flavorful milk mixture and softens it before baking. This pudding is moist and yummy with lots of banana-chocolate goodness! You’ll want to make this dessert for sure…like right now!

Chocolate Banana Bread Pudding 3

Chocolate Banana Bread Pudding 4

1 loaf Banana Quinoa Bread
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (I use Enjoy Life brand)
1 1/2 cups vanilla almond milk (or coconut milk)
1 medium banana
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup coconut sugar
2 teaspoons arrowroot powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons ceylon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice

Chocolate Sauce
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted*
1/4 cup cocoa
1/4 cup agave nectar

*If you don’t want to use oil, simply use some non-dairy milk instead.

Cut or tear the Banana bread into bite-sized pieces. If the bread seems too moist spread it out on a cookie sheet and toast it for a few minutes in the oven. Place it in a large bowl and add the chocolate chips. Put the non-dairy milk into a blender along with the banana, maple syrup, coconut sugar, arrowroot, vanilla, baking powder, and spices. Blend until smooth. Pour it over the Banana bread. Stir well to completely coat all of the Banana bread. Set aside to soak for a few minutes. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×9-inch baking dish with parchment paper. Pour the Banana bread pudding into the pan in an even layer. Bake for about 45 minutes or until the top is set and beginning to brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. While the pudding is cooling, make the sauce. Place the coconut oil and agave into a small bowl and whisk in the cocoa until nice and smooth. Cut the pudding into squares and serve warm drizzled with some chocolate sauce. Enjoy!

Banana Quinoa Bread

Banana Quinoa Bread 2

Banana Bread. The sound of it just brings me comfort. What about you? This is another favorite treat I relished as a child. I remember the recipe my Mom would make started with butter and sugar of course, so this bread needed a makeover! You will love this recipe, which contains plenty of fiber, sweetness, and perfect banana flavor! I love the addition of the quinoa flakes, which adds a slight nuttiness to the taste and packs in some extra protein. I think this recipe wins over anything I ate growing up! Enjoy the goodness!

Banana Quinoa Bread 3

Banana Quinoa Bread

2 medium ripe bananas
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 flax egg
3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted or applesauce
1/4 cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup date sugar
2-3 tablespoons honey, depending on ripeness of bananas (or sub maple syrup)
3 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup coconut milk or almond milk
1 cup almond meal or hazelnut meal
1 cup gluten-free flour
1/2 cup quinoa flakes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a loaf pan with parchment paper. Mash bananas in a large bowl. Add all ingredients through coconut milk and whisk vigorously to combine. Last add almond meal, gluten-free flour and quinoa flakes and stir. Bake for 1 hour. The bread should feel firm and look golden brown on top. Let cool completely before cutting or it will break apart and not hold together – trust me on this one! Serve with Earth Balance and honey or slather with some nut butter or eat plain – all ways are delicious!

Chocolate Brownies with Chocolate Frosting

Chocolate Brownies 3

I’m excited to share this recipe with you today because who doesn’t love a brownie with delicious frosting?!! Another blast from the past re-make here! I remember a favorite brownie recipe growing up that contained significant butter and so much sugar that just thinking about it gives me diabetes! I remember those fat-laden brownies being topped off with a buttercream frosting made with MORE butter and MORE sugar. They tasted delicious, but I always got a headache after eating a few of them! It is time for an updated, healthier version of these brownies! The trick to reducing fat in baked goods is to replace that fat with fruit or vegetable puree – in this recipe it happens to be pumpkin. These purees add moisture and the right amount of bulk, along with plenty of fiber to keep you full.

Chocolate Brownies 4

These re-make brownies were a complete success! They are full of chocolatey goodness and a rich fudge-like texture. You can’t even detect the pumpkin in these brownies…I love to sneak in veggies any chance I can get! I topped these off with some coconut milk ice cream and they were devoured by my family and friends. You will want to make these ASAP! Enjoy!

Chocolate Brownies 5

Brownie

3/4 cup gluten-free flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons flaxseed meal
1/3 cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup date sugar
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup pure pumpkin
2/3 cup milk of choice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, and line a 9×9 square baking dish with parchment paper. Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl, and mix very well. Combine all liquid ingredients and mix well. Pour wet into dry, and mix until just combined, then pour into prepared pan and bake 30 minutes. Let cool completely. I like to frost each brownie piece with frosting right before serving. Keep these brownies stored in the fridge.

Frosting

1/4 cup peanut butter or allergy-friendly alternative
4-8 teaspoon pure maple syrup (adjust to your taste)
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
4 teaspoons milk of choice, or more for thinner frosting
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Blend everything in a small food processor. You will probably want to double this recipe because I found myself eating this by the spoonful! Store uneaten frosting covered in the fridge (if there is any left…).

(Adapted slightly from Recipe Source: chocolatecovderedkatie)

Chocolate Cherry Truffles

Chocolate Cherry Truffles

I think there are two camps when it comes to cherries and chocolate – either you love the combination or you’re not a big fan. I happen to fall in the ‘not a fan’ camp. At. All. When I was younger, I remember receiving a box of chocolates on special occasions. I always looked for the round chocolates that had a dome shape so I could avoid them! They always contained a cherry with syrupy, sugary goop in them. I misjudged my chocolates a few times and ended up biting into a cherry…the memory still haunts me. So, I’ve had to resolve my cherry chocolate disdain because I really like cherries and I really love chocolate – cherries contain significant anti-inflammatory properties and cocao (chocolate) has powerful antioxidants! Say hello to this cute, delicious truffle. The cherry flavor is subtle, but present in a most delectable way. All the flavors meld together under a fabulous chocolate coating. My remake of the chocolate covered cherry has given me resolution. I feel better now…

Chocolate Cherry Truffles 2

Chocolate Cherry Truffles 3

1/2 cup raw almonds

1/2 cup coconut flakes

1/2 cup cherry preserves

1/4 cup cocao powder

1 tablespoon agave nectar

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon vanilla

3 ounces dark chocolate for dipping (I like to use Enjoy Life Brand)

Place the almonds in a dry skillet over a medium-high heat and cook, stirring frequently, until they are toasted and become fragrant, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly. Put the almonds into a food processor and pulse a few times until the nuts are chopped. Add the coconut flakes, cherry preserves, cocao powder, agave nectar, cinnamon, sea salt, and vanilla to the processor; process until the ingredients are finely chopped and are incorporated, about 20-30 seconds. With wet hands, roll the mixture into heaping teaspoon-sized balls and set them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat. Place a small bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water, over low heat. Place half the chocolate in the bowl and stir until melted. Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the remaining chocolate, stirring until it is melted. Roll the chocolate cherry balls in the melted chocolate, one or two at a time, until they are all covered. Place them back on the parchment paper, and then chill in the refrigerator until set, about 15 minutes. Devour! Store remaining truffles in the refrigerator.