Posts Tagged ‘chocolate’

Tofu Good to be True

February 22, 2014

I love desserts and snacks (who doesn’t?). Unfortunately, they are a perfect example of “too much of a good thing”. I’m always on the lookout for a healthy and tasty option which I can gorge on without doing much damage to my health. Of course, everything is best in moderation, and all rules are made to be followed, right? Well… one can dream.

tofu pudding

chocolate tofu pudding in a jar. everything’s better in a jar, right?

A runner friend who is interested in alternative diets, raw food, and vegan ultra athletes, recommended some recipes from Scott Jurek. I have had limited success with my friend’s previous recommendations but am always willing to try new things. Especially when the new thing is chocolate pudding with ingredients that are already in my pantry! An added bonus: this healthy dessert actually tastes good!

Chocolate Pudding

adapted from Eat and Run by Scott Jurek

  • 16oz tofu
  • 3 T cocoa powder
  • 3 T maple syrup
  1. Blend all ingredients until smooth.
  2. Chill for about 30 minutes.

Notes and Variations

It’s easy to get a bit crazy with the ingredients, particularly including only raw options. The original recipe adds chia seeds and suggests cacao nibs instead of cocoa powder. It also uses agave nectar which I don’t keep on hand but can be substituted with maple syrup, honey, or any other liquid sweetener you like. These additions probably add nutrition value which is more important for active ultra runners than it is for an office worker who sits at a desk most of the day.

The recipe also specifies using silken tofu, which I conveniently forgot the second time I made it. The pudding texture was extremely dense, almost like a concrete custard made at popular chain restaurants. Lucky me! I made a healthy version of a popular dessert for a fraction of the cost! If the mixture gets too thick for your liking, just add some water or liquid of your choice (almond milk, soy milk, lemon juice?).

Cold Chocolate Cravings

February 5, 2014

Salted caramel is all the rage these days, showing up on dessert menus and in drinks everywhere. A friend was recently excited to see salted caramel hot chocolate on the menu at Starbucks. Unfortunately, they made him a salted caramel mocha instead and he doesn’t like coffee. Frustrated and disappointment caused by the mistaken order stayed with me.

Months later, on a frigid night at home, I wanted a drink to warm me besides tea and remembered the salted caramel hot chocolate. How hard could it be to make? Caramel is just cooked sugar and I keep cocoa and powdered milk on hand for just such an emergency. (Yes, chocolate cravings constitute an emergency!)

caramel hot chocolate

the caramel solidified and the cocoa didn’t break up but it still tasted like heaven!

The good news is if you have the attention span to make caramel it’s easy! Although I didn’t have the patience to properly sift the cocoa and powdered milk so it had chunks of powdery magma but it certainly tasted good! I also added the bonus of some spices that are commonly used in Mexican or “Ancient” hot chocolate, my favorite flavor of the drink. All that was missing was marshmallows!

Ancient Caramel Hot Chocolate

inspired by a drink at Starbucks

  • ¼ c sugar
  • 2 T water
  • dash salt
  • 2 T cocoa powder
  • 2T powdered milk
  • 1 c water
  • dash cinnamon
  • dash chili powder
  1. Heat the sugar in a pan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves.
  2. Stir the sugar constantly once it is dissolved until it turns a caramel color.
  3. Just before the sugar burns, add 2 T water and stir.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in a dash of salt.
  5. Combine the cocoa powder and powdered milk.
  6. Mix 1 c water into the powder mix.
  7. Stir the caramel mixture into the hot chocolate mix.
  8. Mix in the cinnamon and chili powder.
  9. Garnish with a dash of salt and any other favorite hot chocolate toppings!

Notes and Variations

The really easy way to do this: have a jar of caramel handy, stir in some salt, add to hot chocolate. Making the caramel was definitely the hardest part. I wound up making a caramel hard candy which was kind of fun to dip in the hot chocolate and eat like a lollipop. My goal for next time is to get a proper caramel sauce made, then mix it into the hot chocolate.

The spices are my personal favorite. I love a rich, dark hot chocolate with a bite of spice at the end of it. I’m sure this would taste good with whatever your favorite hot chocolate flavor is. A few drops of almond extract? Mint syrup? Some alcohol? Whatever suits your fancy!

Cookies for Breakfast

May 16, 2013

image

I’m a morning person and often do my best cooking before 7am. It gives me a great sense of accomplishment to cook a dish or two from scratch to completion before getting to work. Plus cookies make a great breakfast!* The other bonus of early morning baking is sharing the results and being able to serve still-warm cookies at the office, a real treat that was really appreciated.

Normally I don’t bake much because I don’t want to eat everything I make. What got me started this time was my dad. He got a cookie recipe book and started making cookies incessantly. Lucky for me (and those around me) he passed the book on to me and I can’t resist reading through a cookbook. I’m now making cookies all the time! Fortunately, cookies are small and easy to share so I won’t end up eating all of them.

To start, I picked a number of recipes that caught my eye then asked my helper (Luke) to choose his favorite. He narrowed it down to two and I picked the easiest one. Turned out to be a great, quick recipe that I made so fast he didn’t even have a chance to lick the bowl before they were done! The only caveat is they’re really muffins, not exactly cookies.

Full disclosure: cookies aren’t my favorite breakfast. I prefer savory foods, currently noodle soup topped with an egg.

Chocolate Madeleines

from The Cookie Jar

  • ¾c granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2T cherry liqueur
  • 1t vanilla extract
  • 1c flour
  • ¼c cocoa
  • ⅛t salt
  • ½c butter
  1. Melt the butter and let it cool.
  2. Beat sugar, eggs, and egg yolk until thick and light in color (about 5min).
  3. Stir in the cherry liqueur and vanilla extract.
  4. In a separate bowl combine flour, cocoa, and salt.
  5. Fold in the dry ingredients.
  6. Fold in melted butter.
  7. Pour 1T of batter into each mold of a greased madeleine pan.
  8. Bake the cookies at 400F for 6-8 minutes, until they spring back when lightly touched.

Notes and Variations

Have you ever made madeleines? I haven’t. And although I would make this recipe again, I don’t need another baking tray sitting around the kitchen, so I used a mini muffin pan instead. And it worked perfectly! Since it was non-stick, I didn’t grease the pan and that worked pretty well too.

The key to this recipe seems to be mixing the eggs and sugar to get as much air in them as possible, making the cookie-muffins light and airy. The finished texture is so interesting and rich but light. I think it would make a great cake and am excited to try. The baking will have to be different, perhaps a lower heat, but I’m worried about sacrificing the crisp-ish texture on the outside. To be continued!